News Flash: Sunday is Mother’s Day!
Maybe I am the only mother on the planet who needs that reminder but for some reason Mother’s Day always seems to sneak up on me each year. I am usually late getting cards sent out and I rarely ever get to the store to pick up a gift in time. This is one of those rare years that I actually remembered. In case you are like me and are scrambling for a last minute, inexpensive gift for your mom, I have a fun little simple project you can make; decorated sugar cubes.
These beautiful little cubes can sell for more than $1.00 per cube in retail stores but they are so easy and cheap to make that your mom will think you went all out for her. And the best part is that you can customize your designs for other holidays as well. I made Christmas themed cubes for teacher gifts one year.
You will need to pick up a box of sugar cubes at the grocery store. I bought these C&H Sugar Cubes over a year ago (nothing is too good for my Mom!) and have used them for several different holidays and occasions and there are still plenty left. I can’t remember the exact price but I think I paid around $3.00 for this 2 lb. box of sugar cubes that has 252 cubes in it.
Since these are for Mother’s Day, I am going to give you instructions for making four different spring floral decorated cubes.
Step 1: Make a batch of royal icing.
Click here for a royal icing recipe. Keep in mind that royal icing dries out fast so be sure to always keep your icing covered with a damp towel or plastic wrap when you are not using it. I like to put a small plate on my work table and lay a damp washcloth on it so that I can lay the end of my decorating tip under it when I am not using the decorating bag.
Step 2: Color your icing.
For this project I divided up my icing and colored it lemon yellow, pink, violet, sky blue and leaf green. Be sure that your colors go together well so that your cubes look like they belong together, especially if you want to package them up as a set.
Step 3: Prepare and fill your decorating bags.
If you don’t know how to do this, click on this link for more information on preparing decorating bags.
Step 4: Decorate.
I am going to show you how to make 4 different types of spring flowers; hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and a standard drop flower. The first three will be piped directly on the cubes but the drop flower will get piped on wax paper first then attached to the cube when dried.
Keep in mind that any decoration done on the cubes needs to be small because they are only 1/2 inch in size.
Hyacinth: Attach a #3 tip to your violet filled decorating bag. Pipe a little sausage-like mound in the right upper corner. Place a #2 tip on your green filled decorating bag and pipe a stem coming from the bottom of the mound to the other end of the cube. Switch your #3 tip with a #13 and pipe tiny stars along the sides of the mound. Continue filling in the middle of the mound until it is completely covered with the tiny stars. Finish by piping two long thin leaves, connecting them to the stem.
The finished hyacinth:
Daffodil: Attach a #2 tip to a yellow filled decorating bag. Pipe a small dot in the center of the cube to give you a center point. Change your tip to a #3 and start by piping 3 petals evenly spaced around the cube. Start by squeezing your icing slightly heavier then lightening up on it so that it ends in a point. Follow with 3 more petals, centered in between the first 3. Switch your tip back to the #2 and pipe a small, open circle of icing in the center of the flower. Pipe another circle directly on top of the first one and then finish with a third circle. The additional circles give height to the nose of the flower.
The finished daffodil:
Tulip: Attach a #3 tip to the pink filled decorating bag. Pipe a small mound in the upper left corner of the cube, leaving some room at the top. Switch your tip to a #81 and lay your tip sideways on the right side of the mound so that the back of the tip faces to the right. Pipe a petal along the side of the mound. Switch you tip to the other side so that the back of it faces the left and pipe another petal on the left side of the mound. Now turn your tip so that the faces directly over the mound, with the back of it facing up (it will look like a frown if you look at it from the opposite side of you.) Pipe the final petal overlapping both of the side petals. When you are done with the petals you shouldn’t see the mound anymore since it is just used to give the petals some height. Attach a #2 tip to the green filled decorating bag and pipe a straight stem going from the bottom of the tulip to the other side of the cube. Finish by adding leaves with the same tip but piping with more pressure so that they are slightly thicker than the stem.
The finished tulip:
Drop Flower: Drop flowers are a simple flower that cake decorators often use to make quick space-filling flowers. When done on a cake they can be piped directly on the cake or piped on wax paper and saved for later use. Because the sugar cubes are so small it is easier to pipe them on wax paper and let them dry then attach them to the cubes. You can tape a sheet of wax paper on to the back of a baking sheet to make a work surface. Start by attaching a #129 tip to your blue filled decorating bag. Hold the bag directly above your wax paper, lightly touching the surface. Your hand should be wrapped around the bag so that your knuckles are facing to the left. This picture is taken facing me so you see my knuckles on the right but they are facing my left.
Start to squeeze the bag as you slowly turn it a quarter turn, so that your knuckles now face the back of the bag. Stop your pressure and pull your bag away.
There should be a hole left open in the center.
Take your yellow filled decorating bad, fitted with a #2 tip and pipe a ball in the center of the flower.
Once the flower is dry, carefully lift it off the wax paper with a small spatula or knife. Pipe a small mound of icing on your cube (I used the yellow decorating bag, fitted with the #2 tip) and then gently press your flower on the mound.
Step 5: Package.
If you are having your mother over for dinner or a tea party you can place your sugar cubes on a pretty plate or set them in a sugar bowl.
If you want to give them as a gift instead, you will probably want to package them up. I found this small candy gift box in the cake decorating section at my local Michael’s Craft Store. Make sure that they fit snug in whatever container you choose to put them in or else they will slide around and crumble. The box I used was a little too deep so I cut a piece of styrofoam to fit inside the box and wrapped it in aluminum foil to place underneath the cubes and lift them up. I also could have just filled the box with a bottom layer of non-decorated sugar cubes then placed the decorated ones on top of them.
Before filling the box:
Once the cubes were added:
If you can find a container that has a cellophane window, like this box, it makes for a nice presentation. However you decide to package your sweet cubes, just be careful because they are fragile. I finished my box off by tying a ribbon around the corners. I sure hope my mom likes her gift this year. Of course she has to love it, after all she IS my mom!
Enjoy your moms this Mother’s Day. Remember, being a mom is one of the most difficult jobs there is and is often the most under appreciated so make sure you tell your mom how much you love her and how thankful you are for her.
Until next time, God Bless and Sweet Dreams.