Pinterest is a great resource for all kinds of creative pursuits. But sometimes it can provide an unrealistic standard that most of us can’t meet. I’ve seen many “Pinterest fails” and have had a few myself. I think it’s important to remember that we should use Pinterest as a reference to glean ideas and inspiration, while not expecting to achieve Pinterest-like perfection when attempting to replicate the ideas found on Pinterest. In this post I am sharing the Pinterest-inspired cupcakes I recently made for my grandson’s 5th birthday party.
I asked my daughter what I could do to help with her preparations for Little Man’s birthday party last month. She asked if I would make some chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. I decided to decorate the cupcakes to align with the party theme, Little Bear. So, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I found a few cute bear cupcake examples, and ultimately I combined several ideas to make a dozen chocolate bears like this one.
I used a star tip to apply the chocolate buttercream frosting “fur.” Mini-vanilla wafer cookies were used for the ears and muzzle (apparently that’s what a bear’s snout is called.) Melted chocolate was applied to the muzzle cookie using a toothpick to create the nose and mouth before I placed it on the cupcake. I used those hard sugar googly eyes that are easily obtained from the cake decorating section of a local craft store.
In addition to the chocolate bear cup cakes, I made vanilla cupcakes that also fit with the party theme. I thought that bears like honey, so I liked the idea of a beehive cupcake. Again, looking on Pinterest, I found several examples. Most of them used pre-made sugar bees. I didn’t find those at any of my local stores and didn’t have time to order them. I wanted the bees to be 100% edible. I first considered using tinted fondant to sculpt bees, but my family aren’t fans of the taste of fondant, so the idea of using jelly beans seemed to be the way to go. At first I tried using a black food marker to create the stripes on the jelly bean but I wasn’t satisfied with how that looked. The stripes were not solid and looked like they’d wipe right off. They also didn’t seem to dry…at least not very quickly
Instead I went with chocolate stripes that I had seen online.. I used yellow jelly beans, and melted chocolate chips. Again I applied the melted chocolate stripes to the jelly bean “body” using my high tech kitchen tool, a toothpick. I also used toothpicks to hold the jelly beans while I worked on them and after each jelly bean was striped, I stuck the toothpicks into the bottom of a paper cup to let the stripes dry overnight.
The next day I piped buttercream frosting that was tinted a pale golden yellow onto the cupcakes to form a cone. The trick to getting the cone shape is to pipe a large “blob” of frosting in the center first, and then pipe the cone around the blob. Very easy. I placed two jelly bean bee “bodies” on each buttercream “hive,” wedged two slices of almonds into the frosting on the sides of each bee for the wings, and drizzled a tiny bit of honey over the frosting just before serving. (I was afraid the honey might dissolve the buttercream if I did this too early, but it didn’t seem to be a problem.)
Many years ago I took a Wilton cake decorating class at my local Michaels store. I learned a few basics, but over the ensuing years I haven’t practiced enough to become truly proficient. That’s OK because I am a home baker, not a professional. My cupcakes were NOT perfect Pinterest-worthy specimens. The bees don’t look very realistic, but everyone knew what they represented. And, best of all, Little Man loved the cupcakes. And that was what was most important to me.
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