So when my fellow preschool mom Megan asked if I had any ideas for cupcakes for her daughter's Hula themed birthday party, I was so excited to come up with some Hawaii-inspired designs. Anyone who's been to my house knows what a huge fan I am of all things Hawaii. So when Megan suggested arranging cupcakes into a "lei", I was hooked. So I set out to make plumeria flowers in frosting. But I wasn't happy with the outcome - my frosting wasn't stiff enough, and the thought of having royal icing flowers on the top didn't excite me (who wants to chip a tooth on a birthday cupcake?) So I came up with this design out of marshmallows! Each cupcake has one marshmallow's worth of slices to make a five-petal plumeria flower. I like how each of the marshmallow petals kind of turned upward when I overlapped them...I thought they looked pretty authentic. To get the colors, I hand painted the petals with luster dust in pink and yellow. The Hula Girl trio of cupcakes was inspired from my ever-popular "mermaid" cupcakes. I molded the hair out of chocolate, used peanut M&Ms for the coconut top, and the rest was piped out of frosting. She turned out pretty cute...maybe I can start a new trend for 4-year old girl birthday parties! After the hula girl and the flowers, I decided I needed one more design to break it up. So I made the palm trees by molding palm fronds out of chocolate and placing them on top of a "Rolo" tree trunk. I even threw in some M&M coconuts on the trees. All the cupcakes got a final dusting of edible sparkly "pixie dust" (a must for the 4-year old birthdays). The cupcakes were lemon and (what else?) coconut with vanilla icing. I think they turned out really fun. Happy Birthday Alana!