Monday, March 21, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

Last week I volunteered to bring a snack in to little miss's class for their St. Patrick's Day party. I wanted to think of something that would be fun for the kids, but also St. Patty's Day appropriate. I don't like Irish potatoes (you know, those sugar and butter treats rolled in cinnamon), thought that corned beef and cabbage might be a weird thing to send in for a preschool snack, and didn't think that Irish soda bread would satisfy 4 and 5 year old sweet teeth... So I started thinking about what decorations were associated with St. Patrick's Day - leprechauns, rainbows, shamrocks, pots of gold... Hmm... there must be a way to combine these in a fun, preschool-appropriate treat.

Knowing that cupcakes are always a hit, I decided to make St. Patrick's Day cupcakes incorporating as many of these ideas as possible.

I started with the rainbows.

Remember the rainbow cake I made for little miss's birthday last year? I thought that they'd be perfect in cupcake size. So we got to work.

Little miss helped mix up the cake batter. Yes, we used a box. We've been busy. Anyway, once the batter was ready, I measured it out into five bowls. Yes, measured. I am a bit fastidious like that...

A little bit of food coloring, a little bit of stirring, and we were ready to create some rainbows.

I wasn't sure exactly how much of each color I'd need to make sure that each cupcake had all five colors and that each well of the cupcake pan would have somewhere near the right amount (and, hopefully, close to the same amount...) of batter. I was actually a little nervous about that part, but after the first couple, I knew I was somewhat close and even let little miss help. As it turns out, I got it a bit wrong - I only got 17 cupcakes, when the box is supposed to make 24, and only 15 of the 17 were rainbow striped (the other two were random tie-dyed mixes of whatever batter was left, after I ran out of yellow and blue...), but luckily, there are only 11 kids in little miss's class. 11 kids, two teachers, 15 even gave them two extras just in case. Perfect.

The cupcakes came out pretty cool, I think:

So now it was time to make them Irish. Some cream cheese buttercream frosting "clouds" were adorned with gumdrop good luck charms. I don't have pictures of the actual process here, because it was pretty sticky detail work, which wound up being a bit frustrating, but the gist is that I used a rolling pin to flatten out gumdrops between two sheets of waxed paper. My intention was to cut out shamrocks from those flattened gumdrops to top each of the cupcakes. Like this:

Cute, right? But darn hard to cut out that small, even with a paring knife. The knife got super sticky after each cut and it was just tough to make them all come out right. So I decided to alternate patterns. In addition to the shamrocks, I made some gold coins (the easiest to make - just cut the gumdrops into slices horizontally!) and rainbows, too, to adorn the tops of the cupcakes.

When they were all done, I was pretty pleased with them. And according to the teacher, they were enjoyed by the kids. I know it was a lot of work for a room full of four and five year olds. but what's a party without a little bit of fun??

I hope you all enjoyed your St. Patrick's day as much as we did!


  1. wow what an awesome idea!!! im really going to have to try that! they were adorable!!

  2. Remember when I made them? Yah, lots of work... but it was fun! I used a ziploc bag for each color thinking I was all smart...ha... I think spooning from a bowl would of worked just fine like you did :)

  3. They look great fun! Your gum drop decorations are beautiful but way too much work! Well done.

  4. These are adorable! I bet the kids had just as much fun eating them as I'm having looking at them.

  5. wow! so creative!! absolutely love them! x


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