Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fireworks Cupcakes

Last year, the July cover of Martha Stewart Living magazine featured fireworks cookies, which were the first icing technique I piped on this blog back on New Year's Eve. I'd always wondered if the same technique would work on cupcakes; I mean, why not? When I made cupcakes for Memorial Day yesterday, I set aside half of them to try it out on. The tips I needed were a pair of round #8 tips, and a #806 (by Ateco). 
 Here are the cupcakes, awaiting the rest of their patriotic garb.
 Start by attaching the tip #806 to a piping bag (you won't need a coupler). Fill the bag with white frosting (I simply used canned vanilla frosting from the cake aisle; it's the right consistency for this).
 Pipe a ring around the outer edge of each cake. For this and all other piping on this project, hold the tip perpendicular to the surface.
 Pipe a dollop in the center and smooth the icing out with an offset spatula (or a fingertip, if you can be fastidious about it). Keep the cupcakes in a covered container (like a whatever-ware box) so they won't start crusting over. Remove each one individually when you're ready to work on it.
 Load up two piping bags with red and blue icing and the #8 tips. You may recall, my favorite red and blue colors are Royal Blue and Super Red by AmeriColor.
 Have a scad of round toothpicks handy.
 Pipe a dot in the center and two larger rings around it. Use all the same color or mix them up.
 Drag a toothpick through the icing, either from the edge to the center or from the center to the edge (like this):
 Wipe the tip on a paper towel after each drag through the icing. Be sure to not push the toothpick all the way down to the surface of the cake; you should just sort of ski through the icing.
 Here's one with loose "C" shapes radiating from the inside out:
 Here's one with straight lines radiating outward from the center:
 Here's the first lazy "S" shape on one of my favorites…
 …which looked like this when finished. I like how the red frames the inner blue dot and ring.
 This one is formed by alternating dragging the toothpick from the inside out, then the outside in (wiping after each drag, of course).
 You can really see the depth of the stripes from this angle; that's one reason why I prefer the cupcakes over the traditional fireworks cookies, which dry perfectly flat.
 The only downside I can think of about these cupcakes is they do take a few extra steps to pipe, and a platter like this would be empty within minutes after being brought in to any party. An offering to bear in mind for 4th of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day…even Election Night! And of course you can pipe them in any color imaginable.

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