This past Sunday was Cupcakecamp Ottawa 09, which was held at the Jack Purcell Community Centre. Because it was a fundraiser for a local women’s charity (and because its CUPCAKES!) we decided to participate as bakers and try making rainbow cupcakes again. The result far exceeded my expectations – they came out perfect! We all got together Saturday night and slaved for 6 hours on these babies (we were making marzipan bees by candlelight during Earth Hour!). A major improvement to my prior attempt was substituting sugar glass for the bees wings instead of the almond slices (take that, Martha Stewart!). It was more work, which we really needed *cough*, but they’re just so damn charming! Also, using a scale to get the actual measurements right for the ingredients (as opposed to ballparking using google) made a huge difference (shocking, I know).
Sadly, we did not place in the competition, but on a whole I think the event was a huge success so I’m sure the charity benefited nicely from it, and it was fun to be involved in such a big community event! The space was filled to capacity within 20min of opening their doors – poor boyfriend had to wait over an hour to get in – and over 3000 cupcakes were donated by the bakers. Our entry was an obvious audience favorite, judging by the all the squeals when they came out, and by the number of random photos I’ve found on flickr from the event. And most importantly, it was just a fun way to spend a Saturday night with a great group of people :)
The final entry: rainbow cupcakes with piped buttercream clouds, and marzipan bees with sugar glass wings. They turned out shockingly vibrant (the photos are accurate!) and tasted wonderful. You don’t even want to know how much butter went into these things. seriously.
For those feeling ambitious, here are the recipes!
250g self-raising flour
250g super refined sugar
250g soft, unsalted butter
1 tsp real vanilla extract
6 tbsp milk
Concentrated gel food colouring (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red)
silicone cupcake liners and a 12-bun pan
1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line the pan with the silicone cupcake liners.
2. Cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
3. Add eggs, mixing in one at a time.
4. Add flour a little at a time.
5. Add vanilla, then milk, one tbsp at a time.
6. Divide mixture evenly into 6 bowls, and colour each with the gel food colouring until desired colour is reached. Not much is needed, and the colours will further intensify when cooked.
7. VERY CAREFULLY spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of purple into each cupcake liner and smooth with the back of a spoon. Repeat with each successive colour: blue, green, yellow, orange and red. The more careful you are in this step, the cleaner your layers will turn out.
8. Bake 15-20min on middle rack. Test with a toothpick – it should come out clean when you stick it in the middle of the cupcake. Don’t overbake, otherwise the outsides will darken and you’ll loose a lot of the rainbow effect.
9. Let them sit for a few minutes then pop them out of the liners as soon as you can comfortably handle them and let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Serving Size : Makes 12
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients and beat on high speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Spoon icing into a pastry bag with your favorite tip (store somewhere cool until you are ready to decorate your cupcakes). Pipe cloud shapes on your cupcakes, taking care not to cover the entire top of the cupcake (its just a prettier effect, and makes them easier to transport). You could easily halve this recipe and still have plenty of icing.
Makes 2 3/4 cups
one package of marzipan
yellow and black gel food colouring
Divide marzipan into two, and colour one half yellow and the other black. Each bee will consist of 3 yellow balls and 2 black balls, all of the same approximate size, and 2 small black balls for its eyes – you will need 36 yellow balls and 24 black balls about the size of a small pea, and 24 black balls about the size of a pepper corn. I suggest you make all of the balls in advance before starting assembly. Line up balls as follows: yellow-black-yellow-black-yellow, then squish them together and roll slightly until you get a striped egg shape. Add the eyes to the larger end, then add sugar glass wings.
Sugar Glass Wings
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
PAM cooking spray
Spray a cookie sheet with PAM. Boil the water in a medium saucepan, add the sugar and syrup, and return to a boil. Cover for two minutes. Remove cover and boil without stirring until the mixture reaches 310°F (check with candy thermometre). Remove from the heat immediately and then spoon out small teardrop shapes on the oiled cookie sheet. Let cool completely before using.