Yesterday afternoon my friends Denise, Tisha and I embarked on a mission to make some panda cupcakes from Alan Richardson and Karen Tack’s book, which Denise received as a Christmas present. The book’s creations are adorable! Making these was a great group project since all the components that transform these cupcakes into pandas take a considerable amount of prep work. By the way, the lovely kitchen you see in these photos is at Denise’s parents house.
The cupcake decorating ideas in this book vary from the whimsical, like our pandas, to the elegant like a white Christmas wreathe. It also comes with a cupcake decorating kit, which includes metal decorating tips and some disposable pastry bags. However, one of the book’s big draws is that you need little more than some candy, plastic storage bags and time.
There’s also a section in the back with recipes for making your own cupcakes from scratch. We saved some time by using white cake mix and vanilla icing from the grocery store, but I’d be happy to give the book’s cake recipes a go next time.
Making 24 of these little guys took us three hours, complete with messes, improvised ingredients and laughs. Ooodles of fun photos after the jump!
We started by assembling all the necessaries on the counter and using Mrs. Giaimo’s brand new red stand mixer to get our cupcake batter ready. Aaahhh, I love the whhhiiiirrrr of a stand mixer. I definitely aspire to own one of my own some day.
And then, into the cupcake pans and then the oven. We baked them about 20-something minutes, as per the instructions on the back of the box. The mini cupcakes had to come out a few minutes earlier.
While the cupcakes baked, we broke open two packages of chocolate sandwich cookies to get working on some limbs and fur. Tisha painstakingly covered individual breakfast cereals in chocolate sauce for ears and — carefully! — cut some brown chocolate candies in half for noses.
Denise used a food processor to turn not-so-successfully halved cookies into cookie crumbs, or panda fur. Once the cupcakes had emerged from the oven and cooled, it was time to start frosting and assembling.
Unfortunately, this one tumbled onto the floor and became a magnet for dog hair and fuzzies from the rug.
After I snatched it up before Ally could gobble it up, it went into the trash. This actually worked out just fine because an exceptionally odd-shaped panda body (big cupcake) was elected to be eaten pretty early in the process.
One panda down, we proceeded to assemble the other 23.
And thennnnn, voila! Our first creation was a little less than thrilled.
The one below is Frankenpanda. So called because the chocolate chip + icing combination we tried for his eyes resulted in a monstrosity that was not quite as cute as the others.
Pretty soon we had ourselves a platter full of pandas.
They weren’t as polished as the ones in the book…
…but they definitely had, um, character. And hell if they weren’t tastey too.
If you liked these, I would definitely recommend giving “Hello, Cupcake!” a try. All of the projects are excellent, whether as showstopping desserts for a crowd or a fun afternoon project for friends.