A Fun Cupcake Recipe
Kids today have such an advantage when it comes to both learning and being entertained at home. There are so many interesting topics to explore on the internet! When I was growing, up glossy color photos in an encyclopedia and television was as good as it got.
One of the most fascinating topics to explore is outer space. There is a multitude of cool websites that feature fantastic “close-up” and real photos taken by satellites sent into space. Some of the sites are interactive. Kids at home for the summer or on a cold winter weekend have no excuse for boredom anymore.
Some kids have to be motivated more than others to seek out knowledge. The way to a kid’s brain may be through the stomach. Grab their interest in learning about the solar system by helping bake and decorate solar system cupcakes! Each cupcake represents one of the planets in the solar system and orbits around a big yellow sun cake!
Supplies for Solar System Cupcakes
Use your favorite cupcake mix and various items to help decorate. Browsing the cake decorating aisle at a couple of different supermarkets first is a good way to plan the cupcakes. Here is a list of what we used for decorating the sun cake and the cupcakes.
2 boxes of cake mix (add eggs, oil)
1- 7 oz. tube red decorator icing
red, & yellow food color (mix to make orange icing)
blue food color
Wilton decorating gels in green, pink, purple, yellow and sparkle white
Cake Mate decorator cupcake gems
Shimmer white sugar sprinkles
Cinnamon drop sprinkles
16 ozs. Betty Crocker Frosting Starter
Packets of mocha almond, caramel and cotton candy flavor packets for frosting starter
Red sugar crystals
16 oz. can white cake frosting
For each of the terrain planets, fill the cupcake tins half full with batter and let the kids add a dollop of red icing to cook inside. This will teach the fact that they have hot molten cores.Fill the giant gas planets up a little fuller with batter so they will look bigger.Bake and decorate as described below. For the sun, bake two single layers of round cakes. Frost one yellow and one orange. Cut the orange cake into “pie wedges” and place around the yellow cake to represent a glowing sun.
Acronym For Learning The Order Of Planets From The Sun
- Pizzas-Pluto, dwarf planet
With an orbit equivalent to 88 Earth days, Mercury is the fastest planet around the sun. However, it rotates very slowly, about one rotation for 59 Earth days. Like Earth, it is a terrain planet and is thought to also have a molten iron core.
Mostly composed of rock and metals, Mercury is full of craters like the moon. Although it is dry, hot and airless this planet has H2O ice at both poles that lies deep in the craters-so deep the heat of the sun does not completely melt it. It is dusted with a thin layer of minerals called silicates.
Decorating Mercury: frost Mercury with white icing and add white cup cake gems to represent a rocky planet with craters.
Also known as the morning and evening “star”, Venus is a terrain planet that is the brightest object in the night sky after the moon.
Similar in size to Earth, it is the closet planet to Earth and is referred to as our sister planet.
It is also thought to have a hot molten core. Images for Venus show a variety of land forms-mountains, rolling plains and volcanoes made of hot lava.
With a very dense atmosphere, this planet probably had water like Earth but it boiled away-which is exactly what would happen to Earth were it closer to the sun!
Decorating Venus: frost Venus with caramel icing (use just enough of the caramel frosting starter mixed in 1/2 cup white frosting, do the same for mocha chocolate). Swirl in some of the mocha chocolate frosting.
Home sweet home! Earth is the only known planet in the solar system that supports any form of life. That’s because it abides by the “Goldilocks Law”-being neither too hot nor too cold but just right.
The distance that Earth is from the sun allows us to live in comfort as far as temperature goes. Well, most of the time anyway. Sometimes it is hard to believe that our home planet is three quarters water. Images of Earth show a beautiful blue ball spun with green, brown and white.
Since scientist live here, we can of course learn more about this planet. We know that it is about 4.5 billion years old, and that the temperature of the inner core is 7500 degrees Kelius-that’s 13,040.6 degrees Fahrenheit- hotter than the sun! The surface of Earth is constantly changing due to things like erosion and earthquakes.
Decorating Earth: tint some of the white frosting with blue food color. Swirl with green and white decorator gel. Use a toothpick to swirl in a bit of mocha chocolate icing.
Mars is known as the red planet. It has been easy for spacecraft to get images of Mars because they actually landed on the planet.
For a long time, it was voted “planet most likely to have life other than Earth” and science fiction writers liked writing about it. The last terrain planet, Mars has about the same land as Earth-but it is much smaller and has no oceans. However, scientists think Mars might possibly once contained bodies of water.
This dusty, rocky planet has a cold,dry atmosphere. Like the other terrain planets, it probably has a hot,molten core.
Decorating Mars: Frost Mars with the red icing, sprinkle with red sugar and place cinnamon sprinkles around for Mar’s rocky, dusty surface.
note: don’t try to color white frosting with red food color, it will just get dark pink.
Jupiter is the largest planet and the third brightest object in the night sky. With no solid surface, it is the first gas planet in our solar system. It is composed of mostly liquid hydrogen with traces of methane, water and ammonia.
Jupiter has a rocky core made of various ices, or solid gases and is surrounded by small, faint rings. The vivid bands of color seen on images of this planet are probably due to chemical reactions of trace elements in the atmosphere. There are wind bands of high velocity winds on Jupiter and a giant red spot, a high pressure region with higher,colder clouds.
Decorating Jupiter: Frost Jupiter with caramel frosting and swirl in mocha chocolate and red frosting. A red life saver represents Jupiter’s giant red spot.
Saturn, the second largest planet, is composed of gases much like that of Jupiter with liquid hydrogen as the main ingredient. It also has a rocky core made of various ices, or solid gases.
This planet is surrounded by very thin rings made of rocky particles coated with H2O ice. Images of Saturn also show bands of color like Jupiter, only fainter. Helium, the gas that makes balloons float on air can be found here.
As Earth is the most dense planet, Saturn is the least dense. Some scientists think this planet is so light it could actually float on water! This could make sense. Think about how light helium is. How easily the balloons filled with helium float away~
Decorating Saturn: Frost Saturn with white frosting. Use the purple, pink and yellow gels for Saturn’s rings. Sprinkle with shimmer white sugar to represent the ice. Gas ices have formed on Saturn, a cold planet far away from the sun.
As we travel through the solar system the planets farthermost from the sun get harder to see. They are also the hardest to learn about. Uranus is the next gas planet in the solar system. Images of Uranus show up as being a beautiful shade of blue due to methane gas in the upper atmosphere. Scientists think that this planet probably has bands of color like Jupiter but they are hidden by the methane layer surrounding it.
Decorating Uranus: Frost Uranus with frosting starter that is mixed with some of the cotton candy flavor packet. Shimmer white sugar shows it’s cold surface.
Neptune is the last gas planet in the solar system. Now getting still colder and darker, images of Saturn appear as deep blue in color. Hydrogen and helium are the two known gases to make up the composition of Neptune.
So far away from the sun, it takes Neptune 165 Earth years to orbit the sun once. In fact, in 2011 the planet completed it’s first orbit since it’s discovery in 1846. Neptune is whipped with very strong winds, up to 2000 km per hour.
Decorating Neptune: Tint some white frosting with blue coloring. Use more to make it darker than the icing used for Earth. Sprinkle with shimmer white sugar.
Poor Pluto was dropped from the list of planets in our solar system in recent years. It is now considered one of the dwarf planets. So far from the sun, it is in constant darkness. Only Hubble has been able to show very faint images of the largest of Pluto’s features.
Decorating Pluto: Frost Pluto with mocha chocolate frosting. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles and shimmer sugar.