Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kayla's Creations: Icing Cupcakes Like A Pro.

I've been into baking for like, six years now. But until recently, I was terrible with icing.

I had never really made cupcakes until about a year ago. Weird, right? I'm just not a big cake/cupcake person. Cookies are more my thing. I love cookies.

Anyway. I came across this recipe for Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and they were just SO CUTE. So I decided to make them as refreshments for my Growth Group at church.

I made the cupcakes and the little cookies to top them with and everything was going just as expected and I was so excited to see my little cupcake creations. I followed the directions for the icing and whipped up two batches (I was making a double recipe).

What happened next is now referred to as the Frosting Fiasco of 2013.

Apparently in doubling the recipe, the proportions of the ingredients got messed up. I don't know if I did the math wrong (very possible) or if the measurements just should have been different when doubling, but the icing was way too thin.

Not having worked with icing before, I didn't know that. So I put it in the icing bag and tried to frost as normal. If you aren't aware, frosting with icing that is either too thin or too thick does not result in beautifully frosted cupcakes. It only results in a mess.

Also important to note: I had no idea a) which icing tip to use (I just picked one) and b) how to put the tip in the bag...those two things alone took me about 20 minutes to figure out.

In total, it took me over an hour to frost 24 cupcakes. It should take about 5 minutes.

My cupcakes ended up looking like this:

I couldn't use the cookies because the frosting was so thin, I couldn't pile it up high enough to stick the cookies in. So instead I crushed some and sprinkled them on top. I know they don't look horrible, but I had envisioned something like the original picture...and was terribly disappointed. (Plus, this picture doesn't include the huge mess I made in the kitchen.)

One year and three cake decorating classes later, I'm kind of a pro at frosting. I've actually got a couple of wedding cakes/cupcakes I'm doing this year.

Last weekend I made some strawberry cupcakes (recipe here) for my best friend's birthday. Since a lot of people don't know the proper way to frost cupcakes, I thought I'd show you one of my favorite techniques you can use to make your cupcakes look like they were created by the Cake Boss himself.

 I call this "The Rose."

And the best part? They're super easy!
Frosting cupcakes really isn't all that hard. The main thing is getting the frosting the right consistency. 

Frosting for cupcakes should be of medium consistency. Here's how you can check it: put your frosting in a small cup, stick a spoon in it, and shake the cup. If the spoon falls over immediately, the icing is too thin (add more powdered sugar). If it doesn't fall over at all, it's too thick (add more water/milk). It should move slightly after a few shakes, but not fall over completely.

For the technique I'll be showing you, you'll need the following:

A piping bag
Wilton 1M or 2D tip
Frosting of choice (medium consistency)

Since we're not using a coupler today, all you need to do is cut the bottom of your piping bag and drop the tip inside. (I thought this was way more complicated my first time icing).

It is important to never fill your piping bag more than about half full (unless you are a professional frosting hundreds of cupcakes). This makes it both easier to use and prevents the icing from squeezing out the top. This is another mistake I made my first time.

I was going to take step-by-step pictures, but then I realized that there aren't really a whole lot of steps. So I only took one step-by-step picture, which may not even be all that helpful.

Once you've prepared your icing, it's time to start frosting! Grab a cupcake and set it in front of you. Hold your piping bag just slightly above the cupcake at a 90 degree angle (straight, perpendicular to the cupcake) like so:

Please excuse the Christmas cupcake liners in the background. It was all I had.

  Start in the center of the cupcake, and squeeze your bag firmly from just above where the icing is in the bag. Spiral your way around the perimeter of the cupcake, being sure to keep the 90 degree angle the whole time. Steady pressure is the key here.

Let up your pressure as you close off the rose. You might start to angle the bag slightly to sort of tuck the "end" under the rest of the frosting. And then, voila! A beautiful rose cupcake.

You can use either the 1M tip or 2D tip to achieve this look. The 2D tip results in slightly more ribboned edges, whereas the 1M is more straight (see below).

2D (far left) and 1M (far right). For the center one, I used the 4D tip and then topped with a strawberry cut to look like a heart.

Personally, I tend to prefer the 2D for this technique, but they are so similar that it really doesn't matter.

These cupcakes are seriously so easy, anyone can do them! They are so simple, yet so elegant, they could be used for just about any event. I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial! Let me know in the comments if this is something you'd like to see more of in the future.

Enjoy your gourmet cupcakes!

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