Ming-Ming cupcakes are a "serious" treat, only to be made and enjoyed by "serious" cupcake fans.
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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions and divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake pans. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 21 minutes. Transfer the cupcake pans to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Invert the cupcakes and cool completely.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of vanilla frosting into a resealable bag and set it aside. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting pale yellow. Spoon 1/2 cup of the yellow frosting into a resealable bag. Cover the tops of the cupcakes with the remaining yellow frosting.
Cut 12 of the chocolate taffies in half lengthwise. Soften them in the microwave for several seconds and roll them out flat. Use the hat templates to cut out Ming-Ming's aviator hat. Arrange the two side flaps on each cupcake, and then place the top piece. Add the green apple taffy (soften in the microwave for a few seconds) to the bottom of the cupcake to make Ming-Ming's scarf. Snip a small corner from the bag of yellow frosting and pipe a few feathers over the scarf.
Heat the pink taffy in the microwave for a few seconds to soften. Shape them into the beaks. Use a toothpick to make the nostrils. Press the beaks into the center of the cupcakes. Add the small brown candies to make the eyes. Snip a very small corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting and pipe white dots on the eyes. Pipe frosting dots on the hat and add the larger chocolate candies to make Ming-Ming's goggles.
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