the ballerina bakeshop: black swan cupcakes

black swan cupcakes | movita beaucoup

Our story begins on the occasion of Prince Siegfried’s 21st birthday. His mother gives him a crossbow (as any good mom would) and tells him it’s about time he got married. Siegfried freaks out and runs into the forest with a bunch of his friends – because running around in the woods at night is a great way to deal with your fear of commitment. Throw in the chance of accidentally shooting one of your pals with your new crossbow? Epic fun.

black swan cupcakes | movita beaucoup

Once in the woods, Siegfried ditches his friends, and finds himself at a lake. There are some beautiful white swans there, and one of them is wearing a crown. That classy swan is Odette. Now, most dudes would wonder why a bird was wearing a crown, but not Siegfried. Siegfried decides to try out his new crossbow instead. Just as he is about to shoot her dead, Odette magically morphs into a human, and Siegfried lowers his bow. It was a very close call.

Odette tells Prince Siegfried that an evil sorcerer, von Rothbart, cast a spell on her and some other neighbourhood gals. She tells him that they are swans by day, but revert back to human form at night, and that the lake they swim upon was formed by the tears of their crying parents. Oh, and she’s the Swan Queen – thus the crown. (Not that he asked.)

Next, Odette tells Siegfried that if a man pure in heart pledges his eternal love to her, the spell cast upon her will be broken, and she and the other girls will be swans no more. But if the vow of eternal love is broken? They’ll be swans forever. It takes Siegfried about two seconds to say: I’ll marry you! Which is weird, because he was freaking out about commitment, like, five minutes before that.

black swan cupcakes | movita beaucoup

Siegfried invites Odette to the Royal Ball his mother has spent weeks planning. He’s supposed to pick a wife at the event, and if Odette agrees to attend, he’ll pledge eternal love to her and then introduce her to some of his weird uncles. All of Odette’s problems will be solved!

As they are making engagement plans, von Rothbart, the evil sorcerer, shows up and yanks Odette away from Siegfried. Siegfried is still pretty eager to use his new crossbow, and threatens to use it on von Rothbart. But the swans freak out: dude, don’t do that! If Rothbart bites it, the spell he cast upon us will be permanent! A lot of wing flapping ensues, which scares the crap out of von Rothbart, and he sidesteps off into the night. (Angry swans are pretty terrifying even if you are an evil sorcerer.) Siegfried and Odette are left alone at the lake where they dance until dawn, falling madly in love.

Cut to the Royal Ball. It’s a lavish affair, and everyone is excited for Siegfried to pick a bride. There are a lot of potential roommates there, but he’s still into the idea of hooking up with Odette, despite the fact that for most of the day she’s a bird.

Von Rothbart shows up with his daughter, Odile. (This is exactly why you shouldn’t post events on Facebook.) He has cast a spell on Odile so she looks just like Odette, except she’s black. Von Rothbart figures the Prince will be duped by the doppelgänger, and pledge eternal love to the wrong girl. And Prince Siegfried? Well, von Rothbart was right. He doesn’t even notice that the swan at the party is a totally different colour than the swan he was chatting up the night before.

The end.

black swan cupcakes | movita beaucoup

Just kidding! I’ll tell you the rest of the story soon – the suspense will do you good.

. . .

Let’s talk Black Swan Cupcakes. These cupcakes are a light chocolate cupcake with a classic chocolate buttercream frosting. I added black food colouring to the frosting to make it darker. It will turn your tongue a little blackish-blue. If you don’t like using gobs of food colouring, you can just leave ’em as is – they’ll still be really pretty. You could also sprinkle black sanding sugar overtop like I did. Of course, you might decide to make a dark chocolate cupcake, or maybe something with dark chocolate ganache on top. (You could also use this recipe.)

The ballerina toppers are really easy to make – maybe the easiest craft ever. I’ll teach you how to make your own. But first I’ll have to tell you how the story of Swan Lake ends

black swan cupcakes | movita beaucoup

. . .

Chocolate Cupcakes {Black Swan Cupcakes}

recipe: adapted from Mary Margaret McBride’s Encyclopedia of Cooking 1958, Volume 3

print and bake

Yields about 24 cupcakes.

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly brewed, hot coffee
  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line your cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers/liners.

