Sugar Stenciled Cupcakes

These pretty cupcakes are fun.  Although we made our own heart stencils from wax paper, you could use other stencils or cut other designs.  Do keep designs simple.  It is hard to get sharp lines with this technique.

You will need:

1.  Frosted cupcakes

2.  Sugar

3.  Food coloring

4.  Sandwich bags

5.  Wax paper

6.  Scissors

A selection of frosted cupcakes
Bags of sugar and food coloring 1.  Take one bag for each color you want to make.  Put 1/4 cup of sugar and two or three drops of food coloring into each bag.  Twist the top of the bags closed.  Work the sugar with your fingers until the color is evenly blended.
Cut the pattern out of wax paper 2.  Cut wax paper into squares large enough to cover the top of a cupcake.  Cut a heart out of the middle of each cupcake.  It is easiest to fold the wax paper in half, cut out a half heart, and then open the wax paper.
A sugar heart on a cupcake 3.  Place the wax paper on the cupcake.  Gently press the edges of the heart down.  Sprinkle on the colored sugar thickly.  Gently tap the sugar with a spoon to set it into the frosting.  Then tilt the cupcake sideways and gently shake it to remove any excess sugar.
Sugar stenciled cupcake 4.  Carefully remove the wax paper.  it is normal for a little bit of frosting to stick to the wax paper.  You can re-use the stencil, but we like to make a new stencil for each cupcake.

Molded Frosting Rosebud Cupcakes

To make the flowers on these cupcakes, you will make a thick frosting and mold it.  You can make other simple shapes but the frosting tears easily.  It you want to make elaborate designs, buy fondant from your local craft store.

You will need:

1.  12 frosted cupcakes

2.  2 oz of creamcheese

3.  Approximately 2 cups of powdered sugar

4.  Green, red, and purple food dye

Molded frosting rosebud cupcakes
Colored frosting 1.  To make the molding frosting, mash or mix the cream cheese until it is smooth.  Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup, mixing well between each addition.  You want to get a frosting slightly softer than playdough.  Divide the frosting into three balls and add a small amount of food coloring to each ball.  Mix until the color is even.  Try to mix with a fork or a mixer and not your hands.  The heat from your hands will quickly make the frosting hot and sticky.  If the frosting does soften, put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
Making a rosebudA rosebud made with frosting 2.  Take a small ball of frosting and flatten it.  Take another ball and form it into a tear drop shape.  Put the tear drop onto the flattened ball, and wrap the edges of the flattened ball around it.  This will form a rosebud shape.  You can gently push the edges in or out until the rosebud is in the exact shape you want.  You can also add another "petal" or flattened ball.  The rosebud in the picture has two petals.
 A rosebud on a cupckae  3.  Put the rosebud on the cupcake.  Add leaves and stems if desired.  Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Take them out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving.

Cupcakes are poplular and trendy.  Not only are they delicious,  they bake more quickly than cakes and are easy to serve.  They can be decorated in an amazing variety of ways.  Suprisingly, it is difficult to find information on the orgin of this tasty treat.  Sources generally agree that the term "cupcake" was first used in 1828, although miniature cakes were made before that.  The inventor of the muffin tin has certainly not gained fame for his or her invention.  The vast resources of Google could not tell us his or her name.   Never the less, the pans are present in kitchens every where and used to bake millions of cupcakes each year.

Our cupcake research turned up some fascinating claims about cupcakes.  We're far from certain they are true.  But who knew that the little cupcake could inspire such delightful urban legends?

1.  On the average, every adult in America eats one cupcake a day.  What is the total mass of cupcakes consumed in one year?  It is greater than the mass of the earth!  (Have you noticed earth getting heavier lately?  This might be why.) 

2.  The Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, is actually about cupcakes.

3.  The world's largest cupcakes on record contains more than two million calories!  (That probably is true.  We don't know who ate it.)


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