Last week, I posted about some Oreo cupcakes that I had made for my friend, Roxana. Roxana really loved the cupcakes and had told one of her friends, Cristina, about them. Last night, Cristina threw a birthday party for one of her friends and asked me to make the cupcakes for the party. Of course, I agreed, but there is always a challenge - the birthday girl loves her little dog, Nana-chan, and so the cupcakes were to be Nana-chan inspired. Roxana had suggested I do just a swirl and then add a pink ribbon of sorts, but after seeing a photo of Nana-chan, I had other ideas in mind.
I wanted to make the cupcakes look like little Nana-chan. Nana-chan always has something pink in her hair (?) (on her ear?), so on Tuesday morning, I started with that. I piped out about a million little dots, bows, flowers and a few last-minute tongues to decorate with. It took a bit of time, but they totally made the cupcake, in my opinion. I started with some stiff royal icing and a small piping tip.
For the bows, I piped two small circles across from one another and then used a toothpick to drag the inside edge of each circle in a bit to make them touch. Once they were fairly dried, I added a tiny dot in a different color for the middle.
I also wanted some flowers. I used a similar technique, but instead of two dots, I piped five. Then I used the toothpick to bring them all in to the center a bit. As with the bows, once they were pretty dried, I used a purple-ish color to add a dot in the center of the flower.
Royal icing transfers can be a tad tricky, since they tend to break really easily. As a result, I made a ton of these little bows, flowers and dots and hoped that enough of them would stay intact. The fact that I made them so super tiny meant that it took ages to pipe out all of those little dots and then drag in the edges. But as above, it was so worth it!
On Wednesday, I got working on the cupcake. I had just recieved a beautiful Easter package from one of my best friends from home (thanks, Julia!!) and these cupcake wrappers were included. I adore printed wrappers, but especially with chocolate batter, they tend to bleed through the wrapper making the finished product not nearly as cute. These, however, were foil lined and kept the outside beautiful and vibrant. I am in love!
I mixed up the same chocolate cupcake batter as the last time. I don't remember if I had mentioned it, but I halved the recipe. With the addition of about 9 crushed up Oreos, I ended up with 18 perfectly sized cupcakes.
I knew I was going to put the cupcakes into a little stand that one of my good friends here gave me (thanks, Hitomi-san!), but the cupcake holders are a bit close together, so I wanted to make sure that the cupcake didn't go over the actual wrapper. I was careful to leave a good amount of space at the top for them to rise.
All 18 of them ended baking up just beautifully!
A few went over the top just a teeny tiny bit, but it was completely fine. Yay!
Finally, on Thursday morning, K and I made the frosting. Since the cookies were to be the same color as Nana-chan, I couldn't add in any Oreos or the frosting would turn grayish. I still used the same cream cheese frosting as last time, but omitted the Oreos. As it turns out, the frosting kind of needs the Oreos to hold it together a bit. It ended up being really soft and not too conducive to piping. I had to keep putting it into the refrigerator to cool it off and make it pipe-able again. If I ever need to do this again, I will either add more powdered sugar or look for a new recipe.
Once the frosting was made and K was napping, I got to the decorating. It wasn't difficult at all, but it was a tad on the time consuming side. First I started with a plain cupcake.
Then using a #16 tip, starting near the middle I piped about 8-10 little lines from close to the center out.
Starting in roughly the same center part, fill in the empty triangle spaces. Just so that it is obvious, I started doing the cupcakes by just piping from the center out in a bit circle, but I found the finished product looks much cuter if you do the first step as above. The photo below is from one of the early versions, so it looks a bit messy.
Then, start in the actual center and pipe a few lines from the center out covering the whole top.
Starting again in the center, make the nose/snout area. From the center of the cupcake, pipe a line going down and to the left, then one down and to the right. It almost looks like an 'm' at that point. Then pipe a few more, I usually did four, to fill in the space in the 'm'.
Finally, pipe the ears. I did three lines from the top on either side, using the same 'm' curve as above.
Where the ears start, add an M&M to make the eyes. Make sure you place the marked side face down.
Add in another M&M for the nose. I put this one in perpendicular to the cupcake so that the nose and eyes weren't the exact same size. (I had to sift through 5 bags of M&Ms to get enough brown ones. The good bit is that we now have a whole container of only the cute colored M&Ms to snack from!)
Then if you want you can add in a little tongue. I think the tongue looks adorable, but when I was piping out the decorations, I didn't think I'd like it, so I only made a few.
And since it is Nana-chan, she needed a little flower or bow in her hair.
I packaged them up and we were ready for the party!
I only took 13 to the party, however, since that is all that would fit into the stand. The other five were for K, Y and I! Since I didn't have any leftover tongues, but really liked them, I used a red M&M instead. I don't think they look nearly as cute, but it works.
Before the party, I fed K his dinner and gave him a cupcake for dessert. He made me hold it so his precious hands wouldn't get messy - gaaa! I spoil this kid. Then he proceeded to just wipe the frosting off with his fingers and eat it. He took one bite of the cake, but was quickly over it.
K had a ball at the party. There were about 8 women, all around my age (Roxana is the only other one to have kids and hers are much older) and three dogs for him to play with. He could have stayed all night, but I forced him to go home a few hours past his bedtime. I totally thought we would leave around 9 (already past his 8/8:30 bedtime), but he never got tired or restless and I completely lost track of the time.
He played with dogs, buried himself in the dog toys, got dragged around the house in a box and went from person to person at the party playing, dancing and taking photos with them. As the only kid at the party, he was quite the star.
We both had such a fun time, it really was sad to leave. But alas, we need our beauty rest!