It's summmahhh timee. Which means everyone is either getting married, getting engaged, or having a baby. Mostly having a baby though. I swear the minute one of my friends pops one out, the other one's having morning sickness. It never ends. But it's fine by me because that means I have more occasions to practice decorating cupcakes, which if you haven't figured out by now, is one of my most favorite hobbies.
I went to a baby shower this weekend, and I went cupcake crazy, making three batches with three different piping techniques. The first batch of cupcakes I made, shown in the picture above, were chocolate cupcakes using my favorite doctored up cake mix recipe. I did a simple swirl on them using Wilton tip 2D, but my frosting (which was store-bought) was runny so the swirl didn't turn out very defined. Gratefully, the cupcake toppers I made were a distraction from that.
You may remember that I made candy melt monograms for wedding cupcakes last year? Well, I used the same technique here. A piping bag fitted with Wilton tip #2 and I free-hand piped the words baby and girl onto a piece of wax paper enough times for double the amount of cupcakes I made. I had way too many breakages last time, so I learned my lesson.
And I'll say this again, not to scare you but to keep it real: candy melts are tricky to work with. They cool quicky and start to harden and once that happens, you can forget about piping anything correctly. My stovetop was warm from the oven being on when I was baking the cupcakes, so I just put the piping bag on it for a few minutes whenever my words started looking lopsided. That helped alot, but even so, it took me a while to get a hang of how to pipe the words fluidly.
Moving along, the second group of cupcakes I made were vanilla, using my favorite from scratch vanilla cupcake recipe at the moment. I used store-bought frosting for them as well, but this time I piped the swirl using Wilton Tip #1M. And again, I topped them with a candy melt 'baby' or 'girl'.
My last group of cupcakes were my favorite. I couldn't show up to the party without something made completely from scratch, so I whipped up a batch of vanilla buttercream for the other half of the vanilla cupcakes. But I didn't stop there. I wanted to take it up another notch and do something super fancy with the piping, something I had never done before. Something like the begonia-style flower technique.
I found this awesome video on Youtube that helped explain and guide me through the technique, and slowly but surely, I piped 12 not bad looking begonia flowers. They came out better than I expected! It took three or four cupcakes for me to get the hang of things, but I think that the technique in general is very forgiving. Worst case scenario, you end up with a bunch of ruffles, so it's all good!
Based on the oohs and aahs I heard at the baby shower, I think the flower cupcakes were everyone else's favorite too! But that could be because the other two batches of cupcakes were almost totally melted by the time I got there. Note to self: buttercream holds up better than store-bought frosting in extreme weather conditions. Thank goodness I took pictures beforehand!