gudetama birthday for a sickie ::::
Poor Sky-Girl was sick on her birthday. And the day after. And the next few days after that.
Though we held onto the ice cream cake for a few days before she felt like eating it and cancelled the weekend birthday party, she was still mildly motivated to help make cupcakes. Well, she cracked the eggs, then walked away to rest on the couch.
I can’t blame her. When you feel sick, even the lure of sugar isn’t going to help much, even with my sugar-obsessed kids.
I think the lure was really the cupcake subject. Since we visited Japan in 2017, Gudetama has been a favorite in our household. He is one of Sanrio’s cartoony creations: a lazy, depressed egg yolk that lies around naked with a bacon blanket and complains about life. He’s the best. Without a mention from me, Sky-Girl brought up over a month ago that she wanted to have a Gudetama-themed birthday party. I figured cute cupcakes with his sad little yolk face on them would go over better than hiring a creepy cos-play character sighing with sadness that his destiny is to be eaten.
Gudetama is the antithesis of Sky-Girl. She is generally a happy kid, with moments of stormy sky. If you need a cuddle or a kiss, she is your kid. Her analysis of the world, even at an early six years old, seems both young and wise with a tacit understanding of how things work. It is her mind, unclouded and fresh, that I think about at night sometimes. One that I wish I could swoop into more often, to dwell on the details of the world.
Mommy, when you cut my hair, it sounds like you are cutting a watermelon.
Mommy, that ant is a fire ant because it is orange.
Daddy, at the very least, [insert whatever here, as Eat was too distracted to remember what was said after her correct use of “at the very least”].
Keep being curious, sweet Sky-Girl. You give me good ideas about how to see the world all the time. The sparkle in your eye refocuses me to what’s important, even when it doesn’t seem like I’m paying attention. I love you. xxoo
The technical stuff: I used the meringue frosting recipe from Fork To Belly’s Gudetama cupcake blog post at http://www.forktobelly.com/2015/11/09/gudetama-cupcakes/. She made her own cupcakes and used marzipan to shape the faces. The royal icing recipe is from Sweet Sugar Belle, the recipe of which I’ve used many times on sugar cookie decorating adventures: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2014/02/royal-icing-for-cookie-decorating/. See my Chima Laval sugar cookies, kitty sugar cookies, dress and shoe sugar cookies, lavender sugar cookies, beach sugar cookies, black bee sugar cookies, and painter’s palette sugar cookies for my other royal icing art.
Two years ago: bourbon cherries (My prep for our trip to Japan in 2017. We celebrated Sky-Girl’s fourth birthday at Mount Fuji.)
Three years ago: minnie mouse cake roll (for her third birthday)
Four years ago: hello kitty cake roll (the second birthday)
Four and a half years ago: We celebrated Sky-Girl’s first birthday about six months late and it coincided with the blog’s fourth anniversary: pandan chiffon cake
Five years ago: goodbye, california!
Six years ago: mummy’s fudgy chocolate oatmeal bars recipe – and our new arrival (the birth of Sky-Girl)
- FOR THE CUPCAKES: Choose your favorite cupcake recipe. I used a boxed lemon cake mix that made 24 cupcakes. For children's birthdays, I've long since abandoned cake from scratch. Kids (and some adults) are merely using the cake as a vehicle-into-mouth for frosting, the cake often licked clean and left for the trash. Take your time making cake only if people will appreciate (=eat) it.
- FOR THE ROYAL ICING FACE TOPPERS (from sweet sugar belle blog): 1 pound (454 g) confectioner's sugar
- 2½ tablespoons (about 25 g) meringue powder
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons oil-free extract (I like vanilla)
- ¼ to scant ¾ cups warm water (go slowly on this -- see instructions)
- FOR THE FROSTING (from fork to belly blog): 4 egg whites
- 280g granulated sugar
- a pinch of cream of tartar or ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar
- FOR THE EXTRAS (FAKE BACON TOPPER): Use red-colored sour belts gummy candy, cut into two-inch strips.
- Black edible ink pen (find this in baking stores/aisles)
- FOR THE CUPCAKES: Bake your cupcakes in cupcake liners and allow to cool completely before assembly.
- FOR THE ROYAL ICING FACE TOPPERS: Stir the flavoring/extract into half the water.
- Using a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, gently mix the sugar and meringue powder. No need to sift.
- With the mixer on its lowest setting slowly add the water/flavoring mix to the sugar/meringue. The icing will become thick and lumpy.
- Continue to add the remaining water, little by little, until the mixture reaches a thick, honey like consistency. You may not need all of the water, so watch carefully.
- Now, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip 2 to 4 minutes until icing is thick and fluffy. Mixing time can vary greatly so watch carefully and stop mixing when the icing forms soft peaks. This makes about 2½ cups. This keeps for a week well wrapped at room temperature.
- You will not need all the royal icing for 24 (and some extra) toppers. Decide if you want to save some of the untinted royal icing for other projects and set aside. Three-fourths of the entire mix is enough for Gudetama's face. Tint with yellow > orange > dot of brown food coloring gels (I like Americolor). Mix well.
- By teaspoon, add water to loosen the royal icing so it's not too thick but not runny. You want it to between flood and stiff consistency. It needs to be loose enough to be able to make a decent circle or oval, not be too runny. If it is, just chalk it up to Gudetama's lazy egg persona. The tip does not need to be small. If using a metal piping tip, size 6 works well, though smaller is ok. See my past sugar cookie royal icing posts for more info on consistency or visit Sweet Sugar Belle's website.
- Using your preferred set-up (parchment cone, small-nibbed bottle, piping bag with metal tip), pipe circles and ovals about 2 to 3 cm in diameter, respectively. A macaron template under a silicon mat works well as a guide.
- FOR THE FROSTING: Set up a double boiler / bain marie.
- In the top of the double boiler, combine the sugar, egg whites, and cream of tartar (or vinegar).
- Making sure the bowl does not touch the boiling water, whisk the slurry constantly until the sugar has completely dissolved. Run a small bit of the mixture between a thumb and finger: it should feel smooth like silk without grit. This may take about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the bowl back to the stand mixer (or, if using a different bowl, scrape into the stand mixer bowl quickly). Beat the mixture on high until it thickens into firm peaks. I like a little looseness but not dripping. It will be like marshmallow fluff.
- PRE-ASSEMBLY: Using food edible ink, draw a sad Gudetama face on each completely hardened yellow oval/circle. You could alternatively use black royal icing -- but there is more drying time involved which I didn't want to deal with. The black royal icing would need to be piped with a very fine tip too -- too much work for me.
- FOR THE ASSEMBLY: Use an Offset spatula to swirl on the meringue frosting on each completely cooled cupcake. Top with a Gudetama face in the middle and strip of "bacon" on the edge.
- The frosting will crust if left out unwrapped -- it doesn't affect the flavor but consistency isn't as soft and mallowy.