I’m not a cupcake decorator. In fact, I’m not really a cupcake baker either. I think I can count on both hands the amount of times I’ve baked cupcakes. I don’t know why, because they’re so simple, yummy and cute. I just never got that cupcake fire burning inside of me, I guess.
It’s kind of sad, really.
I don’t eat them very often either. I guess you could say cupcakes and I are merely acquaintances, acquaintances meaning that I see them every so often in the bakery case when I pass over them for a slice of layer cake. I think it has a lot to do with the frosting to cake ratio; tons of frosting on top, then all cake, whereas with a layer cake, it’s pretty even, so you get frosting and cake with each bite. With a cupcake, sometimes you have to unhinge your jaw to get cake and frosting in one bite (frosting inevitably ending up on your nose) especially when it comes to the cupcakes with the really tall buttercream swirly tops.
However, there’s a new method to eating cupcakes, so maybe this might change my tune.
For these blue snowflake cupcakes, I used a regular sized ice cream scoop for the frosting, then pressed the scoop of frosting down, rounding the sides and flattening the tops with a small, offset spatula.
That being said, as far as elaborate cupcakes go, I always felt haute couture cupcake decorating was a whole lot of hoopla over two, three or four (depending on size of your mouth) bites, kind of like an 8-hour amuse bouche preparation. So, when Lis , the co-founder of Daring Bakers/Kitchen, asked if I would review these icing cupcake appliques, I was initially at a loss.
If it involves some sort of incredible piping or transformation into hamburgers, lions, or cupcake cell phones that actually work (trust me, some amazing cupcake or baking blogger will figure it out) etc, I’m screwed. Also, if it involved anything crazy I’ve seen in some of those cupcake books, or some kind of special, sticky stuff that’s radioactive when exposed to heat, I wasn’t sure if I could test them properly in order to give a fair review.
See how easy?
When I received the samples in the mail, I let out a sigh, well, more like a small breath of relief. These were easy! All you had to do was frost your cupcake, peel the round icing sheet off the paper, and plop it on. A little smoothing and blending here and there, and that’s it. I opened up the samples, and the sweet scent of light buttercream hit me. Buttercream should be something you wear, like perfume; Eau de Buttercream! Actually, I think they do make buttercream scents for the humans. I know Jessica Simpson has a buttercream body mousse that you can eat. Darn, I was already thinking PATENT!
With that said, starting the testing was the hardest part. I definitely needed to taste them first, so I recruited my two-year-old nephew, Zach, to help me out. Well, It’s a good thing I know the definition of restraint when there needs to be restraint (although that’s not set in stone) because with the light taste of buttercream, and the way they melt on your tongue, it’s kind of hard to stop.
Before I knew it, my little packets of samples were diminishing. With Zach’s adorable toddler voice asking for “More, Isa”, his tiny, little hand reaching, and my own brain buzzing “MORE”, my big hand reaching, I knew I had to put them away until I had an actual frosted cupcake in front of me.
When I finally got to the task at hand, I could not believe how simple it was. Ticings are for people like me, people who would love to present a pretty cupcake, but don’t always want to spend extra time piping frosting onto each cupcake, flawlessly, or turning it into something that doesn’t resemble a cupcake. However, I won’t deny it, I got caught up and found myself haute coutering my cupcakes. Some edible gold flakes here, a little airbrush there, and a decorative piping or ten. This is what using ticings did to me.
In fact, it was so incredibly easy, and looked so cute, that I wanted to keep adding to them! I even trimmed a few of them (very gently, I might add) so I could fit several of the smaller ones together on one cupcake. I really enjoyed combining the purses and shoes, well, uhhh, shoe. I accidentally cut through the only other shoe, rendering it toeless. Not something I felt would enhance my ‘material girl’ cupcake, below.
There are only two very tiny caveats for me. One, you can’t pipe those mega swirly tops if you want to apply a ticings applique. Well, you can, if you pipe the mega swirly then flatten and even out the top, since you need a flat surface to get a smooth cupcake ‘tattoo’. But, there’s nothing wrong with a ring of swirly around a beautiful ticings icing decal! Two, you’re limited to white frosting and buttercream if you want it to blend in. I think they should make chocolate ticings to satiate those who prefer chocolate frosting and buttercream. Then again, chocolate shades vary, so that could be a little difficult.
I’ll tell you one thing, ticings are addictive! With them as my ‘muse’, I wanted to bake and decorate even more cupcakes! I literally couldn’t stop until I used up all the samples I had left. So, I returned to Thanksgiving, threw in a birthday, and of course, couldn’t ignore the Christmas trees!
