Don’t these TV Dinner cupcakes look like the real thing?
But they are YUMMIER. . .
They are perfect for a Backwards Day party or April Fools Day Party where you get to eat dessert first, but they are also a great way to add a little fun to any day.
And the best part? They are easy to make! All you do is bake the cupcakes, frost them and plop candies on where they should go. Easy-breezy but they look fantastic.
I discovered them in the most amazing cupcake decorating book on the planet, Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.
All of the cupcakes are so creative but I have to say these are my favorite, so I made them first!
I love the retro feel. Back “in the day” when TV dinners were first invented all the cool families used to eat them on TV trays in front of the television, the most amazing technology of its day.
(Remember Mike Teavee from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? That’s what he did! I’m sure he’d love these cupcakes. . .)
Here’s my tip to making TV dinner cupcakes:
Buy the candies for decorating one day, bake your cupcakes on another and then decorate them the next day so it’s fun and not overwhelming. These cupcakes are easy to do but very time consuming, especially if you’re making more than one set.
TV Dinner cupcakes require special candies for the decorations, donut holes for the chicken legs and the usual baking supplies so I ended up going to several different stores in order to acquire all the necessary items. I visited one of my favorite candy stores, the Nutty Chocolatier where I could get the correct color of Starbursts, Runts and Jelly Belly jelly beans. (It’s one of those nostalgic candy-wonderland old-general-store style shoppes with the bonus of being just a couple of blocks from my house. Check out the photo journal of my visit.)
Chicken Drumstick Cupcake
Donut Holes or Cake Pops
Graham Cracker Crumbs
(In Hello Cupcake they used corn flake crumbs for the chicken leg coating. I substituted graham cracker crumbs because it looks better and tastes sooo much better on cupcakes! They melted white chocolate wafers and poured it on waxed paper to create the bone shape. Pros: it would be lighter and be easier to make the leg balance in the cupcake. Cons: it would be more delicate to handle, and I liked the more 3D rolled fondant bone.)
Step 1: Make your cupcakes and cake pops or donut holes. (Keep it easy breezy and buy your donut holes or go the Super Mom/Party Maven route and use a Cake Pop & Donut Hole Maker or Bake Pops Pan to make them yourself, depending on how hands-on you’d like to be today.)
Step 2: Frost your cupcake with the white icing.
Step 3: Put a donut hole on top of the cupcake and “glue” in place with more icing.
Step 4: Roll a piece of white fondant into a tube shape – just like you would with playdough – and add two balls at the top to create the bone. (Don’t make the bone too big and heavy or it will not stay in the cupcake.) Cut the end opposite the balls into a point.
Step 5: Poke a hole in the top of the donut hole-cupcake and insert the fondant bone. (I used a pencil. If you can think of a better utensil, please let us know in the comments!)
Step 6: Place cupcake on serving dish and sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs. I put my cupcakes in an Aluminum Muffin Pan to give them that TV dinner look.
Voila! Cute chicken leg cupcakes.
Step 1: Cut orange Starburst into cubes.
Step 2: Tint white icing a shade of green to match the Runts and frost cupcake.
Step 3: Arrange the Starburst cubes and green Runts on top.
Mashed Potatoes Cupcake
Step 1: Cut a yellow Starburst in half to make a thinner “pat” that looks like butter.
Step 2: Frost cupcake in swirls, creating a circular crevice in the top to hold a little butterscotch sauce.
Step 3: Put Starburst on top, angled to look best.
Step 4: Slowly drip butterscotch sauce on to pool in crevice you created and drip down sides.
Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
(I used the three different colored Jelly Belly but you could keep it simple and just use the Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly)
Step 1: Frost the cupcakes.
Step 2: Arrange the jelly beans in 5 rows across the top, varying the color pattern. I discovered that it looked better to cluster the same color together once in awhile and to make the pattern random.
Step 3: Put 2 or 3 cupcakes together to make them look like ears of corn. Put the Starburst on top to look like a pat of butter melting on them. I used real pepper for added realism but if you can get black and white decorating sugar instead.
TV Dinner photo by Bard the Nard
All other photographs by Carlton McEachern