Funfetti cupcakes with water, grass and frogs
M83‘s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming was, not surprisingly, one of my favorite albums last year. In part it sort of fills the void LCD Soundsystem left when they broke up — not so much in the sound itself, but in the huge, euphoric feeling I get when I listen to them. While I love the big hits on that album, the song that’s the most memorable to me is “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire” (which translates to “Tell me a story”) — it’s a little kid (a girl, I think) telling the story of a magic frog that, if you touch it, distorts your senses and eventually turns you into a frog, too. She says, “We can be a whole group of friends, a whole group of frogs” and at the end, “The biggest group of friends the world has ever seen, jumping and laughing forever. It would be great, right?” There’s also a line about how the world looks like “a giant cupcake.” The song makes me think of my group of friends, who I’ve mentioned many, many times here, but I think of how even though we’re “adults,” some of our best times involve ridiculous giggle fits and acting like kids, and I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
I made these cupcakes to take to a party to celebrate a few friends who recently started new jobs (pretty badass new jobs, I should add) — in terms of “Raconte-Moi Une Histoire,” I thought they were appropriate for a group of friends who can act like 10-year-olds and do great things professionally. Also, the whole album is about a brother and sister and their dreams, and my friends are taking new steps in following their own dreams and goals, and making some pretty damn-good progress for mid-20somethings. In the song “Steve McQueen,” Anthony Gonzalez sings, “There’s a magic inside/ Just waiting to burst out” and “Nothing can hurt today”; and perhaps the most fitting, in “New Map” he sings, “There’s a hole in your heart, begging for adventure/ Play yourself a new track, set traps for the future.” Lastly, the rainbow colors and purple swirls on the inside are both for the way the magic frog changes your perception, and also for the album’s cover.
Makes 12 cupcakes
1 batch yellow cupcake batter of your choosing (or 1 box mix of Funfetti)
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
Green, blue and red food coloring
Gummy frogs (I got them at a store in New York called Nutbox, but they’re essentially the same as the Haribo kind, and I also saw smaller, rainbow Haribo frogs that I wish I’d known about first!)
Piping bag with “grass” tip
1 batch frosting (cream 3/4 stick softened butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or a pre-made tub works too)
• Preheat oven (temperature may vary depending on your cake of choice) and line your cupcake tins.
• Make cupcake batter according to recipe or package. Separate about a third of the batter and add red and blue food coloring to dye it purple. Add the sprinkles to the larger portion of the batter.
• Fill cupcake liners each about halfway with the sprinkled batter. Then drop a spoon of purple batter on top of each one and use a fork or toothpicks to swirl the purple in with the Funfetti.
• Bake cupcakes according to recipe. Let cool completely.
• Separate frosting into two separate bowls; dye one blue and one green.
• Use an offset spatula or a knife to cover cupcakes with the blue frosting for water. Then add green frosting to a piping bag with the grass tip on it, and add the “grass.” Top with gummy frogs.