With a little help from your kids, these tasty banana cupcakes can magically metamorphose into a flock of colorful butterflies. The secret? A few easy cuts and some artfully applied frosting.
Kids' Cooking Skills: Use this recipe to teach your child how to measure flour, mash bananas, and decorate cupcakes creatively.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups. Use a dry measuring cup to measure the flour, then pour it into a small mixing bowl. Stir the baking powder and salt into the flour and set aside. (Tip: To measure flour precisely, your child should hold the full cup over her canister of flour and use the flat edge of a knife to level off the flour.)
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and stir in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, stirring well after each addition. Peel the bananas, place them in a separate small bowl, and have your child use a fork to mash them until smooth. Measure out 1 cup of mashed banana. Fold it into the cupcake batter until thoroughly combined.
Fill each muffin cup three quarters full. (You will have some excess batter.) Wipe off any spills with a paper towel. Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to a plate.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the cream cheese frosting. Cream together the sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl. When the mixture is smooth, beat in the vanilla extract. To tint the frosting, mix in a few drops of food coloring.
After the cupcakes have cooled, your child can use a plastic knife to slice the top off each one and then carefully cut each top in half. (Tip: To help prevent crumbling, make sure the cupcakes have completely cooled.) For each butterfly, frost the cut surface of the bottom of the muffin top, then arrange the two semicircles into wings on top (with the round sides of the semicircles touching). Frost the wings, then use decorators' icing to squirt on designs. Add a gumdrop head and licorice string antennae. Makes 12 Butterfly Banana Cupcakes. Refrigerate any leftovers.