Whether they're for a graduation celebration for a friend who majored in Japanese, a farewell party for a friend headed to Japan to teach English, a book club meeting at which a Japanese novel will be discussed or a housewarming for a friend who's into Japanese culture, Japanese-themed cupcakes are a uniquely delicious treat. Try one of these cute and easy decorating ideas.
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Items in miniature are always cute. Create mini versions of items that relate to Japanese culture such as paper lanterns, Asian lilies, paper fans, chopsticks, dragon, scrolls of Japanese calligraphy, koi fish, cherry blossom, samurai swords and more. You can use icing, fashion them out of fondant or marzipan, or shop in speciality stores or look on line for tiny toy or plastic versions of these items. Then use them as a topper on each cupcake.
Try making three-dimensional cupcakes for your party--ones actually shaped like any of the aforementioned items. Pick one that will be an easy and easily recognisable shape to create, for instance, a cute little fan, fish or lily. Print a large picture of the item you're recreating to reference as you work. Bake cupcakes as normal, cut them the right shape, frost them and use fondant cut-outs and piping technique to add all the necessary finishing details.
Have a Japanese-themed photo put on the cupcakes at the bakery. Simply provide a colour photo, and the bakery will scan it in and reproduce it on the cupcakes. All you have to do is pick a photo to use: a postcard of the Tokyo skyline, a picture of Mount Fuji or a Buddhist temple, a picture of a geisha or Buddhist monk, vacation snapshots taken on Lake Biwa or a poster from a favourite Japanese movie.
Another very simple technique is to fill a piping bag with icing, then pipe onto each cupcake a word in the English language borrowed from the Japanese language. There are several, such as tsunami, karaoke, wasabi, sake, tycoon, origami, sushi, anime, bonsai, haiku, koi, sashimi, tempura, sudoku, tofu, kimono, teriyaki and hibachi. Or, look on line or in a book at a list of Japanese characters, and pipe one onto each cupcake. Add the English translation if you like.
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