Easter Cupcake Project for Kids

Posted on
Bunny Cupcakes

Bunny Cupcakes

This is a fantastic Easter cupcake project to do with kids because it is simple and fun. All the kids I know love to bake and decorate, the trick is finding projects that match their attention span, and this one fits the bill. All of the ingredients and decorations can be store bought, and you could even use store bought muffins if you didn’t have time to bake up a batch of cupcakes.

I made these cupcakes with my neighbor, Grace, and she took them to school to share with her class. The idea for these Bunny Cupcakes comes from the book, Cupcakes Year Round by Sara Neumeier. I love this book! It came out even before the cupcake craze and has so many amazing recipes and tips. I make the Hot Buttered Rum Cupcakes every year for Christmas and this book also has my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe.

Iced Cupcake

Iced Cupcake

To make the Bunny Cupcakes you will need the following:

~ 24 Cupcakes

~Two Containers (about 4 cups) Store Bought Creamy Vanilla Frosting

~Green Food Coloring

~ 24 Bunny Peeps

~ Narrow  Ribbon  (about 5 feet – 3″ per bunny)

If you want to go the extra step of making your cupcakes and frosting homemade, I suggest carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. It seems like the perfect fit for Bunny Cupcakes.

Step 1  - Make your cupcakes and let them cool completely.

Step 2 – Add drops of green food coloring to your frosting to get the desired shade.

Step 3 – Use an offset spatula to frost the each cupcake.

Step 4 – Tie a 3″ length of ribbon around the bunnies’ necks to form a bow tie. If the ribbon is a bit long, just trim it. Grace added her own touch by giving some of the bunnies bandanas instead of bow ties.

Bandana Bunnies

Bandana Bunnies

Step 5 – Use the spatula to put a small dollop of green frosting on the bottom of your bunny and place the bunny in the center of the cupcake.

Voila! Now you have delicious and delightful Easter Treats to share!

Be creative and feel free to make variations on this project. I decided to make some similar cupcakes using the classic yellow chick Peeps and grass. I used grass tip 233 to pipe grass onto a cupcake. Note: Buttercream is best for this. You can use store bought frosting to do this but you will need to put the prepared (filled with tip and icing) into the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour so that the icing will set up enough to get good results with the grass tip.

Classic Peep Cupcake

Classic Peep Cupcake

I use lavender sugar pearls to dot the grass and place a big yellow chick Peep on the top of the mounded grass.  Then I piped additional grass around the chick. To avoid the white exposed marshmallow spots that you will see when you cut the Peeps apart, cut two little ovals off of another Peep and stick these on to cover the white spots and serve as wings.

Another variation uses colored coconut as the grass. For this, put some flaked coconut in a bowl and add a few drops of food coloring. Stir the coconut and food coloring until the coconut is the desired shade.

Tinted Coconut

Tinted Coconut

Now frost your cupcakes using an offset spatula. Now the fun part…turn the frosted cupcake upside down and dip it into the bowl of coconut so that it is completely covered. Now you have a grass covered cupcake and all you need to do is add a topper. Peeps come in so many different colors and shapes, you can chose any color combination you want.

Use the offset spatula to add a dollop of frosting the the bottom of your Peep and place the Peep in the center of the cupcake. Using your fingers grab a small amount of the coconut to cover any exposed frosting around the Peep.

Peep Cupcakes

Peep Cupcakes


Ducky Cupcake Tree

Posted on
Ducky Cupcake Tree

Ducky Cupcake Tree

This cupcake tree is perfect for a baby shower or baby birthday. Guests will be in awe that the ducky cupcake toppers are cute and edible too!

You will need about 30-32 cupcakes to fill the cupcake tower. The three tier cupcake stand will fit approximately 28-40 cupcakes depending on how far your frosting and decorations extend beyond the cupcake. For the photo I fit 28 cupcakes on the stand.

To make the cupcakes you will need the following –

~Ducky Suckers (follow this link for directions and materials needed to make the Ducky suckers)

~Pastel Fluted Baking Cups (if you want all of the baking cups to be the same color (as shown in the picture) you will need two packages of these baking cups because they are an assortment and contain 20 each of the three colors shown.

~One batch of Buttercream Icing or other firm frosting or icing recipe (you need a frosting that will hold its shape).  You will need about 9 cups.

