Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just Cupcakes- An Upscale Cupcakery

Today's adventure took me to a little place in Virginia Beach called "Just Cupcakes!"

Just Cupcakes is a cute little shopping center cupcakery. It is bright and inviting! They have a few little tables to allow you to "dine in" and they also have cute tshirts for sale. If having cupcakes delivered is your thing, they do have a van and deliver larger orders for a small fee. "Just Cupcakes" has 2 locations, both in Virginia Beach. Each day they have a different selection of cupcakes available. Their menu is is viewable on the Just Cupcake Website. You can also find them on Facebook at the Just Cupcakes Facebook Page. Working at a cute little place like this or any cupcakery for that matter must be heaven! I can't imagine not wanting to wake up and look at cupcakes all day! Looking at the display at Just Cupcakes makes you just want to get lost staring at the cupcakes! I should have taken a picture of that! Next time I will!...YES, there will be a next time!
The flavors that I picked today were:
"Happy Birthday"- a yellow cake with there signature vanilla bean buttercream. There are sprinkles and edible glitter on this cupcake! Super Cute! The frosting was super yummy too!
"Seriously Strawberry"- a strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream with a little pink flower on top. Self explanatory, it tasted like strawberry...what can I say?
 "Chocolate Peanut Butter"- which is a Guittard milk chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting topped with a Hershey Kiss! The frosting reminded me of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!
"M's"- a Callebaut Chocolate cake with buttercream icing and tons of M&M minis! This cake was very chocolaty and perfect with the M&M's minis!
I have had a couple of my elves scope this place out before and they didn't care much for the cupcakes. My elves noted that the cupcake seemed smaller than other cupcakeries and there was not enough icing. After all it is better to have too much icing than too little, you can take it off, but you can't put more on!
After my visit, I do have to say that "Just Cupcakes" has there icing down to an art...we loved the icing on every single cupcake! Nice consistency on the icing and decent amount of icing on most of the cupcakes, but the icing didn't reach the edges on a couple of the cupcakes leaving bites of cake and no icing. I would have to agree with my elves about the amount. The cupcakes themselves, although they tasted good and had good flavor, were very crumbly with the texture, light in weight resembling that of a box mix. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just an observation! With all the cupcakes devoured, it did leave me wanting more! Visually, the cupcakes are appealing in their bright pink liners, nice decorations, and a touch of color. Each cupcake has its own personality, piping style, decoration. 
If a cupcake looks good, it makes people want it!

I have contemplated coming up with a grading system or star rating for my reviews, but I have decided that I don't want to put a "grade" on my cupcake reviews. I love all cupcakes! Each cupcake is different, as each person may have a different perspective on what makes a "good" cupcake and what makes a "great" cupcake. I just wish to share with you my experience and give you an idea what to expect when you visit the cupcakery. Instead of a grade, I will select my favorite cupcake from the cupcakes that I selected to review during this visit and deem it "Fox's Favorite."

Fox's Favorite at Just Cupcakes- "M's"
A very close second- "Happy Birthday"

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bears at the Beach!

It's Flashback Friday!
This is a "now just occasional" segment that I post to show you some of my past adventures...
These are the cupcakes I made last year for my birthday!
Happy Birthday to Me!
To make these cupcakes- I frosted about 1/2 the cupcake very thinly with white icing and smashed on some crushed teddy bears...okay that sounds really horrible! I feel guilty just saying it...so...if you want, use crushed graham crackers or brown sugar for sand. However, using the teddy bears give you one less thing to buy if you don't have the other items on hand!
For the water, I used a stiff consistency butter cream icing and kinda molded it on with my fingers. Towards the end I realized I could almost make waves with it.
I used Gummy Lifesavers as floats, Goldfish...as fish- haha (No Goldfish were harmed in the creation of this cupcake!), and Airheads to make beach balls, towels, and surf boards. Some of the umbrellas didn't want to stay up, so I used a small piece of Airhead to glue that up too! 
See the little waves?

These cupcakes were some of the first adventurous cupcakes that I made! Lots of fun!

 Since then I have discovered other methods of making water, check them out at the links below!
The Little Mermaid Cupcakes- I used Decorator Icing and Piping Gel
A Years Worth of Disney Cupcakes!- Check out the Disney Cruise Cupcakes on that post...I used buttercream, but also used a small spoon to make whitecaps on the waves!



