"You don't have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy a cupcake - although you might find that sharing a batch makes even an ordinary day seem that much more sweet."- Martha Stewart

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Idea

So I promised a new idea I heard about. I believe this came from a Martha Stewart web site. A fun new idea for cupcake wrappers is to use a piece of parchment paper. What a fun idea, I think I will have to try this out. I only wish I had known about this a couple of days ago when I was baking away only to discover I had run short of cupcake wrappers :( I will let you know how I do when I try them out.

Pink Birthday Cupcakes

My free samples for my husband's colleagues paid off :) One of his co-workers ordered 2 dozen chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting for her daughter's birthday. Pretty easy, think I can handle that. Once I got them decorated I thought they needed a bit more so I put some pretty little yellow flowers on them and I think they turned out perfect :)

David's Birthday

So my good friend asked for some help in making some fondant decals for her little boys birthday. Evidently he is quite into Ben 10 and she wanted to make some little omnitrix for his cupcakes. First I had to figure out what an omnitrix even was :) The omnitrix is attached to ben 10's wrist and with it he can turn himself into 10(although more are added with time) aliens so he can fight evil aliens and save the world. That's the ultra-simple explanation that I was given :) Long story short, her attempt at making cupcakes became a bit overwhelming so I stepped in and took over the project. She would have done great, I just thought I'd be a good friend and let her have a bit of a break. I think they turned out pretty cute despite a few little setbacks.

These are the omnitrix after they have been put on the cupcakes. It's hard to tell from the picture but these are the extra large cupcakes and the fondant piece covered the entire thing so they were each quite large.

I decided they were too cute to just sit on a platter, so I covered the smallest of my cupcake boxes with black paper and used that as a center piece to elevate a couple of the cupcakes. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the entire thing all put together. I also made a Happy Birthday sign that attached to two wooden dowels and stuck inside of the cupcakes sitting on top of the box. The sign is below.

For this I used a yellow piece of cardstock and then decoupaged it. It made it shiny and a little more stiff. We had cut the letters out of fondant so I outlined the letters with black piping gel to help them stand out against the yellow paper. The sign stood up on top of the cupcakes on the box.

Kim's Wedding

This is the first wedding I had scheduled for this summer and originally it was going to be a three tier cake, but the bride decided she wanted cupcakes and I'm so glad she changed her mind. I think her "cake" turned out beautiful! I'm going to start encouraging the cupcakes :) If you read the previous post about the cupcake boxes and their purpose, this is the event they were created for! It was hard to get a straight on view of the cake after I had it set up so all of the pictures look like it was slanting but really it was just the angle of the camera. It was an outdoor wedding held in the middle of the afternoon so I suggested they not move the cake table outside until they were ready to serve, simply because buttercream frosting and heat do not mix.

This is the entire thing all set up. Her colors were black and white with red accents. It was a beautiful combination.

I covered the boxes in different patterns of black and white scrapbook paper and then used artificial red cherry blossoms to accent in red. I had thought about lining the bottom of each layer of boxes with red ribbon, I decided against and am so glad. I think it would have really detracted from the overall appearance and made it look to busy.

This is prior to putting the artificial flowers on. I think they really made a big difference in appearance since Kim opted for very simple appearing cupcakes.

The cupcakes: 1/3 chocolate, 1/3 vanilla, 1/3 marble. I used the silver wrappers which again I think really added a pleasing look. I used silver sugar sprinkles and then added a red royal icing flower. Much to my dismay I found out that the little silver balls are now outlawed in CA. I think they would have looked nice, however, I still think they turned out fine with the sprinkles.

This is the top of the cake. I didn't have good lighting trying to get an upclose so it is a little bright. I used the same artificial blossoms in red and white for the top of the cake and Kim had gotten the silver wedding hearts to go in the middle.

