I heart cupcakes
I love cupcakes. No, seriously love them. I love them so much that if Florida recognized confectionary unions, I would marry them. That’s a lot of love.
So imagine my elation when perusing the selections at the Scholastic Book Fair at my childrens’ school, that amongst the Diary of a Wimpy Kid et al and paperback Spongebob episodes, was a sexy little tome in the adult section: Hello, Cupcake: Irresistibly playful creations anyone can make, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.
Hello, yourself, sweet thing.
Inside its colorful pages was the cupcake lover’s manifesto. In the introduction it teases, “All this is easy: honest. Forget the complicated pastry techniques and expensive decorating supplies. You can find almost everything for these projects at your local grocery store, drugstore, or even a gas-station convenience store.”
You had me at gas-station.
There were dozens of cool cakes to choose from. Sleeping children with fruit roll-up blankets for a slumber party, a candy corn turkey for Thanksgiving. There were dogs, horses, and even a TV dinner sculpted mostly from cut-up Starburst for April Fool’s Day. Decisions, decisions.
We ended up choosing the highest degree of difficulty to begin -- the three-dimensional penguins because that’s how we roll. After I procured all of the ingredients at the grocery store (except for the black food coloring which I found Michael’s) my kids and I set to work.
We used a regular cake mix, although there are recipes for homemade cupcakes and frosting in the back of the book. We baked them and let them cool and then began assembling them according to the books’ clear directions.
In less than an hour (after baking time) we had these adorable penguin cupcakes complete with coconut-snow covered icebergs for the Swedish Fish. They looked pretty close to the picture, and using the candy pieces instead of something infinitely more complicated liked marzipan, made this a very kid-friendly project. The only trouble I had was dipping the cupcakes, which probably could be solved after a few practice runs.
I’d like to report that they taste as good as they look, but I can’t honestly say because no one is willing to bite the head of those penguins to do a taste test.
So the fires of my love affair with the cupcake have been stoked once again.
Preheated 350 degree oven fires.