When a friend of mine asked me to make chocolate cupcakes for her daughter’s karaoke-themed birthday party, I envisioned guitars and microphones. Then she sent me the party invitation:
Guitars and microphones. Yessssss….
Now how to make the guitars and microphones… Buttercream? Royal icing? Fondant? Try gum paste, said my fellow cake-baker friend, Kathy.
I had never tried gum paste before. It’s like edible play doh. Fun! I do need more practice. And perhaps a bit of formal instruction because I totally winged this and probably did it “formally” wrong… but nevertheless, here are the gum paste microphones. The heads were dyed black and rolled in blue sanding sugar for a sparkly look. I painted the handles with some shimmery, silver, edible dust and carefully placed two pink nonpareils on for buttons. The black cord was a little thread of buttercream piped on.
And the guitars. At first I tried piping milk chocolate guitars onto waxed paper, which worked well but wasn’t the look I was going for. They were delicious (I ate many of them) but too fragile. And I wanted something more colorful.
So I found a guitar candy mold online and taught myself how to use candy melts with the mold. After some experimentation, I figured out how to pour pink sanding sugar into the mold, cover with white candy melts and decorate the guitar with brown candy melted down and piped on. Here’s how they turned out:
Once again, I tried using the food coloring marker on these (like I did with the candy melt on the jack-o-lantern cake pop), but just couldn’t get it to work consistently.. It did work on this one guitar pretty well, as you can see (notice the strings on the guitar – that’s food color marker) but I could only get it to do this on a couple of guitars. Beyond that the marker failed me – the candy built up on it too much and prevented the color from coming out of the marker. I couldn’t correct it no matter how light my touch.
As for the cupcakes, I used Ina Garten’s Double Chocolate Cake recipe, which is absolutely delicious (thanks to my friend Cami for sharing the recipe with me!). The recipe is very similar to the Martha Stewart One Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe I formerly used, but Ina’s recipe contains a cup of coffee in it which really heightens the chocolate flavor. And talk about MOIST – the batter is nearly liquid in form prior to baking, but don’t let this scare you. It turns out a perfectly.
The icing was a basic vanilla confectioner’s sugar icing, made from the sugar, vanilla, milk and butter with a dot of pink food dye added. It tastes good (is actually a bit too sweet, perhaps, which is saying a lot coming from a sweet-aholic like me!) but I’m not crazy about the consistency – it’s like it’s always just one step away from separating, which bugs me. I must experiment here… Perhaps I should try a swiss meringue buttercream next time.
I had tons of fun making these! Happy birthday, Zoe! :-)