Friday, April 18, 2008

Garden Variety Cupcake

ok. so I FINALLY got the chance to play with gum paste.

we had a play-date today, so what better thing to bring than a batch of fresh cupcakes to our hostesses?

ok.. I could think of a FEW good things that I would love to have someone bring to my house.. but still. time and money being limited.. I opted for the cupcakes.

box mix people. nothing fancy in that. and I had leftover icing from the bake sale. canned icing. yup. used that too. But really.. it's not always WHAT you use... it's HOW you use it. right?

anyways, after the cupcakes were cooled/cooling, I got to playing with the gum paste. thankfully, I still had a box of rubber gloves leftover from the pierogies. they saved my hands from being dyed by the coloring gels.

I had some cute little cookie cutters that I used to cut the rolled gum paste. I used a knife to etch in a very simple line for the leaf.. then left to dry.

halfway through the leaf-making, I got to thinking about Daniel's upcoming birthday (in november) he'll be 2, and I'm doing a farmer/garden/veggie theme for him. Since seed packets will be part of the favors, I thought it might be cute to have a few cupcakes flanking the main cake with little garden items on them.

so I used some of the green gum paste and made some peas. then I made some pink gum paste and moved on to some flowers. I got pretty bored with the flowers quickly, so I threw in a strawberry for practice. (used a nail to create indents/seeds. not great. needs work.)

I got crazy and tried to make grapes. actually, it's cause I couldn't think of any other pink fruits, other than watermelon, and as I said I was tired of the flowers.... so I just added a little blue gel to the remaining pink gum paste. it had a very concord-grapey look to it.

when all was said and done, I had a few basic cupcakes to take to our playdate (plus a few gum paste ones)

a few flower ones left for home

and then of course, fruit/veggie ones. I used crushed cookies to make the 'dirt'. oh, and about the grapes... they're varying in color cause I used water and a paintbrush to make the balls "stick' to each other. they take a long time to dry. a LONG time. I wanted to get this post up before the weekend consumed me, so unfortunately you get the color variance.

Annnnnd.. what's on a tray in the kitchen as we speak. wanna come over for some coffee and cupcakes?

Lessons Learned: I REALLY liked working with the gum paste. I used the pre-fabbed wilton kind this time around.. being my first time and all. biggest thing to note for next time... MUST know my plan ahead of time. it dries quickly, and if you bend or try to shape it after some drying has occurred, you get a cracked or greying effect on the final color.

the gloves? priceless. my finger would be blue for a week if I didn't use them. wondering what happened to the little fondant tool I purchased a while ago. it's used for making funky cuts or 'stitches' in the fondant and gum paste.

I liked the look of the peas. I will for sure do those again... only better next time. but especially to practice for danny's birthday. that's gonna be a fun cake, I think.


Christi said...

Is gum paste the same basic thing as fondant? Julia and I played with that stuff's SO MUCH FUN!

Carrie said...

Christi -- gumpaste and fondant are different.

while the gum paste is still 'wet' (read pliable) it does feel exactly like fondant. handles the same as well. however.. as fondant dries, it still remains 'chewy'. gumpaste gets very hard. you can really take your time with fondant, whereas with the gumpaste.. you have to get your object sculpted and 'set' before it dries and cracks on you.

good question, though!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm yum. But can you eat the gum paste or is ornamental? I'm all for eating the whole cupcake... but not if it's gonna break my teeth. I like the peas! Martha had a cupcake feature during cupcake week when each cupcake looked like a meal item. One was corn on the cob and they used different shades of yellow and white Jelly Bellys and it looked like a little ear of corn. Maybe something like that but use the gumpaste or fondant for the husk and green?

Love your stuff Mama!

Anonymous said...

Oh and for the record I think the grapes look more authentic with the color variation... and I like the icing piping from side to side... very yummy looking!!! Are you using piping bags or having a go with a ziploc with the corner cut?

Carrie said...

Sus.. you can indeed eat gumpaste.

For this batch I used a pre-fabbed (ready-made wilton brand) kind, but I also bought the powder so I can try to make my own.

the flavor sucked, IMO. I want the WHOLE cake to be good, so when I make it next time, or play with pre-fabbed, I may try to add some extract to give it taste.

in terms of eating it.. it was like a stale piece of gum to start, but never bounced back like real gum. rhena ate it a little at a time, but when she got a big amount in her mouth, she spit the remaining 1/3rd out.

again.. I have to experiment with making it taste better.. cause.. bleh. too bland.

and yes to the piping bags. but I HAVE tried the ziplock technique. using the bags with the tips gives a much more consistent finish cause the tips are stiff.. the bags by themselves tend to get wonky.

Jody said...

love the look, especially this week as i can't have any yummy, floury baked goods. i will happily put an order in for dov's birthday.

Hannihaus said...

Those dirt cupcakes look dangerous. Better ship them to my house for safety's sake.

Cathy said...

Did you take a class or something on decorating? I'm happy when I manage to frost cupcakes with a knife and have it look good. Your cupcakes are so good looking! Do you have any good books to recommend or should I sign up for a Wilton class through my park district?