Cowabunga! Nothing says paradise like lounging on the sand under a palm tree with waves lapping on the shore. And even if you can't get to the ocean, these cupcakes decorated with an idyllic beach scene will certainly put you in the tropical spirit. They're perfect for your summer party or luau, so grab your flip flops and sunglasses, and head to the kitchen.
Things You'll Need
Blue icing color
Green jelly fruit slices
Green candy melts
Step 1: Bake Cupcakes
Using your own recipe or a boxed cake mix, prepare the cupcakes. I recommend light-colored cupcakes like these confetti ones so that the color does not show through the paper liners.
Step 2: Prepare the Frosting
Whip up a homemade batch of buttercream frosting or purchase a pre-packaged tub at the supermarket. I made my own batch of frosting because it tastes better, and it pipes really well from a piping bag. The recipe for buttercream frosting is very basic: mix two sticks of butter (1 cup) with 3 cups of confectioner's sugar; then add two tablespoons of heavy cream and one teaspoon of vanilla.
Add 2-3 drops of blue icing color to the frosting, and mix it until you get a uniform light blue color. Icing color is available in the baking aisle at supermarkets and crafts stores.
Step 3: Make the Sand
For the sand, we'll be using vanilla wafers. Place the wafers in a sealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until they are a fine consistency.
Step 4: Create the Beach
Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the top of the cupcake with a knife or spatula.
Spoon the crushed vanilla wafers over half of the cupcake. Gently pack the "sand" into the frosting with the back side of the spoon to help it adhere.
Step 5: Add the Ocean Waves
Place the frosting in a piping bag, and squeeze out the frosting onto the blue side of the cupcake in a wavy pattern. I used an open star piping tip to create the waves.
Add extra blue icing color to half of the frosting, and place the darker frosting in the piping bag alongside the lighter one. The result will be a two-toned frosting.
Step 6: Make the Palm Trees
For the palm fronds, cut some green jelly fruit slice candies lengthwise into three or four sections.
Join the sections at the tips into a spiral shape. The candies are sticky, so they will adhere to each other on their own.
Heat some green candy melts in the microwave, checking and stirring the contents at 30-second intervals until it is melted and creamy. This will be the "glue" for the palm trees and other cupcake elements.
The tree trunk will be a pretzel stick. Dip both ends of the pretzel stick into the melted green candy.
Poke one end of the pretzel stick into the center of the palm fronds. Press firmly so that the pretzel stick goes through each of the jelly candy sections. Make a palm tree for each of your cupcakes, and place them in the refrigerator for about half an hour so that all the candy hardens.
Once hardened, insert the trunks of the palm trees into the sandy side of the cupcakes. The ends that go into the cupcake have been dipped in candy melts, which create a barrier to the moisture from the cupcake. Otherwise, the pretzel sticks can become soggy and fall over.
Step 7: Add the Lounge Chairs
Sour belts make the perfect lounge chairs for the beach, as they are colorful and have a natural curve to them. Cut the sour belts into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Place a dab of candy melt on the back of the sour belt.
Rest the sour belt against the pretzel stick, using the candy melt as glue to adhere the two parts.
Step 8: Add the Bears
Place a dab of candy melt on the backs of the bears.
Position the bears on the lounge chairs, letting the candy melt act as the glue.
Place a sour ball on the opposite side of the pretzel stick to help support it and keep it from tilting.
Good thing the bear is sitting under the palm tree, or he would get sunburnt.