Favorite Quote Ever :)

Life is short. Eat more cake!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Christmas Tree Toppers

Sadly, my very last Christmas cupcakes :( I surely have enjoyed trying out different flavors and decorating styles this year! These were for my family's get-together - gingerbread cupcakes with brown sugar cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream and gum paste Christmas tree toppers!

Ladybug First Birthday

So I had to dig out of the piles of Christmas wrapping paper and toys to find my cake decorating tools, but so glad I did for this fun project! A ladybug themed First Birthday! There were three dozen cupcakes (one dozen fresh strawberry, one dozen chocolate, one dozen vanilla) all with vanilla buttercream frosting, fondant ladybugs, fondant leaves and fondant toppers bearing the number "1". Then the Birthday girl had her very own matching vanilla "smash cake" with vanilla buttercream frosting and fondant accents! I had such fun on this Birthday theme!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Cupcakes

Yes, I have been enjoying my snowflake cutter/embosser this year - can you tell just a little? :) Peppermint Mocha cupcakes with gum paste snowflakes - some brushed with a lemon flavoring/luster dust paint in shades of purple, blue and white - loved playing around with colors a bit! I added white sparkling sugar to a few of the cupcakes as well.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

Yes, I know - yet another cupcake...but in my defense it's another coffee-infused cupcake! When I saw the recipe by Bakers Royale, I knew at some point in time before Christmas was upon us I'd have to try these out! Coffee-infused, gingerbread cupcakes with a light lemon cream cheese frosting, edged with gingerbread cookie crumbs and topped off with a small army of gingerbread men - what could be more perfect for the Holidays? And to top it all off - your house will smell absolutely divine while they're baking!! You can find the recipe here on the Bakers Royale blog: http://www.bakersroyale.com/cupcakes/gingerbread-latte-cupcakes/

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snowflake Cupcakes

Finally got to use the pretty sparkly snowflake toppers I made! Yay! Cupcakes for Austin's teachers proved the perfect opportunity to use these sparkly beauties! I made my peppermint mocha cupcakes (chocolate espresso cupcakes with white chocolate peppermint buttercream) and topped them with gum paste snowflakes with a touch of shimmer dust and white sprinkles - just right for a Winter treat!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Sugared Cranberry Cupcakes

So I'd had this idea in mind for a while, but as I'm really not that much of a cranberry person...it had to grow on me! Finally, curiosity just got the better of me (plus I had a cute idea for decorating these cupcakes) and I just had to try them! I used my vanilla bean cupcake recipe, then added the fresh cranberry filling, my vanilla bean buttercream and finally, sugared cranberries and sugared fondant holly leaves! I just couldn't have been happier with not only how cute and festive these cupcakes looked, but I was pleasantly surprised with the taste of the filling as well! A little on the tart side, but definitely not too much! I may have to give cranberries another shot after all! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Am I the only one who loves chocolate oranges at Christmastime? I can't be the only one. I mean, the stores do seem to sell quite a few of them after all! Chocolate oranges were always a tradition between my Dad and I when I was young - every Christmas would find him bringing one home for me and he'd crack it open and we'd share the slices - ah, a chocoholic in the making :) When I purchased some Orange Cream flavoring a few weeks ago, I just knew it was destined for cupcake greatness! I started with dark chocolate cupcakes (even threw in a little espresso powder for added kick), then frosted them with cream cheese frosting (with my orange cream flavoring mixed in) added dark chocolate sprinkles and finally - a slice of chocolate orange! And I must say, the overall flavor was quite tasty!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Disney Princess Cupcakes

Really had fun with this cupcake theme! Trying to figure out the most iconic symbols of each princess and portraying them accurately was a fun challenge! Fresh strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream (just love that natural pink color!) with fondant toppers representing different Disney Princesses! There's an apple for Snow White, the glass slipper for Cinderella, a seashell for Ariel, a rose for Belle, Sleeping Beauty's crown and the magic lamp for Jasmine.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taylor's Rainbow Doodle Cake

So my little girl turned 8 last week - really and truly where does the time go? In my mind, she should still be the little three-foot-tall terror chasing after her brother, trying to keep up! Now she's dangerously close to being as tall as he is (which he's not happy about at two years' her senior)! I first found the idea for this cake on Sweetapolita's blog (one of my absolute favorites!!) and Taylor just fell in love with it! Multi-colored vanilla cake layers with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream filling, covered in plain white fondant - then the fun begins! Taylor used food color markers to cover the outside of her cake however she pleased - a number "8" appeared, a sunshine, her favorite numbers, all our names - she even shared the fun with big brother :) And then when we cut the cake...wow! What a fun present was inside! Happy Birthday to my (big) little girl!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes (Take Two!)

