Spring Is in the Air

With spring (maybe) just around the corner, that means we are in for some rain showers, which then brings the flowers. Here are some activities to get your little ones excited about what’s in store for the next few weeks. … Continue reading

Making The Perfect Cupcake

Making a great cupcake comprises of three parts: the cupcake itself, the filling, and the icing. Each have their own tips and tricks for getting them just right. Once you have mastered all three, you have made the perfect cupcake.

Baking

 Getting the baking process down is essential. Cupcakes should have a slight dome on top. Filling the cups too full will cause the batter to spill over and create a ‘cap’ which doesn’t look nice. Using a portion scoop to fill the cups will ensure your cupcakes are uniform each time.

1. Place cupcake papers in the pan. Fill each cup about 2/3 full.

baking

2. Bake according to the recipe instructions. Test cupcakes with a cake tester to be sure they are done. Let cupcakes cool in pan until they are cool enough to handle, then transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Filling

Who doesn’t love a cupcake with filling in the middle? There are many options for types of fillings you can use, as well as tools to fill with. Some tools may work better than others depending on the size of cupcake and the type of filling you use. A cupcake corer (shown here) removes the center of the cupcake for just the right amount of filling.

1. Insert corer into the cupcake until the guard is resting on the top of the cupcake. Remove the corer and eject the cupcake center.

filling_1

2. Cut the top off the cupcake center.

filling_2

3. Squeeze filling into the hallowed out center of the cupcake almost to the top.

filling_3

4. Place the cut top piece back on the cupcake, covering up the filling.

filling_4

Icing

No cupcake is complete without its icing. But choosing the flavor of the icing isn’t even the hardest part- it’s deciding on how the cupcake will be decorated. There are several tips that once perfected, will be a fast and simple way to decorate professional looking cupcakes.

1. Drop the tip down into a pastry bag so that 1/3 of it sticks outside. Fill the bag with icing.

2. Pipe a small mound of icing  in the center of the cupcake. Pipe a ring around the center mound and continue piping until the mound in the center is covered. The swirl should be piped with one fluid motion without stopping or changing pressure.

cupcake-tip

Above, are some of the most popular tips used for decorating cupcakes. Clockwise: tip 30-2E, tip 30-6B, tip ATC-807, and tip 30-1M.

Spring Butterfly Cupcake

butterfly cupcake

Spring is almost here! (just 1 day away) These butterfly cupcakes are great for kids to help decorate. They are simple and fun to make. Make them as an after-school activity, a spring birthday party, or just because!

Items needed:

Bake cupcakes in lime green papers and let cool. Fill a pastry bag fit with a grass tip with lime green buttercream. Pipe long blades of grass over the entire cupcake. Mold the butterfly’s body out of dark chocolate candy clay or a Tootsie roll. Roll a small piece into a ball for the head. Cut short pieces of black rope licorice for the antenna and insert into the top of the head. Place the body on the cupcake. Place two pretzel twists on both sides of the butterfly’s body and insert them into the icing. Sprinkle grass with small, colorful flower sprinkles and place one large edible flower in front of the butterfly.

3 New Cupcake and Cookie Texture Tops

Three new designs of Cupcake and Cookie Texture Tops are now available. Scroll, Winter, and Christmas designs allow you to make beautifully detailed treats even if you are a novice decorator. Each set comes with 3 mats, each mat with 4 of the same design. Textured fondant pieces can be applied to cupcakes or cookies, or use the mat to imprint onto cakes! Add color to the textured pieces or leave as is, the detailing is already done for you! There are similar sets also available: Floral, Geometric, and Whimsy Blooms. View these designs along with instructions on using them here, New Cupcake and Cookie Texture Tops.

Tips for using Texture Tops:

  • You can use either side of the mat. One side will give a raised impression, the other side will give a recessed impression.
  • The diameter of the cupcakes may vary by amount of batter, recipe, and the amount of icing used. Choose the appropriate sized cutter to completely cover the cupcake top.
  • Texture mats are not dishwasher safe. Wash in hot, soapy water and lay flat to dry.
  • Color may be added using food color markers or thinned food color or royal icing. If using food markers, allow fondant on the cupcake or cookie to firm overnight before applying. Thinned royal icing can be piped into the recessed areas of the textured fondant.
  • You can also add fondant accents to embellish the cupcakes or cookies.

Scroll design set used on white fondant covered cookies for an elegant effect. Paint in the indented pattern using edible silver dust.

Make a fun cookie bouquet using the winter designs and edible markers to color in the details.

Cupcakes in pastel shades decorated using the scroll design set.

Festive holiday cookies are made using the Christmas set and a combination of edible markers and luster dusts to add color.

Pictures and information taken with permission from Autumn Carpenter Designs. www.autumncarpenter.com

Firecracker Cupcake

This firecracker cupcake is fun and festive and just in time for the Fourth of July. First created by our classroom staff for children’s classes, this cupcake will please any group of adults as well.

What you will need:

Instructions:

Cut out the firecracker cookies using the magic wand cutter and bake. Mix cake according to the directions and divide into 3 bowls. Add red food coloring to one of the bowls and blue coloring to another. Fill the cupcake liners with batter, layering each color. Bake. While cupcakes are baking and cooling, melt white candy coating to make the firecracker. Dip cookies into the melted candy coating and place on parchment paper to dry. When the white coating has set, use the red and yellow candy writers to decorate the cookie. Sprinkle yellow sanding sugar onto the yellow candy coating before it hardens (optional). To make the sparklers, dip the pretzel sticks into the white coating. Sprinkle with the red, white, and blue star confetti and place on parchment paper to dry. Ice the cupcake with buttercream icing and turn upside down into a plate of red, white, and blue jimmies (shown below). Another option (shown above) is to divide the icing into thirds and color 1 part red and another part blue. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip, with the red, white, and blue icing and pipe a swirl on the top of the cupcake. Insert the decorated firecracker cookie into the center of the cupcake and place the pretzel sparklers around it.

