But what about a sweet and delicious cupcake decorated to look like an apple?

Those are all cupcakes! Aren’t they darling? What’s even more amazing is that I decorated them myself! I think I’m on my way to building up some serious decorating skill, I’m going to keep challenging myself even more!

Oh, did you want to know how to make these adorable goodies too? That’s good, because I really wanted to show you how.

The first thing you can do is run out to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of “What’s New, Cupcake?” which, along with its predecessor “Hello, Cupcake!“, is probably the most adorable cupcake decorating book on the planet. That’s where you’ll find the original instructions for these, but I’ll provide you with some more visuals.

First you will need some cupcakes.

When it comes to the cupcakes, the choice is completely yours. As for me, since I was sending these off with my boyfriend to hand out where he works, I really wanted the cake to be wonderful, so I ended up making a from scratch chocolate cupcake that was truly a tasty sensation (and the topic of a post to come, so stay tuned!). If you have some red cupcake liners, which would be ideal for your apple cupcakes, then a light colored cake would also be best. Again though, it’s totally up to you and the people you’re baking for. If you really want the red effect of the liners, but want to make chocolate cupcakes, double up on the liners before you bake.

Next, some frosting! Any white frosting will do, homemade or store-bought. I chose a canned buttercream. It wasn’t phenomenal, but contrary to their appearance, these cupcakes are actually very light on icing! So choose something you like knowing that it won’t be too overpowering in the end.

If you’re wondering why there’s some in a bag here, it’s for that cupcake that looks like it has a bite out of it. If that’s one you’ll want to do, make sure you set some of your white frosting aside for it.

Then we tried to color the frosting red. The book says to use a paste frosting, but I assumed that a regular red liquid food coloring would work just as well.

So we mixed

And added more.

And mixed…

And added more!

Honestly, I think we went through nearly a whole bottle and we still only ended up with this shade of dark pinky-red. It wasn’t until after this first batch that I realized that it’s really not even necessary to have a red frosting as the decorating sugar will hide it anyway! So, unless you really want a red frosting, save yourself time and spare your arm muscles by leaving your frosting uncolored.

Now you frost your cupcakes! Start by holding a cupcake and putting on a decent sized dollop of frosting on. This is going to be a relatively thin layer, so don’t go overboard.

Then, with the knife (or offset spatula) blade against the frosting, slowly rotate the cupcake under it, trying to get as near the edges as you can

Turning the cupcake is much easier than flinging the knife around and look how pretty it comes out!

Ta-dah! A nice thin coating of frosting.

Next, you’ll need a box of miniature chocolate-frosted donuts

Using as many donuts as you have cupcakes, take a small slice off the bottoms, about 1/2 of an inch. You’re just trying to remove the rounded bottom so you end up with a flat-bottomed dome donut

Take your cut donuts and place them on top of each frosted cupcake

Press each donut down firmly so it sticks into the frosting layer

And then you stick these bad boys into the freezer for about 10 minutes, or until slightly frozen

Meanwhile, you’ll need some special tools for making your stems and leaves! Any sort of green chewy candy would work for the leaves, I just grabbed these watermelon airheads. They’re a little bit light as far as the color goes, but I think they worked fine.

To make your stems, just cut your tootsie rolls in half diagonally

Tons of super simple, super tasty apple stems!

The stems are a little trickier. You can start by attempting to roll out your chewy green candy. Make it as flat as you can, but don’t lose any hair over it.

Then it’s just a matter of cutting, twisting, and shaping until you get something of a leaf shape. It’s a little tricky, but it can be done!

You might be super lucky (or talented) and have some come out like that gorgeous specimen above. Nick made all my leaves and he did an astounding job. To make the crease in the middle, just push down gently with the paring knife or a butter knife, making sure you don’t exert too much pressure and cut the leaf in half

After your ten minutes are up, take your chilly cupcakes out of the freezer because it’s time to make them fruity!

Put a glob of frosting on the side of the donut and spread using the rotating method you used before.

It’s a little trickier with the donut in play, but with some patience you can get a nice coat on there. Make sure you get frosting into the donut hole as well, as that will help your stems and leaves stick when assembling the final products.

You might need to add additional frosting on the sides to keep it from being lopsided. And don’t forget to keep the tops flattish, like apples, rather than cone shaped. Oh, and if your frosting doesn’t look perfect, just remember we’re about to roll it in some sparkly sugar.

This little box of Cake Mate red decorating sugar turned out to work perfectly! We just happened to have some lying around, but you can probably find it at Micheal’s or other such craft stores. Otherwise, you can just buy a little container of red sprinkles and pour them into a shallow bowl.

To coat, just press one side of the cupcake right into the sprinkles

Then turn to another side and press

And repeat until all the sides are covered

Plunge your cupcake upside down to get the top

And voila! As you can see, there’s a few tiny patches with no sprinkles, but to fix those, just take a pinch of decorating sugar and drizzle on to touch up. You also might find that the top got too flat when dipping the top, so just pat the the frosting into the desired shape with your fingers. If any of the sprinkles come off, just retouch with a little sprinkling where needed.

To add the stems and leaves, just plunge the pointed end of the tootsie rolls into the donut holes. Put the leaves on the opposite sides and press them into the frosting very gently.

If you want to get adventurous and make one of your apple cupcakes look like it’s missing a bite, take your knife and cut a small chunk out of the donut on one side of the fully decorated cake. Then, with the frosting bag you set aside earlier, snip the tip off and squeeze some frosting into the hole you made, spreading it gently out to the edges so it meets the red. To make the “seeds”, I took a large chocolate chip and cut it into little pieces, choosing the best chunks to lightly press into the white frosting.

I was so thrilled with how these came out. As you can see, they’re all far from perfect, but they still look so gorgeous! They were a little messy when they were being eaten, but I found that the sprinkles and the frosting weren’t too overwhelming, especially with the donut in there. As far as fancy decorated cupcakes go, I feel like these were relatively simple to make, so they’re great for anyone not super confident with their ability (like me!). Best of all, they were a huge hit with the high school kids Nick works with, everyone was taking pictures of them and getting really excited and it made for one happy baker and some very happy eating 🙂

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