I love making whimsical cakes and cupcakes with the kids.  These sheep cup cakes are just the ticket for a special birthday, or just a rainy day to fill up the hours.

The fleece is made with old fashioned Seven Minute Frosting, sprinkled with coconut.  You can easily make sheep of all colors, and use any kind of sprinkles to make a rainbow of fun little sheep to decorate your table.

The heads are made from home made Chocolate Play Dough, and they are completely edible,  For this project, as we made it, you will need the following ingredients.

8 oz chocolate
light corn syrup
One white cake mix, and the extra ingredients listed on the box
egg whites
cream of tartar
sugar
coconut extract, or flavoring of your choice
coconut if desired
salt
black Wilton's paste (optional)
hand mixer
double boiler

First we need to make the chocolate play dough.  You may also use the packaged frosting in a tube (black), black licorice, jelly beans or marzipan.  It can be anything that you can form or carve into a vague head shape.

To make the chocolate play dough, chop the chocolate into roughly chip sized pieces, or use chocolate chips.  Any kind of chocolate will work, we used the candy coating bricks for candy making.  Semi sweet chocolate works the best.

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In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate for 30 sec, and then stir well.  You may need to repeat this several times just until the chocolate is melted.  Then stir in 1/2 c of corn syrup.  Mix well, and it will begin to look very shiny.  I divided my play dough in half and added black Wilton's paste to half of it until it had a nice black color. 

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Spread thin on a greased plate or wax paper.  Chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the cupcakes.

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For the cupcakes, just prepare the cake mix as directed, or follow your own recipe, and add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons of coconut extract, or flavoring of your choice.  It can also be left plain. 

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Line the pan with papers if desired, and spoon the batter evenly into the cups.  Bake them as directed, and set out to cool when they are done.

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While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, form the black chocolate play dough into sheep head shapes.  They can be complete with ears, or simple round shapes, whatever you and your children make will look cute regardless.  As each one is finished, place it on a greased paper plate in the refrigerator, as they get quite squishy if over worked.  The black color will stick to fingers, but washes right off.

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Once the sheep heads are made, the cakes should be cooled and you can prepare the frosting, or use ready made frosting from a can.  Any frosting will work, this is just my very favorite frosting, because it is not so sweet as many of them.  It can be made in almost any flavor and color, and it is truly delicious, and not hard to make at all.

You will need a double boiler, if you don't have one, you can easily nest a metal bowl inside a saucepan, or place a sauce pan into a skillet.  I stick a butter knife between my bowl and pan to let steam out.  Be sure whatever container you use it safe to use with beaters on a mixer.

Combine
2 egg whites, 1 1/2 c sugar, 1/3 c water, a pinch of salt, 1/4 tea cream of tarter, and 1 tablespoon of corn syrup in a metal bowl or double boiler.  

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On a low setting, mix this well with the mixer, and place over simmering water (low to medium setting) after well combined.  Use a heat safe spatula to keep the sides scraped well.  The frosting is traditionally beaten like this for Seven minutes, hence the name, but I have found that it can take anywhere from seven to 12 minutes to get the desired consistency.  So I just beat and scrape the bowl and watch it turn into frosting as it heats.

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It will first begin to look fluffy and shiny, but won't hold it's shape well at all.  This will happen after just a few minutes.  You can test the consistency by dipping your spatula into the mix to make a little peak.  As the frosting gets firmer, they will get more defined.

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As you continue to beat the mixture and scrape the sides, it will begin to look very much like marshmallow whip, or melted marshmallows.

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It will continue to firm up, and get more and more frosting like.

I usually stop when it will hold the shape of a curl, but this will make a slightly mobile frosting, however I like the texture when it is made this way.  You can continue to cook it until the tip doesn't curl, but DON'T cook it any longer or it will be disgusting and dry, although I'm sure some people like it that way, I don't.

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Now you can add one teaspoon of the flavoring of your choice, we added coconut extract, which is my favorite, and an obvious choice for fleeces.  You may also add melted chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or almost any other flavoring you like.  Nuts, chocolate shavings, colorful sprinkles or anything you can imagine can me used for fleece, or the sheep may be left with just frosting for fleece.

Let the frosting set up a few minutes after beating in the flavoring, you can speed the cooling process by placing the bowl in some cool water, but be careful not to spill in the frosting.

This is the perfect time to have a taste test, just to be sure it tastes good.  After all you wouldn't want to clothe your sheep in anything but the very best right?  I always try to not eat so much that I don't want cupcakes, but somehow that always happens.  After tasting, you might need to wash faces and hands, as it is very sticky.

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All that's left now is to put a generous amount of frosting on each cake.  The stiffer frosting will pile up higher than my squishy version, which will sort of flow down the sides a little, which is easily removed (and consumed).  

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Now sprinkle with coconut or your topping of choice, and you've made a cute little sheepie body.

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Place one of your previously made heads on the sheep, and voila!  You have a little friend to make your table festive, and fun.

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Watch as your flock grows, and enjoy eating these cute little cakes that will delight people of all ages.

Now you try to make your own animals, alpacas, horses, dogs or whatever you think would be fun.