Fruit Loop and Pretzel Goldfish Cupcakes

For the past 5 years, I have been donating art and cupcakes to MAWA’s Over the Top auction and party. This year, inspired by my favourite baking blog, my theme was “fun stuff on top.”

After much soul- and recipe-searching, I decided on two:
– vanilla cupcakes with a salted caramel filling and salted caramel buttercream and pretzel goldfish on top
– pink and orange swirl cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and Fruit Loops on top

Although both were terribly cute, the hands-down favourite were the salted buttercream. They were twice the work, but SO worth it. I had a really, really hard time eating just one.

I used the Simply Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes and the Simply Perfect Salted Caramel Sauce from the Baking a Moment blog, and a double recipe of the Salted Caramel Buttercream from I Heart Eating. After the cupcakes were cool, I cut a little core out of the top of each one, spooned in a little caramel, replaced the cake, and then topped with (Yes, I piped!!) a generous amount of buttercream. The little pretzel fish were the final touch and added just a little more salt. (Oh, how I love salt.)

For the Fruit Loop cupcakes, I used the same cupcake recipe, but added 1 1/2 TBSP almond Extract and 1 TBSP Grand Marnier. MAWA’s colours are pink and orange, so I also tinted half of the batter pink and half orange, and swirled the two colours together after spooning into the liners. After baking and cooling, I topped each cupcake with a Classic Vanilla Buttercream (from the Add a Pinch blog) and Fruit Loops!

A couple notes:
– the salted caramel sauce was like a magical, delicious science project. I would definitely make this again, despite the high danger level. Be sure to measure out your cooled caramel for the buttercream before filling the cupcakes so that you don’t come up short.
– the cupcake recipe was a little finicky and gave inconsistant results. If you are baking more than one pan at a time, I suggest rotating the pans to get a more even product. Also, they were not great tasting right out of the oven, but delicious the next morning. That said, I am still looking for *my* perfect vanilla cupcake…
– I piped!!! Yes, I know. Big whoop, but it was my first time and I was very happy with the results.
– turns out, my kid doesn’t like Fruit Loops. What?

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