How to Decorate Thanksgiving Cupcakes

Making Thanksgiving cupcakes is an excellent way to kick off the holiday. Since cupcakes are much more fun than pie, children love them, and since cupcakes are far less messy than cake, parents love them, too! And while eating a cupcake is a great treat for a child, being allowed to help frost Thanksgiving cupcakes is perhaps an even bigger treat.

Thanksgiving Cupcakes
When making Thanksgiving cupcakes the two most important ingredients required are a healthy imagination and plenty of frosting. Here are just a few ideas that come to mind.

  • Frost the cupcakes with fall colors.
  • Add a teeny tiny cornucopia (use a Bugle corn chip) with teeny tiny fruit candies spilling out of it.
  • Create a flower by making peaks in the frosting with the back of a spoon. When the frosting has all been peaked place a small, round, yellow candy at the very center of the frosting. The cupcake will look like a Dahlia in full bloom.
  • Stencil leaves on the top of each cupcake with colored sugar.
  • Decorate the cupcakes with several autumn leaves that have been cut out of pie crust dough, painted in autumn colors, and then baked. Autumn leaves can be made with small leaf-shaped cookie cutters.
  • Create a turkey on the cupcake with candy corn or slivered almonds.

Fall Colors and Cookie Cutters
Thanksgiving cupcakes should be special. Use food coloring to create shades of deep red, rustic orange, mustard yellow, lime green, and mocha brown. These colors should resemble the color of autumn leaves. Display the cupcakes in a cupcake tower, making sure the colors are scattered throughout.

If you want to take this idea one step farther, use a tiny leaf-shaped cookie cutter and appropriately colored fondant. Overlap the fondant leaves on the top of every other cupcake.

To stencil autumn leaves onto your Thanksgiving cupcakes, you?'ll first want to frost the cupcakes. Hold the stencil over the top of each frosted cupcake. Avoid touching the stencil to the frosting. When your stencil is in place, pour colored crystallized sugar over the stencil to create the leaf pattern. Some people prefer to set a small cookie cutter right on the frosting and then carefully pour the sugar into the cookie cutter. Doing it this way is only wise if you have a steady hand. The two problems that come up when stenciling in this manner are:

  • making sure sugar doesn?'t spill outside of the cookie cutter
  • ruining the leaf pattern when you lift the cookie cutter

A better way of placing leaves on the cupcakes without either getting sugar on the frosting or destroying the design is to use leaves made out of pie crust dough.

Pie Crust Leaves
Pie crust leaves are tempting morsels that will bring both the taste and look of fall to your Thanksgiving cupcakes. Using the same tiny leaf-shaped cookie cutter, roll out pie crust dough and cut out as many leaves as you can. Remove the leaves and place them on a cookie sheet. Before baking, however, paint them in autumn colors.

Make your paint out of egg yolks and food coloring. Break an egg?toss the shell and save the egg white for tomorrow?'s breakfast. Place the egg yolk into a small cup and add about ¼ teaspoon of water and about 4-5 drops of food coloring to the mix. If you?'re making a lot of leaves, you may want to use 1 egg yolk for each color. Stir the paint with the end of a clean paintbrush?the kind an artist would use. When the egg yolk has reached the desired color, use the paintbrush to apply a thick layer of egg yolk paint to each leaf, sprinkle with white sugar, and bake. Depending on how thick your pie crust dough is, baking the leaves at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 5-10 minutes should be sufficient. Check the oven often so that the leaves do not burn. Arrange 2 or 3 leaves on each cupcake.

Turkey Cupcakes
Thanksgiving cupcakes that will get the most compliments will be cupcakes that have morphed into turkeys. To turn a cupcake into a turkey, you?'ll need a few supplies.

  • 24 cupcakes
  • chocolate frosting
  • chocolate candy to melt
  • red food coloring
  • white frosting
  • candy eyes
  • candy corn
  • slivered almonds

Cover 18 cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Smash the remaining cupcakes in a large bowl. Add frosting to the cupcake crumbs until you have a consistence that will hold together. Roll the crumbs into balls that are about the size of a quarter. These balls will be used as turkey heads. Place the balls in the refrigerator to harden. After about 30 minutes, remove the balls from the fridge and dip them in melted chocolate. The chocolate will seal the chocolate balls and give them a hard shiny surface. Place 1 chocolate ball on each cupcake.

Use candy eyes and red food coloring to dye the white frosting red for the waddle. Use a tiny bit of chocolate frosting to secure 1 candy corn to the front of the chocolate ball to represent the turkey?'s beak. To make tail feathers, insert 7 candy corns or slivered almonds?point side down for candy, point side up for almonds?opposite the turkey?'s head. Create the curve of the tail feathers with two rows?: four on the outside row and three on the inside row.

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