As I mentioned when I posted about my Christmas cake, I was sent a selection of cupcake toppers from My Cupcake Toppers for review. You can order icing or rice paper toppers with pictures of anything from Christmas to Eid to baby shower, Disney princesses or football teams or even Breaking Bad, the TV show. Prices start at £1.20 for 12 standard rice paper cupcake toppers up to £6 for ones made of icing. As well as that, you can design your own for a bargain price of £2.70 for the smallest size - that's actually a very appealing idea! They even have an in-house design service if you are short of inspiration.
I decided to order a selection to try out the different rice papers and icing they are printed on. As you might have seen, I ordered a large 7.5 inch circular cake topper printed onto a thin sheet of edible icing, to go on top of my Christmas cake. I cut it out, removed the plastic backing and simply placed it on top of the cake - perfect!
I then ordered a set of 12 Christmas designs for cupcakes made of icing, plus some Family Guy toppers (I love that show) on premium rice paper, and some Lego Star Wars on regular rice paper. In both cases the rice paper was pre-cut which only costs a fraction more, but gives a much more professional finish than taking a pair of scissors to a sheet of rice paper yourself.
Did you know the reason why rice paper toppers sometimes curl up when you put them on cupcakes? It's to do with the moisture in the icing, so you are better off waiting until the icing has hardened but is still ever so slightly soft, so you can press on the topper.
What's interesting though that is when I (*accidentally* - ahem) put the rice paper toppers on while the icing was still too wet, the standard rice paper topper did curl at the edges while the premium topper - which is noticeably thicker - didn't.
I was then able to flatten the Lego Star Wars topper when the icing had set a bit. Both toppers were larger than I was expecting and worked really nicely, and didn't taste of a lot but I wasn't expecting them to!
The Lego Star Wars cupcake is just the thing to eat when you are opening the next window on your Lego Star Wars advent calendar!
Finally I had some trouble when it came to the icing toppers. The icing discs were printed on a plastic sheet but unlike with the large cake topper I couldn't peel off the backing plastic. I spent ages picking at the edges wondering why they weren't coming off, then decided to contact the company. The My Cupcake Toppers website advises contacting them via Facebook which I did and I was pleasantly surprised - given it was in the evening - to have a reply just a couple of minutes later.
They told me what to do and also informed me that the instructions were on their website and on the back of the delivery note. I had already looked at the FAQ on their website and went to the 'cutting' section but this is about buying the topper discs cut out already; I totally missed the 'instructions' section further down, and I would never have thought to take the address label off the front of the envelope and check for something printed on the back!
The instructions, once I had them, were easy to follow even if they did surprise me, as I've never done this before. You need to dry them out in a cool oven (50-60 degrees C) for 5-10 minutes and they will peel off.
I really liked these because they stay stiff and flat and look really professional. They are quite big, taste nicer than the rice paper and I really liked the set of Christmas designs that I chose.
So here is the recipe for the gingerbread cupcakes themselves, which comes from a book called Celebration Cupcakes, byTamara Jane.
To make about 18-20 large cupcakes, you need:
300g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
150g butter, softened
400g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g finely chopped crystallised ginger
160ml sour cream
For the buttercream:
250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 170C, place cupcake cases in two muffin tins.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and mixed spice.
In another bowl cream the butter and the sugar and mix in the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, beating the mixture after you add each one, then fold in half the dry ingredient, half the chopped ginger and sour cream, and mix well. Then fold in the rest of the flour, ginger and cream.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter and the icing sugar. Add the vanilla essence and mix in. Using a piping bag and a star nozzle, pipe swirls onto the top of the cupcakes. Top with cupcake toppers as shown if desired.
Thanks to My Cupcake Toppers for the products to review.