Pitch Perfect cupcakes for real fans who plan to celebrate the sequel
I made these cupcakes because I am so "aca-cited" for Pitch Perfect 2! If you're a fan of the movie or a fan of cake decorating (or both!) give these cupcakes a try. They can be as elaborate as you want because you are creating your own stencils, so pick your favorite moment/character/quote and make it your own.
It can seem daunting at first but once you get the hang of it you will want to use this method over and over. I'm including lots of tips and tricks so you can learn from my mistakes and get beautiful results every time. So take a break from horizontal running, mermaid dancing and acapella riff-off battles and get ready to crush the cupcake game!
Craft knife or small X-Acto knife
Edible glitter, cocoa powder or powdered sugar
Find an image (or 2 or 3 or 4) online. I used movie posters of the Barton Bellas and individual characters. Faces work well because they have a few small details to work with but not so many that it becomes overwhelming.
Once you've selected some images, adjust the color. Turn the exposure way up and increase the contrast until you can easily see the key dark details.
Print the image; I recommend printing 4-6 of the image on one page. This makes it easy to start over if necessary, automatically makes the image about cupcake size and will keep the image quality sharp.
Use painter's tape to secure the image to a cutting mat. If you don't have painter's tape use regular tape but make sure you keep the tape far from the part of the image you are working on.
Use a craft knife to cut out all the dark parts of the image. The whole idea is that you are going to keep the white/lighter parts of the image intact creating a stencil where the dark parts of the image can be recreated on any surface. Start with any outlining features like hair or jawlines. Then work on the obvious details like eyes and mouth. Last, take a look at the image and see which small details add big impact; often things like shadows on the side of the nose or the shape of an eyebrow make a huge difference. At any point you can turn the image over and see what you've exposed, and then adjust from there. As you make your stencils keep in mind: A.) They should be detailed enough to be recognizable but not so detailed that they are hard to decipher or too delicate to work with. B.) Try to keep everything connected; if there are lots of separate pieces the stencils become hard to handle. C) Don't worry about making an exact replica of the original image, use it as a template but feel free to add an extra piece of hair to cover a mistake or add details to give the image more symmetry.
Prepare your cupcakes by trimming the top to create a flat surface.
Frost and smooth out the top of the frosting into a flat, even top.
Put the cupcakes in the freezer for at least 5 minutes before decorating. The icing should be very firm so the stencil can sit on top of the icing without sinking in.
Place the stencil on the cupcake and press it down firmly so it is covering the cupcake.
Use edible glitter or cocoa powder to decorate light frosting and powdered sugar to decorate dark frosting. Sprinkle the powder evenly over the stencil making sure to get every part of it.
Gently peel off the stencil. If you are using a stencil with lots of cutouts, it may be easier to remove it by flipping over the cupcake and peeling off the stencil while the cupcake is upside down so any falling powder falls down rather than back on to the cupcake.
Place the used stencil on a paper towel and gently wipe it off until it is clean before using it again. If the stencil starts to stick to the cupcakes, place them back in the freezer for a few more minutes.