Favorite Quote Ever :)

Life is short. Eat more cake!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pink & Black Ladybug Baby Shower

This was a fun theme for a baby shower! I matched the cake and cupcakes to the invitations - pink and black ladybugs! The cake was fresh strawberry with white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant details. The cupcakes were half vanilla with fresh strawberry swiss meringue, half chocolate with caramel swiss meringue, both with custom fondant/gum paste toppers.

Lego Cupcakes

Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting for a Lego fan's Birthday! I made the lego cupcake toppers using fondant.

Pirate Cupcakes

Fun request for a pirate themed Birthday party! Half chocolate, half fresh strawberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and custom fondant/gum paste toppers for a little guy's 3rd Birthday!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peanuts & Coca-Cola Cupcakes

As soon as I saw this recipe post on Sprinkle Bakes' blog, I knew I had to try them for myself! Having grown up in North Carolina, throwing salted peanuts in a bottle of Coke was as natural as breathing to me when I was little! Oh, the memories this one simple recipe evoked...! I highly recommend trying her recipe for yourself even if you're not familiar with the Southern practice of Peanuts & Coke - you won't be sorry :)
I've posted a link to her recipe below.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Lego Birthday Cake

Fun cake for a Lego themed Birthday party! Chocolate cake with Oreo buttercream filling, covered in fondant with all fondant details!

Carrabba's Cheesecake Inspired Cupcakes

This was a fun request! I always enjoy being challenged - either by a design request or a flavor request! In this case, it was by flavor. I had a friend request that I create a cupcake inspired by her favorite flavor of cheesecake at Carrabba's for her Birthday! So this is what I came up with: a dark chocolate cupcake, white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, fresh raspberry reduction, topped off by a fresh raspberry! I'm told it was exactly what she had in mind which made me very happy and I had the fun of trying both a new flavor of swiss meringue and a new technique (berry reduction) which also made me very happy! :) Win-win!

Fine Wine Birthday Cake

Really enjoyed working on this cake for a special 60th Birthday celebration! Fluffy vanilla cake with vanilla bean latte swiss meringue buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant/gum paste details. The wine bottle reads, "Like a fine wine, Suzy only gets better with age!" So cute! :)

Hunter's Birthday Cake

Simple little cake for a hunting fan's Birthday! Fluffy vanilla cake with fresh strawberry buttercream filling, covered in fondant with fondant and buttercream details. Had fun adding the little deer prints across the cake!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

So I've done peanut butter buttercream before, yes but the traditional "american" buttercream which was good - don't get me wrong! But, it was a tricky balance to get right - almost too easy to make it too dry for my taste. Now Swiss Meringue on the other hand...oh, this stuff is dreamy! The dreamy stuff that dreams are made of! Seriously, folks - you must try this buttercream! When paired with my chocolate espresso cupcake and topped off with a mini peanut butter cup - mmm...heaven! <3 I will say the two times I've made this swiss meringue it's come out much thinner than other flavor varieties and if I can find a way to alter that, I'll be sure to post the correction, but it's still good for piping on cupcakes - wouldn't advise using as a filling on cakes though.

Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, to taste

Add egg whites and brown sugar to bowl of electric mixer and simmer over a pot of water, whisking gently, until temp reaches 140 degrees, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, about 8 minutes if you used room temp egg whites.

Place the bowl back onto the mixer stand and with whisk attachment, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (can take up to 10 minutes or so). Switch to paddle attachment and with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if it curdles, keep mixing on medium low and it will come back to smooth).

Add vanilla flavoring and peanut butter and continue to beat on low speed until well combined. (I had to increase the speed on my mixer to fluff it up a bit before piping on my cupcakes).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Double-Chocolate Oreo Cupcakes

Special request for a Birthday - chocolate cupcakes (with half an Oreo baked into the bottom) with rich, chocolate buttercream frosting garnished with half an Oreo cookie!

