The theme of the Daughter's third birthday in March was Fairies. And bugs. And whatever there might roam in the forest or garden with the fairies. Not goblins, though. So I thought it would be nice to have some cupcakes that looked like they were covered in grass with some bugs crawling in there. Sounds lovely, doesn't it. :) But I don't think they came out too bad in the end though especially the grown-ups seemed a bit freaked out by them.
Most of the bugs were actually made by our resident three-year-old sugarcrafter from sugar fondant colored with the Squires Kitchen gel colors. Well, I did the coloring and she did the assembly. The toadstools though were a bit too complicated for her so those are my handiwork. They were made from sugar fondant, gum paste and marzipan just to test the colors on different materials and I noticed that though marzipan seemed to color best I much preferred working with fondant to both of the others.
The cupcakes were basic vanilla made according to this recipe from the Joy of Baking blog. The topping is a mixture of buttercream and mascarpone, since I'm personally not too fond of basic buttercream. Again, I colored the buttercream-mascarpone with green gel coloring and used Wilton Decorating Tip 233 for making the grass. You can find simple how-to to making the grass here. It's not difficult when you get the hang of it, the only thing that might cause problems in my opinion is the buttercream mixture ending up too warm while you're putting it on top of the cupcakes because then the 'grass tips' won't stay where you want them to but instead you'll end up with a decidedly wind flopped greenery. To keep this from happening, either work fast ( that would not be me then, I work at the pace of a snail) or stick the frosting into the fridge to cool down every now and then.
Oh, and if you're new to buttercream (as it's not a very common frosting type around here), don't be impatient like I was the first time I ever decorated cupcakes with buttercream. Warm cupcakes plus butttercream equals cake soaked in melted butter. So not a good idea, trust me.
As I still have a lot of stuff to finish for the cake I will now say bye bye and let's hope things will go relatively hitch free tomorrow.
But I do need to mention before I go that if you are one of the two (dare I say three) people who actually read this blog you might have noticed some slight changes in the settings and layout lately. I have made some decisions based on some good advice received as per what will appear here and in what form. Most of these changes are due to the oncoming article and the fact that it will inevitably ' throw me out of the blogging closet' and therefore I have decided to some extent forgo anonymity when it comes to this particular blog. But this shouldn't make much of a difference anyway, just thought I'd mention in case someone was wondering. :)