August 6, 2012

"How To" make the Official ParaNorman Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I received a call from Focus Features.  Now as many of you probably would be...I was SUPER excited!  What could they want with me?  Well....they asked me to be the one to create the Official ParaNorman inspired CUPCAKE!!  Without any hesitation of course I said YES!  Even without knowing any details.  :)

Over the next few weeks I worked closely with Focus Features in creating the perfect inspired cupcake.  They even sent us to a Private Screening of the movie a couple weeks prior to the release so we could get a feel for the characters and truly become inspired.  Let me first just say the movie was super cute.  I recommend all of you to go see it when it comes out August 17th!  

After seeing the movie, I definitely became inspired.  However, a lot of you know that I am a very simple decorator.  I don't do tons of fondant pieces and work.  I don't sculpt things. I tend to stay on the simple elegance and let the cupcake still shine through.  With this, I knew I had my job cut out for me as I didn't want to disappoint, but I also wanted to stay true to represent a cupcake that I would really do in my store.  

After a road trip to Las Vegas with my assistant baker Rebecca, we tried the entire trip to figure out the perfect cupcake.  We went over different options and variations.  Our heads were spinning.  Then when we got back from Vegas, we had the most relieving phone call....Focus Features actually made Cupcake Kits to use!!!  This was HEAVEN!  They made a Norman cookie cutter, ParaNorman cupcake liners, toothpick characters and even edible frosting discs with scenes on them.  Our task was now much clearer. We had to create a cupcake using the items they created AND a cupcake using these items but putting a "Goodie Girl" twist on it.  

So I went back to the drawing board and decided that I needed to come up with something that kids could really do.  I didn't want to make anything over complicated.  I wanted this to be fun for the whole family to be able to create...even down to the kids!  Aha...I had it!

After deciding on the idea, I was then asked to come to the Press Junket for ParaNorman at the Hyatt Century City Plaza this past weekend to not only be filmed/photographed for the "How To" shots, but also to be able to attend the junket, take pictures with the scenes from the actual film, and meet a lot of the people behind the movie.  What a treat!  I think my favorite part was seeing the set.  It is the most incredible thing I have ever seen.  I couldn't believe how tiny everything was and to learn how they made it all and that it took over 3 years to make this movie...just INCREDIBLE!  

So without further ado ..... I present the "How To" make your very own ParaNorman Cupcakes!  ENJOY!  Oh and if you are in the Glendale area on opening week (August 14th - August 19th) we will have these scrumptious cupcakes in store to purchase!  Bring the kids in and have a ParaNorman Treat!!  Oh and a huge THANK YOU to Focus Features for having myself and Goodie Girls Cupcakes represent your brand and movie.  It was an honor!

"How To" make the Official ParaNorman Cupcakes:

What you will need: Your ParaNorman Cupcake Kit.  Your favorite baked cupcakes.  A white based frosting.  Green food coloring. Purple Sanding Sugar.  Yellow Rock Candy Sugar.  Disco Dusts in the following colors: Gold, Black, and Royal Purple.  A small bowl of Water.  A small Bone Cookie Cutter.  Fondant roller.  Silpat.  Parchment Paper.  Brown Fondant.  A standard small paint brush.  A fan paint brush.  Piping bag.  Ateco #809 Round tip (or you may use a butter knife/spatula).

Step 1: Make your favorite white based frosting and tint the frosting any shade of your favorite green for ParaNorman.

Step 2: To make the frosting sheet decorations, cut out a round piece of fondant with a same size cookie cutter round as the frosting sheet in the ParaNorman Cupcake Kit.  To apply the frosting sheet to the fondant, dampen the fondant slightly with a little water and peel the frosting sheet from it's backing.  Gently place the frosting sheet on the fondant and smooth out with your fingers.  Set aside on a piece of Parchment Paper to dry for 24 hours or until the fondant becomes hard.  Tip: place frosting sheets in freezer to allow easier ability to peel the frosting sheet from the backing.

Step 3: Chef Annette Starbuck's assembly: frost the cupcake using a round frosting tip (you may also use a butter knife or spatula to frost if you do not have a round tip).  Once frosted, but before the frosting dries, place your dried fondant piece on top.  

Step 4: To make Norman's head cut out, roll out a brown piece of fondant.  Use the Norman cookie cutter in the ParaNorman Cupcake Kit and cut.  Place fondant piece on Parchment Paper and allow up to 24 hours to dry or until fondant hardens.

Step 5: Chef Annette Starbuck's assembly: Frost your favorite baked cupcake (Tip: bake your cupcakes in a normal cupcake liner and place the cupcakes once baked in a ParaNorman liner) with your green frosting in a round tip (you may also use a butter knife or spatula if you do not have a round tip).  Once frosted, but before frosting dries, place the hardened Norman head on top.

To make Chef Annette Starbuck's Official ParaNorman Cupcake:

Step 1: To make the ParaNorman sign, roll out brown fondant.  Brush fondant lightly with water.  Place the frosting sheet provided in the ParaNorman Cupcake Kit on top of the brown fondant.  Take a small bone cookie cutter (or a cutter of your choice) and cut out the ParaNorman Logo.  Place the cut out on a piece of Parchment Paper to dry for 24 hours or until hardened.  

Step 2: To make Chef Annette Starbuck's signature Norman head, roll out brown fondant.  Once rolled, cut out Norman's head with the provided Norman cookie cutter from your ParaNorman Cupcake Kit.  Brush fondant gently with water.  Dust the Norman head with gold Disco Dust.  Allow to dry on Parchment Paper for 24 hours or until hardened.

Step 3: Frost your favorite baked Cupcake with your ParaNorman green frosting using a piping bag and large round tip.  (Chef Annette Starbuck uses an Ateco #809).

Step 4: Once frosted, add yellow rock candy and purple sanding sugar to make a mound for Norman to stand on.

Step 5: Chef Annette Starbuck's assembly: Take your Cupcake frosted with the ParaNorman green frosting topped with your sugars and place the Gold Disco Dusted Norman head towards the back standing up.  Place Norman's friends toothpicks in back of the Norman head sticking out.  This will also help keep Norman's head in the upright position.  Place the ParaNorman sign cutout right in front of the sugars on the frosting.  Place the Norman toothpick on top of the sugars.  To finish the cupcake "Goodie Girls" style, dust the top with Royal Purple and Black Disco Dusts for the added sparkle!  And that is how Chef Annette Starbuck from Goodie Girls Cupcakes makes the Official ParaNorman Cupcake.