I host a chili cook-off at work, and this was the third one we've had so far - it is getting bigger and better each year! We had 12 chilis enter the contest and probably about 60 people. Maybe someday I'll post "how to host a chili cook-off" but for now let's take a look at these cute cupcakes I made especially for the event!
I had googled "chili cupcakes" and saw a few chili/crockpot cakes but nothing in the way of chili cupcakes.... so I decided I could certainly make my own.
I decided I wanted to make basic cupcakes with frosting and then have a cute token on the top of them, and I was going to make four types -- red chiles, yellow chiles, blue #1 ribbons, and the GM symbol.
I hadn't used Royal Icing since the Gingerbread House party but I thought that should work out fine - it is an extremely stiff icing that dries hard and keeps its shape and it is good for making little flowers, etc ahead of time, which will be used to decorate a cake later. It's OK for taste but it's nothing you'd want to frost a cake with solely. Royal icing is also sometimes used for frosting cookies.
I mixed four different colors - blue, red, yellow, green and got out my tips that I'd be using for the different shapes, and started piping the shapes onto the parchment paper. It actually went pretty smoothly, and I made several extras in case they didn't dry quite right or if any of them broke accidently.
I let the little cute shapes dry overnight and they were perfect - they popped right off of the parchment paper and they stuck into the frosting without a problem. I think they turned out cute and I'm glad I learned a little bit more about using Royal Icing and making little decorations ahead of time - it works well!
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder (can be found at Michaels)
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
6 tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form, 7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy duty mixer (or 10-12min at high speed with a handheld mixer). Keep all utensils grease free for proper icing consistency. Makes 3 cups (though it seemed a lot less for me!). For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water (this is what I did).