I, as many are, have always been enamored by cupcakes. There is something so wonderful and pleasing about creating a tiny beautiful confection. The portions are controlled, you don’t have to worry about double dipping and I find them easier to manage than a whole cake. With Valentine’s day coming up, I have been looking at a lot of icing videos and I have learned a lot lately and over the years. It can be really complicated to decorate a cupcake or it can be a little more simple, depending on your patience and how intricate you need them to look. With decent tools anyone can create a pretty frosting rose it’s all about the swish and flick of your wrist, and making sure the consistency is JUST RIGHT. It takes a while to get used to, I have notoriously been terrible with icing consistency. Remember, less is more with liquid!! Icing can make all the difference and people are always impressed when your baking looks artsy. I am going to be trying my hand at “royal icing” style as it seems easier and turns out so much more polished for cookies. Add some cute sprinkles or themed candy topping or even a little cutout on a stick to make your cupcakes cute as a button!
This post outlines a few simple cupcake techniques. While I was looking around for flower ideas I saw a video for two tone cupcakes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8SYhPFLYEA&list=WL&index=3) and I never thought about how simple and pretty that would be! I’m definitely trying that one out with red velvet cupcakes. Another thing I have realized is that icing sugar is literally just ground up sugar. This is fantastic news because this means you can use cane sugar! All you have to do is put some sugar in a coffee grinder and process it until it is completely powdered. You can also make something similar to caster sugar by grinding it but not as much as you would for icing sugar, as it is superfine, but not powder. I am not sure if this is true for all caster but the stuff they had at bulk barn was made from cane sugar so it is not refined which is nice.
Another helpful reference is this list of sugars and their uses. Who knew baking could be so complicated?! (But fun!)
If you are going to make cookies and cakes I would strongly suggest ALWAYS making your own icing. There is no downside. It is so easy and tastes so much better, contains less chemicals and is cheaper. I have never bought icing (except for when I wanted that fake taste for dunkaroo nostalgia) and am usually a little offended when anyone does. It doesn’t take long and anyone can do it! Most people have all the ingredients on hand.
Another favourite of mine is having surprises in the middle of cupcakes. You can easily cut shaoes out of cake and insert those: chocolate, kisses, candy, spreads, cookies, even mini pies! (For nostalgia wrap coins in wax paper! Does anyone else remember that?) The more creative you are, the more awed the receiver will be! Once you get the hang of it, it’s not crazy hard to impress people with your baking prowess. 😉