When three of my son’s friends recently held a joint 8th birthday party, the mums were kind enough to ask me to make some cupcakes for the take home cake. The party had a spy theme so it was requested that the cupcakes did too.
I have to admit that I really struggled with this one! I spent hours looking for inspiration on the internet and discovered that the spy theme for cakes is quite limited! Unless you are an artist and can faithfully reproduce James Bond and guns, most people had opted for printed cupcake toppers or magnifying glasses. I didn’t really think a gun was suitable topper for a kids’ party and my attempts at making magnifying glasses don’t bear sharing.
Spies like grey and black, manila envelopes and trench coats.
So eventually I decided that in order to get a bit of colour into the design I needed to use the James Bond red and black. And because my artistic skills are quite limited, after various experiments I realised that the Top Secret file was probably at the limit of my capabilities. I made toppers for the cakes by cutting out circles of black sugarpaste and putting little rectangles of red sugarpaste on top. I left them to dry for several days before writing on them with an edible ink pen.
Normally I like to make contrasting vanilla and chocolate cupcakes but if I had topped red circles with black files for the chocolate ones, I doubted that the “Top Secret” would have shown up properly, even with a red pen. So I grudgingly did them all with black bases.
At this stage I still wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to decorate the cupcakes. I wanted them to be “interesting” and as eye-catching as possible given the theme. I decided the toppers had to go on flat but I thought that was a bit boring, plus they said “Top Secret” but there wasn’t a secret! So I thought maybe I could hide a “jewel” underneath and use a jelly diamond or some sort of sweet for that.
When I went shopping for suitable sweets I found Jelly Babies. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?! Secret Agent Jelly Babies.
My friend Jo had given me a cupcake plunger that you use for hollowing out cupcakes so you can fill them with icing or jam and this turned out to be the perfect implement for making a little hollow in the top of the cupcake where the Jelly Baby Secret Agent could hide. A swirl of icing round the sides and some sprinkles made the perfect base for the topper to lie on.
So finally I felt that I had a cupcake the kids would like. I did vanilla ones with red cases and chocolate ones with black cases. Usually when I make cupcakes I think the chocolate ones look better, particularly if there are bright sprinkles involved, but this time I think the vanilla ones won.
Not nearly enough sprinkles or glitter for my tastes but they still beat a manila envelope and trench coat!
So Happy 8th Birthday to Tano, Shrey and Nicholas, and thank you to Vana, Shenny and Sharon for letting me loose on the cupcakes.