Sunday, August 29, 2010

Watermelon Cupcakes

This post goes out to my sweet sister-in-law Nicky, who called me up a few days ago for ideas for her daughter's 4th birthday. She wanted to do a watermelon theme, and was wondering if I had any ideas for something she could make that would be cute and easy. After brainstorming for a little while I came up with a few ideas, and decided to try a couple of them out. Here are the fruits of my labors (no pun intended):

I wanted to do something that would require no pastry bags, tips, and piping. All that I used besides the edible ingredients were these things:

A jumbo muffin pan, Wilton's mini-ball pan, and a mini-muffin pan, along with Wilton colors No-Taste Red, Juniper Green, and Leaf Green and a small paint brush (dedicated only to my pastry projects and not to any of my daughter's art projects!).

I made up a simple boxed white cake mix and added the red coloring until I got the pink that I wanted. Then I added about a cup of mini-chocolate chips--for the seeds. One cake mix was the perfect amount to make 6 jumbo cupcakes, 6 mini-ball halves, and 6 mini-cupcakes (I didn't use any cupcake liners--I wanted the pink cake color to be seen).

I made 2 mistakes during this process that I have learned from. 1--don't accidentally leave your bag of mini-chocolate chips on top of the stove when you are preheating your oven. I had a gooey mess on my hands and only salvaged about 1/3 of the bag. What a waste . . . but a yummy waste! 2--don't turn your back on a 22-month old that thinks she can help do everything. She proceeded to finger paint with the left-over egg yolks that I had separated from the egg white that I used. What a mess.

On the other hand, she did love helping, and a perfect job for her was to dye my sugar the different green colors. I just put some sugar in ziplock bags with a little food color, sealed it up, and let her shake and rub the bag for awhile. She thought that was a lot of fun. I was sad that all I had was regular sugar and no decorating sugar, but it was late Saturday, and I didn't want to run to the store, so we made do.

The bottom two plate were from the leaf green and juniper green colors, while the top was a mixture of the two colors together. Okay--cupcakes are cooled, sugar is made--it's time to start decorating.

I tinted some vanilla icing green with my two green colors, and iced the top of my 6 jumbo cupcakes. I love mixing these two colors when I do leaves and vines on cakes. They give just the right green when I do.

I tried 3 different techniques on the tops to see what I liked the best.

1. I rolled the frosted green top in the green sugar that was the combo of the two green colors. It gave a sort of speckled top. Not quite the watermelon look I wanted, so I moved on to my next idea.

2. I placed strips of waxed paper on top of the cupcake like below and rolled the top in the juniper green sugar. Then I removed the waxed paper and rolled the entire top in the leaf green sugar. This was a lot better than attempt #1, but I kept wishing it was the decorating sugar. It would have been much more sparkly I think.

3. Attempt #3 was my favorite. I took some of the leaf green food color paste, mixed it with a tiny bit of water, and painted lines directly on my green frosting. You can be the judge yourself. Which do you like best?

Next thing was what to do with the mini-ball halves. Why not frost them like the cupcakes, and then slice them into watermelon slices to put around the cupcakes? That's what I attempted. First I needed to level the bottoms of the half balls.

Then icing and painting or dipping in sugar (I only did #2 and #3 way). Definitely more difficult than the cupcakes. It was harder to hold on to the half balls when the entire top was iced, then cutting them in slices was also a challenge. I had to kind of smush the knife threw them, so they weren't as clean-looking as I had hoped, but still cute.

With that done it's plating time. First the sugar top ones (cute, but just wait, I love the next one so much more):

Yep, this is definitely my favorite. They just make me happy. And of course, I had to add a little tribute to Mickey.
I hope this helps, Nicky. And maybe someone else out there enjoyed my little experimentation with watermelon cupcakes. Next time maybe I'll try cookies . . . I already have a few ideas for some watermelon ones I want to try.

and if anyone is wondering what happened to the 6 mini-cupcakes that were baked . . . well, a decorater needs some nourishment while she works!


  1. So cute Robyn!!! I'm still not sure if I can pull off the watermelon cupcakes, but boy that "brownie" looks awesome!!! I'll let you know how mine turnout. I love you!!

  2. Ok you don't know me. I found your blog by doing a google search for "Robyn Larson" which is my name too. When I saw some pictures of amazing cakes I was intrigued and had to see more. You see, I dabble a little in cake decorating too (although I'm far behind your skill level!). Your cakes are so fabulous! And by some of your comments it seems like we might also share a belief in the LDS faith? Small world. :) I just wanted to introduce myself. I hope you don't mind if I come back and check out your beautiful cakes from time to time. :)