More Flowers

I've been on sort of a flower kick lately. I made some really pretty yellow daisies and some more little yellow flowers like the blue forget-me-nots. They are so fun to make, although a bit time consuming when you make in batches of 500 :)

Blog Time

Alas, my one follower :) I have not forgotten you! I have been soooo busy making cakes and cupcakes I haven't even had time to post them :( But do not fear, I have time set aside this afternoon to get caught up. I have lots of fun stuff to show you and even a fun new idea I read about that I want to share :) So until this afternoon, please don't give up on me :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Black & White Cupcake Boxes

I started working on my cupcake boxes for my upcoming wedding this weekend. I learned a new trick and thought I would share. When cutting the paper for the sides if you cut it about a half an inch taller than the side of the wood, when you glue it down you can fold the excess over the top. When you glue the top pieces down lay them all the way to the edge of the wood and overlap the side pieces. This really helps to create a very nice clean edge on the top, which is what most people will see. Now, I'm trying to figure out how to make nice clean corners and I think I have it figured out in my mind but unfortunately I thought about it too late to try it on this set of boxes. I guess that'll just have to be another post :) I also figured out that have a base layer of paper already down really helped the second layer to stick much better.

This is a picture of the side piece of paper overlapping the top edge, and then on the sides of it you can see how clean it looks once you glue the top pieces down.

I Have A Follower!!!

Woohoo, I am so excited! I officially have my first follower! Congrats Carole :) For being my first follower you win...um, I'm not sure yet, but when I figure it out, YOU are the winner :)

Trying Out Some New Flavors

I guess I got kind of bored (not sure how) and decided it was time to try out some new cupcake flavors. I can't possibly promote cupcake flavors and not know how they taste, right??? So, I decided to use my husband's co-workers as my guinea pigs. I set out to make 3 or 4 new flavors and somehow ended up at 9! By the end of the day I was thinking it was a bit over the top, but once they were all done I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I typically make the standard size cupcake but this time I attempted some of the mini-cupcakes too. I thought they would be too small to put a filling in but managed to make it work :) So here are some fun new pictures.

"Dulce de Leche"
What is not to love about this cupcake! The picture really doesn't do justice to the caramel drizzled on top of the sweet cream frosting on top of the caramel vanilla cupcake! Yep, caramel baked into the cupcake :)

This one is called "Banana Split" It is a banana cupcake filled with a chocolate buttercream filling. I added some strawberry/vanilla buttercream and a cherry on top.

This was inspired by my husband's love for 50/50 bars. I personally don't like orange flavored anything besides oranges but he said this hit the spot. I call it "Orange Creamsicle". I'm sure you can guess it is an orange cupcake with an orange cream cheese frosting. I had a hard time figuring out the garnish but ultimately decided on some orange sprinkles and an orange royal icing flower.

This is a "Peanut Butter Banana" cupcake. Tasty stuff right there :) Banana cupcake with peanut butter fluff topped with peanut butter chips.

This one is called "Lemonade". Lemon cupcake topped with lemonade fluff! I topped it with a royal icing daisy! The mini-version of this cupcake was too small for the daisy so I just had little 5 petal flowers out of royal frosting I put on them.

"Raspberry Lemonade"
Lemon cupcake with a raspberry buttercream frosting, fresh raspberry on top.

"Rocky Road"
Another one after my heart! Chocolate cupcake filled with marshmallow creme topped with a chocolate buttercream. Chopped almonds and mini marshmallows on top.

"Chocolate Banana Milkshake"
This is my most favorite milkshake of all time so I had to do a cupcake! Banana cupcake with creamy milk chocolate buttercream, topped with mini chocolate chips.

"Black Forest"
This one is inspired by my mom. My mom loves chocolate covered cherries, really anything with chocolate and cherries. You start with a rich chocolate cupcake filled with cherries, add some chocolate buttercream and another cherry on top.

