Cupcakes are tempting little mouthfuls of heavenly cake topped with sugary sweet icing. I find cupcakes are simple to bake but require more precision and skill when it comes to the pretty little icing part on top. My novice cupcake icing skills have in the past employed the use of a palette knife to ice and some sparkly sprinkles to decorate. I would love to be able to decorate cupcakes so that they look professional rather than homemade but so far any attempts to pipe pretty little swirls of icing on top have been disastrous. When a baking addict friend of mine suggested signing up for a cupcake decorating course, I decided it was time to finally master the piping bag and learn to decorate pretty little cupcakes to rival those bakery bought ones.
One rainy Monday evening, we drove up to The Kitchen in the Castle Cookery School in Howth for our ‘Cup Cakes and Icings’ course. We entered in to the castle from the car park and found ourselves in the original kitchen which is a large room with high ceilings and modern appliances set amidst a castle interior. The original sculleries still lead off from the kitchen lending a sense of history to the new modern fittings. After a brief introduction to the cookery school and course, we were ready to get down to business and start cupcake baking.
We started by baking two different types of cupcakes, first lemon and then carrot. While mixing away to our baking heart’s content, we chatted about all things baking – recipes/cookbooks/mixers/baking shops/cakes … the evening was turning out to be an amateur baker’s dream. Once our first batch of cupcakes were cooled and our icing was made, we started the fun part of icing our little creations.
We made three different types of icing – vanilla butter icing, cream cheese icing and chocolate glaze. We dipped the cupcakes in the chocolate glaze, creating designs on top with white chocolate and a toothpick then finished them off with a raspberry. We piped both the vanilla butter and cream cheese icings using piping bags. We coloured the vanilla butter cream using gel colours and we topped the cupcakes with a variety of decorations and sparkles.
While we were busy piping away, we were offered a cup of tea/coffee and/or a glass of red/white wine. Needless to say, we went for the wine. So we took a minute to enjoy a cupcake or two while drinking a glass of wine (or two) then continued decorating until we had 2 dozen gorgeous cup cakes to take home with us. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience getting to bake with other baking addicts and be able to learn some new skills. I am definitely going to sign up for some more classes from the cookery school. The evening was enjoyable and informative and the added bonus is they serve wine 🙂