Many of you have asked, and since it is a cool little trick, I'll tell you the secret to my dot cake. I picked up this tip while working on a polka dot birthday party for Martha Stewart Kids (see the cupcake image above, shot by Gentl and Hyers) It's still one of my favorite stories.. and the inspiration for Bee's party tomorrow.
Instead of piping directly onto the cupcakes, our food editor piped royal icing onto parchment paper and let it harden. After letting it sit overnight, you can pick up the dots and place them wherever you like. Great for people like me who get nervous piping! I've used this for numbers and letters too... in fact we made monogrammed cupcakes for my sister's wedding using this technique.
Make a batch of royal icing and match the colors of your party as well as you can. Mixing colors is kind of an art in itself, and one I certainly have not mastered. My advice is to start slow, it's easy to add more color, but impossible to go backwards. I picked three colors from Bee's invitation: orange, peachy pink, and a brighter salmon pink. Scoop the icing into a piping bag and using a small round tip, pipe dots of different sizes onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
You can see that mine are not perfect circles.. my icing was a bit on the runny side. Next time I'll go a little thicker. Leave them overnight to harden and then carefully pick them up with a thin spatula and place them wherever you like on your cake. I made Bee's white cake with two 6" layers.. I love the proportions of a 6" cake, taller but with thicker layers than a standard layer cake, it's a perfect kid-sized cake. Frost with your favorite frosting and add your dots where you see fit. I try to serve the cake in the next hour or so. (Leave the cake out at room temperature.. I'm not sure, but I think if you put it in the fridge overnight, the color on the dots might run).
I made a large batch of dots. Half were used on the cake for our family party and the rest will be used for cupcakes at her friend party tomorrow. Speaking of, I better get baking! I've got cupcakes to make and mobiles to hang!
I almost forgot to point out the coolest part of this trick: If you are piping letters or numbers and your piping skills could use a little improvement, print out the letters on a sheet of paper and slide it under the parchment sheet.. it will serve as a guide for you to follow with your piping bag. And if you mess up, just start over again!