How many of you realize that some ice cream cakes contain eggs? I didn’t know that either until I nearly poisoned my son at his birthday party. Although there have been more than a few non-super mom moments in my life, that event rated right up there with one of the worst. I still cringe thinking of the look on his 8-year old little face as we frantically left his party to grab some Benadryl before his reaction got out of control. Yes. I had changed purses and didn’t have any Benadryl either! Ugh! #Badmomsunite #Alwayscheckthelabel
Before I had a child with food allergies, I had no idea how difficult it would be managing events like birthday parties or other such social events. It became glaringly obvious early on that homemade was the only way to go. It’s no small wonder that I’ve been trying to make up for that birthday party and that cake ever since!
Everybody around here LOVES Samoa Girl Scout cookies, but nobody adores them more than my oldest son. There was a time when he had what we called his “stash” drawer, filled to the brim with candy wrappers, marshmallow containers, and yep, you guessed it, Samoa boxes. (Much to my envy, the boy burns calories just breathing). So, when his birthday came around this year, it was a no-brainer as to what flavors he’d be looking for, but with nary a Samoa in sight, I had to improvise a little bit.
Over the years I’ve tested dozens and dozens of recipes, and I’ve had great success with two methods. In the first method, Ener-G Egg Replacer acts as an egg substitute. The second method uses a depression cake recipe, which is a cake that uses no eggs, butter or other dairy ingredients. These cupcakes fall into the latter camp.
Incidentally, depression cakes have been around since – yes, you guessed it – the Great Depression, when ingredients such as milk and eggs were scarce. These recipes are often passed down through families and are so, so simple to make. As well, surprisingly, they produce a moist, well-crumbed cake that, lucky for me, is perfect for allergy sufferers. This cake is dairy free as well and produces a delicious dark chocolate cupcake.
But, the chocolate cupcake is only the first chapter of this story. After all, what gives a Samoa it’s yummy goodness? Is it the crisp, vanilla cookie? The smooth chocolate? The gooey, sweet caramel? The flaked coconut? Of course, it’s all of that!
But, how do you put all of that into a cupcake?
For me, you start with the chocolate cupcake and use a simple trick to fill the cupcake liners.
First, prepare your muffin tins by filling each cup with a liner. Set aside. To evenly fill your liners, you will need a large Ziploc bag and a large-mouthed cup or jar. Place your Ziploc bag into the cup or jar and fold the opened edge over the lip. Set aside and prepare your batter. Spoon your prepared batter into the Ziploc bag, lifting carefully to fill completely. The bag will be approximately half full. Carefully lift out of your cup or jar, press the air out of the bag and close. To fill, carefully clip one corner of the Ziploc bag and carefully pipe the batter into the liner by squeezing through the hole. To stop the flow, pinch the hole closed and tip the filled bag backward before moving on to the next cup. Repeat for the remaining cups and until all batter has been used. To clean up, just discard the Ziploc bag. Voila! These chocolate cupcakes were made using this recipe from Savory Sweet Life without any tweaks and made one dozen cupcakes, baked for 16 -18 minutes.
Then, you add caramel. If you’re going to have caramel go ahead and use homemade caramel – it’s much easier to make than it seems. You’ll never regret it. I used this fabulous recipe from Add a Pinch. Easy-peasy and Oh so good!
Buttercream frosting is where I shine, and I’ve shared the recipe for that below. A simple vanilla buttercream frosting flavored with dollops of caramel takes care of the vanilla layer, save for the crunch aspect.
For coconut use toasted, flaked coconut to get back some of that crunch, along with the unmistakeable flavor of coconut. I like to toast coconut in a pan over medium-high heat, tossing it gently to prevent burning. Remove the pan when the coconut is nicely browned.
Now, put it all together – decadent chocolate cupcake, topped with whipped salted caramel buttercream, topped with toasted flaked coconut, drizzled with sweet, gooey caramel and velvety chocolate – and my friend, you’ve got yourself the ultimate Samoa cupcake. And if you’re a better momma than I, and left out the eggs – or at least brought the Benadryl, you’ll also be wearing your Supermom cape.
My son has grown into an impressive young man. Lucky for me, I got the honor of watching that happen – with or without my cape. Maybe someday I’ll forgive myself for what was certainly the worst party he ever had, but for now, I’m so glad I FINALLY got it together in the birthday baking department for him.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup cooled caramel sauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add caramel, vanilla, and half the cream. Beat well. Slowly, add sugar, beating on low until well combined. Add additional cream until you reach your desired consistency. You want your frosting to be soft but able to hold it’s shaped. Place frosting in a piping bag (I like to use Ziploc bags!), or spread onto cooled cupcakes.
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