For the longest time, making food art was my meditative practice. It was my medium for getting in the zone, expressing my creativity, and focus on my breathing. I mean, putting every chocolate sprinkle in place for the kiwi cacti in these Cupcake Terrariums takes time, precision, and care. You HAVE to focus and go slow. So for about 8 years, this was my mindfulness practice.
Then I had Jaxon and everything changed. I couldn’t bring myself to make food art all that much anymore because I was struggling just to feed my kid “normal” food. I couldn’t think of turning anything into bunnies, robots, or skulls. Plus, it all just stopped feeding my soul, to be honest. So I walked away from here and started a new site called Happy Whole Way. Truth is, I had a BIG spiritual awakening when I moved to Chicago and I began using HWW as a means to express myself with a new medium and new message: You can become your own healer. And I no longer needed Cupcake Terrariums to bring me to the place of mindfulness or meditation. I had a whole new way of getting there.
Don’t let that stop you from recreating this incredible food art! They are the perfect treat for Earth Day. Think of the fun lessons you can build from it: planting gardens, the ecosystems, gnomes…ha. You get it.
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1/3 c. butter (or use nondairy)
- 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1/4 c. dark cocoa powder (or use regular)
- 1 Tbsp. milk of choice
FOR THE MOSS:
- 3 c. cereal (like Chex or cornflakes) or pretzels, crushed
- couple drops all natural green food coloring and water to mix evenly into cereal
FOR THE MUSHROOMS:
- 20 strawberry tips
- 20 marshmallows
- 10 toothpicks, broken in half
FOR THE CACTUS:
- 4 kiwis, peeled
- 4 raspberries, for top
- chocolate sprinkles, for the prickles
FOR THE LOTUS FLOWER:
FOR THE ROCKS:
- 2 c. marshmallows
- all natural black food coloring (find online at Natural Candy Store)
- clean paint brush
FOR THE SOIL:
- cacao nibs or chocolate rocks
- See recipe notes for make ahead prep!
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Follow the instructions here for the cupcakes. Allow to fully cool.
- While your cupcakes are cooling, line the counter with parchment paper. Add a few drops of the black food coloring in a small bowl with equal parts water. Mix together and paint the marshmallows until evenly colored. Allow to dry.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the frosting with an electric mixer over medium speed until fluffy. Add more milk if needed. Lightly frost each cupcake.
FOR EACH TERRARIUM:
- Use a 7″ terracotta bottom for the terrarium holder. Cover with the crushed green cereal “moss” and add 3 cupcakes.
- On one cupcake, add three strawberry marshmallow mushrooms. Use half of the toothpick to hold together and keep in place in the cupcake. Add a few marshmallow rocks and some cereal moss.
- On another cupcake, add the kiwi cactus and a strawberry marshmallow mushroom. Lightly throw some cereal moss and cacao nibs on the frosting.
- For the last cupcake, add the kiwi lotus flower.
- Scatter more marshmallow rocks on the floor of the terrarium along with cacao nibs. Maybe add another strawberry marshmallow mushroom and top off with an adorable gnome (optional).
For make-ahead prep:
Bake the cupcakes the night before and store in an air-tighter container in the fridge after they have fully cooled.
Paint the marshmallows and allow to fully dry overnight.
Crush the cereal and mix in the green food coloring to evenly color. Allow to fully dry overnight.
It’s been fun coming back here after my year hiatus but it still doesn’t fulfill me the way it used to. I guess you can say I’ve grown and evolved yet again. I will continue to pop my head over here, especially as this pandemic is in effect–this is a great creative outlet for the time being, but overall, I think Cupcake Terrariums can’t make me feel what my sacred space does.