The First Giveaway
Here’s the best part of all of the above. When I was asked to do this review, I contacted Mia of ticings and asked if she could send me a holiday set of ticings to give to away to one of my readers. Well, she did, and I’m so excited! She sent me a set of the cutest penguins, designed by artist Kevin Gordon, and the blue snowflakes you see at the top of this entry. All you have to do is leave a comment, and I’ll choose the winner randomly 1 week from today!
While you’re all waiting, I urge you to go check out the ticings website. They also offer custom cupcake icing sheets. Just send them any design, saying, thought, your business or blog name..etc, and they can reproduce it on icing. Plus, you should see all the other beautiful ticings they have to offer, some of them designed by well known artists!
And it gets even better!
They also have an array of sprinkles and sugars that are all natural and will make your cupcakes, cakes, or anything you want to sprinkle them on, that much more delicious and pleasing to the eyes. I especially love the idea of white chocolate sprinkles! OK, I’ll take a breath. I’m not NUTS, I’m just kind of NUTS for these ticings! I highly recommend these to just about everyone or anyone, whether you like to bake or not.
The Second Giveaway
Speaking of nuts, Sam Feferkorn of OhNuts.com offered me a $25.00 gift certificate to give away to one of my readers, Is this not perfect for your holiday baking? Nuts, dried fruits, chocolates – ad yummy infinitum! To take part in this giveaway, follow the instructions below, but remember, I’ll be choosing the winners at random from the comments left here. With one comment, you can win either of the giveaways. Don’t forget to mention the ticings giveaway in your tweets!!
1. Go to the Oh Nuts Christmas gift baskets page. Choose your favorite Christmas Gift and leave a comment on my blog post with the name and url of the gift you like the most.
Go to the Oh Nuts Hanukkah gifts page. Choose your favorite Hanukkah Gift and leave a comment on my blog post with the name and url of the gift tyou like the most.
2. Go to the Oh Nuts facebook page and post on the wall the url and name of your favorite Hanukkah Gift OR Christmas Gift. You should also write “I am here via “Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives”
3. Follow @ohnuts on Twitter and Tweet:
“Win a free Hanukkah Gift from http://bit.ly/6nIsCi Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter.”
“Win a free Christmas Gift from http://bit.ly/dUpizt Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter.”
How about the actual cupcake under all that froo froo, Lisa?
Yes, the cupcake. I couldn’t just make a plain, vanilla or chocolate cupcake. I mean, if I’m going to make cupcakes, I want to take it up a level or two. Olivari Olive Oil sent me a kit with a bottle of their Extra Virgin olive oil, a garlic press, and loads of coupons for free olive oils of all sorts, which would have been my third giveaway had the person I gave them to to hold on to had not lost them!
In any event, I have been extremely intrigued with olive oil cakes for a while, and wanted to try one out. Olive oil is good for you, so if you could substitute it for butter in a cake recipe, and it still tasted amazing, that’s a pretty good deal, right?.
So, I found a recipe for Lemon Olive Oil Cupcakes with Thyme on a cupcake blog and substituted orange zest and juice for the lemon zest and juice, omitted the thyme, and added finely chopped pistachios, courtesy of OhNuts.com. Voila! Below is the recipe for Orange Pistachio Olive Oil Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting!
The olive oil is actually buttery in the cupcake, and it makes them incredibly moist! Oh, and the flavor is just..just..*insert finger kissing* delightful! Also, the white chocolate cream cheese frosting does not contain butter, so that’s another plus calorie and health wise!
Speaking of olive oil cakes, a reader just sent me a recipe for Apricot & Almond Olive Oil Cake. I can’t wait to try it because I loooove apricots!
Orange Pistachio Olive Oil Cupcakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teasoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup Olivari extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup orange juice
- ¾ cup shelled pistachio nuts, finely chopped
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons milk or cream
- Approximately 2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Set aside. Line a 12 well muffin or cupcake tin with cupcake liners or grease and flour each well.
- In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and orange zest and rub together with your fingers to extract the oil from the zest. Add olive oil to zest-sugar mixture and mix on high speed until completely combined. Use the whisk attachment to do this if you're using a stand mixture.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated.
- Stir in ⅓ of the flour mixture set aside in step 1, and mix on low speed, then add in half of the orange juice, and continue mixing.
- Stir another ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the orange juice and the remaining flour mixture, beating until combined for each addition. Stir in the chopped pistachios.
- Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until they bounce back when touched or a skewer inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes in pan, then release them onto a wire rack and let cool fully before frosting them.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, and melted white chocolate.
- Beat in vanilla and milk or cream, then add in the confectioners’ sugar, gradually, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Make it a bit stiffer if you wish to pipe it onto the cupcakes instead of spreading it with a knife.
- Spread frosting onto cupcakes with an offset spatula or knife, or transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Finally, since I have two giveaways for two readers, you can mention one or both of the giveaways in your comment, if you’d like. I will be announcing both winners (as I mentioned above) exactly one week from today!