These Cupcakes are linked up to Cupcake Tuesdays!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design- Lesson 3

It's time for lesson 3 in the Wilton Course 2 Flowers and Cake Design Class that I am taking! In this class we are learning to make: the Lily, basketweave, and reverse shell border.

2 hours before class we had a horrible storm come through and lost electricity for about 20 hours. Lots of damage to the area around here. I was thrilled when I called my instructor to find there was still electricity at Michael's and that I had a chance to escape to class! However, I surely didn't do my best work last night. A couple of my flowers petals broke in transit as well, and once they got home, melted a little due to the heat.

So with all that said...here is what I learned!

These are the lilies I made in class...once they arrived home, as you can see some of the tips are broken off the petals and they started to melt into the centers. I may see if I can "glue" the tips back on later!
Here is a little closer picture. We use a special thin candy foil covering a lily nail to make our flower in. The petals were piped using royal icing with tip 366, and then we made a little green royal icing star with tip 14 inside. To blend it we used our brush dipped in a little extract and painted it up the side. The first couple I didn't use enough green, and once it melted you can't see that there was green at all in some of them.  Anyway once that is done, you cut your stamen in half at the thick part and open it up and push it right into your wet flower. These lilies are supposed to take quite awhile to dry since they are deep in the cup. Even once the petals are dry, the center may not be. I am not totally happy with them as of yet, I definately need to practice!
This is the basketweave done with tip 47, the white reverse shell done with tip 21, the green reverse shell was with tip 14. The basketweave was very easy and that will be on my final cake, I think everyone is supposed to use that on there final cakes. The reverse shell was pretty easy too once I got the angle down. It is just like making little question marks.
 
Here are some more of my practices. I wasn't making my shells close enough together to begin with. We did this with royal icing, but on the final cake it will be in buttercream.

This morning, I needed to clean out my bags and tips and had just enough icing left to try one more lily. There was so little icing in the bag I was really having to use my thumb to push it through, but it is enough to give you an idea on how to make them!
So here is my little Lily tutorial!
Picture #1 (left)- Royal icing piped with a tip 366 onto a foil covered lily nail. I have trimmed the foil and slightly turned it under so it doesn't get in the way. I first piped 3 petals into a "Y" shape and then fill in the other 3. My petals aren't the same size...but the goal is for them to be!
Picture #2 (right)- Star piped in with royal icing and tip 14.
Picture #3 (left)- I smoothed the star out with my small brush dipped into extract. You can use Vodka too, but for class we used extract. Just don't use water...it will break down the icing. Again, I did a sloppy job with this, but I was doing this with no electricity in the heat, so that's my excuse!
Picture #4 (right)- Stamen inserted...makes a world of a difference, don't ya think? Our instructor had some very elegant pearl tipped stamens...love!

I will definately be making more lilies and I will keep making them until I am happy with them! Still not sure on what design I will do for next weeks final cake. We will be learning the Wilton Rose, but can't use it on our cake since it will still be wet. This week I need to make all the flowers that I intend to use on my cake and I need to do it soon so they can dry! Usually, I have everything planned out and ready to execute...this time I am just winging it! I did sign up last night for Wilton Course 3: Gumpaste and Fondant that will start as soon as I finish Course 2!

Photo added on 5/26/2011- Getting the hang of making the lilies!

If you read my post on last weeks Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design- Lesson 2, I wrote about having a problem getting the flowers off of the paper. I posted to the Wilton Discussion Forum and quickly got my answer! I needed to wait a few days, if not even a week, before removing them from the papers, depending on the humidity where I live. 5 days after making the flowers, I tried again and the couple flowers that I tried came off very easily. However, I decided to leave them on the papers until I use them so they will be easier to move, instead of trying to take them off to photograph them without papers.

