This week I had a bunch of baking projects on my plate. Earlier this week I baked brownies with my daughter, then I had 2 more projects before the weekend - both for cupcakes. One of the projects I actually planned for by coming up with a specific design. I was all set to go. Then we had a blizzard here in NYC and the event was cancelled. I was a little disappointed seeing that I was so prepared and all. (a rare occasion)
The next project was to do cupcakes for a group of 6 and 7 year old girls and boys for a Valentine's Day party. This one I thought would be easy. I don't need to plan. How difficult could Valentine's cupcakes be? Well let me tell you, way harder than you'd think! If it was just for girls it would be a cinch. Hearts, flowers, pink, red, purple - my head was spinning with tons of cute ideas. Then, I thought of the boys. Nothing. I'm telling you, a complete void. I sat there waiting patiently for some amazing idea to strike me, but still nothing.
What can I say?!? I live in a very girlie girl world surrounded by 2 little girls with their Barbies, princesses, butterflies, pink, dollhouses, hair accessories, dresses, pink, jewelry, dress-up clothes, bags & shoes and oh, did I mention PINK??? It's all over the place!! How can I think "boy" through all of this PINK??
Think blue. OK. I can do that. So that's what I did. This is what I came up with...
First I started by baking a batch of cupcakes. I needed 26. Since they were for Valentine's Day I used red liners. I like how these ended up looking because they stayed red.
Sometimes after baking, the color changes and you can see the cupcake through the liner. I was happy that didn't happen to this batch. I do want to mention something here about baking. This is not the time to multitask. If the recipe says 12 minutes to bake, you really need to pay attention. I continue to tell myself this and I really do get better and better each time. I was baking 12 at a time so the first 2 batches I really focused. By the third batch I started to stray a little and boom!! 18 MINUTES later I remembered the cupcakes!! Yep, let's just say they were a "little" well done. We'll keep those. The hubbs will eat anything as long as it's sweet. Luckily I still had enough batter for 2 more cupcakes so I really made sure to pay attention this time. I can go a whole 12 minutes without checking e-mail. Really. I can.
I decided to do a "His & Her" design with raspberry pink icing for the girls and blue for the boys. I like the way the blue came out because it was almost like a light denim blue color.
I also wanted to make hearts from fondant and use that as the cupcake topper. Now, this is where planning ahead would have come in real handy. I looked through my stash of cutters and wouldn't you know - no heart shaped cutters! At least not in the size I needed. Mine were way too big. Good for cookies, not for cupcakes toppers.
Plan B - make a template and hand cut each one. Oh no!! That will take forever!! And it did. First I colored the fondant - pink, blue and red. For the pink and blue I didn't mix it all the way so I could get a marble effect. Making the red was more difficult. If you ever want to make red fondant, let me warn you now. Don't!! Just buy it!! Another step where preplanning would have helped.
I made 2 sizes of hearts - pink and blue in the smaller size, and red for the larger size. They came out a little rough around the edges (literally), but still workable.
I attached the smaller ones to the larger ones and there you have it - my custom made Valentine toppers.
After they dried and stiffened up, I inserted them into the cupcakes.
I think it worked! Not too girlie, but still says Valentine's.
Awww - what a cute pair!
***As a side note, just a reminder that if your husband is home with you and you leave your cupcakes near an open window to stay cool because you can't control the heat in your apartment and you have to go out, make sure you TRIPLE tell him to LEAVE THE WINDOW OPEN or your fondant WILL flop! Even if it was just for "10 minutes"!!
That's all I'm saying. It's just a warning.