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BIRTHDAY Cupcake Nirvana

By Jackie Burrell
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 at 5:42 am in Cuisine.

Cupcake (John Dziekan/Chicago Tribune/MCT) All right, fellow birthday cake fans, we’ve done shark cakes and outback jeeps, rice krispie creations and snorkle-inspired gems. (And thank you, everyone who shared your creations!) Now we’re wrapping up our salute to fabulous birthday cakes with these clever cupcake options.

FABULOUS CAKE #9: Who can resist anything as charming as these sunshine yellow goofballs (pictured left)? We’re strongly, strongly tempted to tint that icing bright red and make Things One and Two. It’s your basic cupcake – vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, whatever you’d like – covered with a thin layer of buttercream icing. Fit a small star-shaped tip into a pastry bag (or use our favorite baking hack, a freezer strength zip-style plastic bag with a corner nipped off), fill it with tinted icing and start piping. The trick is to pipe in circles, starting at the cupcake’s edge and pulling directly outward to form little tufts of icing, until you’ve worked your way to the center. Use candies for facial features. And voila – fabulous.

FABULOUS CAKE #10: OK, actually, we couldn’t stop at 10. There were just too many clever, creative cupcakes out there. So we’re awarding shared top 10 status to Martha Stewart’s hilarious and incredibly simple Shark and Beach Cupcakes, which use crushed vanilla wafers for sand and blue icing and construction paper shark fins to create an amusing tableau your kids can do themselves. And the other “Fabulous 10.5″ award goes to About.com’s cooking for kids expert, Stephanie Gallagher, because she’s got … Harry Potter cupcakes! They’re simple and straightforward enough for even beginning bakers to master, but the clever application of a little black and gold decorating gel and chocolate sprinkles turns a plain vanilla cupcake into Harry’s face.

May your celebrations be merry and sweet!

P.S. These posts are part of the “All About Parenting Birthday Blog Carnival,” a round-up of amazing birthday party ideas for every age and circumstance, from bloggers all over the Internet.

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