I'm sorry, did I say cupcakes? I meant PUPCAKES!
Today is my niece's 11th birthday and in honor of her I cracked open the Hello, Cupcake! book that she and her sister gave me for Christmas and tried my hand at one of the elaborate decoration techniques.
Hello, Cupcake, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson is not a recipe book, like Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans, which features all sorts of delicious fillings, icings and flavors. It's the definitive guide on how to tranform regular cupcakes into penguins, panda bears, corn on the cob, spaghetti and meatballs, and dogs using no more than cake, icing, and candy.
My niece is pretty obsessed with puppies, and my parents' schnoodle, Bebop, who all of my nieces just love love love, looks a little like the grey dog* on the cover, wouldn't you say?
I dispensed with the mini cupcakes that the book called for and used the regular sized cupcake for the head. This meant that I had to use regular size mashmallows instead of mini-marshmallows to build the ears and snout. I was a little nervous about adjusting the proportions, but I turned out great. You can see here how the diced marshmallows are applied to the cake with a little icing, to be covered with piped-on icing "fur." Pink or red sugar is applied to the sticky side of the marshmallow ears to disguise the marshmallow.
My Stop-And-Shop didn't have chocolate covered sunflower seeds for the eyes and nose, so I just used black gel icing. And I nixed the pink tongues made of Starburst because, well, I just don't have that much time on my hands or the desire to bring a bag of Starburst into my house.
The book describes great, low cost ways to turn Ziplock bags into piping bags with different tips (to make fur, leaves, petals, etc.) Once I really got going, the whole endeavor was pretty easy, (little precision required, just some finesse) and I'm really pleased with the results. Can't wait to bring them to the birthday party and watch everyone dig in! It's our little secret that underneath all the fur they are actually vegan chocolate cupcakes! Don't tell the 11-year-old!
*I didn't make a grey dog, because I couldn't figure out how to make grey icing from yellow, green, red, and blue food coloring. I didn't want to end up with purple dogs.