As you can probably tell, these are rainbow tie-dyed robot cupcakes. Ok, so here's the thing: I rarely, if ever, miss an opportunity to use what I've learned in the restaurant biz. I've learned how to make aioli, cut lemons to perfectly mimic the fish scales on a salmon fishboard, how to properly open and serve a bottle of wine (never, never, NEVER set it on the table to pull out the cork!!), but more than anything, I think I really learned how to be competitive. And how to show off (because it's not like I was that way BEFORE the restaurant.)
You see, if anything, I learned how to take pride in my work and I hope I instilled that pride in my staff. Corporate restaurants (yuck!) call it "ownership." I call it "if it doesn't look good, we look like asses." Most of the time, especially when decorating for a large event or designing a menu, it was all trial-and-error for me. I think a lot of restaurant people earn their chops this way. Fly-or-die. It's often because there's not a lot of time to "try things out" because you're slammed, planning for Mother's Day Brunch Insanity, talking to vendors, justtryingtogetthroughthislunchpleasepleaseplease,
and also, it's expensive to experiment with food. You also are never left alone, and staff often like to poke around in the kitchen when it's slow. And they like to offer opinions. Or eat the food you are trying to make. Or opine while eating the food you just made.
I saw a lot of stupid things get tried at the restaurant, like trying to squeeze in an extra fifteen tables (using patio tables)on Valentine's Day, so that no one knew who was serving whom and the guests sat elbow-to-elbow. That was a rough one. So I learned from that mistake, as well as the time a manager tried to save on food cost by significantly shorting the amount of food for a cater. Guess what happened when they ran out of food? Yeah, lesson learned.
Any who, I can't help but be competitive and a little over the top when it comes to food, even if it's food for my daughter's preschool snack class. When it was my turn to bring the daily goodies, I made these cupcakes. I found the recipe and tutorial for these cupcakes on one of my favorite blogs, canyoustayfordinner.com. You should really read Andrea Mitchell's blog. It's fantastic, inspiring, delicious, and funny. Seriously, go look. Andrea made these adorable tie-dyed cupcakes for her blog's one-year anniversary, which seems far more appropriate than for my three year-old daughter's Tuesday snack time. But did I mention I like to show off?
|Take THAT, soccer moms! Just kidding (mostly).|
These were so fun to make, and my daughter, Ripley helped mix and dye the batter.
And she made sure the batter met our rigorous standards.
(Does it taste purple enough?)
My sister had sent me these fabulous Robot cupcake decorations from Meri Meri. She also sent me their Pirate and Ballerina decorations, but we will save those for another time. There is not one single preschool child in existence that doesn't like/love robots. True fact.
Rainbow Tie-Dyed Robot Cupcakes
(slightly) adapted from canyoustayfordinner.com by Andrea Mitchell
One box of White or Vanilla Cake Mix
4 different colors of food dye (unfortunately for me, my daughter chose pink, red, yellow and purple, so the contrast was not as extreme as Andrea's version)
White frosting (either homemade or store-bought)
Robot decorations (optional)
Preheat oven and mix cake batter according to instructions. Separate batter equally between four bowls and dye with food coloring. Carefully spoon layers of different colored batter into cupcake cups, about 2/3 full. With a toothpick (or in my case, a wooden chopstick), lightly swirl the colors around in each cup. Don't over mix, just stir around enough for that neat "tie-dyed" look. Bake according to instructions and allow to cool. Pipe with white frosting (not too much!) and decorate as you like, or as you deem is necessary to blow all the other parents/friends/cooking rivals out of the water. Enjoy! (And thanks, Andrea, for letting me post this!)