This is just a picture of all 9 flavors togethers with their mini-versions.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cupcakes for Fun

I recently received my first order of wedding cupcakes as the entire cake with just one tier on the top for the bride and groom. I had looked online extensively doing research to learn how to set it up. There are several different stands and things available to display your cupcakes on. My thought was to use nesting boxes turned upside down and stacked on each other. Luckily, I decided to test out my idea well in advance of the wedding date, because my idea didn't work. The boxes did indeed stack nicely on each other however there was no room along the edges to put cupcakes. I even tried to line them all up on a corner in the back so that cupcakes would just be put along two sides but there still wasn't room for a cupcake to sit on the ledge. So, I began trying to think of another idea. I decided that my idea worked of nesting boxes, just my store bought boxes didn't allow for enough of a ledge for the cupcakes to sit on. So I decided to make my own boxes.

Of course that required the help of my favorite handy man, my dad! So we purchased a piece of plywood, heavy duty, and set about to turn it into stacking boxes. I figured I needed a 3.5" ledge all the way around the box for the cupcakes to sit on. So I started with a 5" box on the top. that would allow for approximately 3-4 cupcakes to sit on top if they were to be the topper. So if my first box was a 5"x5" my second box needed to add 3.5" all the way around, so I made a 12"x12" box. I made each box 4" tall so that you could still see about an inch or so of the box above the cupcake. My third box was 19"x19" and my fourth box was 26"x26". That created 5 layers that cupcakes could sit on. I figured that would handle plenty of cupcakes for what I needed.

After we got all of the boxes cut, glued and stapled together I sanded them and painted them. I wanted to have a finished product to start applying cupcakes to. My next idea then was to cover each side of the boxes and the ledge where the cupcakes would sit with scrapbook paper to match whatever theme/event the cupcakes were for. I was a little unsure what product would work the best to attach the scrapbook paper to painted plywood. A friend suggested Mod Podge.

By this point I had the boxes made, sanded, and painted. I had the idea for how to apply scrapbook paper and I had an event to use the boxes. However, the event was for a wedding and I really didn't think it was a good idea to wait to try out my boxes for a wedding someone was paying me to do the cupcakes for. So, I decided to have my own party and try out my cupcakes boxes :) I invited a bunch of friends over and started working on my boxes. I had a bunch of scrapbook paper already at home so I decided to make this party fun and festive. I found coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper and did each layer of my cupcake boxes in a different color. The bottom layers was in blue, the middle layer was in pink, and the top layer was in purple. Obviously I didn't need to use all the layers of my boxes to try it out so I took out the 5" layer and only used the larger 3 layers.

When I started applying the scrapbook paper I first used glue stick to get the paper to stay on the box just temporarily while I put the mod podge on. I learned a couple of things about putting on the scrapbook paper. One thing was that mod podge does not come off your table very easily so protect the surface you are working on :) The second thing was that I needed to go slowly and take my time to ensure that I didn't get wrinkles in the paper as I brushed on the mod podge. Other than that, I think things turned out fairly well. I liked the surface it created after the mod podge dried because I was able to wipe it off with a wet cloth. Here is a picture of the completed project with the cupcakes on it.

After I got my boxes all ready I realized I needed to make some cupcakes to go on top of my boxes. One of my good friends makes some of the yummiest cupcakes so I used her as inspiration and started creating cupcakes. I made four different kinds of cupcakes. This is a picture of the oreo cookie cupcake. I made chocolate cupcakes and after they cooled I scooped out the centers. Then I blended about 15 oreos into crumbly pieces in the blender. The texture was a little too dry for my liking so I add a large spoonful of french vanilla cool whip to the oreos and mixed it all up together. Then I filled each of the hollowed out cupcakes with the oreo cookie mix and let it chill in the refrigerator. After it had chilled for a couple of hours I made a chocolate cream frosting and piled it up on top and then add half of an oreo cookie as garnishment.

