Friday, July 31, 2009

Beach Cupcakes!

I have wanted an occasion to make beach-themed cupcakes for ages, and with a trip up north to a lake this weekend with a group of Jordan's co-workers seemed like the perfect opportunity!

Ilinca made this one - I like how one of the bears is upsidown in the water. Uh oh!

The first important question.... what type of cupcake? I wanted to use something that would work well with good ole' vanilla icing. I chose a pina colada cupcake because it's both tropical and beachy and would work well with a vanilla icing recipe that I like. I will save that recipe for another post :)

Two days in advance, I made some cupcake accessories with marzipan, which is a sweet almond paste. If you go to Toledo, Espana, you will have the opportunity to eat lots of marzipan because the nuns make it there. You can also find it in the baking aisle in the grocery store. It is frequently in the same section as the pie-filling.

Making beach accessories with marzipan
  • marzipan
  • food coloring (NOT liquid based. I used Wilton's lavender dye)
  • corn starch
  • gloves (I did not have any and used two plastic sandwich bags)
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  • rolling pin
  1. Dust your clean working surface and rolling pin with corn starch. This is so that the marzipan won't stick
  2. Cut off the amount of marzipan that you would like to use on your cupcakes.
  3. Flatten out the marzipan with your hand and use a toothpick to add food coloring a little at a time. Use your gloved (plastic bag covered) hands to knead the marzipan so that the color is evenly distributed. Keep adding small amounts of food coloring until you get a shade that you like.
  4. Mold! Marzipan is a lot like clay and is very easy to work with.
Flip Flops (pictured above)
  1. Roll a small ball of marzipan in your hand the size of a thumbnail.
  2. Break it into two even halves.
  3. Flatten and shape each half into a flip flop shape.
  4. Roll a small amount of marzipan into a thin rope and break it off in a "V" to make straps. I used non-colored marzipan to give it some contrast.
  5. Optional: Add a festive sprinkle to make your flip-flops more decorative.
Pail and Shovel

  1. Roll marzipan in a ball about the size of a thumbnail.
  2. Stick a small finger into the center and use your other fingers to bring up the sides into a pail shape.
  3. Use a small amount of regular colored marzipan for a handle.
  4. For the shovel.... I just sort of took a triangle wedge and messed with it until it sort of resembled a shovel.
The nice thing about marzipan is you can make anything you want. Store what you make ahead of time in an airtight container at room temperature. Of course, the cupcakes that didn't involve the marzipan items were just as cute. I just wanted to try marzipan once again after I failed when I made the Ladybug in a Grassy Field cupcakes :)

Now.... for the fun part of assembling the beach scene!!

What I used for my BEACH CUPPIES!
  • gram crackers
  • teddy grams
  • Life-saver gummies (I didn't realize until after I made the cupcakes that these have gelatin)
  • Airhead Xtremes Sweetly Sour Belts (the beach towel)
  • Blue airheads (shark fin)
  • Green airhead and orange starburst (palm tree)
  • Purple and black gel icing
  • Blue food coloring
  1. Dye your frosting of choice blue.
  2. Completely cover the cupcakes with blue frosting (you can do this even if you want some cupcakes to just be sand)
  3. For the sand, take gram crackers and put them in the food processor (or mash them by hand while they are inside a plastic bag) until they resemble sand.
  4. Pour the gram cracker crumbs into a bowl. Dip your frosted cupcake tops into the gram cracker. If you want only a little bit of beach, just dip a corner and then re-frost the water side with a little extra frosting. To make "waves," just be a little messy with your frosting :) If you want all beach, completely cover the cupcakes in gram cracker crumbs.
  5. Decorate bears with faces and bathing suits if you like with the gel icing.
  6. For shark fins, cut a triangle with a knife from the blue airhead
  7. For the palm tree, melt green airhead and orange starburst in the microwave for approximately 6 seconds, or until it is warm and malleable. It's best to use a microwave-safe disposable plate. And be careful... it can get VERY hot! For the leaves, take small bits of the green candy and roll it into your hands to make about 4 snake like pieces. For the base, mold the bottom into the base of a palm tree and caaarefully attach the 4 leaf pieces. It's a little tricky to get it all to balance. Sara put that one together :)

This was Sara's creation, featuring a palm tree.

Then the rest is really up to your imagination! It wouldn't be any fun if I told you what to do, right? Here's what my roommates and I did:

The bear on the right is sitting a beach chair... which didn't really work the way I would have liked

Using a knife you can get nice waves in your ocean

I actually have a beach towel that is nearly identical to the candy!

Mmmmm.... I love summer!


  1. Oh my gosh!! You've got to be kidding! Way too cute to eat!!!

  2. those are way cute! love the flippy floppies :)

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