Whether you're heading down the rapids, diving in the surf, or planning a party at the wave pool, these big splashy cupcakes will keep things cool. Our vanilla wafer family paddles up a storm with their fruit chew flippers. And while the kids are over their heads in white water, Mom and Dad float along on chocolate doughnut inner tubes. Someone throw the kids a Life Saver!
What's New, Cupcake? By Karen Tack and Alan Richardson; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2010)
|8 vanilla cupcakes baked in blue paper liners||9 mini vanilla wafers|
|6 mini vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners||1 can (2 cups), plus 1 cup vanilla frosting|
|2 pink fruit chews (Jolly Rancher, Starburst, Laffy Taffy)||Yellow, red, and blue food coloring|
|1 yellow and 1 green fruit chew (Laffy Taffy)||1/4 cup canned chocolate frosting|
|3 tablespoons granulated sugar||4 chocolate-frosted doughnuts|
|7 candy spearmint leaves (Farley's)||1/2 cup chocolate-covered assorted nuts (Brach's Bridge Mix)|
|5 red gumdrops (Dots)||Blue cellophane for serving (optional)|
|1 green gumdrop (Dots)|
For the flippers, microwave the fruit chews for 2 to 3 seconds to soften. Roll out each fruit chew separately on a clean work surface to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut each fruit chew into two 1-by-2-inch triangles. For the zigzag ends of the flippers, use a pastry wheel or craft pinking scissors. Score one side of the fins with the back of a small knife to make ridges. For the reeds, sprinkle the work surface with the sugar and roll out the spearmint leaves to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the flattened spearmint leaves with clean scissors into zigzag grass shapes. For the bikini top, trim 1/4 inch from the flat end of 2 of the red gumdrops. For the beer bottle, cut a green gumdrop in half lengthwise, then cut a notch from each side at the rounded end.
For the arms, using a serrated knife, cut 1/4 inch from each side of 3 of the mini vanilla wafers. For the torsos, cut 1/8 inch on a diagonal from each side on the top edge of 3 more mini vanilla wafers, creating a tapered point at the top (you may need to adjust the size of the vanilla wafer depending on the size of the opening on your doughnut).
Tint 2 tablespoons of the vanilla frosting yellow and 2 tablespoons red with the food coloring. Spoon each color frosting into a separate small ziplock bag. Spoon the chocolate frosting into a small ziplock bag. Press out the excess air from the bags and seal. Spoon the remaining vanilla frosting into a bowl, tint with the blue food coloring, and stir slightly, leaving some of the white frosting unincorporated for white streaks.
Spoon a dollop of the white-streaked blue frosting on top of a cupcake. Spread the frosting to cover the top of the cupcake. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, gently pull the frosting in an upward motion to make spiky waves. Repeat to cover all of the cupcakes. For the inner tubes, arrange the chocolate doughnuts on top of 4 of the frosted standard cupcakes at different angles. Add some more blue frosting to create waves around the inner tubes. To some of the remaining standard and mini cupcakes, add the green spearmint reeds and use the chocolate-covered nuts as rocks, spacing them randomly on top of the remaining cupcakes. (Leave some of the cupcakes unadorned for the water.)
Place a torso vanilla wafer, pointed side up, in the center of a doughnut. Snip a very small (1/16-inch) corner from the bags with the chocolate, red, and yellow frostings. Pipe a dot of chocolate frosting on each side of the torso vanilla wafer near the top. Attach the vanilla wafer arms, cut side toward the center, on either side of the torso. Place a red gumdrop, flat side down, above the torso to support the head, add a drop of frosting to the gumdrop, and place a whole vanilla wafer for the head on top of the gumdrop, letting it rest on the torso. Repeat with 2 more of the chocolate doughnut cupcakes. Using the chocolate, red, and yellow frostings, pipe hair and features on the 3 vanilla wafer faces and torsos. For the woman tuber, pipe red frosting lines for the bikini straps and attach the trimmed red gumdrops, cut side down, to the frosting lines. For the man tuber, add a dot of frosting and attach the bottle at the end of one arm. Insert flippers at the base of the 3 doughnuts with vanilla wafers and add 2 flippers upright in the center of the remaining cupcake inner tube, using frosting to secure.
Arrange the cupcakes on a blue platter or on top of some blue cellophane to look like water, if desired.
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