I’ve had a set of Russian icing tips for years. They were sitting in a drawer, minding their own business, not harming anyone. What possessed me to grab them to decorate some vanilla cupcakes? I have no idea. All I know is that I managed to produce ONE cupcake. Let’s call him Neo. Never again, my friends. Never again. A few more months of my life expectancy are gone.
NEO CUPCAKE WITH BUTTERCREAM FLOWERS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
1 recipe for yellow cupcakes (for ATK recipe, click here)
1 cup butter, slightly softened (I used Kerrygold)
1 pound icing sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
purple, yellow, and green food gel dye
Russian piping tip
1M piping tip (optional)
Make the cupcakes according to the directions from America’s Test Kitchen recipe. It is a very simple and straightforward method that works great, I highly recommend it.
Make the buttercream: add the butter to the bowl of a KitchenAid type mix, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix for a couple of minutes until the butter is creamy and lighter. Add the salt and vanilla, beat a little more. Turn the mixer off, add the powdered sugar and turn it on the lowest speed.
Once the risk of powdered sugar explosion is over, increase the speed, and beat for a couple of minutes, until very creamy, adding milk just to have the perfect piping consistency.
Separate a small amount (1/4 cup maximum) to dye green to pipe leaves. The rest of the buttercream divide in two, one large portion for purple, one smaller portion for yellow. Fit a large piping bag with the Russian tip of your choice, add the purple icing to the sides of the bag, leaving the center empty. Fill the center with yellow buttercream. Close the bag, pipe small amounts of buttercream on a piece of parchment paper until you are sure the yellow is showing through in the center. Pipe flowers on the surface of the cupcakes.
Add green buttercream to a small piping bag fitted with a leaf tip. Pipe leaves around the flowers.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: Don’t you think that icing tip looks like the most innocent gadget in the universe? If you watch youtube videos teaching the secrets of the Russian tips, they make it all seem like the most peaceful walk on the most beautiful tropical beach. They are not telling you the truth. Not the full truth. I advise you to go for a tip that does not need a clear separation between the two colors. I wanted the yellow to be at the center, and the purple around it, and yes, I managed to do that in this single cupcake.
But as you go along, the colors tend to mix, the buttercream also gets a bit less firm, and instead of keeping open like a flower, the outer edge collapses in, and you are left with an “almost flower” next to a blob of undefined shape, next to another blob of even worse shape, and pathetic color. Accordingly, my reaction went from “ooops” to “what the heck is this?” to words unfit to print.
As I mentioned, I could only pull one cupcake decorated with “the Devil’s tip.” I had to scrape all the blobs, mix the icings together, spoon them in another bag fitted with my trustworthy 1M tip, and call it a day. It’s a good thing I don’t drink, because the tequila bottle winked at me. Twice.
As the road to get to the final icing was quite rocky, I was not too fond of the resulting color. If you mix yellow and purple, you’ll see what I mean (don’t do it). So I air-brushed some with a rose gold dye, and painted edges with gold luster. I am happy with the way they turned out, and for that my husband is elated.
Now, if you like to live dangerously and want to try “the Devil’s tips”, I advise you to pick one that you can use either with a single color or that would work well with a marbled design. You can then add two shades of the same color to the bag, so that mixing during piping won’t be a problem. Thinking back, I think it would be possible to add the yellow color to the center enclosed in a second bag, and spoon the purple around it. I might give it a try, but not in the near future. I need to recover from this adventure first… It’s not as if I am a young puppy with plenty of life expectancy to waste.
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