The holidays are a great time to get creative with the kids and Valentine’s Day is no different. Crafts are fun and cards are great but baking, or rather decorating homemade baking, will always be at the top of the list with my kids.
This Valentine’s Day why not spend some time with the kids decorating holiday cupcakes. To make things easier, we’ve come up with a few ideas that look great and are easy enough to get the kids involved too. Whether your cupcakes are store bought, made from a cake mix or homemade (we have an easy homemade vanilla cupcake recipe below), these cupcakes will be well received at a school Valentine Party or just for a holiday treat after dinner.
Valentine Cupcake Decorating: Chocolate Drizzle
Chocolate is always popular as a decoration on baked goods and this chocolate drizzle idea is a nice way to add some fun to a plain iced cupcake. Place a handful of chocolate chips (or whatever flavour of drizzle you want) into a Ziploc baggie and heat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Even if the chocolate chips look like they’re not melted, try squishing them around in the bag. Reheat in the microwave a few seconds at a time until all the chips are melted. Using your fingers, and with the baggie still closed, push all the chocolate into one of the bottom corners of the baggie then cut a small hole in this corner. Make sure the hole is small to avoid big globs of chocolate falling on your cupcake. Now, just like a piping bag, gently squeeze the chocolate out and move the bag all around the cupcake.
Kid Appeal: A freefrom design means even young kids can do this, adding strings of chocolate over the top of the cupcake. No real artistic skills are needed.
Valentine Cupcake Decorating: Sprinkles and Chocolate Drizzle
Sprinkles are a decorating staple when it comes to kids. Those leftover red sprinkles from Christmas will work wonderfully for Valentine’s Day. Shake sprinkles all over your cupcake’s icing. If you’ve been storing your cupcakes in the refridgerator until the kids were ready to decorating, pull them out about 10 minutes before the actual decorating to soften the icing up; sprinkles stick better. With sprinkles on, you can now add a layer of chocolate drizzle either in a free-form design as above or in a specific pattern.
Kid Appeal: If you have siblings, this design works great in an assembly line format. Youngest can shake on sprinkles while order kids with steadier hands can add the chocolate details.
Valentine Cupcake Decorating: Marshmallow Shapes
As Valentine’s Day falls in the cold month of February, you probably have a few marshmallows in your cupboard for hot chocolate. Coloured mini-marshmallows can be used to make colourful collage shapes to sit on the top of your cupcakes. Lay a handful of marshmallows on the counter, close together. Make sure they’re all facing the same way. For variety, try to place different colours next to each other. With your hand, squish the marshmallows flat. Flatten even further with a rolling pin. As you roll the marshmallows flat, they will spread and stick to each other. Periodically turn the pile over (this avoids sticking to the counter and also ensures the marshmallows spread and stick on both sides). If you have gaps, just squish a new marshmallow in that spot and roll it flat to blend it. Place your flattened marshmallow in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up. When ready, using a sharp knife to trace a shape you want to create. Once happy with your shape, retrace the shape, pressing harder to cut it out. Move slowly and a little bit at a time to avoid tearing your marshmallows apart. This is something you’ll probably do but your kids can offer creative shape suggestions.
Kid Appeal: Besides sneaking a mini-marshmallow now and then, Kids will love squishing and rolling the marshmallows flat
Valentine Cupcake Decorating: Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows
Cupcakes with a 3D design are always nice to mix in with the traditional flat decorating ideas. This design is great if you have those large marshmallows on hand. And easy way to make a heart shape (if you don’t happen to have a heart cookie cutter that is small enough to fit the size of your marshmallow. Using a sharp knife cut a ‘V’ shape out of the bottom half of your marshmallow. At the top, cut a smaller ‘V’ shape. As marshmallows are malleable, you can soften the edges to give it a rounder feel at the top by using your hands. Next, dip the face of the marshmallow in chocolate. Set this flat in the refrigerator to harden before placing on your cupcake. You can add to a cupcake with plain icing, sprinkles, chocolate drizzle or whatever you want the base to look like.
Kid Appeal: If you melt the chocolate, you can remove it from the heat source and the kids can enjoy dunking the marshmallows themselves.
Valentine Cupcake Decorating: Cut Chocolate Heart
If you were melting chocolate to dip the marshmallows in, you can use the leftover chocolate to make chocolate shapes. Using a spoon, spread the chocolate on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. Place the sheet of chocolate in the freezer until it hardens (make sure to lay it flat or else it will harder in whatever shape it is sitting). Like with the marshmallow shapes, use a sharp knife to score a shape in the chocolate. When you’re happy with the shape, retrace it cutting through. It should just come right off of the paper without any problem. Then place your chocolate shapes on your cupcake.
If you don’t want to cut a specific shape from the chocolate, you can just cut strips of chocolate. Wind these strips together in a ball and place in the centre of your cupcake.
Kid Appeal: Spreading the chocolate on the paper will be fun (almost as fun as licking the spoon when they’re done).
That’s five, fun and easy Valentine decorating ideas you can do with your kids. If you’re looking to make your own cupcakes, how about a simple vanilla cupcake recipe that even the kids can do?
Source: Annabel Karmel My Favorite Recipes
You will need:
For the cupcakes
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup soft margarine
1 cup self–rising flour
For the frosting
cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbsp water
food coloring (optional)
PREPARATION: 50 minutes
COOKING TIME: 18–20 minutes
MAKES: 12 cupcakes (the recipe says 12 but we found it yielded close to 10 on our tray)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Beat together the eggs, vanilla, superfine sugar, margarine, and flour. Beat until smooth and light.
- Line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups, and half fill each cup with the cupcake mixture.
- Bake for 18–20 minutes. When done, the cupcakes will rise up, turn golden in colour, and spring back when pressed.
- For the frosting, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly beat in the confectioners sugar. Then beat in the water. Add food colouring for pink icing.
The nice thing about this recipe is the ingredients are simple and no kitchen appliances are need to make them. My nine year old daughter made these all on her own (with my help placing them in and removing them from the oven). And they taste great.
Happy Valentine’s Day!