happy leap day!

an extra day this year calls for an extra special treat. so i thought i would share this whimsical little guy with you:

an adorable frog cupcake, in honor of leap day. don't worry. no frogs were harmed in the making of this treat!

since no show and tell would be complete without a tutorial, here are step-by-step instructions on how to recreate these little guys at home. it’s an easy and fun way to bond with your kiddos – or just bring out the kid in you!

first, you will need to select a flavor for your cakes. i happened to make a batch of chocolate and another of vanilla, from scratch of course. as it is a weeknight, if you are short on time and have to use a mix, i will pretend i didn’t hear that :)

while the cakes are in the oven, you can make your icing. normally, i opt for an italian meringue buttercream – it has the best flavor and texture. but when time is of the essence, you can’t go wrong with this ridiculously easy and delicious vanilla bean buttercream from America’s Test Kitchen:

Easy Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Yield: 1½ cups (enough for 12 cupcakes)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise*
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar (5 ounces)
Pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter and beat mixture at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 20 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

*Don’t have a vanilla bean on hand? Omit the vanilla bean, and increase the amount of vanilla extract to 1½ teaspoons.

to make your icing a glorious froggy shade, add food coloring after the vanilla and heavy cream have been incorporated. i like these gel icing colors from Wilton. a little goes a long way. i buy the primary colors (red, yellow and blue), and combine them to create my own shades of greens, oranges, purples, etc.

so the cupcakes are baked and cooling, and your easy buttercream is made, dyed and ready to be applied. now all you need to make are the eyes.

to make froggy eyes, all you need are 1 bag of Wilton Candy Melts® and 1 bag of chocolate chips. line up the candy melts on your counter or table in sets of two. dab a small amount of your icing in the center of each candy melt, then affix a chocolate chip to the icing. by the time you are done frosting each cupcake, your froggy eyes will be dry and ready to be applied! and that’s as easy as sticking them into the frosting, side-by-side.

ta da!

i hope you enjoyed this easy tutorial. “hoppy” leap day everybody!