I actually live in Colorado, but for about two weeks now, it has felt and looked more like Seattle. Rain. Hail. More rain. Flooding basements. Rain. Clouds. It’s not normal for here. We are usually known for having just as many sunny days as beachy places such as Hawaii. We are much more likely to be on the verge of drought and forest fires, not flooding and excessive rain.
Anyway. School gets out in only one more week, and summer is coming, even if it doesn’t feel like it. A few weeks back, just to get everyone in the spirit of summer, the kids and I made these Teddy Bear at the Beach cupcakes for one of the last Wednesday night meals at church before we break for the summer. The cupcakes were a HUGE hit. Did I mention huge? My kids were absolutely thrilled to decorate them. They loved thinking of new scenarios for the bears, and I’m sure they loved a snitch or two of the candy in the process. I sometimes struggle with patience when the kids help in the kitchen, but this was some sort of dream experience this time. Even I had fun with it and just savored the kids’ pride in their adorable cupcakes. Of course, the cupcakes were well-received at church too. The kids were particularly enamored with the little cocktail umbrellas. (I’m not sure the teachers who had to deal with the kids for the hour after the meal were as thrilled with the umbrellas–something to consider if you decide to make these.)
These cupcakes would be great for a pool party or beach party if you are blessed to live near a real beach. They would also be fun for any end-of-school-year/beginning of summer parties. My daughter immediately declared that we’d be making these again next week for the last Girl Scout meeting of the year. These would also be great for no good reason at all–just because they are so much fun for the kids to create.
These cupcakes are not a new idea of my own. If you Google the idea or look on Pinterest, you will find lots of images and variations, but I will share what we did and what products we used.
Teddy Bears’ Beach Vacation Cupcakes
- Baked and cooled cupcakes (or a cake for one large scene). Our focus was on the decoration, so we just used a box mix, but you can make a favorite homemade recipe too. We used yellow cake with tan cupcake liners for the beach cupcakes and white cake (that I intended to dye blue) with blue cupcake liners for the water cupcakes, but I forgot the coloring (the blue frosting and blue cupcake liners worked just fine).
- Frosting that has been dyed blue or light brown, depending on which cupcakes you plan to make. You can use a favorite canned frosting or make your own. I made homemade frosting and dyed half of it blue and half of it a very light brown.
- Teddy Graham Cookies
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Cocktail umbrellas (I found these at Hobby Lobby in the Luau party section. You might also find them at a party store in the luau section.)
- Assorted candies that can be used to represent the towels, beach balls, floating rings/inner tubes. (We used gummy Lifesavers for the inner tubes–yes, they will stretch around the bears’ bellies, Sixlets for the balls, Fruit by the Foot pieces and Airhead Extremes for the towels and floating rafts. For the Girl Scout event next week, we found a bag of gummy sharks and gummy octopus that we are going to incorporate into our scenes. We also found some little round candies called Sour Punch Punchies that we are going to use for balls this time. The Sixlets we used last time were leftovers from Christmas, and I couldn’t find any during this trip to the store. You might also consider the Peach Rings candy for inner tubes. Some people also add Goldfish crackers, but Joe thought they would look dumb because they were not proportioned well for the bears.)
- For the beach cupcakes: Once the cupcakes have cooled, lightly frost the tops with frosting that has been tinted light brown. Dip the frosted cupcake into the crushed graham crackers. Be sure to dip in the cracker crumbs right away while the frosting is still moist. For water cupcakes: Lightly frost cooled cupcakes with frosting that has been tinted blue. For the half beach half water cupcakes: Lightly frost approximately half of the cupcake with brown frosting and dip into graham crackers. Frost or pipe blue frosting on the other half of the cupcake. (I did the frosting part, and the kids did all the decorating. They had a blast!)
- Decorate the cupcakes with assorted candies and cocktail umbrellas to represent scenes at the beach or in the water. The kids loved coming up with scenarios. Sometimes they left the “towel” flat and put a bear on it; other times they had the “towel” rolled up. They were also able to shape the “towel” to look like a lounge chair instead. They thought it was awesome to bury a bear in the “sand” by sticking it further into the cupcake so only the head showed.
Tip: You may need to pipe a little frosting on the back of some of the candies to get them to stay in place.
Source: I remembered hearing about a teddy bear beach cupcake many years ago. I did a quick search and found many variations.