So this week I ventured into my favourite big city to my favourite cupcake bakery for a decorating class. Ms. Cupcake and her (mostly) girls in Brixton were to teach me the secrets of a good looking cupcake. I have tried piping before (as you can see with the peanut butter frosting on my salted chocolate cupcakes) and it wasn’t really bad, but then it wasn’t particularly pretty either.
So there I was, with 5 other vegan girls, and the lovely Fibi who has been with Ms. Cupcake for over 3 years. As we focused on the decoration, the cake bases as well as different flavours of icing had already been prepared (if you want the recipes for those, get the fantastic book by Ms. Cupcake Mellissa Morgan). After a short introduction round we were showed how to correctly fill an icing bag without creating a mess and getting a consistent result on the cake with no air bubbles that would explode the icing all over your baked good and yourself. Those who have tried and failed miserably know what I am talking about…
The first part of the class is spend with practicing piping with different nozzles. We used the same icing over and over again, so not too much waste. Then they showed us how to incorporate two or three colours/flavours of icing onto one cupcake by putting it skillfully into the same piping bag. Also, how to use jams in the icing bag to create a marbled effect. And of course how to make the round shape of their ambassador cupcake, the Ferrero Roche one. We could practice all of those on a sample cupcake, which we ate after being done with practicing. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Sugar and endorphine rush. After a short demonstration on how to use sugar paste to create bases for the icing or little figures, it was then our turn to become creative.
Finally we could design and decorate our own cupcakes to take home. The bases were plain vanilla and plain chocolate, and then we had the choice of several different icings that Lucy, another member of staff, had prepared for us meanwhile. The flavours ranged from vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry to mint, orange, pumpkin, spiced pumpkin, ginger, and maple bacon (salted maple syrup). But that wasn’t all there was for decorating! The table was filled with different kinds of candies, sugar pearls, biscuits (oreos, anybody?), nuts, spreads (oh, hello Lotus speculoos spread, I have heard so much about you – and oh my, aren’t you DELICIOUS!!!), said sugar pastry, candied fruit, cake glitter (oh yeah!) and and and. So the hardest part was to decide which flavour combinations to go for and how to make them cupcakes look pretty.
I finally created those 6 babies, that turned out delicious and very pretty in my eyes (more is less in my opinion ;-)):
Top left: chocolate base, some speculoos spread, pumpkin icing, chocolate chips and a piece of a Lotus biscuit
Top middle: vanilla base, strawberry and vanilla icing with strawberry jam swirls, candy
Top right: chocolate base, some peanut butter, chocolate icing, more drizzles of peanut butter, piece of chocolate
Bottom left: chocolate base, maple bacon icing, chopped hazelnuts
Bottom middle: vanilla base, strawberry and mint icing, sugar pearls and red glitter
Bottom right: vanilla base, some orange marmelade, ginger icing, candied orange peel and ginger and orange glitter
I can highly recommend this class. It was great fun, good vibe, lovely people and I learnt a lot and got many new ideas. And the cupcakes were delicious! Do you have a favourite cupcake flavour or some crazy combination, that only you like (or you would like to try out)?