~Disposable or Reusable Pastry Bag

~Tip 1M

~Orange Gel Paste

~Three Tier Cupcake Stand

Cupcake Setup

Cupcake Setup

Step 1 – Use your favorite recipe or a box mix to make the cupcakes. You will need a recipe that makes at least 30 cupcakes to fill the tree. If you are using box cake mix you will need two boxes. Use a ¼ cup scoop to fill each baking cup. These fluted baking cups are slightly shallower than a regular baking cup so they take a bit less batter. Bake as directed.

Step 2 – Cool the cupcakes fully. If you don’t wait for the cupcakes to cool completely, the frosting will melt off of the cupcakes. If you haven’t already made your icing you may want to do this at this time. Color your icing with orange gel paste to get the desired shade.

Step 3 –Set up your 3 tier cupcake stand. This way you will have a place to put your decorated cupcakes. If you are traveling you will want to set the stand up once you get to your location and place the cupcakes on at that time.

Ducky Suckers

Ducky Suckers

Step 4 – Prepare your pastry bag for decorating. Drop tip 1M (this is a large tip and does not work with a coupler) into the bottom of your decorating bag and fill the bag with frosting. Take one cupcake in your hand and begin piping blossoms all over the cupcake. Hold the tip close to the surface of the cupcake. Squeeze the bag firmly to make sure that the frosting will adhere to the cupcake. Stop squeezing and pull the tip away from the cupcake to form a blossom. Continue doing this until the cupcake is completely covered. I find that it is easiest to work from the center outward. Repeat this process to decorate all of the remaining cupcakes.

Step 5 – Place the Ducky Suckers on the cupcakes. Simply stick the lollipop stick into the center of the cupcake so that the ducky is resting atop the frosting. Remember – Ducky Lollipop sticks must be cut down by an inch to an inch and a half so that they will be the right height for the cupcakes.

Ducky Closeup

Ducky Closeup

Step 6 – Place cupcakes on the three tier cupcake stand. When loading, be careful to place cupcakes on either side to balance the stand. Do not place all of the cupcake on one side as the stand may tip. Also remember this when unloading the stand. Slide cupcakes into the nooks in the center of the stand. Continue placing until all cupcakes are on the stand.

It is best to place the cupcakes on the stand once the stand is in its final position. This is because moving the fully loaded stand is difficult. If you have to move the stand lift from the legs not from the bottom tier as the bottom tier will rise up and smash your cupcakes.

Step 7 – Add a decorative border such as an eyelet ribbon to the sides of the tiers or leave as is for a beautiful display.

Buttercream Recipe

2 lb Bag Powdered/Confectioners’ Sugar
1 ½ tsp Clear Vanilla Extract (You can use regular vanilla if you don’t need the frosting to be white)
½ tsp Salt
1-1/3 Cups Boiling Water
1 ½ Sticks Unsalted Butter (12 oz) Cut into ½” cubes
3 Cups Shortening

Sift the powdered sugar and place in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Put whisk attachment on mixer. Add boiling water, vanilla, and salt.  Mix until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm not hot. Add remaining ingredients and mix on high speed for about ten minutes.

Duckies

Duckies


Ducky Suckers

Posted on
Ducky Suckers

Ducky Suckers

These Ducky Suckers are adorable favors for a baby shower, Easter party or other celebration. They can also be used to construct our Ducky Cupcake Tree.

To make the ducky suckers you will need the following –

~Ducky Mold (if you are making a large quantity I recommend you use at least two molds. The more molds, the faster the process will go.)
~4 bags yellow candy melts (this will make about 40 duckies – 1 bag makes approximately 10   duckies)
~2 white melts for the eyes
~2 black melts for the eyes
~2 orange melts for the beaks
~40 four and a half  inch lollipop sticks

Tools needed for this project are as follows –

~12oz or 6oz squeeze bottle
~Very fine tipped paint brush
~Candymelter palette (optional)
~Electric Skillet (optional)
~Toothpicks

Candymelter Palette

Candymelter Palette

While the candymelter palette and electric skillet are optional I highly recommend these tools especially if you plan on doing other chocolate projects. If you can get just one, get the candymelter palette first and the electric skillet second. The candymelter palette is one of those tools that once you get you will never be able to live without. It has made my candy projects so much easier! You plug the palette in, drop in one or two candy melts/wafers in each of the tiny aluminum cups and it melts them and then keeps them warm while you work. When I first started trying to do chocolate projects I would get all of the different colors I wanted to use melted and then just as I would begin to work I would realize that the first color I melted had already set up. This is so frustrating. The candymelter palette solves this problem and makes colorful candy projects much easier.

