Happy times with kids call for cheerful cupcakes. Easier to serve than cake, cupcakes require no slicing, no plates, and no forks -- and every child gets her fair share of icing.
The designs on this page start as Chocolate Cupcakes or Vanilla Cupcakes -- it doesn't matter which one as the icing does a real good job with coverage. Speaking of icing, with these cupcakes, we use Swiss Meringue Buttercream -- perfect for spreading in thin layers or sculpting into thick mounds (and licking from the bowl). The blue is just from food coloring.
The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide!
If you are are going to be serving beach cupcakes, you might as well go all out and throw a proper beach party -- menu ideas, drink recipes, games, activities, and decorations...doesn't matter if you have time to plan or if it's an impromptu afair, we've got ideas for both!