Lovely cupcakes! Really pretty and delicious looking.
As many of those as I can get for $25 :). I adore roasted chestnuts.
They look amazing! I might even get some to use to decorate my cupcakes. I know my family isn’t that into a whole lot of frosting but scraping some on and plopping on of these gorgeous designs on them are sure to win them over. Thanks for sharing and great blog!
That material girl cupcake is totally cute…and so are the christmas trees, well, actually, all of them! Great idea for quick decor. I’m not a cupcake person either, but this would encourage me to make up a batch just to try out the ticings.
For the nuts, I like http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/christmas-nuts-gifts-baskets/holiday-jovial-dot-pot-gift because we tend to snack a lot on Christmas day…as opposed to eating real meals…and these would be awesome!
Happy Christmas Lisa! XO Elle
Gorgeous! I love the seasonal cupcakes & orange/pistachio cupcake sounds divine.
mmm, yummy cupcakes 🙂
The cupcake tattoos look like a lot of fun! The Christmas variety are my favorites!
I have yet to jump on the cupcake wagon too, only tried once and it was a fail. But those cute penguins make me want to try again. Loved your material girl one! I want some ticings lol!
I like the Holiday Heat & Serve Ceramic Basket best as you get a baking dish too http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/christmas-nuts-gifts-baskets/holiday-heat-serve-ceramic-basket
Well the olive oil cupcake recipe is smashing I make an O.O. cake very similar so I know your cupcakes would of been so delicious and I love that photo of Zach. The stickers for the cupcakes are adorable I like the snowflake the most but the Christmas trees are really useful. Please don’t count me in the giveaways since I live in Australia. Great photos as always. Yours Audax in Sydney.
Lisa Michele!!! Fantastic review… hilarious that the company makes these drop dead gorgeous ticings… that CANNOT be good for you (though they are small and completely irresistible – and apparently tasty, too!) and then they sell all natural sugars and sprinkles. That made me laugh. Really. But, what a fun fun fun product. I am definitely headed over to the website. I love chocolate tattoos and I could picture these on top of a little cookie that had icing on it.
That, I love. I am not a cupcake gal, either… but petit fours and cookies – oooh yeah!
It’s like stickers for cupcakes!
What fun with the decals.
Love the Dried Fruit Flower Arrangement from Oh Nuts 🙂
As for the nut gifts I like this one the most: http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/christmas-nuts-gifts-baskets/holiday-jovial-dot-pot-gift because there are cashews (oh, i love them :)).
I’ve never heard about ticing before but they do look wonderful on your cupcakes. However, I don’t bake them too often – guess in this thingie we’re on the same wave 🙂 but when somebody makes them for me I don’t refuse them, of course 😀
Those are really cute!
Love the photo of your nephew!
How cute are these?!? And finally, a cupcake recipe I want to make. Make sure you enter my giveaway ($100 Visa gift card)! You can find it at http://morelethallydelicious.blogspot.com/2010/11/double-chocolate-scones-100-visa-gift.html. The deadline is Dec. 15th.
ohnuts gc would be beyond perfect for holiday baking, i love to put nuts in almost everything i bake anyway but especially during the holidays!
Ok those Ticings things are completely adorable, and I can’t believe I’ve never heard of that site before. I’m off to check it out right now. I’m pretty good at frosting cupcakes, but artsy decorating is not my strong point, so a set of those would be awesome!
excellent giveaways! i’m liking the combination of nuts, chocolate and dried fruit:
I love the penguin cupcake toppers, SO cute and easy!
Those decorations are so cute! And raspberry sugar sounds way delicious.
This may be a little boring, but these assorted nuts http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/bulk-nuts-seeds/gift-baskets-platters-2/6-section-assorted-nut-platter are my favorite of the Christmas gifts!
i’d love some of those fantastic penguin edible icing sheets! your cupcakes look so adorable! plus, pistachio and olive oil? hell yeah!
Love those beaded divided trays full of goodies on OH Nuts. And the cupcakes…oh my, how adorable and EASY!
Shoot, forgot the url…
I adore their http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/christmas-nuts-gifts-baskets/holiday-jovial-dot-pot-gift so stinking cute.
Love how cute your cupcakes turned out!!
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The cupcakes look great. I’ve never seen a recipe for chocolate creamcheese frosting. I’m definitely going to file that one.
Here’s the basket I like and oh nuts. It has chocolate in addition to the nuts. Can’t beat that combination!
I’ve never tried an olive oil cupcake before but that recipe looks interesting! And those penguins are simply adorable!
I love the http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/christmas-nuts-gifts-baskets/holiday-gift-tower, it looks so beautiful! And the penguin cupcakes are adorable too!!
