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Lady Bug Chocolate Cupcakes

 Lady Bug Chocolate Cupcakes
Who wouldn't smile when they see these fun little treats sitting on the kitchen table? They're as much fun to make as they are to eat! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
14 ServingsPrep: 30 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
  • Chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1 can (16 ounces) dark chocolate fudge frosting
  • Red jimmies
  • Black jelly beans, shoestring licorice, nonpareils and white hard candies

Directions

  • In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat
  • in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt;
  • gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and
  • coffee, beating well after each addition.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for
  • 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes
  • out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire
  • racks to cool completely.

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Lady Bug Chocolate Cupcakes (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • For lady bug wings, microwave chocolate wafers for a few seconds to
  • slightly soften. Use a serrated knife to cut each in half. Cut off
  • the tip to allow room for the lady bug face; save remaining wafer
  • piece to prop up wings. Frost both wings and dip in red jimmies. Cut
  • black jelly beans in half, add as spots to the wings; set aside.
  • For antennae, cut licorice into 1-inch pieces. Dip one end into
  • frosting and roll in black nonpareils; set aside to dry.
  • To assemble cupcake, frost with chocolate icing. Position decorated
  • wings on cupcakes, if desired, add reserved wafer piece under wing
  • tip to prop up. Add antennae and white hard candy eyes. Pipe a small
  • frosting dot for eyeballs. Add a large curved red jimmie and 2 small
  • ones for the mouth. Yield: 14 cupcakes.