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18-36 Months: Eating with the Family - Your Sociable Child (part 3) - Cupcake Caterpillar

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Cupcake Caterpillar

Here’s a fun and easy idea for a second or third birthday party. You can expand your caterpillar according to the number of guests at your party, and decorate it however you like.

11/2 hours

20 minutes

NOTE

Cuts into 12–24 portions

Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup softened unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3 eggs, at room temperature

  • 11/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 11/4 cups self-rising flour

  • Pinch of salt

Buttercream frosting

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • Red, dark green, light green, and yellow food coloring

Decoration

  • Thin black licorice lace

  • 1 black licorice ball

  • 1 mini-marshmallow

  • 2 silver balls

  • 6–8 mini-chocolate cake rolls

  • Colored candies and jelly beans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 small muffin or cupcake pans with paper cases.

  2. To make the cupcakes, mix together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until just combined. Divide among the paper cases. Bake until risen and golden and the center springs back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans briefly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  3. To make the buttercream, beat the butter until pale, then beat in the sugar a little at a time, followed by the vanilla. The frosting should be spreadable; add 1–2 tbsp milk if needed. Scoop a rounded tablespoon of the frosting into a small bowl and color it red. Color half of the remaining frosting dark green and the rest light green.

  4. To make the head, frost one of the cupcakes with the red buttercream. Cut two antennae from the licorice lace and a nose from the licorice ball. For the eyes, cut a mini-marshmallow in half and color the cut side with a toothpick dipped in yellow food coloring. Add a silver ball to the center. Position the antennae, nose, and eyes on the head and add a mouth in licorice lace. Leave to set.

  5. Frost half of the remaining cupcakes with dark green buttercream and half with light green buttercream. Put a line of chocolate cake rolls along the bottom of a large board (such as a cutting board covered in foil) to make a tree branch. Position the cupcakes to resemble a caterpillar walking along the branch. Make markings on the caterpillar’s back with colored candies, jelly beans, or thin strips of licorice, sticking them into the buttercream at angles. If you like, add red jelly beans for the caterpillar’s feet.

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