Vanilla Bean Moose Cupcakes

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My nickname for Jason is Moosey and with this comes a variation of sub nicknames such as Moose, Moofy, Moof and Gray Hair Moosey (GHM). I’m sure he just loves that I’m sharing this with the world! Well, he’ll just have to deal with it. :) He just celebrated his 34th birthday and I really wanted to come up with a fun cupcake to make his birthday extra special. I got the idea of doing a moose themed cupcake from a cookbook that I have called, What’s New Cupcake. Since Jason’s favorite flavor is vanilla, I wanted to make a fabulous very vanilla cupcake. I ditched the recipes from the cookbook and came up with my own variation. Everyone who came to dinner was in awe of these adorable cakes. I really knocked this recipe out of the park!

Ingredients:Vanilla Bean Moose Cupcakes

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix – each brand is different. Make sure you read and ingredients on the package to bake as directed
  • 2 boxes of vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups of cold milk
  • 2 vanilla bean pods – split and seeds scraped (divided)
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • Cool Whip

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper (make sure to use a baking sheet that will fit in your freezer). Place copies of the antler template under the wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container for 20 seconds. Stir, then microwave again for 10 seconds. Chocolate burns easily, so check it and stir at 10-second intervals until fully melted. Transfer chocolate to a piping bag or ziplock bag (snip the tip). Pipe the chocolate over the parchment paper to trace the antler templates. Leave a bit of space between each antler, for easy removal. Place the tray in the freezer for about 1 hour. Once the chocolate is set, use a spatula to remove it from the parchment.

Preheat your oven and prepare the cake mix as directed on the box. Before pouring the batter to the cupcake liners, stir in ½ of the vanilla seeds. Once your cupcakes have baked, allow them to cool for about an hour. Using a cupcake corer, remove the center of each cupcake. If you don’t have a corer, you can use a teaspoon to scoop out a small center section of the cupcake.

While your cupcakes are cooling, make the vanilla filling and icing. To a small prep bowl, add 1 box pudding mix and the remaining ½ of the vanilla seeds. Add 2 cups of cold milk and mix together until the pudding starts to thicken. Transfer filling to a piping bag or ziplock bag and chill until cupcakes have cooled. To make the icing: To another small prep bowl, add the second pudding mix with the remaining 1 cup of milk. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Then foldwith Cool Whip and cinnamon and chill.

Fill the center of each cupcake with pudding. Use a pastry knife to apply icing to each cake. Garnish with sprinkles if desired. Top each cupcake with chocolate antlers. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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