My First Cupcake Creation!

Hey Everyone!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my learning project and started searching the internet for different baking and decorating ideas! Pinterest has been my go-to website because there are so many amazing ideas and creations! I especially love how people are able to post comments and picture reviews about the recipes and decorating techniques they have tried! These comments allow for the reader to see how successful others were in following the recipes and whether or not different modifications need to be made in order to achieve the best results! The comments also allow for people to share tips and tricks, something I find to be very helpful!

After pinning a handful of ideas, I found a link to a website called The Scran Line. When I visited this website, my jaw dropped! The website features different cake and cupcake tutorials with step-by-step videos and recipes! While this is something many baking websites do, I can assure you that this is no ordinary website! The cakes and cupcakes are beyond amazing! The flavour combinations and extravagant decorations are enough to make anyone drool! The only problem I had now was deciding which recipe to try first…!

Considering how it was my mom’s birthday on the weekend, I decided that I would let her pick what kind of cupcakes I would be making! Her decision was easily made as soon as she saw the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes!

These cupcakes consist of a chocolate cake base, peanut butter chips, a fluffy peanut butter buttercream frosting, a chocolate filling, and topped with chopped peanuts and peanut butter cups! The description alone is enough to make your mouth water!

Okay enough chatting, let’s get started!

Step 1: Making the Cupcakes

The first step in creating these cupcakes was to gather my ingredients for the chocolate cupcake base! The recipe calls for:

 

 

 

 

I used a food scale to measure my ingredients out but if you don’t have one, you can click here and it will take you to a website that allows you to convert the measurements so they are easier to use! Using measuring cups is what i prefer but I also know that using a scale is a lot more accurate when it comes to baking measurements!

I started by mixing my dry ingredients in my stand mixer. Once the ingredients were combined, I added the softened butter. Finally, I added the wet ingredients and mixed until well combined! I made sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides to ensure all the ingredients were incorporated well.

 

I then used an ice cream scoop to fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way. The ice cream scoop is a great tool because it ensures that all of the cupcakes are filled to the same level and will therefore all bake evenly! The recipe calls for sprinkling peanut butter chips on top of the cupcakes before baking but I didn’t have any so I went without them in hopes of the frosting to bring enough peanut butter flavour! I then placed the cupcakes in the oven at 350 degrees and let them bake for about 18 minutes.

*Note: the recipe calls for the cupcakes to bake for 20-25 minutes but my oven gets really hot so they didn’t take that long. I recommend watching the baking process closely to make sure they don’t burn!

Chocolate Heaven!

I baked the cupcakes the night before I decorated them so they had time to cool. If you plan on doing everything in one day make sure you let the cupcakes cool or the frosting will melt and you’ll have a big mess!

Step 2: Preparing the Frosting, Filling, and Toppings

  • After beating the butter for a few minutes, I slowly added the icing sugar and vanilla. I allowed the icing to mix for 4-5 minutes until it became light and fluffy! I then stirred in 3 (generous) tablespoons of peanut butter and voila! We now have fluffy peanut butter buttercream frosting!

 

  • Chocolate Filling: I then made my chocolate filling, which was super easy! I combined my chocolate, cream, brown sugar, and vanilla and microwaved it! Simple, yet delicious!

 

 

  • Toppings: The toppings were very easy to make! I just chopped a handful of peanuts and 8 mini peanut butter cups!

Step 3: Assembling the Cupcakes!

Now that I have prepared all my components, it’s time to assemble my cupcakes. I cleared off a large space on the counter and set up my supplies. The video below is a walkthrough of my decorating process!

Final Thoughts & Comments:

Thanks for following my first cupcakes decorating adventure! I am quite pleased with the way things turned out and think that this was the perfect choice for a first attempt!

Things I would do differently:

  1. Use a different piping tip: although I used the piping tip that the recipe recommends, I would use a different tip in order to create more of a design! This wouldn’t actually change the cupcake that much but I think they would look fancier!
  2. Make the hole for the filling shallower: I think i made the hole too deep in the cupcake because the filling went all the way to the bottom of the cupcake when it was supposed to stop in the middle
  3. Remember the peanut butter chips: I thought that the peanut butter frosting would make up for the missing peanut butter chips but I would recommend using the chips because the chocolate flavour is almost overpowering the peanut butter flavour without them.

Difficulty level: 3/10 (easy)

Would I make again: YES!

All in all, this cupcake attempt was a huge success! My mom loved them and so did everyone else who tried them! They are super sweet so if you aren’t into sweet things these aren’t the cupcakes for you! I loved The Scran Line website and will be using it again in the future! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next baking adventure!

