A great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person

I’m been wracking my brains thinking of Christmas gifts that might appeal to that hard-to-buy-for person, or the person who has everything, for the fussy person and the ones who just don’t know what they want (let’s face it, we all have at least one of these types on our lists).  The last thing you want to get them is something that they will stuff in a drawer, or worse, re-gift to you next year.  So my suggestion is this – cupcake toppers that you add to your own cakes!

Wait, hear me out.  Who could refuse some delicious cakes – perhaps they’re shop bought or you’ve made them yourself with some help from the kids – topped with luscious buttercream and some WOW cupcake toppers.  Your cupcakes will be beautiful to look at, yummy to eat AND no need to find space for extra stuff.  Plus they will be handmade which will make them just that little bit more special.

Here are some lovely designs for you to consider.  Teachers, dads and granddads would love cupcakes decorated with these cheery Santa and reindeer toppers.

Cupcake toppers - Santa, presents and Rudolf

Cupcake toppers – Santa, presents and Rudolf

Friends who like all the trimmings would delight in these cute pudding and robin toppers (just so you know, the pudding and robin are made from chocolate flavoured fondant for extra tastiness).

Cupcake toppers - Christmas pudding, trees and robin

Cupcake toppers – Christmas pudding, trees and robin

Or what about these adorable snowman and polar bear toppers?  They would certainly put a smile on someone’s face.

Cupcake toppers - snowman, snowflakes and polar bear

Cupcake toppers – snowman, snowflakes and polar bear

The ones I like best however are these ones, which will look like a little painting when presented in a cupcake box.  First up, a scottie dog playing in the snow with a snowman.  How cute is that?

Cupcake toppers - snowman and scottie dog

Cupcake toppers – snowman and scottie dog

Scottie dog again, this time posting a letter to Santa.  I hope Santa gets it in time.

Cupcake toppers - letter box and scottie dog

Cupcake toppers – letter box and scottie dog

And my favourite – bright lights welcoming you home on a dark, snowy evening.

Cupcake toppers - snow scene

Cupcake toppers – silent night

All these designs will be available at my table top stall at the Frost Fair in Thame (it’s on 1 December between 8pm and 10pm at the John Hampden School if you are in the area).   And if you’d like something custom-made to reflect the interests of a special someone, then do contact me.  I look forward to seeing you at the Frost Fair!

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more of my lovely makes.

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Swiss meringue buttercream flowers

Back in February I was at Faircake for their Buttercream Flowers Cake class learning how to make piped flower decorations using swiss meringue buttercream.    The class, which is jam-packed with content, includes how to make a variety of large flowers, succulents, leaves and smaller filler flowers.

Swiss meringue buttercream is light, not too sweet, has a lovely velvety smooth texture and is so irresistibly delicious.  Although not difficult to make, this buttercream is tricky to work with as it melts easily and is certainly not recommended for hot summer days.

Here are some of the pretty flower designs that can be achieved.  All these were made using a Wilton 104 nozzle, centres were piped using a Wilton No. 2 nozzle and leaves with a Wilton 352 nozzle.  Enjoy!

First up, everyone’s favourite – a large rose

Swiss meringue buttercream rose

Swiss meringue buttercream rose

Next a pretty open rose

Swiss meringue buttercream open rose

Swiss meringue buttercream open rose

And finally spring-time cherry blossom.

Swiss meringue buttercream cherry blossom

Swiss meringue buttercream cherry blossom

A feast for the eyes and delicious too.

Russian flower nozzles

Last week I bought a set of these instant flower nozzles from Iced Jems.   A friend mentioned them to me  (thanks, Hot Chop Threads!) and as soon as I saw them, they jumped to the top of my ‘must -have-list’.

Russian piping tips

Russian flower nozzles

Often the nozzles are mentioned elsewhere as Russian flower nozzles (because they come from Moscow, apparently) and this set from Iced Jems is a selection of the many Russian flower nozzle designs available.   These seven nozzles provide a good selection and I am not sure that you would miss the others as they are really a variation on a theme.

The nozzles promise the ability to quickly pipe intricate buttercream flowers on your cupcakes.  Could it really be so easy?   Only one way to find out – bake some cakes, make some buttercream (I used American buttercream here) and get piping!

My set includes two rose bud nozzles  – this one and the other similar nozzle that produces finer petals.

Russian piping tip - rose bud

Russian flower nozzle – rose bud

The other five nozzles in the set produce variations of tulip flowers like these.  Don’t you love those little stamens?

Russian piping tip - tulip

Russian flower nozzle – tulip

So what did I think?

Well, I love the nozzles and they quickly turn any cupcake into a beautiful posy of flowers.    More creative effects are possible by adding piped leaves, using multiple colours of buttercream in the piping bag to give a striped effect, or using the rose bud nozzle as the starter for a larger rose.  Something for me to try on another day.

I did find the nozzles took a bit of practice to get the flowers to form properly without sections breaking or worse, not adhering to the cupcake at all, or looking more like a blob than a flower.

To get the flowers to stick to the cupcake, I found that it helped if I spread a little fresh buttercream on the cupcake just before piping so the flower had something to stick to.   And wiping the nozzle tip between each flower helped ensure each flower piped cleanly.   The consistency of the buttercream was absolutely critical to success.  It has to be fairly stiff to form the intricate flower.  Once the buttercream warmed up from the heat of hands, I found I piped blobs rather than flowers.  Easily fixed by popping the piping bag in the fridge for a minute or two to cool down.  Timing was important here as you can’t let the buttercream get too hard.

Now off to make more buttercream and give those other nozzles a try.

How to make a tiara cupcake topper

For a recent cake order, I was asked to include a tiara as one of the cupcake toppers. I did not have a specific mould or cutter for a tiara and no time to order one. What to do? Thankfully necessity is the mother of invention so time to get a bit creative with my existing cutters.

 

Here is my tiara topper, complete with a sparkly ruby heart jewel.

 

Tiara cupcake topper, tiara cupcake decoration

Tiara cupcake topper

And this is how I made it for anyone else who might like to make one too.

 

What you’ll need:

 

Tiara cupcake decoration materials

Tiara cupcake topper materials

I used florist paste to make my tiara however fondant mixed with a bit of tylose or gum trag would also work. Roll the paste until it is 2-3 mm thick. Don’t roll it too thin or the tiara won’t stand up.

 

Tiara cupcake decoration method

Tiara cupcake topper method

Use a frangipani cutter to cut out the main tiara shape (I love it when cutters are multi functional). Then use a small heart cutter to cut a heart shape on each side of the tiara. Use a small oval cutter to cut an oval in the centre.  The heart cutter I used was 1.5 cm at its widest point and the oval cutter was 1.3cm long.

 

Now it looks like a tiara. Stand it up, curve it into shape and leave to dry.  When it is dry, paint it with edible metallic paint or dust with metallic lustre dust.

 

To make the jewel, colour a small piece of paste dark red. Roll it out about 1mm thick and cut out a heart using a tiny heart cutter. Paint with edible glue and shake over edible glitter. Glue it onto your tiara. Ta-dah! You now have a headdress fit for any princess.