Lots of colorful toppings are essential for the party.
A plate of perfectly decorated cupcakes makes for a pretty picture, but letting your pint-sized party guests decorate their own desserts makes the party much more memorable. Sure, they'll leave streaks of sticky frosting all over your kitchen. And the sprinkles will double as confetti -- which you'll likely find yourself cleaning for weeks to come. But the frosting-glazed grins of the junior cupcake decorators make it all worthwhile. The key to a successful cupcake decorating party is advance planning so that the kiddos can get right to work on their edible masterpieces.
1Bake the cupcakes the day before the party. That way, you won't have to scramble that morning to get everything done, and the cupcakes have plenty of time to cool and set. Make enough so that each party guest has at least two cupcakes: one to eat at the party and one to take home.
2Scoop buttercream frosting into small bowls. It's best to give each party guest her own bowl of frosting. There's sure to be finger dipping and licking going on, so it's a good idea not to share all those germs. Put a plastic spoon or knife in each bowl for spreading -- and sampling, of course.
3Pour various toppings into the cups of a muffin tin. Sprinkles are always a hit with the little ones, but other topping ideas include candies, marshmallows, cereal, colored sugar and nuts, as long as none of the guests are allergic. Skip the nuts if the party guests are too young. If you have lots of little decorators, make up several muffin tins of toppings so that everyone can reach.
4Decorate each spot at the table with a place mat and two cupcakes on a plate. The plate catches the loose toppings that don't make it onto the cupcake. Don't forget the napkins and wet wipes. You'll need lots of them once the frosting starts flying!
5Show off your own cupcake decorating skills with a quick demo before you set the kids loose. Spread a spoonful of frosting on the cupcake so the little ones see how it's done. Remind them to go easy on the toppings, but don't expect them to listen. In the eyes of a toddler, a cupcake isn't complete if it's not dripping with frosting and sprinkles.
6Unleash the sugar-crazed kiddos on those cupcakes. Enlist the help of a few brave adults so you're not left to manage the frosting frenzy on your own.
7Pack up one of the cupcakes for each child in a small cupcake box to take home. Write the children's names on the boxes, so they don't get mixed up. After a few minutes, most of the cupcakes will look the same shade of rainbow sprinkle, so the labeling keeps them organized.
8Let the kids feast on the remaining cupcakes. Offer glasses of milk -- as long as no one's allergic to dairy -- to wash down the sticky sweetness.
- If the budget allows, give each cupcake decorator a child-sized apron to protect her party clothes. The apron doubles as a party favor she'll actually be able to reuse.
Things You'll Need
- Buttercream frosting
- Plastic spoons
- Plastic knives
- Muffin tins
- Colored sugar
- Place mats
- Paper plates
- Wet wipes
- Cupcake boxes