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Friday 26 February 2010

Smurf Cupcakes

(Or, dessert 2 of 2 when we Smurfed a little party for Rowanne's Un-Birthday!)

I was something of a hoarder as a child. Nothing gave me greater pleasure than to keep all my special gifts wrapped, unspoilt and above all, in their original packaging, not even taking them out for long enough to play with.

I remember, one birthday, I was given a 'Grow Your Own Crystals' science kit, and though I longed to watch the bright, almost neon blue crystals magically appear on the thread you were supposed to suspend in copper sulphate solution, I never dared to do so, for fear of ruining the box it came in (which was full of little compartments for everything to go in - just the kind of complicated packaging a boy like me loved!).

How lame was I?

Still, it was more than likely better that way; years later, when I learned about displacement reactions in Chemistry, I remembered that birthday box of chemicals and was secretly glad I'd never opened it. I was the sort of child who would have drunk the solution.

Incidentally, Mr. Other P also had one of those kits, but he actually did grow crystals with it. We don't talk about it very often though, as during one particularly fraught childhood argument with his brother (who we'll call Mr. D), they were flushed, unceremoniously, down the toilet. It is a tale of great sadness, I am sure you'll agree. Worthy even of Tolstoy himself.

I digress.

Sadly, the hoarding has followed me into adulthood. I have a baking box, full of all manner of sugar decorations, cupcake wrappers, candles, and as regular readers will already be aware, Kewpies. In this box are several pots of coloured sanding sugars, which rarely get used (I impulse buy), and in particular a blue one, which greatly resembles copper sulphate as it happens, so perhaps that wasn't such a pointless digression after all.

I had been waiting for a chance to use it when I happened upon this bag of Smurf marshmallows - tell me you aren't as enchanted by them as I was - and knew that a batch of blue cupcakes was only mere moments away.

I have titled this photograph The Outcast.

I couldn't really see the appeal of The Smurfs when I was a child, much preferring Peanuts, or He-Man and She-Ra, but I have grown fonder of them as I have grown older, secretly lusting after my friend Al's collection of 1980s Smurfs themed Nutella pot glasses. More to the point, they are the only thing that would look at home on a sparkling blue cake, so you can see why my appreciation for the cartoon characters has increased.

Bored of my usual cake recipe, I tried a new one for this, and it's one that I have been contemplating for years. It involves adding boiling water to the cake batter - you can see why I was curious - and in the picture accompanying the recipe book it is from, it looks like the most amazing chocolate cake ever. But it wasn't; it was dry and it was awful. So I am not going to include it here. Or tell you where it was from, as the writer of the book in question is my absolute favourite, and I don't want to murk the waters of her reputation. You do understand.

It does give me a chance to give you a little tip though, should you care to know how I deal with dry cakes. I drench them, either in Bailey's Irish Cream, or vanilla sugar syrup. So if it ever happens to you too, do not despair: the answer is in the liqueur cabinet. Or the pantry, if you choose the syrup. I don't want to be seen to encouraging alcoholism.

You can have the icing recipe, since that was yummy.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Icing

You will need:

150g cream cheese, at room temperature
350g sifted icing sugar
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
  1. Simply beat everything together until creamy and smooth.
  2. Slather over your waiting cakes - this should do 10 cupcakes, but I do use a lot, so you may get more.

If you are then going to cover the cakes with sanding sugar, I recommend you pour it onto your work surface first, and dip the frosted cakes into it, rather than trying to sprinkle it on. But you do as you please. I'm not in charge.

A beautiful out-take.


  1. What on earth is a "chamallow", Mr. P?!

    I also had one of those science-y grow your own crystal kits as a kid.

    I grew the yellow crystal mix in my bedroom window until someone mistook it for a cup of urine and then it had to go.

  2. haha! soooo cute! i loved watching that cartoon as a kid!

  3. I was a massive smurf book fan at age of six though they really annoy me when you hear them speak - Father Abraham in Smurfland album excepted.

    I recently discovered the dipping rather than sprinkling method, it is much tidier.

    These look great, I would love to know where you got that blue sugar?

  4. Very cute!! Have you tried baking the smurfs onto the top of the cupcakes? :)

  5. There was an urban legend going around about Smurf dolls coming to life and biting kids in their beds when I was a little girl. Almost none of the kids I knew had one as a result. Not even joking.

  6. I've never had Smurf marshmallows before, but the same company makes Smurf gummies, which I have had.

    Also, am pretty sure I never had one of those crystal kits, but my brother and I used to grow rock candy on a string hanging in a sugar solution. My parents liked it; kept us quiet.

  7. I'm sorry the cake recipe didn't work out for you. I have my go-to chocolate cake recipe that uses boiling water and it's always been awesome. Oh well, they're super cute anyway!

