Your Chocolate Priestess won the Karen Tack and Alan Richardson book "Hello, Cupcake!" a guide to make amazing looking cupcakes. We made the "Howling Werewolves" cupcakes from pages 176-179 but we changed the type of frosting and cake mix we used. I do not believe that the publisher knew that I'd be doing this review at all!
I also decided that the idea of cupcake moons was silly for two reasons. First in the book you are supposed to use a different flavor of cupcake which means you end up with 1/2 of your mix unused. Yes, you could double the list of decorating ingredients but for a book that is supposed to be good for folks who've never baked or cooked before, I personally think it needs to have more details and use all of a cake mix or use the same flavor for everything. Second, werewolves need to be howling at the moon and they are not as big as it so I thought a central larger round cake made a more pleasing pictures as you'll see below. the Dozen of people who can to the party these were for last night agreed.
The result was what you see to the right -- 12 gray werewolves howling at a center full moon. The guests said that the cupcakes were both beautiful and tasty. The tasty part was a worry for me because on page 218 I was informed I should change the ingredients of your standard cake mix for cupcakes. While they tasted different, the buttermilk and extra egg will do that, the guests said they still tasted great. Obviously the extra binding of the substitute and new ingredients made more dense cupcakes that could balance the heavy decorating you do in this book.
The book is organized into 8 chapters with 50 designs. Some of these designs have more diagrams than others to tell you what to do. This particular design required us to read it over a few times and think spatially to figure out how to cut the marshmallows for ears and muzzle but we did it I think. I would have liked the last chapter on "Cupcakes and Frosting" recipes at the beginning of the book frankly before the designing.
The ingredients you need are not always as easy to find as you might think. We noted it was actually difficult to find a pudding free cake mix in our local huge grocery store, Sisters and Brother. When I saw huge, I mean I've tracked my steps on a normal shopping trip in that store and I cover about a quarter of a mile just walking through it during a normal weekly trip. On another topic, this book suggest you use Ziploc bags as piping bags. On the one hand, we agree that it works better but on the other hand it was very wasteful. Once used, the bag was worthless and these are not recyclable in most areas.
I think this is a great book if you want to put in some extra effort for a special event. It took us, from mixing the cupcakes, baking, letting them cool and then decorating about five hours in all to do what you see above. If I had made the moon as 12 cupcakes that would have added another hour perhaps. Wonderful for special events and with another family member helping, not good for everyday eating or solo work I think. Feel free to make things chocolate even if they say to use another flavor -- frosting can cover so much you know.
Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.