So when we invited half of California to my two-year-old’s birthday party, I wasn’t going to attempt to manhandle a bunch of cupcakes. But I wanted the cake to be special and something that Sophie would enjoy. So I decorated it with chocolate monarch butterflies from Hello Cupcake!
Chocolate Monarch Butterflies
Yield: For 15 large butterflies (3" x 3") and 12 small (2" x 2"), you'll need:
2 cups dark cocoa melting wafers
2 cups candy melting wafers (the book used orange, I used pink)
3 T white nonpareils
3/4 c dark chocolate frosting
54 brown M&M's
Small zip top bags
A plate or cookie sheet
1. Copy and cut out the butterfly templates from the book. (Or draw your own.) Also, cut some wax paper into squares, an inch or two larger than the butterfly wings. Place wax paper over template, and place both on a plate or a cookie sheet (you'll see why in a sec).
2. Melt the chocolate in separate zip top bags for 10-15 second increments in the microwave. Mush the bag around to get rid of any lumps, then squeeze all of the melted chocolate to one corner of the bag. Snip a tiny (like 1/16 of an inch. . . I think mine was too big.) hole in that corner and trace the outline of the butterfly with the brown chocolate. Fill in the center with the colored chocolate, but don't use too much.
3. Pick up the plate or cookie sheet and smack it on the counter a few times to allow chocolate to fill in the gaps and become smooth. Using a tooth pick, gently drag some of the brown chocolate into the center, making swirls. Sprinkle a few white nonpareils over the top. Repeat until you run out of chocolate (or until your baby needs nursing). Don't forget to do the antennae. If your chocolate gets thick, just zap it in the microwave for about 5 seconds and mush it around again. Let the chocolate rest for an hour or so to harden. You can do these a day ahead.
4. When you're cake is ready, pick all the brown M&M's out of the bag and place in a separate bowl. Dump the rest into the potty incentive treat jar for your toddler. Decide where you want your butterfly to go and place two brown M&M's 1/2-inch apart on the frosting.
5. Carefully lay the wings down on the cake so they're propped up by the candy. Wiggle them into the frosting a bit so they stay put.
6. Stick a set of antennae at the top of the wings, into the cake.
7. Put the chocolate frosting into a zip top bag, squeeze it to one corner and snip off 1/4-inch hole from the tip. Pipe a set of beads down the middle to hold the butterfly together and give it a body. To do this, just squeeze a bit, then release/pull back, squeeze, then release/pull back. You can practice on a piece of wax paper if you want and scrape the frosting back into the container. (I know, I cheated and used my frosting bag with a tip.)
8. All done! Now repeat with remaining butterfly parts.
from Hello, Cupcake!