  8. I believe that must be Italian for marshmallow, Ms. H. I found them in Italy you see.

    Tomato - thanks! :)

    Judy - I just got your package in the post! I am so excited I can hardly wait. I am going to wait until after my decorating class on 10 March to use it. You'll be the first to see the results!

    Sarah - They are the David Beckham of the cartoon world. (Re: annoying voices). However, I still like them. The blue sugar was from NYC. I'm sorry. You can make sanding sugar though. Just add colour paste to regular sugar and mix.

    Mike - Smurf torture! I like it. They are going on my hot chocolate later.

    Mae - You just made me laugh out loud. At least we had our Popples, right?

    Katie - Can't even bear how much I want to try growing rock candy! You have planted a seed.

    Pom - Is that on your blog? Would you share it with me?

  9. These are to die for. Haribo come up with some crazy stuff but I didn't know they went to 'Smurfish' extremes! I always wish I could eat Haribo Giant Strawbs... they looks so puffy and strawberrylicious. And now I wish I could eat Chamallows. Why are they called Chamallows? Surely they should be called Smallows or something? Lol, I longed for one of those grow your own crystal kits but sadly, it wasn't to be. Omg... btw, today is dragon cookie cutter day in my kitchen! :)

  10. Sexism! Haribo doesn't make Smurfette marshmallows?

  11. Hi Mike!

    I have checked: in Paris, you can get Smurfette and Papa Smurf versions of the gummies.


  12. I strongly suspect we are deprived of smurf marshmellows here in New Zealand, I've never seen them. The colour of those little cakes is strange.. you know you should not eat things that particular shade of blue .. but you just desperately want to. I love them! I would have eaten the science stuff too no doubt.

  13. How many EEEEE numbers?

  14. Smurf marshmallows? So cool. Probably take years off your life but some things are worth it. Things like eating smurfs.

    And yes, booze will solve many of life's problems, dry cakes included. You could also solve this problem by drenching your mouth in liquer before sticking a dry cake in.

  15. OMGGGGGGGGGG as soon as i read the title i had the theme tune in my head!!

    Are you going to make red ones for papa smurf? :O

    dont worry about the hoarding thing i do it too!
    my excuse is that it is a cancerian trait!
    I go into town,and i buy things,and i hide them so they never get used..sad i know.
    anyways! great post :D

  16. What a great story and I love the look of your cupcakes.

  17. OMG. If you send me some of those Haribo Smurfs, I will seriously pay you. Seriously.

    On another note, I had a "Father Abraham and the Smurfs" record when I was (not so) little, featuring the classic "Smurfing Beer". Do you know it? It might be a great accompaniment to the next batch of Smurf cupcakes... ;-)

    PS: Chamallow is what they call packaged marshmallows in France which I am sure you know, since you are there...

  18. Mardi - I am not there now, but I did go to all the places you mentioned, and cried when I didn't have enough money or suitcase space to buy anything. I was this close (you can imagine my fingers being very close together here) to some brulée dishes though. Next time. When I don't have kitchen fitters to pay!

  19. I want me some DSmurf marshmallows! How fab are they? I impusle buy all kinds of stuff - from heart lollies for Valentines Day cakes (even if it is nearly 12 months away!) to dried rose petals to pear flavouring (for who knows what project?).

  20. Pastrycook Smurf or
    Schtroumpf Pâtissier

    Pastrycook Smurf wears a white hat and apron, and cooks pastries for the village. :)

  21. These are so cute! I love them!! I found these smurf mallows too in Belgium and was ridiculously excited with them so bought them intending to turn them into cuter than cute cupcakes..but they didn't make them home with me as i ate them all! love your sanding sugar too, where do you buy it? I thought you could only get it in the states.

  22. soooo awesome I blogged about it!

  23. Very cute! I loved smurfs. Great job. I saw your great photo on refrigerator soup.

  24. I loved (LOVED) the Smurfs as a child. I got a big kick out of these cupcakes and am wishing for Smurf marshmallows.

  25. These made my day - I'm going to make a batch.

  26. The Smurfs remind me of when I was a kid. Brainy Smurf was my all-time favorite. Oh, don't forget Gargamoyle!!

  27. I loved the smurfs when I was a kid! I collected all the little figures. I am going to make it my mission to find these smurf marshmallows!

  28. Any idea where I can can get the Smurf Marshmallows?? It's my son's birthday coming up & he want me to make your wonderful cupcakes!!

  29. hey where can I get those marshmallows? can I get them in Southern California?,

    By the way I really loved your muffins :)

  30. I just recently watched the smurfs 3D with my kid and I think these cupcakes are exactly what we need to make this weekend lol.

  31. I like these cakes. Sweet and good.

  32. mmm , yummy gess that i will try them just coz it feels right hhh


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