Photostory – Graduation cupcakes

27 09 2009

In my day job I’m a high school teacher. Tomorrow I have my last lesson with Year 12 before they graduate (they still have their exams to do though). I have to say that this group haven’t been my favourite class ever (they’re lovely but don’t do nearly enough work!), but I was looking for something to occupy my afternoon so I thought I’d make them each a cupcake for graduation.

Here was my reminder:

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Whilst I wanted something to fill in my afternoon, I’m not completely insane, so I used these:

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which makes life easy since you only need to add a couple of ingredients:

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and mix:

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It’s hard trying to hold the mixer with one hand and take a photo with the other!

Try not to do what I did…. It was one of those accidents in slow motion – I could see it happenning but there was nothing I could do to stop it!

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Pour the batter into cupcake cases:

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And bake for 20 minutes of so:

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Once the cakes are cooled, I covered them with a thin layer of Betty Crocker frosting, so the fondant would stick:

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When you take the fondant out of the package and cut off what you need, it’s very hard and brittle. It takes a lot of kneading to transform it from this:

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into nice smooth fondant that can be rolled out and cut into shape for the top of the cupcakes:

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For the decoration I took some black flower paste (which is VERY sticky stuff!), and cut out some rectangles for the top of the mortarboards:

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I made a long rectangle also out of black flower paste, turned it into a tube, and stuck it on top of the rectangle to form the part of the mortaboard that sits on your head.

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The white dust on some of them is excess cornflour, which I use when I roll out the paste. I’m not sure how to avoid the problem… without the cornflour it’s too sticky to roll but on black flower paste, it stands out! Lucky the side facing up in the above photo is actually the bottom!

Then I stuck the “hats” onto the cupcakes with a little royal icing.

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They look a little plain though. I think they need a tassel:

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And here they are all lined up, ready to go:

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Another view:

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I’m sure my students will think they’re cute… and who knows, maybe it will motivate them to do lots of study before their exams! (Yeah, ok, it probably won’t).

But more than anything it was fun to document the whole process. Hope you liked looking at the photos!





My first wedding cake

22 07 2009

One of the many crafts I’ve been interested in has been cake decorating. At least with cake decorating I don’t leave a project half finished! After having done a year’s worth of community college courses, I was asked by one of my good friends to do their wedding cake.

It was an honour. But it was also terrifying! My ideas are always ‘big’ too! Bigger than my skillset, bigger than the time I have available, and bigger than my budget!

Her theme was purple and green, and she wanted a cupcake tower. She also liked the ‘vertical sausage rolls’ on the top cake. Other than that, I was pretty much able to do what I wanted!

7 full days of long evenings after work were spent making the cakes and decorating them, and that doesn’t include the 3 months of weekends spent making flowers and colouring them!

I was so happy with the finished product! I did have a rather nervous time at the wedding though, hoping that no one would knock over my rather precarious stand (baked bean tins covered in calico with cake board balanced on top), and that the 40 degree celsius heat wouldn’t melt the chocolate ganache under the fondant too much (it did, but only a little)!

Anyone for a cupcake?

Anyone for a cupcake?

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The top cake (those flowers took forever!)

The top cake (those flowers took forever!)

Voila! The finished thing!

Voila! The finished thing!