I think they turned out pretty darn cute. Not exactly like the photo (which you can see behind them) but with a special quirkiness all their own.
Even with a boxed mix and premade frosting, these are time consuming! Not counting the constant interruptions, I'd guess I probably spent close to 4 hrs making these guys. A lot of that time is spent waiting, though. Freeze, wait. Freeze, wait. That's also counting the time I took to sort out the colors of M&Ms I needed.
I admit, even after reading the instructions multiple times, I messed up. First, you are supposed to even the tops of the cupcakes like this:
Then you take 1/2 the cupcakes out of their wrappers and attach those to the tops of the remaining half with icing. That looks like this:
After stacking the cupcakes, you trim them with a serrated knife at an angle. And this is where I first ran into trouble. No matter what I did, I could not get the angle right. But once dipped, that didn't seem to matter a whole lot.
After trimming, you put these in the freezer. Which I forgot to do. Then you put a crumb coat on them and return them to the freezer. While those are freezing, you are supposed to soften and roll out the taffy for the mouths (I used Starburts). I had to microwave mine for a little longer to get them to soften than the directions called for. About 5 seconds instead of 3. And when I went to roll them out, they didn't roll into a circle. This one looked particularly naughty. I blame the internet. (I used my kids' Nordic ware non stick alligator rolling pin to roll these out. No sticking whatsoever. Not sure if they'd stick to a regular wooden one or not.)
Are you tired yet? Me, too! But wait, there's more! Once you've nuked your green tinted icing, you dip the cupcakes into it. I thought for sure I'd screw this part up, but it's actually the easiest process in the whole darn project. Except for waiting while the frosting set up. That was kind of dull.
After the frosting has set a bit, you add the candy and carve out mouths in the cupcakes. I couldn't duplicate the placement of the mouths the authors used, but I don't think it hurt these too badly.
*Look into my gaping froggy maw*
After putting in the taffy—I cut with a knife and stretched to fit as needed—and tracing around the eyes and mouths with icing to make things look neater I was done! And ended up with frogs that looked like this:
Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! has detailed instructions, step by step, as well as quantities needed to make 12 of these. I stand by my A grade. These turned out just fine!