Sunday, January 24, 2016

How to train your toddler: Dragon themed cupcakes for Millie's Birthday Party.

Millie has a birthday coming up. Some of you may remember my strong cupcake game from last year, which unfortunately has backfired, since Millie is expecting an elaborate theme again this year. Luckily, this weekend during Millie's nap, I had an amazing brain wave.
how to train your dragon toothless cupcakes toddler birthday party
For those of you who have never seen "How to train your dragon," it's a movie that all toddlers love.  It's about a gangly teenage viking exploring his various career opportunities, and discovering that dragon training is his most marketable skill.  The viking community where he lives has a weird thing for sheep, which are used in their strange, airborne version of viking Quiddich, which provides much comic relief to the movie and its sequel.

"Toothless" is the name of the coolest dragon of all, and he looks like this:

The best thing about making these cupcakes it that anyone can do it.  I know some cute cupcake ideas require a certain level of expertise with frosting.  These do not.  The only thing you will need to do with frosting is to slather it vaguely in the direction of your cupcakes, and also squirt it from a ziplock bag directly into your mouth. Here is how you can get started:

Bake some cupcakes.
The first thing you should do, is bake some chocolate cupcakes.  You can make these from scratch, or go out and buy a box mix.  I don't care. In fact, if you choose to buy some mix from a box, I will swear to everyone that you made them from scratch, using sustainably harvested cocoa powder and agave nectar, because that's the kind of loyal, trustworthy internet friend I am.

Gather your materials.
While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, gather your materials for decorating.

You will need:
1. White frosting (you can make or buy this)
2. Food coloring (I use the "neon" colors, because the results are so bright!)
4. Graham crackers
5. Mini-marshmallows
6. Chocolate chips (two sizes, normal, and "mini")
7. A few plastic sandwich or ziploc bags
8. (optional) A nail file to shape the cookies (buy a new one, don't use the one from your bathroom, nasties :)!)

DIY party cupcakes

Color the frosting:
Get three small ziploc or sandwich bags.

  • In the first bag, put two small drops of plain green (neon) food dye into the bag on top of the frosting.  Squish the frosting inside the bag until the green is all mixed in (note: if you feel more comfortable, you can mix the dye in outside of the bag, I just do it this way because dishwashing is for suckers.) This color will be your light green.
  • In a second bag, repeat this process, but put an extra drop of blue dye in with the green.  This will be your dark green. 
  • In a third bag, scoop some plain white frosting. 
  • In all three bags, snip the corner off of the ziplock bag.  You've now created your professional cake decorating tools!

To make Toothless:
Start with a plain chocolate cupcake.  I didn't put any icing on this, because the un-frosted cupcake looked "scalier" and it was also healthy (it's the agave nectar!) I pulled two halves of a normal oreo in half, scraped the frosting off the back with a nail file, and broke it in half to get started with the ears/horns.
Ok, so I know the nile file thing is weird.  Someone had just given us a new "nail tending kit" for christmas, and since I"m about as likely to tend to my cuticles as the viking king, Stoic the Vast, I decided to put these tools to good use. For me, it really helped shave the cookies into exactly the shapes I wanted them.
Once the cupcakes cooled off a bit, the top became a little crusty, and  it helped to cut slits int he top of the cupcake where the oreo bits would go. 
I ate a massive amount of oreos in the creation of these cupcakes.  I'm sure you will too, so take some of the shrapnel, and stick it in the top, to a make a ridge like the one Toothless has. 

Start with he dark green, and make vaguely oval eyes.  These do not have to perfectly smooth. 
Haha! Look at those eyes.  They look awful. 

Next, put in a layer of the light green over top of the dark green.  Make sure you leave a little of the dark green peeking out of the sides. 
See! I told you that you don't have to be a professional cake decorator! So far, this cupcake looks terrible. Now comes the best part.  Get two of the chocolate chips (the regular size, not the minis,) and  stick them on.
Voila! All of the sudden, your cupcake looks 100% less shitty than it did!  I found that making Toothless vaguely cross-eyed gave the most realistic/cutest effect.

To make the Sheep:

Slather white frosting all over a cupcake. At this point, you should probably also have some frosting for yourself.
Get a rectangular section of graham cracker.  Round out the edges with the nail file.
Break some pieces of graham cracker and carve out some little ears.  These can look bad-- don't sweat it. 
Stick 3 marshmallows on each side, and 2 along the top, leaving space for the terrible little ears you made. 
See, I told you the ears would look ok. 

Using the bag of white frosting, make two large dots for the eyes. 

And then add two smaller dots for the nostrils. 
Yep. It's pretty simple. 
sheep cupcake how to train your dragon party
For the finishing touch, add two mini chocolate chips for the eyes.  Then, take a celebratory swig of frosting, because that sheep looks GOOD. 

Are you feeling smug?  I think you should be, because when your toddler wakes up from her nap, she is going to FREAK OUT.

I hope you enjoyed making these cupcakes, which will trick everyone into thinking you are the Michael Phelps of cupcake making.  (Tip: do not let actual Michael Phelps near these cupcakes, he will eat them all.) I'm a pretty proud of them, but I'm also starting to get nervous about raising the bar for next year's birthday party. Luckily, that's a year away, and for now, I've got about three ziploc baggies of leftover frosting calling my name...


  1. This is awesome! Three years ago I made Isaac an Iron Man cake that rocked. The next year Spider-Man that was even more impressive. This year I told him to let it go. Lol -Cherilyn

    1. Ahh! I want to see them. Cakes elude me-- all that frosting work. Cupcakes are more forgiving!

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  3. Those cupcakes are easy to make and also looking super delicious at the same time. I am also going to plan a small party at best LA venue. Can you help me with few party planning ideas to make my party look customized but trendy at the same time.