I don't really consider myself much of a food decorator. I do love (simple) food styling and adding just that last little bit of garnish that makes a dish look more polished. But I couldn't make a frosting rosette or basket weave to save my life. That being said, ever now and again I get an idea that I just have to try. And that's what I'm sharing with you today. I really wanted to create something that looked liked a mountain range. I was thinking about the swiss alps in particular while I made these cupcakes, as that's where Trey and I went on our honeymoon earlier this year. We also have plans to go skiing in Colorado in February this year (it will be my first time skiing and I'm super nervous!) so I guess I just have mountains on the mind. And of course I had to make these double chocolate mountains. It was a must. First step, make chocolate cupcakes. I used my very favorite chocolate cake recipe for these. While those are baking and cooling you can prep your mountains. The inside of the mountains are made out of ice cream cones. If you've ever made which hat cupcakes or Christmas tree cupcakes then you know what we're talking about here. I wanted my mountain range to a different sized mountains. The best way to cut your ice cream cones down to size without making them shatter is to use your fingers to slowly chip off the rims until they are the height you desire. The rims won't be perfectly flat (as you can kind of see in the photo above) but we are about to cover them in frosting so it won't matter. :)Next you want to cover each of cooled cupcakes with a thick layer of chocolate frosting. Set the cupcakes aside on a plate or cake stand. To cover the ice cream cones hold the cone by the bottom rim and use an offset spatula to coat the cones. Try to create a smooth, even surface with the frosting. Then press the cone into the center of a frosted cupcake. Use the spatula to smooth the area where the cone and the cupcake meet. So far you have witches hats. Let's keep going.
Dark Chocolate Frosting, makes about 5 cups. Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.
16 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
5 tablespoons hot water
1 1/2 cups softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
a pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate. I usually do this in a small sauce pan over low/medium heat stirring constantly just until the chocolate has melted. You can also do this with a double boiler or in the microwave. Once melted allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile combine the cocoa and hot water in a small bowl or coffee mug. Stir until cocoa is completely dissolved. Allow this too to cool to room temperature.
With an electric mixer cream together the softened butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth. Stir in the melted chocolate and cocoa water. If either of these two components are still too hot they may melt your butter further and cause your frosting to be too wet in consistency for spreading over a cake (or cupcakes). So be sure you allowed them too cool before adding. Now for the white chocolate, aka the snow caps for the mountains. In a microwave safe bowl melt together 6 oz. white chocolate chips with 1/2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil. Microwave for 30 seconds, remove and stir, then for another 30 seconds. Next stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Test your chocolate on a practice cupcake or even an un frosted cone. You want the chocolate to run but also be thick enough to coat the tops of the mountains. If your chocolate still seems too runny add another 1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar. Once ready carefully spoon the chocolate over the tops of the chocolate mountains.You can garnish these with sweetened coconut flakes for additional "snow" or you can just leave them as they are. Not sure which I ended up preferring. These are an overload (in a good way) of chocolate and pretty fun to make! So if you're thinking you might spend the weekend playing around in your kitchen I highly recommend getting creative with some cupcakes and ice cream cones. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman