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ICE ICE BABY: FROSTING CUPCAKES !!!

Thank you so much for all the appreciation for the Cupcakes I baked yesterday. It surely made my day, when so many of you'll wrote in, asking how did I frost these babies. Well, they were for a class assignment, but they turned out so well, that I decided to send them as gifts. Holidays are all about spreading some sweet cheer all around. And who doesn't like Cupcakes. The man could not stop gushing over them, as I finished frosting the last few ones. I think I need to bake a bit more often.


The man asked me more than twice, as to why there was an abundance of Green. Whether I was trying to be Gender Neutral even to my cupcake frosting. Well,its nothing like that. I simply got a bit lazy with the colors and but I surely promise that I will get a bit more colorful next time. Maybe next time, it will just be Pink, Pink and some more Pink. Ahh the moody me is snapping again !!!

In case, I forgot to mention, I have recently gone back to school. Its all about sweet things, in school. Even the teacher is a sweetheart. I am attending Wilton Cake Decorating classes, at a local crafts store for the past few weeks.  I am still in the first level, but enjoying it thoroughly. I have challenged myself to complete all four levels.I need all your good wishes, to provide me strength for that. Trust me, its a great de-stresser. Venting your pent up feelings, all your angst, on colored frosting is actually a very creative exercise. I had been planning on joining these classes, for the past few years. But I guess, it had to happen now. Just as its said about babies, that they arrive, only when its their time, giving due dates, an absolute disregard. Similarly with my going back to school. I pulled myself to join classes, only when I am at my moodiest best.My Mommma is super happy, as she feels that getting involved in something creative, during this current phase of mine, is a pretty good idea. Sometimes, I even forget about back aches, when I am practising all that I learnt in class.  So much for creative distraction,eh !

So if you wanna go and Ice Ice Baby, here's the basic Butter Cream icing, we learnt the first day in class. Butter cream is surely the most versatile icing. From my experience and those of my classmates, this icing comes out thinner than promised in the recipe.So feel free to add in more confectioner's sugar to get it into the right consistency, or thin it down with water, if you need to. The idea about frosting is that, its usually used in three different consistencies: Stiff, Medium and Thin. The basic butter cream recipe, claims to be that of a stiff one, but as I said earlier, its actually not. Its more of a Medium consistency or sometimes a tad bit thinner.

How do you judge the consistency of your icing??? Place a cup of icing in a 9oz cup, 3 3/4 inches tall and about 2 1/4 inches in diameter. Insert a straight spatula into the centerof the icing and jiggle the cup. When the icing is Stiff, the spatula will not move. Stiff consistency icing is used for decorations such as Flowers with upright petals, like the rose. To convert Stiff icing into Medium consistency, add 1tsp of water for each cup of stiff consistency icing. Use the same test as for stiff consistency. When the icing is medium consistency, the spatula will move slightly and start to lean when you jiggle the cup. Medium consistency icing is used to create stars, dimensional decorating, borders and flowers with petals which lie flat. To convert Stiff icing into Thin consistency, add 2 tsp of water for each cup of Stiff consistency icing. Mix until well blended. Use the same test as for Stiff Consistency icing. When the icing is a Thin consistency one, the spatula will fall over when you jiggle the cup. Thin consistency Icing is used for icing a cake, writing ,printing and leaves. When making Thin consistency icing for writing and printing, add 1/2 tsp of piping gel per cup of thin consistency icing. It will add stretch to the icing to make writing and printing easier. This icing can be frozen for almost a month in the freezer. Bring it to room temperature before your plan to ice, and mix everything once again.


WILTON'S BUTTER CREAM ICING :  

Claims to be Stiff consistency, but test it for yourself: Me and my classmates, did not quite agree to the claims. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. 

Ingredients: 
Solid White Vegetable Shortening: 1 cup
Vanilla, Almond or Butter Extract: 1 tsp
Milk or water: 7-8 tsp
Confectioner's Sugar/Icing Sugar: 1 lb/4 cups
Meringue Powder: 1 tbsp (avoid it for a vegetarian version)
Pinch of Salt

Procedure: 

Cream shortening, flavoring and water. Add dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together. Blend an additional minute or so, until creamy. Icing can be colored by using icing gel colors or even food colors. Add in colors with a toothpick, as a little goes a long way. Mix it well with a spatula, to get the color uniformly mixed. You can use disposable cups, to mix in small batches of colored icing for decorating a batch of cupcakes.



DECORATING CUPCAKES: 

I had baked a batch of  Vanilla Cupcakes with a dash of Lemon . While decorating cupcakes, I used Medium consistency icing for all the decorations.

BASIC CUPCAKE SWIRLS: 



  • For this Green Swirly decoration, attach the Wilton Tip 1M, without a coupler to a disposable piping bag. Fill it with Medium consistency green butter cream  icing. 
  • While attaching a Tip to a bag without a coupler, the Tip is placed inside the bag, while otherwise, its placed outside and attached with a coupler. 
  • Hold the bag at 90 degree angle over the cupcake. You could place your cupcake on a cupcake nail, or just keep it on your other hand. 
  • With tip slightly above the surface, turn the cupcake as you pipe a spiral of icing. 
  • Begin at the outer edge and work toward the center. 
  • Stop pressure and pull tip away. 

SHELLS: 



  • Attach the Wilton Tip 21 with coupler to a disposable icing bag filled with medium consistency butter cream icing. 
  • Hold the bag at a 45 degree angle, with your wrist bending towards you, or at 6 pm as in a clock. 
  • With tip slightly above the surface, squeeze hard. 
  • Let the icing fan out generously as it forces the tip up. 
  • Gradually relax pressure as you lower tip. Pull the bag toward you until the tip reaches the surface. 
  • Relax pressure and pull tip along the surface to form a point. A shell border is a series of shells in a  row. 
  • Start the second shell about 1/4 inches away from the tail of a previous shell. Fanned end just covers the tail of the preceding shell. 

ROSETTE: 




  • Attach a disposable piping bag with coupler and Wilton Tip 18 and filled it with medium consistency butter cream icing. 
  • Hold the piping bag at 90 degree angle over the cupcake. 
  • With tip slightly above the surface, squeeze out icing to form a star. 
  • Without releasing pressure, raise tip slightly as you drop a line of icing on top of a star in a tight complete rotation. 
  • Pull tip away, continuing the circular motion so that the tail maintains the circular shape of the rosette. 

POM POM FLOWER:



  • Attach a Pom Pom template to a flower Nail. Stick a parchment paper square over the template with some icing. 
  • Attach Wilton Tip 12 with a coupler to a disposable piping bag, filled with medium consistency butter cream icing. Hold the bag at 90 degree angle over the cupcake. Use Tip 12 to pipe a dot, the size of the larger circle of the template to form the base. 
  • Replace the tip with a Wilton  Tip 16 to pipe a cluster of pull-out stars about 1/4 inch long, in the center of the dot.The bag should be held at 90 degree angle. 
  • Replace the tip with Wilton Tip 18 to pipe a row of pull-out stars about 3/8 inches long around the base. The bag should be held at 45 degree angle, with the right wrist bending toward 3 pm, as in a clock. 
  • Pipe rows of Wilton Tip 18 pull-out stars working up from the base. Stars should be placed between the stars of the previous row. Each row should angle upward a little more than the row below it. 
  • Remove the parchment paper square from the flower nail. Pom Pom Flowers can be air dried. They can be placed on an iced cupcake with the help of the spatula. Clean the flower nail with a damp cloth. 



Phew, that was long !!!

So go ahead, and start decorating your cupcakes. You could first practice the frosting techniques on some aluminum foil before you start off on the cupcakes.

Bon Appetit !!!






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