While there is nothing more uncomplicated than a cupcake with a dollop of airy, sweet, frosting swirled on top, sometimes these individual little cake treats need a little dressing up. Everyone needs their night to shine. Aside from the fact that homemade marshmallow fondant is delectable, these creations can be the perfect way to uniquely accessorize your small works of art.
I was recently tasked (I volunteered with a giant smile) with making the cupcakes for my niece’s sweet sixteen party. Family, the big sweet sixteen, requested Louboutin shoe theme…no pressure, right?! These are the kinds of projects I love. My brain immediately starts to whirl with ideas and I immediately scoured the internet for “how to’s” hoping to make sure these turned out perfectly for her big evening. 4 nights and many, many instances of “ugh, that didn’t work at all” (the “ugh” quickly progressed into stronger words as the hours ticked on), I wasn’t sure these would turn out. A little dedication, additional internet research and more patience than I typically have in any other aspect of my life, they worked. Sadly, the picture does not do them justice… they were vibrant, unique and incredibly sparkly under the NYC lights. much like the birthday girl herself 🙂
- I assume you have already made the marshmallow fondant. If not, go back to start.
- Cover your workspace and hands in Crisco (or any other shortening)
- Dust your workspace with confectioner’s sugar and proceed to knead the fondant until it is back in roll-out texture (think play dough)
- Once rolled out, use a cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape of your topper base. *Dip the cookie cutter in powdered sugar before each cut – they are sticky.
- Place cut outs on parchment paper dusted with confectioner’s sugar and place in a cool, dry place for at least 48 hours to dry. *They will not dry out, but will firm up a bit.
- Remember… DO NOT place these in a covered container and DO NOT place these in the refrigerator. They are happiest in an uncovered container placed in a cool/dry place. Introverted little things, aren’t they?
- After completing the bases, I rolled out additional fondant (portion without food coloring because I wanted white) and followed the same steps above, yet used mini number cookie cutters.
- Once cut out, I dusted the tops with a pearl luster dust using a dry paint brush. There is no need to wet the tops – the dust sticks right to the fondant. You can find a variety of luster dusts online or in your local crafting store.
- By painting a dab of water on the back of each number, I affixed them to the topper bases (once the bases were dry) and set them back in their comfy cool dry place.
For these, I used a chocolate mold to complete the shoes. This was the first time I have ever used chocolate molds and they are beyond easy.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power level.
- Stir and continue to microwave at the same 50% power level in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring in between.
- Using a disposable piping bag (or ziplock bag with a corner snipped off) fill the molds.
- Gently drop the mold onto the counter a few times to allow any air bubbles in the molds to rise up and out of the chocolate.
- Place in refrigerator or freezer until set (15 minutes or so) then gently remove the chocolates from the molds.
- Set them aside to allow them to thoroughly return to room temperature.
- Store at room temperature.
One of those huge “omg, this is never going to work” moments arose from the red soles. Considering my niece requested Louboutin shoes, the soles were everything. I tried a variety of different methods, none of which worked…
List of Fails:
- Painting red chocolate on the white chocolate (solidified when painting on, looked matte and gloppy…gross).
- Painting the inside of the chocolate mold with red soles, then filling with white chocolate (too difficult to get clean lines and the white chocolate showed right through)….
- Painting food gel directly onto the chocolate shoe (*significant lesson: chocolate is oil based. most food colorings are water based. kindergarten lesson 101: oil and water do not mix… or stick together for that matter!)
- Painting red royal icing on the sole (again, wouldn’t stick to an oil based medium)
What did work? My brilliant consultant to everything in the world (he shall go unnamed), picked up a box of prepared cookie icing at the supermarket “just in case.” At first I immediately dismissed the idea… yet my desperate times called for desperate measures and viola – IT WORKED. The perfect red and smoothed out on it’s own once applied. Just let it dry and problem solved.
Again… I am unashamed to publish my list of fails on this one:
- Painting melted chocolate on top of the shoe chocolate (melted the underlying shoe and went on in a very sloppy manner… very unpolished looking)
- Painting a dab of corn syrup on top (i’m guessing corn syrup is water based? streaked and blotched up the second I applied it. the water & oil laws of science were not working in my favor at all)
- Painting the glitter on directly (wouldn’t stick)
What did work? Applause to internet forum reading. Clear alcohol. I used vodka but any clear alcohol apparently works. Mix a bit with the glitter, paint on and allow the alcohol to evaporate. The glitter will stick and your decor will sparkle!
Once dry, I put a drop of corn syrup on the back and placed the shoe directly onto the base.
By the end, I looked like a walking disco ball… but they twinkled like no other and that is all that mattered.
I was finally past the difficult part and ready to write. The writing is nothing more than a simple royal icing.
- a Number 2 piping tip (couldn’t find a number 1 and it was perfect)
- gel food coloring
- a steady hand.
- Allow writing to completely dry overnight.
AND, that was it! I placed the toppers onto the freshly iced cupcakes right before our trip to NYC. Transported them in an uncovered container and prayed my niece liked them! I think they worked out just fine 😉