This weekend I was invited to a super hero themed birthday party, where the guests were encouraged to come in costume (I might do another entry about my costume from this year, but here's a teaser...I won the costume contest!). I went last year where the theme was Disney (I went as Cruella DeVille), and I saw how much effort the birthday girl put into the party. So I volunteered to bring something and the first thing that came to mind was superhero cupcakes; cupcakes decorated with the logos/insignia of various superheros.
I knew I wanted vibrant colors and clear lines, something I probably wouldn't be able to get from icing/piping alone. I looked online for what other people had made before and there were examples of people using things like fondant, modeling chocolate or candy melts. I was still unsure what I was going to use when I went to the store. There my mother noticed Sugar Sheets, something neither of us had heard of before but looked promising. I bought a variety of bold colors (and some icing for details).
I made a batch of vanilla and a batch of chocolate cupcakes the day of the party and then settled down to try and make some logos. The sugar sheets are each about the size of a normal sheet of paper, individually wrapped and resealable so that you can use a bit at a time and keep the rest from drying out. They taste and feel a bit like dried out plain frosting.
The sheets aren't as thin or delicate as I was worried they might be, but I still had to be careful to keep from breaking or tearing them, especially when it came to smaller pieces or bits that came to sharp points. I was able to cut the shapes I wanted with a small knife, but I'm sure an exacto knife would work great. The website for them and the packaging also recommend using their specifically designed punches that cut shapes out for you.
It was a learning process working with this new medium. I learned that you really need to peel the sheets from their plastic backing BEFORE you cut the shape you want or it is going to be much more difficult to get it off in one pieces. I found that the sheets worked slightly like clay in that if I accidentally tore a bit I could press it back together with the heat and pressure of my fingertip for a non-perfect-but-it-will-do quick fix. Also, frosting made a good adhesive to stick sugar sheet on sugar sheet for the more layered designs.
I found out that my Pom glass was pretty much the same diameter as the top of a cupcake, so I used it as a guide to cut my bottom layer for each logo. I made two of each logo (one for the chocolate and one for vanilla) and worked on one logo at a time to prevent having too many sheets out and drying at the same time. That also meant that if I cut out a good symbol (such as the bat for Batman), I could just trace it for my second cupcake. I made all the logos first and kept them on waxed paper before I finally frosted and topped the cupcakes.
I had a few moments of "I can't believe I am actually spending this much time on each cupcake", but all in all I had a fun time. I kept my laptop open to make sure I got each logo right. Some I skipped over because I didn't have the right colors or because I thought they were too difficult, but I think I ended up with a good variety.
I was very happy with the end result. Can you name all of them? There was some slight bubbling with the tops since I forgot that cupcakes aren't really flat (and it didn't occur to me until later that maybe making nice flat sugar cookies would have been a better idea).
They were a hit at the party! I saw a few people taking pictures of them, which made me smile. I had to actually encourage a few people to eat them and that I wouldn't be offended if they ate my "art". Some people also debated over which to eat, although I know at least one cupcake (the Green Lantern) was eaten by a guy dressed as the Green Lantern (or more specifically, Hal Jordan). Personally, I think the Watchmen one is my favorite.
I would recommend the sugar sheets to people. They were pretty easy and fun to work with and they have a lot of different colors (although keep in mind that each sheet costs almost $4, so if you want a variety of colors it can add up!). I got my at JoAnne's. I plan to at least to come up with an excuse to use what I have leftover...I didn't even end up opening the purple sheet!
I would end this post with saying that I want to do more cake decorating, but since pretty much every post ends with me saying I want to do whatever I talk about more, its starting to get pretty cliche. Oh well!