The decorating process is always the highlight of my baking exploits. Here is where I can let my creativity run free. I usually allow myself to be inspired by the ingredients that I incorporate in my cupcakes or the flavor of the frosting that I am using.
Sometimes I can spend hours working on embellishing my cupcakes with elegant or quirky toppings and decorations. But then there are times when I want to pull off the “I spent hours sweating in the kitchen to make these” look without all the hassle.
I can only assume you feel the same way otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this while waiting for your cupcakes to cool.
So let’s get started.
Candy is always a fun and easy topping to use on your cupcakes, especially when you’re incorporating them inside your cakes. Candies like Reese’s, M&M’s, and Hershey’s candy bars are worthy options. They’re a delicious way of letting people know what to expect before they start eating your cupcakes. Candies like jelly beans and gummy bears are colorful decorations for events such as children’s parties. They provide an extra treat for the youngsters before they even take a bite.
Printed tags are awesome because they give your frosted creations some personality. They’re a cost-effective way to advertise and promote your business or website. You can even have them say whatever you want and send a special message to each of your guest. Just come up with some creative images or sayings, print them out in small, yet readable sizes, cut them into whatever shape you like, tape them onto a toothpick and there you go! A custom topping fit for your occasion. Here’s a few tags that Jessie of Life As a Strawberry provides.
If you’re looking for a more elegant look, top your cupcakes with some fresh fruit. Berries are the best for garnishing mainly because of their size. Strawberries are a stable in the fruit topping community but other berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries work beautifully also. You can even use sliced bananas. Just be sure to dip the bananas in lemon juice prior to use to keep them from browning.
I love me a good chocolate drizzle. But that’s not the only sauce that you can use to decorate your cupcakes. You can use different fruit sauces, like strawberry, orange, lemon, raspberry to add some tanginess to the flavor. Caramel and peanut butter sauce are also perfect for drizzling.
Yes, they may look complicated, but please, don’t let the exquisite beauty of sugar art fool you. These toppings aren’t that hard to pull off. Just whisk 1/2 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar together in a non-stick saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Keep a close eye on it to prevent over-cooking because that yields bitter tasting caramel. Design the melted caramel on a surface it won’t stick to and let it harden.
The full list of different cupcake toppings is available on Jessie’s site, Life As a Strawberry. The directions for making caramel sugar cages are number six on her list.