My sister is totally in love with her pug dog Presley, so I knew she would love these pug cupcakes I made for her birthday. I got the instructions for them out of the excellent new cookbook Hello Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Not only does this cookbook have some of the most creative and adorable cupcake decorations I have ever seen, many of the designs use some of my favorite candies. Take the pug cupcakes for example, the ears are made of flattened and shaped Tootsie Rolls and the tongue is made from a strawberry Starburst. The eyes are made out of brown mini M&M's with a dot of white frosting in the middle of them. (Oops! I forgot to mention that the nose is made from a black licorice Jelly Belly. The box I bought didn't have enough black ones to go around, so on some I used the brown Chocolate Pudding flavor which worked just fine.)
One of the great things about this cookbook is that you don't have to be an expert baker to achieve great results. All of the cupcakes in the book can be made with box cake mix and canned frosting. The candies used for decoration are also very common and readily available at most drugstores, gas stations...you get the picture. I really appreciate how this book made me look at candy in a new light. Before seeing this book, would I have ever pictured green Runts as green peas or a lemon Starburst as a pat of butter? Probably not. It's great to learn new things.