My mom has been on my mind lately. It's not the anniversary of her birth or death. I'm not really sure what it is. Maybe it's Mother's Day approaching. Maybe it's just Spring. She loved gardening.She was raised with a big garden. Rows of corn, tomatoes, green beans, strawberries and such filled a space three times the size of their home. Oh, and the sunflowers! They were so tall, towering over the edge of the garden, their heavy heads bowing. I was transported to a fairyland when I walked between the rows of strawberries. They were so red, juicy, and sweet. It was another world. She grew up in Missouri. If you've never been to Missouri, know this; things grow there. The humidity and the long season are ideal conditions for a garden.
I digress. I made the wedding cake for my mother's second wedding. It was a white, three-tiered (on columns no less) cake with handmade red roses. I was so proud of that cake. She was so proud and thankful, too. It was beautiful. The roses were gorgeous. It was made with love. The only thing that would have made them better would be if they had been edible. See, when I made the frosting I accidentally used T (Tablespoons) in place of t (teaspoons) when I added salt to the frosting. On her wedding cake. It's one of those things you look back on and laugh about. Everyone took it in stride, and we all just scraped the roses off. The cake was still good. The frosting was still good. It was just the roses. I was more mortified than anyone else. They were all friends. It was, afterall, about her wedding. Not the cake.
I haven't done a lot of piping since then. A little here and there. There's more to it than just squeezing frosting through a tip. It requires a lot of frosting, patience, and time. I amazed myself with a beautiful loaf of soap I piped last fall. I need to make more soap.
So, I'm thinking about my mom, thinking about her cake, thinking about piping, and decide to pull out the tips. This time I used Russian tips for the flowers. They weren't available way back in the day. I don't know that I would have used them anyway. Both traditional and Russian tips have their individual capacities. I used Wilton tips for the leaves.
Russian tips require a lot more frosting, because they are so big. It takes a lot to fill those tips, before it can be squeezed through. They're so easy though. One squeeze and the whole flower is finished.
I used my Basic Chocolate Cake recipe for these. I used Godiva chocolate liqueur in lieu of coffee. Kahlua would be good, too. I also stuffed them with violet raspberry cream.
- 1/4 C violet raspberry jelly (I'm using up the last of that jar!), or any flavor jelly/jam you like
- 1/2 C whipping cream
- 1/2 C cream cheese
- 1/4 C powdered sugar (am I the only one that still calls powdered sugar "10X sugar"?
Just whip it all together with a beater.
Fill a piping bag with a large circle tip. Add the filling.
Push it all the way into the center of the cupcake.
Squeeze while pulling the tip out.
I used a thin circular piece of fondant on top of my cupcakes. I thought it would give me a nice clean palette to work on. This was probably a mistake. Russian tips release so much frosting at once that it needs something to "grab"onto. Otherwise, frosting will be squeezed everywhere with no place to go.
Fondant is smooth. You get the idea. The whole top of the cupcake is eventually covered anyway. It didn't need a clean palette. Although, Kevin said he liked the flavor of the fondant.
These are piped with Robicelli's Bakery version of American Buttercream:
- 3 sticks butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 C heavy cream
- 8 oz mascarpone
Beat it all except the sugar together until it combines. Add 10X sugar, 1/4 C at a time on low speed until combined. (Picture 10X sugar flying all over the room.) Beat it for another five minutes.
I split the frosting into different tubs, added food coloring, whipped it together, stuffed it into piping bags, and voilá!
Spring cupcakes. They taste a lot better than the roses on my mom's wedding cake. I wish I could share them with her.
I got into a good meditative groove. My creative juices were flowing. If you have tips, use them!
If you don't, I bet you can pick up a small set for a few bucks. Check yard sales or second-hand stores. And please, let me know if you did. I'd like to hear if you made these or not, and what inspired you during the creative process!
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