Saturday, September 24, 2011

Royal Icing Transfers - Ravens & Spooky Skulls

After completing a custom sugar cookie order for a good friend {"Go Ravens! Go! ;)} Might I mention the most difficult of cookies I have done to date... and not totally satisfied with my results :(   I suffered much guilt sending these over for the birthday party (not so much the good ones, but the ones who's plaques cracked...grrrr... I WANT A DO OVER!!!!    I know deep down that T won't mind at all getting extra cookies from me just because... they are evil, wicked cookies - and no body in her house likes them at all.  ;)

I had quite a bit of icing left over..."What to do with it, what to do with it?" I wondered. I couldn't not use it. Lucky for me the colours lent themselves perfectly to Halloweeny projects... and so I made Skull candy of a different variety.

{I have been corrected by my 7 year old...the bow was supposed to be pink, not purple - like really mom?}

My daughter is crazy about Montser High I decided to surprise her with some of her very own skull cupcakes. What better way to adorn them than by using a skull royal icing topper. After making my template I slid the sheet into a plastic pocket (at this point I had no idea if this was actually going to work, but I had no idea if didn't try), typically I would have used just a piece of parchment paper or a clear overhead transfer but I had neither so onto option "C" I went.

{enter spooky skull template}

I began to pipe out my black royal icing over the template following the lines to make the outlines.  Then, to add some girly bling to each, I shook on some black disco dust...

 Whoa! Stop...a little bit, not the whole blinkin' pot! {trying to take a picture with a fixed lense upclose and with one hand does not work well!} 

 Spooky erie silhouettes of  girly skulls....  kind of creepy looking if you ask me

Then I set them aside to dry (over night).  The next day using a very fine soft bristled paint brush I  attempted to brush off (amidst creating a tonne of static charge) the excess disco dust onto a creased piece of paper. I then poured the dust back into my jar (this stuff isn't cheap so I wanted to recycle & reuse what ever didn't stick to my skulls or the plastic sleeve). They were so sparkly and shiny and pretty!

Then I filled the the bow, and the skull in with the remaining colours and let them dry again overnight to ensure they were completely dry.  After carefully peeling them from the plastic cover I layered them between paper towels for safe keeping in an air tight container. 

Moving on...

Chocolate Cupcakes - I know...boring! No! They aren't...they are soooooo good, and tastey.  Try them, and you'll see what I am talking about.

makes 24 heavenly chocolate morsles for your teeth-sinking pleasure.

Fill your muffin tins with your selected liners and set aside for later.  Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees F.
Boil 2 c water in your kettle, we'll need this later.

In a large bowl stir together all your dry ingredients, sifting  in your cocoa (or use a wire whisk if you're feeling kind of lazy or don't own a sifter). 

2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. all purpose flour (no need to level it, a little extra is fine)
3/4 c. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp  of EACH baking powder & soda
1 tsp. salt

Add 2 eggs,
1 c. milk
1/2 c. oil
2 tsp vanilla

Beat on medium speed (either hand mixer or stand mixer works) for 2 minutes, scraping the sides once or twice.

Gradually add in  your 3/4 to 1 c of boiling water (here in MB I go closer to the 3/4 c, guess drier climates need the extra water - at least there is room for error here! If you go over they will still turn out, just don't fill your muffin cups as full). Stir this VERY will splatter if you go faster believe me! The batter will be extremely runny, but that's okay - don't panic it's supposed to be like this.

HINT: to make even cupcakes, use your trusty 1/4 potato scoop to transfer the batter into the muffin liners, BUT DO NOT FILL them more than 2/3 full or they will bubble over and make a colossal mess (like I did today - thank goodness for self cleaning ovens).

Once, you 've transferred all your batter, bake for about 22-25 minutes (cupcakes) and check them with a toothpick.  Add extra time if needed in 1 minute increments at a time to prevent burning.  Once the toothpick comes out clean you're done.  Let the cupcakes cool 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling down.

Okay, so we've got let there be icing!

Bakery Shoppe Icing
Light and fluffy with a hint of sweet. It Piles high really nicely too to make poufy cupcakes :) YUMMY!

You'll need to double this batch to get enough coverage for your 24 cupcakes. if you ice like I do.

Cream together the following:
1/2 c. butter (margarine works too in a pinch)
6 tbsp shortening
1 c. granualted sugar, added to the butter and shortening in increments.

Warm 1/2 c. milk (just warm, not hot)
Whisk in 1 tbsp cornstarch until frothy, then add the  2 tsp. vanilla to the mixture.

NOTE: The icing appears curdled at first, and this is alright, not to panick.  It will smooth out the longer you beat it up.

Pour the liquids into the creamed mixture and beat at low until all ingredients are well blended. Continue to beat on medium speed for another 5 - 7 minutes until the icing is creamy smooth.  If you try a little and it seems crunchy, keep beating it (medium to high speed to reduce the sugar granules).  Tint with what ever colors you want!  Fill your icing bags and pipe onto your cupcakes or simply spread with a knife.

!! Don't have an icing bag?
  • Fill a ziplock bag and seal, eliminating any air from it...snip one corner (smaller for finer stream of icing or larger for a fuller piping effect. When you are done using simply disgard the bag.
If you're not going to eat your cupcakes right away (Really? Who can resist? Even those of you with amazing self control will cave eventually - it's only a matter of time, you wait and you shall see.) stick them into the fridge. Just remember to take them out about 2 hours before serving to allow them to warm up to the air.  If you are intending on dressing up your cupcakes (like I did) with royal icing transfers, I would suggest  you wait until just before serving them to stick your decorations on the tops...condensation and royal icing don't always play nice in the sandbox. The moisture makes the royal icing breakdown if there is too much of it, and can ruin your leave that to the guests who are eating them.


  1. Hi. What RI did you use. Egg whites or meringue? Did it break easily?

    1. Hi Tess,
      Thanks for reading my post. I prefer to use Wilton's Brand of Meringue powder (Bulk barn or Michaels Stores carry it, as does Walmart I believe). Had I used overhead transfers instead of the paper cover slips I would have been better off, as the overhead transfers are rigid enough to stay flat and not curl. ALWAYS lightly coat the transfer with a thin layer of vegetable make for easy release of the placks (pop'em off with a flat spatula). Hope that helps!

      Happy Baking, join my readers list & come back and read soon :D

  2. Which tip did you use to put icing on? Any special way to do this? They are beautiful. I am just starting to decorate cakes and cupcakes,and hopefully will have a bakery to sell them. Thanks so much.

    1. Usually for boarders (like the skulls) I will stick with a #2, but for really fine deatils I will go as little as a #1. Filling can be tricky, toothpicks become your friends to pop air bubbles and drag the icing into tight spots. Happy baking!