Saturday, 11 May 2013

Disney Princess cupcake tutorial #1 – Princess Aurora

Do you remember the Disney Princess cupcakes I made for Mini Mousey’s birthday this year? In case you do not remember, here is a photograph of the cupcakes to help gig your memory.

I have had an overwhelming amount of requests to provide a tutorial as to how to make these cupcakes. As I am a lover of the people and in particular baking fanatics, I have decided to oblige. Who would have thought Mini Mousey’s Disney Princess cupcakes would have been so popular?! Clearly, the girl’s got taste.

As you can see from the photograph, I made eight Disney Princesses for Mini Mousey’s birthday. This tutorial will only demostrate how to make one of the eight Disney Princesses, my favourite, Princess Aurora (famously known as Sleeping Beauty). I will release other Dinsey Princess cupcake tutorials with time. But once you see how one is done, you will get the idea as to how to make the others.

Okay, first off, the fondant topper. Ps. You should make the fondant topper or toppers (if you are game enough to make more than one) the day before you intend to bake the actual cupcake or cupcakes!

Step one: Getting the stencils ready
Below you will find two stencils. The stencils are for making the bodice of Princess Aurora’s dress.  Before you print the stencils, adjust the stencil size according to the size of your cupcakes. If you are making regular size cupcakes, the stencil should be about 4.5cm in width. Print the stencils on thick cardboard and cut out the shapes.

Step two: Fondant work
If you are working with white coloured fondant, colour the fondant to the desired shade of pink. Personally, I perfer to use Wilton’s colour gel. Princess Aurora’s dress is quite a deep shade of pink, so you will need to use quite a bit of colouring to get the correct shade. To get the colour for my Princess Aurora’s dress, I used the Wilton ‘Rosado’ colour gel.

Once you have obtained the desired fondant colour, roll out the fondant to about 2mm in thickness. Make sure the fondant is no thicker than 2mm, otherwise the fondant will not dry properly (or alternatively, take too long to dry).

Once you have rolled out the fondant to the desired width, place ‘Stencil #1’ on the rolled out fondant. With a firm hold of the stencil, cut into the fondant and around the stencil using a sharp knife. Don’t press too firmly as this will cause the fondant to flatten. Just assert enough pressure to keep the stencil from moving. Once you have cut out the bodice shape of Princess Aurora’s dress, move it to the side.

As you can see from the photograph, the sleeve of Princess Aurora’s dress is white. So, to make the sleeve, roll out white coloured fondant. Again, the width of the fondant should not be thicker than 2mm. Once you have rolled out the fondant to the desired width, place ‘Stencil #2’ on the rolled out fondant. Using the same techniques as discussed above, cut around the stencil.

Putting the two fondant pieces together is a little trickier than it looks. So take time and care when placing the two together. Using a small amount of water (I cannot emphasise this enough, please only use a small amount of water) brush the surface of the pink fondant shape. The best way to do this is to dip your index finger into a small bowl of water, as you are removing your finger from the water bowl wipe your index finger on the side of the bowl, so that only a small amount of water is actually on your finger tip. Using your wet index finger, wipe the surface of the pink fondant shape. If there is too much water on the fondant, using the same finger, wipe off the excess water.

Carefully, place the white fondant shape on the top of the pink fondant shape. As you can see from the image below, the white fondant shape should be placed directly on the top part of the pink fondant shape. The white fondant shape should be perfectly aligned on top of the pink fondant shape. Once the two fondant pieces are place together, leave the fondant topper aside to dry. 

The fondant topper should look like this:

You should allow the fondant topper to dry for at least 12 hours. It is best to leave it uncovered in a clean environment at room temputure. If you do not allow enough time for the fondant topper to dry, the fondant topper may warp and bend after you place it on top of the cupcake.

Step three: Make the cupcakes
Obviously you do not need a tutorial on this! Just make any cupcakes that you fancy. If you cannot find a recipe, please feel free to use my vanilla cupcake recipe. It is a fairly stock standard recipe, but it turns out perfectly everytime and is known to be a crowd pleaser.

Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled. Get cracking on the butter cream icing. With the butter cream icing, you want a fairly thick icing to ensure that the icing holds shape. Again, if you are uncertain of a recipe, please feel free to use my recipe.

After making the butter cream icing, you will need to colour the icing to match the deep pink fondant shade. When it comes to colouring icing, using Wilton’s colouring gel is the best option. As the colouring gel does not add additional moisture or taste to the butter cream icing. When colouring the butter cream icing, add the colouring gel gradually - you do not want to add to much colouring gel at once because you want to match the colour of the icing to the fondant as closely as possible. If you add too much gel at the one time, the icing colour may become too dark.

Step four: Piping the dress
Once you have the butter cream icing coloured to the desired shade, you can begin to prepare the piping bag. The nozzle you will require to pipe Princess Aurora’s dress is the Wilton 2D. Place the pink icing into the piping bag and get ready to pipe!

To pipe the base of the dress, start from the center of the cupcake base and move the piping bag to the edge of the cupcake, pipe in a circular motion around the cupcake. Continue to pipe the icing in a circular motion around and up the cupcake, until you have a pretty icing tower. At all times, keep the cupcake base still. The only thing that should be moving is your hand and the piping bag in a circular motion. The best thing about using butter cream icing is if you make a mistake, just simply tap the icing off of the cupcake base and start again (remember to tap and not wipe)!

Step five: Putting it all together
Place the dry fondant topper in the center of the pink icing tower. Since the fondant topper has harden, it should stand up perfectly in the center without any need of assistance from a toothpick or wire. If your fondant topper has not had enough time to dry, it will unfortunately bend over the top of the icing (insert sad face here).

TIP OF THE DAY: Once you have assembled the Princess Aurora cupcake or cupcakes, do not cover the cupcakes completely. If you do, the moisture in the cupcake will cause the fondant topper (i.e. the dress bodice) to warp and bend. Although leaving the cupcakes uncovered will cause the cupcakes to dry out slightly, it is the price you have to pay for a Dinsey Princess. 

Enjoy and good luck! 

If you do use this tutorial to make Princess Aurora cupcakes, please share photographs of your creations on the Top the Cupcake facebook page:

Also, special thanks to cupcakes_yuyu for the cupcake inspiration. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

If you go out in the woods today ...

"If you go out in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was, will gather there for certain.
Because today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic."

* * *
As you know, I just love throwing a good  party! In my opinion, nothing beats a good old fashion themed party. 

Not surprisingly, I went all out with Mini Mousey's 5th birthday. The theme was 'Teddy Bears' Picnic'. Being the girly girl that she is, everything had to be pink, purple or white. 

The dessert table was comprised with a 5 tier white chocolate mud cake (after all, Mini Mousey was turning 5, so naturally she would require a 5 tier cake), cupcakes, cake pops, mini chocolate shaped cupcakes, macaron pops, iced cookies, caramel popcorn, jelly and lollies galore! Needless to say, all the baked goods were appropriately themed.

I would go so far as to say, this is probably my best efforts yet - pretty chuffed with myself.

Photography by Tim Pontin 2013 (
These photographs are protected by copyright and cannot be used unless written consent is obtained.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Cupcakes fit for a princess!

My little Mini Mousey turned five years old yesterday! She is a little pocket rocket - little person with a BIG personality. I love the little person that she has become, partly because she is a mini ME! She is a high maintenance girly girl that knows what she wants and is not afraid of dishing a bit of attitude when needed. She cracks me up on a regular basis!

Given that it was her birthday yesterday, we had (yes HAD) to bring cupcakes into her class to share with her classmates.  About a week ago, I had Mini Mousey choose which cupcake design she would like for the cupcakes she is to bring into her class to share with her friends. I was pleasantly surprised that she chose a simple design that we had made a few weeks ago, rainbow cupcakes!

