This year for Lilli's birthday party we decided to have a cupcake decorating party and it was a super sweet success.
Lilli is at that in between age where some of the kids get a bit bored with the usual party games we've had in the past. As a compromise we're still having pass-the parcel which is the birthday girl's favourite plus a pretty dessert table (my favourite - make sure to pop back next week to see those pictures) and filling up the rest of the time with cupcake decorating.
The great thing about a cupcake decorating party is that you can go as low cost or fancy as you choose depending on your budget, plus it's great for a wide range of kids (we had 4 years to 9 years olds).
Also, the actual cupcake decorating set up of the party was soooo easy!
I have to admit, I had a little help in the kitchen. I used Betty Crocker cupcake mix, which comes with ready to spread frosting. I also used a couple of tubs of Betty Crocker's ready-made frosting for extra piping. It made the preparation and clean up a breeze. And, because it's so easy, Lilli helped out baking the cupcakes, which gave us some special family time the night before the party and added to the fun.
Lilli and her friends are a pretty crafty and fun bunch so I thought we would set up a few stations with pictures of a finished cupcake at each station along with the ingredients needed. I explained how to pipe a frosting swirl, how to make a fondant flower or butterfly and a quick description of each cupcake on offer and then let the kids go to it.
Cupcake Decorating Ideas (all cupcakes in the pictures are made using Betty Crocker cupcake mix and ready to spread frosting):
Pretty flowers and pearls
Vanilla Cupcakes and ready to spread frosting vanilla or strawberry
Sugar flowers (CLICK HERE to make your own or buy premade sugar flowers)
Candy coated chocolate balls* or cashous *sixlets (candy coated chocolate) from spotlight or cake decorating stores, cashous from supermarkets.
Put frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. Starting in the middle pipe the frosting on working your way out in a circle. Top with pre-made sugar flowers and Candy coated chocolate.
Cookies and Cream
Vanilla Cupcakes and ready to spread vanilla frosting
Chop up a few oreos into small pieces and mix into the vanilla frosting. Put the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Starting in the middle pipe the frosting on working your way out in a circle. Top with a whole Oreo Cookie. Alternately you can spoon the oreo frosting on, smooth into a mound with a knife and top with a whole Oreo Cookie.
Strawberry Cupcakes and ready to spread vanilla or strawberry frosting
Pink and white sprinkles
Spread a layer of frosting onto the cupcake and then dip the top in the sprinkles. Put the extra frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip. Pipe a swirl of frosting in the middle of the cupcake and top with a whole Strawberry.
Vanilla Cupcakes and vanilla and chocolate ready to spread frosting
wafers or half flake
Put vanilla and chocolate frosting into separate piping bags fitted with a large open star tip. Starting in the middle pipe the vanilla frosting on working your way out in a circle. Pipe a small amount of chocolate frosting on the top. Place a jaffa onto the top center of the cupcake and then push a wafer cookie into the top off center.
Let's go crazy * suitable for all age groups
Cupcake and ready to spread frosting any flavour
Place frosting into bowls with flat knife or offset spatula and allow kids to spread the frosting onto the cupcake and then load lollies on as desired.
In the end the cupcake decoration directions were more a suggestion than a rule and the kids had a fun time coming up with imaginative ideas all on their own.
I loved the Oreo stacks they whipped up - cupcake, frosting, Oreo, frosting, Oreo, frosting and topped with a strawberry. Over the top - no way! They were perfect because the kids made them and had so much fun with each other along the way.
Cupcake Decorating Tips
- Don't skimp on the frosting. Go big or go home. I can not stress how important having enough frosting is. Remember these are kids and there WILL be some consumption loss during the decorating. This was one of the reasons I loved using the Betty Crocker tubs of ready made frosting - I had extra tubs on hand in the pantry just in case.
- Also don't skimp on the decorations - same rules apply as frosting.
- Try to make the cupcake designs age appropriate. Younger kids are happiest just adding as many lollies as they can fit, older kids appreciate a few different designs to choose from.
- Disposable icing bags and tips are available at grocery stores.
- Don't overfill the bags, half full is good, and secure the end with a rubber band. Warm hands will make any frosting a little bit runnier, see above tip re disposable icing bags
- It's a great idea to have some cupcake boxes to pop the finished cupcakes into. Mine were from the local discount store $2 for a set of 3. Make sure you write each guests name onto the box so that their fabulous creations do not get mixed up.
Other Party Tips
The rest of the preparation I did the weekend before. I picked up some cupcake boxes from the discount store and Lilli helped me pop them up and then I added a bit of extra decoration myself (yes because I just can not help myself). If you wanted to you could make decorating the box an extra activity for the kids to do themselves at the party.
I borrowed some kids aprons from a friend for the party guests which added to the fun. I have seen some tutorials around to make your own kids aprons from teatowels if you are crafty and can sew a straight line. Although on the day of the party I completely forgot about the aprons because I didn't have them in my preparation area - doh!
We had 15 kids so we used 5 boxes of Betty Crocker cupcake mix to make at least 4 cupcakes each. I found the mixes to be generous and we managed to make 16 cupcakes from each box. Each box of Betty Crocker cupcake mix actually comes with ready to spread frosting in the boxes, we used an extra 3 tubs of the Betty Crocker frosting for piping(see frosting tips above).
Lilli picked the invitations, we found these cute pop up cupcake girl ones from Paper Eskimo that were perfect for the party theme they come in a box with pretty matching envelopes and thank you post cards.
Take home party bags - The boxes of cupcakes double as a cake and take home party favour and are really enough. But we did up a little bag for everyone which included some fondant cutters (either flower or butterfly), decorating sugar pearls, cupcake cases and a little bag of lollies. The pink and white spot bags were from my local discount store for $2 or $3 for the set of 10. We popped on a little thank you card that came with the invites that Lilli personally wrote to everyone prior to the party.
Plus everyone took home their own box of Betty Crocker vanilla cupake mix so they could easily whip up their own home baked cupcakes.
Cupcake Mixes and Ready to Spread Frosting - Betty Crocker available all supermarkets
Betty Crocker Australia Facebook
Fondant Cutters - Sunrise Wholesaler (similar available cake decorating shops online)
Pop up Invitations - Paper Eskimo
Cupcake Boxes and Party Bags - Choice discount store
Disclosure: the ideas, words and opinions in this post are my own however this post was sponsored by General Mills.