Favorite Quote Ever :)

Life is short. Eat more cake!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Duke Cupcakes

Just a slight variation of Duke cupcakes that I've done before - I inverted the colors on the toppers...and think I like these much better than the originals! Vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting and hand cut gum paste toppers in the iconic Duke University "D". Finished of with a sprinkling of blue sugar crystals. :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fireman Wedding

Oh, my. I ADORED working on this wedding, but felt like I needed a full days' worth of sleep after finishing it! :) There were just so many cake, filling and frosting flavors going on, combined with the complexity of the figure modeling - wow! The Bride-to-Be picked out a lovely design by Pink Cake Box and this was my attempt at doing it some kind of justice! The top tier of the wedding cake was fresh strawberry cake with chocolate ganache filling, the middle tier was fresh peach cake with vanilla bean cream cheese filling and the bottom tier was brown sugar cake with key lime curd filling, all covered in fondant with fondant ribbons in tangerine and hot pink. The fire truck grooms cake was chocolate cake with cherry buttercream filling, covered in fondant with all fondant details. I hand formed the bride and groom using a fondant/gum paste mixture and was quite pleased with how well they both turned out! There was also a chocolate sheet cake with vanilla buttercream frosting in reserve, but alas - no picture of that! (I'm fortunate I had my iPhone with me, or there would have been no photo of the cake itself!!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cool Mint Oreo Cupcakes

I've been really excited at all the variations of Oreos in the grocery store lately - so many choices it can be quite daunting! I'd been eying the cool mint oreos for a while now though, and when I stumbled upon a mint oreo cupcake - well, that made up my mind for me! The cupcake recipe is a nice time-saver as it uses a chocolate boxed mix for the base with a few additions (still comes out super tasty!) and I paired it with my basic buttercream recipe with finely crumbed cool mint oreos and peppermint flavoring added in. If you're a fan of chocolate and mint, I highly encourage you to give these a go! :)

Cool Mint Oreo Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

24 Mint Oreos

Box Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines Devils Food)

1 stick of butter, melted

1 cup water

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Place half an Oreo in the bottom of each liner with cookie side down, cream side up. Save the remaining cream-less half of each cookie for your buttercream.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix, melted butter, water and eggs. Beat on low for one minute. Scrape sides of bowl and increase speed to high. Beat for another minute.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before serving.

For Buttercream:

30 Mint Oreos halves, crushed completely into superfine crumbs (I used my food processor)

4 sticks of butter, softened

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 lbs powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat on low until just mixed. Gradually add salt, flavorings and buttermilk. Increase speed to medium high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat for additional minute. Add cookie crumbs and beat on low until well combined.

Pipe frosting on cupcakes and top with a halved Oreo, if desired. Enjoy!

*Cupcake recipe adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seuss Themed Twin First Birthday

Oh my goodness - had SO much fun with this theme! Mom wanted a nod to Seuss - no characters or anything obvious aside from the references on their smash cakes, so this is what we came up with! Top tier of large cake was fresh strawberry with vanilla buttercream filling, bottom tier was chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream filling, all covered in fondant with fondant details. Smash cakes were vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and fondant plaques that read, "Thing 1" and "Thing 2"! I used my black food color marker to draw on all the detailing - think that is really what helps transform it into the more "Seussical" look!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pot O' Gold Cupcakes

Oh, boy have I been looking forward to these little cupcakes! I'd been wracking my brain with what kind of cupcakes to bring in for my Son's class for St. Patrick's Day - clovers? Nah. Green batter cupcakes? Nah. When I was at Target one day and noticed sour gummy rainbow strips in the dollar section I thought, "Lightbulb!" to quote one of our favorite movies :) But how to make the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? (Cause you had to have those obviously). So I gathered up my courage and tried something new - modeling chocolate! I even made it myself - big girl moment there! And boy was it some tasty, fun stuff to work with - I'll definitely be making more in the future. I decided to keep it simple for the cupcakes themselves - no dye or artificial stuff since there was enough action on top of the cupcake! Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, sour gummy rainbows, modeling chocolate pots filled with gold sprinkles - voila! My kind of gold at the end of the rainbow - chocolate! For anyone who'd like the recipe I used for modeling chocolate, I've included the directions below :)

Melt 6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler (I used Ghirardelli) . Mix until no lumps remain. Let the chocolate cool for just a few minutes before adding 1/3 cup light corn syrup. Mix thoroughly until combined. The chocolate will start to form a hard ball that is difficult to stir. I put my chocolate in a resealable freezer bag and I left it on the counter over night to harden up. Dust your work surfaces with cocoa powder to prevent sticking and work your modeling chocolate until it's a desired consistency/softness. To make my "Pots O' Gold" I simply rolled round balls of approximately the same size and placed on parchment paper (to avoid sticking to anything) then rolled a thin strip of chocolate for the rim of the pot - no glue of any kind required - I just laid it in the position desired on top and pressed down lightly to help it adhere. Then I used some Wilton gold sprinkles for the "gold" in the pots - sprinkled in the middle and a gentle press of the finger to help them stick :)

Hope this was helpful!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Casino Birthday Cake

Such a fun, FUN cake to work on! Red velvet cake with cream cheese filling, covered in fondant with all fondant details. I tried to fit as many references to #54 as I could using the playing cards, dice and dominoes - loved it! Lucky #54 Birthday cake!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fresh Lemon Cupcakes

I was a tiny bit worried as I was adding the zest from two whole lemons and lemon flavoring in the batter for these...but pleasantly surprised when sampling one after they baked! Fluffy, light lemon cupcakes with a light lemon cream cheese frosting, topped by candied lemon peel curls! Altogether lovely and refreshing little cupcakes!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thomas the Train Birthday Cake

Even though I'd attempted this design once before, didn't make it any less fun for me! Top tier was vanilla buttermilk with vanilla buttercream filling, bottom tier was chocolate with vanilla buttercream filling, all covered in fondant with all fondant details! I was especially pleased with the Thomas figure on top as he most certainly improved from my last attempt! :) This design originally by The Pink Cake Box.

Pink Barbie Birthday

I had such fun working on this pink, girlie Birthday project! :) There were two cakes - the Birthday girl had her very own Barbie "cake" made of rice krispie treats, covered in a layer of buttercream and fondant to make up Barbie's dress! (Was told that one might not be eaten the Birthday girl loved it so much lol!) The cake for the party was vanilla buttermilk with vanilla buttercream filling, covered in fondant with all fondant details. Loved how both of these turned out!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Strawberry Malt Cupcakes

After seeing this cupcake on Your Cup of Cake a little while ago, I promptly pinned it not so much for the flavor but just for the look of it - I mean, it doesn't get too much cuter than a red & white paper straw in a cupcake, now does it?! Admittedly, I'm just not a malt person. Never been that big on malt shakes, whoppers or any of that. But I HAD to make these cupcakes - just HAD to! So very glad I did! And you will be too! I'm providing a link straight to the recipe at Your Cup of Cake, and while you're there - take a look around! There are so many other lovely cupcake recipes to tempt you as well! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lavender Flower Birthday

I really enjoyed this project - was pretty much told that the Birthday lady loved purple flowers, and that was my main inspiration for the cake and matching cupcakes! The cake was vanilla buttermilk with vanilla buttercream frosting in a rough finish with fondant flowers and leaves. The cupcakes were vanilla and chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting piped in a rosette pattern, fondant flowers and leaves! I was very happy with how everything turned out :)

Red & White Birthday Cupcakes

These were a fairly simple order - vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and fondant toppers for a 13th Birthday :)