Sunday, July 10, 2011

Picnic Basket Cupcakes

Happy Sunday! This week brings a Family Reunion Picnic that required Picnic themed cupcakes! These are some of the finished cupcakes before they were packaged up and delivered for the picnic. I made both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, all topped with vanilla buttercream as well as the fondant tablecloths, baskets, flowers and royal icing ladybugs I shared with you a couple of weeks ago.

There are two things about cupcakes. One is that they seem like they are easy to make. The other is that they go stale really quickly. Compared to a wedding cake, cupcakes are easy to make. But whenever you try to make any more than a dozen they become a bit more challenging than one would expect. But since they are baked in paper cups that allow air to permeate them and start to dry them out you will find you have a more limited time span in which to make and decorate them and still present a fresh product.

There are a few tips that will help you out in a case like this where 3 doz of these were needed. First off, as you noticed from my previous blog, the decorations were made a couple of weeks in advance so it was more assembling the pieces to the cupcakes after baking than decorating them. You can bake the cupcakes in foil wrappers which will help with drying out but, in most cases, the wrappers will be paper. So the best thing to do is bake them at the last moment possible. I aim for less than 24 hours before they will be served if possible. So I bake them, cool them and then place them into the carriers. You can get these at any Michaels or cake decorating store or even just save the plastic carriers from the muffins you buy at the grocery store and, after cleaning and drying well, use those for transportation and to help your cupcakes stay nice and moist. After placing inside the carrier then top with icing and any decorations you may want to use. This leads to less handling of the cupcakes, less air that gets into the sides where you touch the wrappers and less of a chance that you will mess one up after the icing and decorations are placed on top. To place this type of decoration I used royal icing as "glue" between the pieces. The tablecloths stuck to the fresh buttercream but then to adhere the baskets and flowers I used royal icing. It dries hard and fast so you take less of a chance of the decorations getting broken during transportation. Even if that transportation is from the counter of your kitchen to your kitchen table.

Close up

But, in the end, it's fun when a client sees something like these adorable Picnic Basket Cupcakes and thinks they are the cutest things she's ever seen. That's big payment for a caker and she gets to be proud of what she is serving all day long.

This upcoming week brings a wedding cake! Lots of work to get it done but I'll share the finished product next Sunday!


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