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):
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.
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:
…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:
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:
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:
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*