However, it's hard to find flat lollipops, and I picked up some Dum-Dums-shaped Airhead ones. I also found bright, funky nonpareils from Betty Crocker (Selects Sugar Decors) at Publix. I made three frosting colors: pink, green, and blue. Pairing the pink and orange nonpareils with the pink frosting; the green and yellow with the yellow frosting; and the blue and purple with the blue frosting made them really pop with color.
The kids went a little nuts when I brought them into the classroom. It may have been the vibrant colors, or maybe it was the prospect of (as one boy said), "It's like, cake - but with candy ON TOP!".
I used Martha Stewart's chocolate cupcake recipe and doubled it. I'm so happy with this recipe - the cupcakes are more like pound cake and are sturdy for transporting and decorating. And they taste good, too. The frosting is basic buttercream.
Spring Cupcakes (note: I doubled this recipe to make 24)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Green Fruit-by-the-Foot, cut into small leaf shapes
Buttercream Frosting, dyed green, blue, and pink (recipe below)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
2.Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
3.Pour batter into cups, filling each just under the rim of the paper liner. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
4.Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with frosting using a table knife or small offset spatula. To decorate with sprinkles, put sprinkles in a small bowl and invert frosted cupcakes into the bowl, covering the sides and then the middle.
5. Unwrap lollipops and push into the center. Attach green leaves with frosting.
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.