To say I'm nervous is an understatement. A hilariously inadequate way of describing how I'm feeling about this.
"This" being the fact that I'm going to be on TV tomorrow morning. Me. Like as a special guest type person, demonstrating how to make Easter cupcakes for kiddos. The wonderful people of Fox 11 in Reno were gracious enough to ask me to be on their show, Mornings on Fox 11, at around 7:45am. Me.
Demonstrating how to decorate some cupcakes isn't why I'm nervous. Getting up at 5am isn't why I'm nervous. Having to actually touch and smell Peeps and risking diabetic coma by doing so isn't why I'm nervous. I'm nervous because I hate having my picture taken (save for amazing selfies like this) and I'M TERRIFIED OF BEING ON VIDEO!
Side note: I think this bugs the crap out of my photographer fiance, because I'm really good at quickly hiding from anything resembling a lens. Which means I'm good at hiding from him.
But as mortified as I am at the prospect of being seen on camera by anyone, let alone thousands of people, I could'n't pass up this opportunity. Although I feel inadequate and unqualified, I don't want to let my insecurities keep me from doing really cool things... so I'll give this a shot and see how it goes. My nervousness could make for really entertaining TV, or I could be a complete train wreck. We'll find out soon enough.
Since my segment will only be about 2-3 minutes long, I'll have to kinda rush through the explanations of what I'm doing. I'm going to show 2 quick cupcake decorations, neither of which are hard. What I really want to convey is that anyone can do this stuff! You can do fun things for your kids (or whoever) on your own, and without breaking the bank. Hopefully that idea comes through in the morning. When I'm on TV. OMG.
So since I won't have long, and there's a high possibility of me royally screwing up on the show, I figured I should run through what I'm doing on here.
Disclaimer: These are ideas for decorations - I'm not really getting into the cake recipe or anything. Use whatever you'd like! Boxed, from scratch, vanilla, chocolate... whatever floats your goat. I'm using chocolate cake just cuz it has a "dirt" look in case I miss any spots on the grass cupcakes. But honestly whatever you use will be wonderful!
As far as the frosting goes, you can find the recipe and some instructions (as well as tips on tinting your frosting) here.
And yes - some of this is redundant if you read my last blog. You'll live.
This one looks like the simpler of the two. And, while it is simple, it has a hidden surprise inside!
To prepare for said surprise, you need to first core out the middle of the cupcake.
This doohickey is like $2 at Walmart, and it makes it super easy to core out. You could use a knife and eyeball it, but honestly this thing is so cheap, and makes it so quick and easy, that there's no reason to waste time with a knife. Plus, I'm accident prone and seem to excel at cutting and burning myself. So I like safe gadgets.
You can stop laughing at my toe-thumbs now.
Anyways, if you look at Walmart for these types of gadgets, you'll find them in the baking supply section that's usually near the greeting cards and wedding craft stuff. That'll be the same aisle as the gel food coloring, which is what you'll want to use to tint the frosting. More on that here.
So put it as close to the middle of the cupcake as you can
Push down until the clear part is flush with the top of the cupcake, then twist and lift. The center of the cupcake should come right out. Sometimes the cake doesn't stick and it stays put. If that happens, just get it out with your (clean and disinfected) fingers or with a small knife. Or you can put the plunger thing back in and twist it a bit more and invert the cupcake. It usually comes out easily, though.
This leaves you with a nice little hole that you can fill with whatever you'd like! I used mini m&m's here. But you could use more frosting, chocolate sauce, pudding, sprinkles, fruit compote, or a meatball if you're a sadistic freak. Point being, you have a lot of options.
At this point you can put the top of the previously removed cupcake piece on top. Or not. I like to do it because it seems more stable, like it'd be less likely to mess with the frosting you'll be putting on top. And because not using it would be a waste of perfectly good cake. Everyone knows that wasting cake is UnAmerican.
