Wednesday, November 12, 2008
If you click on the link above, you can see what the tool caddy looked like originally. I liked the colors, but I wanted my caddy to be a little more personal. I'm the only person in my class with this particular caddy- but there are several people in class with the same caddy and I'd hate to get mine confused sometime.
So, I purchased some vinyl for my Cricut and sat down to think about what I wanted to put on my caddy. Of course, my first thought was: Cupcakes! I put two cupcakes on the lid of the caddy and one on each side- but then when I looked at the caddy the front seemed empty. Since I'd only purchased two colors of vinyl I had to come up with another design for the front.
Even though the flowers were kind of an afterthought, I love the way they turned out. I also put my name on the back of the caddy. Just in case there's any question as to who it belongs to.
It was the first time I worked with fondant (we had to use the Wilton Fondant), and I was nervous. My instructor was really helpful and walked me (and the other people in my class) through the process.
The only thing we had to do was cover the cake and make the bow. I decided to add the shaped flowers to make it a little more interesting.
Overall I'm super pleased with the results. I think the fondant tastes kind of gross (I much prefer the MMF I made for the Cupcake Electoral Map), but I just peeled it off and ate the chocolate cake and buttercream icing that were underneath.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last week I made over 200 cupcakes for an Election party. When we were invited to the party, I told my husband to tell the host we would bring cupcakes. He suggested a Cupcake Electoral Map. I told him he was crazy and not to go overboard. Then I spent four days thinking about his idea and how fun it would be.
So, I found myself spending 8+ hours last week cutting out 107 Marshmallow Fondant (MMF) stars, baking over 200 cupcakes, and piping endless amounts of frosting. (For those of you wondering- this is where that Red Velvet recipe came in handy.)
I'll be posting a more in-depth look at this project and the process to create it on my website: www.cupocakedesigns.com It will be November's featured project. Please check the website later this week to see even more pictures of the map and cupcakes.
About two weeks ago I baked a cake for my friend's surprise birthday party. Her husband and best friend told me to make whatever I wanted because she loves desserts in any flavor.
I decided to try out a Chocolate Chocolate Chip recipe I had. It turned out really amazing- nice and moist but not overpoweringly chocolate. I torted the cake with a Whipped Caramel Cream in the middle and all of the frosting is Chocolate Buttercream.
The Birthday girl was very pleased, and there weren't even crumbs left after we cut the cake.
Just to reassure everyone out there- mistakes happen to the best of us. I was home a few weeks ago and my sister requested some Mint Chocolate Chip cupcakes for her birthday. I don't bake often in my parents' house anymore and things aren't kept where they were when I was a kid.
I reached up to grab the flour off the shelf, and...well...ended up spilling it all over myself, the floor, and the counter. That'll teach me not to wear an apron. That picture above isn't white because there was too much flash- that's flour. All over my pants and the floor. My mom had to vacuum me off. Embarassing!
I put on an apron after that. Happy Baking everyone!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Halloween is this Friday!
I had cupcakes to bake for a few occasions this week, so I decided to go with a Halloween theme for decorations. The cupcakes themselves are Red Velvet (from Paula Deen's recipe). I needed to test out the recipe for a project next week (stay tuned to find out what the project is!).
I used the same frosting tip for the basketweave on the Mummies. I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with the Mummies- I feel like maybe they need some sort of mouth, but I couldn't figure out how to do that without making them too cute.
The Pumpkins I frosted and then dipped in orange sugar sprinkles. Once the sprinkles were on, I piped on orange lines to serve as the Pumpkins ridges. On the top I piped a brown stem and green leaves. The stems...are wonky at best. But, live and learn.
I think overall the cupcakes came out pretty well. Cute and Halloween-riffic, while still tasting yummy.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I have made what I called Black Bottom Cupcakes before, but I think that this batch is a more traditional version.
They are rich chocolate cupcakes with a spoonful of a cream cheese, sugar, and chocolate chip mixture baked inside. They taste kind of like a cheesecake cupcake. Mmmm....delish.
I made about a million of these. Not really, but it certainly seemed that way. I think I ended up with 24 full size cupcakes and 48 minis. They were all eaten within three days- it helps that we had five people spend the weekend at our place.
I used my new Wilton silicon cups for the first time. They turned out quite nicely, and I liked that they have a little line on them at about 2/3 full. I'm not sure if that line is intended to use as a fill line, but that's definitely how I used it. If you use these, remember to spray them first otherwise your cupcakes will stick. I sprayed my baking cups and had no problems getting the cupcakes out.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I love Halloween. I love the costumes and the decorations. I love the haunted houses and the jack o'lanterns. But most of all, I love candy corn.
I wanted to combine my favorite Halloween candy with my favorite baked good- viola! Candy corn cupcake.
