Red Hat Society Cupcakes!

I have been meaning to write about these cupcakes since they were made. The wonderful Lara and I made them for my mother’s 50th birthday party. (If you don’t understand the importance of the colours and whatnot, then you should read up on the RHS. Then they are quite funny.) Their creation was a bit of a fiasco, but as you can see, they turned out wonderfully, and with much leftover material.

Our initial shopping trip involved a lengthy visit to the bulk barn for baking supplies, (fondant, food colouring, bulk icing sugar…) and some other grocery store for an entire dozen eggs and two whole sticks of butter, all of which we used. (These cupcakes were healthy.) The baking all took place at my parents’ house, so I had a hard time finding things, so we wound up buying a large amount of unnecessary junk. (For example, four muffin trays and a giant bag of powdered sugar.) There was also a dart lying around in the kitchen mysteriously, so it got used as a baking instrument. (By baking instrument I mean poking thing to open stuff with.)

Our first step was to make the cake itself, which I am ashamed to say was cake-in-a-box. After using an entire container of red food colouring to make the batter the right colour, we popped the cake part in the oven and planned our next trip to the Bulk Barn. We made one batch of buttercream in the meantime, thereby making a complete disaster area and staining pretty much everything in my parents’ kitchen purple. (The meat cutting board will never be the same.)

My plan with the rec cupcakes was for the icing to be red as well, so the fact that we had already used up all of our red food colouring on the batter was an issue. Once the cupcakes came out of the oven we went on another Bulk Barn adventure and picked up another container of red food colouring and (on a whim) a tiny vial of strawberry flavouring. Seemed like a productive trip. We then drove fifteen minutes back to my parents’ house and started making the second batch of buttercream. One whole stick of butter (See? Healthy.) and a crazy amount of icing sugar later, we had some yellowish-white icing. Upon adding another entire container of red food colouring, we had some slightly pink icing. Frak. Two more trips and three more containers later, we came out with the right colour.

After icing them, which was totally the easiest part, I had to figure out how the frak to make things out of fondant without them falling apart. (And pray that the little bit of purple that we had left was enough to colour the fondant.) With an awful lot of instruction from Lara, I spent about a million years making tiny bows out of sheets of purple sugar. Lara felt the need to take a picture of my “trying hard face”, which, though you can’t really see it, features my tongue sticking out of the side of my mouth. It would have been neat if I had any tools besides a knife that was altogether too big for my purposes, but it wasn’t a complete disaster.

All the people who ate the red ones kind of looked like they had been eating people, but sacrifices must be made for aesthetics. If I hadn’t spent so much money learning to be a musician already, maybe I would consider learning to be a baker. (Maybe I will anyway?)
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