Topping your cupcakes for Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be difficult—it can even be fun! Working with gum paste is like working with playdough for grownups. (The best part is it’s even edible when you get done!) This is part Thanksgiving recipe and part Thanksgiving DIY, but it's 100% fun and delicious. Try this recipe/DIY this year for a great dessert to make the occasion really festive!
servings: 24 cupcakes
- 1 box cake mix, and accompanying ingredients
- 4 cups white decorator icing
- 24 cupcake wrappers in yellow and orange, or other fall colors
- 1 pound gum paste
- light brown (or tan) food coloring
- straw yellow food coloring
- red food coloring
- orange food coloring
- green food coloring
- parchment paper
- large star decorator tip
- pastry bag
- shortening (like Crisco)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F and mix up the cake batter according to the box or recipe directions. Line a cupcake pan with yellow and orange cupcake liners.
Step 2: Fill each cavity in the cupcake pan about 3/4 full of batter, you should get 24 cupcakes from one cake mix.
Step 3: Bake the cupcakes according to the directions on the package or recipe. This is sually at about 350F for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off check to see if they’re done, they may take an additional couple minutes. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Step 4: Take the cupcakes out of the oven ans let them cool for a minute or two in the pan. After two minutes, gently lift them out of the pan and place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Step 5: Add a few drops the light brown (or tan) food coloring to make the icing a very light brown or tan color.
Step 6: Color your gum paste. Divide up your gum paste using the following guide for coloring:
- 1/3 of the gum paste orange (for pumpkins)
- 1/4 of the gum paste straw yellow (for the cornucopias)
- a small amount of the gum paste red for apples, about a silver dollar size ball
- a small amount of the gum paste green for green apples and leaves, about a silver dollar size ball
Step 6 Tip: To make each color add a small amount of food coloring to the gum paste, then pull and twist it with your fingers until the food color is worked in. If the gum paste is too stiff to work with, you can add a little shortening (like Crisco) to make it more pliable and easier to work with. Just keep adding food coloring, drop by drop, until the gum paste is the color you want it to be. Keep the colored gum paste in plastic bags when you’re not working with it so it won’t dry out too quickly.
Step 7: To make the cornucopias, roll the straw colored gum paste between your fingers to form a long string, about 1/4 inch around and 12 inches long. Wrap the gum paste string around your finger a couple times, then keep wrapping it around and around, spiraling it inward and getting a little smaller with each wrap to form the cornucopia. Repeat the process to make as many cornucopias as you want (about 12 if you’re making 24 cupcakes). Set them aside to dry.
Step 8: Make the apples by rolling a very small amount of red or green gum paste into balls, each about the size of a pea. Make two red and one green apple for each cornucopia. Make little leaves by tearing off a small pinhead size piece of green gum paste. Flatten the bits of green gum paste and add it to the top of the apple.
Step 9: Make smaller round pumpkins to add to your cornucopia, by rolling balls of orange gum paste about the size of a nickel. Make about 12.
Step 10: Make larger round pumpkins to top some of the cupcakes by rolling balls of orange gum paste about the size of a quarter. Make about 12.
Step 11: Use a toothpick to make the grooves in the pumpkins. Carefully roll the side of the toothpick down the side of the gum paste pumpkin to form a line. Repeat the process every 1/8 to 1/4 inch all the way around each pumpkin.
Step 12: Use a small amount of green fondant to make a stem and a leaf for each pumpkin.
Step 13: Decorate the cupcakes with the decorator icing. Aattach a star-shaped decorating tip to a pastry bag to swirl the icing from the outside in on each cupcake.
Step 14: Assemble your cornucopias on top of half of the cupcakes. Place one cornucopia, with one small pumpkin, two red apples and one or two green apples coming out of the opening of the cornucopia on the top of each cupcake.
Step 15: Add the larger pumpkins to the top of the other half of the cupcakes.
Step 16: Alternate the pumpkin and cornucopia cupcakes on your serving tray for a beautiful Thanksgiving cupcake display.