It seems ridiculous, but my friends with kids seem to stress out way too much about their childrens' birthday parties.  I remember some of my best parties as a kid were at Burger King or at my house with a scavenger hunt/sleepover.  But for some reason, today, parents are spending hundreds of dollars on elaborate parties - food, space rental, prizes, etc..  My point is not to judge parents for doing this, just to suggest that there is an easier, more cost efficient way to at least handle the dessert portion on your own.  My all ages solution is my Movie Popcorn Cupcakes.  Could not be easier to make!  I would also say that, especially if you have younger children, these Sesame Street Cupcakes are another easy to make dessert that gets a high impact response!

What you will need:  (most of this can be purchased online, Amazon, Michaels, etc.)

  • Boxed chocolate cake mix, prepared using the directions on the box
  • Cupcake liners
  • 1 can of store bought vanilla frosting for each 6 cupcakes you plan to make
  • Americolor food coloring gels in the following colors (depending on which characters you plan to make -- Cookie Monster is blue, Elmo is red and orange, Oscar is green, red, and black):
    • 101 Super Black
    • 102 Royal Blue
    • 103 Sky Blue
    • 111 Leaf Green
    • 113 Orange
    • 120 Super Red
  • Wilton candy eyeballs
  • Wilton Tips: #3 Round and #233 Grass
  • Plastic Piping Bags
  • Piping Bag Coupler
  • Optional:  Store bought chocolate chip cookies, cut in half to put in Cookie Monster's mouth

Prepare the cupcakes and let them cool on a wire baking rack.  As they are cooling, color the frosting in separate bowls.  For the orange and black, you will not need much because they are just used for Oscar's eyebrows and Elmo's nose.  To make these 6 cupcakes, and a 7th which was my trial Cookie Monster, I took one can of frosting and divided it into thirds in 3 bowls, then took 2-3 tablespoons evenly from the bowls for orange and another 2-3 tablespoons for black.  If you are making more than 6 cupcakes, obviously multiply these numbers as needed.  For the blue, I mixed Sky and Royal Blue to get the color I wanted.  I piped the hair on one color at a time and reused the grass tip.  If you are not sure how to use a piping bag, tip, and coupler, here is a good online video:

For the decorating, the best gift I can give you are these videos from I Am Baker:

I pretty much just watched them and then went for it on my own.  The grass piping tip takes awhile to get the feel for, and a couple of times I had to take a knife and scrape it off to start over.  You'll get it, trust me!  And that is pretty much it...bake cupcakes, cut mouth, pipe fur, add eyes, add final detail!