Bridal Shower Charm Pull Cake

Traditional charm pull cake for a bridal shower! Vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, fondant ribbon roses and leaves.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jungle Animals Birthday

Fun little cake designed to match party decorations! Vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and fondant details.

Transformers Birthday Cake

Fun theme to work with - Transformers cake in Bumblebee colors! Vanilla buttermilk cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, the autobots symbol was hand cut out of fondant and the flames on the side of the cake were "painted" with buttercream.

Curious George Birthday

Curious George has been quite popular with the Birthday set this year! ;) Vanilla buttermilk cake and matching cupcakes, both with vanilla buttercream frosting and fondant accents.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Hydrangea Cake

I loved making this cake! And as far as inspiration goes...wow, where didn't I get inspiration from for this one? ;) I used a recipe from Sweetapolita's blog and combined techniques from I Am Baker and Glorious Treats for this lovely little cake! I made Sweetapolita's lemon blueberry layer cake with lemon curd filling (oh, so yummy!) and used a light lemon buttercream to pipe the hydrangea blossoms. The overall idea of the hydrangea cake was from I Am Baker, but the execution (using a Wilton 2D tip to pipe the blossoms) came from Glorious Treats. Again, loved making this little cake and can't wait to cut into it at our family's Easter meal!

*Note - Sweetapolita's recipe makes 3 - 9" layers, to make my cake - I used a 6" round pan and half a Wilton sports ball pan, and as you can guess I had leftover batter so I actually had enough to make two identical cakes.

You can find Sweetapolita's Lemon Blueberry Layer cake recipe here:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Peep Cupcakes

Nothing fancy or complicated about these little cupcakes - just pure, colorful, sugar-filled fun! Chocolate cupcakes with green buttercream nests and marshmallow Peeps for my Daughter's school party! They were so simple and quick to put together - I simply used my grass tip to pipe the buttercream in long streams around the cupcake in a messy "nest" pattern ;)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Coffee Squared Cupcakes

This is yet another one of those instances where I'd like to smack myself in the forehead and say, "You dummy! Why haven't you thought of this before?!" Mocha cupcakes -AND- latte buttercream?! Can you say, "Heaven" for a coffee-junkie such as I?! Oh, such a yummy combination! I have truly become quite the SMBC addict - I have yet to try a variation I didn't like!

Cupcake Ingredients: (Makes appx 24)

3/4 cup strong hot coffee

3 tsp instant espresso powder

3/4 cup dark cocoa

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups brown sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp sour cream, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners

Whisk together coffee, espresso powder and cocoa in a small bowl and set aside. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder in another small bowl and set aside. Measure out buttermilk and mix with vanilla extract and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each egg in thoroughly and scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next egg. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and mix until combined. Repeat, ending with the last of the flour mixture. Add the cocoa and coffee mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Fold in sour cream.

Divide equally into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 16-18 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting.

Vanilla Bean Latte Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients:

5 large egg whites

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Either 1 scraped vanilla bean -or- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

2 tbsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 4 tsp hot water, let cool before adding

Pinch of salt

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with vinegar on paper towel, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and cool. Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on medium speed continuously, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add vanilla, vanilla beans (or paste) and salt, mix well. Slowly add in cooled espresso/water mixture – it will take just a little while for this to incorporate fully, give it some time! You can scrape your bowl once or twice and whip well, then fill your piping bag and enjoy!! (For those interested, I used the Wilton 2D tip to achieve the look in the photo.)

I topped my cupcakes with dark chocolate coated espresso beans for even more coffee kick :)

Honey Bee Cupcakes

These were just a fun little project since I didn't have anything "official" to do this past weekend ;) Browned-butter banana cupcakes with honey swiss meringue buttercream I tried to pipe to mimic a beehive, topped with marzipan bees with almond slice wings! As I said, these were completely just for fun, but I couldn't help thinking how sweet these would look at a baby shower, no?