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Baby Steps to Amazing Cakes: Distractibility Cupcakes

Whitney M.

I've had cupcakes on the brain. It's my Cake of the Month challenge, after all; but why? What's the point of practicing your cake-decorating skills on cupcakes when you could make one big cake and have a large surface to play with? Why, I'm glad you asked.

Cupcakes have an advantage for the budding cake-decorator: there are so many of them! You're literally decorating a dozen or more different, small cakes, and they don't have to be alike at all. Maybe you want to try classic buttercream roses, two-dimensional cartoon animals, shaped fondant zombies, and marshmallow chrysanthemums, but you only want to bake one cake? No problem! Separate the batter into cupcakes and you can try each one of those themes and then some.

(I do realize that you can practice all of these techniques on wax paper without actually making a cake, but come on. Do you really want to go to all that trouble for something you won't get to eat when you're done? Win or lose, when you're done decorating a real cake, you get to eat cake.)

So, with that in mind, I'm making a list of ideas I'd like to try. If you're following along with the COTM challenge, I recommend you make a list of your own; what do you want to try? What creative cake ideas would you like to make someday? Oh, and please do share in the comments section if you're so inclined; I'd love to know what you're planning to learn!

Here's the beginning of my list:

  • master making solid chocolate shapes (I will NOT be defeated by two broken butterflies)
  • how to color white chocolate properly
  • simple twisted flowers
  • pie cupcakes with m&m's
  • must experiment with cake pops
  • try high-ratio shortening in buttercream to see if it makes a difference

...and the list keeps growing. So tell me: what would you like to play with, learn, or make?

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