Early this month I received an order for mermaid cupcakes. The party was just 3 days out so I popped into Google Images to look for mermaid cupcake ideas. Turns out there are a lot of mermaid tail cupcakes! The trouble? You need a mermaid tail mold. With the tight timeline, I didn’t even have time to confirm with my customer if she liked the idea of mermaid tails. I found a mold I liked, and then just crossed my fingers, dashed off an email telling her I took the leap and ordered while hoping for the best.
A day later I headed out for a one day ski trip with my husband, hoping to return to my mermaid tail molds on Saturday. On our way home Saturday I called the kids and asked if they had arrived. “A package came, Mom, so I think so.” Whew, I thought. I could stick with plan A. Mermaid tail cupcakes it is!
Making the tails
I found a lot of web sites with picture and video tutorials for making mermaid tail cupcakes. The one that I chose to follow was this one from bluprint from the Juniper Cakery. I liked the look of the sand and the smaller dollop of water for frosting. The metallic tail gave it some pizazz!
A lot of reviews for mermaid tail molds and most talked about how hard it was to take the end of the tail out. They are so thin that they break. This was a common refrain in reviews. I’ve worked with chocolate enough times to think that it would be fine for me, but still I was a little anxious about it. Welcome to my mermaid tail adventure!
First, melt white chocolate and tint pink with candy color. Candy color is great! It works for candy of course, but is also possible to use with frosting.
Next it was time to put it into a pastry bag. It is helpful to suspend the bag over a large glass so that it is easy to fill with no spilling. I used a disposable plastic pastry bag with the tip just slightly clipped. This way if the chocolate hardens, I can pop it back into the microwave for a quick reheating.
Now it is time to pipe the tails.
Next it was time to put them in the freezer to harden. This is the part I was hoping would help the removal go well. I had to make 32 of them, so I definitely didn’t want removal to be a challenge.
I popped them into the freezer and when I pulled them out, they popped our really nicely as you can see from the time lapse video. Even with my attention to detail on the edges, I still did need a knife to cut carefully to make sure there was no edge of rough chocolate showing. The large tail was made for fun with the large mold that came in the package.
After the tails came out, it was time to jazz them up. I used the edible metallic paint that I purchased when I made my first unicorn horn cake. This paint works GREAT and it is available in so many different colors. It lasts a long time and dries fairly quickly. After painting the tails silver on the ends, I then used some luster dust to make the scales nice and sparkly. This really gave them the pop that they needed for the cupcakes. The picture below is pre-luster dust.
Time to make the cupcakes
Aviya wanted to have vanilla cupcakes with strawberry frosting for her classroom party. Now, the theme really required that we work with blue frosting, so I felt a little sad as I tinted the strawberry frosting a deep shade of blue, but really it just had to be. I sampled the frosting in blue to make sure that it still tasted like strawberry – sometimes when you change a color your brain can play tricks on you!!
I baked the vanilla cupcakes and arranged them all on a cooling rack to cool.
Decorate your mermaid tail cupcakes
Next it was time to gently cover them with the “sand” for the base. My daughter and I had a conversation about this part. She is my number 1 (and only) employee and she was in baking some other things while I was working on the cupcakes. We waffled on whether to keep the sand concept or just use the “water” with the strawberry frosting. I decorated two test cupcakes and we both agreed that sand was the way to go. It just felt more fun! In the blog that I based these on they used crushed cookies. But, Aviya hadn’t asked for vanilla cookies and cream. I have always enjoyed working with brown sugar for sand. I used a 50/50 mix of brown sugar and white sugar to have a nice sand look.
First I put a very skim coat of vanilla frosting on each cupcake with knife.
After the thin layer of icing was applied, I gently sprinkled the edges of each cupcake with the 50/50 brown sugar and white sugar mix. I left the center free from sand. I realized I needed to do this when I made the test cupcakes and put the strawberry frosting on the top. The frosting fell right off because it had nothing to adhere to with the sand there.
Next it was time to put the water on the cupcakes. Since the water wouldn’t cover the entire cupcake, I focused on making it taller than typical.
I inserted the tails into the water, taking care to submerge them enough that they wouldn’t fall out when transported. You can see in the picture that the tails have a bit of shimmer to them from the luster dust so the scales stand out.
The lat thing to do to finish off the mermaid tails is to add some white and yellow sprinkle balls onto them.