tiny party hats and cream cheese frosting.

party hats and cream cheese frosting.

So, let’s talk hats for baked goods. You saw them at the Wee One’s birthday this year, and everyone seemed to really enjoy them. I liked them too; not only for how cute they were, but how easy they were to construct. Lots of us have storage bins filled with decorative cupcake holders: remember that one New Year’s Eve party that you just had to have glitter holders? Or that baby shower you threw? Or the adorable holders you found and you just knew they’d be great in photos? Those cupcake holders. And those are basically all you need.

party hats and cream cheese frosting.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Cupcake Holders (use any color or pattern; I encourage you to mix it up)
  • Miniature Pom Poms (any craft store or school supply will have these)
  • Hot Glue Gun + Glue Sticks

That’s it; now, all you need to do is:

  1. Open each cupcake paper up on your work surface, flattening the pleats slightly
  2. Fold the cupcake paper in half (full moon to half-moon, if you want a brain visual)
  3. Work the folded paper into a cone shape, overlapping as much or as little as you need to. This is up to you, since this is where you’ll decide the size based upon the baked item you’re putting it on.
  4. Use the glue gun to glue the overlapping sides of the cone together
  5. Pick corresponding pom-pom, dot a little glue on the top of the cone, and stick the pom up there.
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It goes fast, I promise, and you only have to make enough for the amount of cupcakes or cookie cups you’re having at your party. If you just want a single one to top a big cake, then it’ll take you 10 seconds. They work well with any frosting, and they maintain their integrity without bleeding or getting soggy. I like to let the frosting hang out a bit on the cupcake to form that slight crust on top, because the hats sit better and stay put.

party hats and cream cheese frosting.

If you have extra hats, here’s a practical use for them. And who hasn’t had the urge to be-hat an owl salt shaker, I ask you.

Speaking of frosting, I feel guilty when I do posts like this but don’t have a recipe for you, so I’m giving you a superb (and simple) cream cheese frosting which topped the mini deep dish chocolate chip cookies at the party. Frosting cookies with cake frosting? Why not! And before you argue that chocolate chip cookies need no frosting, you’re correct; they don’t need it. But they like it, and you’ll like it too. Cream cheese frosting works really well with chocolate chip cookies, because it doesn’t over-sweeten them like some frostings would. Mr. Table put it best when he said that “it’s like having a cookie with a glass of milk, except the milk is on the cookie.”

party hats and cream cheese frosting.

He’s a poet, that one.

You have the recipe for the mini cookie cups; you’ve had that forever. Here’s the cream cheese frosting I used. Make it right before you use it (I think it works best this way), or make it ahead and store it in the fridge; just leave it out at room temp for a little bit to loosen up before frosting your cookies.

party hats and cream cheese frosting.

Recipe is my own, although given how simple this is, it’s not hard to imagine it being so different from some others out there. I add more cream cheese than I’ve seen in most recipes, because I’m always disappointed by cream cheese frostings that just taste vaguely of cream cheese and mostly of butter; I promise you, this one is not at all that.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

  • 1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Notes: You could absolutely use reduced fat cream cheese for this, if it makes you feel better, but please don’t use fat-free. If the look you’re going for is as white as possible, you can substitute imitation clear vanilla extract for the pure vanilla extract, but know there will be a very slightly different flavor imparted.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and the butter and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, add the vanilla, and beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl again.

Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated and scraping the bowl down as needed. Stop when your frosting reaches the consistency you want.

Makes enough for one batch of the mini deep dish chocolate chip cookies, or frosts 24 cupcakes in a reasonable manner. This would be a delightful alternative to the ganache on my chocolate chip cupcakes, or you could go completely off your rocker and layer the ganache and the frosting together. If you’re wanting huge frosting tops on things, by the way, make a double batch.

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25 Comments on "tiny party hats and cream cheese frosting."

  1. oooh, cream cheese frosting on choco chip cookie cups?!?! That sounds SO GOOD! These little dessert hats are the cutest things I’ve ever seen! (…except not cuter than your whiteboard holder). I love this idea for a party :)

    • shannon says:

      Amy, it’s very good: i would have never thought it would enhance the cookie, but it really does: i think the ratio with the cookie cups is correct, because the cream cheese frosting doesn’t overpower everything else going on. Definitely this is a fun craft that’s pretty no-stress, which was good considering all the other things we were trying to achieve. :) good to have an easy craft.

