Using the lemon tequila cupcakes and lime buttercream I made for the margarita cupcakes I made yesterday, I decided that this months's cupcake design will also be Cinco de Mayo themed.  And what do I love to order the most when I go out to a Mexican restaurant, besides margaritas of course...taco salad!  There's something about edible serveware that is just so appealing.

I had seen variations of nachos cupcakes around, so it seemed like an easy leap from nachos to taco salad.  Here are the layers I did, in order:

(1) Bowl:  I had thought about getting waffle bowls and trying to bake the cupcakes in them, but I had read a lot about the difficulties in preventing the edges from burning.  I saw some Yellow Blossom baking cups from  Wilton at Michael's that I thought would work well, just drop the baked cupcake into them and use as a decorative bowl that will catch all of the "toppings."

(2) Meat and Beans: I dyed the lime buttercream and some shredded coconut with Wilton Brown icing color - shaking the coconut with the color in a ziploc bag and drying it on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.  I spread a light coat of buttercream on the cupcake, then rolled it in the brown coconut to make a ground beef-like appearance.

(3) Nacho Cheese: Again, I dyed the buttercream using a 1:2 ratio of Americolor Orange (113) and Lemon Yellow (107) color gels.  A little orange goes a long way, but I needed it to create that nasty looking nacho cheese color.

(4) Lettuce: Using the Americolor Electric Green (162) gel color, I repeated the steps for the meat, putting shredded coconut in a ziploc bag with a few drops of the color and shaking it until the color was relatively even.  In hindsight, I could have gone with one drop of color and been happy with a nice iceberg lettuce green. I used the "cheese" as my glue for the lettuce.

(5) Guacamole and Sour Cream: Buttercream dyed with Americolor Avocado (129) and Electric Green (162) for the guac and no dying at all for the sour cream.  Piped on with a disposable piping bag, no tip.

(6) Olives and Tomatoes: This is where I had to get creative in the candy aisle.  Also, I recommend removing these items before eating because they totally throw off the flavor combinations.  I was going to use black licorice for the olives, then I saw the brown-black chocolate flavored Twizzlers that seemed a little more realistic.  For the tomatoes, I had considered Hot Tamales candies or maraschino cherries, but ended up using cut up Swedish Fish.  Again, remove these before eating!

And that's the last layer!  A very cute sweet version of my favorite Mexican menu item! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!  And by the way, this is probably one of my favorite cupcakes I've made so far!