Monday, September 29, 2008

Wilton Class 4

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: 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.

Birthday Extravaganza!

My birthday was on Friday. I love my birthday, and I love it even more when I get to spend it with family and friends.

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

Yellow Cupcake Filled with Creme

I made cupcakes for my most recent Wilton class, and then our instructor forgot that she told us to bring in undecorated cupcakes. I stayed after class for about twenty minutes trying out her Wilton Cupcake filling frosting tip. Apparently you can only buy this tip in a Cupcake Decorating set at the store, though it looks like they sell it individually on the Wilton website (but it's sold out at the moment).

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

Wilton Class 3

Yesterday I had my third Wilton class- only one more before I finish the first level.

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.

My first clown came out looking a little drunk. Immediately after this picture he fell over.

But, my other Clown turned out pretty well- and was very laid back when I was "cleaning up."

Make a Wish (Birthday)

I made this card last week for a friend who had a birthday. It was inspired by a card over at the Pink Stamper.

I used my Cricut to cut out the cupcake as well as the squares. The squares are put on the card using pop dots for dimension. I used a gel pen for the sprinkles on the cupcake.

Two different colored papers are used for the background, with a ribbon pulling them together.

The sentiment in the upper left corner is stamped.

Magnolia Vanilla Cupcakes

This weekend I tried out the Magnolia Vanilla Cupcake recipe. I had to make cupcakes for Bachelor and Bachelorette parties and really wanted a nice vanilla cupcake.

I didn't much care for the Amy Sedaris recipe I tried a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd try the Magnolia recipe. I've had Magnolia cupcakes before and wasn't super impressed with them, so my hopes for the recipe weren't high.

I thought they turned out ok, but definitely not that nice moist vanilla cake that I was looking for.

I used the melted frosting technique for the tops and then piped on some decorations. I would share the pictures of the completed cupcakes (the one above is in-progress), but they're a little "adult" in nature and since I have no way of knowing who is looking at these pictures I'd prefer not to share those.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


My Cupcakes have been featured over at Cupcakes Take the Cake- one of my favorite cupcake blogs.

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

Wilton Class 2

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Last night I had my second Wilton class. This week's class was definitely more fun because it was hands on and I got to try the techniques being modeled. I am definitely a learn by seeing then doing person.

We learned how to make stars (using a star tip), wavy lines, outlines, dots, print, cursive, and then the toughest part of the evening: the base and center petal for the rose.

I knew going in that the rose would be the hardest technique for me to learn. I tried to read ahead in the class book to prepare, but that only made me more confused.

I had a tough time building the base of the rose. Mine kept coming out more like a witch hat and less like a mountain (what it should have looked like). Part of the problem was that my stiff frosting had sort of wilted (ha ha, no pun intended) in the heat of the classroom. The other part of the problem was all me. I don't think I was putting enough pressure on the piping bag.

Eventually, I got a nice little mountain and then started trying to make the center petal. Above is a photo of the best one I made all night. It's a little hard to see the details because the frosting is so white- but you'll have to believe me when I say this little sucker is not easy to do.

Next week we will finish learning how to build the rose. Our instructor suggested that we bring in a cake pan (or cupcake pan) to take our completed roses home, if we chose to do so. The roses can be made in advance and stored in a cool, dry box (aka tupperware) for a while to use later. They need to crust (the icing should harden a bit) before you place them on the cake, so they do just fine waiting a day or two.

We're also going to decorate cupcakes next week. I volunteered to bring in the cupcakes for everyone (mainly so I can try another recipe), and our instructor offered to let us try filling the cupcakes- which I am super excited about. So not only do I have to bring frosting next week (in three colors- yay!), but I also need a batch of cupcakes and some pudding (to fill the cupcakes). Yum.

Banana Caramel Toffee Cupcakes

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This weekend I also baked some birthday surprise cupcakes. The birthday girl isn't a fan of regular cakes or cake that is overly sugary sweet. My husband did some covert work (as the birthday girl is a coworker) to determine a flavor she might like.

I'd found this recipe on How to Eat a Cupcake a while back, and this seemed like the perfect time to try it out. I made a double recipe and only got 15 cupcakes.

