Last week I went along to a cupcake decorating class at our local cupcake emporium Trophy Cupcakes and got some fabulous idea and tips for Christmas cupcake decorations.
Owner Jennifer Shea herself was on hand to demonstrate the techniques and also talk about her experiences and astonishing success with Trophy, together with Nicole, her head cupcake decorator, who is responsible for planning all the new designs.
The great thing about this class was that cupcakes, piping bags filled with coloured buttercreams, sprinkles, decorations and all the right tools were all lined up and ready to go – in my kitchen even finding the icing bags and correct tips and nozzles is a challenge.
First up Jennifer and Nicole demonstrated how to make sparkly bauble cupcakes. These were super easy, but still very effective. You just scoop a blob of coloured buttercream onto the cupcake and then dip and press the cupcake in a bowl of sparkling sanding sugar, moulding the buttercream into a dome as you go. Then decorate as you want with white buttercream and a writing tip. Finally pipe a small swirl of yellow at the top (which you can’t see on this cake) to represent the hanger. I do love the effect of these and I can see me using this technique a lot in future.
For the snowman, we started with a large round #809 tip and made a triple swirl of white buttercream. Then edge the bottom of the snowman in coarse sanding sugar. Add a scarf using green buttercream and flat tip #44 (getting this to follow the line of his ‘neck’ is fiendishly difficult) and then pipe on black buttons, eyes and mouth. Use red buttercream and tip #8 and swirl to make a hat and finally use tip #4 and some orange buttercream to pipe a carrot nose. You will note that this cake required five different bags of buttercream and five different icing nozzles, so is not likely to be made in my kitchen any time soon, much as the Minx adored him.
The wreath decoration though is much more accessible. Spread a little white vanilla buttercream on the cake. Make leaves round the edges with a #366 leaf tip. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and little red non-pareils for holly berries and then pipe a red bow with a #4 tip.
Finally we made poinsettia cupcakes. These are surprisingly do-able if you can get the hang of the #366 leaf tip (the same as for the wreaths)
Here is Nicole demonstrating the in and out technique you need.
Once you’ve got that down, all you need to add are some extra green leave and a sprinkling of yellow non-pareils (sorry, I didn’t manage to get a good close up of the poinsettia).
After the demonstrations we all go to decorate our own cakes. Definitely not as easy as Jennifer and Nicole made it appear, but do-able I would think with a bit of practice.
Here are the ones I made, first attempts at all four. The snowman has clearly been at the mulled wine, but my wreath had definite possibilities.
Trophy will be doing more cupcake decorating classes in future and I highly recommend them if you live in Seattle. It was lots of fun playing with all the icing bags and sprinkles and I picked up some good tips and ideas.
I also snapped a pic of some simpler Christmassy cupcakes they had in their shop which I might even attempt over the next few weeks.