-Lauren Sauser

 

 

 

 

 

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Beginning With The Basics

Hey Everyone!

Piping Practice:

As I wrote about last week, I have chosen to focus on decorating both cakes and cupcakes for my learning project! I love baking and have a lot of experience with it, but for my first attempt at decorating I decided to take a step back and start with the basics before I jump into actual cake decorating. So for this week, I chose to work on different piping techniques using basic buttercream frosting, as well as introducing myself to the use of fondant, something that is new to me! I started by searching online for different video tutorials on basic icing techniques and although I found many, the best beginner video I found was from the Topless Baker channel! Not only does this video include various icing tips and techniques, but it also has a great step-by-step approach that helps break down the process to make it less intimidating!

First things first, I needed to collect all the supplies I would be needing. As pictured below, I gathered:

  • Buttercream Frosting
  • Wax Paper
  • Tape
  • Paper Templates (tutorial in video below)
  • Icing bags
  • Icing Tips

After tracing out my templates with lines and circles, I taped down each template and covered it with wax paper. (This is a great tip because when you are finished practicing, you can simply scrape the icing off the wax paper and continue using it!) All of the different icing tips I used are Wilton brand and can be found on their website. So, beginning with the 104 Tip, I followed the video in order to create a series of ruffles. This technique is very simple and clean. After practicing a few times, I moved onto my second tip, the french tip! This tip is my favourite out of all the ones i used today because it is easy to use and creates a very cute design! I was really interested to see the different ways in which the angle I was holding my bag would change the design I was piping! I would use this technique for piping the boarders around the edges of a cake. The third tip I used was the 1M Tip, which is one that I have used before. The criss cross pattern that I created was surprisingly easy and I was able to pick up on it without much struggle. The rose on the other hand was a different story! Just as it is explained in the video, this technique took a lot of practice. I got slightly frustrated because the design looks very simple but you have to keep a steady hand in order to create a tight rose design. This was definitely my weakest attempt and I will have to keep on practicing it. The final tip I used was a simple round nozzled tip. I tend to shy away from this tip because it seems quite plain to me, but this video may have changed my mind. I like the idea of not just doing dots, but dragging the dots to create a whole new design! After many failed attempts, I was finally able to complete all the designs! Check out my finished product! It’s not perfect but I’m trying!

After working so hard on these piping techniques, I decided that I would use my leftover frosting to do some freestyle designs with a small rounded tip! I love being creative with my baking so I used some of the techniques I practiced above and put my own little twist on them!

Freestyle!

So what did I learn in terms of piping? Well there are 3 main things:

  1. Check your icing consistency: When I first started piping, my icing was not thick enough and it wouldn’t hold when I piped it. I decided to add a little more icing sugar to the icing and it worked like a charm! Also, the longer you hold the icing bag, the warmer the icing gets so popping the whole frosting bag into the fridge for a few minutes can help a lot!
  2. Find you rhythm: One of the most important things to remember when piping is to maintain a consistent rhythm and pace with your piping. If you go to fast, too slow, or change your speed up too much, you won’t end up with your desired design.
  3. Practice practice practice: Some of the designs or piping techniques may look simple, but they aren’t! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t nail it the first time! Just keep practicing and you’ll get it!

Fun With Fondant:

After getting used to using icing, I decided that I would introduce myself to fondant! I have never really used fondant before because I don’t think it tastes very good and I know a lot of people who share the same opinion. Regardless, I know that fondant cakes are really common and fondant is great for creating shapes, figures, and even covering cakes. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone so I went to Michaels Craft Store and picked up a box of fondant! Since I am new to the fondant game, I needed to find a video on how to start! After doing some searching, the beginners fondant tutorial on the Craftsy Cake Decorating channel seemed like the best choice! Here is the video that provides 4 basic tips for using fondant (all of which I didn’t know before)!

Again, I needed to collect the necessary supplies!

