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This is the second time I’ve been asked to make the cupcakes for the Kent Business School Graduation at The University of Kent and this time I filmed it to give you guys a graduation cupcakes tutorial.
This blog post contains affiliate links for the products I used to make these cupcakes so, if you wish, you can view and buy them too.
To make the diddy hats I used Black Squires Kitchen Florist Paste and rolled it out nice and thinly using shortening (Trex). By using shortening I’m avoiding the dusty white marks that cornflour or icing sugar would leave.
I then used a 2cm square cutter to cut out little squares and I left them to firm up on a sheet of foam. I use foam that is dimpled one side so I can dry petals and flowers in a more natural shape. For flat things I just turn this foam upside down. The foam I’m linking to here is GREY so it doesn’t show up colour marks, which my pale foam does… booooo pale foam! Not really, I still love my foam.
*adds cool grey foam to basket*
For the main part of the grad hat I’m rolling out black fondant, again on shortening, to around 1cm thick, maybe a little over 1cm- it wants to be chunky fondant. This is the rule breaker of fondant. The rebel of the sugar gang. With your chunky, and oh so daring, fondant you want to cut out circles. My circle was around 1.5cm in diameter.
As you cut out each circle you may need to roll it between your fingers to make sure it’s a true cylinder shape and it’s not distorted at all. When you’re happy with your circles leave them to firm up on some foam.
Once both your squares are circles are cut out, stick a square on top of each circle using either some water or some sugar glue. If both parts have completely dried you will need a little royal icing. Beware though! If this is white you don’t want it squishing out of your black grad cap so use sparingly… If you’re not up for making your own royal icing you can buy a mix you just add water to. Squire’s is v good quality, I’ve used this one before when time has not been on my side!!
To make the tassels, I used florist paste BUT I would strongly recommend something softer, either modelling paste or fondant with some CMC or Tylo mixed in, because I’ve used a sugar gun or sugar extruder to make the tassels and it was hard. work. I always use shortening mixed into my paste when I’m using a sugar gun, just to soften everything up a bit. I’ve used the end with lots of tiny holes so it makes a hair-like effect. Squeeze an inch or so of tassels out then cut and attach 5 or 6 to the top of your hat using a little water. You can trim these with a scalpel if need be.
That’s your grad caps done! Just the swirly icing to go. The absolute key, actually two keys, there are two keys to boss icing. These are the right buttercream! If your buttercream is too soft, or too firm, swirls are not going to happen. I happen to have filmed my recipe and method for buttercream which you can see here! The second key is a good nozzle! Metal nozzles are a must! My two favourites are the Jem 1M and the Wilton 1M. I used the Jem one in this video but it honestly isn’t a considered choice between the two, it’s whichever my hand touches first in my cupboard- they are both awesome!
To pipe a swirl you need to squeeze hard and move slowly, piping from the outside to the inside, and resting the buttercream on what you’ve already piped until you reach the middle. Truly, practice makes perfect with buttercream swirls. I know that is the most ANNOYING sentence in the world but in this case it is absolutely what works.
You can see a video of how to pipe buttercream swirls here.
When you have piped all your swirls you can pop a grad cap on top of each one and you’re done!
Happy Graduation Sweetie D Cupcake Class of 2016!