Fall is officially here! It’s that time of year when leaves are vibrant with colour, big orange pumpkins adorn every doorstep, and our baking reflects all the beauty that we see around us!
There is nothing like baked goods in the fall-I just love all the spices (hello pumpkin pie spice!) and how good they taste with a hot cup of coffee on a cool morning. I wholeheartedly believe that sharing our homemade desserts with others is a practical and delicious way to show love to those around us. Which is why today I’m sharing about The Big Social 2021 AND these autumn cupcakes with you guys!
What is “The Big Social”?
The Big Social is a national event that brings people together around food and raises funds for low-income communities. It’s a fundraiser where Canadians cook, create, and connect during the month of October to help fight food insecurity! The Big Social supports Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), a national non-profit that works with partners who use food as a tool to build health, belonging, and social justice. There are Community Food Centres across Canada, including NorWest Co-op Community Food Centre in my home city of Winnipeg which is so awesome!
Food is Love
I can’t even tell you how incredibly honoured I am to be partnering with CFCC to raise awareness about this! Can you remember a time in your life when food turned your whole day around? I can! I’ll never forget how loved I felt after giving birth to both my babies, and after my gallbladder surgery, how our church set up meal trains for us. My sleep-deprived husband and I never had to worry about what we were going to eat that day because we knew a hot meal was on its way to us. Talk about feeling SO loved!
How It Works:
There are many ways to help fundraise and spread the word about The Big Social.
- You can register as a host a fun get-together where loved ones gather and eat delicious food and raise money towards your fundraising goal!
- You can cook meals or desserts (like these autumn cupcakes) for others in exchange for donations towards fundraising!
- Or you can donate directly to the Big Social on their website.
Fundraising and Cupcakes
Food 100% brings people together; it shows others that you care and are thinking about them in their time of need! I wanted to use my love for baking and cake decorating to raise awareness for such a great cause. I put together this blog post in hopes to inspire others that giving and fundraising can be fun!
I’ll show you 3 simple ways you can decorate autumn cupcakes! Just think, how fun would it be to host a cupcake decorating party in fundraising efforts for the Big Social? Or even bake these with friends and drop them off to others for donations? Let’s get started!!
Autumn Cupcakes Tutorial
Choose Your Fall-Flavoured Recipe
The first thing you will want to do is choose your favourite fall-themed recipe to bake. I totally recommend these Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting or Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. And the cupcakes you see in the photos are Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
After your cupcakes have baked and cooled and you’ve made your frosting, you’re ready to start decorating and making them looking fancy! I’m talkin’ gorgeous autumn cupcakes you’d find at a bakery! Get excited!
Next, pipe your frosting onto your cupcakes. It’s important to note, if you decided to go with a cream cheese frosting, be sure to add in extra powdered sugar to add stability. Cream cheese frosting is more on the thin-side of frostings and doesn’t hold its shape as easy as other frostings such as American Buttercream. I piped frosting onto the cupcakes using 3 different techniques:
- Rosettes (using Wilton Tip 2D)
- Ruffle Swirls (using Wilton Tip 2D)
- Flat (using Wilton Tip 2A and a spatula)
To pipe rosettes, insert Wilton Tip 2D into a piping bag, and fill with frosting. Hold tip in center of cupcake and with slight pressure, push frosting round and round working your way to the outside.
To pipe ruffle swirls, insert Wilton Tip 2D into piping bag, fill with frosting. Hold tip on outer edge of cupcake and push frosting out, just letting frosting fall onto cupcake, working your way round and up until you reach centre of the cupcake.
To pipe a flat design, insert Wilton Tip 2A into a piping bag, and fill with frosting. This one is the simplest because your goal is to basically get frosting onto the cupcake in a neat circle, at least 1/2 an inch high. Then take your spatula and smooth it out until the surface is nice and flat, so the frosting almost resembles a hockey puck.
Autumn Cupcake Decorating Designs
I came up with 3 simple cupcake-decorating ideas perfect for fall:
- Dark Chocolate Fall Leaves
- Roasted & Chopped Pecans with a Maple Cinnamon Glaze
- Frosting-Piped Fall Leaves
Dark Chocolate Fall Leaves:
For this design you’ll need:
- Dark chocolate wafers/melts
- Piping Bag
- Wilton Tip 3
- Parchment Paper
Melt a handful of dark chocolate in a bowl. Melt in microwave in 15 second increments, stirring after each one until melted. Give it a minute or two to cool, then with a spoon put chocolate into piping bag fitted with Wilton Tip 3. When it comes to piping with melted chocolate, you need to find that sweet spot. If the chocolate is too runny you’ll have a hard time piping the leaves, so wait another minute or so. Then on a sheet of parchment paper, begin piping leaf shapes. Some of them will look pretty wonky, actually most of them probably will–but trust me, once you place them on a cupcake, they suddenly goes from funny-looking to artsy-looking. It’s one of life’s grand mysteries!
Roasted Pecans with a Maple Cinnamon Glaze
For this design you’ll need:
- Oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
- Parchment Paper lined Baking Sheet
- Powdered Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Water or Milk
In a bowl, combine a handful of pecans with a drizzle of oil. Spread out onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees C for 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool before chopping.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and some water/milk. Whisk with a fork; if its too thick, add more water/milk. If it’s too thin then add more powdered sugar.
With a spoon, drizzle glaze on top of cupcakes and then sprinkle autumn cupcakes with chopped pecans.
Frosting-Piped Autumn Leaves
For this design you’ll need:
- Red, Orange, and Yellow Gel Food Coloring
- Wilton Tip 352
- Piping Bag
For this you’ll want to make sure your frosting is on the thicker side, so feel free to mix in more powdered sugar to get a nice pipe-able consistency. Then, divide frosting into 3 bowls. Add drops of red, orange, and yellow to bowls, making 3 colours of frosting that resemble autumn leaves.
Fit a piping bag with Wilton Tip 352. Hold open your piping bag and fold the outside over and pull down so it’s easier to fill. Looking into the piping bag, imagine it is a triangle (3 sides). On one inside edge of the piping bag, spoon in scoop of red frosting, right beside that spoon in a scoop of orange frosting, and then the yellow frosting.
Fold your piping bag back up and twist. On a piece of parchment paper practice piping leaves until all 3 colours are visible. To give the leaves those jagged leaf-like edges, you’ll want to go up and down with the piping bag in tiny little strokes. Once you’ve mastered your leaf-piping, you can now pipe directly onto the cupcakes! I liked putting the leaves on the rosette-cupcakes because it nicely hides the end of the rosette.
Happy Fall Baking!
I hope I inspired you to bake some beautiful cupcakes in hopes of fundraising for The Big Social this year! And I hope these designs were inspiring and helpful to you. If you have any questions at all, please ask me in the comments below or reach out to me on my Instagram. And if you make these cupcakes please tag me in your pics on Instagram! I’d SO love to see them!! Thank you so much everyone. Happy fall baking and happy fundraising. 🙂