Chef-In-Residence

Holiday Cupcake Fun

by Aida Azizuddin Photography FriedChillies on Sun, June 07, 2009

Yes, I know that school holidays are here again and you have your kids running mad underfoot. So get them in the kitchen and let them express their artistic side with a spatula and icing. You might have fun yourself too...

You're never too old to decorate cupcakes

Here's 5 Fantastic and Simple Ways to decorate cupcakes. I came up with this easy-to-follow guide because school holidays is the time I have parents begging me to take their kids for an afternoon baking class if only to not go nutts in their own houses. I find most kids get really, really excited if we're doing cupcakes. It never gets old for them because they get to decorate a whole little cake or two.

It's really that simple to do cupcake decorating in your own home. Firstly though, here's a quick recipe for cupcakes.

Cupcake Ingredients:
185g butter (room temp)
1½ cups castor sugar
1 tablspoon finely grated lemon rind
3 eggs
2 cups flour (self raising)
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup lemon juice

Method:

Beat butter, sugar and rind until light and fluffy
Beat in eggs one at a time
Fold in flour, milk and juice in 2 batches
Then put in paper cases. Bake for 20 minutes in a 180 celcius oven
Once it's risen, nice and golden take it out to cool

Results:
This recipe should make 12 cupcakes. Make sure it's cool before you start icing it. So you can bake these in the morning and have cupcake fun in the afternoon. Or you can bake it the night before and ice it in the morning.


This is a regular buttercream icing that you can make in all sorts of colours.

Icing Ingredients:
½ cup of butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
4 cups of icing sugar
2 tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon corn syrup (optional- glossiness)
2 teaspoons of vanilla

Method:
Beat butter and shortening until fluffy first
Gradually add sugar (1 cup each time) @ medium speed
If you want the consistency to be stiffer, omit milk

Results:
Yields 3 cups
Add colouring with toothpick (colour paste) until you get the colour you want
Remember a tiny bit of colouring goes a long way

So let's get those little fingers busy...

Flower Power

These cupcakes are certainly pretty but you would need icing bags, icing molds and some tiny silver balls.


Spread the buttercream on top with a knife. Then, insert the coloured creams inside bags. For the petals you would need a curved mold. Use light pressure and squeeze icing, turning the cupcake gently to form a petal. For leaves you just need to cut a small hole in another bag and pipe out green icing on the edges. Sprinkle dragee (silver balls) on top to make it look pretty.

Don't worry if it's a little sloppy, you are meant to have fun with this

Written with Love

These are super easy. All you need is buttercream icing and writing gel (which you can get in all sorts of colours from cake suppliers)


Again use a butter knife to spread on the buttercream. If you have a bit of vanilla paste add it to the icing so you get tiny speckles when you spread it on. Using the gel, write anything you like on the cupcake. You can write small messages, names or anything you fancy. This is decorating at its simplest yet it's very cool when arranged together on a plate.

All you need is love

Animal Fun


You can have fun by making animal faces on the cupcakes. All you need is some dried coconut, chocolate sweets like smarties/ M & Ms and some marshmallows for ears.


For a cute Koala face, add some black writing gel to some dried coconut. Mix them around until you get a light grey colour. Spread some buttercream on top and lightly press the coconut to create a furry base. Add on two marshmallows for the ears and add on chocolate buttons for eyes and nose. You can get creative here and create cat, dog and bird faces by using different coloured dry coconut and small sweets.

Too cute to eat

Tart and Sweet

An absolutely simple way to make your cupcakes look pretty is by using some lemon/ passionfruit curd and fruits on top. I like using gooseberries because it goes with the yellow colour theme.


Simply spread on the curd. It'll be just like spreading jam and add fruit on top. Wallah!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

Lux Chocolate

Of course nothing goes better on top of a cupcake than a chocolate cap. I find that the tartness and softness of raspberries goes like a dream on top of chocolate icing.


Chocolate Ganache Icing:
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate (chopped)
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream

Method:

Boil cream in saucepan
Once slightly bubbly, remove and add in chocolate and syrup
This makes a runny and glazzy icing. Let it cool before using
Pop it in the fridge for half an hour so that it will harden a little hence a little easier to spread

Bite me...

Chef Says:


Again don't worry about being too neat. Cupcakes are supposed to look gooey and homey. It's supposed to say 'eat me'.

Other than making and decorating it with your kids or friends, you can also have a practice yourself and bring a box of cupcakes when you go to parties. Everyone loves a cupcake.

And remember, have fun!

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