Chinese Takeout Cupcakes

House Special: Pork Lo Mein and Vegetarian Fried Rice. The kids will love this broccoli: green fruit chews with green frosting and nonpareils on a pile of lo mein noodles made of frosting squeezed from a ziplock bag. Serve fried rice on the side: puffed rice cereal tossed with fruit chews and jelly beans.

2010 What's New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Chinese Takeout Cupcakes

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    Ingredients

    6 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners, for lo mein 6 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners, for fried rice
    6-8 green fruit chews (Jolly Rancher, Laffy Taffy) 2 tablespoons small light green jelly beans (Jelly Belly)
    3 pink fruit chews (Jolly Rancher, Starburst, Laffy Taffy) 4 orange fruit chews (Tootsie Fruit Rolls)
    1 1/2 cups canned vanilla frosting, for lo mein 3 yellow fruit chews (Tootsie Fruit Rolls, Starburst)
    Green and yellow food coloring 1 1/4 cups puffed rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
    1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey's), for lo mein 1 1/4 cups canned vanilla frosting, for fried rice
    1/2 cup dark green sprinkles 1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for fried rice
    1 strand green licorice twist (Twizzlers Rainbow Twists), thinly sliced diagonally, for lo mein 2 strands green licorice twists (Twizzlers Rainbow Twists), thinly sliced diagonally, for fried rice
    Large Chinese food take-out containers (optional) 2 tablespoons chocolate sauce (optional)

    directions

    Prep: 15 min Total: 60 min
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    • 1

      For the Lo Mein: Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. For the broccoli stems, make a lengthwise slit halfway down the center of each green fruit chew and open slightly. Place the stems on the prepared cookie sheet. Microwave the pink fruit chews for 2 to 3 seconds to soften. Press the pink fruit chews together and roll out into a 2-by-3-inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. For the pork slivers, cut the flattened fruit chew rectangle crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips.

    • 2

      Tint 1/2 cup of the vanilla frosting bright green with the green food coloring, spoon the frosting into a ziplock bag, press out the excess air, and seal. Tint 2 teaspoons of the remaining vanilla frosting with 1/2 teaspoon of the cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon water and mix to make a smooth brown paste. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting light brown with 1 drop of yellow food coloring and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder. Spread the darker brown paste down the side of a ziplock bag and then fill in with the light brown frosting. Press out the excess air and seal.

    • 3

      Place the green sprinkles in a small bowl. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the green frosting. For the broccoli florets, pipe mounds of frosting on the tips of the split ends of the green fruit chews on the cookie sheet. Holding the broccoli by the stem, press the frosted end lightly into the sprinkles to cover completely; return to the cookie sheet.

    • 4

      Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the brown frosting. To make the lo mein noodles, pipe the frosting in an irregular pattern all over the cupcakes, piling it high and letting it hang over the edges (the darker brown frosting will look like soy sauce). Arrange the pink fruit chew pork slivers randomly on top of the cupcakes. Add one or two pieces of broccoli on top. For scallions, scatter a few green licorice slices on top of the cupcakes.

    • 5

      For the Fried Rice: For the peas, cut the green jelly beans in half crosswise with a small knife or clean scissors. For the carrots, cut the orange fruit chews into 1/4-inch cubes. For the scrambled egg, cut the yellow fruit chews into small strips and pinch to soften the sharp edges. For the rice, place the rice cereal in a medium bowl.

    • 6

      Tint the vanilla frosting pale beige with the cocoa powder. Spread the tops of the cupcakes with a thin layer of frosting; use about 1/2 cup of the frosting. Heat the remaining 3/4 cup frosting in a small microwavable bowl in the microwave until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 15 seconds. Pour the heated frosting over the cereal, tossing to coat evenly. Reserve a few of the cut jelly beans and fruit chews for finishing and toss the rest with the cereal mixture. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the cereal mixture on top of each frosted cupcake, pressing down to secure. Arrange the reserved candy pieces on top of the cupcakes. For the scallions, scatter a few licorice pieces on top.

    • 7

      Carefully place the cupcakes in large Chinese take-out containers, if using.

    • 8

      For the soy sauce, pour the chocolate sauce into a small dish, if desired.

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