Candy corn has a tendency to be overly sugary sweet and I know that a lot of people don't like it for that very reason. I wanted the cupcakes to give a hint of candy corn flavor that wasn't over powering or too sweet.
I scoured the internet to see if I could find any candy corn cupcake recipes, but no luck. Maybe my google-fu isn't as good as it should be, but as far as I know there isn't a recipe for candy corn cupcakes out on the old interwebs.
I decided to use a recipe for White Velvet cupcakes (from Cupcakes Galore by Gail Wagman) which includes mini marshmallows baked in. Then I chose to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream as the frosting, adding some honey to enhance the candy corn flavors.
As you can see from the picture below, my attempt to layer the colored batters didn't come out exactly as I planned. The marshmallows prevented the batter layers from settling evenly. But, I'm ok with that.
The cake tasted more like a sugar cookie to me, but the frosting was amazing. I just took the regular SMBC recipe and added about two teaspoons of honey (to taste). Mmmm....
Happy Halloween (a little early)!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Another thank you card that was made for my Aunt, Uncle, & Cousin. They sent me some very cute stationary and a nice Starbucks gift card.
I used my Cricut to cut out the smaller square, and then stamped the sentiment on it. Then the yellow background went through the Cuttlebug to give it some texture.
A simple, yet very beautiful card.
I made this thank you card for my parents, to thank them for my birthday gifts. They sent me more crafting stuff than I would have imagined could fit into a box that size. Thank you Mom & Pa! (I know you read this blog.)
I used one of the Cuttlebug folders they gave me on this card for the background, and then used a new stamp set for the burgler and sentiment. I stamped both onto shapes that were cut out using my Cricut.
I couldn't find my gel pens, so I used crayons to color in the burgler.
I finished off the card by using my Paper punch on the corners.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Today I finished my last Wilton class for the first level. Our assignment was to bake and frost (just the crust layer) a cake.
I chose a chocolate cake and I decided to tort the cake because I had not done that before. I was maybe a little over ambitious, but I'm pretty pleased with the results.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me say this: my husband baked the cake. It tastes great and he did a great job. I had a full set of cupcakes to make this weekend, along with three batches of frosting and just could not make myself bake a cake on top of that. So, thank you husband!
I should have practiced torting and the base coat of frosting prior to making the cake for my final class, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.
I'll be posting a more in-depth look at this cake and the process to decorate it on my new website: www.cupocakedesigns.com It will be October's featured project. Please check the website later this week to see even more pictures of the cake.
I start Wilton level 2 next Monday. I'll be learning to make more flowers as well as how to do a basket weave frosting.
This year my husband threw a nice birthday party for me (and another friend- we share the same birthday). So I got to spend time with close friends. Even though my family couldn't be there, they were sure to call and let me know they were thinking of me.
What does this have to do with this blog? Well, the answer is: I got a lot of baking and crafting items for my birthday.
Over the next few weeks I am looking forward to using my new supplies and I can't wait to share the results! I got everything from cake pans to gel pens to stamps to piping tips. Crazy! So, stay tuned because I plan to try everything out.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I tried out a new Yellow cake recipe. I am still in search of a nice fluffy, light, moist yellow or vanilla recipe. This one? Not it. These little suckers tasted more like pound cake. Don't get me wrong, I love pound cake. I just was not looking to create a pound cake cupcake.
So, I brought them into class and used the Wilton tip to fill them. My instructor told me they probably wouldn't hold much filling for two reasons: 1) they were super dense & 2) the cupcakes fill more when they are still warm. I figured I'd give it a shot anyhow because I wanted to see how the frosting tip worked. As you can see below, it did not fill the cupcake hardly at all. Oh well, next time I will do it while they are warm.
I decorated them at home, colored some of the creme purple to serve as the base frosting and then put some of my buttercream roses on top.
I think the decorations came out pretty nicely (though my roses need a bit of work still), and disappeared from my office in record time.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Above are my best rose attempts. My frosting was a little too stiff, so I was having difficulty getting them to hold together. I plan to do some heavy duty practicing this week in preperation for my final class (and cake).
We also learned how to do drop flowers and shell borders. Then we moved on to the Wilton clowns. I thought these guys were kind of creepy, but I took some pictures anyways, just for fun.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Go check it out!
Also, I have renamed the blog to reflect the name of my new company. Keep your eyes peeled for the unveiling of my company logo in the upcoming weeks.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
After that, I finished filling the cupcake liners with batter (until 2/3 full) and baked them according to the recipe.
Unfortunately, in trying to turn the remaining cupcakes a nice scarlett color I totally overmixed the batter. Which lead to cupcakes that were extremely dense and looked more like red hockey pucks. They still taste great, they just don't look nice and puffy.
