Cupcakes make the perfect dessert for most any occasion, from an after-dinner treat to an easy and delightful dessert served at parties. The cupcake has made a huge comeback recently, prominently featured in bakeries, at curbside stands, even hunted down as a decadent lunch or afternoon snack. Kids and adults alike are begging for cupcakes and are loving every bite of every cupcake that comes their way.
Kids have always been big fans of cupcakes and are usually very easy to please. With sophisticated palates yet to be developed, they don’t need pricey cupcakes from the bakery or the trendy cupcake cart. They are ok with cupcakes made from a cake mix, just as they are ok with orange packaged macaroni and cheese instead of mom’s homemade. As long as their cupcakes have lots of gooey stuff piled on top, they will be satisfied.
Following are some fun ideas for creating the most perfect and easiest cupcakes going, great for any occasion, bound to please most kids and even some adults!
You will need:
1 box of Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1-2 cans of prepared frosting
1) Making the cupcakes
Although any cake mix can be used for your cupcakes, Funfetti cake mix comes highly recommended by kids. It is a white cake filled with small confetti pieces that melt when baked, making the cake extra moist, extra delicious and extra colorful. Prepare the cake mix per package instructions. If you prefer a sheet cake to cupcakes, the same ideas and tips apply.
2) Frosting the cupcakes
Cool cupcakes completely, then slather generously with frosting. Betty Crocker Creamy Vanilla is my favorite. For a full batch of cupcakes you may need more than one can of frosting. For a 10” by 13” cake pan, one can is usually enough.
3) Decorating the cupcakes
As prepared frosting tends to harden rather quickly, frost a few cupcakes and decorate immediately. Sprinkles, beads and sugar crystals tend to roll off if the frosting has hardened. For added color, divide the frosting into separate bowls and add several different food colorings.
4) Holiday decorating ideas
Part of the fun of cupcakes, especially for kids, is what is added on top. Use your imagination. Top your cupcakes with all kinds of goodies that will delight your kids. Below are some ideas, all easy and inexpensive, that will make your cupcakes extra special. You may already have most of the items in your cupboard. If not, check out your local party goods store where you can usually find a variety of ideas and doodads perfect for cupcake toppings.
* Birthdays – use bright colored frosting, bright colored candies, small party favors such as clowns or other figures that can be easily inserted into the frosting. Stickers attached to toothpicks also work well.
* Christmas – go with red and green colored frosting, add red and green gum drops, maybe a chocolate Santa or snowman on top.
* Halloween – use orange and black colors. Add some licorice, orange pumpkins, some candy corn. Look for tiny plastic witches, ghosts or black spiders to stick in the frosting for special effect.
* July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day – red, white and blue frostings work well. Sprinkle with some red and blue crystals, add a small flag on top.
* Thanksgiving – go with white, orange or brown frosting, top with candy pumpkins and corn. Add some small turkeys, pilgrim figures or stickers to complete the theme.
* Easter – pink, blue, yellow and green are traditional Easter colors. Make a nest on top of the frosting from green colored coconut, add some jelly beans, stick a bunny or chick peep in the center and you have an adorable Easter cupcake. Add a pipe cleaner or licorice stick on top for a handle and you have an Easter basket.
* Any-occasion cupcakes – use different colored frostings and try a variety of edible and non-edible toppings. Easy ideas range from chocolate shots, M&Ms and other small candies to tiny figures and stickers that the kids will enjoy.
1) As kids often eat the frosting and toppings off a cupcake and then immediately grab for another before finishing the first one, make your cupcakes smaller. You will eliminate some of the waste and also get more cupcakes per batch.
2) Canned frosting freezes wonderfully. You can make your cupcakes ahead of time, do your frosting and decorating and then stick them in the freezer until needed.
3) Look into buying one of those tiered cupcake tree stands. They can be found at most department stores and online. They are tapered with multiple rings for inserting your cupcakes. Makes a very festive and very delicious centerpiece for your table!