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl, and then pour the hot coffee over top, stirring gently until the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. You don’t want any lumps of chocolate remaining. (If your coffee hasn’t melted the chocolate completely, you could place the bowl in the microwave for a few seconds to help things along.) Set aside and allow to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer (you could also use a hand mixer). Add the butter and sour cream and then mix on low speed for two minutes. The mixture will be thick and doughy.

Add the eggs, vanilla and chocolate mixture, and beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Divide between the cupcake wells, filling each no more than 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes – a cake tester inserted into the centre of a cupcake should come out clean. Remove from cupcake pans and allow cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

. . .

Chocolate Buttercream Icing {Black Swan Frosting} 

print and frost

Yields enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I use 70% cocoa, but you could also use semi-sweet, bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar – you may need more or less to adjust for desired consistency
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract*
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream – you may need more or less to adjust for desired consistency

* you could use just vanilla extract, just almond, or any combination of the two

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and using only medium power on your microwave, melt the chocolate about halfway to three-quarters of they way through, and then mix gently until all lumps have melted and the chocolate is smooth. You could also place your heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water to melt the chocolate. Set the chocolate aside and allow it to cool slightly.

In the large bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and salt until light and floofy. Add 2 cups of the icing sugar, and beat on low speed until well combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and two tablespoons of the heavy cream and beat until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well combined.

Add another cup of icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, beating until well combined. Add the final cup of icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream, beating until light and fluffy. Additional icing sugar and cream can be added to adjust the texture/consistency as needed.

45 Responses to the ballerina bakeshop: black swan cupcakes

  1. movita's sister August 20, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Oh this is gonna be big…

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 7:16 am #

      You ain’t seen nuffin’ yet, kid.

  2. Juls August 20, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    You totally need to tell us all the ballet stories. I never quite understood ‘Coppelia’ and despite seeing ‘The Nutcracker’ every year I don’t get how her tiny shoe kills a massive rat king. I also dig your virtual bakeshop, it’s the nicest virtual bakeshop I know.

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Well, guess what, Juls?! I have a whole series planned for you. That’s right. I’ve been baking and craftin’ all summer. Because you are the wind beneath my wings. And you will be a ballet genius by the time I’m done with y’all…

      And the shoe/rat thing? Well, it’s kinda like that whole paper beats rock deal. Totally unbelievable…

      • denise August 21, 2012 at 5:27 am #

        I can’t wait for more stories!

    • Ann August 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      I LOVE this idea!!

  3. Chocolate Chilli Mango® August 20, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    LOL ADDICTED TO BLACK FROSTING …. I’m so proud of you!
    I love the black swan!!! Wonderful post…fab recipe.

    you are gorgeous xxxx

  4. Cheri August 20, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Sorry about the smears on the window.

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      This is exactly why I said, “… keep your hands off the windows.”

      Virtual windows are incredibly difficult to clean.

  5. thekalechronicles August 20, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Nice richness to these cupcakes. Now, finish the story.

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

      Okay, but you might not like the ending… (sniff)

  6. Bonnie August 20, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    Are there some heart-breaking scenes coming? Will I cry my eyes out? Sniff. Please hurry with the end of the story. The cupcakes make me drool, or is that my age?

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      You might cry your eyes out. Or, just hate Siegfried…

  7. Savory Simple August 20, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    These are just gorgeous!

  8. craftytammie August 20, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    i was totally wondering how you got that icing so black. i refuse to make cakes with red or black frosting on them, can’t ever get them right. gorgeous cupcakes, and since i have no patience i think i’ll google how it ends…

    • movita beaucoup August 21, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      Adding the black food colouring to chocolate frosting makes it easier – you don’t need as much paste. But I agree – red and black are the hardest!

  9. emmalina73 August 20, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    I’m voting for Odette finding Seigfried (who seems to have an excess of blood lust about him) and Odine she goes all swan freak out on them and crushes them both then hooks up with a hot Swan King and trots off to have lots of swan babies. Because a swan can break your arm you know, I’ve seen it happen. Well not seen it but heard of it. Heard that it’s possible. From people who totally saw it happen.

    Love the goth cupcake vibe, it rocks.

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      Well, Emma, your ending isn’t far off. I mean, there’s no Swan King, but there is some fightin’! Swan Lake is pretty epic. And a little… violent/death obsessed.

