Pretty Bakes Blog

Cake decorating basics for pretty cakes, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet treats

Archive of ‘Cupcakes’ category

Happy national cupcake day!

A national day that encourages me to eat a cupcake? Don’t mind if I do!

Easy peasy cupcake-decorating trick: Use cake crumbs as a topping.

national cupcake day

Photo by Jennifer Melo

Happy National Cupcake Week

national cupcake week

Photo by Jennifer Melo

It’s national cupcake week (Sept 16-22, 2013) so eat a cupcake and share the love.



Update: I probably should’ve mentioned earlier that this glorious week-long celebration of cupcakes takes place the U.K., but I’m Canadian and Her Majesty is the Head of State here in Canada so it’s all good, right? Right? Yeah, I think you can go ahead and finish eating that cupcake, Canucks.

Strawberry buttercream cupcake

strawberry-buttercream-cupcakeStrawberry season in Ontario starts in mid June and lasts until the end of August. So now’s the time to get those flavourful fruits from your local farmer’s market, neighbours. Strawberries and vanilla are a classic combination that pleases many palates.

Easy vanilla and strawberry cupcakes

Sometimes simplicity is best when it comes to baking and it doesn’t get easier than vanilla cupcakes and fresh strawberries. For my brother’s birthday in late August, I topped vanilla cupcakes with strawberry vanilla buttercream icing and a fresh strawberry.

Strawberry juice = natural food colouring

I used Wilton’s buttercream icing recipe and then tinted and flavoured it naturally by using strawberry juice. Using mashed, overripe strawberries, I strained the solids in order to keep seeds and pulpy bits out of the mix and mixed in the juice until I was happy with the colour and consistency.

Pipe a swirl

Then I fitted a piping bag with a medium-sized star tip and filled it with strawberry buttercream. I piped the buttercream in a circular motion, starting from the outer edges to the center and ended up with a swirl.

Fresh strawberries for cupcake toppers

To finish it off, I washed and sliced fresh strawberries in half lengthwise and topped each cupcake with a strawberry slice.

The finishing touch

Simple, delicious, requires no fuss. A little paper doily fancies things up a bit. How do you think it looks?

Double chocolate cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles

Rainbow sprinkles on chocolate cupcakes

Double chocolate cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles. Photo by Jennifer Melo

A colourful mix of sprinkles has magical powers. It makes me instantly happy and makes me feel like a kid again.

So when a sugar craving hits, remember that there’s nothing quite like a chocolate cupcake topped with Nutella frosting and a colourful spray of rainbow sprinkles. It’s a fast, easy and delicious way to get your dessert fix.

Just look at this pic. Doesn’t it make you feel happy?

Adorable fondant modelled barnyard animal cupcakes

barnyard animal cupcakes

Barnyard animal cupcakes. April 2008. Photo by Jennifer Melo

My niece Lauren’s birthday was a fine time to try some cute barnyard animals. My favourite cake-decorating book Cake Art made it easy with step-by-step instructions and photos.

I struggled with proportions, but I was quite happy with how my barnyard animal cupcakes turned out.

I must say, though, they were time-consuming. I couldn’t manage doing more than a few but that was fine because a few is all I needed to decorate plates of cupcakes.

Fondant is like play dough

This project was really fun. It’s kind of like playing with play dough but you have to work with fondant quickly before it dries out and any moisture will make fondant sticky so it’s wise to keep cornstarch or icing sugar on hand to dust your hands and your work surface.

I hadn’t learned how to make black fondant yet so I used black licorice and it was tricky and tough to work with. See the crazy eyes on that pig? I cut small pieces of black licorice and stuck it to the fondant with water.

modelled fondant animals

Illustrations in Cake Art make it easy to shape and assemble your barnyard animals. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Professional barnyard cupcakes

And this is how the pros do it. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Lauren and her party guests loved these cupcakes.

I think my cow’s pretty cute, but the rabbit’s my favourite. Which one’s your favourite?