The second kind I made was peanut butter cookie. I love peanut butter so I had no choice but to create one with peanut butter. For this one I made a vanilla cupcake and again hollowed out the center. Then separately I made peanut butter cookies but I cooked them in little balls instead of flattening them. While the cookies were still hot from the oven I filled each cupcake with a cookie. Since they were still warm I was able to mold the cookie to fill up the whole space inside the cupcake. I frosted it with a peanut butter buttercream frosting and then crumbled cooled peanut butter cookies over the top. You definitely needed some milk with these :)

The third kind of cupcake I called Berrylicious. The berrylicious was in both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. First, I filled the cupcakes with a mix of fresh strawberries and raspberries. Then I blended more berries together and added some powdered sugar to sweeten them. I had planned on this being the frosting but it was much too runny so I just filled the rest of the centers with this add made a smooth top across the top of the cupcake. I made some fluffy vanilla frosting and piled it high on top and added a fresh raspberry. The last kind of cupcake was limeade colada. I made coconut cupcakes and then made a whipped lime frosting with lime zest and then put a fresh lime sliver on the top. They were soooo yummy :)

I found a fun new blog called Bakerella. The web address is www.bakerella.blogspot.com. She makes these really fun things called cakepops. There are tons of different shapes and characters you can create. She had a really fun one for Mother's Day in the shape of flowers. So I decided I would try it out as the topper to my cupcake boxes. First you bake a boxed cake according to the directions. After it cools completely you crumble it all up and add one container of vanilla frosting. Then you shape it into little 1" balls and put them in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour or so. When they are done chilling you shape each ball into a cylinder shape. You stick a sucker stick into the bottom of it and then dip the cake ball into melted white candy melts. This took longer than I expected because the candy melts didn't cool very quickly so it kept running everywhere. After I dipped all of the cylinders into the candy melts I left them to cool. I decided it would speed the process up if I stuck them in the freezer. About 2 hours later I pulled them out of the freezer to begin creating my "flowers". Much to my horror as soon as I pulled them out of the freezer they began sweating as they came back to room temperature! I thought I had completely ruined them. Much to my surprise though, the candy melts stayed hardened and the sweating didn't cause any problems, other than putting me behind schedule for creating my flowers :) I let the cupcake pops return completely to room temperature then attempted creating the flowers. I had bought some Good 'n Plenty's to make the petals of the flowers and some different colored gumballs to be the centers of the flower. I had to stick each piece of candy into the melted candy melts and then hold it onto my cupcake pop and allow the candy melt to cool. This was a very tedious process. I had made about 60 cupcake pops but with the amount of time it took to apply all of the candies and such I only ended up with 12 cupcake flower pops. Here is a picture of the completed cupcake pops. I used a gree styrofoam cube and draped it with a piece of white fondant and then stuck the sucker sticks inside of the cube to keep them upright.

Here is a picture of the cupcake flower pops in progress.

Jori's Wedding Cake

In addition to the 120 cupcakes Jori wanted we also did a three tier funfetti cake with buttercream frosting and fondant. It was an outdoor wedding late in the afternoon and so of course my first concern was how the cake and frosting would hold up in the heat. I never bake my cakes ahead of time and freeze them because I want them to be as fresh as possible, but I was tempted this time simply to help keep them cold in the heat. Instead of freezing them, though, I just kept them refrigerated unless I was actively working on that individual cake. Unfortunately, the heat still got to the cakes and they started to droop a little. I had put wooden dowels in each layer to help support it but they still leaned some. These pictures are before I fixed the leaning.

This is a picture of all of the cakes and cupcakes awaiting frosting.

This is a picture of the whole cake before I fixed the leaning. You can also see the cupcakes scattered around the cake table.

The bottom layer had light and dark blue fondant stripes with a shell border on the bottom and royal icing flowers the same as on the cupcakes.

The middle layer had a layer of dark blue fondant cut into the shape of waves with a smaller layer of light blue fondant waves put on top. Again we put the same shell border with royal icing flowers.

