I have decided when baking for a kids’ parties, cupcakes are easiest.  I’m not saying I’ll never make a cake for the “friends” party again.  I love making fun cakes.  It’s just that cupcakes are easier.  After all, each birthday in my house gets three cakes!  Crazy, yes . . . but there is the actual birthday, the shared family party between the two kids and the friends party.

When we were outside for my son’s train party, I didn’t want to be messing around with cutting a large cake.  So I opted for cupcakes.  And with all the cute cupcake wrappers or toppers you can make or buy, I had no problem staying “in theme.”

The fun surprise in these cupcakes?  A Dulce de Leche filling.  It is sweet, delicious and if you’re patient, so easy to make.  Not to mention, a very inexpensive surprise for your guests.

How to Make Dulce De Leche Filling

* In a double boiler, simmer one can of Sweetened Condensed Milk for 1-2 hours.  Stir occasionally until the milk reaches a caramel color.
* Allow to cool completely.
* Mix 1/4 cup with 1 cup of your favorite buttercream.  (My favorite happens to be the Kid’s Buttercream recipe from the book, Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse.  Sorry, their whole recipe used to be online, but they took it off their site.)

Filling a Cupcake

There are a couple ways to fill a cupcake.  You can slice it, scoop out a little cake and fill with icing.  But too me, that seems like too much work.  I opt for the following . . . and it is actually fun.

* Fill a pastry bag and use a Wilton #8, 9 or 10 tip.  I didn’t have one of these.  So I took an extra #3 that I had and snipped off a bit of the tip with wire cutters.  Woila!

* Gently push the tip into the top of the cupcake and squeeze.  You will actually be able to see the cupcake expand as the icing fills inside.  Some of mine cracked on top due to being “full.”  But it really doesn’t matter after you ice the top of the cupcake.

Finishing It Off

For the above pictured cupcakes, I used a large, Wilton 2D tip to make this traditional cupcake swirl.  It is so easy and looks great.  The train cupcake wrappers were super cheap to make with my Silhouette Cameo.

What do you like to make for birthday parties?  Cupcakes, Cakes or Something Else?  

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