Saturday, 22 September 2012

Rainbow Themed Vanilla Cupcakes

Well I have not written a blog in a looooong time. November in fact, bad me!

I wanted to do a little one about these rainbow themed cupcakes, as its something a little different. I was actually quite apprehensive about making these even though the idea seemed relatively simple. I think it’s because so far I haven’t actually decorated a cupcake in this way, just the usual buttercream and a few sprinkles or such like. But I wanted to give them a go for my Daughter's 2nd birthday party, rather than a normal large birthday cake. Truth be told I really couldn't think of anything to make in that form. Think i set the bar too high with last year's princess castle cake!

The cupcake flavour stayed as a plain vanilla, I didn’t want to pick anything more adventurous and get tied up making them with a potentially long decorating stent in front of me. I have to say that I think this was the smoothest batter i have ever made. No idea why i came out so perfect but things just seemed to click for that. The same can't be said for the vanilla buttercream icing though..

Started out fine with the usual cloud of icing sugar engulfing the kitchen as I measured it out. Now don't get me wrong, I love to bake but i HATE using icing sugar. Softened the butter in the microwave, which is a usual for me as i never take it out early enough to get to room temperature, and I think this was my downfall. Must have put it on for too long as when i mixed it in with the icing sugar, it became quite lumpy and almost dough like. I did panic a little at this point, as I didn't have the ingredients, time nor will to remake it, so i ploughed on and added the milk and vanilla essence anyways and hoped it would turn out okay. And it did thankfully, phew!

Although a little lumpy, I scooped out roughly half the buttercream into a separate bowl and added the blue food colouring, to use this as the base coat of my masterpiece, as it were. I was hoping to get a darker shade of blue but could see straight off this wasn't going to happen and, as every good baker knows, you can't add too much food colouring to icing any way. the cupcakes had all baked well but domed in the middle slightly. Usually i just ice over this with the thick slavering but I needed these to be flat so the clouds and rainbow would take centre stage, so just trimmed the bulge off the tops. Nice little cake break for me then too.

The icing with the blue vanilla buttercream didn't take very long, it’s much easier to do when the cupcake surface is flat, so that out of the way I set about filling my silicone piping bag ready to do the clouds. I debated for ages over which size round nozzle to use and settled on the smaller of the two, in the thought that if it’s not enough i can add more and less likely i squeeze too much out like a volcano and mess it all up. Once i started on the clouds, piping two, directly opposite each other, I realised it wasn't going to be such a daunting task as i imagined. Was building things up to be harder than they were down to the fact I haven't done anything other than badly piped swirls on the top of a cake before, and nothing this small either.

The rainbow itself is a cheat. Just one of those flat fizzy sugary sweets bought from my local sweet shop. The original idea was from a cupcake decorating book and their version was to use chew sweets such as starburst, roll them out, cut into strips, stick them together and then shape into an arch. You can see why i opted for the ready bought version now! So these were simply just cut and stood into the white just iced cloud to create the cupcake you see now. Ta Da!

But that’s not all...Having completed my task and feeling rather pleased as punch with myself ( I think the words "Yeah I'm awesome" were uttered) I then proceeded to knock an open bottle of food colouring all over my toaster! Not so awesome now are we!

Mess cleaned the cupcakes went into two tupper ware boxes, so not to crowd them and risk damaging my lovely design, overnight and that was that. When I came down this morning I noticed all the rainbow arches had collapsed and looked ruined. Opening the boxes I realised whilst keeping the cakes nice and moist they had warmed the sweet and caused it to become sticky and not ideal. Quick thinking reasoned to leave them til nearer the party and just swap the sagging arch for a stiffer new one. This worried me in case the slightly hardened icing cracked too much but overall it was relatively easy to replace the rainbows. This time however they did not go back into tupper ware, lesson learnt.

They went down a treat at the party, some kids (and grown ups) couldn't wait until the traditional blowing out of the birthday candles to dig in. Would recommend anyone to give these a go as they are such an eye pleaser with fairly minimum effort. Pleased I decided on cupcakes rather than a large birthday cake, less leftovers and temptation too..and as I say that and finish this blog, I am about to tuck into one said cupcake with a cuppa...whoops!


  1. These are super cute Steph, and happy 2nd birthday to your sweetheart. What are the actual sweets called please? I've heard of people using them, but never found them sold here in Scotland...

  2. They are called rainbow strips. They have them on and they delivery nationwide. Have all sorts of old school sweets and good price. You going to give them a go then? They were so simple but looked great! x