Cupcakes are the latest word in fancy sweets for youngsters and grown-ups alike. The diminutive cakes, smoothed over with buttery icing, are the perfect vehicles to display artistry -- whether it's candy that birthday-party kids arrange in swirls, fun animal faces and butterflies, or a whole bouquet of flowers that show the skill and beauty that come via a steady hand and a few decorating tips.
So pick your occasion, dig out your favourite cake plate and enjoy decorating a batch of these toothsome treats. With flowers, butterflies and charming critters, they're a wonderful way to throw a party.
• Determine how many of each type of cupcake design you want to make and tint icing accordingly. You need about 2 tbsp (25 mL) icing to cover 1 cupcake and another 1 tbsp (15 mL) for decorating.
• Use paste food colouring for vivid colours, adding small amounts on end of toothpick until desired colour. Use liquid colouring for softer shades, adding a few drops at a time until desired colour.
• Buy a variety of candies in small quantities at bulk-food stores.
• Use cloth piping bags and tips or, in a pinch, disposable plastic piping bags, which are available at craft or cake decorating supply stores. Or fill small resealable plastic bags with icing and cut small hole in corner.
• Use pastry bag by folding edge of large opening over hand to form cuff. Spoon icing into bag right down to tip. Unfold cuff; twist at top of icing. Using one hand at twist and other at tip to guide bag, gently squeeze out icing into desired pattern.
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