How-To Cover a Cupcake in Rolled Fondant

Covering the tops of cupcakes in fondant gives them a clean, smooth surface for additional decorations. Fondant covered cupcakes are great for weddings, bridal showers, or any other event. Dress up ordinary cupcakes with fondant for an elegant and classy look.

Step 1: Bake and cool the cupcakes. Smoothly ice the cupcakes with buttercream or another type of icing. Let the icing crust and brush a thin layer of piping gel over the icing.

Step 2: Roll fondant out to about a 1/8″ thickness.

Step 3: With a round cutter the same diameter as the tops of the cupcakes, cut out fondant pieces. (3″ round cutter usually works well for standard sized cupcakes)

Step 4: Place a fondant circle on top one of the cupcakes. Cover the other fondant circles up with plastic wrap so that they do not dry out. Use your fingers to press the fondant onto the cupcake.

Step 5: Use a fondant smoother to smooth the tops of the cupcakes.

Step 6: Add embellishments to the tops of the cupcakes. Attach decorations with a small amount of piping gel or edible glue.

Other cupcakes decorated with rolled fondant:

How-to Make a Cupcake Bouquet

Just in time for Mother’s Day, cupcake bouquets make excellent centerpieces as well as gifts. They are fun, simple to make, and require just a few easy-to-find materials. You can make a bouquet as large or as small as you want and use standard, jumbo, or mini cupcakes. Make cupcake bouquets for weddings, baby or bridal showers, or any other occasion!

You will need:

metal or clay pot

piece of styrofoam

wooden sucker sticks or dowels (longer sticks can be cut into different lengths)

cupcakes decorated as flowers

green food grade tissue paper

To make a cupcake bouquet:

Bake and cool your cupcakes. Denser cupcakes will work best. Base the amount of cupcakes you make on the size of pot you will be using to display them in. We used 6 cupcakes in a pot that had an opening of about 5″. While the cupcakes are cooling, cut a piece of styrofoam to fit down into the pot. Cut wooden sticks if needed and stick them into the styrofoam. Place one in the center and then arrange the rest at an angle around the center stick leaving a 1.5″-2″ in between each stick.

Decorate your cupcakes as an assortment of flowers. Let the icing crust.

Use a cake tester to poke holes through the bottom of each cupcake. This will help them to fit onto the wooden sticks easier.

Arrange the cupcakes onto the wooden sucker sticks. Be careful not to let the cupcakes touch one another.

Cut pieces of food grade tissue paper in half and tuck into the empty spaces of the arrangement.

You’re finished!

New Cupcake and Cookie Texture Tops

This cool, new product from Autumn Carpenter allows you to make beautifully detailed treats even if you are a novice decorator. There are 3 different sets available: Floral, Geometric, and Whimsy Blooms. Each set comes with 3 mats, each mat with 4 of the same design. Textured fondant pieces can be applied to cupcakes or cookies, or use the mat to imprint onto cakes! Add color to the textured pieces or leave as is, the detailing is already done for you!

How to use Cupcake and Cookie Texture Tops using rolled Icings

First, bake and cool your cupcakes or cookies. Generously ice with your favorite icing. Lightly spray texture mat with cooking spray and wipe excess off with a paper towel.

Step 1: Roll rolled fondant to approximately 1/16″ thickness. Place the smooth, rolled side of the fondant face down onto the texture mat. Starting at one end, firmly roll pin over the fondant to the opposite end. Do NOT double roll.

Step 1

Step 2: Lift the mat and the fondant and flip over so that the fondant is on the bottom and the mat is on top. Peel mat from the fondant. Cut out fondant designs using a cutter from Autumn Carpenter Cupcake Top Fondant Cutters.

Step 2

Step 3: Place the textured fondant circle on top of the iced cupcake or cookie. If the icing has crusted, brush a thin layer of piping gel onto the icing or slightly dampen with water from a squeeze bottle.

Step 3

Tips:

  • You can use either side of the mat. One side will give a raised impression, the other side will give a recessed impression.
  • The diameter of the cupcakes may vary by amount of batter, recipe, and the amount of icing used. Choose the appropriate sized cutter to completely cover the cupcake top.
  • Texture mats are not dishwasher safe. Wash in hot, soapy water and lay flat to dry.
  • Color may be added using food color markers or thinned food color or royal icing. If using food markers, allow fondant on the cupcake or cookie to firm overnight before applying. Thinned royal icing can be piped into the recessed areas of the textured fondant. (see picture below)

Colorful thinned royal icing piped onto black rolled fondant using Whimsy Blooms Texture design.

  • You can also add fondant accents to embellish the cupcakes or cookies. (see picture below)

Fondant pieces turn this cupcake into an adorable lion using the Whimsy Blooms Texture design.

Floral design on cupcakes with black fondant and red royal icing.

Geometric design on cupcakes with bunny plaque accent.

Cookie suckers made using Whimsy Blooms Texture mat. Put in individual pots for a perfect party favor!

Whimsy Blooms on pastel fondant cookies

Cookies with Geometric Texture and fondant number 1 embellishments.

Pictures and information taken with permission from Autumn Carpenter Designs. www.autumncarpenter.com