Ballet Shoes & Cupcakes

For my nieces last day at dance class I made cupcakes for her to give out to all her classmates at their class party. If you refer to my previous post, I rush made these cupcakes before my final class for Wilton Course 2. I don’t have any pictures of making the cupcakes because they are my normal vanilla cupcake with my normal buttercream. I added some coco powdered into the buttercream and then struggled to get it back to a pink/red. It ended up becoming a lovely color, but after 12 hours it went back to brown. Test failed! Moving along…

Below, are the boxes I ordered. I thought they were very cute and simple, and worked with the pink theme I was going for the cupcakes and ballet shoes.

dancecupcakes1I broke out my pasta roller to make the ribbons for the ballet shoes. I rolled out the fondant and put it through part of the pasta roller to flatten it out, and then through the linguine roller. Below is the pile it fell on. After ripping apart the fondant to separate it, I broke it up into smaller pieces and then put it back through the machine. I broke the pieces up to the length I needed and saved it in a tubberwear. If I ever make these again, I would do this step last to keep the fondant as pliable as possible for setting them up on the ballet shoes. Live and learn!

dancecupcakes2I cut out circles and rolled them out with a toothpick to make a ruffled appearance. This is something I’m going to have to work on more. I struggled to get the fondant to “fluff” the way I wanted it to. I tried rolling it out with a ball tool first, and then using the toothpick but it didn’t work out. After about an hour of fighting with it I got into a groove that I was comfortable with. It would have been a hell of a lot easier to have the ballet shoes resting on a flat fondant circle, but this way it almost looked like it was resting on a ballet tutu. If I do these again though? Flat surface for sure.

dancecupcakes3To make room I put all the fondant toppers on an upside down cupcake/muffin pan. This made sure they didn’t slide around and didn’t bump into each other. Made things easier to carry too!

dancecupcakes4I’m sure there is a nicer way to make the ballet shoes but I just took a ball of fondant and rolled it oval, and then stuck a round tool into it to form a loose shoe. Almost looks like a soap dish in this picture.

dancecupcakes7Lined up they almost look like ballet shoes. I was banking on them looking better when they were all decorated. I should note that this process took me a very long time. I also added little fondant bows to each shoe to tie in the look. I only have one mold so I had to freeze each bow so it would pop out without tearing (it was so small) and wait a few minutes in between. 48 bows needed to be made, and I had to wait about 5 minutes between each. It was a long night.

dancecupcakes6After the bows were on, I used royal icing to glue to ballet shoe ties to each slipper and then used more royal icing to glue the shoes onto the cupcake topper. I tried to place the ribbon as nice as possible without having it break. This is why making these ribbons should be the last step! It would also give the other parts of the topper time to dry.

dancecupcakes8As I final touch (as you can see in the bottom right shoe), I added some luster dust to make it shimmer. I should have made the shoes a different shade of pink then the bottom. They were blending together and looked like a big pink blob. Adding the shimmer made it stand out more. I should also note that it was very hard to take a good picture of these toppers. dancecupcakes9Below was the pretty color icing. This is when it was starting to turn brown. By the time it got to where it needed to be, it looked like chocolate icing. Oh well! I just wanted a light chocolatey taste.

dancecupcakes5Inside the box you can see the contrast a bit better. I originally put a pink ribbon on top of each box to dress it up. It looked silly. I took off all the ribbon. The box itself and the little note attached to it was all it needed. Sometimes simple is better!

dancecupcakes10I finished the toppers 12 hours after I started them. I had to work through the night. I was so tired that I didn’t take many pictures. My dog also took a cupcake topper and ran away with it which led to a semi-breakdown. They are usually locked out of the kitchen when I work, but I was finished and let them walk past. Big mistake!

You can see the little message I had tied to each box. I found the dancer picture from a Google image search and just added it on. Tied it together nicely! Below that are three more pictures of the toppers. I put a filer on one to show the shimmer more since it wasn’t coming up well in the photos.

dancecupcakes11I wasn’t there when they were given out, but I heard people liked them. It was hard work, but hey, if people liked them I guess that’s what matters.

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Cake Preparation

For a little bit of background, the person who ordered a cake from me needed it for her twins birthday party. She asked if I could do a Mincecraft cake. Now I have a vague idea about what Minecraft is. I play some video games, but never Minecraft. I know it has to do with building things with boxes. Some people take the game very seriously. I know there is a Mincecraft convention. So I quickly googled “Minecraft Cakes,” and sent her the first easy thing I found. I have no idea who the origional source is. Google images led me to a Pinterest page, and that link just let to a picture of the image. The woman ordering the cake liked this one, so this is what I decided to try and copy. Image

Originally, I considered using royal icing to make all the squares. To date, I have not made decorations with royal icing in advance to decorate a cake with and I was concerned how it would turn out. I also didn’t know how the icing would hold up when it was cut. So I decided to cover the cake in fondant squares. I’ve had some minor practice with fondant. I made a cake for my nieces birthday last year, and had to work with fondant. I went to Restaurant Depot and bought a 15lb tub of it. My only issue is getting the fondant out of it. I literally stabbed it with a knife and ripped it out of tub with my claws. If anyone would have passed by and looked into my kitchen window, they would have been concerned for my mental health.

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Now one of my biggest issues with fondant is rolling it out evenly. I didn’t want to use the paint strips for this one so I started looking for pasta rollers. The attachment for the KitchenAid is $200, so that was completely out of the question. I like that it is motorized, but $200? Nope. So I checked out a few online stores, but the most I found for decent reviews cost about $70. While running some errends, I went into Williams-Sonoma and found one for $60! And then, when I checked out, it was only $30! My indecisiveness paid off! The machine was simple, but looked like it would do the job. It attaches to the side of the counter easily, and the fettuccine/spaghetti attachment could be removed and kept in the box.

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When I was reading up on the pasta makers, many people complained of “dirt” coming out of the machine and onto the pasta, so I grabbed some old fondant I had sitting around and ran it through the machine a dozen times to make sure it was clean. I thought it would be difficult turning the hand crank and pulling the fondant/pasta out of the machine at the same time, but it was very easy.

cakesale3The next step was making all the squares for the cake. I estimated I would need about 40, so I figured making 65 would be safe. I knew I would break some. The best part about making this cake is the squares can be all different colors. I didn’t have to make a huge batch of fondant, or worry about running out and trying to replicate a color. I bought all the Wilton green gel colors, and just went to work. I use brown in some of the colors to get it a deeper shade of green. This was monotonous work. It took about 4 hours to get the fondant out of the box, color it, roll it and cut it. The good part? Because it is so brainless, I could zone out to some TV and not worry about messing it up. The bottom right picture was the letters I needed for the cake board. I bought the small letter cutters that I found at Michaels, but after using them I was not happy with them at all. They are not all the same thickness, and some letters just looked awkward. At this point, it was too late to worry about it, so I just had to swallow my panic and move on.

cakesale4I originally planned on baking the cakes the same night, but I didn’t expect the fondant to take me as long as it did. I put all the fondant covered in a tubberware and decided to let it firm up overnight.