I’ve always had a love for baking but I really got into it when I became a mom. I especially love making cupcakes. For B’s (‘09) first and second birthday I bought cakes from either the bakery or grocery store. By his third birthday I was baking all the time, for all occasions or just because the sky was blue. The best part was that he liked to watch and even help. He always recognized the different smells. He’d say “do I smell chocolate?” or “are you making tooties (cookies)” and he’s always spot on. I realized I could save myself a bit of money if I made his birthday cupcakes myself. I already keep most of the ingredients on-hand and I always have boxed mixes in my pantry for those “let’s make a quick cake” days.
For his third birthday he was majorly into the Disney’s Cars movie. So I searched for ideas and this is what I came up with.
All I had to buy for this one was the black fondant paper to make the road, the grass icing tip and the cardboard to put it on. I spent maybe $12 when a bakery would have charged me $30 or more. I made these totally from scratch (get the recipe) so all the ingredients were already in my pantry. The grass icing tip I bought I’ve probably used it 5 times since then. And the pack of cake cardboard has come in handy as well.
For his fourth birthday he wanted Spiderman. Eeeek! How was I going to pull this off? So I searched again for ideas. And the results were amazing if I may say so myself!
For these I had to buy a few more things – the molding candy, the blue cardstock and the scalloped paper puncher (I used coupons for all of them). I also bought circle labels to print the toppers. I made about 40 of these but I only spent about $20 total. The grocery store would have done something similar–without the web candy–for about $38. To make the candy webs, I printed out the web shape (click here and scroll down to find the PDF template) and laid wax paper over top, then used candy melts to pipe out the shape. These cupcakes were a huge hit. I cheated a bit and used box mix but homemade frosting.
Now B is five–yes, I said FIVE, not sure when that happened–and he wants Mario Kart cupcakes for school. I baked the cupcakes, iced them and put pretty colorful sprinkles on them.
So, are you ready for mommy-fail of the month… I went to print the little round label stickers to make the Mario Kart toppers and realize I am out of color ink. Yup, at 9pm on a Sunday night. I felt horrible. But honestly B won’t even care. The cupcakes will taste the same, toppers or not. He’ll have cupcakes, chips and juice and will enjoy them with his classmates.
The next morning, we were headed to school and I stopped to get the chips and juice. This is when mommy guilt kicks in. I swing by the grocery store bakery to see what kind if toppers they have. Of course they didn’t have Mario Kart. But they did have sports! Luckily B is a little athlete and loves sports so he approved the new topper idea. So for B’s 5th birthday he had “Mario Kart Sports” themed cupcakes for his classroom party. He was happy and I felt a little less guilty.
You can easily make affordable, cute cupcakes at home. As long as you have everything you need–printer ink! Your little one can even help. It’s fun and you can get creative and make up your own theme…or combination of themes if necessary!
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