I had another opportunity to practice my baking and decorating skills by making birthday cupcakes for a co-worker’s son. This weekend was his 8th birthday. We tried to brainstorm some fun easy cake ideas, but we ended up deciding on chocolate cupcakes with blue buttercream icing. I picked up some metallic blue cupcake liners and a box of cake mix at the store. My next cake/cupcake challenge is to bake from scratch because I think that is the way you can make fun flavor combinations.
I used this recipe for buttercream, which has been fail proof so far, as long as you use room temperature butter. Upon re-reading the recipe, I decided to sift my powdered sugar. It’s a little odd, but I use a vegetable strainer over a bowl. I then take a spoon and push the powdered sugar through the strainer. About halfway through this process, I realized I had bought an actual flour sifter and started to use that. It was much slower, so I went back to the strainer.
Once again, I struggled with the coloring process. I found out that Cornflower Blue, really means baby blue. Ugh, I was just at the cake store and could have picked up regular blue, but didn’t know I needed it. Ok, well I decided yellow might add some brightness, but that just made an odd green color. A little more blue helped darken up the frosting, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. Since I wasn’t going to the store again, this was going to work.
My next challenge was figuring out what tip to use for decorating. I have been looking at pictures of cupcakes and a lot of them have this cool, layered ribbon look but I can’t tell what tip to use. The lady at the cake store sold me a large rose tip, and assured me it would make that look.
But as you can see, that didn’t quite work out for me. The tip was much larger than my coupler (allows me to change tips without changing frosting bags). My solution was to use a smaller tip of the same type and try to make the cool looking frosting.
The rose tip just didn’t work, so I switched to the largest closed star tip and that made the right kind of look. When I go back, I will be buying a large closed star, because I felt that the design was still a little small for the cupcakes. This size tip would be good for mini cupcakes. I am learning that the larger the tip, the faster you can frost the cupcakes. I finished all of the cupcakes and then topped them off with some white sugar crystal sprinkles which totally gave them a finished look. It’s all about the details!
The Happy Birthday Boy!
What are some fun and easy cake ideas for kids? What was your favorite birthday cake/cupcake theme or design?