The top layer was the same as the bottom using light and dark blue fondant stripes with the same border.

Jori's Wedding Cupcakes

Cupcakes are definitely the hot item for weddings right now. Jori wanted a three tier wedding cake with cupcakes to make up the difference to feed her guests. Jori requested Funfetti cake with buttercream frosting and then we added royal icing flowers to the tops of the cupcakes.

We did light and dark blue Forget-me-nots. We put three on each cupcake so I made about 500 flowers total. We also put some on the cake. I made them about a week ahead of time so they would have time to dry and also so I wouldn't be so busy the week of the cake.

This is what 500 forget-me-nots looked like on my kitchen table. It was all I could do to keep my family from eating them.

This is the end result of the cupcakes. I painstakingly smooth frosted each cupcake because Jori liked the smooth look of fondant but didn't want that on her cupcakes. I made sure my icing was thin so it would be sure and smooth out nicely. And within a couple of hours the frosting had a nice hardened top on it and they looked perfect and smooth with the flowers on top.

Sari's 12th Birthday

Just before my daughters 12th birthday we had received RockBand as a gift. It is one of our family's favorite past times. So for her birthday we decided to have a RockBand party. She invited over a bunch of friends and they all hung out and played RockBand. So I wanted to do a RockBand cake for her. I thought about doing just the guitar or the drums or something but I really wanted to make her cake unique. So I set out to do our entire family playing RockBand made out of fondant. My original idea was to make our entire living room out of fondant including couches and tv and everything. Once I got started I quickly decided against that :) So we ended up with our family on a rug playing Rockband. I baked a half sheet cake and did a double layer and then made all of the figures on the top out of fondant. The people came together fairly easily. I used toothpicks to hold them together. The clothes were the hardest part. I definitely need to work on that some more. I freehanded the guitar just by looking at our real one. The drums I used little cookie cutters to achieve the perfect circle. The drums were probably my favorite part to make. The train is not out of fondant. I started making the fondant pieces about a week ahead of time because I never planned on anyone eating the fondant. The fondant pieces were gone before the cake was :) The birthday girl is at the microphone with dad singing back up, Mom is on the guitar, sister is on the drums, and her brother is sitting on the floor playing with his trains which is what he usually does when we all play RockBand. This was a really fun cake to make :)

Ezra's 2nd Birthday

This was a cake for my nephews 2nd birthday. He dearly loves Mickey Mouse and once again if I had been in tune with Ace of Cakes I would have made a cake shaped like Mickey. This is a half sheet cake with buttercream frosting and I freehanded Mickey. His mouth is a little out of proportion but other than that it turned out good. Ezra liked it and that was what counted.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Michael's 1st Birthday

This was my nephew's first birthday cake. I saw this idea in one of my wilton books and thought it looked like so much fun. It is a round cake with green buttercream frosting. If you frost it smooth but a thick coat of frosting and then take your spatula and make short swipes pressing down gently you can achieve the fish scale look. I used gummy orange wedges for the gills on the side and on the top and also for the fish tail in the back. I put purple gum drop candies sporadically for a contrasting polka dot effect. I also used the orange wedges for the lips but they were very hard to keep in place. And since this was Mikey's 1st birthday he got a cake of his own. I just used the wilton #1 pan and decorated it using the same colors as the fish to keep with the theme.


About Me

My photo
Craig and I met at "Ricks College" in 1994. We were married in San Diego in June of 1995 which means we will celebrate our 18th anniversary this year. Time flies when you're having fun. We lived in Idaho for about 2 years after we were married. Sari was born in Idaho. We moved to California shortly after she was born. We've lived here for about 16 years. Ashlie and Tyler joined our family in California. We have lots of fun just relaxing and hanging out. If you are interested in seeing some of my cake creations you can follow my blog at www.letsbakesomecake.blogspot.com or find me on Facebook, I'm "The Cake Lady"!