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Written by:  Sharon Miller Cindrich
Date: May 1, 2010

Looking for a little fun this spring? With a simple boxed cake mix, some frosting and a few candy favorites, your family can make a bouquet of pretty cupcakes. Perfect as a centerpiece for a party, a school treat or a rainy-day activity, these cupcake cuties combine your child's creativity with a sweet treat!

You'll need:

1 boxed cake mix (and ingredients to complete)
1 can of white frosting
Food coloring (for tinting frosting)
Mini-marshmallows
Pastel candies, Mentos or similar candies
Green candy straws

Make cupcakes according to boxed cake directions. Cool and ice with tinted frosting. Then apply these fun designs:

3-D daisy – This pretty daisy uses a large pastel candy for the center, then a handful of small miniature marshmallows, cut diagonally, to make life-like petals. Great for Mother's Day, a spring bake sale or brunch, these pretty candy flower toppers will fill the top of a mini-cupcake (made in a muffin tin) perfectly. Displayed, they look like a field of spring flowers!

Add some color – Replace white marshmallow minis with colored mini-marshmallows and add a second row of petals and a few mini candies in the center for a Zany Zinnia! More petals, more fun!

Pretty pastel picks – For more flower power, this cupcake uses flat, brightly colored pastel mints cut in half for petals and leaves, with a green candy straw stem. Kids love stacking petals and creating their very own botanical bloom!

Sharon Miller Cindrich is a mother of two who writes frequently about parenting, technology and family activities.

 



Trending treats

 

That cupcakes have become a popular choice to satisfy a sweet tooth for celebrations or as an everyday dessert is widely credited to the show Sex and the City, where the lead characters ate cupcakes at Manhattan's upscale Magnolia Bakery.

But are they a trend that will pass or a treat that finally matured beyond kids' parties and bake sales? Only time will tell, but a scan of food trends shows that two other small-scale desserts may take the cake for sweet treats in 2010.

Magnolia Bakery is now reported to sell whoopie cookies, and whoopie pies are one step away from being considered a mainstream item according to the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts, a food and beverage product development company that tracks trends. Epicurious.com editor-in-chief Tanya Steel predicts that mini whoopie pies will become the next "front burner" dessert trend for 2010, pushing mini cupcakes to the rear.

And macarons, pastel-colored French con-fections that resemble a sandwich cookie, are show-cased behind the glass at high-end bakeries and gourmet food retailers worldwide, according to The Gourmet Retailer and the CCD trend report. They also feature prominently in online food articles and blogs.

Crickett Gibbons



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