Making these rainbow cupcakes is relatively easy because you basically don’t need to make too many toppers - huzzah. The only difficulty is getting your hands on the rainbow sour strap candy as not all supermarket stores stock it. But once you get your hands on the rainbow sour straps, you'll be laughing! Not literally, but most likely metaphorically.

So how do put the rainbow cupcakes together? Firstly, make some clouds out of white fondant. If you are feeling too lazy to make the cloud fondant topper, then just make some clouds out of mini white marshmallows. Once you have the clouds under control, bake the cupcake bases and ice the cupcakes with some blue icing (preferably pipe the icing on). Cut the rainbow sour straps in half or thirds, and stick each end into the icing. Make sure the rainbow sour strap form an even convex shape on top of the icing. Stick the clouds at each end of the rainbow sour strap and you’re done! If you want to go all out, sprinkle a few little white 100s and 1000s on top of the icing to resemble rain.   

So as you can imagine, I was thrilled when Mini Mousey wanted to bring in the rainbow cupcakes to share with her friends. However, in a state of delirious happiness this past Monday, I decided to show Mini Mousey some cool cupcake designs I saw on the internet of Disney Princess cupcakes. Her face lit up once she saw the Disney Princess cupcakes, she turned to me abruptly and said “Aunty Tina, I have to have these cupcakes! Can you PLEASE make them for me to bring into school for my friends?” How could I possibly say no to my Mini Mousey?! So as expected, I said yes, stayed up to 3AM on Wednesday night (or should I say Thursday morning) and made the Disney Princess cupcakes. Eight princess designs and twenty-five cupcakes in total!

Needless to say, Mini Mousey LOVED the cupcakes. She looked so chuffed when she saw them and even more chuffed when her classmates sang her happy birthday and enjoyed the cupcakes! 

Happy birthday Mini Mousey! I love you muchly!! xx

Also, special thanks to cupcakes_yuyu for the cupcake inspiration. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Happy Lunar New Year!

"Chúc Mừng Năm Mới", "Gong Xi Fa Cai" and "Happy Lunar New Year"! May the year of the snake bring you good health, prosperity and an abundance of luck in and out of the kitchen.

What better way to celebrate the New Year than with cupcakes! Suitably themed with a little Asian boy, girl and snake.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Perpetual mourning

I am currently in a state of perpetual mourning over the finaleof 30 Rock which is due to air in United States of America on 31 January 2013.I am dealing and processing my grief through the consumption of copious amountsof food.

In honour of 30 Rock and my need to overindulge duringthis difficult time, I have made 30 Rock cupcakes. Complete with my favourite30 Rock characters: Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, Tracy Jordan, Jenna Maroney andKenneth Parcell.

 (From the left: Jenna Maroney, Tracy Jordan, Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy and Kenneth Parcell).

The cupcake toppers are based on the cartoon depiction of 30Rock by the Huffington Post.

Plain and simple - basic vanilla on vanilla cupcakes madefrom my tears!**

Given that I am in no state to do anything other than eatmy feelings, I will leave this blog post here. Blerg!

**DISCLAIMER: For the health and food regulators outthere - clearly the cupcakes were not made from my tears as that would beunhygienic. I am just trying to channel Tina Fey and be remotely funny. It isdoubtful that I am actually funny, but I certainly award myself an ‘A’ for effort.Oh dear, perhaps I should just stick to baking… 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies!

I knowposting about something that is not cupcake related – outrageous! But I tell you what, this cookie recipe is AMAZING and certainly lives up to it's name, it certainly is outrageous.

I came across this recipe when trolling the Martha Stewart website. The reason why it caught my eye was because I thought the proportion of the ingredients were wrong. But from all the comments I saw on the webpage, everyone was raving about the recipe just as it is. So I had to give it ago. However, I did make a few variations.

Here is my take on the recipe.

