Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Water Color Cupcake Tutorial

"The world is but a canvas to the imagination." -Henry David Thoreau

One of my most popular cake flavor is "Happy Cake."

Everyone loves it - especially the kiddos. It is a simple white cake batter, flavored with almond and/or vanilla with 1/2 cup of colorful jimmies mixed in.

Once you cut into it, it is indeed, "Happy!"

One day while I was mixing up a few "Happy" cupcakes for myself I decided to change things up a bit. Since I am all about change I added mini pearls into the batter, instead of jimmies.

Yes, I like the "Happy Cake" as much as the kiddos.

Let's get started - it is soooooo simple!

Start with a "white" cake batter.

Sprinkle in some Wilton brand mini-mini sugar pearls and leave it undisturbed for approx. 2-3 minutes.

"Lightly" stir a couple strokes. If you stir it too much, it will turn gray as all the color is "fluid" at this point and will mix together.

"Gently" scoop the batter into the cupcake liners - stirring as little as possible.

THIS is what you get! The colors are so vibrant. These cupcakes are so cute they scream, "Serve me naked!" 

But wait...

You need a bit more "sweet," you say? I sure do. Simply fill the cupcakes with buttercream and add a tiny, mini swirl to cover the filling hole. That would be really cute.

Still not enough "sweet" for you, you say? Give "me" more! Make a clear glaze and dip the cupcakes. Add some sugar pearls to the glaze for more color.

What? More "sweet?" Oh, come on. Now you're talking my language. YES.

Bring out the buttercream, baby!

I used four colors of buttercream and "lightly" applied it with a spatula.  

If you combine the colors of the buttercream as you apply it, it too will turn gray. So be careful.

And that's it. That's all you have to do to make beautiful watercolor cupcakes.

But wait….

Do you want to see what happens when you stir too much? Remember, what I told you? Gray?

Notice the gray in the center? 

Yep. I stirred a few strokes too many. Please don't tell.

The colors remained vibrant around the edges. What can we do to fix this?

I set out to see if I could get the same streaking effect in a glaze.

I combined: 1 C powdered sugar, 1 tsp. clear vanilla, along with some cream and water until I got the consistency I wanted. I added the sugar pearls and let it sit. Then I poured it over the cake.

The sugar pearls did not dissolve as easily in the glaze as they did in the cake batter. I guess "sugar" does not dissolve "sugar." 

This was the effect after 10 minutes. An additional 3-4 minutes may have been perfect.

It was difficult to capture the streaking effect on the inside of the cake in the pic but it is subtly there. 

The watercolor effect is more about the "top" of the cupcakes and the "outside" of the cake than the "inside" of the cake.

The denser the cake, the more the streaking will show.

I love the way the glaze covered the cake. There will be more glazed cakes in my future.

"Imagination." It's a cool thing.

Let your imagination take you to places you have never traveled. It will be an interesting ride.


Psssst - This cake happened "by accident. 
Tutorial here.

After I made this very small cake, I discovered the "mini-tier" and have since made several. 
Read about it here!

"Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever." -Walt Disney


  1. I LOVE baking with Nonpareils! These are surely happy cupcakes, Donna!

  2. I love everything on this page!!! xoxoxox SOO PRETTY!!!!!!