This first week of ILP learning has been an absolute blast. I wasn’t quite sure about which element of cake decorating I wanted to dive into first, so I just treated this first week as an introduction and allowed myself to explore different areas as well as try out my first baking creation! I began the week searching around the internet and watching countless videos, looking for some direction. In the process, I watched bakers, both pros and amateurs, craft numerous different designs and figures on cookies, cakes, and cupcakes. Following my explorational research, I headed to the local store to buy my beginning supplies. These included one box of confetti cake mix, one container of cream cheese frosting, food coloring, piping bags, and a package of four decorative frosting tips. With these, I decided I would create something that would take my mind somewhere other than the freezing tundra that Chadron, NE had turned into this last week. I was going to make sunflower cupcakes.
I began by mixing the batter and baking 24 individual cupcakes for the directed amount of time. While the cupcakes were baking, I divided the frosting into three separate bowls, coloring each green, orange, or yellow. Then, after letting the cupcakes cool completely (to avoid any of the frosting melting), I frosted the tops in green using just a plain butter knife. This worked alright, but I definitely plan to look into some more efficient frosting tools. Once all of the cupcakes were covered in green frosting, my boyfriend assisted by putting one double-stuffed Oreo in the middle of each cupcake. I followed this by mixing the orange and yellow frostings in a piping bag with the hopes that the colors would blend in some areas and create a mixed color effect on my sunflower petals. When trying to select the right decorating tip and put it together with my bag, I realized that I must have forgotten to buy the fastening piece that screws on to the tip and holds it in place. Nevertheless, I was able to just cut a small opening at the end of the bag and hold the tip in place while I piped the frosting onto the cupcakes. I admit, I had to do a little bit of practicing on a paper plate before I began piping the leaves on the cupcakes and let me assure you, my “leaves” did not look very leaf-ish to start out. With a little practice, they quickly improved and I added the leaves/petals to the cupcakes.
My final product, as pictured above and below, turned out much better than I had originally anticipated. Although I was fairly confident in my ability to make boxed cupcakes and frost a layer of green frosting on them, I was less sure of how the piping of the leaves would go. Making these cupcakes was a ton of fun, but what I enjoyed even more was getting to share them! My boyfriend, roommates, friends, teammates, coaches, and work colleagues all got to test them out and from what I heard, they were a success.
I am thankful for the fairly massive snowstorm that decided to roll through Chadron this last week. It provided some much needed extra time to work on my ILP. While I enjoy a little snow around Christmas time, I am someone who is ready for spring and summer as soon as the new year hits. So while I was surrounded by all of these heaps of snow, I was dreaming about summer and chose sunflower cupcakes as my first creation. I can’t wait to continue learning next week!