I'd recently purchased some super cute cupcake liners from one of my favorite stores, Bake It Pretty, and thought making a batch of these cupcakes would be an excellent opportunity to put them to use! Mocha cupcakes with my white chocolate peppermint buttercream, topped off by peppermint candies. Loved the way they looked in these little baking cups!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Candy Land Princess Birthday

This was a pretty good sized order for me - cake plus four dozen cupcakes - but such a fun one to do! I have been dying to make a "candy" themed cake! So glad I finally got my chance :) The cake was vanilla buttermilk with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant. With the exception of a few sour skittles, all the details on the cake were fondant. The crown was gum paste with the Birthday girls' name and age! There were two dozen vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and coordinating gum paste toppers and also two dozen vanilla cupcakes with fresh strawberry buttercream frosting. Loved this party theme!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Duke Hospital Auxiliary Cupcakes

This was a super fun project! Not only did I have the task of creating tiny "Pink Smock" toppers for a Duke Hospital Auxiliary meeting, but I was also given a recipe to try for the cupcakes - one I'd never attempted before :) Fresh apple-pecan cupcakes with a swirl of cream cheese frosting, half topped with pearl sprinkles, half topped with hand cut gum paste/fondant toppers in the Auxiliary store's emblem, a Pink Smock!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Miss Matched Birthday Cake

Another re-do of a previously made birthday cake - but somehow, it doesn't get old! :) Birthday cake in my "Little Miss Matched" style but slightly different colors. Bottom tier was chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, top tier was vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream filling, both covered in fondant. The curli-ques on top were gum paste, all other details were fondant.

Car/Desert Roadway Birthday Cake

This was such a fun little cake to do! Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with all fondant details. The birthday boy was turning 2, hence the road signs reading, "Speed Limit 2"! (Thought that was such a fun little detail!) Mom was planning on adding toy cars to the road on top of the cake at the party.

Another Angry Birds Cake!

Wow, have these ever been popular this year! Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream crumb coat, covered in fondant with all fondant details. One thing about it, I'm getting plenty of practice with my modeling which is always a good thing :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Daisy Topper Cupcakes

I have to admit, before receiving this request I'd never heard of PEO International, but after doing a little research - wow! It truly sounds like such a wonderful organization furthering the education of women! These cupcakes were for a local branch's meeting - fresh strawberry cupcakes with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream and gum paste/fondant toppers with the PEO name and daisy emblem. Really enjoyed working on these cupcakes and learning more about this organization!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream (Recipe)

Please don't get me wrong - I am NOT trying to rush the Holidays upon us at all with this post!! Just thinking in the essence of my love of planning ahead (and assuming that there are others out there who might like to do the same) I thought I'd share what was one of my favorite recipes from last Christmas! I paired this with one of my favorite chocolate cupcakes, but I just have to say - if you're a fan of the peppermint Hershey Kisses that come out right about this time of year (the red and white striped ones?) you MUST try this frosting recipe!!! You will be in love! I topped my cupcakes with peppermints, which turned out quite lovely - however, I will say that once they spent some time in the fridge the peppermints turned (for lack of a better word) "goopy" and the red coloring actually ran off the peppermint!! Thinking if I make more of these this year, I might just use some of the Peppermint Hershey Kisses instead :)

White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream
12 ounces butter, softened
4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Red food coloring (optional)
Peppermint candies

Prepare the buttercream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioner's sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled white chocolate until well combined. Add enough of the heavy cream until the buttercream reaches your desired consistency for piping or spreading and beat on high speed for 1 minute more. Beat in 1-2 teaspoons peppermint extract (depending on how strong you want the peppermint flavor to be.) Color with red food coloring, if desired. (I used a small paint brush to stripe the inside of my decorating bag before placing the icing inside it to achieve the candy stripe look of my icing swirls on my cupcakes.)
Pipe or spread the buttercream decoratively onto the cupcakes and top with a peppermint candy or crushed peppermint candies.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NC State University Cupcakes

As a Tarheel fan I feel I have a confession to make. I was working on these cupcake toppers during the big football match-up between State and Carolina. And my beloved Tarheels lost said football game. Badly. Payback for me having worked on these toppers? I dearly hope not lol! Vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and gum paste NC State toppers!

