Today I decided to test out an idea for a birthday party I'm helping a friend out with. WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS... I said I'd bring jungle-themed alternate birthday cake (there will be a store cake present) and wanted to make sure I wasn't going to show up with something too tacky. Nothing wrong with a little test bake, as far as I'm concerned!
The original request had been for me to do a jungle-themed cake. However, as I don't have an airbrush or any working knowledge of rolling fondant, a little experimenting and research quickly illuminated the difference between "I like to bake stuff" and "I'm good at designing cakes." Let's just say I'm not about to show up with a big green glob of frosting with randomly-placed plastic jungle critters sliding all over the place any time soon...
So I worked out a compromise for jungle-themed cupcakes instead.
I just used white cake mix and cream cheese frosting, Betty Crocker style. For funness and coolosity, I put green food dye in the batter before baking the wee cakes - there's mah jungle! For the icing, I used Ms. Crocker's cream cheese frosting, and made my colored accent frosting using powdered sugar, water, and food coloring. If you must know, to achieve an acceptable shade of black you mix mostly blue and red food coloring with a little less green and yellow. Or you buy it. Like I'm going to next time.
I googled "leopard print frosting" and "zebra stripes frosting," looked at a bunch of photos, and got to painting. The patterns were easy and looked pretty cool (I like the use of unexpected colors instead of brown and yellow and black), and to add a little extra bling I dyed some sugar and sprinkled it over top of the designs. See my little sketches? That's how advanced I am.
The taste testers were local hooligans Julie and Phoenix, and they thought that (a) The frosting looked cool, (b) The green cake part was also cool, and (c) The cupcakes were tasting good. So Project Cupcake has a 100% Kid Approval Rating, based on positive reviews from both testees, who were representative of their overall demographic. That's statistics for ya.