With my tinted frosting, I then used a large round open tip in a pastry bag. This particular pastry bag is reusable, but disposable works just fine. Decorating tips are super cheap too - usually under $2 at Walmart, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Amazon, etc. You could even MacGyver a ziploc bag in a pinch. Put some frosting in the bag and squeeze it down toward one of the bottom corners. Don't seal the bag - you don't want that air trapped in there. Then cut straight across that corner to make a circular opening about the size of the decorating tip in the picture below. Squeeze out the air bubbles, twist the top and use just like a pastry bag. I haven't tried this myself, but I've seen people do it online and it looks like it works just fine for this type of frosting design.
You can pipe it on however you want - test it out and see what works for you! I start the frosting at the middle, then gently squeeze and swirl it around toward the edge. Once the bottom circle part is done, swirl back toward the middle and up until it's as high as you want it. Kinda like an ice cream cone.
If it's not perfect, don't worry - you're just going to put some sprinkles on it anyway! And you can top with a Peep, a decorative marshmallow, a Reece's peanut butter egg, or whatever cute candy you want. I found these sprinkles and marshmallows at TJ Maxx and they are adorable! If you've never seen their baking and food area, you're missing out and need to go immediately.
If this is your first time using a decorating bag to pipe frosting, it may seem intimidating. I promise that its not hard. Just have extra milk and powdered sugar at the ready to adjust your frosting consistency - you'll be able to tell pretty quickly if you need to thicken it with sugar or thin it with milk. Just use a teeny tiny bit at a time - a little bit of either ingredient goes a long way. And each time you make frosting to pipe, you'll get better at eyeballing the consistency. Make a little extra the first time so you can practice how it feels to pipe it. How hard you squeeze the bag will depend on the tip you're using, what you're trying to do with the tip, and how thick you made your frosting. Grab a paper towel or some parchment paper and just practice a little - I'm willing to bet you catch on quickly!
For this guy, you'll core out the middle of the cupcake just like the others. I used a slightly smaller muffin cup for this - it's kind of a medium size. But a traditionally sized cupcake with paper liner would work great.
So core out the middle and insert a bunny Peep. If it doesn't want to go in, just squish the lower part a little and shove it in.
Next, tint some frosting green (I used Wilton Kelly Green gel coloring) and fill a bag fitted with a grass tip. A grass tip basically has a flat bottom with little holes in it.
You'll start with the tip touching the cupcake. Squeeze gently while pulling straight up. The longer you squeeze, the longer your grass will be. Play around and see how long you want it. I like to kinda vary the length - it makes it look a little more quirky. And it reminds me of my yard, where my lawn is sorely neglected. I call it "rustic" and "natural." Anywho, pipe your grass all the way around the peep, and that's it!
Side note: Using a grass tip will cause you to do a bit more squeezing of the bag. With the other cupcake, its a quick swirl-and-done. This one is squeezing into a bunch of different spots. That means that you're handling the decorating bag more, which means that the body heat in your hands will be warming the frosting and causing it to soften and melt. For this reason, I did not fill this pastry bag very full. I used a little at a time and repeatedly refilled the bag - that way the frosting stayed in the bowl and at room temperature until I was ready to use it. If you find that your frosting is getting too warm and melty, just put it in the fridge for a bit to cool off and solidify. It might crust a bit if you leave it in for too long, but a few squeezes to the bag and you should be good to go.
There are sooooo many cute and easy things you can do with cupcakes! Especially during Easter, when there are endless supplies of adorable candies and sprinkles at your disposal. Go look around and see what inspires you! Play around with different decorating tips and frosting colors. Find cute cupcake papers and baking cups. Use vibrant colors, or use pastel pinks and purples. Fill with surprise ingredients. Top with marshmallows or candy eggs or mints or sprinkles or m&m's or sparkly sanding sugar. Play around with different designs and make each cupcake in your batch a little bit different. Mix colors and designs. Have fun and remember that they do not have to be perfect! The fact that you made them makes them amazing.
********** UPDATE **********
If you want to see my nervous-wreck self on the show, you can find it here
We ran out of time, so I didn't have time to demonstrate the bunny one. Hopefully this blog thing explains them well enough!