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a wee donut tutorial + voting day.

a wee donut tutorial.

Hello! As many of you know, today everyone casts their vote for Bake My Cake 2013. I’m looking forward to it; even when I don’t win, I love watching the results throughout the day. I think I have a decent shot at the gold this time, though, so if you feel so inclined to help a girl out, head over to Movita Beaucoup and throw a vote in the general direction of this crazy cake (and read all about it here and here):

entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

Check out the other entries while you’re there, also: there are some really nice ones. And if you see another cake that rocks your world more than mine, by all means, vote for it. I don’t like telling others what to do, and our friendship is more important than winning a contest, any day of the week.

I’m taking a little bit of an extra step this year; maybe this makes me stand out among the other competitors? I hope so. Because this time, I have not only made a cake (required) for the competition, but I’ve also put together a little tutorial which shows you how to make the wee pastries found all over said cake. You don’t have to put them on a cake if you don’t want to: you can just make them to have them. Kids love ’em, and if you have kids right now, you’re probably aching for an easy project for their little fingers to do without making a total mess. This is that project: nothing toxic, nothing difficult, nothing super messy, and, mean, there’s sprinkles. You’re welcome.

Wee Pastries Tutorial

I’ll first begin by saying that although I’ve seen photos of something like these wee donuts on Pinterest ages ago, I’ve never actually looked to see how they’re done. I just said “would you look at that? Cereal decorated to look like donuts! Let’s do it!” and went about my business. I made it up as I went along, and I find this to be the easiest way to go about it.

What You’ll Need

Cereal – any ring-shaped cereal will work for donuts, like Cheerios, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, and so on. For cinnamon buns, try using a squarish cereal like Waffle Crisp, because I think that most mimics the idea of a cinnamon bun coming from a pan, and it’s fat like one. Get creative with other pastries, too: search the cereal aisle and see if anything strikes you as donut-like.

Royal Icing – I use a version of my own recipe, which is exceedingly simple. You’ll need two egg whites, a wee bit of vanilla (it works better than lemon juice here for flavor), about 4 cups of confectioners’ sugar, and some water as needed to make it the proper consistency.

Sprinkles – I find the tiny ball ones look the most realistic, but branch out if you want to. The longer bar ones (multicolored or chocolate) also look pretty good on there. The larger ball sprinkles are great for mimicking a “cherry” on top of a solid circle donut (Cheerios are small enough to where the icing will hold the cherry in place, making it look solid versus ring-shaped).

Small Bowl(s) – for holding your choice of sprinkles

Small Skewer – for cleaning out the middle of the donuts, where the royal icing tends to pool

Pastry Bag or Plastic Freezer Bag – for frosting the pastries. Honestly, this is not a Buche de Noel; it’s almost more appropriate to use a freezer bag for this. You’ve seen it before, but you just throw the icing in there and cut a tiny hole in a corner. Squeeze, repeat.

Parchment Paper – to cover your work surface and to set your donuts on when completed.

wee donuts step-by-step.

And away we go.

First, assemble all the things you need on a countertop. People, you’re working with a bunch of tiny pieces here, and in my experience, it’s best to have a plan. Pour each cereal you’re using out onto the parchment (or use cereal bowls, if you’d like a more natural habitat), separate everything by color/style, and so on. Sprinkles go in little bowls for easy access. Have everything within reach.

Next, make the royal icing. Using an electric mixer, whip the two egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they begin to form very soft peaks. Add the confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time, beating with each addition until blended. Once all your sugar is in, add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla along with a teaspoon of cold water. You’ll see the icing begin to loosen up to a thick, smooth consistency. Once everything is incorporated, test it: what you’re looking for is something which will pipe out in a line and then stay put without flattening, but that isn’t so stiff that it’s a struggle. Test a little bit in a bag if needed, because you want to get it right. It should do this:

wee donuts tutorial.

…and then stay that way.

Now, you’re ready. Obviously if you’re doing the cinnamon rolls, there’s nothing to them but icing, which means you won’t need an assembly line technique; just frost and set aside to dry. However, anything involving a decoration where the icing acts as a glue of sorts will need a strategy. Royal icing, if you’ve never worked with it, dries and gets crackly when it hits air, which means you have to either keep it in a bag or covered in a bowl for it to stay creamy. Remember, the whole point of it is to harden your design on to the cereal, but it’s going to do it on its own time and not yours.

For donuts and pastries involving a sprinkle decoration, do them maybe 4-8 pieces at a time, depending on your speed. By this, I mean pipe your icing on 4 to 8 pieces of cereal, decorate, and set aside. Repeat. this way, your icing won’t start to harden on you before you’ve finished.

The best way I’ve found to do a heavy sprinkle coat is this way: the Flip and Dunk. Draw your icing circles on the cereal like so, grab them carefully by their bottoms, and:

a wee donut tutorial.

Boom: face-first in sprinkles. Believe me, I’ve tried sprinkling over top, and it will mostly make you want to cry. This method does double-duty for you; not only does it allow for an even, single-layer coating of sprinkles, but it also presses them into the icing so they stay on once dry.

