1.Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 12-hole (⅓-cup/80ml) standard muffin pan with four paper cases (1 pink, 1 purple, 1 green, 1 yellow); grease another four holes of the muffin pan.
2.Make cake according to directions on packet. Drop 2½ level tablespoons of the mixture into each of the eight prepared holes; bake about 20 minutes. Stand cakes in pan 5 minutes; turn, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
3.To make butter cream; beat butter until white as possible, gradually beat in half the sifted icing sugar then milk, then remaining icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
4.Transfer half the butter cream into a small bowl; tint white. Divide remaining butter cream into four small bowls; tint each bowl with one of the suggested colours yellow, pink, purple and green.
5.Using the four cakes in paper cases, mark a circle with the 4cm-round cutter on the top of each cake. Using a small pointed knife, cut around the circle and down about 2cm into the cakes, holding the knife at an angle to make cone-shaped hats for the clowns
6.Spread top edge of each cake still in its paper case with one of the coloured butter creams (do not spread butter cream into the hole).
7.Using the four cakes without paper cases, and using a small serrated knife, trim the cakes into round shapes for the clowns’ heads. Spread the heads with the white butter cream. Using picture as a guide, position heads on top of the cakes in paper cases.
8.Spread top of the clowns’ hats with white butter cream; roll in hundreds and thousands. Position hats on clowns’ heads. Using picture as a guide, position mini musks for eyes and mini M&M’s for nose. Shape licorice rope into mouth.
9.Use a bamboo skewer to make six small holes in both sides of clowns’ heads; push a length of sugar-coated bootlace into each hole for hair.
10.Position jelly beans around each head to make clowns’ frills.
A row of clown faces on a party table decorated with streamers and party whistles would look great. Pushing the “hair” into the cakes is a bit fiddly, and needs to be done about an hour before the party. You will have enough cake mixture left over to make about another five clowns , you’ll need more butter cream and lollies to decorate them, though.