Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday, Indeed: Mardi Gras Cupcakes, Cake, and Bundt

Perhaps because of the move, I've had a hard time feeling motivated to bake.  When I bake, I like to have everything I need at hand, and I guess I feel like I don't have everything I need yet.

Luckily for me, the kids I work with at the after school really enjoy baking and cooking (probably because it means they get to eat it afterwards).  Though we try to cook random [easy] things here and there, this week is the Boston Public's February vacation week and we had time to plan things out.

Considering that today was Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it seemed appropriate to do something Mardi Gras related.  I had recently learned about the King Cake at a Mardi Gras-themed event, and I thought it would be a cute thing to do with the kids.  Of course, with kids, it's even cuter with cupcakes.

I wish I had an actual delicious recipe at hand, but with kids sometimes the best thing to do is to have an already prepared cake mix.  I also wish I had an actual picture of the ginormous 5lb bag of yellow cake mix that the program happens to use.  It borders on the ridiculous.  Thus, we had a ridiculous amount of cake and cupcakes prepared.  That's 12 cupcakes, 1 8in pan, and 1 bundt cake's worth.
claiming my cupcake
not bad for a 5lb bag of cake mix
The one addition I added to make it relatively close to a King Cake was add a TBS of ground cinnamon.  Naturally, we topped the pastries with yellow, green, and purple sprinkles. 

Of course, I also added the little baby figurine as well.  Though each cake had only 1 baby figurine in it, I made sure that each cupcake had a baby figuring for each of the kids.
uh oh..feet first?
I made sure to stuff the figurine in each cupcake and frost it before they got to sprinkle their own.  I explained to the kids that there was a surprise in each of their cupcakes, so they had to be careful when they reached the center.  I also explained that the baby figurine was a symbol of luck. 

I believe that originally, there was a ring or a bean that was cooked in the cake.  But different variations and different religious connotations mixed in with the lore.  I'm assuming that the baby is related to the coming of Spring/Easter/Baby Jesus or whatever.  But luckily, the children didn't ask beyond the fact that it was considered lucky.

I also thought it would be cool to use the Mardi Gras beads in a different way from how they're usually associated.  The kids would get beads for being on good behavior - following directions, not being too rambunctious.  It worked pretty well, actually.

At the end of the day, the kids were asking about whether they deserved another set of beads, and some of them were holding on to the little baby figurine as well.

The cupcakes and cakes were also quite a hit among kids and staff, and fairly delicious for being a standard cake mix with the addition of cinnamon.
nothing left but crumbs and luck

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