Cute owl cupcakes with Oreo eyes; these are actually delicious chocolate cupcakes with a rich buttercream frosting.
You might think you are not much into baking and especially decorating cakes or cupcakes. You will change your mind after making these super cute owl cupcakes for Halloween or for your kid's next birthday party.
These chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and decorated with Oreos and other sweets to make them look like owls are one of the easiest cake decorating projects ever. Definitely something for you, if you are trying your hand with decorating cakes for the first time.
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What kind of muffins to use?
I chose to make chocolate muffins for the body of my owl cupcakes. I wanted to decorate them with white frosting to make them look more like Hedwig (Harry's owl), and that is why I thought chocolate for the body and vanilla for the head would be a good idea.
But you can make any kind of muffins for these owl cupcakes with Oreo, just use your favorite recipe, and you cannot go wrong.
This is one of my standard chocolate muffin recipes - a recipe I go back to every time I want to make something with chocolate, and I don't have the time or the patience to do more work than just stirring a few ingredients.
- To make the batter for the owl cupcakes with Oreos, start by mixing together all the dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, and the remaining wet ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, mixing carefully with a whisk.
- Only mix as long as to get your dry ingredients moist; don't over-mix. If there are still some small lumps here, it is fine.
- Divide the batter between the lined cupcake forms and bake.
- That's it! You will not even need a mixer to make this chocolate cupcake recipe.
- You will need a hand-held mixer to make the buttercream frosting needed for the owl cupcakes with Oreos.
- First of all, make sure that the butter is at room temperature. Otherwise, you will not be able to mix it properly. Take it out of the fridge several hours before you want to make the buttercream frosting; if I want to make that in the morning, I usually leave the butter on the counter overnight.
- Place the soft butter in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy, at least two minutes, I would say.
- Slowly and gradually, start adding the icing sugar.
- Add the vanilla extract or vanilla aroma as well.
- Continue beating until the mixture is really fluffy and nice, usually another minute or so.
- I always use equal amounts of butter (European-style unsalted butter) and icing sugar to make this buttercream recipe. In most cases: 1 packet weighing 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup butter and 1 packet weighing 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 2 ½ cups icing sugar. Plus 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or a few drops of vanilla extract.
- I flavor the buttercream as required, most of the time with vanilla extract or a few drops of vanilla aroma (the aroma is more common and definitely cheaper in Germany than extract, although I prefer using pure vanilla extract when I have it).
- You could also flavor your buttercream differently. For instance, add a few drops of rum, butterscotch, lemon, or orange flavor instead of vanilla.
- Or 2-3 tablespoons of rum (not for children), fresh orange, or lemon juice. If you add this amount of liquid to the buttercream, you might want to add a little extra icing sugar to the buttercream to give it the right consistency for piping again; about 2 to 4 tablespoons should do it.
- If you want to make chocolate buttercream frosting add 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the buttercream. If the buttercream is too stiff, add a tiny amount of milk (½ to 1 tablespoon) to loosen it again and make it right for piping.
- If you have buttercream leftovers you can definitely freeze them, I have done it a thousand times. Place the buttercream in freezer bags. Defrost in the fridge overnight.
How to decorate owl cupcakes?
- To make the owls you will need some Oreos and some M&M's or large Smarties for the eyes and beak of the owls.
- Theoretically, you will need 1 ½ Oreos per cupcake, so a total of 18 Oreos or 36 halves. BUT! Although I was very careful when splitting the Oreos, many of them broke in the process.
- So, do make sure you have enough Oreos when you start decorating, just to avoid having to go out and buy some more while in the middle of the decorating work.
- Use some of the broken pieces to form the “eyebrows” of the owls. Eat the rest of the broken cookies.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe the buttercream frosting on top.
- Split the Oreos in two by twisting them carefully and placing them on the frosted cupcakes to form the eyes. Snap another split Oreo in two and stick the halves in the buttercream to form the “eyebrows” or whatever those things are.
- Stick two M&M's or Smarties of the same color to form the eyes. If they don't stay put, smear their underside with a tiny amount of buttercream and stick them in place.
- Stick another M&M or Smarties (preferably yellow or orange) between the Oreo eyes to make the beak.
More fun food?
Owl Cupcakes with Oreos
Chocolate cupcakes or muffins:
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1 ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 30 g/ 1 oz/ ¼ cup + 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ½ cup chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
- 1 egg medium Germany, large US
- 80 g/ 2.8 oz/ scant ½ cup brown sugar
- 80 ml/ 2.7 fl.oz/ ⅓ cup vegetable oil for instance canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 250 ml/ 8 fl.oz/ 1 cup buttermilk
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 1 cup unsalted butter
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 2 ½ cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or a few drops of vanilla extract See note 1
- Oreo cookies or something similar See note 2
- 36 M&M's or large Smarties
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12 muffin tin with paper cases.
- Place the flour, baking soda, baking powder and unsweetened cocoa powder in a bowl. Chop the semisweet chocolate into small pieces about the size of chocolate chips or use semisweet chocolate chips. Add them to the flour mixture and stir to mix. Set aside.
- In another bowl whisk together the egg and the sugar. Add the oil, vanilla extract, and buttermilk. Whisk very well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and whisk carefully until the dry ingredients are moist. Do not over mix, it is OK if there are still some small lumps in the batter.
- Place the batter to the muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Leave to rest in the tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make sure the butter has room temperature before you start. Place the butter in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes.
- Slowly and gradually add the icing sugar. Add the vanilla extract or aroma and continue beating until the buttercream is nice and fluffy. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, pipe the buttercream on top.
- Twist the Oreo cookies to open them up and place two halves that still have enough of their own white frosting attached to them on the buttercream frosting to form the eyes.
- Snap another cookie half in two to form the “eyebrows” of the owls and stick them into the buttercream as well. You can use some of the halves that don't have that much of their own frosting left on for this step.
- Use M&M's or large Smarties to form the eyes. If the eyes don't stick to the Oreo frosting very well, smear them with a tiny amount of buttercream (rests from the mixing bowl) on the underside and then stick them onto the cookies.
- Form the beak of the owl with another M&M or Smarties.
- To make a chocolate buttercream frosting add 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the buttercream. Mix well and add ½ – 1 tablespoon milk to loosen the buttercream and give it the right consistency for piping.
- You will need 18 cookies to make the 12 owl cupcakes, however the Oreos break quite easily when you try to split them in two. Also sometimes their own frosting will only hold on one half of the cookie and you need that both eyes still have frosting on them. Make sure you buy enough Oreos in case that happens.