When baking with kids and decorating cupcakes around Easter, you simply have to let a few things slide. Icing on the floor? It’s going to happen. And those frosting-filled piping bags? They don’t stand a cupcake’s chance at a kid’s birthday party.
Luckily, there is nothing wrong (and a lot that’s right) with giving a festive home-spun look to your cupcakes. To achieve the designs below, all starring Peeps and themed after Easter and springtime tales, we used just a small spoon, butter knife and a criminal amount of frosting and candy.
Vanilla Cupcake Recipe
Though the base in our cupcakes is a balanced vanilla cake, a chocolate, red velvet or even carrot cake (with the buttercream frosting swapped for cream cheese) will be equally sweet with any of the designs.
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter, room temperature
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 1/4 cup 2% milk
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 6 to 7 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
- green food coloring
1. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large mixing bowl (preferably from a stand mixer), sift flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer set on low speed, mix butter into dry ingredients until well incorporated.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla bean paste and milk. With the mixture on medium speed, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in thirds. Beat until incorporated, but be careful not to over-mix.
4. Divide batter among liners so that each are about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
5. To make frosting, cream butter with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and mix on low speed. Once creamy, add remaining cup of powdered sugar and beat until desired consistency (3 to 5 minutes). Taste frosting and if it is sweeter than desired, add lemon juice. Add additional powdered sugar for fluffier frosting, or additional milk for a creamier frosting. Add food coloring, a few drops at a time, and mix until you achieve a uniform color.
Inspired by the timeless tale from Beatrix Potter, this cupcake catches Peep-ter Rabbit in a cookie crumble garden mining for candy carrots! Kids will love dressing the chocolate mousse-flavored bunny Peeps in candy-coated blue jackets—and the project gives parents the opportunity to revisit a classic.
What You Need:
- Chocolate mousse bunny Peeps
- Sweetened coconut flakes (mixed with green food coloring)
- Candy carrots
- Green buttercream frosting
- Blue candy melts
- Crushed cream-filled cookies (such as Oreos)
To give Peep-ter his signature blue jacket, melt a handful of blue candy melts (easily found at Michael’s) in a microwave-safe bowl, according to package directions. Using a small spoon, scoop the melted candy and spread over bottom corners of each bunny to resemble a jacket.
Allow the candy melt coating to cool and harden on a piece of parchment paper. Once cool, use the spoon to coat the body portion of the bunny’s back using the same method. Place face down and allow back-side to cool.
Once the bunnies have their jackets, frost the cupcakes with a generous amount of green buttercream frosting. Place the bunnies in the center of the cupcakes, and sprinkle the crushed cookies around them to create a garden. We like leaving a green rim for color.
For the garden lettuce, place dollops of frosting next to the bunnies and sprinkle the sweetened coconut on top. Insert two candy carrots (we found ours atTarget) on the other side.
Here, the Peep-ster bunny plays atop a colorfully frosted cupcake. With only Peeps, frosting and chocolate eggs required, this is the simplest design of the bunch. We recommend changing up the color of the Peeps marshmallow bunnies (they come in yellow, purple, pink, orange, green and blue)and buttercream frosting for added excitement.
What You Need:
- Peeps marshmallow bunnies
- Buttercream frosting
- Chocolate egg candies
Using a butter knife, liberally frost the cupcakes with your chosen color of buttercream frosting. Add the Peeps marshmallow bunnies to the cupcake centers and surround with collections of chocolate egg candies.
Little Bo Peep
Reunite Little Bo Peep with her herd of sheep using entirely edible decorations. Her bonnet is crafted from a white sugar sheet (an edible paper that can be found at Michael’s) and her sheep are fluffy miniature marshmallows with chocolate features. Put the little ones in charge of the icing and sheep artistry, since constructing the bonneted Peeps will require scissors and a sharp knife.
What You Need:
- Chocolate Dipped Peeps
- 3oz. Bar of 70% dark chocolate
- Sweetened Coconut Flakes
- Miniature Marshmallows
- Green buttercream frosting
- White sugar sheet
Using a sharp paring knife, create slits at the back of the Peeps, tracing semicircles around the neck area. Be careful not to cut through the bottom of the Peeps, or slice the heads off—yikes!
Cut bonnet shapes from the white sugar sheet, allow straight edges of about a half an inch at the bottom of each. Insert those edges into the slits of the Peeps and curve the shapes around the Peeps’ heads to create bonnets. Since the marshmallow is a bit gooey, they will hold in place. Set aside.
For the sheep, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl according to package directions. Using a toothpick, create two dots for eyes, a tiny Y shape for the nose and mouth, and an ear shape on both sides of each of the marshmallows. This can be tedious, but kids will have fun creating faces—even if they turn out messy.
To assemble, frost the cupcakes with the buttercream icing. Place a bonneted peep on each cupcake, with two or three marshmallow sheep to the side. Sprinkle and pat the sweetened coconut flakes atop the uncovered frosting to create the pasture.
For more fantastic recipes with Peeps, visit the Peeps recipe page. And for more of our Peeps dessert recipes and cupcakes for Easter, see below.