Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Feature and A Tutorial

If you haven't been over to The TomKat Studio, go now! It truly is "a place for all things pretty"!! The colors, the pictures, the decorations, tips and ideas are brilliant!

A few weeks ago, they spotted my Vintage Ruffle Cupcakes seen here that I had done for Cake Central magazine and asked if I'd share a tutorial with their readers! Of course!!!! I've been asked by various people how to make these pretty little things, so I decided, I'm just going to do a tutorial so the world will know! TomKat readers, here you go!

Here is the finished product...a slight variation from my original version with the flat top and pearls. There are so many ways to make these flowers!! - get creative!
Here are a few steps that might be helpful!
Measure out your cupcakes with a circle cutter. You want the circle cutter to be slightly smaller than the cupcake or cupcake holder. This will be the largest circle that you cut out. Now pull out the next two sizes smaller.

I use this set from Williams Sonoma. Works perfectly for this!

I only use modeling chocolate to make these flowers...for four reasons. One, you can't eat gum paste...who wants a big ol' gum paste flower on top of a cupcake when you can't even eat it. Don't tease me like that! :) Two, fondant on its own is too flimsy so that medium is out. Three, modeling chocolate tastes WAY better than fondant/gum paste. Fourth and finally, it works perfect for these flowers because it holds its shape but stays soft so you can fit the pieces together! So, roll out a piece of modeling chocolate as thin as possible. I use a little cornstarch under it to keep it from sticking. I have also used a little Crisco in the past, but the problem I had with that was when I started folding the circles to create each scallop, they would stick to themselves and not create nice open scallops/ruffles.
If you need a recipe for modeling chocolate (candy clay) go here or here.
You'll need four large circles, four medium circles and one small circle. Again, if you're going for the smaller circle with pearls, then don't fold/"scallop" the small circle...keep it for the top. I cut two little circles in the picture above because I was making the flower both ways (full scallop flower and a variation with the flower seen at the top with the pearls, so I needed two...sorry if that's totally confusing! :) Now, let them sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to firm up slightly before continuing on.

Start with the larger circles and fold each one in half (above)...and then half again (below) without pinching the edges together...just pinch the center together to hold it in place.
Now set them up to rest a bit and the chocolate will firm up so it's easier to work with.
Do you like my jell-o jelly bean mold? :) Works great for holding things!! :) Sorry for the red on red...if I would have thought about that ahead of time, maybe I would have made the flowers white so you can see them better! :) haha

Once the chocolate has rested/firmed up a bit, add a dollop of matching chocolate (save a few of the chocolate pieces before you melt them for the modeling chocolate) to a sheet of wax paper and arrange the four larger scallops so they lay on the melted chocolate.
I lay the scallops so the two larger folds fit snugly with the single fold from the next scallop. Does that make sense? - just look at the pic below and notice there is an order to how I arranged the four scallops.
Now take the four medium circles and arrange them on top of the larger circles with a dollop of melted chocolate in the center. One of the scallops might have to be placed vertically. Then, take the smaller circle/scallop and place that at the top to create a full flower effect (below).
Now it's time to clean all the cornstarch off to make it look even more pretty! I use a little vodka because it removes the cornstarch and the alcohol evaporates away so you're left with a clean, dry, beautiful flower!

Here you go! The full flower effect (above). Now, instead of adding that little scallop to the top, you can flatten out the scallops a bit and add the small circle to the top with some pearls (below) to finish it off. Pipe a big swirl of buttercream on top of your cupcake and place the flower right on top of the buttercream to keep it secure.
End result! The flower is still a bit wet from the vodka, but when it's dry it will have a nice satin look to it! :)
I hope you all found the tutorial helpful!!
Thanks again to The TomKat Studio for featuring me and my ruffle flower on your amazing blog!!
Blessings!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cake Ball Cupcakes

I think by now everyone in the sugar world knows about the amazing Bakerella and her cake pops! I've only made cake pops a few times and I haven't been able to keep those little suckers on their sticks! :) It's probably a "practice makes perfect" type thing, but I just don't have a lot of time to practice!
The other day as I was surfing the web, I came across cupcake cake balls! I love cupcakes, and I love the idea of cake balls without the sticks! But they need to be more than just balls...so, when I saw cupcake balls, I knew I needed to try this! And, now that I've done it once, I need to try it again, because the cake ball part could be bigger! :) It's a curse, but I can always do it better the "next time"! :) - so, perhaps they'll be a next time - soon! :)

To start, you'll want to find the Wilton peanut butter cup candy mold. It makes for perfectly sized cupcake cake balls.

Next, make your cake balls! I've realized now (after a few attempts at cake balls), that there is a trick to the consistency! - it's taken me a while to figure out the more frosting you add, the harder they are to work with and therefore they fall off the sticks! :) Therefore, you have to be careful to not add so much frosting!! Now that I'm more experienced (Ha!), I would tell you all, just use a little frosting! Add just enough to get the consistency to be like sugar cookie dough. That way you can roll them up into balls and they'll hold their shape. I used a 1-1/2 tbsp to scoop them up and roll them so they were all the same size...about 1" in diameter.Next, fill your molds with melted chocolate just less than half way. Drop in your cake ball and use a small piping bag to pipe in/fill in more around the edges to bring the chocolate up to the brim.
Remember to tap the molds to get bubbles out before the chocolate sets.
Now, a newbie learning tip...next time I'd make the balls a bit more elliptical so they would stick out of the top of the molds a little more...like a cupcake with a nice dome on it. Once the chocolate has set, now it's time to decorate! There are lots of options...here are just a few that I experimented with today...
(Above) Turn them over and dip them in melted chocolate/candy melts.
(Above) Cut out a circle of modeling chocolate and top them with that, as well as a dollop of frosting and my stemless cherries! :) LOL! - they need stems...I just couldn't figure out what to use on my little modeling chocolate cherries! Perhaps some melted chocolate...next time!


And, the best, most cupcake looking topping - frosting!! - and sprinkles of course!
They're so tiny...perfectly bite sized! Yum!
And a look inside! Deliciousness!

I hope you enjoyed my learning experience with these! Stay tuned for more...better looking ones next time as I try try again! :)