The electric skillet is also very useful and you may even have one of these at home already. You can use it to keep small cups of melted candy warm. I put mine on the lowest setting, put a couple of terrycloth dishtowels directly onto the skillet and then place my candy filled squeeze bottles on top of the towels. This keeps the chocolate warm so you don’t have to reheat it while you’re working.

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to begin making the duckies.

Yellow Melts

Yellow Melts

Step 1 – Put the white candy melts, black candy melts and orange candy melts in individual cups of the candymelter palette and plug in. If not using the candymelter palette, melt these in small cups and keep warm in electric skillet or re-warm as needed.

Step 2 – Melt 1 bag of yellow candy melts. I do this in the microwave. I put the candy melts in a microwave safe bowl and melt on defrost setting in 30 second increments stirring each time. You want the melts to melt evenly and not get too hot or they may seize up and become difficult to work with.

Funnel & Squeeze Bottle

Funnel & Squeeze Bottle

Once the candy is melted, I use a funnel to get the candy into my squeeze bottle. Some people prefer to melt the candy directly in the squeeze bottle. This is an option that I have tried but I find that it can be difficult to get all of the candy completely melted and if it is not fully melted, candy globs will plug the tip of the squeeze bottle.

You should have leftover candy in the bowl. I place this in the electric skillet to keep it warm until I need to refill my squeeze bottle.

Paint Black Eye

Paint Black Eye & Beak

Step 3 – Use a very fine tipped paint brush to paint the ducky eyes. Begin by putting a small dab of black on the eye of the mold to serve as the pupil. Do this for all of the eyes on the mold. If you are using more than one mold, complete the pupils for all of the eyes on all of the molds before moving on.

Step 4 – Use a very fine tipped paint brush to paint the ducky beaks. If you have just one paint brush use a dry paper towel or cloth to wipe the bristles before changing to another color. Do not use water to wash the brush. Bringing water in contact with the candy melts will cause them to seize and become unworkable. Use the orange candy melts to paint the beaks. I try to get a droplet of orange candy and place it on the beak so that the beak is solid and not see through. You can also achieve this by doing multiple coats.

Paint White Eye

Paint White Eye

Step 5 – Make sure that the black has set up before painting the white over it to complete the eye. If you are using just one mold, you probably need to wait a few minutes. If you are using more than one you can probably proceed because by the time you are finished the first mold is probably dry. To test, just touch the black and if it is still liquid it is not set up enough.

Once the black is set, paint the white directly over the black and all around to form the iris. You will want to put a significant amount of white candy on the eye so that it will not be see through.

Frontview Ducky

Frontview Ducky

Step 6 – Make sure that the eye is fully set as described in step 5. This will take about 5 minutes at room temperature. Now you can go ahead and fill in the rest of the mold with yellow candy melts. Use the squeeze bottle to fill each ducky cavity. Fill all of cavities in the mold. Keeping the mold level, tap the mold on the counter to fill in the cavities and to get the air bubbles to rise to the top. Note: Do not tap excessively as this may cause the colors to bleed together. You can hold the mold over your head to check and see if this is happening.

Fill Molds

Fill Molds

Now insert the lollipop sticks. Poke the lollipop stick into the candy surface and then rotate to get it fully embedded. If necessary you can cover the lollipop stick with some additional candy using the squeeze bottle.

If you are using multiple molds, follow the above process for one mold at a time. If you fill the cavities in all of the molds the candy may have set up a bit before you come back to tap and insert the lollipop sticks.

Insert Lollipop Sticks

Insert Lollipop Sticks

Tap Out Bubbles

Tap Out Bubbles

Step 7 – Place the mold in your refrigerator until set. In my refrigerator this takes about ten minutes. The molds can also be set a room temperature on a cool day, but this will take a lot longer.

Step 8 – Release the duckies. If the duckies do not release easily and part of the eye or candy is left behind, the mold has not set long enough and you need to refrigerate it for a longer period of time.

Duckies in Mold

Duckies in Mold

Step 9 – Enjoy! The chocolate ducky suckers will keep for a very long time (I have kept some for months). A benefit of making things with chocolate and candy melts is that they are stable and almost non-perishable. If you are using the duckies for the Ducky Cupcake Tree you will need to cut about an inch to an inch and a half off of the bottom of each lollipop stick so that they will be the right height for sticking in cupcakes. If you are making the ducky lollipop favors you will need 3”x4” Clear Treat Bags and approximately 12” of ribbon per lollipop to tie in a bow.

Duckies with Ribbon

Duckies with Ribbon