Friday, April 13, 2012

Know Your Flora and Fauna

Poinsettia decorated cupcake from my class.
It's umm… a little wobbly.  Did you notice
that the frosting is a little yellow?  The only
butter flavoring I could find was yellow.
NOW I know to look in the cake decorating
section at the store!
When I was taking my cupcake decorating class, one of the decorations we learned to make was a poinsettia.  It seemed to me that it would be pretty easy to adapt the poinsettia and make it become a sunflower.  My future daughter-in-law's  bouquet will be sunflowers and her wedding colors are black and PINK.

About that time, the plan for the wedding cake became wedding cupcakes.  One reason being that no one will have to stand and cut cake - it's just grab and growl.  (Betcha don't hear THAT said very often about wedding receptions!)

The plan, so far, is to have several different cupcake flavors, each decorated differently.  Plan A is:   1) White Wedding Cake with Buttercream Frosting (I'm thinking the sunflower will go on this one).  2)  Funfetti - believe it or not, I've never made Funfetti cake/cupcakes.  3)  Chocolate, and 4) Carrot cake.

To practice the White Wedding Cake, I made cupcakes with French Vanilla Duncan Hines cake mix and added almond flavoring.  I was shocked to learn that our local "most loved" cake shop uses cake mix and everyone thinks it's the best.  If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me, especially since I'm baking 200+ cupcakes all by my lonesome.  I'm not getting the right flavor, though, so I'm going to try just plain white cake mix - I'm betting the "French Vanilla" flavoring in the cake mix is overpowering the almond.  NOTE TO SELF:  Don't forget to make more white cupcakes to try out this theory.

But, I digress.  (I know, I do that a lot.) 

Anyway, I mixed up my batch of buttercream frosting and colored it the perfect sunflower yellow.  (I'm still amazed that I don't eat half of it before anything gets decorated.)  Pondering how to make black or brown frosting, I thought about chocolate frosting, but it just isn't right somehow, and it wasn't going to take very much anyway.  I happened to have several tubes of different colored frosting and one was black, so I thought I'd try that.  It was perfect!

Unfortunately, the flower wasn't.  After making several sunflowers using a leaf decorating tip (#352) to make the petals  and a small round decorating tip (#3) to make the center "seeds", my shapes were becoming more uniform but  the flower still didn't look right.  THEN the lightbulb came on (one of the GOOD lightbulbs like they have in cartoons, not one of those stupid curly cue things!) and I got online and actually looked at a sunflower.  DUH.  The center where the seeds are is huge on sunflowers!  (Remember … by any stretch of the imagination, I have ZERO artistic skills.  My stick people can sometimes be unrecognizable.)

After using the small round tip to put a gazillion little dots in the center of the sunflower exactly one time, that lightbulb flickered on again.  Use the multiple opening tip (#233).  Ta da!  Sunflower!  Showed them to the bride-to-be and the decoration was approved!

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