Cake (cupcake) decorating can be so expensive and overwhelming at first. Here I show you some of my techniques for making beautifully decorated and professional looking cupcakes that won't break the bank and that anybody can do. These cupcakes have a plain vanilla base, simple butter creme frosting, and are decorated with homemade fondant jungle animals that taste delicious.
This is not your typical flavorless and hard fondant, the homemade marshmallow fondant is delicious and creates toppers that any kid, or adult, would love to eat.
Step 1: Baking the Cake
This instructable focuses on a method for decorating cupcakes, the combination of flavors are endless and completely up to you. I enjoy a simple vanilla cupcake with traditional butter creme frosting to showcase the fondant sculptures on top of each.
Bake the cake:
Purchase your favorite boxed cake mix (even the off brands work great, they are all the same basic ingredients) and prepare it following the instructions on the box. Make sure to use room temperature eggs so that your cupcakes bake up light and fluffy. Using boxed cake mix is not cheating (These will still be homemade), I believe it is a simple way to make sure the cupcake tastes great and proportions of sugar, flour, baking powder, etc are correct. I've experimented with many different homemade batter recipes and I've found that its not the base cake that makes the dessert special, but rather it is the optional fillings and toppings that make the cupcake special.
Pour your cupcakes into cupcake pans that have been lined with cupcake papers. I like to use solid aluminum wrappers because they are typically the least expensive and (typically 79 cents for 50-75!) will not distract from the sculpted piece or decoration that you top the cupcake with. Designer cupcake papers are overrated and way too pricey!
Do not under bake the cupcakes! Many inexperienced bakers often worry about over baking the cupcakes so they end up taking them out too early only to find a sticky mess. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick or by pressing the top with your finger to see if they spring back.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 2 minutes then flip them out onto a cooling rack to completely cool before frosting.