There was a time, not too long ago, when my family was on a strict diet of zero gluten, zero dairy, and very low sugar. There were certain health issues that made me consider these restrictions. After years of experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn’t seem to make a difference (for my family at least), I can say that a low dairy and relatively low sugar diet works well for us. By relatively low, I mean compared to the SAD (Standard American Diet). So, when I see a recipe that calls for 1 cup of sugar, I immediately half the amount. And you know what? It still tastes great. We don’t even notice that we’re compromising anymore. In fact, our sugar desensitization has left us cringing whenever we taste anything by ‘normal’ sugar standards.
As for gluten? It definitely affects me more than my husband and son. Even still, I believe in moderation, not deprivation. So I enjoy my toast, pancakes, or bagels in the morning but refrain from gluten the rest of the day. My family can enjoy these cupcakes for a couple of days, but then we’ll take a break from refined sugar afterward.
I’m so happy I can bake again with wheat flour. Two years of coconut, almond, brown rice, amaranth and buckwheat flours were quite enough thank you. I don’t miss any of those and will never go back. In fact, I learned that many of those flours actually made things somewhat worse for my family. It’s a long story and a personal one, and I have read the books on why gluten is evil, but for my family it ended up being better for us than the alternatives.
Perhaps as a result of those years of deprivation I now relish baking the usual way, with more happiness than is likely considered normal. And I love baking cakes and cupcakes. It’s something I do when I need things to feel ‘right’ again. It’s fun. It’s creative. And it’s yummy. Win, win and win.
Here are two ways to create easy flower cupcakes, perfect for Easter and the arrival of Spring. I emphasize the word EASY, which is why these cupcakes are so appealing to me. They look amazing and are simple to create. You only need 1 piping tip (bonus!) to create both the rose and hydrangea flowers – the 2D Wilton, which is definitely my favourite decorating tip. Here is the end result:
Once you get the hang of it, these cupcakes can be decorated quickly and easily.
To decorate you’ll need:
- Size 2D Wilton piping tip
- 12-16″ piping bag
- tall glass or container to hold bag
- Dyed icing for the accent colour (choose your favourite)
- White/cream undyed icing
- Baked and cooled cupcakes
As you can see, I chose pink and white for the flowers. I like the simplicity, but if you want to be more adventurous, go ahead and pick two colours – say lavender and blue, or pink and green. I picked up the natural food dye from the Whole Foods bakery counter. It’s not something they sell upfront – you have to ask someone to prepare it for you. It was $5 Canadian for a small container, which is about $1 US (kidding…but not really…).
Prepare your icing bag with the 2D Wilton icing tip. To create the two-tone look, fill your piping bag with the accent colour, in my case pink. Then squish the bag together and open it up. The accent colour will be along the edge of the bag. Place the bag in the large glass for support. Fill the bag with your undyed buttercream. Twist the end of the bag to seal it.
For the rose cupcakes, starting in the middle of the cupcake, squeeze the bag moving in a circular motion to the outer edge.
For the hydrangea cupcakes, start in the middle, applying enough pressure to make a single flower. Then add flowers around it until you reach the cupcake’s edge. Keep the tip close to, but not quite touching the cupcake while making each flower.
Did that make any sense? If not, you may be more of a visual person like me. Or I simply did a bad job of explaining. Either way, I made a video (above) to demonstrate how easy and fun these cupcakes are to make. I hope they brighten your day and set things ‘right.’ Enjoy!
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