  10. Lynne August 20, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Movita, this is at your same level of Totally Awesome Awesomeness!! Thanks so much for translating this beautiful ballet down to our level of understanding. And the cupcakes are definitely drool-worthy. They remind me of the homemade chewy toffee licorice I made some months ago… while dieting. Yeah. Brilliant. I could have blamed my dog for their disappearance, but my black tongue & teeth sort of gave me away…

    And you’re so close to starting baking school!!! I’m so pumped that you’re doing this – I’m gonna live my dream through you, kiddo. No pressure – but if I wasn’t almost 60 – man, I would SO be right next to you. I’d be like the grey haired medical student on Scrubs. Remember her? She kept falling asleep… hahaha.

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      Lynne, don’t be silly. You’ll basically be right next to me. Via the intwebs and my iPhone. There’s no way I’ll survive baking school without you!

  11. Lynne August 20, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    OK, so I REALLY hate that I can’t edit posts here. I’m sort of OCD about grammar & all that crap. I meant to say that this is at your *usual* level of Totally Awesome Awesomeness. Sigh…

    • movita beaucoup August 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      Lynne, please try to be more grammatically correct in the future. It is required for any subscription to this blog.

  12. annewoodman August 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Wow!!!! I have never used black food coloring!!!! These are so gorgeous! We had some divine Black Forest cupcakes from a divine bakery nearby, and these remind me a bit of those from the outside, at least.

    Those fairy tales… they can be rather dark, can’t they? Do you remember the story by Hans Christian Anderson about The Red Shoes? Yikes.

    • movita beaucoup August 21, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      Right? I don’t know how kids sleep at night…

      • emmalina73 August 21, 2012 at 9:30 am #

        I actually studied Victorian fairy tales as part of my degree, there was one about a woman on her wedding day who looked into a fire and saw herself in her shroud, you know, dead. There was another about children being stolen and working for evil fairies under a hill until they were husks. Night night kiddies! Wait…why are you crying?

  13. mbstonemason August 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    gosh:::::::::::drum roll:::::::::::::you did it again!!
    lub you!!!

  14. rockandwool August 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    oops! sent my reply (above) on my hubby’s computer!!
    it’s me—teri from oregon :o)

    • movita beaucoup August 21, 2012 at 6:45 am #

      Thanks, Teri!! Lub yah right back!

  15. Ann August 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    These cupcakes are awesome. positively sinister 😀

  16. DB-The Foodie Stuntman August 21, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    I like how you intertwined the story into your recipe. These cupcakes look sweet! I found you through Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic. Nice to make your acquaintance.

  17. srushton1 August 21, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    I can’t wait for further installments on this story and the ones to follow. Educate us! We are your willing subjects. And the cupcakes: gorgeous!

    • movita beaucoup August 21, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      Oh, I will be schoolin’ y’all! The Ballerina Bakeshop has lots of treats on the way…

  18. shannon August 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    i am in love with the Ballerina Bakeshop. and i have like, ZERO problem with commitment. i’m all in. you tell me all the ballet stories you want, using cake and quite possibly the most awesome craft ever (that i can TOTALLY MAKE BECAUSE YOU KNOW I OWN THOSE BALLERINAS!) and i’ll be yours forever.
    i’m so excited right now. i even know the ending and i’m STILL. excited.

  19. The Neighbour August 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Sticks out black tongue whilst rubbing nose and finger prints off of the glass…Awesome cupcakes and part I to the ballet…

  20. Amy August 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    I love your bakeshop…the brick wall is awesome! 😉 And these cupcakes are awesome. They’re kind of evil looking though…can a cupcake be evil? I mean that in the most delicious way though.

  21. wendy@chezchloe August 22, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    Owning a bakery could be rewarding and exhausting …. if it doesn’t work out you could rock cliff notes for kids. I mean really. This even held my attention.
    I just read Confessions of a Closet Master Baker aka My Life from Scratch- G Bullock Prado. You might check it out.

  22. Eggton August 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    What the EFF is wrong with Prince Siegfried? For one thing, he goes running around in the woods with a crossbow like a drunk frat boy, and then he makes out with a chick he just met? This sounds like something Prince Harry would do, has already done, or is currently doing.

  23. radhika25 January 27, 2015 at 12:41 am #

    Loved your Swan lake story!

  24. movita beaucoup December 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in August 2012.


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