Brakes Catering Equipment heard about my current craze for cupcake wizardry and sent me one of their complete piping nozzle sets to try out in the run up to Christmas. A complete set of piping nozzles is something that any cake decorator hankers after because it will give you a wide range of shapes of nozzle along with several different sizes of each shape.
Lara had been pestering me for weeks to make some Christmas Tree cupcakes - what better way to try out the new plastic piping nozzles? Dr. Oetker also sent the girls a big parcel of festive baking products such as baking powder and lots of Christmassy sprinkles and decorations. The Dr. Oetker website and facebook page has some great Christmas recipe inspiration (I can't wait to try Christmas Sparkle Cakes with the girls this coming weekend)
I used a very basic vanilla cupcake recipe (2 eggs, baking powder and 4 ounces each of flour, caster sugar and butter). Once cooled, I went wild with the icing.
I used a vibrant green food colouring with a buttercream icing (made up to the instructions on the packet of icing sugar). I put the buttercream into a disposable icing bag with the new nozzle head which allowed me to first screw on a large star nozzle and pipe a basic whirl of icing to get the height of the tree.
Then I swapped the nozzle for a medium-sized star nozzle to pipe the individual bushy branches of the tree. I experimented with a few different styles but this is the one that worked best for me.
I let the girls decorate a few of the Christmas trees with Dr. Oetker Chocolate Beans for the baubles and brightly coloured Dr. Oetker Shimmer Sugar for the lights on the trees. I used some tiny white stars that I had bought for our Christmas Cake design to put on the top of the trees. The girls may have overdone their decorations just a little! Mine were a lot more refined!
I'm really enjoying my cupcake creation right now and pounce on every opportunity to try something a little different. My latest source of inspiration is this fun book - Make, Bake, Cupcake - by Parragon as part of their Love Food range. I have a few cupcake recipe books but this is something altogether different; the recipes are all things I wouldn't have thought to try and yet the results look stunning; all of the photography in the book makes me want to go and bake cakes right NOW!
Make, Bake, Cupcake! features a whole chapter of cupcakes based on cocktails and mocktails - white russian cupcake anyone? It also has chapters on strong flavours, hidden surprises (inside the cakes) and also scary and cute designs such as brain cupcakes and octopus cupcakes. One of my favourite ideas to try out is a cupcake with a chocolate-coated meringue on top instead of buttercream - I HAVE to try this.
I think that Make, Bake, Cupcake! would make an awesome Christmas gift for any budding baker like me.