After frosting, I topped some of the plain vanilla cupcakes with the mini buckeyes I made last week. Yum!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
After thinking about and talking about taking these classes for three years now (yes, you read that right, three years), I finally signed up and am taking class #1.
Next week I actually get to use the tools and try some techniques out. This week it was all demonstration (by the instructor). I'll bring my camera in next Monday and take pictures if I make anything worth while (or maybe even of my mistakes).
Thank goodness my birthday is coming up- because I think I can avoid buying a whole mess of Wilton/cake decorating stuff. Just knowing there is a gift giving occasion on the horizon will keep me in check.
I think I have to bake a cake sometime between now and my third class- we have to bring one to our fourth, and final class. I want to practice splitting and leveling the cake- not to mention frosting it. So, guess my coworkers will have something yummy to snack on in a week or two...
Thursday, September 04, 2008
A few weeks ago I participated in a cook-off at a friend's BBQ. There were several categories, but it should be no surprise to anyone that I chose the dessert category.
When I think BBQ, summer, and outdoors- I think fruity drinks, of the alcoholic variety. I'd had my eye on the Margarita Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for quite some time now, and thought this was the perfect occasion.
If you've ever cooked with a Vegan recipe or tried Vegan desserts before they can have a grainy texture that might turn off non-Vegans. I was a little worried about this, but the recipe (and the book for that matter) has great reviews all over the internet. So, I went for it.
Both the cupcakes and the frosting have lime and tequila in them. My frosting wasn't strictly vegan as I used butter (but you can definitely make it vegan frosting).
The cupcakes were a huge hit at the BBQ and as you can see- I won the dessert category. I don't have photographs of the cupcakes because they were a melty divided mess (having had to be cut into pieces to allow everyone to taste them). Just picture a light green frosting with a "rim" of green sugar sprinkles and a candy lime wedge (also not vegan) as a garnish. Mmmmm.
There were only five dessert entries, but given that the rest of them were chocolate, I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing first. My medal is hanging up in my kitchen as inspiration during all future baking sessions.
What does this mean? Anyone out there who's so inclined should make cupcakes on or before Friday, September 26th. Be creative and make something out of your comfort zone- something unique and unexpected in cupcake form.
I'm brainstorming right now. What are you going to make?
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
The recipe for these cupcakes came from the Cake Mix Doctor, as I saw it on How to Eat a Cupcake. The cupcakes were for the last softball game of the season (for my team) and earned great reviews.
Personally, I thought they were only ok. The recipe calls for Sour Cream, which I really hate. I swear I could taste the sour cream- my husband says I'm crazy. Next time, I think I'll try using vanilla yogurt instead.
Anyhow! The cupcakes have a half of an Oreo cookie baked on the bottom, and cookie crumbs baked throughout. They were super easy to make.
To frost the cupcakes I used store bought vanilla frosting which I melted for a few seconds (10 max) in the microwave. After melting the frosting, I dipped the cupcakes to coat them. Then I used Pull -n-Peel twizzlers cut to size for the "stitching" on the softballs.
I made this card for a friend's 30th birthday. I wanted something that went with the theme (well, my theme) for the night- my husband & I gave the birthday boy Guinness and home brewed beer as a gift and I'd made a delicious Guinness cake for the party. Thus, the beer on the card.
The Guinness itself was paper pieced. I cut out the beer and the foam first, and then used an Overhead (clear plastic sheets) to cut out the pint glass- and yes, I cut out two pieces (one for the back and one for the front) to make it more authentic.
After I put the pint together, I stamped the sentiment and went over it with a gel pen. I cut out the piece of paper to make it look like it was curved along the glass. Then I attached a ribbon to the sentiment using brads, and put the ribbon around the pint. The pint is raised off the paper using pop dots.
Finally, I stamped "30" in the upper left corner with Versamark and rounded my edges with a paper punch.
Another Baby card for another couple who is expecting. This time I knew it was a boy, so I felt more comfortable opting for a blue palette.
Tigger is cut using my Cricut. The sentiment is stamped and then gone over with a sparkly gel pen. Finally I added brads to the top, to draw the eye to the sentiment.
I made this card for a co-worker who recently graduated and has moved on to begin her new career.
There's no Cricut on this card- now there's a phrase I rarely use. I used a Sizzix die for the Shamrocks- and then hand cut the background shamrock shape (in ivory). Although you cannot see it in the photo, I used pop dots to make the middle shamrock stand out.
Good luck was stamped and then gone over in a sparkly gel pen. I added brads to draw the eye towards the sentiment.
This little Pooh was too cute to pass up. Since I have no idea if the baby is a boy or a girl, I stuck with neutral colors. I just love that rich green color.
I used a corner punch to round the corners and added buttons to accent the stamped phrase. Although you can't see it in the photo, I used a gel pen for Pooh's tongue.