Flip back over, and use your fingers to scootch any overhanging sprinkles in from the sides. Use your skewer to clean out the middle (unless you’re going for a solid, custard-filled donut look) and set aside to dry. Yours will look like this:

a wee donut tutorial.

Cute, yes? So cute. For more inspiration on styles, I’ll direct you to this post from the first cereal diorama cake I made: there were lots of different pastries here, because I was going for realism and not coverage. I wanted continuity this time, so I stuck with a singular type of sprinkle donut. Go wild, folks: you can do anything with these, as you can see:

 crazy donut examples.

crazy donut examples.

crazy donut examples.

crazy donut examples.

crazy donut examples.

Wow; that’s embarrassing, isn’t it? Sometimes when I’m making the crazy, I don’t notice it so much. When I revisit it? Different story. Wee pastries work very well with that miniature dollhouse furniture you find in craft stores, which is why those plates and silver service trays look like they were made for it.

And there you have it: finally you know how to make wee donuts and pastries all by yourself. Have fun with it! It truly is a great craft project for kids and adults, because it’s fun work, no one can really screw anything up, and everything can be eaten without being rushed to the Emergency Room. If you make these on your own, shoot me a photo on Facebook: I’d love to see them.

We’ll get back to normal here this week with actual recipes and maybe some dumb crafts I’ve been working on, if they work. For now, I’m going to go watch the polls to see who wins the Bake My Cake 2013 competition. *crosses fingers*

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18 Comments

  • Reply Monica June 17, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I’m on it, Shannon. Just voted for you. Good luck – you got this, girl! : ) And I really LOVE these adorable donuts!! I will be carefully going over this tutorial soon!

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:35 am

      Thanks Monica! I lost SO MASSIVELY yesterday, but certainly it’s not for lack of great friends who voted for me; i count you among that bunch. I think i run my blog like i run my every day life: i’m not the girl with a million friends who are just acquaintances, but rather the girl who keeps a few really good friends in her life. Sort of how i feel about you guys, which may mean i never win a contest that’s reliant on number of votes, but i’ll still always have people to cheer me on and mean it. that’s pretty perfect.

      • Reply Monica June 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm

        I absolutely get what you’re saying. Completely.
        And I really commend you for entering the contest and going to so much effort at that (unless breaking down recipes and making tons of teeny decorations is a cakewalk for you : ). It definitely does not matter that you didn’t win. You know you rocked it.

        • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:43 am

          🙂 thanks, monica: i had such a great time doing it, for rachael (movita) especially, who deserves more than a photo of her cake (someday i’m going to fly up there and make her one!)
          i try to rock it. 🙂

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats June 17, 2013 at 7:04 am

    haha, anything that involves so much patience with such tiny things gets my vote 😉 I think I would have thrown in the towel after donut #2. And I love that you put pics from your tiny bakery!!! Have I told you that i’m like OBSESSED with miniature things? LIke seriously obsessed.

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:32 am

      Listen: i am no saint, and i think I have you all fooled. I actually LOVE sitting and doing things like this for hours, and i totally know that’s weird. I share your obsession with miniature things: my sister and i (and this is top secret still and definitely in early stages) have had a bakery plan for years revolving around our love for small things. and i can say no more about that, and it may never happen, but it the stars align someday…you never know. Oh, also, if i could figure out how to actually run a bakery. so there’s that. 🙂

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats June 17, 2013 at 7:39 am

    My cake would have one, maybe two, donuts before I got tired. God bless you and your infinite patience lol <3

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:29 am

      I’m happy to be the crazy person who likes the detail work. Just means i don’t have to be the one to do all the OTHER things, like frost the cake correctly. *yay*

  • Reply Ashley June 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I’m bullying friends into voting. Mini donuts/cereal strike at some of their central weaknesses….hahahahaha!
    But seriously, you should win. And then we should eat some cake. Because now I’m starving. Drats.

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:22 am

      listen, ashley, i’m going to level with you: you are not a very good bully. 🙂 i lost SO BIG it’s not even funny! actually, it sort of IS funny, because i lose so bad in these competitions that I almost like it. Like i can’t be second: i’m going to be in the bottom few.
      thank you for trying to strongarm friends in the name of cereal. that’s huge.

  • Reply sara June 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    SO FUN! Love! 🙂

  • Reply movita beaucoup June 18, 2013 at 5:47 am

    You do everything with grace – from mini donuts to losing competitions.

    You’re my metre stick for awesomeness.

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:43 am

      *blushing at largely undeserved praise*

  • Reply movita beaucoup June 18, 2013 at 5:47 am

    (Sorry, I was speaking Canadian there. Let me rephrase: you’re my yard stick for awesomeness.)

    • Reply shannon June 21, 2013 at 5:45 am

      i’ve been learning how to speak Canadian lately, because i’m still convinced that the FBC is going to make me an honorary member if i try hard enough. Maybe if i visit Canada….like i wonder if i post from actual canada sometime if that qualifies me…

  • Reply Jen @JuanitasCocina June 22, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I need an occasion to make mini donuts. I’m plotting now…

    • Reply shannon June 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      well, it’s tuesday. does that count as an occasion? i feel like it does. just buy the boys some cereal, make some royal icing, grab some sprinkles (because i KNOW you have them) and say “go.” that’s all you have to do. they’ll make themselves.

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