There are a handful of television shows that I make an effort to watch on a weekly basis: The Jon Stewart Show, Jeopardy, SNL, and Better Call Saul. My newest enjoyment is a short documentary-type show called Vice, where for a brief 30 minutes, they cover two different stories about social issues going on in the world that need to be talked about. From the surrogate women who are taken advantage of in India (and the incredible women who are fighting social change!), to the deep violence and troubles with drug trafficking issues in South America, and even to Climate Change and how serious it is, I end every show with tears in my eyes, asking the question, “What can I do about this? What’s my role I can play in helping, albeit as little as it might be, so I can say, ‘I was a part of that change’?”
And what better time to start asking these questions as Earth Day approaches? For me, how I deal with these social issues is I make Cactus Cupcakes (because they are water-friendly plants in honor of California’s severe water drought, but of course) and while they bring about happiness with each bite, they also come with a message: Save the freaking Earth.
Before your Rice Krispies* (use gluten free cereal) cool down and set, you are going to form the base of the cactus over a skewer that is cut in half, leaving approximately three inches space uncovered to stake into the cupcake. Make sure that the bottom of the Krispie cactus is secure around the skewer so it doesn’t fall off. Avoid compacting the krispies together too much.
*Please note that you will have leftovers if you do the entire batch. You can always halve the recipe or do the full recipe and
eat save the remainders.
Take two smaller pieces, forming them into the sides of the cactus. Gently push each side on the base of the krispie cactus. Make them as you see fit, creating uneven sides or however you want.
Next, melt 1 cup of nondairy white chocolate. If your white chocolate isn’t smooth at this point and difficult to manage, add 1 Tablespoon of shortening or coconut oil to get a nice glisten to it. Add 5-6 drops of all-natural green food coloring (or use pureed spinach OR matcha powder) and mix in until you have the color you desire.
Gently coat each side of the Krispie Cactus with the green-colored white chocolate. You can save the white chocolate (and sugar) and only dip one side if you like.
Place the colored-coated Krispie Cacti on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set and easy to work with.
Bring the baking sheet out of the freezer and melt 1 Tablespoon of dark chocolate. Using a toothpick, lightly coat the cactus with dark chocolate prickles. You can even just create dots to get this effect.
Take one of your already-baked-and-cooled chocolate cupcakes and break it into crumbles. You will be using this sparingly on top of your other cupcakes to create a dirt-like feel. If you find that the tops are still delicate at this point and will get destroyed when frosting, you can always place the cupcakes into the freezer for 10 minutes. Mine got a good beating before I could freeze them but that’s okay. By the time I am done decorating, you won’t be able to tell the difference.
Place the cupcakes into small terra cotta pots (I found these at Hobby Lobby in the floral section). You are free to keep the muffin liner on the cupcakes or take them off, your discretion. I kept mine on just to keep them in good shape in case anything happened to them and I needed to remove them easily. You will also notice that the cupcakes are smaller than the tops of the pots and that is okay.
Take your frosting and lightly coat the tops of the cupcakes, filling in the gaps on the sides if necessary. Give it a good layer.
Sprinkle a thin layer of crumbled cake over each cupcake pot and gently press down to ensure it won’t go anywhere. You can also add cacao nibs to give a realistic edible rock look but don’t feel like you have to go out and buy it just for this if you don’t already have them on hand. They are a bit pricey and if you don’t usually consume them you will be angry at me for having bought a $15 bag for a measly Cactus Cupcake. But it’s a cute cupcake! *wink*
- 1 batch of Rice Krispie treats
- 6 gluten free cupcakes (halve this recipe or make the full 12 and freeze the remaining)
- ½ c. chocolate frosting of your choice (or you can use 2 Tbsp. shortening, whip with an electric mixer, add ⅔ c. powdered sugar and ⅓ c. cocoa powder. Whip until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar if needed).
- 1 c. nondairy white chocolate
- 1 Tbsp. dark chocolate, melted
- ¼ c. cacao nibs (optional)
- 5 skewers, cut in half
- 5 small terra cotta pots
- Make the cupcakes first and allow to cool completely. Crumble one of the cupcakes into a bowl.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the Rice Krispies. Before they fully cool, form them into a cactus shape around the skewer (as demonstrated in the post's tutorial). Freeze.
- Melt your nondairy white chocolate until smooth. Add the all-natural green food coloring until desired color is reached (approx. 5-6 drops). Dip each cactus into the white chocolate and coat. Allow to set in the freezer.
- Create prickles on the cactus with a toothpick and the melted dark chocolate.
- Place the cupcakes into the terra cotta pots. Frost with the icing and sparingly sprinkle the tops with the cake crumble.
- Place the Krispie Cactus on top and secure it from falling. Scatter with cacao nibs (optional) to look like rocks.
Last but certainly not least, top your cupcakes with the Krispie Cactus, securing them safely. Oh and don’t forget the Garden Gnome to watch closely over your new garden of edible succulents.
These cupcakes are especially for you, mom. Instead of sending flowers, I thought you would enjoy a pot full of edible cacti since you love the desert so much. While you are getting better and focusing on healing, I am plotting you an entire garden of Cactus Cupcakes to bring you good energy and happy vibes.