I mentioned last week that the boy was hosting a cupcake playdate to watch the season premiere of DC Cupcakes. (Oh yes, and if you watched the gorilla party episode really closely…in slow motion…you may have spotted the back of a blond head in the crowd — that was the foodie tot!) It was a lot of fun so I thought I’d share the details.
Step 1: Cupcake Decor. I had the picture of the boy with the cupcake gorilla blown up and posted it on the front door to greet our guests. Then I made cardstock cupcakes with pictures of each of our guests and hung them from ribbons in the doorway leading to the dining room — at the kids’ eye level. They got such a kick out of seeing themselves on cupcakes.
I also made a cupcake stencil and painted cupcakes onto kid-sized aprons, then we set out fabric markers so the kids could decorate their own when they arrived. I love that one of the girls added a cherry on top.
Step 2: Bake cupcakes a day in advance. I used very simple recipes from Martha Stewart, although it wasn’t my favorite vanilla recipe. (I’m not one to shy away from butter in my baked goods, but these were really greasy. Kept them moist, though.)
Recipes: Vanilla Cupcakes and Chocolate-Buttermilk Cupcakes
After baking, let cupcakes cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
Step 3: Mix up frostings, color (if desired), and divide into disposable pastry bags. Tie the bags shut with rubber bands, and place the bags in tall glasses to keep things neat. (If you make the frosting ahead of time, store in the fridge but remove about an hour before decorating time to allow it to come to room temperature.) Set sprinkles on a lazy Susan if you have one in the center of the table. (I just used my cake stand, and we passed them around.)
Recipes: Georgetown Cupcake’s cream cheese frosting (video) and Chocolate Buttercream. (I halved the chocolate frosting recipe and we still had way more than needed.)
Step 4: Have savory, healthy snacks. I made plain, air-popped popcorn that we set out in little bags — this way the kids weren’t ravenous when they sat down to decorate the cupcakes, and all the sprinkles made it onto the cupcakes first instead of directly into little mouths.
Step 5: Decorate! I bought cupcake boxes at the craft store that each held four. We gave each kid two of each flavor, and set them loose with frostings and sprinkles. After they decorated them, they each picked one to eat and we sent the rest home with them for their parents and siblings.
Step 6: Let them eat (cup)cakes!
Step 7: Ensure an unseasonably warm and sunny day, so that sugar-loaded kids can play soccer/Clone Wars tag in the back yard before getting sent home. (I realize this may be out of your control, but it worked well for us.)
A note about food colors: Some of my family-friendly food blogging friends have recently written about artificial food dyes and their impact on childrens’ behavior. We try to avoid foods with artificial ingredients, but occasionally use artificial colors on special treats. If you prefer to avoid them altogether, look for India Tree natural colors, available at natural food stores. Their colored sugars are a nice alternative to sprinkles.