  • Fondant
  • Rolling Pin
  • Icing Sugar
  • Pizza Cutter
  • Water
  • Paint Brush
  • Cookie Cutters

I started by colouring my fondant because plain white was too boring for me! Pink and yellow are both bright spring colours so I went with those! I started by sprinkling some icing sugar on my counter and then rolled the fondant out. I recommend also sprinkling icing sugar on the rolling pin because if you don’t, you will end up with a sticky mess! I used some cookie cutters to cut out some different shapes and also just used my hands to create different shapes. The fondant texture reminded me a lot of playdough  and was really easy to mould! I was happily surprised at how simple the process was, or so I thought! Now I may have been getting a little cocky, but I thought that I had done a good job with the fondant and wanted to challenge myself. I found a video on the MyCupcakeAddiction channel on how to make a fondant bow! Here is the video:

This was extremely challenging! The woman in the video makes it look so simple but it’s a lot more complicated than I thought! I think that my first mistake was rolling the fondant too thin. As soon as I started folding the bow, the fondant started to rip. I had to start again and rolled the fondant thicker. This brings us to my second mistake. I used water to glue the fondant into place (just like the video says) but I used way too much and the whole bow became super sticky! I had to start once again..yeah it was at this moment that you could say I was slightly frustrated! My third attempt was by far my best! I followed the video step by step and took my time. My bow was much smaller than the one in the video but I think it still turned out super cute!

While it’s not perfect, you can still tell it’s a bow so I will call this a success! The main things I learnt about using fondant are:

  1. Icing sugar is key: You cannot use fondant without icing sugar! Don’t even attempt it! Cornstarch will work too but I would go with icing sugar if you have it!
  2. Fondant is temperamental: Don’t handle the fondant too much or it will become sticky and you’ll find yourself re-powdering your hands constantly!

 

Overall, I would say that this week was very enlightening for me! I think it was a good idea to start with the basics before I dive into cakes and cupcakes! I will keep practicing these techniques this week and am looking forward to next week when I will attempt my first cupcakes! Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading & don’t forget that life is sweet!

-Lauren Sauser

Learning Project Introduction: Lets Get Baking!

Hello Everyone!

When I first read the syllabus for EDTC 300, I was immediately intrigued by the learning project portion of the class! I love the idea of being able to choose something that interests you and learn more about it through technology! I was initially overwhelmed at the idea of what to choose, as I understand that we need to spend 30-40 hours learning this skill! After some heavy thinking and input from others, I have finally made a decision! My learning project is going to be…..baking! More specifically, I would like to learn how to decorate cakes and cupcakes using different techniques and tools! I would also love to experiment with some flavours in order to create cakes that both look and taste delicious! I have had my fair share of baking fails and I know that I will likely experience many more, but that won’t stop me from trying, so bare with me folks! My goal for the end of the class is to be able to bake and decorate a variety of complex cakes and cupcakes using different methods and tools! I want to be able to create beautiful, detailed, clean, and creative desserts that look as good as they taste!

I feel that this is the perfect learning project for me because it is something that I am interested in and I know that I can learn a lot about it through technology! Baking and decorating are useful skills because everyone loves sweets of some kind and I love to share my creations with others! The skills I learn for this project will be ones I carry throughout the rest of my life and will continue to expand on after the class has ended!

Starting Point:

I personally have a lot of experience with baking in general. I have been baking ever since I was a little girl and some of my best memories were of myself baking with my grandma! It has always been something that has allowed me to relax and enjoy myself (and satisfy my sweet tooth in the process)! In terms of decorating, my experience is not nearly as advanced. I have made cakes and cupcakes before, but more often than not I find it easier to just grab a knife and spread frosting on quickly (by the way, is there anything that a spoon full of sprinkles can’t fix?). I would love to learn more tricks and tips for using an icing bag and other decorating tools! I also tend to stick to the same basic chocolate and vanilla flavoured cakes and would like to step out of my comfort zone and attempt some more creative and interesting flavours! I have a lot of decorating tools that I have collected over the years but if I am being truthful, I don’t know how to use half of them! By the end of this course, I hope to have at least a basic understanding of how to use all of them!

My Plan:

Each week, I plan on baking and decorating cakes and cupcakes using techniques that are new to me. Although I am not certain as to what I will create for each week, i know for a fact that I will find a lot fo my inspiration from Pinterest! I have also found a few Youtube channels that I think will have some great tutorials to use:

I will start by learning some of the basics before I jump into actually constructing cakes! For my first attempt, I am going to be practicing using different icing tips in order to create different designs and textures. I will also attempt to introduce myself to using fondant (moldable icing) because I know that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for decorating! After I feel comfortable with the basics, I plan on starting on my first cakes and cupcakes! The cakes I will attempt will become increasingly difficult and complex as the weeks pass by! I know that this is going to be very difficult but I have a lot of patience and feel that I am up for the challenge! 

All my decorating supplies ready to go!

Stay tuned because life is about to get a whole lot sweeter for this girl!

-Lauren Sauser