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Sunflower Cupcakes

One of our family traditions is to celebrate our children's half birthdays.  We don't go all out as we would for the actual, big day, though we do make a special cake and sing "Happy Half Birthday".  This weekend we are celebrating my daughter's 7 1/2 birthday.  She had requested these Sunflower Cupcakes I had made for her birthday a couple of years ago.  I was so happy with these, and thought it would be fun to make them again.

Aren't they cute?  Let me again stress... I love to cook and bake, though I am not an expert in this department.  I had made these with the instructions found in the amazing cupcake book, Hello Cupcake, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.  They were so easy to make, even for a wanna-be pastry queen like myself!

This time, however, I had to do from memory.  I wasn't as happy with the end result as I was in the image above, but they did turn out cute.  The main problem, I believe, was that I chose the wrong frosting for the flowers this time.  I made buttercream frosting from scratch.  Perhaps not the best choice?  Or... perhaps I was too eager and made it from butter not fully at room temperature, so it didn't turn out nice and smooth like it should?  Ack... you tell me!  Oh well... the kids won't care.

My ingredients this time:
-  Chocolate Cake Mix (prepared 18 cupcakes)
-  Oreo Cookies
-  Mini Oreo Cookies
-  Store-Bought Buttercream Frosting
-  Chocolate Chips
-  Red M&M's
-  Food Coloring (Red, Yellow and Green... not shown)
-  Piping Bag and Leaf Tip (though the first time I made these I used a Ziploc bag that I had cut the end off of... worked perfectly fine.
-  Frosting for the Flowers (I prepared butter cream from scratch... not sure if that was the best choice)

** This time I believe I made smaller cupcakes (so less room for flowers on top), and omitted the green leaves from fruit roll-ups.  They were a pain to mess with, I thought.

Another note - Do not do these too far ahead of time.  I found that the frosting caused the Oreo cookies to get soggy when left to sit for too long.


1)  Prepare your cupcakes, and let them completely cool.

2)  Make your lady bugs!  I melted some chocolate chips in a glass dish, 30 seconds at a time on medium heat, stirring well in between.  Then, using a toothpick, I carefully drew the chocolate onto the M&M's.

 3)  Color some frosting green to be used as the base of your cupcakes.  This is where I used the store-bought frosting.

4)  Generously frost your cupcake tops.

5)  Place an Oreo on each cupcake.

6)  Prepare your sunflower petal frosting.  Color it yellow, divide a portion of that into a smaller bowl to add some red... so you end up with an orange frosting as well. 

7)  Place your frostings into your piping bag (or a Ziploc bag).  If using a piping bag, select the tip for making leaves (it has a 'v' cut end).  Otherwise, you can cut a small 'v' out of the corner of your Ziploc bag.  I tried to place the orange on one side, and the yellow on the other so that it blended as I piped.
Another note... I found that the frosting would warm up after being held for a while, and the results weren't as nice.  I'd recommend using smaller portions of frosting at a time to avoid this.  You'll get nicer petals in the end.

 8)  Begin piping petals around the lower perimeter of each Oreo Cookie.  You might want to practice forming your leaves before getting started.

9)  Add a second row of petals above the first.  It looks best if you can add these between the petals on the first row.  I found that this time, I was inserting the tip into the "stuffed" part of the Oreo for my second row of petals.  If you notice the finished picture above, I may have done my first row here and the second row on top of the cookie.  Do whatever you think looks best.

10)  Add your Mini Oreos.  You'll likely have room for two of these on a regular cupcake.  I opted for one this time.

11)  Repeat Steps 8 and 9 for the Mini Oreos.

12)  Use a little frosting to secure your little lady bugs.

And.... Your cupcakes are complete!  Enjoy!!!

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