Long ago there was a bakery in downtown Santa Rosa called Burlington Bakery, and every year my mom would go there around St. Patrick’s Day and get us these fun, delicious little frog cupcakes. Seeing those little Leprechaun frogs with tiny hats was always the highlight of my St. Patrick’s Day. The fact that they looked too good to eat, but tasted delicious was part of the fun. When Burlington Bakery went out of business I missed the frogs terribly. Once I got a bit older, I decided that I should make these frogs and share them as my St. Patrick’s Day tradition. The great thing about these frog cupcakes is that they don’t need to be perfect. A few warts or lumps here and there just give them character, and they are guaranteed to light up the eyes of the little leprechauns in your lives!
Start with your favorite cupcake flavor. Anything will work. I usually go with chocolate or vanilla, since those are the original flavors that the bakery made.
Take the wrappers off of your cupcakes and turn them upside down on a baking rack. Make a half recipe of Decorator’s Buttercream Icing (see recipe below). This buttercream icing recipe is so delicious and easy to work with. It is my favorite crusting buttercream recipe and I give a big thank you to Toba Garrett, an amazing cake decorator and baker, who graciously allowed me to post this recipe from her book Professional Cake Decorating. If you don’t already have this book, go out and get it. Toba is such an inspirational decorator and the book contains so much invaluable information including tips, tricks, techniques, and recipes for gorgeous cake decorating. In case you can’t tell, I am a BIG fan!
A bit of Americolor deep pink gel paste will give you this shade of pink. I use a 56 mm batter scoop to get a dollup of frosting and place it on top of the upside down cupcake. If you don’t have a batter scoop, use a 1/4 cup.
Next use a small offset spatula to smooth out the frosting and make a rounded shape for the frog’s head. Don’t get carried away with this, the frogs don’t need to be completely smooth to be cute!
Now make the icing to cover the frogs. This is a very simple poured icing. The recipe is as follows -
Sift one 2-lb bag of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) into a large bowl
Add 1/2 cup plus 3 tsp room temperature water
Add 1/2 tsp Americolor leaf green gel paste
Mix using a handheld electric mixer until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as you go to make sure everything is combined. The icing will be thick like a paste.
Use a large spoon to pour the icing over the frogs.
Pour a large spoonful of the icing directly onto the top of the cupcake in a circular motion.
Don’t try to cover the cupcake completely using the spoon. Just let the icing flow down and it should eventually cover the entire cupcake.
These green blobs could make cute slime monsters. Now that you have the frogs covered you want to let the icing set for at least 4 hours or overnight. Increased humidity will slow the drying time. The icing is dry if it does not show a fingerprint when you touch it.
In the meantime, you can make the chocolate hats. To do this, melt about 8 ounces of milk chocolate wafers and spread the chocolate onto a Silpat using an offset spatula. Wait until the chocolate changes from shiny to matte (this happens quickly) and then use the wrong side (largest circle) of a Wilton 1A tip to cut out the hat brims.
Rolos were the perfect candy for making these hats. The original frogs had plastic hats, but I wanted my frogs to be completely edible.
Use a tiny bit of melted chocolate to stick the Rolo to the hat brim.
I used Betty Crocker Tropical Tie-Dye Fruit Roll-ups to make the bands of the hats. I was looking for solid yellow fruit roll-ups, but all I could find was a variety pack with some cartoon characters printed directly onto the roll-up. I cut the fruit roll-ups into strips using a pizza cutter and a ruler. Just a warning on these fruit roll-ups – they are super sticky and not that easy to work with. I thought I was saving myself some time by using a store bought product, but coloring and rolling fondant may actually be easier. I do like the thickness of the roll-ups and they stick to the hats easily without any icing or chocolate.
Using a toothpick and some melted chocolate, I added a little shamrock sprinkle to each hat for some extra flair.
Now that the cupcakes are dry, it is time to make the mouths. To do this, use an x-acto knife and cut a small smiling mouth for each frog.
Remove the green icing cutout to reveal a pink frosting smile!
Once the frogs have their smiles, they really start to take shape fast!
Use a toothpick and tiny bit of melted chocolate to stick on the eyes. These eyes are store bought. I found them at my local Target store.
Next use a bit of chocolate to stick on your hat, and maybe place your froggy in a pretty cupcake liner.
Finally, share your St. Patty’s Day frog cupcakes with all the lucky lads and lasses in your life. You are sure to brighten their day by presenting them with a happy smiling frog this St. Patty’s Day!
- 1 lb unsalted butter
- 8 oz solid vegetable shortening or high ratio shortening
- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 lb confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 3 tbsp meringue powder, sifted
- 4-1/2 fl oz heavy cream
- Place the butter and shortening in the mixer bowl and mix on medium-high speed with a paddle attachment for 3 minutes. Stop and scrape the bowl. Cream for an additional 60 seconds.
- Add the vanilla and salt and mix until combined. Gradually add the sugar, then the meringue powder. The mixture will appear dry.
- Add the liquid and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 5 to 8 minutes. Once the buttercream is made, keep the bowl covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
- Store the icing in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.