Piece of cake: how to throw a cupcake decorating party!

Everything you need to know to throw an at-home cupcake party- including creative ideas, expert advice + recipes! (Just add happy kids.)

Cupcake Palette from recipes4all.altervista.org

If you’re looking for a springtime party plan that’s rain-proof, won’t cost you the earth, and that guarantees delighted children, there is really only one option for you. You’re throwing a cupcake party, and it is going to be awesome.

The key to cupcake party success is lots of prep (and sprinkles, but more about that in a moment). We asked Canadian parenting expert (and cupcake party hostess extraordinaire) Annemarie Tempelmann-Kluit of yoyomama.ca for her advice, and she broke it down for us like this:

  1. Keep it small: “Keep the group down to as many as can fit comfortably around your table,” she suggests. For kids under the age of six, I’d recommed a 1:1 or 1:2 parent-to-child ratio to help out.”
  2. Keep it welcoming: For any of your gluten-free or vegan party-goers, you’ll need to plan accordingly! We like this recipe for vanilla cupcakes but if you have just one or two kids at the party with special dietary needs, Annemarie suggests you might just grab an acceptable (undecorated) cupcake at your local gluten-free bakery.
  3. Limit the damage: Just this once, you may want to think about using a few disposable supplies, especially if the minimal clean up will help you enjoy your time baking with the kids even more. Obviously we're not normally fans of disposable stuff at parties,” says Annemarie. “You should see our collection of stainless steel straws! But in this case the thought of cleaning dried icing and sprinkles off our table made me head for the dollar store for a disposable table cloth so we could just bundle it up and throw it—and the icing and sprinkles and smarties—in the garbage.” Another suggestion: Paper plates with each child’s name written on them so that they can take their creations home.
  4. Lay it out for them: If the kids are frosting their own cupcakes, consider giving each kid their own sandwich baggie of frosting (snip off the corner and it’s a frosting bag) and mini supply station so that they can get down to creating their work of art pronto. Put the decorations in small bowls the kids can hand around. “Ideally there'll be enough different decorations that each kid will have one in front of them at the beginning of the decorating,” suggests Annemarie. 

Now for the fun part (other than eating the cupcakes, that is). We’ve put together a pinboard of decorating ideas to get you started. Says Annemarie, “Your kids will love going to the store with you to help choose decorations.” Think candy (sprinkles, m&m's, smarties, jellybeans), fruit (berries, sliced kiwi, slivers of pear) or even foil wrapped chocolates.

 Looking to level it up? Give these easy decoration ideas a whirl:

And if all this leaves you—er—hungry for more, consider adding a pizza decorating station to your party! We’ve got everything you’ll need here - just add happy kids. 

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