Thursday, 14 July 2011

Sushi Cupcakes

Looking for a healthy snack? Sushi surely has to be on the menu... these cupcakes (or logs to be precise) are fondant-covered chocolate mud cake, cunningly disguised as healthful Japanese bite size sushi pieces.
I had huge fun making them, but it is not a quick undertaking. If you plan on creating some sushi cupcakes, give yourself three or four hours for the decorating process!

The first stage is to cut up your cake... in this case I used a rich chocolate mud cake, but it doesn't matter what type of cake as long as it has density and a fairly fine texture so that you can cut it and shape it easily.
I aimed for logs that were approximately the same size and shape as sushi pieces. Make them a little thinner and lower than you want to end up with - remembering the icing will make them bigger.

Then you need to roll out some white fondant icing and, having measured your chocolate cake logs, check with a ruler that your fondant is wide and long enough to cover the top and all four sides of the log in one piece.

Then dab a little water on the top and sides of the log to stick the fondant firmly, and drape it over the log, working the corners gently and cutting the edges to size. If you need to fold the corners over and there is a visible join, don't worry because this will all be hidden by your RICE GRAINS.

This is possibly the slowest and most ridiculously detailed fondant decoration I have done. I cut individual white fondant logs the size of rice grains (seen here larger than actual size). There reason it's slow is not because of the difficulty - they're not difficult at all. You do, however, need a lot of them. Like, hundreds.

As you are chopping up your rice grains, drop them in a pile of cornflour to make sure they don't stick to each other. They will dry and harden quickly - this is ok - it makes them easier to work with.

When you have enough rice grains, hold one fondant covered log gently by its top and base, and paint it with water to make it sticky, then sprinkle the grains onto it. They should adhere unevenly, like in this picture.
Do one side at a time, all four sides, but don't do the top because you will be covering that with fish, prawns etc.

Do all of your logs at once and have them all ready for the topping. If your rice grains become sticky, dredge them in cornflour again.

Then the fun part begins as you start your toppings!

Egg sushi - roll out bright yellow fondant thinly and cut into rectangles with a ruler. Make them slightly wider and longer than the log, and allow them to drape slightly over the corners like in the pic.

Then roll out some black fondant and cut it into strips. This needs to be very thin so that it resembles the paper-thin seaweed band of the real thing. Drape it carefully over the log, fixing it with a tiny drop of water. Beware do not get the water near the edges of the black band, because the colour will run onto the yellow fondant and look yuck.

Next make the sashimi tuna- easy!

Colour some fondant a pinkish red and roll it out to about .5cm thick. Cut a rectangle about the size of the log, then bend it a little to one side to make the shape a bit curved, and score it down the centre lengthways, then at an acute angle in sets of lines coming off the 'spine', like an arrow shape, for the bones.

For this caviar one you need a circle of cake, not a log shape. Cut a circle of cake with a circle cutter and cover the top and sides with white fondant, as described above. Then thinly roll out some black fondant, cut it into a long strip which is the same width as the height of the cake, and wrap it around the cake, using some water to stick it in place. Make sure there is a small amount of black fondant sitting above the top of the cake to act as a container for the 'caviar'.
For the caviar filling, using red fondant, chop small pieces about the size of a pea and roll them into spheres, then stick them on the top of the cake.
 For my personal favorite, the prawn nigiri sushi, you need to hand-sculpt a prawn body in white fondant - do this by making a cone shape, then flattening it and scoring it down the centre. Then roll the knife blade out of the scored line to create two rounded mounds with the scored line in the centre.

Get a separate piece of fondant and cut it roughly into a heart shape, then fashion the prawn's flat pronged tail from it. Score it with thin parallel lines.

Using some liquid food colour, paint the prawn with parallel stripes of yellow and orange. Use a deeper orange for the tail.

These are the prawn tails all laid out to dry after being painted. I laid them with the tail hanging off the edge of the plate so that they would dry in that shape and look really three-dimensional.

For the salmon nigiri, roll out a piece of pinkish red fondant and lay thin parallel stripes of white fondant on it, then roll again to adhere the two together. Cut rectangles the same size as the sushi logs and lay on top of the log, fixing with a drop of water.

Basically do whatever you can think of - I also did some white ones, as you can see here, and just scored them in a fishbone pattern.
A quick note, I also used a spray on culinary glaze with these - available from cake decorating suppliers. I was a bit suspicious of it, but it appeared to work well - it gave a bit of gloss to the sushi without making the colours run.
Enjoy your healthy snack! :-)


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