Run, Run, Run, as fast as you can ... you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

As you saw from my last post, I had an encounter with the cupcake fairy this morning. My oh-so-funny blog title today refers to my journey to the class which included lots of very fast walking, a 45-minute train ride, getting stuck in a lift, and some more frantic walking. But I got there.

So the Cupcake Fairy was actually Lisa of the Cocoa Box (pictured here).

She was very funny, full of clever foodie analogies and witty banter. I particularly enjoyed the way that the sugarcraft instructions were "illustrated" with analogies of various English sweets:"Roll it out into a Wrigleys Spearmint, and then take your thumb and flatten it into a Werthers original!". It makes you feel like you're absolutely in the right place if you have interest in sweet treats and cupcake delights!

Each table was decorated with cupcake-themed table cloths and a cake-stand filled with ready-made cupcakes for inspiration. These pink ones are for illustrative purpose, a kind of "here's one I made earlier".
The tables were also laden with delicious toppings that were colourful and plentiful. These are the hundreds-and-thousands which, up-close, look like teeny tiny pearls. There seem to be quite a lot of different sprinkles here in the UK - you can choose the sprinkle colours you prefer, or opt for unusual shapes, or anything really.

Here are some mini marshmallows. I've never seen peach-coloured ones before! Yum! I particularly like the nice colourful bowls, they really added a little something extra.
Elephants! I had already seen these before but I was still delighted to see them included in our "grown-ups" cake-decorating class (they're from Sainsbury's, if anyone in the UK is interested).
We started off the class with piping batter into cupcake cases. Yes that's right - we piped the batter. We used a large, disposable piping bag filled with batter, no nozzle. This makes a huge difference: it's quicker, it's more efficient, it's neater (no niggly bits that spill over and burn) and best of all, it's less messy than the two-spoon alternative. As you can see, the cupcakes turned out beautifully! I think the secret is the extra-deep cupake cases. You'll see again in a little bit.

We learned basic sugarcraft techniques and we sculpted our own shapes - a bow, a cupcake, and an ice-cream cone. As you can see, we started with the bow and mine is all wonky. But the cupcake turned out quite well I think!
Here's my ice-cream cone. These shapes were all made using sugar paste (it's like fondant).
We were given ten minutes to make our own designs while the cupcakes cooled down. I only had red left (and a little bit of brown), so I ended up with half a strawberry and a rose. I quite liked my rose! Some of the other people in the class were very creative: they made faces, cocktails, a mouth, a shoe, and a brain(?).
We learned how to use fondant icing to cover cupcakes (there's a particular technique to this that makes it super easy to get right every time), and also how to pipe buttercream icing to make it all frilly. The buttercream icing was particularly delicious and soft, I was quite impressed!
Here's everyone showing off their cupcakes! It was a birthday party.

And the final product! We actually got 7 cupcakes but there was only space for 6 in our boxes, so one had to be eaten... I ate my disappointing strawberry and it tasted much better than it looked. We got to tie up our pretty parcels with ribbons, package a recipe, and then head off to brave the journey home with a box-full of cupcakes!

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