Today's post is all about cake decorating - no matter what your skill level is! When I started my blog, I had never held a piping bag and knew little to nothing about fondant. I started with ideas on Pinterest that used candy and various simple means of decorating cupcakes. I did occasionally pipe on decorations, but I didn't own any tips or pastry bags, so I would just cut a whole in Ziplocs. It wasn't the fanciest method, but it did the job.
As I progressed, I learned a LOT about cake (and cupcake) decorating! I started investing in some tools, most of which made my life much easier. It also just takes a lot of practice to get to more advanced levels. As I review my creations, I feel like they kind of fall into three categories, or levels, of expertise: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Now, I should say that this is advanced relative to my skills. My "advanced" cakes are no where near the skill and complexity of much more advanced bakers. But, for me, I break down these levels to mean this:
Intermediate - some piping tips and tools required
Advanced - fondant, special tools, training/practice required
Domino Graham Cracker Treats
These domino snacks were one of my first decorating treats I made for the blog. These are the only non-cake idea in the round-up. My family loves to play games when we get together, particularly Dominoes. I decided it would be fun to have a themed snack for one of our game nights. These snacks are simply graham crackers covered in white chocolate and topped with mini M&M's. I put melted chocolate in a Ziploc, with the corner cut, to make the line in the center. They were fun to make, and an easy snack to munch on during the game. You can find the full instructions here.
Very Hungry Caterpillar Cupcakes
Easy Flower Cupcakes
Now things get more complicated...but just a little!
These cupcakes make quite a statement. I have made them for three different occasions now, they are always a big hit! They aren't as complicated as they look, as long as you have the right tools. The rose and sunflower cupcakes really require that you have some piping tips. You need a star tip to do the rose, and the leaf tip to do the sunflower. The daisy is much more simple, it's just hard to keep the petals from falling off sometimes!! Check out my first post about these cupcakes here.
These cupcakes are relatively simple, but make quite the statement. They were made for a 50's themed surprise party for my mom. The soda pop cupcake icing is best piped, so you get that soda pop look. The record cupcakes were made by piping on the music notes. I made a record out of Wilton sugar sheets, it's not too hard to work with. Definitely check out this post, I include instructions on making a cupcake stand using old records!
These "bear"-y cute cupcakes (sorry couldn't resist), are easier than they look to make! I used mini Oreos and chocolate icing to make all the details. I included them in the intermediate level, though, because there is a lot of piping! You need an actual tip for this one, as well as a steady hand. Check out the post about these here.
Now things get fun...
Lions, Tigers,...and Soccer Ball?
Love Birds cake
Finally, I have a cake for basketball fans! I made this cake for my husband's birthday, he is a huge UK Wildcats fan. This was made in 2012 when they were still the reigning NCAA champs. This year - not so much! But, he loves them anyway. This cake took a LOT of work, it definitely is one of my more "advanced" cakes! I've made some more complicated looking cakes (including my pink/zebra print tiered cake and my Disney's Cars themed cake), but this one used a ton of different skills. Even the basketball goal was made by me, using a mixture of gum paste and fondant! You can find the instructions here.
Hope you enjoyed this post and maybe found some ideas you'd like to try! I definitely recommend just trying your hand at it, even if you've never made a cupcake before. I hadn't baked much a couple years ago, and now it's a huge passion of mine!
Check back next week as I help beat the summer heat with the kick-off of a homemade ice cream series (aka I finally start using my ice cream maker I got last month)!