I'm deep in the trenches: sprinkles flying at my face, frosting smeared up to my elbows, dried batter caked on every surface. No, I'm not on the set of Cupcake Wars (though producers should feel free to contact me; I'll bring my A-game).
I'm in the middle of Cupcake Capers.
Cupcake Capers is a 5-day camp where I teach campers to bake, fill, and frost cupcakes. You have to admit, cupcake camp beats pup tents and mosquitoes.
Each year at Cupcake Capers, I'm unsurprised by how much kids love cupcakes, oreos, chocolate chips, whipped cream, and sprinkles. That's normal. I am surprised, however, by how weird kids are. I should probably be used to this by now -- after all, I'm a middle school teacher -- but I'm still continually impressed.
Last year, if you'll remember, two of my kiddos created a pet powdered sugar pile. They religiously guarded it, giving it a wide berth when wiping the counters. They used their fingers to scrawl threatening messages to anyone who dared clean it up. They drew a little face on it à la Tom Hanks's friend Wilson in the movie Castaway.
There weren't any powdered sugar piles this year, but there was still plenty of weirdness. This time around it all started with an egg and a sharpie. One of my campers was intent on using said marker to give "Mr. Egg" a face. Despite her pleading, I wouldn't let her do so before we cracked it for sanitary reasons . . . so she gave the empty eggshell a face afterwards, instead. A surprised face, naturally, because he was shocked at having been split open so unceremoniously.
This was strange enough, but the next day she and her friend showed up to cupcake camp with Mr. and Mrs. Lemon. You can probably guess that these were two lemons with faces drawn on in sharpie. Mrs. Lemon has a bow. Oh, but you're probably pronouncing their names wrong: it's lem-OHN, with a French accent.
Yeah. These kids are strange.
Strange in the best way, though. So far (besides indulging in their food anthropomorphization), we've made Fauxstess Cupcakes, Creamsicle Cupcakes, Cookie Dough Cupcakes, and Red Velvet Cupcakes. The campers are baking fiends! Every day they get tons better at mixing, filling, and piping frosting onto cupcakes.
Today we also tried something a little different. With our extra time, we made some cupFAKES. Cupfakes are just cupcakes that aren't actually made of cake. I make several savory versions, but this cupfake was a dessert treat. We used a regular Rice Cereal Treat recipe molded into a cupcake pan to make little cupfakes that we "frosted" with spray whipped cream and topped with sprinkles. Instead of rice cereal, we used fruity varieties: Fruity Pebbles and Cap'N Crunch's Oops! All Berries.
Apart from being adorable and extremely easy, I was shocked at how flippin' awesome these things taste! The fruity cereal treats and whipped cream are pretty insane together. After we're finished, you know, decorating oranges or whatever the heck the kids come up with tomorrow, I know they're gonna love chowing down on these!
What weird things did you play with as a kid? What weird things have your kids made into toys?
Easy Fruity Cereal Treat Cupfakes
Recipe by: Adapted from Kellogg’s
Yield: about 10-11 cupfakes
These no-bake treats are super quick, easy, and CUTE! Best of all, they are so, so tasty. They would make sweet little birthday "cakes" for a colorful party.
1/4 cup butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows or 1 package (10 oz) large marshmallows
4 cups fruity cereal (I used 2 cups of Fruity Pebbles and 2 cups of Cap'N Crunch's Oops! All Berries)
whipped cream for "frosting"
Line a cupcake pan with plastic wrap (press it down into each well) and spray it with cooking spray. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the marshmallows until they're completely melted and then remove the pan from the heat. Add the cereal and stir (I use a spoon coated in cooking spray) until the cereal is completely coated. Spoon a big glob into each cupcake well. Use a sheet of wax paper to press the mixture down and mold it into each well. Let it cool completely.
Remove each "cupfake" and "frost" it with whipped cream. Top with sprinkles. Serve in cupcake papers if you wish! You can store unfrosted cupfakes for two days in an airtight container or in the freezer (separated by wax paper) for up to 6 weeks.