My Previous Classes
View the Wilton Website for more class information


Monday, May 23, 2011

Princess Brownie Pops

Today I am making my first Brownie Pops!
 I am using the Wilton Brownie Pops 8-Cavity Silicone Mold to bake the brownies in. Unlike cake pops, these are actually baked right into the shape and halfway through baking you insert the stick, so this eliminates a couple of the steps needed to make cake pops.
First prepare the brownie mix as directed on the box. I used a Duncan Hines Snack Size mix. It made 13 brownie pops, perfect number for decorating! However, I just have one brownie pop pan, so I am going through the steps twice. Make sure you have the racks in your oven far enough apart in the oven to accommodate the stick once you insert it halfway...you won't want to be rearranging the racks once the oven is on! Preheat oven according to your box directions.
According to the directions on the sleeve that the brownie pop mold comes in, I needed to spray the cavities with cooking spray and then fill the cavities 2/3 full with batter and bake 10-15 minutes and then remove and insert cookie sticks (I used 6 inch sticks), place back in the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes. The first batch, I pulled out at 10 minutes and inserted the stick and a couple sticks came out leaning in the end, so wait the full 15 minutes before inserting sticks. To fix the leans I have removed the sticks and will insert it with melted candy melts as I would a regular cake pop. I let the pops sit in the pan for about 10 minutes to cool before removing them, they unmolded very easily.
Once all of your brownie pops are cooled, it is just like making cake pops! Melt your candy melts in your Wilton Chocolate Pro. I also colored my Wilton Pink Candy Melts a little pinker with Wilton Candy Coloring. Dip your brownie pop, gently shaking off any excess and placing in your holder to dry.

Overall, that was easier said than done...and I have been successful at making cake pops in the past...however today the brownie pops weren't quite working out as planned. Before dipping and during dipping, the brownies wanted to slide down the sticks, they wanted to fall off the sticks, and for some reason the melting candy wasn't sticking to the brownie as nicely as I wanted either. Maybe it is due to the warm weather, high humidity, and rain today? I ended up gluing around the stick with candy melts and popping them in the refrigerator to set.  I will give the Brownie Pop Silicone pan another chance with the sticks, but right now I think I should have cooked the brownies without the stick and when they were done continued on as if creating an actual cake pop, with inserting the stick dipped in candy melts, chilling, etc.  

I am using the Wilton Princess Pops Fun Pix and had read that it does work best if you go ahead and insert the pix before the chocolate/candy sets to avoid cracking. I used a small knife to cut a small slit before inserting the pick to make this a little easier.
  Since I only had 13 brownie pops to begin with and 2 packs of the Princess pix (8 in each pack), I decided just to make the Pink Princesses today and to save Purple Princesses for another day. 
I even tried to dip one in without a stick! However, I was unable to shake it off without making a mess of things. The dress was nice a flowy, but my piping with too thick of icing made a mess of that!
After the melting candy had set, I used a size 2 tip and Royal Icing to pipe some designs onto the Princess dresses. My piping skills still need some work!
Here are the Princesses decorated with Royal Icing and a Size 2 tip
In the Wilton- "Pops! Sweets on a Stick" book they show the Princess pix pops with the stick coming out of the bottom and the pick on the top...as I have done...mostly. On the package of the Wilton Princess Pops Fun Pix they have the brownie pop sitting on a flat surface with both the pick and stick coming out the top. Maybe it would have been easier with the stick and pick coming out of the top.

Lesson learned- "if life gives you lemons.... someone will like them."
My little Princess thought these Princess Pops were perfect! I have to admit...they tasted great!



View My Cake Pop Posts
Basic Cake Pop Tutorial
Owl Cake Pops
and if you don't want to make them or they don't turn out get
Starbucks Cake Pops

Starbucks Cake Pops

Breakfast of Champions!
Okay, so they have been out a couple months now and I am just getting around to trying them, Starbucks has Cake Pops! I have made Cake Pops myself, nothing that difficult, but I do like to see what else is out there and well....How does Starbucks Cake Pops compare to homemade? What flavor do I choose? Well there are 3... 
Birthday Cake, Tiramisu, Rocky Road
Very moist inside, but most cake pops are! They did look perfect, no cracks, coated nicely. Tiramisu was by far THE BEST with a chocolate covered coffee bean on top! Birthday Cake was pink with white sprinkles, cute, vanilla cake inside! Perfect for a little girl! The Rocky Road was the one I got left with, it has lots of roasted almonds (their website says almonds, I would say walnuts?) and marshmallows inside and out...a little too much for my liking. Each at 170 calories...Rocky Road with 180...this is a very indulgent treat! Pairing one of these with a 290 calorie Tall Caramel Frappuccino...we can definitely call this breakfast!