I haven't yet had one (mine is still waiting at home, in the fridge for me), but according to my husband they got rave reviews around the office.

The toughest part about this recipe was cutting up the caramels (to bake inside the cupcake). Caramel will always seek out caramel and attempt to stick together. I ended up cutting up the caramels one at a time- after finishing one, I would toss it in with the flour and sift before cutting up the next caramel.

The cupcakes are topped with a light caramel whipped cream frosting.

Buckeye Vanilla Cupcakes

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In honor of Sugar High Friday I decided to make cupcakes with buckeyes baked in the center.

I baked these cupcakes in honor of last weekend's Ohio State game (which, was miserable for OSU fans).

I used Amy Sedaris's vanilla cupcake recipe for the base of the cupcake. I put a bit of the batter into the cupcake liners and then put one of my homemade buckeyes into each liner.

After that, I finished filling the cupcake liners with batter (until 2/3 full) and baked them according to the recipe.

Then I frosted the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. I only made 12 of the cupcakes with buckeyes inside, the remainder I made plain vanilla.

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

(Brutus) Buckeyes

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Making candy doesn't have to be hard. It is, usually, time consuming and you typically end up with a lot more candy than you think you want to eat. That's why it's perfect for giving to friends and family.

Over the last two nights, I made Buckeyes. For anyone not from Ohio, a Buckeye is a nut that comes from the Buckeye tree (Ohio's state tree, by the way). They're poisonous, but they're also a symbol used frequently in reference to The Ohio State University (where I received my MA in 2005) and OSU Football. Even the OSU Mascot is a buckeye- Brutus Buckeye to be specific.

Buckeye candy has a peanut buttery center that is coated in chocolate- with a section of the peanut butter exposed at the top to resemble a buckeye.

We like to have buckeye candy on hand during the college football season in my house. We usually eat at least one buckeye each on game day. Tomorrow's game against USC will be no exception. We're having company over, company who will be rooting for USC, so you know our house will be decked out with everything OSU we can find (believe me, we have plenty of that at our house)- food included.

These took two nights to make, only because I forgot just how many the recipe makes. I have over 80 of these sitting in my fridge (so the chocolate doesn't melt) just waiting to be eaten. I know they'll be eaten, I have no concerns there- but I'll also be giving them away.

Why do I have little mini buckeyes? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out!

Ok, you're saying, enough with the babbling- how do I make these!? Alright relax, here's the recipe- I recommend halving it though, unless you want to have 80 of these things sitting in your fridge tempting you:

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Buckeye Candy
1 1/2 cups Peanut Butter
1 cup Butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
6 cups Confectioner's Sugar
4 cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioner's sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch (or whatever size your heart desires) balls, and place on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.

Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later for dipping the candies) and chill in the freezer until firm- approximately 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (you can also melt the chips in the microwave using a microwave safe bowl- using the stove is preferrable as you can keep the chocolate heated and melted). Stir frequently until smooth.

Dip the frozen peanut butter balls in the chocolate, holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small circle portion of peanut butter showing at the top of the candy to give the appearance of buckeyes. Place back on the cookie sheet and refridgerate until serving.

Yeilds: 60-80 (depending on the size of your rolled peanut butter balls)

Monday, September 08, 2008


I started my Wilton #1 Cake decorating class tonight.

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

Gold Medal Winner!

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.

Sugar High Friday

Foodbeam is throwing a Sugar High Friday party on my birthday!

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

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

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Three weeks ago I purchased Hello, Cupcake! and I have been itching to use it. I didn't make anything from the book with this set of cupcakes, but I did use one of the techniques.

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.

Enjoy (Birthday)

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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.

Too Cute

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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.

Good Luck (Shamrocks)

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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.

Still Together

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I made this card last month for my parents' wedding anniversary.

I kept the card basic because I didn't have a lot of time to work with, and I just really wanted to do something simple.

I cut out the heart and the little couple with my Cricut. Drew on the accents with gel pens and then stamped the sentiment. The inside of the card is stamped with "After all these years!" To finish it off, I used my corner rounding punch.

Cute as a Button

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I made this card for some friends who we recently found out are expecting. I had just gotten my new Pooh Font cartridge and really wanted to use it.

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.