Decorating Cupcakes with Kids with Less Mess

You’ve done baking with kids before, right?  You know how messy a normal (sans-kids) baking session can be.  Crumbs, ingredients all over the counter, semi-burned crispy-ness on the cookie sheet…It’s fun 😉
Add kids to the scene, and baking can be an all-out kitchen destroyer!  You’ve got spills, fingerprints, and the inevitable, “I want a grilled cheese sandwich!” in the middle of a mixer bowl-filled, chocolate chip, broken egg shell war zone.
BUT, we are big suckers for sweets and our little sweeties love to create in the kitchen…so we get the damp wash cloths ready, pull up the kitchen stools, and brace ourselves for sure-thing messiness.  This cupcake decorating session came about one snow day recently when the weather outside was somewhere around a high of 2 degrees F and we were going no where near the outdoors.  We needed something to keep the kids occupied and having fun.  Baking cupcakes was it!
Our cupcake decorating turned out to be pretty low key and not so bad stickiness-wise with just a few easy tips.
Contain the mess when decorating cupcakes by putting different colored icings into muffin tin sections.

Tips for Decorating Cupcakes with Kids

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To make our cupcakes, Big Sister and I scrolled over our “Sweets” Pinterest board and found this yummy perfect vanilla cupcake recipe.  We made the cupcakes with our pretty cupcake liners.  (Is there anything kids love more than putting cupcake liners into the tin!!?)  We made the cupcakes with just a couple of spills, only one dropped egg, and just a few sneaks of flour.  (My kids LOVE to swipe flour…tell me yours do this too???)  It was a success, mess-wise 😉
decorating cupcakes with icing
We waited for our cupcakes to cool…and this is the haaaaaaardest part of decorating cupcakes.  It takes for-EVER for those cupcakes to cool when little fingers can not wait to get started!  The icing recipe from the same post above turned out to be pretty good, although we only made half of the recipe and it was way more than enough.  Just a note if you use that recipe:  Caster sugar=granulated sugar and icing sugar=powdered sugar.  Good to know and something new I learned!
Before decorating, I threw down a disposable tablecloth to catch all of the inevitable crumbs and icing smears.  Watch for after-holiday clearance sales on these table decorations…You can get cheap-o table cloths for cents at 90% off sales.  And a red Christmas table cloth is the perfect Valentine’s Day table décor.  Shhhhh, we won’t tell! 😉
Use a muffin tin to contain the icing when decorating cupcakes with kids.

Now comes the fun part!  Separating the icing colors  into the cups of the muffin tin
made decorating a breeze with the kids.  They used a different
infant spoon
for each color of icing and that kept the kids from dropping sticky spoons all over the floor.  A few of the sections of the muffin pan held sprinkles and a couple of other decorations for our cupcakes.  We LOVE
gel food coloring
for icings on cookies and cakes, and even for coloring homemade play dough.  The colors are so vivid and our cupcakes showed it!

When you mix your colors, do it right in the muffin tin.  Slap some plain icing into each section of the muffin tin, add your food coloring, and stir right there in the tin.  No extra bowls=perfection!

A great Valentine's Day playdate idea! Decorate cupcakes!

Putting the icing all into one muffin tin makes for easy(-ER…easier, not easy when the kitchen is now covered in a sugar and crumb coating) clean up.  You don’t need to wash a ton of tiny icing bowls.  Grab up that table cloth and you are mostly cleaned up. 

We had a great time with our cupcake decorating session and only a slight sugar rush.  Hopefully you’ll find some of our tips easy to use and will jump in with both feet and not stress the mess.  Hey, at least you end up with cupcakes to go with your sugar encrusted kitchen!


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