When it comes to baking cupcakes are on of the easiest things to make, but I find it far more fun to take something as simple as mini cakes in wrappers and make them pretty awesome. So naturally I decided to make something geeky, delicious, and a bit weird this week out of yummy little desserts.
In order to make these you are going to need to have some time on your hands, multi tasking skills, as well as a few other things.
1 Box of cake mix (probably going to want yellow, white, etc.)
1 bag or roll of cookie dough (something that you can make cut outs with, I used sugar cookies)
Blue and Orange Jello (Depending on how many you want to make - 1 box will only fill about 4-5 cupcakes so you may want 2 boxes or more of each color.)
Icing or frosting (I used white buttercream)
Cupcake wrappers (I used foil)
You will also need a piece of paper, a small sharp knife, a pen (or a gingerbread man cookie cutter),a small spoon, a ladle, a baking sheet, and a cupcake pan.
The best way to save time on this is to make the different parts of the cupcakes in a certain order.
First thing you want to do is make to cookie dough. You can make this from scratch, buy a mix, or buy one of those pre-made logs. If you have the pre-made kind then you can skip this step.
Mix up the dough according to the instructions or recipe and make sure you are making the kind for cutout cookies or your little portal men are going to be little blobs. One of the best ways to make them better for cut outs is to add about 1 Tablespoon of flour to the batter if the dough is made for drop cookies.
After it it all mixed and kneaded roll it into a log and wrap it in some clear wrap, or if you have none a plastic baggy. Put it in the fridge to chill and then we will come back to that later.
Next you are going to mix the cake batter. Make it according to the box instructions or the recipe you are using and preheat the oven.
Line your pan with the wrappers. The reason I used the foil ones is because it is technically 2 wrappers, a paper and a foil each. You want the wrappers to be thick on these because you are putting a filling in them.
You may want a type of ladle or spoon to fill the cups evenly and to avoid a mess.
Fill them up about a little less then halfway. If you over fill these they will spread all over the pan and the tops will be huge! We do not want that, we want nice even tops.
Now you want to either jiggle the pan back and forth or gently tap it on a countertop to get all the bubbles to the top and popped. You don't want little air pockets in the cupcakes.
Once you think you have sufficiently de-bubbled your cakes bake them.
That is a good looking surface for the portal to come through!
Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack or the counter to cool while we work on the rest of these.
While you are cooling and baking your cupcakes make the cutout for your little portal man. You can use a gingerbread cutter, or even these fancy ones here, but for us poor people use this method. Also, you can make your portal men look anyway you like this way! You can go crazy or classic.
I chose to go with the more classic portal pose.
Draw an outline on a piece of paper and cut it out. You want to have a pretty long torso (longer than the one pictured) because you are cutting them in half and part of each piece will be going into the jello. You want them to be pretty small to be able to fit and thin because they are going to spread out a little while baking.
(And, yes, they do look like chalk outlines on dead bodies, this is a thing I know.)
After your cupcakes are done baking change the oven to the cookie temperature.
Break off a small part of the cooled dough and roll it out thinly on a clean and well floured surface. Place your cutout on the dough and cut around it with the small knife. Then after cutting out the desired amount lift up the excess dough and remold it.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet about one inch apart and cook them for about 5 minutes and check on them, you don't want them to over cook.
Once they come out you are going to want to cut them in half, if they cool too much before you cut them then they can crumble when you try to cut them. Once they are a bit hard and easy to move place them on the cooling rack and let them finish cooling. Repeat this until you have the amount of cookies you need, remember that one cookie if for 2 cupcakes so you do not need too many.
While you are baking and cooling your cookies begin making the jello. separate the gelatin into two bowls and heat some boiling water in a kettle or the microwave. For each packet you are going to add between 1/2 - 3/4 cup of boiling water. This gelatin needs to be thick so that's why we use so little water. (You can also simply follow the "jigglers" recipe on the Jello brand boxes)
Mix until the jello is dissolved and place in the fridge. You want it to be thick but not solid!
Next you want to take those cooled cupcakes and hollow out the middle carefully, you do not want to go too deep or too far to the side. Gently cut out a hole and pop out the center, it should be about the size of a "doughnut hole".
Now that you have your baked goods make and cooled we should put these together before someone thinks you are a homicidal maniac, what with all the hollowed cakes and halved bodies in your kitchen.
Once the jello is thick (almost like pudding texture) you want to start filling the cupcakes. If it is too thin then the cake will just soak it all up and if it's hard then it won't go in right so this is all about timing. If you find that it got too hard then you can microwave it for about 15-20 seconds to loosen it back up.
Fill up the cupcakes half orange and half blue, then frost the rims.
It should look something like this!
Fill them up with as much jello as you can since it will settle a little bit after you fill them.
Next stick the little portal men halves into the "portals", put the legs in one color and the tops in the other. You want to do this before the jello hardens too much, otherwise they will not stay put.
Then place them in the fridge to finish cooling for a couple hours or overnight.
(People will probably be very confused when they open up your fridge, so be prepared for that.)
So there you have it, Portal Cupcakes! Congratulations! These are fun to make and have a really unique taste, and not in a gross way!
This cake is not a lie.
(You were waiting for me to say something like that, weren't you?)
Another tip for you is that if you do not want these to be portal but still want to try them you can make "Hot Tub Cupcakes", I used to make these for pool parties all the time.
Same recipe except you take Teddy Grahams and put little jelly rings around them and stick them in the Jello. You can also make little lounge chairs from mini cookies or graham crackers.
So if you take these to the pool or to the grooviest party I hope you enjoy them and wow all the people attending.
Enjoying the noms of their labor,