Cupcake Decorating: Flamingo Cupcakes

Flamingo CupcakesPink is for flamingo. According to Google Search when I typed in ‘pink animals’ in my search for something to match my pink cupcake wrappers. It was either that or weird looking sea life and insects. So flamingo cupcakes it is!

I wanted to name them but could not think of any names that rhymed with Flamingo (my preferred method of naming objects. For example, I’m currently typing this post on Claire the MacBook Air). Ideas, anyone?

I’ve decided to try to take a photo of my photography set up from now on. As long as I can remember to photograph it because I am terrible at reminding myself to do things. A few people have requested that I show my set up and I figured… why not. As long as nobody tells me how messy my apartment is!

Alright – onto the recipe and tutorial!

Flamingo Cupcakes

Flamingo Tutorial

Flamingo

Equipment and Materials

Floral wire
Wire cutters
Fondant
Pink food colouring
Yellow food colouring
Black edible ink pen
Small brush
Knife or fondant tool

  1. Tint some fondant pink and roll into the general shape of a flamingo’s body. As a guide, I had Google images open with a variety of flamingo photographs to hold my lump of fondant up against to get the right general shape and size. Leave to dry for a few hours.
  2. Dampen the tip of some floral wire with a brush and some water and insert into the base of the flamingo’s body.
  3. Roll a small ball of fondant into a teardrop shape and using a fondant tool or knife, gently mark some lines to mimic feathers.
  4. Brush some water onto the flamingo’s body and attach the wing.
  5. Paint some yellow food colouring on the flamingo’s face to depict the beak.
  6. Using a black edible pen, mark lines for added detail.
  7. Attached a tiny amount of white fondant for the eyes. Using the pen again, draw in the pupils and eyebrows into desired expressions.
  8. Paint the floral wire pink.

Cupcake

Ingredients (makes 9 cupcakes)

100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
100g self raising flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° Celcius (fan forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light in colour and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add zest and eggs and mix until combined. Mixture may look slightly curdled but nothing to worry about.
  4. Add flour and mix until well incorporated. Pour batter into a piping bag.
  5. Pipe mixture into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan (fill 2/3rds of the way up).
  6. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until cupcake springs back when pressed gently.

Glaze

Ingredients

Juice from half a lemon
100g icing mixture
Blue food colouring

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together to form a smooth glaze.
  2. Add more icing sugar or lemon juice depending on the consistency desired.

Note: Glaze will form a dry surface but will not be completely set underneath.

Assembly

  1. Pour glaze onto cupcakes carefully, using a skewer to move the glaze into the corners of the liner. Dip a skewer into some blue food colouring and swirl glaze around to create a textured blue surface. Leave to set.
  2. Stick flamingo into the cupcake in desired spot, making sure that it is fully embedded and right down to the base of the cupcake for maximum support.

Photography

Flamingo Setup

I set my cupcakes on my piano stool. I know, I know! White leather is highly impractical. But, I’m a grown adult – I can look after things! Famous last words before I spill red wine all over the seat, no doubt.

I then propped up a wooden serving tray as the background (from Wheel & Barrow) and a olive green ribbon for the styling. The white piece of cardboard on the left is there to help reduce the shadows. What you don’t see is my hand holding it up. Main light source from the right (sunlight).

Photographed with the following lens and settings:

Canon 60mm 2.8f
ISO 100
f 2.8
1/50 seconds
Focus point: Front flamingo’s head

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How To: Make Fondant Daisy Flower

There many daisy tutorials out there but most seem to be the ones that have fairly sharp angles and imprints. I decided to make something a little less angular and if you’re interested read on to see how I made mine!

