My sweet little girl finished preschool yesterday. They ended with a celebration party with all kinds of fun snacks. I had signed up for the “special snack”. I completely forgot until the afternoon the day before. Oops! What to make? No way was I dealing with chocolate covered pretzels – it’s hot and gunky gooey messy chocolate did NOT seem the way to go and I didn’t feel like dealing with the hassle of cake pops. I finally settled for cupcakes but had to make approximately 60 so I pulled out the mini tins and ended the year with some creepy crawlies. Searching the web for fun cupcake ideas I came across these super cute “buggy” cupcakes. I made strawberry cupcakes, some with lemon butter cream frosting, and others dipped in dark chocolate. Then I topped the lemon ones with little spiders and butterflies.
I really wish I could take all the credit for myself but I had MEGA help along the way in terms of ideas. I decided on the strawberry cupcakes all on my own (aren’t you proud of me?) but adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart. Then I Googled fun cupcake ideas and came across these spider and butterfly cupcakes on Betty Crocker. The Lemon Buttercream Frosting is my own but I can’t share that recipe because I don’t have one. I just mix powdered sugar, butter, milk, and fresh squeezed lemon juice until the flavor and consistency are right. I CAN share the Strawberry Cupcake Recipe and tell you how I made the toppers.
Strawberry Cupcake Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar (raw is my favorite)
- 4 x-large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 10 ounces strawberries, diced – next time I am puree’ing them
- Pre-heat oven to 350.
- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
- Mix in vanilla.
- In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.
- Alternate adding flour and milk to the butter, sugar and egg mixture.
- I find ending with the flour makes the most manageable batter.
- Mix in strawberries just until blended.
- Place paper wrappers in tins – makes approximately 24 regular sized cupcakes or 72 mini cupcakes.
- Fill tins 2/3 – 3/4 full and bake.
- 12-15 minutes for minis and 15-20 for regular sized.
The spiders were definitely the most time consuming. I purchased Mini Oreos and Black Licorice Laces. Popped open the Oreo and put 8 tiny pieces of licorice in each one and popped them back together. Then I placed them on the freshly frosted cupcake (make sure you do this right away so they can set up with the frosting and stay in place). Finally, I tinted some frosting a red color and piped tiny eyes on the spiders.
The butterflies were fairly easy once I got the hang of cutting the Mini Fudge Stripes in half. I used Black Licorice Laces for the body, Licorice Laces for the antennae and flipped the little cookie halves around for wings. Instead of placing them upright on the cupcakes and dealing with toppling butterflies I laid the flat on the cupcake. Made no difference to the kids (or adults).
The last set I made were actually dipped in Merckens Coco Dark and topped with a strawberry sliver. Just from experience, make these right before you are ready to go or you will be dealing with a not so appetizing cupcake. The longer the strawberry sits on the cupcake the more liquid it loses. Serve them fresh.
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