DIY cupcake decorating has been quite the craze in children’s birthday parties for the past few years and will definitely stay a trend. It’s fun, simple and most of all, it’s such a novelty for moms to be able to make personalized and one-of-a-kind treats with such ease. Why not try this idea for your child’s next birthday party?
1. Birthday Party Supplies: Prepare your cupcakes. Home baked or store-bought will do. An average of two cupcakes per child is good, but if you can provide more, that would be a feast for them. I like preparing cupcakes in regular and mini cupcake sizes for variety.
2. Birthday Party Supplies: Color your icing. There is store bought icing, but homemade butter cream would actually be better, because it is cheaper and definitely much fresher than anything you can buy off the shelves. I have a decorator’s butter cream recipe perfect for decorating (see below). It’s made with shortening, and much firmer than regular butter cream. Divide this into 3 to 5 bowls and add icing color. Once you’ve mixed the color thoroughly, put the icing in separate icing bags with a large star tip. If you have slightly older children joining the activity, then have them do the coloring of the icing themselves.
Decorator’s Butter Cream Icing
7 cups / 16 oz. powdered sugar
2 cups shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
Mix all ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed for five minutes. Increase to speed 2 and mix for another 5 minutes.
3. Birthday Party Supplies: Prepare your toppings. There are different kinds of toppings you can use for your cupcakes
Sprinkles and other kinds of candy: use different kinds and colors of candy sprinkles, sugar sprinkles, edible beads or even candy. The more variants, the crazier your kids will be over this activity.
Fondant toppers: if you have the time, roll out fondant and cut out different shapes and letters. Again, more color and more variety equals happier children! I like to also make a white base of fondant (2.75 round cutter) to act as the “canvas” on which your kids can attach the colorful fondant toppers. The white color makes the toppers stand out more.
4. The Set-up: It is best if you have small tables and chairs for the kids to sit in. Each child should have his or her own working plate to put the cupcakes in. If you are using fondant decorations, also give each child a paintbrush and a glass with a bit of water. This is so they can attach the fondant decors to each other and to the cupcakes.
To economize on materials, have the kids sit around the table, and put your icing bags and sprinkles in the center so they can just reach out and get them.
Word of caution: It would be best to hand out the cupcakes ONLY when the children are ready to decorate. I’ve seen lots of cases where the cupcakes “disappear” long before the decorating session has begun! It’s hard to expect the kids not to want to eat the cupcakes right away, so do this just to be sure.
5. The Session: This activity is pretty self explanatory, even to a child. But if you want to be sure that the children know what to do, run through one cupcake decorating process. Pipe icing on the cupcakes, then add sprinkles or fondant toppers. Let the kids work as they please afterwards. There are no rules in this type of activity and no time limit. The wilder the child’s imagination, the more beautiful the cupcake she or he makes. Here are some samples of wonderful creations made during these cupcake-decorating sessions:
6. Cupcakes-to-go. The kids will most likely want to show off their works of art to their parents or the rest of their siblings. So in case they would like to bring their cupcakes home, have some packaging ready.