Beach Themed Cupcakes

This past Saturday my husband and I went to a going away party for a friend of ours that left early this morning for a two month trip to Costa Rica. She and another friend of hers will be taking an intensive Spanish course for part of the time and traveling around Costa Rica and Panama before finishing up the last week of their trip in Los Angeles. So since she loves my cupcakes, she asked if I could make some for the party. As soon as she asked me I thought of making a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream icing and decorating them to resemble the beach and the ocean in honor of her trip. It took me a few stores to track down the little cocktail umbrellas and the gummi sharks, but alas I found them. I have included a link below to the site where I found a delicious recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes, and this is my go to site for baking by the way. I did not use their recipe for buttercream as I find a fifty fifty mix of butter and vegetable shortening better personally, so that is the second link below.

Once my two dozen cupcakes were baked and cooled and the frosting had been whipped up and half of it tinted blue I got to work on decorating. I only use gel food coloring by the way, I find the colors are more vibrant, you dont get that awful food coloring taste and it doesnt water down the frosting. Keep in mind though that a little goes a very long way. I usually just dip a toothpick in the food coloring to transfer a very small amount to the frosting, also with blue you dont want to go overboard because no one wants blue teeth. lol I then frosted a dozen with the white frosting and a the other dozen with the blue. Next I topped each of the blue cupcakes with one shark gummi. For the beach cupcakes I poured some granulated light brown sugar, the brown sugar in Germany isnt moist like it is in North America, into a bowl. You could also try mixing brown sugar white white to achieve a less moist consistency or you can use ground almonds instead. I then dipped each of the white cupcakes into the brown sugar and rolled them to cover completely just after frosting so that the brown sugar would stick. All that was left to do was top each one with a little cocktail umbrella, simple enough. I have also seen these done with Life Saver inner tubes topped with Teddy Graham sun bathers, but sadly I dont have access to these products here. You could also add some chocolate sea shells or whatever else you come across. Just use your imagination in the candy aisle and baking aisle in your grocery store and get creative!

Vanilla Cupcakes

Buttercream Frosting (I only made a quarter of this recipe & sifted my powdered sugar.)

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*Pic is mine, please do not use without my permission.

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