Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ladybug Cupcakes

Imagine the smiles you'll see when you serve these at your next party! These ladybug cupcakes are quick and easy. They don't take much more than a box of cake mix, some colored icing and marshmallows. And, as an added bonus, they are perfect for the beginning cake decorator.

1 standard box of cake mix (whatever flavor you prefer) baked in 24 cupcake liners and cooled. If you need assistance in baking and cooling your cake, please refer to these video tutorials on "How To Bake A Cake".
How To Bake A Cake (Part 1): Preparing Your Baking Pans
How To Bake A Cake (Part 2): Mixing & Baking Your Cake
How To Bake A Cake (Part 3): Testing, Removing and Cooling Your Cake
1 container of chocolate icing
1 container of vanilla/white icingRed gel coloring or food coloring - I recommend using Wilton no-taste red icing gel coloring. The gel coloring is more concentrated so you get a deeper hue without using all the coloring. The red color also tends to be bitter so the no-taste red helps to combat that.
24 miniature marshmallows - each one cut in half to make 24 pairs of "eyes"

2 sandwich sized zipper sealed bags

If you have not already done so, bake your cupcakes according to package directions and cool completely. If they not cooled, your icing will start to melt and slide off the cupcakes.

First, fill one sandwich bag 1/3 full with some chocolate icing. Push the icing toward one of the bottom corners of the bag. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag with your scissors. Twist the excess bag to create a decorating "piping bag". Place the "twist" in the joint between your thumb and the rest of your hand. Close your hand over the rest of the bag. View a video tutorial for this step if you are unsure how it should be done. To decorate your cupcake, you will squeeze the bag. Try it a little on some wax paper to get used to it.

Now, following the picture, "pipe" the outlines for the ladybug. Fill in the head and tail areas with chocolate icing.

Next, color your white/vanilla icing red using the food coloring or no-taste red gel coloring. Let the icing sit for a bit to allow the color to deepen. Fill a sandwich bag 1/3 full with red icing. Just as you did with the chocolate icing, push the icing toward one corner and cut a hole in the tip of the corner. Fill in all the remaining areas of the cupcake.

For the eyes, place 2 halves of a miniature marshmallow close together at the front of the cake on the chocolate "head". Then, pipe chocolate "eyes" onto the marshmallows.

With the eyes completed, your cupcakes are finished!

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