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

277 grams of 70% cocoa dark chocolate
60 grams of salted butter
2/3 cup of plain flour
½ teaspoon of salt
2 large eggs (600 grams)
¾ cupcake of packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
100g of dark chocolate chunks or chips
100g of milk chocolate chunks or chips
100g of white chocolate chunks or chips
40g of raisins

1.      Heat the dark chocolate and butter in the microwave at 20 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate mixture is melted. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate mixture.
2.      In another bowl, shift together the flour and salt.
3.      In a mixing bowl, whisk (by hand) the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Gradually add the melted chocolate into the mixture. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks or chips and raisins.
4.      Spoon the dough in the centre of a sheet of gladwrap 1m in length, in the shape of a log. Wrap the gladwrap around the dough and roll the dough into a circular log, approximately 5cm in diameter. Freeze the mixture for 30 minutes.
5.      Preheat oven at 170°C (150°C fan force).
6.      Remove the dough from the freezer and unwrap the dough from the gladwrap. Cut the dough at 1cm intervals. Place the dough onto baking sheets approximately 3cm apart.
7.      Place the cookies in the oven and bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and appear crackly on the surface (approximately 15 to 18 minutes). Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets.

Thanks Martha Stewart - this recipe was yum!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

DIY pavlova

One of my favourite desserts of all time is pavlova. For my international readers (beyond the borders of Australia and New Zealand), pavlova is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust, and soft, light, fluffy goodness on the inside. Kind of like me, a little rough around the edges and a bit too much loose jelly in the centre!

Pavlova is delicious! Given that pavlova is usually served with whipped cream and fresh fruit, I always think of it as a healthy dessert option. And yes, I do realise the irony of my last statement given that it is made entirely of egg whites and sugar!

I had the family over on the weekend for a belated Christmas lunch celebration. Given that it has been so HOT, HOT, HOT in Perth the last few weeks (averaging about 35 degree Celsius every day), I wanted to make a light dessert. So naturally pavlova is what had come to mind.

Wanting to maintain my love for cupcakes but wanting to explore my love for pavlova, I decided to merge the two. Combining the two was relatively easy, I just baked the pavlova mixture into cupcake patties.

Given that the kids, Zachosaurus and Mini Mousey, were coming over, I wanted to arrange an activity to occupy them. And let’s face it, there is no better activity than a food related activity! So I decided to construct a DIY pavlova station. I cut the fruit into little pretty shapes using cookie cutters and plated them up Master Chef style! Next, I put the freshly whipped cream into an icing bag with my all-time favourite nozzle, the Wilton 2D. And before you knew it, I had a pavlova dessert station.

 From the left: passionfruit, mango, kiwi and strawberry.

 Needless to say, the kids had a ball decorating their own little pavlovas. This is a great activity for the little kids and big kids too. Another option is to leave the fruit uncut and allow the kids to cut their own shapes out of the pieces of fruit. Although this can be potentially very messy, it can also be potentially very fun!

TIP: It is best to use metal cookie cutters, oppose to plastic, as they are just that little bit sharper.

Given that Australia Day is just around the corner, I got all patriotic and decided to decorate my cupcake “Australian” style! After all, it was very fitting, given that we did invent the pavlova!! New Zealand who?

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Back to basics!

Despite undergoing a little blog revamp, I have decided to get back to basics and reconnect with my old blogging roots. I must admit, I have neglected my blogging duties since starting the business and I have been feeling very guilty as of late.

To be entirely honest, I have wanted to change the direction of the blog for quite some time, but was not entirely sure how to go about it. After half a year of oohing and aahing, I decided to stop procrastinating and get the blogging into motion. And here we are.

Basically, the need for change was stemmed from my desire for readers to get something practical out of my blog and not just a random account of my banking adventures and the occasional mishap! It is my intention to release cupcake, cake pop, iced cookie and macaron decorating guides, templates and recipes through the blog. But not just that, I also want to share with readers awesome blogs I have come across that I have found to be particularly helpful in my various baking quest.

So bring on 2013! Same blog, same blogger but with a revised vision.