Overall, these are something that you can make at home yourself easy enough! However if you don't have time to make them or don't want to, these are just as good as homemade if you want to pay the $1.50 each price tag or 2 for $2.50.

To learn how to make your own cake pops view my other cake pop posts:
Basic Cake Pop Tutorial
Owl Cake Pops

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pirate Cupcakes!

To celebrate the release of Disney's latest Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on 5/20/2011, I, of course, wanted to celebrate with CUPCAKES!
Wilton has made Pirates of the Caribbean products to make this easy! However, after checking out the stores around here there are none to be found...Argh! Sometimes you would think I live in the middle of the Caribbean! Not long ago there was Pirate stuff everywhere, candy molds, everything, but now, nothing to be found! Anyway, I have been able to get some of Wilton's "last years model" Pirate Cupcake Combo Pack, so that is a start! Now, I just need to decide how I am going to execute the plan....
This is The Flying Dutchman from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies!
I was lucky enough to see The Flying Dutchman in person last year at Castaway Cay, Bahamas, while taking a cruise on the Disney Wonder ! It really is one if the coolest things ever to see! I would say the coolest thing ever...but Cinderella's Castle ranks up there too!
Here is is again! This is the actual ship used in the filming of the movies! Awesomeness!
Now back to cupcakes!
One thing I was sure on though, was the flavor to make for these cupcakes- Aztec Chile Chocolate Cupcakes! I found the recipe in the Betty Crocker- The Big Book of Cupcakes. There is also a frosting recipe to go with it. There is an option to make the cupcakes from scratch or to doctor up a Devil's Food box mix. These cupcakes contain 3t chile powder and 1/8t cayenne pepper added to a devils food batter...so they should have lots of flavor! The frosting contains 3c powdered sugar, 1 stick butter, 4T strong brewed coffee, 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, 2t vanilla, and 1t cinnamon (slight variation of book recipe).
Now for the decorations!
I have decided to make little treasure chests to go on top of the cupcakes. While browsing down the candy aisle for inspiration, I found Hershey's Nuggets are kind of shaped like treasure chests, so that should work!

First I used a small knife to slice through the Nuggets, just a little at a time on each side until the knife was able to go all the way through. If you try and cut through in one shot, the Nugget will probably break on you! If you find the Nugget is too hard to cut through, microwave between 7-10 seconds, just enough to soften very slightly, not melt. Save any broken parts to melt, to glue down your gold and to attached the treasure chest lid.
This is what it looks like once it is cut.
Melt any broken pieces you have a little at a time for about 15 seconds to act as glue. If you didn't break any...good for you! The bag contains about 32 Nuggets, so if you are making 24 cupcakes, there are some leftover to melt...assuming none have been pillaged so far! Spread a little of the melted chocolate on top of the bottom of your treasure chest.
Sprinkle with gold sprinkles. I used Wilton Gold Pearlized Sugar.
Sit the top back onto the bottom of the treasure chest to where the top and bottom touch on the back and glue the backside together with your melted chocolate. You may have to shift a little of the gold to get the backsides touching. The fuller you fill the front of the treasure chest with gold, the wider open it will stay.
Repeat until you have made enough for how many ever cupcakes you wish to decorate. 24 treasure chests for me! They go pretty quick once you get in the groove of things. I worked with 4 at a time.
I could have stopped there, but they were still a little plain looking. So I grabbed a piping bag, some red royal icing, and a size 2 tip and piped on some locks and Jolly Rogers-thats "Pirate" for skull and crossbones!
Here is a backside view of the treasure chests.
We tried a test cupcake and they were super yummy! A little bite to them!
Now time to decorate. I made the frosting (recipe is way up there if you didn't read that part!), it was hard not to eat it all! YUM! I am going to have to make that frosting again! I put the frosting in a bag and frosted the first cupcake realizing there was not enough difference between the frosting and the treasure chest, they kinda blended together. I added black coloring to darken up the frosting, this really didn't change the taste of the frosting since I was going from brown to almost black and it didn't take much color to change it. I didn't go jet black, just darker than brown. In the picture below in the top left you can see the cupcake with the uncolored chocolate frosting. 
Lots of treasure!
Fair winds matey!


