The fact that the weather is steadily getting warmer led to me thinking about my favorite local(ish) ice cream shop: Dairy-Go-Round. I mostly like that they do a good job with sprinkles on the the ice cream and that it's inexpensive. But I also love that it looks like a carousel and has little horses for children (and big kids like me) to sit on while enjoying their treat.
I then was struck with an idea: Carousel cupcakes!
It was quite a bit of work. It involved buying a large bag of animal crackers:
And some pretzel rods. I used very large ones, but if I made them again I would go smaller. They are for the poles that hold the horses and such that go around the carousel and using a large pretzel rod dwarfs the animal crackers.
And some royal icing. I bought royal icing mix, which only requires adding water and mixing, but you could always make it from scratch.
I spread this project over two days because I knew that it was going to be a lot of work.
Day 1: bake cupcakes, decorate animal crackers, decorate pretzel rods, "glue" animal crackers to pretzel rods.
As far as what cupcake to use, pick whatever you like! You want it to be on the dense side so that the pretzel sticks stay standing.
Next, you want to decorate your animal crackers! I had a whole bunch of sprinkles out ready to use, but in the end I just used the royal icing. You can also use an edible marker to draw on the crackers.
Starting to create the horses!
All decorated! I decided to just use horses and lions.
Now, to decorate the pretzels...
Actually, WAIT! If you are using long pretzels like I did, you want to break them into your desired size before you go through the effort to decorate them!
See to the right a small portion of the pretzel has been broken off?
I painted and assembled them first and sometimes the pretzel broke in the wrong spot:
Sad... but was easily fixed with some icing.
Back to the pretzels...
I just used some small (clean and reserved for food!) paintbrushes to pain the pretzel rods with leftover royal icing to match the horses. I think that covering the pretzels with chocolate would be even more delicious, but I didn't want to waste any icing. Let the pretzels dry on some wax paper. Once they are dry, use a small amount of royal icing to "glue" the carousel animals to the pretzel.
I then put the completed carousel poles in an airtight container overnight.
Day 2: Frost cupcakes, add carousel poles, fun things to do with leftover animal crackers
First, frost a thick layer of icing on the top of your cupcakes. I chose just plain white because I didn't want to overwhelm the senses too much!
Then all you need to do is stick the pretzel into the cupcake.
So much work, but the end result is definitely worth it!
Not all of the animals have to be at the same height!
I had big ideas to make a little canopy... but as you can see I didn't follow through
I had a lot of left over decorated animal cookies after placing all of the pretzel-animal combos on top of cuppies.
As much as I wanted to eat them, I decided they would look cute alone on cupcakes. You know, as circus animal sidekicks or something!
Standing up on baby cuppies
Bird's eye view on bigger cuppies
All together now!
You can see the rest of the photostream here. I love cupcakes because the taste and decoration possibilities are infinite. Next time hopefully I'll make them look more like a carousel.... :)