Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gender Reveal Cupcakes

What are gender reveal cupcakes you ask? They are cupcakes with a colored filling, pink or blue, to represent the sex of a baby. Parents to be are coming up with fun ways to find out and share the news with friends and family these days.

When my good friend asked me if I would make theirs, I swear I jumped out of my chair in sheer excitement. I am beyond humbled to be apart of such an amazing moment in their lives.

Other than the following guidelines, I had free creative range:
  • Chocolate
  • Think outside the box
  • Something that nods to their purpose
To say that I was obsessed with the design, both visually and mechanically, is the understatement of the year. It was all I thought about for weeks!

The exterior of the cupcake was pretty simple once I found something that inspired me. Thank you Martha Stewart! The mechanics of how to reveal the gender took a lot longer to engineer. Honestly, it was a true feat of engineering.

After reading this post about gender reveal cupcakes , I decided to forgo the frosting filling. It would have been easy, but I was afraid that either the parents-to-be or the grandparents-to-be would get ansy and try to find out without eating the cupcake. I wanted a fail proof cupcake. One where poking the center of the cupcake with a toothpick would do you no good. One where you could not see if you licked the frosting off. Or one where the surprise would be ruined once you removed the cupcake wrapper. I wanted to make a cupcake that you HAD to bite into. No other way around it.

It's a BOY!!!!

You see that blue part? It isn't frosting. It's cake! Blue tinted cake. Keep reading and I'll step you through how I did it.

First, I want to tell you about the baby elephant candy garnish. As I mentioned, the elephant is based on a craft punch. How cute and fitting would it be for the elephant to be holding a ball with a question mark in it as a nod to the big reveal? The garnish was made in steps similar to the candy logos I've made in the past.
  • Step one, print mutliple reversed images on a page and cover with a sheet of wax paper.
  • Step 2, trace out the eye and ears
  • Step 3, trace out the question mark and fill in elephant
  • Step 4, fill in the ball
Handmade candy garnish.
Yellow and grey are not only gender neutral, but also the couple's wedding colors!

The grey color was achieved by mixing pink, orange, blue, and light green candy melts with Wilton icing color in black. The speckled spots you see are a result of my color being a bit dried out. I think it worked out perfectly.

I wished I would have made the yellow balls just a touch bigger to give me more room to properly form the question marks. Some didn't turn out all that well. In fact, when I gave away the rejects at work, one person asked me "Who turned 7?"

Now, onto the cake! I had seen a photo of a heart baked into the center of a cupcake buzzing around the Pinterest boards and decided to give the idea a try. The quick and dirty behind it is that you bake half your cake batter, let it cool, and then cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Then you take the shape and place raw batter around it and rebake it.

Trying to color chocolate cake is not going to work all that well. So I switched to tinting a vanilla cake. Unfortunately, I did not listen to my gut, and went with a yellow vanilla cake. I don't have pictures to show you, but the cake came out a deep shade of turquoise. Not exactly what I had in mind. Good thing I had extra time to retry with a white cake. Whew, thank goodness round 2 worked like a charm. Once the blue cake had cooled and hardened sufficiently (freezer method), I started cutting out shapes with fondant cutters. 

If you notice in the reveal photo, there is chocolate cake in the middle of the blue. I wanted it to be more than just a cork of blue in the middle of the cupcake, so I hollowed out the center of the shape with different cutter. In order to be sure that the blue would be completely engulfed by the chocolate, they had to be cut down a touch.

If you do this, the cake will need to go in and out of the freezer. It is way easier to cut shapes out of frozen cake. Unless of course you are using a super dense cake.

So everything that I have described thus far, has been the easy part, believe it or not. Trying to get the cupcake centers took a couple of tries. Good thing I worked in small batches.  
  • Try 1 - I placed the center into some batter in hopes that the cupcake would engulf it as it baked. FAIL.
  • Try 2 - I placed the centeter into the batter and drizzed a little bit of batter over it to try and keep it down. FAIL.
  • Try 3 - Bake chocolate batter 1/2 way and then place blue centers in before baking the rest of the way. This was getting there. I used 2 chopsticks to push them into place.
  • Try 4 - Bake chocolate batter 2/3 of the way then place blue centers in. Closer, except the chocolate part was too set up before introducing the centers.
  • Try 5 - Bake chocolate cake 1/2, submerge the centers, and then finish baking. Whoohoo, success. Although I wished the tops were a little bit smoother.
  • Try 6 - Repeat try 5 only working quicker to submerge the centers.
Again, if you try this, keep the centers in the freezer until just before you have to bake them. This will make them easier to handle and will also keep them from absorbing the cake batter.

1 comment:

  1. I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST READ THIS ENTIRE POST ALL THE WAY THROUGH FOR THE FIRST TIME. Holy crap! I had no idea how much effort (though I should've known) went into this! You are seriously a hero (and a wizard). Amazing!!