Hot Fudge Sundae Decorated Cupcakes

These were very similar to the "Cherry on Top" cupcakes I made before, but slightly modified to reflect more of a Hot Fudge Sundae look :) Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream filling covered with fondant and all fondant details.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Angry Birds Cupcakes

You know, I thought already having done my Son's Angry Birds cake I wouldn't have had so much fun on these cupcakes...couldn't have been more wrong! Loved working on these! Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and hand formed gum paste toppers.

Small Zebra Print Birthday Cake

This was such a cute little cake! Marble cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream filling, covered in fondant with a zebra print pattern. All the details were fondant as well :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

I made these for the cake walk at our church's Fall Carnival - had so much fun working on the toppers :) Pumpkin spice cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese icing and fondant toppers with buttercream details!

Batman Cake

This was the same Batman cake I've done before but slightly altered for someone who prefers more buttercream :) Vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream filling and icing. Fondant details.

Another Year Down the Drain Birthday Cake

I have not stopped laughing since I received the request for this cake - still chuckle when I look at the picture :) Vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream filling and icing and a very special topper made out of rice krispie treats, coated in buttercream then covered with fondant! The "rolls" of paper were fondant as well. Hope the Birthday guy enjoyed the joke! ;)

Not So Scary Halloween Birthday Cake

Mom requested a design that used Halloween colors and theme, but nothing too scary so this is what I came up with! Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling covered in fondant with all fondant details. The one exception was the topper which was a fondant/gum paste mixture. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

We all know I'm pumpkin crazy (and if you didn't before...well, you do now) so when I found this recipe by blogger Brown Eyed Baker, I've SO been looking forward to trying it out! A breakfast treat for my daughter's teachers proved the perfect opportunity :) A pumpkin muffin filled with all the most wonderful spices, cinnamon cream cheese filling and a cinnamon streusel topping completed this breakfast treat! I will most definitely be making this again and I strongly encourage you to try it out as well! *Note - I did omit the pecans listed in the original recipe as there were nut allergies at school and the streusel was still outrageously delicious! http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/10/18/pumpkin-cream-cheese-muffins-pecan-streusel/

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Batman Birthday Cake

Fun cake to do for a little Batman fan's 3rd Birthday! Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling covered in fondant - all the accents were fondant as well.

Anniversary Cupcakes

These cupcakes were such a fun project to work on!! Again, one of my favorite tasks - matching to the decor! Vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream all decorated to match the decor for the party. There were even two special cupcakes for the couple of honor - Hello Kitty topper for her, since she loves Hello Kitty and a Georgia "G" topper for him since he's a huge Bulldog fan!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pokemon Cupcakes

Gotta tell ya, this is one game/cartoon/movement that you have to wonder - is it EVER going to end?! I mean, really - Pokemon have been around ever since my Nephews were little - and no, I'm not going to say how long ago that was, but trust me it was quite a while ago! Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting for a Pokemon fan's Birthday! All the Pokemon and the Pokeballs were hand made/cut using fondant or a fondant/gum paste mixture. Some of the details I hand painted using icing colors mixed with lemon flavoring. Really enjoyed working on these and figured I did a pretty good job when I got the nod of approval from my kids!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mother-Daughter Bonding over Zombie Cupcakes

Yes, you read that title correctly! :) This isn't your "traditional" mother-daughter bonding experience perhaps, but that's okay! As a Mom who loves to bake, decorate and loves zombie tv I suppose I'm not your traditional Mom lol! Last night was the season premiere of one of my favorite series, The Walking Dead and to celebrate I thought it would be fun to make some zombie cupcakes (and sure, it's pretty appropriate given the time of year as well!) My little girl wanted to help, so we made it a team effort! She picked the flavor - chocolate cupcakes, of course (girl after my own heart!!) and we stuck with vanilla buttercream for the icing since I'd need to color it for the decorations I had planned. Taylor really enjoyed helping me on these - measuring out ingredients, sifting the flour - she was in Heaven! Maybe I've got a right hand-in the making! :) I decided to decorate half the cupcakes with my grass tip with zombie hands I purchased from Bake It Pretty, the other half as brains 'cause well...zombies love braaaaiiiins! As I'm coloring the icing for my brains I have to laugh at myself deliberating over whether "peach" or "light copper" would be more appropriate for brain color - never ran into that one before! Loved how these turned out and had so much fun making these with my little helper!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dora Princess Castle Cake

