It will come as a surprise to no one that I get my geekiness from my father. My childhood memories are punctuated by the Star Trek: The Next Generation theme song playing at bedtime, Star Wars on weekends, and Doctor Who.
This Father's Day, I went in with my mom to get my dad a shiny, new, flat screen TV, but felt like I should still give him something else. Since I'm into this cake decorating thing at the moment, I thought: CUPCAKES! Then I had a brilliant plan: STAR TREK CUPCAKES!
I google'd for some inspiration, and liked these ones
and these ones
quite a bit. To make them more my own, I decided to make the whole TNG-style badge (with the oval) out of fondant, and after talking to my mom, decided not to color the icing (like in the second link). For fun, though I got some red, yellow and blue colored cupcake cups instead, to act as "uniforms". Since I knew the badge-making was going to suck up most of my time, I decided to just go ahead and buy vanilla cake mix (my dad is a big fan of vanilla).
I found a reference image for the badge online (again, Google)
, and cut two of them out of card stock: one just of the oval, and one of the triangular shape. This is where I wish I'd thought ahead a little more and gotten some stuff to make actual cutters--I cut out every single oval and every single triangular-deal (does that part have a proper Star Trek name?) BY HAND, tracing around the edges of my card stock cut-out with a small spatula. It took forever (I made 25 total).
After that, I painted each oval gold and each triangular do-dad silver. This is where I encountered another problem. I had purchased the Wilton pearl dusts to accomplish this, and the back of the packaging says that if you want to paint with it, just to add a little bit of clear vanilla or vodka, etc. No dice. At first I thought I had just gotten my dust/vodka ratio wrong, but no matter what I did, I just couldn't get either the silver OR the gold to be paint-like/dense. I did four layers of each color and gave up. I thought they still looked pretty acceptable:
After the paint dried, I attached the two pieces together with gum glue. Voila!
I baked the cupcakes (of course) following the package directions (thanks, Betty Crocker!). I wanted the ultimate vanilla experience, so I had decided to use a recipe I had found online for some Vanilla Bean Buttercream Frosting
. Nom nom nom. The recipe says it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream, so I was excited. However, it called for vanilla bean paste, which I had quite an adventure finding (I finally got it at Whole Foods, and it was not cheap--but I wanted my fancy Father's Day cupcakes to be perfect!)
I tripled the recipe to account for the massive amount of cupcakes I had (29!) It was simple enough, and when it was done I took a little taste...and was so disappointed :( It just tasted like powdered sugar! I couldn't detect the vanilla at all! I decided to add in a little more vanilla bean paste and a little vanilla extract, and it got a little better, but still wasn't as yummy as I wanted. I ended up adding even more vanilla extract, the tiniest bit (seriously, a drop) of butter flavoring, and then ALL THE CINNAMON. Seriously--TONS. I finally got it to my flavor expectations and it was DELICIOUS! Despite the recipe's vanilla failings, its consistency is fantastic--light and fluffy and not TOO sweet.
Nom nom nom. Seriously, ALL the cinnamon. I can't even begin to guess the amounts....
Then, just before I went over my parents house to celebrate, I topped each cupcake with its badge.
My dad saw this picture and said, "Look at them all lined up like little soldiers!" Ha!
The only other problem I've had is that while the fondant had originally dried and was hard, it got kinda soft from sitting on the icing--I'd probably do a 50/50 fondant-gum paste mixture the next time. I also need to figure out some other kind of edible "paint" so that things are a little more vibrant next time. All in all, though, I'm pretty proud ;)