These Cupcakes are linked up to:
 Cupcake Tuesdays
Everyday Sisters: Sharing Sundays (Theme: Mexican)
 
These Cupcakes were featured at:
Show Your Cake!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design- Lesson 2

In Lesson 2 we will learn to make Apple Blossoms, Primroses, and Violets.
Primrose; Apple Blossom; Violet; Daffodil
In preparation for Lesson 2, I needed to make 2 batches of Royal Icing. This will be enough icing to complete the entire course! Our instructor had us do both batches at once so we would only have to do it ONCE! Royal Icing can sit (covered) at room temperature for 2 weeks.
Royal Icing is very easy to make. The only thing is you need to make sure EVERYTHING REMAINS GREASE-FREE! Use glass bowls since plastic is porous and even just a minuscule amount can ruin the recipe! (I have not tested this theory, but surely didn't want to risk it!) To make Royal Icing you use 1 pound of confectioners sugar (get a 1 lb box instead of measuring!), 3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder, and 5 Tablespoons water (the recipes calls for 7-10T water, but it is easier to thin it out than to thicken it up, so our instructor had us use just 5T water). Put all of that in a mixing bowl bowl and mix on the slowest speed for exactly 10 minutes. That makes1 batch of royal icing, so I did this twice leaving 1 batch white for future use.

Tips Needed
The Apple Blossom will use tips 101 for the petals and tip 1 for the dots.
The Primrose will use tips 103 for the petals, tip 14 for the star, and tip 1 for the dot.
The Violet will use tips 59degrees for the petals and tip 1 for the dots.

Amounts of Royal Icing Needed
1 cup of Pink Royal Icing for the Apple Blossom Petals, Apple Blossom dots, and Primrose Petals.
1/2 cup Lavender Royal Icing for the Violets.
1/4 cup Yellow Royal Icing for the Apple Blossom Star, and the dots on the Primroses and Violets.
(These can be made in whichever colors you wish, I just tried to use as few as possible!)

Lesson 2 was so much fun and the flowers were so simple! I really had a great time learning to make them!
I do think the Apple Blossom (petal tip 101) and Violet (petal tip 59degrees) look very similar but the petals turn up a little on the Violet.
From Left to Right: Primrose; Apple Blossom; Violet
Our class was doing so awesome with the flowers, our instructor decided to go ahead and teach us a couple more flowers!
The other flowers we learned were:
The Daffodil- Tip 104 for the petals, tip 3 for the circular shape and 1 for the zigzag in the center (these should be yellow, but I just used pink since I had already used those tips with pink)
The Rosebud- Tip 104 for the petals (We made this flower on the practice board and then scooped back into our bags, so I forgot to photograph it before I did so!)
Daffodil

***The morning after the class I took the picture with the black background, still can't get them off the papers. I have read it is best to wait a couple days to remove them. I tried to remove one and it started to crack. With luck, in a few days I will be able to photograph some of them without the papers :)***

Next Week: We will learn the Tiger Lily, Basketweave, and Reverse Shell border! We will also be practicing the flowers that we have already learned!


My Previous Classes
View the Wilton Website for more class information

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Little Mermaid

Under the Sea
under the sea
Darlin' it's better down where it's wetter
Take it from me.
Up on the shore they work all day
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devoting full time to floating
Under the sea

Supplies
1 package white candy melts
one lavender candy melt
one pink candy melt
black candy coloring (or you could use a couple black candy melts in the white to tint grey)
Seashells candy mold
4 chewy granola bars
Ariel and Flounder Picks
Ariel Cupcake liners
candy fish
piping gel
blue icing coloring
 2 cups white icing
pink and white fondant (just a small amount to make flowers)
brown sugar
Cupcakes ready to be decorated 

