Black and White and Cute All Over!

What's black and white and cute all over? Panda cupcakes! As any frequent readers of my blog know, this is my third panda treat that I have made.  I think this one might be my favorite! As many of you may know from reading my blog, the inspiration behind my panda cupcakes is my adorable nephew!  A few months ago, my sister and her husband recently adopted a little boy from China.  He has been such a blessing and a wonderful addition to our family!  We never had a welcome home party or an event for a lot of people to meet him and hear about the trip.  Coming here as a two and a half year old, it would have been too overwhelming to do anything at first. But about 6 weeks ago, we had friends and family come together to hear about the adoption process, see pictures from the trip, and spend time with Jaxson.  I, of course, wanted to bake some treats even if it was just a week before the wedding!

I instantly thought of making panda cupcakes again.  I had created the Panda cupcakes from the Hello Cupcake! book series for an adoption event my sister and her family went to before going to China.  I had also made Oreo pandas to take to the airport when we met Jaxson, so I decided pandas would be fitting for this occasion as well!

I went with a quicker, simpler method than in Hello Cupcake! since I didn't have a lot of free time.  I just used chocolate and vanilla icing to create the panda faces on the regular sized cupcakes, along with mini Oreo ears.  I also created some mini cupcake pandas.  For these, I just used mini chocolate chips to create the eyes, nose, and ears!

Here's how to make the regular size pandas:


Ingredients for 24 cupcakes:
  • Piping bag
  • Round piping tip (I actually forgot my tip and had to just cut a hole in the bag!)
  • Chocolate icing
  • White icing
  • 48 mini Oreos
  • 24 mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Bake your favorite vanilla or chocolate cupcake.  I really like the vanilla cupcake that is the base for the cannoli cupcakes I wrote about in an earlier blog.  I have been using that recipe just leaving out the cannoli cream in the center.
  2.  Ice the cupcakes with white icing.
  3. Fill the piping bag with chocolate icing and create patches for the eyes. This is done best with a medium size round tip.
  4. Place the mini chocolate chip on its side into the icing.  You want to have the tip of the chocolate chip pointing down to create the nose shape. 
  5. Use the piping bag again to create the mouth with the chocolate icing.  Start piping a straight line down from the chocolate chip point.  Then create lines going out on either side of the straight line to create the smiling mouth.
  6. Dab a small amount of white icing onto the bottom of the mini Oreos and gently push down into the cupcake.  I found that some went into the cupcake easily at an angle and stayed in place. For others that did not seem to want to stay, I took a nice and sliced a small slit in the cupcake at the location of the ears.  I then dabbed icing on the bottom of the Oreos and slid them into the slits.
  7. Finish the panda with dots for the eyes with the white icing.  This is best in a piping bag with a small round tip.  Since I forgot my tips, I just cut a small hole in a Ziploc and used that.
Here's how to make the mini pandas:


Ingredients for 24 cupcakes:
  • Piping bag
  • Round piping tip (I actually forgot my tip and had to just cut a hole in the bag!)
  • Chocolate icing
  • White icing
  • 120 mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Bake your favorite vanilla or chocolate mini cupcakes.  Usually I start checking on them after about 12 minutes.  It may vary depending on your oven and recipe though.
  2. Generously ice the cupcakes with white icing. You want to have a thick enough layer for the chocolate chips to easily rest in.
  3. Place three chocolate chips near the center of the cupcake in a triangle shape, two on top for the eyes and one below and centered for the nose. Place the chocolate chips tip down.
  4. Place two chocolate chips at the top for the ears.  Place the chocolate chips tip down.  If the chips do not stick, add some more icing in the area.
  5. Place the mini chocolate chip on its side into the icing.  You want to have the tip of the chocolate chip pointing down to create the nose shape. 
  6. Fill a piping bag with a small amount of chocolate icing and with a small, round tip.
  7. Use the piping bag to create the mouth with the chocolate icing.  Start piping a straight line down from the chocolate chip point.  Then create lines going out on either side of the straight line to create the smiling mouth.
  8. Finish the panda with dots for the eyes with the white icing.  This is best in a piping bag with a small round tip. 
Hope you enjoy these panda treats!

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I'll be updating soon on the healthy banana bread cupcakes (I'm testing them out tomorrow). I also have updates on my cake pop experiments as well as cake baking/decorating.  Besides my personal experimenting and Daring Baker membership, I have now started the Wilton cake decorating courses.  I have only taken one class, but already learned so much. Can't wait to share all the tips and ideas from my new adventures!