Last week I tried the technique known as brush embroidery for the first time and told you all how easy it is. For Easter weekend, my seven-year-old daughter and I made some cupcakes using the same technique and she’d like you all to know that “brush embroidery is super-easy and fun!”
I started with a Betty Crocker French Vanilla box mix (my usual go-to for fast, easy cakes) with, as usual, an extra blort of artificial vanilla added (and by “blort” I mean I pour some in, probably about 2 tablespoons). I also threw in a couple of handfuls of mini chocolate chips for obvious reasons of comfort and joy. I then split some of the batter into separate bowls and added some Easter-ish colours. I do this with orange and black for Halloween too; it’s always a hit.
Next I spooned the various colours into paper cups randomly. These happen to be particularly pretty cups. I’m usually frugal about bulk ordering 1000 packs of plain white cups, or using my silicone washable ones at home, but Peo and I each got a pack of designer cups in our goodie bags from the Austin cake show (yes, that’s right, when you compete you get a goodie bag so be sure to enter next year!) and she decided she wanted to use some of hers.
Baked at 350 for 20 minutes, and voila!
We decided we wanted to play with a cool brush embroidery effect I’d seen in various places online, especially here, where different colours of royal icing are used against a chocolate background. Plus, I happened to have some leftover Satin Ice Dark Chocolate fondant from volunteering at the kids’ table at the cake show, and it’s insanely delicious. I’m no fan of fondant in general for eating, but this dark chocolate stuff is heavenly. Full disclosure: although I did get it as a free leftover from the show and Satin Ice donated it to the show, Satin Ice hasn’t directly given me anything to say that. I genuinely adore this stuff and highly recommend it.
I helped Peo put down some powdered sugar on a board:
Then I had her knead a small ball of the chocolate fondant to warm it up:
After we rolled it out, we cut circles and painted water on the undersides so they’d stick to the cupcakes.
Then I showed Peo how to hold the wet circle carefully in one and and sort of roll the cupcake top against it to mount it on smoothly:
Whenever Peo had too much powdered sugar on the tops of her cupcakes, I had her use a damp pastry brush to wash it away. This was less about aesthetics than concern that the royal icing wouldn’t stick well to the powdered sugar.
Then we began with the actual brush embroidery! Here Peo applies some pink royal icing with a #2 tip to her cupcake in a wiggly line:
Meanwhile, I worked in yellow with a #1 tip, which is really too small but I don’t have two #2 tips. To compensate, I later started adding a second layer with each piping, but for this one I just went with a single line to see how it would look.
Then we just kept going through the cupcakes, trying various colour combinations and techniques. We’d agreed earlier that since she never gets around to eating very much Easter candy it goes to waste, so this year we decided to put Lego in her plastic Easter eggs for the hunt instead and focused on these homemade goodies as an alternative to candy.
And when we were done, the next fun part began:
Here’s a finished tray. You can easily see that although Peo didn’t do standard flower shapes, she had no problem with the technique. We both hope this encourages everyone to give it a try. And remember what to do if you don’t like your results…EAT THE EVIDENCE NOM NOM NOM!
Here’s one cut in half so you can see the coloured pattern from the side:
And here are some close-ups of some of the cupcakes:
There you have it. Hope you had a happy Easter if you’re into that holiday, and let this inspire you to try out this easy and effective technique sometime on your own.