I love to decorate my kids birthday cakes. Always have. I think it’s so much fun to take whatever idea they have for a theme and try to make something awesome for their birthday. Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of stuff, from fondant to renting the character cake pans to making my own candy decorations. That’s what I did for this birthday.
I first tried this technique a couple of years ago for my then 4 year olds Superhero party and my 6 year olds Princess party. They had a joint party, but they definitely both wanted THEIR theme for the cake! So I decided cupcakes were the way to go. But of course I couldn’t just go buy some candies to stick on top. That would be WAY too easy. Noooo, I needed to figure out a way to make something cool. Sometimes the need to DIY that I have is super annoying. But now I have a fun way to make cupcakes that, admittedly, takes quite a while to accomplish. I’m such a nerd. But, if you’re like me and get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction from making a fun birthday cake, you’ll like making these too!
When looking into decorating options 2 years ago, I discovered candy melts. I use the Wilton ones, and they are great for making your own decorations. They melt quickly and easily, and can be re-melted as many times as necessary if they start to harden while you’re working. You can also use candy food colouring to tint the white candy melts. That’s what I did because I didn’t want a giant bag of each colour.
The concept here is pretty simple, and the superhero candies I made were really fast and easy. Basically you find picture that you like, I used the Batman and Superman logos, and then print off a sheet with about six of them on it, each about 1.5-2 inches wide. You then tape the sheet to your counter or table, and tape a piece of wax paper over top. Then using a piping bag, or a ziplock with the corner snipped off, follow the colours on the logos and fill in the picture. The candy hardens really quickly so you don’t really need to worry too much about the colours bleeding together, as long as you give it a few minutes between colours.
Once you have done all the colours in your picture you let it dry, I left it overnight to be sure, and then you can peel them off the wax paper and stick them into the icing on your cupcake. The back side, the side stuck to the wax paper, actually looks better then the front, since it’s completely flat. So if you are doing something like a Superman logo, make sure to print off the mirror image so that when you turn it around it’s the right way. As you can see in the pictures, I didn’t realize the back side would look better and it bothered me to no end that the Superman ones didn’t look as pretty as the Batman ones since I couldn’t flip them over. I’m sure the 4 year olds were really disappointed too!
So those are pretty quick and easy. Then I tried to do some princess ones. And they just looked ridiculous when I tried to pipe the picture as there was just too much detail. You can’t pipe small enough to actually make Cinderella look like Cinderella rather than a blob of colour! But at that point my heart was set on matching Princess cupcakes so I needed to find a way to do it. Out came the paintbrush. I know, I’m crazy. But it worked!
What I needed to do was work almost backwards. I started with the finest details, and using the paintbrush just followed the picture to put in the different colours. As you add colours, it doesn’t matter if you cover what’s already been laid down. The back, or top, of the candy won’t look like your picture, but when you peel it up the picture is there. So the last colour I did was actually the background behind the princess. I piped the entire flower shape, covering everything I had already done. That way the detail work with the paintbrush shows on the front, but piping a solid colour over top fills in all the background, and makes the candy thick enough to be able to peel it up without breaking it.
Now obviously two years ago, it did not occur to me to take pictures of this process. So this year when my 3 year old informed me that he wanted a Pluto party, I was thrilled! I’d get to make cupcake candy toppers again! And I could take pictures this time! Yes, I’m a nerd, but really, so fun.
Anyways, I made some Pluto and paw print candies for his party, and took pictures of the process. The pictures are a bit dark, as I find it easiest to work on these on my kitchen island where the light isn’t great for pictures, but you can at least see the process, since I’m not sure how great my explanation is! At first I was just going to make Pluto’s head, but when I peeled off the first one, his ears broke off, so I added the green oval behind him. I actually liked it better that way, so it worked out.
DIY Candy Cupcake Toppers