  2. Monica says:

    These definitely make me want to go “awwww…” I love a simple craft I can actually try to do! I made a little bunting for my son’s bday cake last year and that took all the crafting skills I had in me – I was silly proud of myself. And you should be very proud of your clear craftiness! I love the pom poms and such a great idea using the cupcake liners. Adorable!

    • shannon says:

      thanks, Monica! I like simple crafts, too: they satisfy the need to do something creative with your hands without causing tears. I saw a craft in martha stewart that i was super excited about this summer – it looked easy from the photo – and when i went to read the instructions, it involved like, 6 things AND A “POM POM MAKER.” now what the heck is that?!? and there’s zero way i’m buying something that ridiculous, so the cute craft was out. It makes me appreciate these types of things all the more.
      You should be proud of yourself! lots of people don’t take any time to do things like that or party decoration stores wouldn’t exist, you know? so good for you! I am proud of my craftiness; it’s bred into me…i come from a long line of crafty people. :)

      • Monica says:

        PS – I love streamers! I know that doesn’t count as crafting but I love how a few pastel colored streamers twisted together on the ceiling makes everything so festive. I direct my husband as to how I want it – now that’s my idea of ‘easy’ crafting! : ) Have a great weekend.

        • shannon says:

          hey: streamers are underrated, but i love them too. they’re like the OG of party decorations, and in my opinion, are always appropriate and timeless. and twisting them? harder than some crafts. Directing husbands in the process? EVEN MORE DIFFICULT. ;) you have a great weekend also, Monica.

  3. Ashley says:

    Miniature = cuter. So miniature party hats (for cookies or cupcakes, no less) = mind blowingly cute. I seriously want a mini party hat for myself. And an owl salt shaker, wearing its own mini party hat (too. much. cuteness.)

    Plus I love/appreciate your more cream cheese than butter frosting recipe! In my world, it’s always better when the cream cheese frosting actually tastes like cream cheese. Which means I can eat that stuff by itself (dangerous!).

    • shannon says:

      fact: everything is better when it’s smaller. maybe not better, but it can mean the difference between normal cute and SO CUTE.

      it is the most disappointing thing ever when something is topped with “cream cheese frosting” that just takes like vanilla buttercream: why even bother wasting the cream cheese if it’s not going to taste like it? And this one manages to be sturdy, so it doesn’t go so far into the cream cheese arena that it’s delicious but falls all over the place, which is nice.
      i totally eat it by itself. inevitably i have some left over and it goes in the fridge for no other reason.

  4. This is a super duper simple crafty idea that I think I could actually pull off!! Totally “pinning” now and doing later!

  5. omg theyre so cute!!!! ^_^

  6. I can’t feel my legs. These are so seriously cute that I cannot feel my legs! I have some cupcakes liners that are… horrid. You know, those ones that people give you because you bake, which somehow infers that you have absolutely no taste? Cripes. They are hideous. But they’d be super cute as teeny-tiny party hats!! GAH!!!!

    • shannon says:

      OH yes, i am familiar with those liners, especially those from well-intentioned gift givers who really have zero idea (how do they have NO IDEA?!?) what you like. Use them to make hats: it’s amazing what a little cone-shaping and pom pom action can do.

  7. I think the top of my computer screen could use a row of teeny hats. Great teeny idea!

  8. This year’s “theme in Speech” is Owls. “Speech is a HOOT!”

    So, naturally, I saw the tiny owl and freaked out. I’m going to send you a picture of my speech room. Owls everywhere…I even made a TREE out of butcher paper and I hung owls all over it. It is SO cute.

    Now, I need to make my owls little hats.

    I’m hunting down owls shiz all over the place.

    Also, send frosting stat.

    • shannon says:

      i want to see your speech room SO BAD! send photos, please: the Wee would love to see that. they have little themes in their classrooms, but i haven’t seen owls pop up yet. i may suggest it. :) PICTURES, girl. too cute.

      always be careful when hunting owl shiz. public service announcement.

  9. Deb says:

    What a fantastic idea! Easy and just so much fun! What a charming way to celebrate with cupcakes!

  10. Now I want to top just about everything with a dainty little cupcake paper hat. You are so darn creative.

    • shannon says:

      they were fun to make! i feel like i saw these at some point i don’t know how long ago, and i wish i could remember where. i did them from memory/random idea, so i feel like i half-thought of them. And i was thrilled to get rid of some of my cupcake holders…SO MANY HOLDERS.

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