Now that I’m a mom, I find that I meet other moms in all sorts of places. I happened to meet a woman at an Isis maternity store right about when our daughter was seven months old: she was in line ahead of me returning something and in the meantime I was admiring her stroller (and the cute little baby girl sitting in it no doubt!). By the time I was done with my transaction she was still on her way out the door with a baby who by now was quite unhappy and hungry, and we laughed a little bit as I told her I totally knew what she was going through. After a couple of minutes of friendly conversation we swapped emails and shortly after that a new friendship was formed.
Well fast forward to today and her daughter turned one year old – my how time flies! She invited us to her birthday party which she said would have a “pink” theme, so I whipped up some cupcakes to bring along with us. I decided to do an idea that I saw on Pinterest where you use clear plastic cups and clear treat bags to wrap the cupcakes individually. I thought this would make them easy for people at the party to take home and enjoy later, plus with a bunch of little kids running around it might help reduce the spreading of germs if they were out in the open instead. For my version, I added a short bamboo stick and made a paper topper with some curling ribbon as an added little girly touch. They were a hit at the party and my friend loved them! Even better, it was a cinch to pull together.
For the cupcakes, I didn’t want to go with a store bought boxed cake mix but you can certainly do that to save time if you want to. I wanted to be able to enjoy one of the cupcakes myself and since most include corn syrup I went the make-it-by-scratch way. I used the basic yellow cake recipe in this cupcake cookbook and they turned out great: very moist on the inside and not crumbly. The tops crisp up nicely for icing. And this recipe uses oil instead of butter.
Once the cupcakes cooled I put one inside a short clear plastic cup (I think they are 9 ounce sized). Some of the tops were to wide so they didn’t rest at the bottom of the cup but I didn’t mind. I did this before I piped the icing on them because I figured it would be less messy in the end.
I used a recipe that I found on the Cool Whip website because I had a tub of it in the fridge and wanted to put it to good use (the recipe is actually for red velvet cupcakes so just skip to the part for the frosting). To make the pink color, I used about 16 drops of neon pink food coloring.
I used a star tip to add the icing in a circular motion onto each cupcake. Then I applied a Hello Kitty sugar decoration off-center onto each of them (those things are hard to remove from the paper backing – yikes!).
The packaging is the next step. I placed one cup inside a large plastic treat bag, tied some curling ribbon around it, and then inserted the bamboo stick down the middle of the packaging into the cupcake. I did the stick last because I knew that it would move and wiggle around if I put it in first and tried to tie the ribbon around it. Don’t worry if the stick doesn’t stick out that much above the plastic bag.
The next step was creating the paper piece for each of the cupcakes. I used the Word template available on the Paper Source website for 2.5 inch circle labels so that I could print out 12 per sheet. (An alternative idea would be to print them out onto these labels to save yourself time from punching them out later.) I used the LD Pretty font in size 22 for this project. Then I punched out the “Happy Birthday, Grace!” sayings with a 2″ circle punch tool. I punched out pink scalloped circles with a larger punch tool after that.
Now for assembling them: I used some foam squares because I wanted the white circles to pop off the pink paper a little bit. I used a big square toward the top of the circle and then four little ones to help form a little nook for the stick to go into (does that make sense?!). And then I attached the message circle on top and centered on the scalloped circle. Carefully insert the top of the bamboo stick in between the two paper layers and hopefully you can get it to stay in place in between the foam squares. Then voila! You are done! Now go eat one of those extra cupcakes because you deserve it! 🙂
Here is a photo of how someone at the party spread the cupcakes out on the table to use as decoration. I think they turned out really cute and look forward to making some for our little girl’s first birthday party in November!
A couple of notes about the recipes used:
Cupcake batter – I actually made enough to make 36 cupcakes by combining both recipes in the cookbook. It’s confusing if you don’t look at it directly in the cookbook but she provides a recipe for making a batch of 12 and one for a batch of 24 cupcakes. I ended up taking 19 to the party although my intention was to take 24. I couldn’t get all of the Hello Kitty sugar things to peel off without a significant amount of paper stuck on them (19 out of 24 isn’t bad though!), plus my large baking tray could only hold 19 anyway.
And why did I make 36 cupcakes? I have a tendency to put more batter into each cupcake than you’re supposed to so I was afraid that I wouldn’t make all 24 if I did just that recipe. Plus I figured any extras would be taken care of by my husband. 😉
Icing (frosting – whatever you want to call it) – it made enough to ice all 36 cupcakes and then a little more.