In this case, there were no expectations of design on my end- no one telling me specifically what they wanted.....which has it's pros and cons! But, I really had fun with this one, and because I had so many to do, I had the opportunity to make several different designs. I chose these symbols/ characters: key, playing cards, crown, Cheshire cat, tea cups, and the red painted white roses.
Although fondant has never been my favorite medium to work with, (I've never cared for the taste and texture- sorry, but I'm "old school"!), it does make for the perfect "do ahead" decorations, and there's just so much you can do with it! Some of these decorations were easy, and others way more tedious, (such as the "playing cards".) I truly love using the silicone molds because of the detail you can achieve. I also found a tiny rectangle cutter in the clay section as well, that would be perfect for the tiny playing cards. Since I didn't want to do ALL of the decorations in fondant, I decided to hand-pipe the eyes and mouth for the Cheshire cat using colored chocolate wafers. I was very pleased with the end result! These cupcakes were so colorful and fun, and the different decorations and symbols really brought the story to life. The different elements used to decorate these cupcakes could be used for many different themes as well, and could also be used to decorate: cakes, cookies, "pops", etc., as the scale or size can easily be adjusted.
1 box of purchased white fondant ( Or, 1 batch of home made fondant)
wax or parchment paper & sheet trays
black, red, gold, etc. GEL food colors ***DO NOT USE LIQUID!! MUST BE GEL ONLY!
rubber stamp(s) **BRAND NEW!!
luster or pearl dust
fine paint brush ***only used for sugar art!
small rolling pin or dowel pin
white, yellow, and black or dark chocolate wafers
The "Key" & Queen of Heart's "Crown":
I found a silicone mold with both the key and crown shapes in the "clay/ sculpting" isle of my local craft store. It was time-consuming to make from the standpoint that I could only do 1 at a time! Using a pair of food service gloves, (I find this useful as I HATE getting food color all over my hands!), I took some fondant, added some "gold" or "buttercup" gel coloring and mixed it together until it was the color I was looking for. In the silicone mold, I sprinkled just a dusting of powdered sugar to coat the inside so it wouldn't stick. I placed a small amount of fondant in the shape, pressed it down good, and took a butter knife that was also dusted with powdered sugar, and smoothed off the back of the mold- so it was a "clean" shape! (Refer to the pics above if this doesn't make sense!) Carefully remove the shape and place flat on a tray. Just repeat this process until you have the desired number of decorations. Allow them to dry for a day or so on a sheet tray. To finish, I simply took a pain brush, (used ONLY for sugar work), and dusted the top of the keys and crowns with a fine gold luster dust.
Playing Cards: ****WARNING- Very Time Consuming!!
On a clean surface, lightly sprinkle some powdered sugar. Taking a good handful of fondant, place on your surface and begin to roll out- fairly thin. (About 1/8 thick). Using a tiny rectangle cutter, begin to cut out the desired number of shapes. (This part was quick!) Transfer the rectangles to a wax paper or parchment covered sheet tray, and allow to dry over night. When ready to finish, using red or black gel coloring, take a tooth pick, dab the tip into the gel, and begin to draw your design onto each rectangle. You will need to keep dabbing the toothpick into the color fairly frequently! If your toothpick begins to fray or break, just get a new one. (This is a method much like using the feather "pens" of the old days!) Try not to "glob" the gel too thick on there, as it will take a bit longer to dry!
You will need to leave these out to air dry. If you don't, the color will smear, and will be difficult to transfer to your cupcakes when finishing. (It took me about 3 hours to finish 70 cards!!)
Red Painted White Roses:
Using a silicone mold with the rose design of your choice, lightly dust the cavity with powdered sugar, take a small amount of white fondant, and press down into the mold. Using the flat end of a butter knife, scrape over the back of the mold to remove the excess fondant, and slowly remove the shape from the mold, and transfer to a wax paper or parchment lined tray. Repeat this process until the desired number of roses is achieved. Allow these to dry overnight. The next day, (or several hours later), taking a fine paint brush used only for sugar art, dab it into some red gel coloring, and randomly spot the roses with the color. Again, be careful not to "glob" on any of the gel coloring- as it will take much longer for them to dry! ***Even after setting out to dry for a few hours, they still may be tacky, so make sure not to ever stack them on top of each other! Use layers of wax paper in between if you need to stack for storing purposes.
Fondant "Stamping"- tea cups:
This was a really fun decoration to make! I was incredibly happy with the result, as the detail was impressive, even though much like paper stamping, not all of the stamps turned out successfully.
Roll out some fondant onto a clean, and lightly dusted surface with powdered sugar, until it's about 1/8- 1/4in. in thickness. Taking a fluted or shaped small cutter, (round, square, etc.), cut the desired number of shapes you wish to use for stamping. Transfer the cut outs to a wax paper or parchment lined tray, and allow to dry overnight, or for several hours. When ready to finish, take a small amount of black gel food color and spread it on a paper plate. (You don't want a big "glob" of this, as it will make it difficult to put the color evenly on the stamp!) You can either brush the color on, (which will be time consuming), or simply place the stamp onto the color, and test on a paper plate prior to your fondant cut outs. Simply begin to stamp the design on each cut out, and place more color on as needed. Make sure to use a brand new rubber stamp! **Don't ever use a rubber stamp that has had regular ink on it- as you don't want to get anyone sick!
Cheshire Cat "faces":
For this decoration, I used the Wilton candy wafers in: brilliant white, yellow, and black. (I only used about 1/4- 1/2 bag of each color to make 3 dozen faces for the mini size cupcakes. Using a mini cupcake liner to guage the size needed, draw the round shape onto a piece of wax or parchment paper.
For the eyes: Melt in the microwave or double boiler about 1/2 cup of the yellow wafers, and temper. Using a small pastry bag, pipe out simple dots of the yellow chocolate onto a wax or parchment lined tray. Melt about 1/2- 3/4 cup of black wafers. Place the chocolate in a small pastry bag, snip off a small opening, and pipe the black dot onto each yellow one. (Refer to the pic above for reference.)
For the large "smiles": Using the same black pastry bag for finishing the eyes, begin to pipe the outline of the smiles- trying to make sure they are all similar in size, but don't have to be EXACTLY the same! When you achieved the desired number, (making sure to have piped "extras" in case of breakage), melt some white wafers using the microwave or double boiler. Place the melted chocolate in a pastry bag- snipping off a fairly small opening at the bottom, and carefully pipe the chocolate beginning at the left- and moving across in an "up and down" motion to achieve the "teeth". (Again, if this seems confusing, refer to the pic above in the slide show for reference!)
Allow the chocolate to set up at room temp., or place in the refrigerator if necessary as well. Simply transfer a set of eyes, and "smile" to each cupcake to finish.