Such a fun, girlie cake to work on! A Dora the Explorer Princess castle cake for a little girl turning 5 :) Bottom tier was chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream filling, top tier was vanilla funfetti cake with vanilla buttercream filling all covered in fondant. The castle towers were gum paste and all other accents were fondant, with the exception of Dora and Boots who were picked up at a toy store!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cat in the Hat Cake

Wow, was this ever a challenge! Here is my 2nd (and FINAL) entry for the 2011 NC State Fair for Decorated Cakes - my attempt at replicating a design by Andrea's Sweet Cakes. I've always admired the extreme perfection of Andrea's cake boards - if you know her work, not only are her cakes to the letter - but her boards are always perfectly coordinated - just gorgeous!! This year with my two State Fair entries was really my first attempt at covering cake boards with anything close to that type of precision, so a fun learning experience there to be sure! There are definitely parts of this cake I'd like to have improved upon, but overall I was quite pleased with how my first effort of this type of cake turned out. I think I had the most fun with the hand painted details - and this really surprised me as this was the part that terrified me the most! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Angry Birds Birthday Cake

Well, it finally happened. My baby turned 10 years old! Can't believe he's that old already - trying to grow up so fast!(If they only knew, right?!) As my Dad would say, he's now officially a ten-ager (insert appropriate dad-joke groan here). This year my buddy requested an Angry Birds cake as that's his FAVORITE game on my phone whenever he gets hold of it :) He wanted a vanilla cake with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream as well, so that's exactly what he got! I hand formed the birds using a fondant/gum paste mixture and since those doggone pigs get on my nerves, I didn't feel they deserved to be 3-D, so I just put them on the side of the cake :) He was pretty excited and we all enjoyed the yummy cake (and tried not to dwell on how quickly the years are flying by!!) Happy Birthday to my Buddy!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday Cake

Loved replicating this Pink Cake Box design for a special little guy's Birthday! Bottom tier was chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, top tier was vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream filling both covered with fondant. Thomas was hand formed using a fondant/gum paste mixture as were the other two trains. All other details on the cake were made using fondant. Hope this made the little engineer's day! :)

Tigger Birthday Cake

Such a fun little cake to work on! Cake for a Tigger fan's Birthday :) Fresh strawberry cake with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream filling covered in green fondant. Tigger was hand formed with a gum paste/fondant mixture and I then hand painted his signature stripes! Also added a few fondant presents for him and "Tigger" in orange fondant letters which I also gave a painted stripe as well!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

Mmm...pumpkin. It cannot officially be Fall until I see a few of these lovelies out and about on steps (or at least in your local grocery store which can happen as early as July) but even more than the pumkin itself...when I hear that long awaited confirmation, "Yes! We'll have the Pumpkin Spice Latte starting next week! (so stop asking, pesky coffee junkie)" at my local Starbucks! Yay, Fall!! When blogger Annie's Eats posted this recipe - it was ON. The only thing that held me back - the making of the vanilla bean caramel sauce. And I'm not talking about the can in a slow-cooker method. I'm talking melting down white sugar. In a pot. Without BURNING IT. Yikes. After hemming and hawing for a few weeks, desire got the best of me and I had to at least try. And you know what? It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it'd be - turned out beautifully in fact! The most heavenly treat of a caramel sauce I have ever tasted! Let's pretend the neighbors didn't see me dancing around my kitchen along to shouts of, "I am woman! I have made caramel sauce - like a GROWNUP! A real chef even! HA!" Ahem. The cupcakes - were spectacular! A coffee-infused pumpkin cupcake brushed with coffee before topping with fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of the MOST FABULOUS vanilla bean caramel sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon - bellissima! Please check out Annie's Eats for even more wonderful pumpkin recipes too! http://annies-eats.net/2011/09/06/pumpkin-spice-latte-cupcakes/