If you've read my blog for a while you may know that I absolutely love to make, and decorate, cupcakes. I will happily spend all day on a batch, doing sugar craft and pipping icing, only to sit down and have a munch. As Easter is approaching, I thought it would be fun to show you how to create cute cup cakaes with seasonal sugar craft decorations.
Those of you with a keen eye will note that my paper case's are Christmas themed. I couldn't find my none festive ones so made do with some sprigs of holly.
Stage 1: Baking
You can make any cupcake you want, however I find it's best to stick to a simple flavor if you are topping it with butter cream AND sugar craft. Sadly, there is such a thing as sugar overload. I opted for a very quick, basic vanilla cupcake.
Ingredients for 12 cupcakes
- 110g sifted self-raising flour.
- 110g superfine caster sugar
- 110g of softened butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Before you begin, preheat you oven to 190°C. Once you've done this, pop all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until smooth.
When it looks like cake mixture, divide it between the paper cases and put them in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. If you're unsure if the cakes are baked, push a wooden toothpick into a cake, then remove it. If the toothpick is clean once removed, your cakes are ready.
If you try to decorate your cakes whilst hot, the icing will just melt and you'll be left with a hot, albeit delicious, mess. Leave your cakes to cool to one side, and focus on making your sugar craft decorations.
Stage 2: Sugar craft
For my sugar craft I used the following tools and ingredients:
- 1 pack 250g White Renshaw modelling/flower paste (available from cake supply shops & here)
It's important not to use normal cake icing. You need your decorations to be hard to the bite, otherwise they will just fall apart.
- Some icing dye. I use Wilton 8 Icing Colours.
- Some circular cutters like these.
- Cornflour. I place some into a pop sock with a knot in, and use it as a dusting bag.
- A small paint brush.
- A freezer bag.
- Easter mould. I got mine from ebay here.
- Rolling pin. For sugar craft it's best to use a plastic one.
First warm up the modelling paste with your hands whilst it's in the packet. It's important to keep it in the packet to start with as over-handling will dry it out. At first it will feel solid, but if you keep bending it, it will eventually becoming softer. Once it's become more like paste, open your packet. Take 1/3 of the paste off the block. Place the 1/3 to one side, and put the rest in the freezer bag. Make sure you tie the freezer bag tight, and get any air out so your paste doesn't harden!
Dust some cornflower on your work surface and rolling pin to stop your paste from sticking. Now roll out the paste that you have separated into a flat sheet, 1 cm thick. Place a circle cutter which is smaller than your cupcake on the icing and press down. To get a clean cut, wiggle the cutter around in a clockwise then anti-clockwise motion to separate it from the rest of your paste. Repeat this another 11 times so you have 12 discs in total. These discs will form the base of your decorations.
Remove 1/3 of your remaining paste from the freezer bag and wrap it up again. Push a tooth pick into your chosen colour of dye and wrap it into your modelling paste. You need hardly any dye, and this is the best way of not using too much. Too much dye will make your modelling paste overly sticky, and hard to work with. Using more dye will not deepen the shade. Once it's reached it's final shade, that's it.
Work the paste in your hands, almost like kneading bread, to dye the entire piece of paste. At first it will take on a marbleized effect and will be mildly sticky. Keep doing this until you get one block colour. A word of warning, this will stain your hands for a couple of hours, so you may want to wear disposable gloves if you plan on going straight out.
Once you have a block colour, place your Easter mold on your work surface, and decide what shape you want to do first. Dust some cornflower into your mold. Tear off a small piece of paste, and push it into your mold. Ensure the space is completely filled. Gently remove the paste by slowly pulling pack the mold. Don't push the mold completely in on itself, as this will cause it to crack over time. If any part has gone slightly wrong, just gently press it into shape. Worst case scenario, ball that piece up and try again. Repeat another 11 times until you have 12 decorations.
Use a dry paintbrush to dust off any cornflower which is on your colored decorations. Very slightly wet your paintbrush and use it to dampen the underside of the colored decoration, and a flat side of your plain disk. Gently press your colored decoration into place, and move to one side. This will act as a sort of glue, and hold it together. If you find it hasn't stuck, try adding slightly more water and pressing a tiny bit firmer.
Whilst your decorations are setting, it's time to make your butter cream and pipe.
Stage 3: Buttercream Icing
Ingredients and tools needed:
- 250g butter (Don't use margarine or tub spreadable butter as it won't be *ahem* stiff enough)
- 500g icing sugar
- Piping bag, disposable or reusable.
- 1M Nozzle, otherwise known as an open star nozzle.
To make the buttercream, simply pop the butter and icing into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. The consistency should be thick enough that a fork can stand up in it. Unless you have a Kitchen Aid, which I am extremely jealous of, I recommend mixing this is 1/2 batches and cutting up your butter into small pieces. It makes life a lot easier, and cleaner.
Slip your 1M nozzle into your piping bag and place it in a jug. Roll the bag over so you can see the inside clearly. Now scoop buttercream into your piping back, so it's filled about 50%. Once it's filled, Twist the top of your piping bag to push your buttercream down. Squirt a couple of inches of buttercream back into your mixing bowl to make sure the pressures right. If your new to piping, it might be an idea to full empty your bag to get used to the best way to grip it.
Piping wise, I've opted for my all-time favorite, the rose swirl. Think of your cupcake as a clock face. Start from 12 O'clock, and pipe in a clockwise manner. When you get back to the top, carry on piping, but this time next to your first circle of buttercream. It should be a short of swirl. Don't worry about if it ends up a little messy, especially in the middle, as this will be covered by your decorations.
Finally place a disk in the middle of your cupcake and slightly press down. Now enjoy your hard work, and maybe take a few instagram photos to brag ;)
I hope you've enjoying this baking post. I want to try and do things like this more regularly. Let me know if you give them a go, and don't forget to tag me in any pictures!