The cupcakes are basic vanilla cupcakes inside of cupcake wrappers. I had a little difficulty getting them out of the cupcake pan, but it was okay in the end. They also deflated a little bit, so I'm glad I planned the next couple of steps. I prepared a cream cheese frosting for on top. I split the frosting in half, and added grenadine to one half. Grenadine is made from pomegranates and has a nice cherry flavor. It is used in many mixed drinks, including my childhood favorite, Shirley Temples. I piped the grenadine frosting into the cupcakes. No need to empty them out or anything. These cupcakes were light enough that the filling fit just perfectly. Then, to cover up the evidence, I spread the plain frosting on top. That way, the filling remained a surprise.
My research group studies carnitine, a molecule involved with fat metabolism. I wrote the single-letter abbreviation for the elements in carnitine using some decorative frosting. After transport, I assembled a mock-up of the molecule with the cupcakes and cut Twizzlers for the chemical bonds. For the chemists reading this, I admit I did leave off the hydrogen atoms save the one in the hydroxyl group, mostly because the hydrogens would have made the molecule too hard to assemble and I needed 12 cupcakes to feed the entire team. The team raved over the design and flavor of these cupcakes that were, in reality, quite easy to put together. Some people even asked me to make their wedding cakes (quite a tall order I don't want to undertake). It just goes to show you that a little extra effort goes a long way.