Don’t worry, there’s no fish in these cupcakes on the half shell. These cupcakes on the half shell are simply a new and surprising way to present America’s favorite treat. If you are serving clams, oysters, or other seafood for dinner, this is the dessert that will blow your guests’ expectations out of the water!
Start by baking a lemon cupcake (or any flavor cupcake that you love) into cleaned clam shells.
Then, top the cupcakes with the special topping of melted butter, lemon juice. dried cupcake crumbs, cacao nibs, and chopped fresh basil. Bake again to finish.
Serve the shells on a bed of coarse sugar.
Cupcakes on the half shell taste like like any other cupcake, but they are more moist because of the second bake with the buttery topping.
Products Related to Cupcakes on the Half Shell
Since you do not need clams for this project, I suggest buying pre-cleaned and ready-to-use clam shells. These are the exact shells that I used. (View on Amazon)
This recipe calls for cacao nibs. Nibs have a strong chocolate flavor but stay crunchy when baked – like little nuts. (View on Amazon)
Any fresh basil will work for this recipe, but I loved using the lemon basil that we are growing in our garden. It paired perfectly with the lemon cupcakes. (View on Amazon)
Although it’s not a requirement, you can create a wonderful visual impact by putting the shells on a bed of coarse sugar. (View on Amazon)
Cupcakes on The Half Shell
Cupcake Batter Ingredients
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup milk
Cupcake Crumb Topping Ingredients
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dried cupcake crumbs made from ingredients above see below for instructions
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Mix sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl until fully combined.
- Mix in egg.
- Mix in lemon juice and milk.
- Fill 6 clam shells with cupcake batter (about 3/4 of the way to the top of each shell). Place clam shells on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Put four cupcake liners in a cupcake tin and fill each 3/4 full with the remaining cupcake batter.
- Bake shells and cupcake liners for 20 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched and cupcakes in the shells are just beginning to brown around the edges. The cupcakes in the liners may take a couple of minutes longer to bake than the ones in the shells.
Cupcake Crumb Topping Instructions
- Remove the four baked cupcakes from the liners and convert them to cupcake croutons by following the directions in my cupcake crouton post. Skip the step about seasoning with brown sugar and spices because the end goal is dried-out cupcake crumbs.
- Food process the croutons to make coarse crumbs.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Place all cupcake crumb topping ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat. Gently stir until butter is completely melted.
- Divide topping evenly between all shells on top of the baked cupcakes.
- Bake for 10 minutes and serve warm.
Kimberly of the lovely Rhubarb and Honey (who happens to be a great friend of mine and co-conspirator for the upcoming Food Media Forum) won my most recent Facebook game of Cupcake Roulette. I was tasked with finding something on her blog to inspire cupcakes. When I saw her baked oyster crackers, I got all kinds of oyster crackery ideas, including making my own homemade oyster crackers! Oyster crackers made me think of oysters, which made me think of clams, which led to these crazy cupcakes. Thanks, Kimberly, for starting me on my path down the fishing hole.