For my project this month, I’m going to get straight to the point. Because the point is cake, and as everyone knows, cake is a serious business. In its finest form – small and chocolatey – the only real way to improve it is to up the prettiness, which is where Banana Frog comes in.
To dress up my cupcakes, I set about making a little group of paper wraps, fixed simply in place around the outside of each cake case. If your cakes don’t have cases, you can use the wraps on their own, but they’ll look neater if you add a little extra greaseproof paper to keep unwanted spots and stains off your hard work.
So, what to do? The basic shape is a simple curved strip. The exact size and shape will vary depending on the size and shape of your cupcake. To make mine, I whipped up a really quick template from a piece of copier paper. Working in front of a light source (a window during the day, or a good lamp in the evening), I wrapped the whole sheet of paper snugly around one cupcake and held it up to the light so I could see the shape of the cake through the paper. I traced around the top and bottom edges in (very wobbly) pencil, took the paper away and cut along the lines. It's not an exact science, and if your first attempt doesn't fit when you wrap it back around the cupcake, use it to help you make an improved version.
With your template sorted, you’re ready to make as many or as few wrappers as you like. Trace around it onto your chosen paper (thin card works just as well), and cut out. For some of mine I used scallop-edged scissors and for others just a normal pair – combining a mixture of the two is a really easy way to create variety, even if you’re working with a limited colour palette or range of stamps.
The stamping part is where you can get really creative, and I played around with several different sets. Among my favourites was the polka dots stamp from Shimelle’s Backgrounds, partly because it’s so easy stagger the impressions as you stamp around the curved shape without compromising the overall effect, and also because it works on plain, patterned and – in the case of the blue and pink wrapper – die-cut paper.
I also love the idea of adding a little journalling or message spot to the front of a wrapper. I stuck a fun message onto mine, but they’d be equally effective personalised with names for guests at a party or similar event.
Circles also work really well for this project. The hoop shape on the aqua-coloured wrap is from It’s All About Circles, and fitted perfectly around the pattern on my chosen paper. As well as adding extra detail to the print, it also upped the sparkle-factor, courtesy of some glitter embossing powder.
For something different again (although still sticking with the circle theme), I used a layered circle from Build-a-Bloom, this time stamping before I cut out the wrapper. By lining up the centre of each impression with the (lightly pencilled) outline along the top edge, the circles followed the curve perfectly. I embossed them, and then cut around the newly-created scalloped edge with normal scissors, before punching out the centre of each circle as a finishing touch.
Last, but not least – and probably the quickest way of decorating a simple wrapper shape – is just to stamp your favourite icon-style image in the centre. I picked this star from Super Stars, but a heart, flower or even one of the little birds from Greenwich Park would work just as well.
To hold your finished wrapper in place around a cupcake, fix some double-sided tape underneath one short end. Wrap the paper carefully around the cake, overlapping the ends and press the sticky tape down to secure. If you’ve used a heavier paper or cardstock and it feels like the wrapper might pop open, try tying a length of string, raffia or thin ribbon around the centre for a firmer hold.
Inspired? Or maybe just hungry? If it’s the former, we’d love to see your take on a Banana Frog-ed cupcake in the Flickr group. And if it’s the latter. . . I can really only apologise. That, and direct you towards a recipe which seems particularly appropriate in the circumstances.
Until next month, Froglets.