Solo Cup Cake
Last week I completed my last cake order for a little while... Yippee!! And I now finally have some time to experiment with some crazy cake ideas that have been floating around in my head. And since summer is here, I decided to go with a summer party theme cake idea! A red solo cup cake! Everything is completely edible, except for the straw ;). Can you imagine the look on your guests face when you serve them a cup of soda for dessert? If you'd like to learn how to make this cake yourself, follow along below :)
To begin working on this cake, I needed to find a mold! And what better mold to use than a real cup! For my cup, I needed it to be clear (you'll see why later), and I wanted it the standard 16 oz size. The best cup for the job was the cheapest brand I could find at my local Giant grocery store. It's Guaranteed Value brand 16 ounce party cups! They work perfectly!
And to ensure the molded material will be able to release from the cup without breaking, I cut a slit down the side of the cup, from the top to the bottom. I broke three edible molds of this cup before figuring out this awesome method! It worked wonders!!!
The cut just runs from the top of the cup down to the bottom. The cut stops just before the bottom of the cup curves under.
To keep the edible molding material from spilling out of the cut in the side of the cup, it must be sealed with tape. Using pieces of tape, fold over one end of the tape and stick it to itself to create an easy pull tab to help remove the tape later (see arrow). Then tape the cut together. The entire cut does not need to be covered - the edible material we will be using is thick and won't run too much. I just used a single piece of tape for my cup, but I recommend at least using 2 pieces - one near the top and one near the center.
And now for the edible molding material... Wilton candy melts!!! These candy melts were so richly colored and were perfect for creating a mold of the party cup!! I chose red to look like the traditional solo cup, but Wilton has a fantastic variety of colors! You could make a whole collection of different colored cups and really fool your guests! Or color them to match your party décor!
Note: if you are finding your candy melts aren't dark enough, or if you'd like to create your own custom colors, feel free to use a little oil candy coloring!
Note #2: And since we are working with candy melts, be sure to work in a nice cool environment, handle the chocolate cup as little as possible with your hands to keep it from melting, and keep cup cool!
Note #3: Since chocolate can be uncertain, try to make the chocolate cups as close to the due date as possible. Personally I wouldn't make them more than 24 hours in advance :)
Next, melt your candy melts according to package directions (I like to do every 30 seconds and stir).
And don't worry, my spoon is not dirty... that orange spot you see is a reflection of me in my orange shirt! Lol! I look like a chunk of carrot!
Using a large paint brush, I scooped up some of the melted candy melts and painted it all over the inside of the cup. Be sure to leave a nice THICK coating! The thicker the coating the more stable it will be. I was able to make it as thick as I wanted in one shot, but if you would like to add the candy melts in layers, feel free to do so. If you add it in layers, your coating will be smoother than my lumpy mess... lol! And be sure to refrigerate the cup in between adding layers to firm it up.
And be sure to watch out for any tiny air bubbles!! This is why a clear cup is so important! Air bubbles will ruin the appearance of your realistic cup. Use your brush to push air bubbles out.
Yay!! Nice smooth bubble-free sides! Be sure to paint the candy melts all the way up to the top of the cup! And I went back and brushed some of it up and slightly over the edge of the rim of the cup to ensure my cup will be tall enough. It's always best to have a little too much than not enough.
Next, refrigerate cup until the melted chocolate is firm (about 30 to 45 minutes).
Once the chocolate has hardened, remove it from the refrigerator. To clean up the edges and ensure a nice even edge, run a sharp knife across the rim of the cup to remove excess chocolate. Be sure to keep knife horizontal.
Now to unmold the cup!! This is the exciting part! To do this, remove the tape by gently pulling on the folded tab.
Next, gently lift on the cut flaps of the cup. You should feel the cup starting to release.
Carefully grab the cup and remove it from the mold.
I have to admit, I was quite surprised at how well this turned out!
And I'd like to remind you again, be sure to handle the cups as little as possible to keep them from melting and to prevent smudges to the nice smooth surface.
Okay, so what's missing from our red cup? The signature white rim! To make the rim, I pressed white fondant through a small round disk in my extruder gun.
And to help the white fondant string adhere to the cup, I used a small paint brush to brush a little water around the rim. The water will not help it adhere strongly to the chocolate, but it will help hold it in place and will be a stronger bond once it dries.
Note: You may be able to use piping gel for this part if you're having trouble with the water. Piping gel will be a little stickier, but be careful to not let it get on any place that will be seen. Keep it hidden under the fondant string.
Next, place your fondant string around the surface edge of the cup. This part is a little difficult to do. It took me about 4 tries to get it right. The best way to do this is to hold the string in one hand, and use your fingers on the other hand to hold the string to the cup and lightly press it in place until it sticks. And work slowly around the cup until the ends have met. Trim excess string, if needed.
Now it's looking better!
Okay! Time to fill the cup! To do this, scoop a little frosting into the bottom of the cup.
Next, set a cupcake inside the cup.
Frost top of cupcake, then set another cupcake on top. Add cupcakes and frost until cake has reached the top of the cup. For this cup, I used 3 cupcakes.
If you'd like more cake, feel free to use a set of round cookie cutters to cut out layers of sheet cake to the proper size. This will take up more space than cupcakes. ;)
And frost the top cupcake. Be sure to leave enough room to cover the buttercream with the "cola".
Note: If you'd like to add a straw to your drink, now would be the time to do it! That way you can smooth the buttercream around the sides of the straw to create a seal and a barrier to protect the cake underneath. The "cola" is runny and will seep down inside the cake and make it soggy unless there is a barrier to block it.
Refrigerate cake for 20 to 30 minutes to firm up frosting before adding the "cola".
While I was digging through my kitchen, trying to find anything that would resemble some sort of soda or other drink to use for this cup, I stumbled upon Hershey's chocolate syrup!! And next to it was a bottle of Diet Coke! And I realized they were the same color! So I poured the Hershey's syrup over the frosting and it looked awesome!!
And it's shiny too!!
But something was still missing... ICE! To make ice, I just melted down some isomalt and formed little ice cubes by hand.
At first I didn't like the way they looked, but then I realized that's the way ice cubes look when they are melting :D
Be sure to add chocolate syrup (soda) and ice just before serving. The isomalt ice cubes will begin to get cloudy after a couple of hours.
Then I added the straw... but make sure you add the straw before adding the cola!! My straw broke the buttercream barrier and then my cola started sinking down a little hole around the straw. Glad this was just for fun ;)
And that's how you make this realistic red solo cup cake!! Look - it's the same color as the Diet Coke!
Serve it with a bottle of soda nearby and fool your friends ;)
And to learn another way to make soda that won't spill, cover cupcake surface with ganache or melted chocolate and refrigerate until firm. Heat a small amount of piping gel in a microwave just until piping gel is runny (about 15 seconds in my microwave). Paint piping gel on the surface of chilled ganache or chocolate and refrigerate. The piping gel will remain shiny for days!! And best of all, it won't spill like the Hershey's syrup would!!
Above is a screenshot from the red solo cup tutorial on youtube. To learn more about the piping gel method, check out the video here and watch until the end. :)
But just be sure to keep it cool and handle it with your hands as little as possible... or it will melt! And be sure to keep the cup from tilting or the syrup (soda) may spill out.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! God bless!!