Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Graduation Goodies

Tomorrow night, my fiance's son is graduating from high school! Of course you know by now that I think any occasion worth celebrating is an excuse for cuppycakes! So I set out this afternoon to make some over the top, purple and white, high school spirit-filled, ooey gooey good goodies that would give him enough of a sugar high to stay awake all night for project graduation.

Without sounding too full of myself, can I just say I'm starting to feel like a pro at this cupcake thing? I know now that to make 24 perfectly even cupcakes from a box of cake mix, you fill the cupcake liners using exactly one level 1/4 c. scoop. At 350 degrees, my oven takes exactly 18 minutes - no more, no less - to bake those 24 cupcakes into a lip-smacking fluffy but moist state of delectable dessert heaven. And one can of frosting will frost 23 - yes, 23 - of those cupcakes with a nice swirly dollop of frosting, leaving one naked cupcake for snacking. Or for the dog.

Perfect cuppies, all in a row

So as far as making cupcakes for the wedding, I think I can safely say that the cake making part of my technique is good to go. But there are multiple cupcake occasions between now and October - Father's Day, 4th of July, my brother's birthday, my mom's birthday, my sister's birthday, and also my own birthday (although I refuse to make my own birthday cake - someone else had better step up!) and I don't want to get bored with this whole thing. So I've decided that for each cupcake event going forward, I am going to stretch my skills by doing something I have never done before. Whether that is baking from a scratch recipe, experimenting with different types of icings or fillings, or doing something completely crazy with fondant, each new blog entry should showcase something new I attempted (for better or worse!)

For this go-round, I decided that I would attempt to pipe the tops of the cupcakes with not one, but 2 different frosting colors at once. I had read online from one of the other Cupcake Renegades that if you fill the sides of your bag separately with 2 colors, when you squeeeeeeze out the frosting, the 2 colors combine making a swirl effect. Sounded easy enough, so why not?

Turns out that filling the 2 sides of your piping bag separately is a bit messy, but can be done with the right tools (a butter knife) and a little patience. I did find that I had to wash the bag before I refilled it so that the old frosting wouldn't color the new, and also that it's best to fill the bottom of the bag about 2 inches deep with each color and then work your way up in 2 or 3 inch sections instead of trying to slather the entire side of the bag with one color and then switch sides, because the skinny part of the bag at the bottom tends to try to stick to the other side as you're working. Here's how a filled bag looks...

And the lovely looking finished product!

Oooh, aaah, as the Smurfs would say. For some reason, my camera picked this up as blue and white, but the frosting is really a violet color. You can kinda see the the violet a little better if you look at the first picture of the open frosting bag. Despite the messiness, this was really fun and caused me no stress at all! Not a single cuss word, not even once! What a change from my last cake project, eh?

So now for the decorations. I liked how the candy melt letters came out on the Old Spice cupcakes and thought that they would be fun and tasty on these cupcakes, too. So I used a mold to form the letters Congratulations Corbin 2008 and WHS.

In addition to letters I wanted to make a few graduation caps, diplomas, and some school books.
The graduation caps were really simple. I just colored some white fondant with black food coloring gel, rolled it out to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut out circles for the hat and slightly larger squares for the mortar boards using cookie cutters. I then rolled some small "snakes" with purple and white fondant, frayed the edges using a paring knife, and voila! I had tassels. By the way, I've started using Wilton Decorating Gloves when I color my fondant, and they have made cleaning up my hands a snap!

For the books, I cut rectangles of white fondant, then rolled out a thin layer of purple fondant and covered the rectangles on 3 sides, like a book cover. With the back of a butter kinfe, I indented each side of the book to look like a spine, and used those amazing Food Writers to write Math, English, Science and History on the covers of the books.

The diplomas were relatively simple, too. I just rolled out thin squares of white fondant, then rolled them up like a tortilla and gently stretched the center of each roll to make the edges look bigger than the middle. Again using the food writers, I wrote DIPLOMA on each one, then wrapped the center with a small ribbon of purple fondant. Here's a couple pictures of the works in progress and the finished decorations:

The only thing left to do? Assembly of the finished product! I am really happy with how this project turned out. Let's hope it delivers a serious sugar rush to the recipient!

1 comment:

evil cake lady said...

nice job--the swirls look great! isn't it great to know how a recipe behaves, down to the last detail? it makes me feel like a pro!

i look forward to seeing you try new things in your next posts. i love trying new things, even if they don't come out so well.