Apr 26, 2012

If you enjoy decorating cakes or cupcakes, you know that there are certain cake decoration supplies that you need to keep on hand. But, let's say your child comes home from school, and announces that you have just been volunteered to bring a load of cupcakes to the next open house, which happens to be tomorrow!

Most parents have been faced with this dilemma at least once. But, there is no reason to get stressed or exasperated by your last-minute "assignment." Here are a few creative cake decorating techniques that will have you feeling more confident in minutes!

OK. So you probably already have the ingredients you need to whip up a quick buttercream frosting. Or you have a package of store-bought icing. No problem. You also have a few boxes of cake mix handy, which you keep around, "just in case."

So, today is that "just in case" day! But, because you really do enjoy decorating cakes, you refuse to just slap some frosting on some cupcakes and throw them in a box.

You want your display to be eye-catching! And why not? There is probably a reason why you are the person who was "volunteered" for cupcake duty.

This is where we bring in some unofficial cake decoration supplies you have hanging around your own yard or garden. And you might not have even known it!

First, think of the time of year. If it's autumn, you can line a tray with colorful leaves, and arrange fall flowers around and in between each cupcake.

In keeping with the autumn theme, you can make a quick stencil or cut-out from a lightweight cardboard in the shape of a maple leaf, and frost each cupcake in the shape of the leaf.

For winter theme, you can gather some pine cones or spruce branches and line the tray in the same way you did with the autumn leaves. If you happen to have candy canes lying around the house, you can add those to the display as well.

The same goes for spring and summer themes. Use whatever flowers and leaves that are in bloom at the time. Even dandelions and clover from the lawn can look absolutely beautiful among bright green leaves!

If you happen to have some checkered napkins and baskets, you can make a quick "picnic theme" display.

Depending on where you live, you can find wonderful additions to your cache of cake decoration supplies. For example, sea shells and sand, river stones, and gourds.

And, once you begin to look around the house, you'll likely find other items you can add as well, such as ribbons, tissue paper, wrapping paper, various seasonal decorations, scraps of pretty material, colorful dinner napkins, etc.

If you find yourself in a pinch and don't have a lot of standard cake decoration supplies like the decorator tips for roses or piping, don't panic. There's nothing wrong with taking a butter knife and swirling some of that simple frosting on the top of the cupcakes without fanfare. Not all cake decorating techniques need to be technical!

Take a look around the kitchen that you can also use that you might not have ordinarily thought of using on the cake or display. Do you have mini-marshmallows? Chocolate chips? Some raspberry or other jam? These can be used as toppings as well.

It's not a bad idea to keep a list of everyday items that you have around the house that you'll be able to call on when you find yourself in a pinch or faced with a last-minute "cupcake duty." With a little imagination, your "last-minute" efforts can look as though you prepared for at least a week!

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