November 24, 2012 by another1bitesthecrust
It was Sunday night and the Giants were one game away from sweeping the series for the win…not that I’m even a baseball fan but the creation of a batch of simple yet fun cupcakes hinged on them winning.
The Giants pitcher threw out the final, game winning pitch, at which point I diligently got up, turned on the oven and started making the batter (ha! who knew baseball and cupcakes could be so punny!).
Of course, with the good help of my loyal assistant, Google, I looked up some images of baseballs so I could get the stitching just right.
I separated out some of the white buttercream icing and added some red icing color to it, along with some piping gel. The baseball stitches are probably one of the best examples of how helpful piping gel can be – it makes the icing much smoother and allows the small details to be done so much easier. I did a few test stitches on a paper towel to make sure that the icing was a good consistency and that I would get a clean ‘end’ to the stitch when I stopped applying pressure on the piping bag (instead of those annoying times when the icing is too thin and still leaks out, leaving you with a trail of extra icing)
Depending on how I’m going to decorate my cupcakes, I adjust the amount of batter I use for each cupcake. Sometimes a flatter surface is easier to work with (like the “Hoo Dat” cupcakes), but in this case, I definitely wanted a rounded dome shape for the baseballs so I added just a tiny bit more batter to each one. This will probably result in 22 or 23 cupcakes instead of a true two dozen. I can’t remember how many I ultimately ended up with.
Start with a smooth layer of the white icing, then take a toothpick and trace two curved lines (curving into each other) on either side of the cupcake to give yourself a guide for the stitches. This actually ended up being a double bonus for me because not only did it make the stitches easier to place, the faint line that remained afterward actually gave a subtle impression of a seam.
With a small tip (#1 or #2), pipe little V shaped stitches with the red icing along the lines you just traced. Make sure the angle of the Vs follow the curve of the line. I found that the right-hand stitches were far easier than the ones of the left because I’m right handed. It might be worth doing the ones on the right side, then turning the cupcake around so that you end up doing the left-hand stitches as inverted Vs, keeping all the piping work on the right side of the cupcake.
I found two different stitch designs – one with just two inverted curves like I mentioned above, and one with a single line of stitches starting from the bottom left, making their way to the top and curving back down to the bottom right. They both look good but I found it much harder to trace a symmetrical, even line and to keep the stitches consistent in their angle for the second style so I ended up doing almost all the cupcakes with the two separate lines of stitches.
What I really loved about these is that they are just so simple and basic but have a big impact. Everyone instantly recognizes them as baseballs and the cupcake is the perfect size and shape for any type of ball. Now I just have to master the Giants logo and we’ll be set 🙂