Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Golf Cupcake Cake

I was so excited when Will and Harrison asked me to make cupcakes for their golf banquet. And of course, I couldn't make just plain old cupcakes, they had to look and taste great. I decided to make my favorite cupcake, a hot fudge sundae cupcake and make the cupcakes look like your typical golf course (except that the ball is on the green and not in a sand trap, of course!).

Admittidly, I went a little crazy shopping. One of the bad things about cupcake decorating is sometimes you have to buy a whole thing of mini chocolate chips even though you're only going to use one. But come on, it's worth it, right?
I also bought this cupcake box from Wilton that you just put together for about $1.50. I'm so glad I got it, it made transporting the cupcakes a breeze! I wish I had gotten a different size though, I think a rectangle would have worked out better on the shape.
It was pretty easy to put together but I had to use some tape to keep the sides intact.
So, back to the cupcakes: I started out with a funfetti mix.
What's a hot fudge sundae cupcake without sprinkles, right?
Add in 3 eggs, oil, and water.
And mix!
One of the problems though was that this was a spring cake mix and the sprinkles were light pink and baby blue. Not very golf-ish, right? So I added in some green sprinkles so that it wasn't so feminine.
I just used these Christmas sprinkles, making sure none of the Christmas trees got thrown in. 
 Much better, right?
Now for the baking cups. I used your typical multi-colored cups, using the yellow for the sand trap cupcakes and green for all of the rest. (Not that the guys would ever notice or appreciate that!)
I filled the cupcakes with a measuring cup to make things go quickly.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 18 minutes, or whatever your box mix says.
Whlie these are baking you can start on the decorations.
For the sand trap, I placed a handful of vanilla wafers into a double-bagged plastic bag (the sharp edges can poke through the plastic and get everywhere if you only use one bag). Use any blunt object to smash the cookies, rolling the object over them and flipping the bag over occasionally to make sure you get every cookie.
 Golf balls have a very unique texture, so I used white nonparels to mimic the dimples. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a can of just white and had to settle for this clearance Easter set with light blue, yellow, and pink thrown in the mix. I thought it would be easy to separate out the white one but it turned out to be a huge pain! Next time I'll definitely go somewhere else to find just white nonparels.
I took a white gumball and dipped it in light corn syrup to make it sticky.
 And boy was it sticky!! I rolled the gumball into the nonparels, however the corn syrup made them stick to everything, including each other and my hands.
I ended up having more luck dipping a tooth pick into the corn syrup and then into the sprinkles and carefully placing them onto the gumball.
I set it on some wax paper to set up, it was really easy to mess up the sprinkles by the slightest touch or movement, so be careful.
 The less corn syrup you can use the better.
 I had wished that I had used less so that it was cleaner looking, but once on the cupcake you really couldn't notice.
 Once the cupcakes came out and cooled, I cored them. I use a spoon and just remove the centers but you can use an apple corer or a metal piping tip to remove some of the cupcake. This is where the hot fudge will go to create a warm gooey center.
 Make sure you don't go too far down into the cupcake so that they don't get soggy after sitting for a day or so.  
 I first microwave the hot fudge just for about thirty seconds or so to make it more workable. You don't want it too hot to melt the cupcake and sink to the bottom or to get your hand too hot when you're working with it but you want it to be pretty pipable and thinned out a bit.
Spoon the hot fudge into a plastic bag and knead it with your hands a bit to get everything mixed and in one corner.
 Snip off the corner of the bag and pipe the hot fudge into the center whole of the cupcakes.
And try not to eat them all at this point. I always overfill them a litte but the more the merrier, right? I don't think anyone will complain about having too much hot fudge.
 So for the green, I took some green sanding sugar crystals and dumped them into a bowl.
 I tinted some frosting green just in case you could see any frosting underneath the sugar and frosted one cupcake at a time. You don't want to frost them and let the cupcakes sit at all or else the frosting will start to harden and the sugar won't stay as well.
 Frost the cupcake and immediately dip it into the sugar, rolling the cupcake in a circular motion to cover all of the sides.
I loved the dark green sugar, it was the perfect color and makes the cupcakes taste phenominal.
 I did seven cupcakes to form a circle shape for the green of the course. You can also go back and sprinkle some extra green sugar over any that look a bit bare and later when you assemble them I sprinkled more over the edges to smooth them together.
 Now for the sand trap! Pour that crushed wafer mixture into a bowl and use the same technique as before with the sanding sugar.
 Frost, dip and roll. Since sand is pretty thick and textured I sprinkled more onto the tops of the cupcakes after dipping just to give them some depth. The boys said these were there favorites of the whole cake. They loved them! I think vanilla wafers are much better tasting than graham crackers, but you could use them as well.
I made six cupcakes for the sand trap and it was almost too much. I was glad later on though when they turned out to be such a hit and I think that if I had a rectangular box it would have looked a bit better.
 All of the other cupakes I frosted with a light green, pulling the tip away to create a grassy look.
Push the cupcakes together and pipe as though there's no cracks in the cupcakes to create a uniform cake and create the golf scene.
 At this point I was really unhappy with the color of the grass, so I tinted some frosting a darker green and added more frosting to give it some depth and a more natural color.
I also used a toothpick to create little peaks in the frosting to mimick grass. I had wished it had turned out a bit differently, maybe use a thicker royal icing and a star tip to get crisp grass? It worked out just fine in the end but it wasn't my best attempt at grass.
 Now for the flag. Take a red fruit roll-up and a pretzel stick. I just used the small normal pretzels, not a huge pretzel rod, they would be too big.
I cut a diamond shape in the fruit roll-up with a butter knife and wrapped it around the top of the pretzel. Using a bit of white icing left over from the green, I piped on the number 18 and let it set up for a second before placing it in the cupcake.
 I used a mini chocolate chip for the actual hole, placing it upside down into the frosting of the cupcake and placing the pretzel right behind it.
 The hole seemed a bit unneccessary but I think the little details are what makes things great.
For the finishing touches, I piped a bit more of the grass on the green to make it more circular so that you don't have the weird cupcake ouline and make it look a bit better. You can place the golf ball anywhere but I thought it would stand out the most on the green.
 And there you have it! A golf course cupcake cake.

 Once again, it was so nice to have the box!
 Plus I think it seemed much more professional and put-together.
Hopefully they had a good banquet!

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