Happy Sunday! This week was a very very busy one for me. Being all by myself in this business means there is only me to rely on when the week gets busy and, for me, this means anytime I have more than 2 cakes or one wedding cake. Well, this week I had a wedding cake, 48 cupcakes AND a birthday cake! Today I'm sharing the cupcakes and birthday cake so I can share those techniques with you. Next week I'll share the wedding cake!
So the chocolate cupcakes in the photo are just regular cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and chocolate sprinkles but the pink and white cupcakes are strawberry cupcakes with swirled pink and white vanilla buttercream and there's a fun trick I'd like to share with you so you can do this same design on your next dozen cupcakes!
First pick out which cupcake tip you'd like to use in your piping bag. Now these are those large tips you see at the store that don't use a coupler in your bag. I prefer the large star tip for something like this. Put it into your large piping bag and set aside laying it flat on the counter. Now take some vanilla buttercream and color it any color you would like. Put that into a small piping bag with no tip or coupler and slide that inside your large piping bag which is still flat on the counter. Now do the same with some white vanilla buttercream and slide that bag in so it lines up with the colored icing bag. Carefully pick up your large piping bag so that, hopefully, your two smaller bags inside will slide down to the large piping tip inside the big bag. Pipe a little of your icing out into a bowl until you can see the twin colors coming out. Then pipe onto your cupcakes like you normally would! You will see the two colors swirl out on top! The fun thing is that you can do this with 3 colors if you'd like a more rainbow effect...just add another small bag of colored icing to your large bag. It's fun to see it pipe out onto your cupcakes and your guests will love, and marvel, over the effect!
Onto the birthday cake! This is a little 6 inch cake feeds 12. Since it is 4 inches high you don't want to cut more than a small slice for each person so you cut it in half then cut six slices from each side. Inside is luscious lemon chiffon cake with lemoncurd buttercream. Recipe secret here...I either use jarred lemoncurd or fresh, when I can get it, to make this. It's about a half jar of lemoncurd to 1 cup buttercream to make this filling. Then I mix in enough powdered sugar to make it stiff enough that it doesn't all run out. It's so good I could eat it like pudding!
Outside I used rose, navy blue and burgundy gell colors to create this dark wine colored, or "bordeaux" colored, buttercream. For such a dark color it actually took very little gell to make it this dark and vibrant! This means you don't end up with that chemical dye taste in your frosting. I did the normal fairly smooth crumbcoat and final coat of buttercream in this color. Then piped the edge. I let that set up for a few minutes while I colored royal icing with Buttercup yellow gell till it was a dark gold color. I had to add in more powdered sugar to make the royal icing stiff enough for piping. You can test the firmness by piping a bit onto a plastic lid then tilting it up for a few seconds..if your icing slides then you need to firm it up some more with powdered sugar. I started with the center of the cake and just started freehand swirls and create a "river" off the side of the cake knowing my rose would be at the top of that "river". You can use a patter maker to make swirls for you to follow if you wish. Any cookie cutter very gently pressed into the buttercream will give you a pattern you can pipe over easily! Some of the top pattern went over the sides but I carefully left out a bit of room on the side for the "L" inital of the birthday girl. When I started piping the sides the inital was the first thing I did. Once the piping was done it looked like a wine colored cake with dark yellow squiggles on it. So I took old gold luster dust and mixed in some clear alcohol (I use vodka but you can use clear vanilla extract as well) to make it into a thick paint consistancy. You do not want it watery otherwise it will drip off your royal icing onto your dark buttercream and show. Then, using a detail brush, about the same width as my piped lines, I handpainted the gold onto the royal icing. Because I had colored my royal icing this was a quick process. If I had left my royal icing white I would have had to paint and repaint the lines over and over again to get the true gold I wanted. Once I had all the lines covered and looking shiny gold, I took candy pearls and dumped them into the paint. Rolled them around in the paint and then onto parchment where I rolled them around with my paintbrush until the excess paint had been rolled off. Then I allowed them to dry before adding them to the cake and then did a final touch up with more gold.
Now that last tip is mainly for Californians. Some lawyer upstate decided that if you ate 10 pounds of these metallic colored pearls you might get cancer so he sued the state over it. Never mind that most people never eat more than 5 pearls at a time much less 10 pounds of them...it's still in litigation so none of the cake companies here will ship the gold or silver balls into the state and we are forced to paint our own when we need them. If you don't live in California you can probably go to any supermarket or cake or craft supply store and buy a jar of gold or silver balls. I envy you! For now, I have to either color my own or beg out of state friends to bring them to me when they visit!
The rose on top of the cake is just a white sugarpaste rose that I used some of the gold paint to paint the edges. You can buy these roses already made at any cake supply store or even order them online for you to color however you wish if you don't want to make one like I did.
See you next Sunday! I'll share with you the wedding cake and some of the techniques used to make it!