During my time here in Massachusetts I have had the privilege of baking for a wonderful group of college students and professors. I have made cakes for them at Christmas parties, graduation parties, and beginning of the year parties....any reason we could come up with to make a cake. In fact, the majority of cakes that you have seen on my blog during the past 3 years have been made for this group of folks. They have always given me the freedom to create any kind of cake I'd like. In return, they have lavished me with praise and always made me feel appreciated for my talents. If any of you are reading this, you have made cake making so much fun!
With the end of the school year I made what is probably my last cake for this group. I decided to go with a Lord of the Rings theme since there are quite a few fans in the group. One of them even speaks a bit of elvish...elvin...whichever. Anyway, the end result was a tower of Lord of the Rings cupcakes with a Hobbit hole feature cake.
Today I'll show you the cupcake toppers.
I chose a few of the icons from the story to make into tiny plaques to go on each cupcake. I found pictures of the Tree of Gondor, the eye of Sauron, the flag of Rohan, and the map of Thorin(not pictured). With the computer, I shrunk the pictures down to approximately 1 1/2 inches by 1 inch. Then I printed the images putting as many as I could fit on an 8 by 10 piece of paper. I had this paper copied as an edible image at my local grocery store. Using a knife and ruler cut out the individual images.
These images need some kind of backer. If you put them directly on the cupcake, they will absorb the moisture from the icing and melt. If you put the images on fondant they will last a little longer, but it is still not good enough. They would be floppy and colors running before the party is over. My solution was to put them on modeling chocolate. Modeling chocolate can be made in any color and will not absorb the moisture of the icing. It also allows you to make the toppers days in advance as long as you keep them out of the sun.
To make the little plaques, I rolled out the modeling chocolate to about 1/8 inch thick. I like to roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper. Once you have the desired thickness, peal away the top layer of parchment. Place the icing images on the modeling chocolate leaving space around each image for a frame. Gently roll over the images with a rolling pin to make sure they are well attached to the chocolate.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut out the images with an eighth of an inch frame. Slide a knife or spatula under the modeling chocolate to release it from the parchment. These little plaques do not need any drying time and can be added to the cupcakes immediately or stored at room temperature out of the sunlight for several days.
Next I'll show you how to make the Hobbit hole!