Jack is very special to me. He is the son of two of our best friends, Jon and Laryn. Laryn and I joke that I have probably seen Jack at least once every week of his life so far, besides the week they vacationed to Minnesota :) Jack is like a nephew to me, infact I believe my name is aunt Dan hahaha. Since this little guy is so special to me, when Laryn decided his 1st birthday party theme would be beach and turtles, I decided I had to make a special cake for him. Laryn decided cupcakes would be the best, since it was a party for a 1 year old and many of his friends are 5 and under. I decided that a vanilla cake would be best, it's not too complex and it pretty much suites everyone's taste. For the frosting I used a simple white vanilla frosting and used blue food coloring to create the blue ocean. The tops of the cupcakes are coated with a light layer of blue frosting and for the sand I sprinkled crushed graham cracker crumbs. For each small cupcake I simply used green food coloring to dye the batter green and used a mini cupcake pan to create the shells. Once those were cooled, I quickly piped the turtles shells to add texture and placed them on top of each cupcake. Then I added the turtle's head, legs and tail to each shell. With a very fine frosting tip I added eyes to each turtle, to bring each one to life.
For the BIG cupcake, Laryn bought one of those giant cupcake molds from the store. I only used the base and I had to spray a good coat of non-stick spray to the pan to make sure it didn't stick when removing it from the pan. The instructions say to cook for 75 minutes but my advice to anyone using these big pans is to keep an eye on it and test it periodically while it is in the oven. The inside of the giant cupcake is what takes the longest. Though the cupcake will appear to be browning on the outside, the inside may still be very wet. Also, another word of advice, leave room for the cupcake to expand. I actually didn't realize how much it does expand and placed the cupcake on the center tray in the oven. The cupcake rose so much it hit the tray on top...yep had to start over.
The decorations for the big cupcake follow the same guidelines as the small ones, however, in order to create the big turtle shell I had to use a small ceramic round dish because the regular cupcake pans were too small in size for the giant cupcake. When baking the turtle shells, simply pour a small amount of batter on the bottom of the dish, enough to layer the bottom, and bake at 350 until the cake is cook throughout. I can't give you a time-frame, just test with a toothpick.
The cupcakes seemed to be a hit. From the looks of the kids when they got through eating them, I'd say they enjoyed eating their turtle cupcakes. So many of them had little blue frosting mustaches, SO CUTE! In fact, after this party, I was offered another baking job for a 4 month's old baptism. Pictures of that to follow...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACK JACK!