Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Frost Cupcakes like the Badass You Are.

I think I would've signed up for a lot of Wilton decorating courses if they could come up with better titles. Instead of "Cake Basics Level 1," something like "Become the Envy of Fellow Housewives" or "This Won't Help Your Waistline, but Yoga Pants Are Stretchy Anyway" probably would be both more humorous and accurate. So instead, I turn to my dear friend Pinterest to give me tips and ideas. I do refer to Pinterest as an actual being because referring to it as "just a website" with the obscene amount of time I spend with it would make me seem like a giant loser that no one loves. So not true. I'm a giant loser a few people love and that is mostly thanks in part to how good Pinterest had made me at caking.

I've been eyeing dying techniques the past few weeks and finally took the plunge to make cupcakes for our roofers. Yes, my mother asked me to make cupcakes for the roofers while our house gets her hair redid (today is turn inanimate objects into people day, thank you for noticing). This may sound strange, but my mother's logic is infallible. Give them things like donuts and coffee in the morning and cupcakes after lunch, and the quality of the work goes from shoddy to down right grateful. We're the dream house for the service trade. Back in Texas, she would leave out holiday cards and flats of Cokes for the garbage men. We were the only house on the block whose trashcans would not only be placed upright back into the container area, but they also even put the lids back on. She probably cut some deal with UPS too, because I've never lived anywhere else where my UPS packages arrive at like 8 a.m. Magic.
My cupcakes bring all the roofers to the yard...
These cupcakes are the embodiment of summer. They look like summer. They taste like summer. They smeeeellll like summer (because they're lemon cupcakes with homemade vanilla almond frosting). So leave it to me to make summer's perfect cupcake when it has only been hovering around 67 degrees outside. Not that I'm complaining, I'm going to melt to death when I go home next week, so enjoy my witticism before my fingers disintegrate. I'm not even sure that's strictly a first world problem, either.
I wish my oven light worked...
I forget you can take cool pictures of things baking when your oven light works. Mine at home never has, and since we've lived there for a few years already, probably never will. I'm also still not sure what half our light switches do, and my husband constantly seems to be turning the wrong lights on, so you see how intimately familiar we are with our humble dwelling... Let me break down this ridiculously awesome swirled frosting technique (try not to insert chocolate and vanilla swirl Orange is the New Black reference here. If you're still not watching that show, I'm sad for you).
Haha, look who forgot to rotate the camera...
Lemme get all serious on how to perfect your badassery here for a need a paintbrush for this and you have to use gel frosting for this to work or you'll end up with runny dye that combines colors and makes your cupcake tops end up looking like puke. Or worse, the color orange. I really didn't learn this by mistake. It is so messy to make frosting from scratch, I wasn't ruining that ish. Now, back to your regularly scheduled sarcasm.
Bonus- you don't even have to paint in straight lines!
Take some Saran wrap and fold it in half. Pick a few gel colors, or all the gel colors of the rainbow if you're a hippie (judging), and paint about an inch-wide stripe of each color, alternating as shown above. I used yellow and pink dyes, which look very dark, but as they transfer to the frosting, will fade some. I feel so Martha Stewart-y right now, minus the jail time.
I swear these aren't mashed potatoes.
Once you've painted on your gel frosting (I really can't stress this gel business enough), plop down a hearty portion of your favorite white frosting recipe. Not to be racist? colorist? against other frosting types?, but you want a white frosting that is so pure as the driven snow it would've been Hitler's favorite frosting. I know, even I felt bad about that reference, but you totally understand how white that frosting should be now so that your dye color isn't compromised. The frosting doesn't have to touch all your stripes, probably just most of the middle two.
Duuuude, this is totally stellar.
You'll then roll your Saran wrap around the frosting (like a giant doobie if you're going hippie route, still), and make sure one end of the loose wrap is long and skinny (this would be the end of the doobie you'd want to light) before placing twist-ties on both ends to keep the frosting in. Don't be like me (ever, really, but particularly in this instance) and use too much icing so it ends up being too fat to fit in the piping bag; like anyone over 23 trying to fit into their clothes from high school, this is just a sad circumstance with no easy solution.
Pictured: The piping bag version of a muffin top.
Eventually I managed to cram my Saran wrap bag of frosting into my empty piping bag fitted with large coupler and 1M tip. It was like trying to fit my foot into a shoe size two sizes smaller than my own large boat feet are used to, but I made it work. I then took that long end of frosting that was twist tied, and cut off right above the tie to open my Saran wrap up. You can see how the dye is starting to mix in with the frosting above.
Regard the hedgehog t-shirt telling you to "Stay Sharp,"
because you really should, my glorious reader.
Once my bag was full, I simply started in the middle of the cupcake and swirled outward until my rosette was complete. This will leave you with rosettes that contain beautiful stripes of colors. I did this for all 24 cupcakes, and had to make a new bag of frosting for the last 12. Ahem, we may or may not have kept about 6 to 10 of these for our own greed  good. This may or may not be why I know these cupcakes taste, smell, and look like the embodiment of summer. And no orange bleed! I really hate the Chicago Bears, guys. I mean, they're the lesser of two evils when comparing my hatred of the Bears vs. the Packers in my conference, but, the color orange...go away.
End result: Non-orange, gorgeous swirl.
I meant to blog about this much earlier today, but my mom and I started a puzzle. Not online, but in honest-to-God real life. You know what's a great activity for two type-A, OCD-compulsed people? No, not therapy, you moron, a puzzle. Organizing pieces and putting everything into place made us collectively sigh a contented sigh of perfect happiness.
Oh the joy, people!
I am sad my time here has almost come to an end, but it has been a very enjoyable one for both of my fur babies and me. Now excuse me while I go nom on some of our leftover tasty cupcakes so I can eat my feelings while feeling a conflicting sense of joy over how good these turned out. Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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