Clark’s First Birthday: The Cupcakes
Okay, so where are those Wilton Sugar Sheets I hyped up? Why are all the cake pictures missing from the last post? Things were getting a bit too long for explanations, so I decided to break it up into two posts. Again, I apologize that I might be missing some pictures. Most of these were taken with my cell phone as I worked through the process. We used three types of cupcakes: chocolate and funfetti with vanilla icing, and carrot cake with cream cheese icing (because YGG always talks about eating your carrots!).
When you open the sugar sheets, they have a plastic backing to help keep things smooth. The less you handle these sheets, the better because they are a sort of gumpaste and will break down in reaction to the moisture in your hands. That being said, you can “repair” sheets if you need to by using water and letting them dry a bit. If you keep them out of an airtight container, they will dry out, so remember to push as much air out of the bags as possible after each use. They tasted like gumpaste or fondant, but because they sat on the top of the cupcake, you could pull them right off if you didn’t like the taste.
I chose to make all of my cupcake toppers the night before so I wouldn’t have to spend all day making them. That being said, cutting out and assembling the faces for 32 cupcakes took over six hours (with about two hours of help from a neighbor!) so plan on only making a few, or you are going to spend a lot of time preparing.
To make my shapes, I cut out cardboard and covered it in foil (rather meticulously to retain the specific shapes) of the larger pieces on each character’s face. I need no more than a sheet of each color (in most cases, I had over a half sheet left). I also used food coloring markers, piping gel, and a very cheap (food safe) paintbrush. I sterilized a pair of scissors to make the process much easier than using the rotary cutter designed for the sheets.
First, I traced the desired number of each piece close together on the sheets with a similar color of food coloring markers (I bought the primary pack with red, green, blue, yellow, and black). I then cut out each piece LEAVING THE PLASTIC BACKING ON. I did not remove the backing until each piece was assembled, when I painted piping gel on the back of the piece almost like using rubber cement. I then placed each piece on a paper plate to dry. Because I didn’t want to retain pliability, I didn’t mind letting them dry out.
I freehanded all of the small eyeballs and teeth, and used the food coloring markers to add things such as the black of Muno’s mouth and the insides of all characters’ eyes, Toodee’s whiskers, Brobee’s unibrow, and Foofa’s nose/mouth. This was because cutting the tiny pieces became tedious very, very quickly, so using the markers moved things along. Notice that I didn’t use the markers for anything that required artistic ability 🙂
They looked SPOT ON after I was done. It completely validated all the hard work that we had put into the cupcakes.
I also made a dual “title” cupcake for Clark. This was completely freehanded and took a lot of patience. With the exception of the blue and yellow cutouts, everything was done by marker. The top is a computer printout, and the bottom is the actual sugar sheet finished product. I laid it over two cupcakes (one chocolate, one funfetti).
These are the final products before adding them on to the cupcakes:
So, why was I ultimately disappointed? Well, everything in the literature that came with the sugar sheets suggested that they would dry out, so if I put them on the cupcakes early, they should retain their shape. This was totally wrong. I assembled the sugar sheets the day before the party and added them to the cupcakes fifteen or so hours before, and they were completely wilted within a few hours. I will definitely use them in the future, but I will wait until an hour or so before serving to put them on icing next time. Here are the pictures of the wilted cupcakes. Definitely not as perfect, but still pretty exceptional. We got the look of custom cupcakes for way less than the custom price!