What fun products! I’m terrible at dressing up my cupcakes, so I need these!
The decorative tin set calls to me: http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/holiday-keepsake-tins-gift
The cupcake decorations look so cute! the olive oil cupcakes sound amazing with pistachios and orange flavor, excellent recipe!
I love the XL Holiday nut and chocolate basket. It’s healthy and it has nuts, dried, chocolate-dipped fruits, Nuts and Chocolate what else can you ask for
I love that cupcake recipe–it sounds so go AND it is pareve. Excellent! Here is that url of the gift basket I liked:
I love Oh Nuts . . .
Pretty! I’m thinking about doing cupcakes instead of cake for my wedding next year, I really like the custom icing idea!
Ohh. My neice loves penquins and loves to bake. Penguin Ticings would be so perfect to give to her, but she would love any of them.
Sugar is one of my favorite ingredients, so the “Gimme Some Sugar” mug loooked like the best gift for me to enjoy at Oh Nuts.
Not a big cupcake person myself but they look very creamy and decorated beautifully. I guess the Ticings really allow one to focus on creating many different cupcake themes. As for your cupcake under all that froo froo – very yummy.
Oh very cute Lisa! The cupcakes too… (Your nephew is gorgeous!)
So cute, those ticings are! I’m not a cupcake baker either; I don’t even own a cupcake pan, in fact. But those decorations are adorable, and I could definitely put them to good use. Did they leave a tattoo on your tongue, I wonder…
Oh, and why do you torture me with things that can’t be delivered to Canada? I’m nuts for nuts, but shipping drives me nuts!
We are going to have to call you a cup cake master now! Those ticings are so cute!!
The penguin toppers are great! And a nut giveaway!? Boy oh boy, yes! I cook with nuts like mad during the holidays, and this is my choice: http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/pistachio-burlap-sack-gift
I haven’t made cupcakes in forever, and this post made me want to go make some right now! And really, everything on Oh Nuts looks good!
Snowflakes? Those are snowflakes? I was all excited because I thought they were Jewish stars! Yay! But I love them (they’ll be the perfect decoration for the Star of David cake I will make with the huge Nordicware Star of David cake mold my friend’s mother gave me. Now won’t that be a kick? And the penguins are way too cute. I must say you did one heck of a fab job decorating all of these cupcakes. Love the colors and the styles you created. Zach is one lucky nephew!
This is too funny!
And scrolling down all of their Hanukkah goodies brought back so many childhood Hanukkah memories of getting treats and dreidls like they have on that page. *sigh* Love it!
Oo… Lisa, I would love to get acquaintance with the beautiful ticing, btw what a huge effort you put on making the review, well done 🙂
OOoh waw, your cupcakes look so cute, lovely & amazing too!
I don’t love to eat frosting but others will love them! Good luck with your give aways!
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Lisa these cupcakes are great and love the decorations…what a great idea! I’d love to try this Ticing…very creative!
Hi LIsa, those decorations look very en-ticing (boom, tish!) I probably live too far for either giveaway so good luck to the rest of you 🙂 Boy, the cupcakes sound good but the white chocolate cream cheese frosting…oh my!
Lisa…I can certainly tell you what kind of cupcake baker I am. Counting on one single hand…I’ve made cupcakes zero times. LOL
Sure, I’ve made my share of tasty muffins…and yet never took a shot at making an icon within the cupcake mania world…go figure!?! Knowing myself…I’m always out of trends and probably will want to make them when they’re less popular. Or, is that even possible? Well, especially not if bakers like yourself explore them in the way you did ;o)
This was a very interesting review. For now, to be fair…I’ll give up my giveway place to someone that’s really into making them. Good luck to everyone 😉
What I will certainly have to make is that orange pistachio cupcake recipe and enjoy them for the fantastic flavours they own ;o)
Ciao for now,
These are so adorable! I haven’t made cupcakes in forever, but this is definitely making me want to rediscover them. So cute!
Those are so cute i like them plus your nephew! Cupcakes are handy and their always at my baking list specially this season where kids are everywhere. Glad you’ve shared this one! Enjoy the season!
those are adorable! i would love to play with them!
Love the ticings! I am a huge cupcake fan and would love a set of those!
Yes..I’m a personal friend, and reallistically, I could just take those ticings cupcake thingies from your place and scamper away lmao! but i’ll be honest and do it the right way, altho I probably wont win! BY THE WAY, you still look gorgeous, even with your pink eye!
Followed you over from Pioneer woman -great blog, and great giveaways!
Orange pistachio olive oil? What? That sounds really good!
I love these appliques, especially the penguin and snowflake.
Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!
I made the orange olive oil cupcakes for my sister’s birthday and they were DIVINE. My new favorite citrus cupcake recipe! The cream cheese frosting is killer too! Thank you, Lisa!!