Saturday, June 5, 2010

Panda Cupcakes

During AP testing, my group of friends was a stressed out bunch. We would refer to fun and sleeping in the past tense, like it was something done and over with, never to be seen again."Before APs, I was able to sleep." Now, this got me thinking. What did I do before APs? Ah-hah, I thought, I baked!

One day in AP Lang, one of my friends was really stressed out. What could I do about it? I couldn't magically wish the tests away, but I could bake (which, in my opinion, is still pretty magical). I knew she loved pandas, so I decided to make her these panda cupcakes. What could be better than combining cute bears and fluffy cake?

So after APs, I made these cupcakes -- on a school night! (How scandalous!) They took a long time to make, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I did, however, take a break for dinner. And for dessert, I had a few extra mini chocolate chips . . . and some Oreos, and maybe a few mini marshmallows.

Transporting these bad boys to school was no easy task. I live 30 minutes away from school, so I take the bus. I put 13 cupcakes in a large wicker basket and 3 cupcakes in a small container for my panda-loving friend. I almost hit my poor bus driver in the head.

I gave the cupcakes to my friends once I got to school. They were a huge hit; everyone who got one had a smile on their face. A successful experiment, I would say!

Pandamonium: From the Hello, Cupcake! cookbook

16 standard vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
16 mini vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
32 Oreos
1 can plus 1 cup vanilla frosting
Black food coloring
16 mini marshmallows
32 mini chocolate chips
16 brown chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
32 pieces chocolate cereal O's
16 green paper liners

1. To make the arms and legs, cut 32 of the cookies in half using a serrated knife and set aside. Place the remaining 8 cookies in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer the cookie crumbs to a small bowl.

2. Place 2 tbsp. of the vanilla frosting in a small ziplock bag. Tint 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting black with the food coloring and spoon it into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air in each bag, seal, and set aside.

3. Using a dot of the remaining vanilla frosting, attach the flat side of 1 marshmallow to the top of each mini cupcake, positioning it on the lower third of the cupcake. Spread the vanilla frosting on top of the mini cupcake, covering the marshmallow to make the muzzle. Smooth the frosting. Snip a 1/16-inch corner from the bag with the black frosting and pipe a mouth just below the muzzle with a small vertical line up to the top of the muzzle. Pipe eye patches above and to either side of the muzzle. Add 2 chocolate chips, pointed sides in, for the eyes and a sunflower seed for the nose. Press 2 chocolate cereal pieces into the frosting on either side of the to edge of the cupcake to make the ears.

4. Spread the tops of the standard cupcakes with the remaining vanilla frosting mounding it with you spatula. Roll one half of the frosted cupcake into the cookie crumbs to make the black belly fur. Place the mini cupcake heads on their sides on top of the standard cupcakes, lining the faces up with the fur bodies. Snip a 1/8-inch corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Add a dot of frosting where the arms will go and press 2 of the cookie halves, cut side in, on either side of the mini cupcakes to make the arms. Pipe 3 small white lines of the frosting on the arms to make the claws. Pipe a small white highlight on each eye.

5. Cut jagged edges on the green paper liners with scissors, and arrange on a serving platter. Set each panda on a green liner.

I couldn't find chocolate covered sunflower seeds, so I used the black frosting.
I also didn't find the Oero cereal, so I died regular Cheerios with black food coloring.


Beth F said...

Ok, these are the most adorable things. I love how you were able to find the right substitutions. Wow!

And I can't imagine trying to cart them to school -- on a bus!

Now I have to get that cookbook -- I had been successfully avoiding it, but the pandas and your success won me over.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

OMG - how cute! You are really talented!

Heather said...

Those are amazing. Great job.

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

those are absolutely adorable!!

Rikki said...

OMG, those look lovely. I'm sure kids LOVE those.

Kim said...

What talent you have! Those appearing on my desk at school would have helped me feel less stressed!

Molly said...

cute - cute - cute!!

My daughter has this book and has made several of the creations. My favorite is the fishbowl.

caite said...

I reviewed that book Hello, Cupcake, awhile ago and I just loved it. It is full of so many cute and clever ideas!

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

Those are just the cutest cupcakes I've ever seen. So creative. Your friends are very, very lucky.

I love your story about the bus ride. I can picture you with all the extra gear, but you accomplished your mission. Good for you. Hope it lifted your stress as well.

Book Psmith said...

These are too cute...and really you can't beat yummy treats when it comes to stress busting:) I have dreaded the days my daughter lugged goodies to school...they always get a little beat up in the transport.

Margaret said...

Wow, thank you for all for the nice comments!

The Domestic Adventurer said...

oh my, these are adorable! And what a nice gesture to make them for your friend. I'm sure she appreciated your thoughtfulness.