Day 1
The first step in making these cupcakes was to make the candy shells and the rock that Ariel will sit on top of. I first started by melting 3/4 package of Ambrosia White Candy Bark in the Wilton Chocolate Pro, this takes about 20-30 minutes. When that was done, I melted one lavender and one pink Wilton Candy Melt (yes just one of each!) on separate sides of a microwave safe plate for 30 seconds on 50%. I used a lollipop stick to paint streaks into the Wilton Seashells Candy Mold and then using a plastic spoon topped that with the white melted candy, making sure to tap the mold on the cabinet to let out any air bubbles. Put these in the refrigerator to set (about 10 minutes) and then tap them onto the cabinet to unmold. They should be really easy to unmold, if they aren't, refrigerate them for a few minutes more. Since I am only making 12 Ariel Cupcakes and really only need 12 seashells, (there are 12 Ariel Picks and 12 Flounder Picks in the Wilton Disney Princess Ariel Fun Pix) but I made extra just in case. The mold makes 11 shells, so I did this a couple times. (Tip- if you happen to overfill the mold, don't worry, after the candy sets up you can easily break off the excess candy and use the warmth of your fingers to smooth out the shell)
While the candy shells are setting up, open up 4 chewy granola bars (preferably without chocolate chips- they tend to melt and look ugly). Break up the granola bars into about 3 pieces each bar and shape into the rocks. I also made rocks using the same method for St Patrick's Day Blarney Stone Cupcakes. These rocks are just a little larger than the ones for the Blarney Stones. Add enough Wilton Black Candy Coloring to turn the white candy in the pot to a grey color. There are special oil based colors to color the candy melts. You could also use a few black candy melt disks to turn the white grey if you have those. (Black Candy Melts are only available at Halloween time around here, so this fall I am going to have to get a few bags since I am always needing black or grey! ) Anyway, back to business...dip your granola rocks into the grey melting candy with a plastic spoon, remove, and place on waxed paper.
When you are finished with the rocks, put them in the refrigerator a few minutes to set before you turn off the pot of candy in case you need to go over any spots you missed or touched, it can easily be done with a spoon.
 Now all of the shells and the rocks can sit at room temperature until they are needed...I'm done for the day!
Total time for Day 1- about 2 hours including melting, set up, and cleaning up time.

Day 2
I am super excited to get started on the cupcakes today!
The recipe I am using is Yellow Cupcakes from the Martha Stewart Website. But first, I must line the cupcake tins with Disney Princess Ariel Baking Cups. (Tip- if you have a problem seeing the designs on your baking cups after they are baked, switch out the oil or butter in the recipe for unsweetened applesauce and you can see the pictures on the liner perfectly and even cut out some fat, yet still have a very moist cupcake!)

I didn't realize that the recipe only makes 12, so I will have to make 2 batches. I will be doing each batch differently since I only have enough eggs for one batch. UH-OH! No...that's okay, we can work around having no eggs!

For Batch One- I replaced the 1/2 cup butter for 1/2 cup applesauce and baked until toothpick came out clean, 22 minutes here!

For Batch 2- THE EGGLESS BATCH! I first replaced the 1/2 cup butter for 1/2 cup applesauce, then I changed the milk amount from 1/2 cup to the line right in between 1/3 and 1/2 cup. (I am not a mathematician, so I don't know what that would be called!) Finally, in place of each egg, I added 1 Tablespoon more of applesauce...so total in Batch 2 I used 1/2 cup PLUS 2 Tablespoons of applesauce. These also took 22 minutes to bake.
Left-Batch one with eggs; Right- Batch two with no eggs
Batch 1- The cupcakes with the eggs had a larger dome and were a little more yellow due to the yolks. They were a breadier cupcake.
Batch 2- The cupcakes with no eggs, I preferred, they were a softer cupcake, but both batches pretty much tasted the same!

While the cupcakes cooled, I thought it would be cute to add some flowers to the rocks. I rolled out pink fondant to 1/8" and cut out with a small flower fondant cutter. I hand rolled the tiny white centers of the flower and glued together with Gum Paste Adhesive that I learned about in Wilton Course 2- Lesson 1, you will also find directions in that post.
I carefully inserted one of the Ariel picks into each of the rocks and then used gum paste adhesive to adhere the flowers to the rocks and sat those aside to dry a few minutes. While they were drying, I colored 1-1/2 cups Wilton Decorators Icing and 2/3 of the container of Wilton Piping Gel, both blue. Save the remaining 1/2 cup white icing to go under the sand.
Next onto the assembly of the Ariel Cupcakes.
To start, I iced 2/3 of each cupcake blue and the remaining 1/3 white. I pressed brown sugar into the white icing with a spoon for the sand.  (For half of the cupcakes, I had the sand in the front, the other half I had the sand in the back, not sure which I like best!) For stability, I used an additional toothpick poked into the bottom of the rock to secure the rock to the cupcake...be careful, I did crack one rock doing this! I placed Ariel on the cupcake and then applied the piping gel with a small baby spoon over all of the blue icing and around the rock. For the shells that I put on the cupcakes with the sand in the front, I cut a toothpick in half and sightly poked into the candy shell and then poked the shell into the cupcake. For the shells that I put on the cupcakes with sand in the back, I used the larger shells and they are just propped up against a toothpick.(You could do all this without additional toothpicks, the first one I didn't use toothpicks, but I wanted these to be very stable when I moved them so used toothpicks. For the upright seashell, I propped it against a tooth pick, I don't think they would stay well at all without a toothpick.)

