Yesterday was the AFL Grand Final in Australia. Now, I don’t follow footy and have never even watched a full game but my partner’s sister and family had invited us and their parents over to watch this one. So why not get into it for once?!
Anyway, B and I got put in charge of desserts. I really enjoy baking and used to do it a lot more when we were living together. However, I had never really done any fancy decorating of any kind before. The only time I ever remember him baking was one special day when he made me a delicious sticky date pudding. For this occasion, he really got his creative juices flowing and became so excited in brainstorming ideas for what we could do (given our lack of experience and limited time).
We pretty much knew from the get go that we wanted to make cupcakes because they’re pretty easy to make and transport. The big question was how we would present them. One idea I really liked was to create tiny little gingerbread men and decorate them in the finalist teams’ jerseys. However, we couldn’t find any cookie cutters small enough to sit on top of a cupcake. There was one cake decorating store in the area that looked promising but the day before the Grand Final was recently made a public holiday, so that particular store was closed.
Eventually we settled on trying to make the icing look like grass, and creating little chocolate footballs to sit on top of each one. Of course, there weren’t any football moulds so we had to get a little creative in using mini easter egg moulds instead. The thing that really made it work was finding colouring specifically for chocolate. Here was my long, painstaking process of creating the little things.
First, the chocolate had to be melted. I did this in the microwave rather than over the stove as it’s slightly quicker and uses fewer dishes. And because I was only working with such a small amount of chocolate, the bursts in the microwave were only 10 seconds long.
The food colouring instructions suggested starting with 1/4 teaspoon and only adding more if you need to.
It was far too pale and pink at this stage, so I added another 1/4 teaspoon.
And another 1/4 teaspoon.
And finally gave in and tipped the rest of the colouring in to make it as red as possible!
The easter egg mould had a few different textured options, so I could only create 6 at a time – footies can’t look cracked or woody or have big fat zig zags across them. I definitely overfilled this first lot. Should have only 3/4 filled them before tapping out the air bubbles and making them flatter.
Here they are after setting in the freezer for a time. They took just a bit of coaxing to slip out of the moulds.
I creased the baking paper so that I could slice them all at (roughly) the same spot. I had the knife sitting in a cup of boiled water for a few minutes so that it’d slice through easily. Also, the heat would give a melted edge so that the two parts would stick together.
Unfortunately, the body heat in my fingers really messed with them a bit. They lost the nice sheen they had coming out of the mould. The join isn’t very seamless either. These first ones are actually quite messy looking. I ended up melting them down to make new ones that looked somewhat better.
Of course, after sitting the knife in the hot water I’d have to wipe the excess water off before I could slice. Excess water and bits of melted chocolate that still clung to the blade. By then end of this process, my tools looked a bit suss.
Next step was melting a very small amount of white chocolate, this time without adding any colouring. I cut the tiniest hole in the corner of a zip lock bag and put the spoonful of chocolate in.
First time I’ve attempted piping like this , but they came out pretty well! You can see one of these footies has 6 laces and the other 4 – Sherrin footies have 6 but 4 looked better on this size so I went with that.
All of this took me hours to do, mainly because I could only work in very small batches due to the mould. B had to make the carrot cupcakes all on his own and they turned out really nice. We made the cream cheese frosting together. Here are our little testers looking at nozzle size. We decided that smaller was better for the look we were going for.
Since the piped part of it would only create a very thin layer, we had to spread on a base layer first.
And here are the finished cupcakes – AFL footies on a bed of grass! His mum helped us pipe the grass on so that it wouldn’t take as long.
All in all, we’re extremely happy with how they turned out.