Turning Cupcakes Into Edible Art

Cupcakes can be as simple or as complex as you make them. Whether they’re frosted with sprinkles or piped with sophisticated frosting and garnishes, they’re a sweet treat that pleases a wide audience. TV shows like TLC’s “Cupcake Wars” have really turned making cupcakes into a true art. In this show, the contestants are challenged to create cupcakes with unusual ingredients and make them look just as delicious as they (hopefully) taste.

The good news is, you can create an elegant and tasty cupcake at home without years of professional training. An online pastry program can help you perfect your skills, as will following these simple tips:

Piping bag
In order to create those perfect grooves and ridges you see in frosting, you’ll need a piping bag. Choose from various piping tip sizes, like regular, large and jumbo, depending on the style you’re going for. Each tip has a different design, whether it’s a closed star, French tip or round tip.

When frosting, you’ll want to apply constant and even pressure and attempt to move in one fluid motion, which may take practice. Start on the outside edge and make a circle around the border of the cupcake. When you get back to the place where you started, continue in a circle, but move in slightly, overlapping your first circle. When you’re done, release pressure on the bag before you lift up.

There is a wide variety of sprinkles you can use to top your cupcakes. They range from fine, sand-like granules to tiny pearl-sized nuggets. To properly place sprinkles, hold the shaker up high for a light, even dusting, and close to the cupcake for denser coverage. But don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – there are plenty of other things you can sprinkle onto the tops of your sweet treat, like chocolate chips, grated nuts or even spices like cinnamon and cayenne.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to garnish your cupcakes, fruit is a great alternative to sprinkles or chocolate. Cut up your fruit in visually appealing ways or mash it so it takes on the consistency of a jam, and use that as a substitute for frosting.

You don’t have to be an artist or a professional baker to be able to decorate your cupcakes like one. Cupcake stencils allow you to produce an artistic design with no fuss. Find a stencil that fits the occasion, whether it’s a snowflake, a baseball or a bow. After you’ve applied a layer of frosting, hold the stencil over the cupcake so it’s almost touching the icing. Then, sprinkle colored sugar, cocoa or another topping of your choice onto the stencil.

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