Ready to share some cupcake magic with your kids? We have tips for turning out these munchkin-sized treats and ideas for dressing them up to suit all occasions.
Any cake recipe can be made into cupcakes. Place cupcake liners in muffin tins and fill them 3/4 full until the batter is used up. Bake at the same temperature as the cake recipe and check after 15 minutes to see if they're done.
Crumbs of Wisdom
Let cupcakes cool before frosting. Even the youngest bakers can help. Give them miniature spatulas or small, blunt butter knives for the frosting and turn them loose on the decorations.
Hold cupcakes by their bottoms and roll the frosted tops in bowls of coconut flakes, chopped nuts, sugar sprinkles, candy confetti, etc. If you want to sprinkle the toppings instead, place the cupcakes on racks set on baking pans to catch any stray bits.
If you're serving cupcakes at a party, you can bake them a week ahead and freeze them until you're ready to decorate. By the time you're finished with a dozen or so, they'll be thawed and ready for serving. Display them on a tiered cake server or special cupcake stand.
When you're decorating with juicy fruit, place the fruit just before serving so the color doesn't "bleed" into the frosting.
Silicon cupcake liners let you play with shapes such as squares, hearts, and butterflies, and come in an array of colors. Hint: even though silicon has a nonstick surface, a light mist of cooking spray helps the cakes release more easily.
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Keep your eyes open for tiny toys and interesting candy and cookie shapes for your cupcake creations and experiment with piped icing, candy, and thin licorice to create whimsical faces and critters. Try these simple embellishments:
Pirate: sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over white frosting and decorate with gold covered chocolate coins.
Princess: pink frosting strewn with edible glitter and rose petals.
Baby shower: draw a baby face on each cupcake with icing, or simply pile up the frosting and stand a frosted animal cracker on top.
Bridal shower: top cupcakes with sugared edible flowers or candied fruit.
Birthday: ice one letter on each cupcake and arrange them to read "Happy Birthday (child's name)" on a large serving tray. No slicing required!
Sunflowers: chocolate or yellow frosting with candy corn trimmed with a halo of orange candy corn "petals."
Valentine's Day: red velvet cake with an inner core of chocolate and frosted with more chocolate. Top with candy hearts, kisses, or X's and O's.
Saint Patrick's Day: green, green, and more green; but know the kids will end up with green-tinted hands and faces. Ok, you've been warned.
April Fool's Day: miniature dirt cakes. Sprinkle chocolate frosting with crushed chocolate cookies and have a candy worm slithering out of the center.
Easter: white cake and pastel frosting; top with coconut flakes and a marshmallow Peep or tiny candy eggs. Thin licorice can form an Easter basket handle.
Bunnies: white cake and frosting. Cut marshmallows in half diagonally to form ears (frost the insides pink). Two more marshmallows make cheeks and a mini marshmallow cut in half makes bunny teeth. Use tiny candies for eyes; finish with a pink jelly bean nose.
Fourth of July: white frosting topped with a pattern of fresh strawberries or raspberries and blueberries. Finish with a flag toothpick waving gaily on top.
Halloween: ice with chocolate frosting and make spider legs with licorice and give them red cinnamon candies for eyes.
Christmas: top with marshmallow snowmen, candy canes, or gingerbread figures.
Check out our cupcake gallery for recipes and view creative cupcakes, decorated by home cooks like you.
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