While many believe it is cooking, my biggest passion is really decorating cakes.
Whenever there is an event or birthday in the family, I find myself scouring the Internet for ideas that expresses the person or the occasion. During one of these googling sessions, I came across cupcakes that look — well not like cupcakes. With April Fools’ Day coming up next week, when nothing appears as it seems, they seemed so appropriate for the day.
I’m not talking about the meatloaf “iced” mashed potato cupcake. These cakes would still satisfy the sweet tooth but they look like they should be on your dinner plate. In fact, appearing like peaches and cream corn, peas and carrots, and creamy mashed potatoes, you really would not have to tell the kids twice about eating their vegetables. And with “sunny side up” and “spaghetti” like cupcakes, it may be justifiable for them to say, “no dessert” for me.
The most appealing thing about these cupcakes are that they are super easy to make, no special tools are required and no decorating experience is needed. In fact, they make a perfect activity to do with young kids in the kitchen or take to the classroom.
If you don’t like baking, plain cupcakes can be purchased from the store or you can simply cheat by making the boxed variety. When it comes to icing, canned pre-made is okay but nothing beats homemade; this is a personal preference. The hardest task is finding realistic candy for the food you are trying to mimic. The search was a little painstaking but I have narrowed it down. Most of the candies used can be found at Bulk Barn, which carries most everything in bulk bins so you can purchase as little or a much as you like. Also, various dollar stores in Red Deer carry old-fashion type of candies that are not found at grocery stores.
There are many ideas on the Internet but these five brought out the most giggles to the kids and look of awe to the adults. The range in difficulty begins with super easy and ends with just easy!
Sunny Side Up Cupcakes
Ice cupcakes. Place the yellow a little off centre to make it look like yolk.
Peas and Carrots
Orange Starburst squares, cut into fourths
Green candy, (Runts, Skittles, etc.)
Green tinted icing sugar
Ice cupcakes. Decorate with green candies and Starburst candy.
Yellow food colouring
Ferrero Rocher chocolate
To make “spaghetti,” mix vanilla frosting with a few drops of yellow food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder. Because of different intensity of colouring, start by adding a drop mix and check until you get the desired colour.
Scoop icing into piping bag or a large freezer Zip-lock bag with the end cut off. Make sure you use a heavy duty bag, otherwise the bag may break while you piping the icing. Place cupcakes into a pasta bowl and squeeze the icing all over the cupcake. Whisk up some jam in a bowl to obtain a smooth consistency. To make the meatballs simply take the chocolate balls and dip them into jam. Place the “meatballs” on top of the cupcake and drizzle jam over top. The “Parmesan” on top is just some white chocolate grated with a grater.
Mashed Potato Cupcakes
Yellow coloured Starburst taffy
Use vanilla frosting and ice cupcake, leaving a little bit of a well at the top. Add a drizzle of caramel syrup and a slightly flattened out Starburst.
Peaches and Cream Cupcakes
2 shades of yellow jelly beens
Black food colouring
Stick a clean toothpick into food colouring and then tip the toothpick into sugar. Mix lightly so that some sugar grains remain white while some absorb the black colour. This would give a peppered appearance to mimic salt and pepper. Frost three cupcakes with frosting and use Jelly Bellies for the corn. Top it with Starburst for a pat of butter. Sprinkle with peppered sugar.
Madhu Badoni is a Red Deer-based freelance food writer. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @madhubadoni. Watch for Madhu’s Masala-Mix blog on www.reddeeradvocate.com.