Yield: 6 puppy cupcakes
Their heads are mini cupcakes, their snouts are marshmallows and their shaggy coats are made by snipping an M-shaped corner in the plastic piping bag. To produce the multicolored terriers, use two or three colors of frosting in one bag. When you start squeezing out the frosting, the colors mix at the tip. The food coloring -- Tack prefers paste -- is available at baking supply stores, as is the large-crystal decorating sugar. Check gourmet candy departments for the chocolate-covered sunflower seeds.
6 mini vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
6 standard vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
16-ounce can vanilla frosting, divided
Brown, yellow and black food coloring
1 cup dark-chocolate frosting, divided
12 mini marshmallows
1 tablespoon pink decorating sugar
14 black chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
4 Cinnamon Red Hots
6 strands red licorice laces
1. Spoon 3/4 cup of vanilla frosting into zippered sandwich bag, press out excess air and seal.
2. Tint 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting golden brown using brown and yellow food coloring. Spoon it into one side of a second zippered bag. Spoon 1/4 cup of untinted vanilla frosting into the other side of the bag. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the dark-chocolate frosting down the center of the bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag.
3. Tint the remaining dark-chocolate frosting black. Spoon 1/2 cup of the black frosting into a zippered bag, press out excess air and seal.
4. Spoon 6 tablespoons of the black frosting to one side of a zippered bag and spoon the remaining 1/2 cup vanilla frosting into the other side of the bag. Press out the excess air and seal.
5. Cut 6 of the mini marshmallows in half on the diagonal to make the ears and press the cut sides into the pink sugar to coat. Cut the remaining 6 marshmallows on the diagonal to remove one third of the marshmallow. The larger piece will be used to make the muzzle.
6. Reinforce a bottom corner of each zippered bag with 6 overlapping layers of transparent tape. Pinch the taped corner flat and snip a small "M" shape in the corner.
7. First make the head. Working with a different color for each cupcake, pipe a small dot of frosting on the lower half of a mini cupcake, just below the center. Press a large piece of marshmallow, pointed side up, onto the frosting for the muzzle. Pipe two dots of frosting on opposite sides near the top of the cupcake and attach the ears, sugared side up. Pipe several lines of frosting to cover the nonsugared portion of the ears.
Then, starting at one ear, pipe 1/2-inch strokes of frosting around the edge of the cupcake, working your way below the muzzle and up to the other ear, always pulling the frosting away from the center. Next, start at the top of the head and pipe long lines, first to the left, then to the right, working your way down to the marshmallow, then covering the sides of the marshmallow. Pipe smaller lines on the front of the marshmallow (leave the marshmallow exposed on the white Westie). Pipe small tufts of hair between the ears. Add 2 of the black sunflower seeds for the eyes and a Red Hot for the nose (use a black sunflower seed for the nose of the white Westie).
8. Now make the body, using one of the standard cupcakes and the frosting that matches the head. Start piping about 1/2 inch in from the edge and work your way around the cupcake. Continue piping rows in concentric circles until the cupcake is covered. Turn the decorated head on its side and place on the body. Add a licorice lace for the leash.
9. Continue with the remaining cupcakes, making 2 white Westies, 2 salt-and pepper terriers, 1 black terrier and 1 brown mix.