Hey there, little lady(bug)!

Ever since I bought the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book; I've been dreaming of making these little ladybug cupcakes.

For the cupcakes, I decided to go with chocolate instead of vanilla, though, thinking it looked more like dirt.  Don't we all want our cupcakes to look like dirt? ;)

The recipe for the chocolate cupcakes (below) is so good...the cupcake are moist and light...perfect!

In Martha's book, the ladybugs are made from marzipan.  These I made from fondant that I had on hand.  And, I tried the Satin Ice fondant, although making it at home is easy, too.  The Satin Ice brand tastes great and smells like sugar heaven...it's nice to have on hand for fondant emergencies. ;) I found it at Sur La Table.  Either way you go, you'd use AmeriColor Super Red and Super Black food colorings to tint them.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
{adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes}

3/4 c. dutch-process cocoa powder, such as Hershey's Special Dark
1 & 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 & 1/2 c. sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. warm water
3/4 c. buttermilk
3 TBSP vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.

With the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, whisk together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.

The batter is very wet. Pour into a large glass measuring cup to easily pour into muffin cups.

Fill baking cups 2/3rd full of batter. Bake about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops bounce back when lightly pressed. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes, then invert and remove from pans.  Cool completely on the wire racks.

The frosting is swiss meringue buttercream, although you could use any frosting that holds its shape.  For a great post on SMBC (I hear that's what the cool kids call it), visit my friend Gail, over at One Tough Cookie.  Her recipe is delicious and she makes the process look so easy!

The buttercream was tinted green with AmeriColor Leaf and Forest Green food colorings and piped onto the cupcakes with a #233 Wilton tip.

*That grass frosting counts as a serving of "greens," right?*
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