The world’s obsession with a delightfully small and personal-sized cake dates far back in history. In fact, long before Eliza Leslie wrote her popular cookbooks and etiquette books and coined the phrase cupcake, royalty was eating their own small cakes made just for them.
Now is there a child alive, or an adult too, for that matter, who doesn’t delight at the possibility of eating a special cupcake? Cupcake decorating has taken on a sort of cult-like significance, with cupcakes getting more ornate and unique over time. But is there anything wrong with a cupcake simply wearing a little smear of frosting on top? No way!
At the same time, there are some fun cupcake trends worth considering the next time you indulge in a batch of cupcakes. From cupcake toppings to cupcake display ideas, read on to learn all about the latest trends in cupcake decorating.
Painting With Buttercream
Buttercream certainly isn’t new to the cupcake scene. In fact, it’s practically a staple to make a fabulous cupcake.
What’s new and exciting for the cupcake and the buttercream is using it to paint on the cupcake. Treat the buttercream like an artist treat’s paint. Mix colors to create a new palette. Bright daffodil yellow is hot this season.
Then take your palette of buttercream and like an artist use it to paint on your cupcakes. This allows you to create unique sculptured designs or water color effects on your cupcakes, both which are exciting in cupcake design.
Frosting That Isn’t Frosting
The cupcake purist might suggest and question if a cupcake is even a cupcake without a big mound of frosting atop it. But a new trend in cupcakes might be using some nontradional cupcake toppings to stand in for frosting.
Sure it can be time consuming to mix and frost cupcakes. Why not try marshmallows instead. S’mores cupcakes aren’t really new. But for the last minute or two when you’re baking a batch of chocolate cupcakes, how about if you place a big square marshmallow on the cupcake? Let it back on for just a few minutes to spread and soften.
You’ve heard of chocolate frosting and even peanut butter frosting. What about taking Nutella or peanut butter and using them as frosting instead. You can slightly warm them in a microwave to soften. You can even swirl the two together. Then spread or drizzle on the cupcake like you would frosting.
Another option is to use a nonfrosting like mixture to stand in as frosting. You could mix chopped nuts and chocolate chips, milk chocolate or dark chocolate too, and sprinkle on the tops of the batter before baking.
Flowers made of frosting have been a long tradition on cakes like wedding cakes and birthday cakes. They have even become a staple on cupcakes.
In recent years, a cupcake trend has been to use specialized decorating tips to make the whole cupcake appear like one big flower.
Many wedding cakes have even been adorned with fresh flowers. How is a cupcake any different? Trying using your traditional frosting, like buttercream, and then putting fresh edible flowers on top to decorate.
Design With Isomalt
If you’re in the cake decorating world, you might already be familiar with isomalt. Isomalt is an interesting sugar substitute. It is made from the sugar found in beets. You might be thinking beets, on cupcakes? But isomalt has some interesting features that are particularly great for cupcake decorating.
One interesting feature of isomalt is that it won’t carmelize the way traditional sugar substances do when they meet up with heat. When traditional sugar is exposed to heat and carmelized, it also turns a golden hue. This also doesn’t happen with isomalt.
What makes isomalt interesting for cupcakes is the ability to sculpt into nearly any shape or pattern. Then once it hardens the shape holds allowing you to place it on the top of a cupcake.
Using small isomalt sculptures can help you to create some real showstopper designs for the tops of your cupcakes.
Cupcake Display and Presentation
Let’s face it, it’s hard to pass up any cupcake on a platter, but cupcake displays have gone to a new level. Decorative cupcakes are now be presented almost like a wedding cake in tiers and multi-level displays. Why show off just one cupcake, when you can show them all off?
Some displays have multiple levels. Some use unique shapes to become sculpture while displaying the cupcakes at the same time.
Another consideration in this pandemic world is offering single serving displays. So, offering a cupcake that is wrapped or boxed as an individual serving, protecting it from potential cross contamination when presenting the cupcakes.
Fill Them Up
We’ve discussed flowers, alternate toppings and even ways to decorate the tops of cupcakes. How about considering what’s actually inside the cake part of the cupcake?
The possibilities are endless depending on your audience, party theme, or even cupcake flavor.
What young child wouldn’t be delighted biting into a cupcake to find a hidden stash of sprinkles? Want to surprise some adult guests for a wedding or baby shower? You could make fruit flavored battered or even use vanilla batter, then insert a fruit filling into the cupcake.
Now this idea isn’t entirely new, think about donuts. But the flavor profiles are getting more exotic and unusual for these filling. How about a bourbon caramel pecan filling? Or maybe a passion fruit lime infused filling? Have a flavor profile you love? Use it to create a surprise filling inside the cupcake.
Cupcake Decorating You Should Try
Cupcakes made well will also be a popular choice, no matter the age of your audience. Try one of these interesting cupcake decorating ideas to up your cupcake game the next time you want to delight your cupcake recipients.
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