Every year that we've had one of our boys in cub scouts we've had to decorate a cake for the Blue and Gold banquet. Way back when Allen the Younger was 8 years old we had our first Blue and Gold experience and were told that every scout needed to bring a cake for the Cake Contest. At first I took this "contest" seriously because I am a competitive person. The theme was Scouting and I asked Allen the Younger what he'd like to make. He wanted an Eagle cake. So I spent the better part of the day baking, cutting, shaping, frosting and decorating a cake that would make professionals proud. The main thing I remember about this Eagle Cake was that it had feathers crafted from carefully laid out sliced almonds, which took us hours to do. Then we went to the banquet, ready to take home the prize for best cake, and found out there was really no contest. Everyone got a pre-written certificate and we took our entire cake home because even though it looked fancy no kid wants to eat a bunch of sliced almonds.
Since then I have learned that SIMPLE is the key. I ask what they want, and I always figure out a way to incorporate it into cupcakes (because kids LIKE cupcakes and we don't bring any home!). Hubba initially wanted a Plants versus Zombies theme, which we reminded him had nothing to do with cub scouts. So after searching the internet for pictures of zombies in scout uniforms and finding none he decided that pictures of scouts doing "camping stuff" like archery and building fires would be cool.
So we printed out pictures of "scout stuff" and he glued them onto toothpicks, stuck them in the cupcakes and VOILA! He got the "Best Blue and Gold Themed Award".
The story is actually even a little better than that. I was asked to bake a frozen lasagna for the banquet but forgot to put it in the oven until it was time to bake the cupcakes. As in, one hour before the festivities were starting. So I called all of my neighbors to see if I could come bake cupcakes in their oven, but no one answers their phones anymore, so I loaded my cupcake pans filled with batter on to a cookie sheet and went knocking door to door, trying to find someone at home. Our favorite across-the-street neighbors were home and had me leave the cupcakes there to bake. But I let them go a little too long and so the tops ended up kind of crispy. No problem. I advertised them as "cookie cupcakes: cookie on the top, cupcake on the bottom" and they were a hit.
Take that, Pinterest.