I actually used them on my Daisy Bee Cupcakes in combination with bumble bees. Please refer to the bumble bee tutorial if you are interested in learning how to make that too!
Fondant DaisySupplies needed

Daisy cutter
Fondant (coloured to the shade of your choice)
Small rolling pin for rolling the fondant
Tiny rolling pin for flattening the petals
Flower sponge
Small sable brush
Some water
Sieve or meshy object

Steps

  1. Roll the white fondant out thin – you should be able to see the colour of the surface that you’re rolling on through the fondant. The thinner you roll it the more delicate your flower is going to be.
  2. Cut two flowers shapes using the daisy cutter.
  3. Using the tiny rolling pin, roll the petals outwards, thinning them further.
  4. Move the cut out onto the flower sponge. Place the rounded tip of the tiny rolling pin on the tip of the flower petal and draw inward towards the middle of the flower – this will curl the petal. Repeat these steps with the second flower cut out.
  5. Roll a pea-sized amount of yellow fondant into a ball and flatten. Press against sieve or any other textured mesh to create a textured surface for the daisy’s heart.
  6. To assemble, brush some water in the middle of a flower cut out and pop the second flower cut out on top of it, staggering it so that the petals do not overlap. Brush more water on top of the second cut out and press the textured circle in the middle.
  7. Leave to dry for a few hours before use.

Oriental Stringwork Chanel Cake

As all of you know by now, in real life I am a dentist. I would love to take cake decorating and baking to the next level but I can’t bring myself to leave my stable job environment. There will be a lot of disappointed people, let’s put it that way. My friend has been encouraging me to try to take measured steps and to nudge me along he commissioned this cake for his girlfriend who adores Chanel.

I love it when nobody dictates what to do or how to do it. That meant that I could do whatever I wanted! After much thought, I decided to bring in a few elements of Chanel’s signature style and make it into a cake – quilting, pearls, black and white, flowers and ribbon.

Chanel Cake

I decided on a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream because let’s be honest here – who doesn’t like chocolate?

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Here is the naked cake covered in buttercream. I apologize for my work in progress pictures – I cannot stop work and take out my DSLR and take perfect shots of my progress. Well, I can but I won’t. Plus, the lighting in my kitchen is non-ideal. You will just have to put up with these photos from my iPhone.

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Quilting of fondant in progress. I used a stitch fondant roller tool to create the effect. The size of the diamonds is an exact copy of the Chanel Classic bag which I had handy. By the way, I have been using The Mat to roll my fondant and it has been a lifesaver!! I am not very strong and rolling fondant takes a lot out of me and I’m really slow at it. The Mat keeps the fondant from drying out and all in all just a great invention!

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Step 1 of oriental stringwork – I started this at 1am in the morning. Everything all fine and dandy at this point when everything is still in one direction!

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Here’s the exciting part – flipping the cake upside down! With a small 6 inch cake that I worked on it was not too difficult. Still a little heart stopping though.

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Oriental stringwork piped the other way. Topped the intersections with edible pearls. Completed at 3am in the morning.

I made a fantasy flower out of black sugarpaste and used pearls as the heart. I also used the pearls (two sizes) to prop it up at an angle so it looked like there was a stack of pearls holding the flower up. I also wrapped a black ribbon around the bottom. And that’s it!

Chanel Cake

I would love to do tutorials for all the techniques used but to be honest there are comprehensive ones in YouTube and in books which I will just link below:

1. Fondant Bow
2. Oriental Stringwork
3. Fondant Quilting
4. Fantasy Flower
5. Chocolate Buttercream Recipe
6. Chocolate Cake Recipe

I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this project but it was worth it. The stringwork was extremely delicate – I absolutely adore royal icing work but I think in the future if the cake has to leave the house it probably shouldn’t have any free standing elements like that. If you accidentally break a couple of pieces don’t fret – what I did was I piped drop strings off the side of a silicone baking pan, waited for them to dry for a couple of hours, took them off very very carefully and attached them to the broken portions. Nobody will know.

Also, the receiver loved the cake so much I received a bouquet of flowers at work the next day! I broke it apart and did a ikebana arrangement out of it:

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