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Submitted by: Amanda Formaro
[Amanda is the crafty, entrepreneurial mother of four children.]

One of the easiest treats to dress up for holidays and birthdays is the cupcake. All you need is food coloring, cake decorator gel and frosting, and a little imagination.

What You Need:
What You Do:

Prepare cake mix as directed. If desired, you can make green cupcakes by adding a few drops of green food coloring to a prepared white mix. Put cupcake liners into muffin tin and fill liners as directed on box cake mix. Bake as directed and allow to cool thoroughly before frosting and decorating.

Prepare the chocolate icing by following the recipe below.

Chocolate Icing

Cream butter and vanilla in a small bowl with mixer and medium-low speed. Mix until completely creamed together. Alternating, add cocoa and confectioner's sugar, beating at medium speed until creamy. Add some of the milk with the remaining sugar and cocoa until you reach desired consistency. You will use all the cocoa and sugar, but may not use all the milk, depending on your desired consistency. Set aside.

That's really not much to decorating cupcakes, especially in the eyes of your admiring children. Just a dollop of frosting is artistic enough for them! Here are a few simple tips that will help you decorate your holiday cupcakes.

Sprinkles - Open the container, hold frosted cupcake upside down and dip into the sprinkles. Another option is to roll the outer edge of the cupcake in the sprinkles.

Sugar - Using decorator sugar, follow the same instructions as the sprinkles. The green sugar creates a sparkling blanket effect that is very eye catching! It almost appears to be velvety.

Decorator Gel - Use gel to draw on a shamrock. Shamrocks are simple, think of them as three heart shapes, all three meeting in the middle with their bottom tips. Then simply add a stem.

Combinations - Roll the edges in sprinkles and dip the center in sugar, or vice versa. Or dip edge and decorate center with gel.


Be sure to store your cupcakes in a tightly covered container so they do not harden or go stale. That is, if they last that long!

Recommended Books/Products:

Kids Cooking
by: Time-Life Books
Scrumptious Recipes for Cooks Ages 9 to 13

Kid's Party Cookbook
by: Penny Warner
Recipes for all sorts of foods that kids like and can fix themselves or with minimal help from parents.

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