Friday, January 6, 2012

Cupcake Decorating 101

Time to get your cupcake [decorating] on!

Learning From the Pros
Photos by Bake Yourself Happy

Our Adventure at 'Our Cupcakery' - Cupcake Decorating 101

We are definitely fans of Groupon.  We've found some great deals, had some great meals, and gotten to do some really fun things at incredible prices.  One of Groupon's competitors specific to Columbus, OH is a company called Faveroo.  When we saw Faveroo was offering 50% off a cupcake decorating class at a local bakery, we jumped on the deal.

How's this for a manly cupcake!?
Located on High Street in Old Dublin, Our Cupcakery is a quaint little shop offering baked desserts and decorating classes.  As soon as we opened the door, our noses were greeted by the enticing smell of fresh baked cupcakes - warm, sugary, and sweet while not overwhelming your senses.  We followed our instructor upstairs and took a seat at the class table, ready to embark on our journey.  There were probably 40 students broken into three different groups.  Believe it or not, Andrew was the only male in attendance.  Come on guys, step it up!!!

We were given six cupcakes each.  Each decorator was given a chocolate, red velvet, vanilla, spice cake, lemon, and orange cupcake.  Gotta love that variety!  Three of these cupcakes were then given a "splatter" of white buttercream frosting.  These cupcakes would be used to develop our basic skills, while the remaining three cupcakes would be iced with our artistic freedom.

Sarah is rocking the windshield-twirl smoothing!
Using a small metal spatula, we were instructed to smooth out the frosting.  Wagging the spatula back and forth slowly, like windshield wipers, while spinning the cupcake creates a smooth base of icing that can be decorated in beautiful ways.  Note here that no pressure should be applied to the spatula as you don't want to get tons of frosting on the spatula.  A few turns and wags should smooth the frosting out nicely!

Your decorating genius will stem from your new best friend - the piping bag.  There are a variety of nozzles and frosting colors that will expand your decorating pallet, so experiment!  Here are a few of the highlights we learned...

  • Go with gusto:  Don't be afraid to squeeze the piping bag, and keep the nozzle close to the cupcake.  If you are too shy about applying the frosting, it will stick to the nozzle and not to the cupcake.
  • Swirl the piping bag like soft-serve ice cream:  While squeezing the piping bag, slowly rotate your hand while lifting away from the cupcake.  This creates a nice spiral that created our Christmas tree!
  • Act like an arch:  Create a base by squeezing hard, then gradually squeeze softly while lifting away from the cupcake.  Culminate your squeeze by bringing your hand back down in an arcing motion.  This created Santa's hat!

Go try some of these tips on your own.  Share some comments (and pictures!) of your most awesome cupcake creations!

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