Now it is Flounders Turn...
These went very quick. I just iced the cupcake blue with the blue icing and then went over it with the blue piping gel. Next, I place the Flounder pick and a couple candy fish in the water!
Total time for Day 2- about 2 hours from the time I started mixing the batter to the time I had everything cleaned up.
These were a lot of fun to make!

Last Years Little Mermaid Cupcakes
I also made Little Mermaid Cupcakes last year using Disney Princess Ariel Icing Decorations. The Icing decorations didn't have an Ariel, just Flounder, a seashell, and a star. For the Ariel picks, I went to the Disney Princess Website and then click on "Printables" and then "Stickers". They no longer have the stickers I used, but they have different Ariel stickers that are cute too! I didn't have sticker paper to print them, so I just printed them and cut them to where the front and back matched in size and glued them to a toothpick to make my own picks!
View the posting with these cupcakes at- A Year's Worth of Disney Cupcakes!

This cupcake idea is linked up to Cupcake Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wilton Course 2: Flowers and Cake Design- Lesson 1

After completing Wilton Course 1-Decorating Basics, and a couple weeks off, it is time to start Wilton Course 2- Flowers and Cake Design!
I am really excited to start this class and move beyond the basics! We are going to learn about Gum Paste and Fondant, Royal Icing, and how to make some cool flowers! We are also going to learn how to make the famous Wilton Rose!
For the first class we need to bring our Student Kit. There is a "Flowers and Cake Design" kit for just this class or you can get the Ultimate Kit, which I purchased that has the supplies for all 3 courses. We also need to bring gum paste, fondant, shortening, confectioners sugar, corn starch, and a small container with water and a tight lid for gum paste adhesive. Only in Lesson 4 will we need to bring a cake. This class is all about making the flowers!

In class we started by making gumpaste glue. Gumpaste glue is made from 1 tablespoon water and 1/4 teaspoon of gumpaste broken up into tiny pieces. It takes about an hour to totally dissolve. This gumpaste glue is used to put the flowers together. We also prepared our dusting pouch with 1 tablespoon each of cornstarch and confectioners sugar. The dusting pouch is used to dust the button flower press and sponge used for the pansy.
We then moved on to kneading our fondant and gumpaste. The pink on the flowers is fondant, the white is gumpaste. We rolled out the pink fondant to 1/8 inch, (lavender rings on the fondant roller) and put it into lightly dusted button flower press to the flower press to make the button flowers. Then we did the same with the gumpaste. We could either color the gumpaste, leave it white, or marble it. We then assembled the flowers on the little white cups.
Button Flowers and Pansy
The Pansy was made mostly with gumpaste. I mixed in a little pink fondant to color half of the gumpaste light pink. We put these together half and half and rolled it out paper thin and then cut it with our flower fondant cutter. Then we place the full flower on the pink sponge and used the round ended fondant tool to press around the edges of the flower thinning it out. We then did the same thing with just 2 flower petals. After that we pressed each of the petals on sponge with the rounded tool forming a bit of a cup. The gumpaste was thin and had already almost dried and wanted to try and crack during this step. We finally rolled our a little tear drop and then glued it all together with our gumpaste glue.
At the end of class, our teacher demonstrated making royal icing which we will need to bring a double recipe of to our next class.
I really enjoyed learning to work with fondant and gumpaste! There are so many possibilities!
Next week, we learn to make Primrose, Violets, and Apple Blossoms!

My Previous Classes

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