Saturday, October 23, 2010

John Deere Birthday Cupcakes!

Last week I was asked by my fitness instructor, Aleta, to make cupcakes for her son's upcoming 2nd birthday! The theme, John Deere. I was so excited to give these a whirl! Not only would it be the first time someone has hired me to make cupcakes, but it gave me the opportunity to frost out of the ordinary. I got to make grass!! :) I started practicing the technique on the Halloween cupcakes in order to perfect it for these.  The results are below:

The set: 1dz vanilla with grass butter cream and John Deere caps, 1dz chocolate with yellow butter cream and chocolate 2's for toppers

Tip #233 with caps from Baker's Nook

Tip #1M with chocolate 2 toppers free-handed on parchment

Happy early birthday little Auden. I hope you enjoy your cupcakes!

Happy Baking,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spooky Halloween Cupcakes!

Halloween is a great time to create cute and spooky cupcakes! I had so many ideas for this year. From trick-or-treat buckets to monsters. I ended up narrowing the list to two different designs, mummies and hi-hats! I saw the mummy kit at Target several weeks ago and couldn't pass it up. The kit came with the mummy and tree sticks as well as the fencing that goes around. Then I was inspired when I read a posting on about her hi-hat trial run. I figured I would give it a whirl, but I needed to accessorize mine...with spiders!

Before I embarked on my Halloween journey, I enlisted the help of my friend Jessica! She came over today and we got to work. Check out our creations:

Devils food, green buttercream icing (tip #233), mummy decor kit and black liners

Hi-hats before decorations. Vanilla cupcakes, orange liners and hi-hat frosting (tip #12)

Hi-hats decorated, some dipped in chocolate, accented with a spider ring

Boxed up and ready to eat! Boxes found at Target
Jessica and I really enjoyed making these. They were a lot of fun. I will have to continue to practice the art of hi-hat cupcakes. I want to turn them into Christmas trees soon. Stay tuned for that one...

Happy Baking,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Magra's Buckeyes

Although these are not cupcakes, I had to share them. After all they have one cupcake characteristic...they are displayed in mini cupcake liners! My Magra made these buckeyes for big family gatherings, mainly Christmas. Buckeyes are wonderful little peanut butter balls that are dipped in chocolate!

As a kid I would always browse this one 3-tiered serving platter she had for a buckeye, or five. They were always mixed in with other chocolate treats. After scouting the platter and finding one, eating it was like heaven!

I know this recipe is on many sites, but I think they all miss one key ingredient, rice crispy cereal. Checkout buckeye's "Magra style" below. Make them a part of your family holiday traditions, with mini-cupcake liners to match, of course!

Magra's Buckeyes with pumpkin mini-cupcake liners
  • 18oz of creamy peanut butter (Peter Pan brand works well)
  • 16oz of powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of soft margarine
  • 3 cups of rice crispies
  • chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients, except the chocolate, in a bowl. You can use a Kitchen Aid or a hand mixer to blend it all together. Once mixture is complete cover bowl in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about an hour. It makes the balls easier to assemble.

Lay out parchment paper, or get a pan to line the balls up on. For consistent sizes, use a med-lg melon baller to scoop the peanut butter mix out. Roll into a ball and place on the parchment paper. Once all balls are formed, recipe makes about 55 balls, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.

Dip the tip of the buckeye into the chocolate and place it in a mini-cupcake liner. Repeat until all have been dipped. For quick setup, place tray of buckeyes in a deep freezer for about 10-15 min. Then serve.

Buckeyes will stay fresh for a few days, refrigerated, in a parchment lined Tupperware container.

Happy Baking,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Score a victory for chocolate cupcakes everywhere!

While browsing the Sunday paper I spotted an ad for the new Reynolds StayBrite(TM) Baking Cups. Genius idea... So many times I defer to making vanilla cupcakes because chocolate always makes the liner's color fade. Reynolds has now fixed that with a new line of cupcake liners that have a foil layer to prevent the design from fading! Check them out:

Found in create-a-cupcake: Chocolate Cappuccino Cake with Black Tie Frosting

P.S. Their site also has a "create-a-cupcake" section that shows you neat recipes and offers the "how to" on assembling them!

Happy Baking,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to make a cupcake stand

If you are looking for a special cupcake stand, and can't find it in a store, you may be able to make it! I stumbled upon this posting from Cake Journal a while back. I haven't tried it out, but it looks pretty straight forward!

Image courtesy of Cake Journal
Get the instructions here:

Happy Baking,

The Tackle Box: A must have for transporting cupcakes

Most of my early cupcakes always stayed at home. Then the need arose to transport them to a family birthday party, my daughter's school, work etc. It was then I realized that I didn't have a safe way to transport them. One day at work a fellow baker, Katie, came in with the most AMAZING invention...a cupcake tackle box! Of course it was from Martha Stewart...that woman thinks of everything.  I immediately went out and got one. Now I have two, and contemplating getting a third!

Each tackle box holds 2 dozen cupcakes
 She also sells cupcake gift boxes too. Right now she has some out for Halloween:

P.S. If you don't have a need to transport cupcakes, the tackle box serves as a great storage container too!

Both of these items can be ordered online @ Macy's:

Happy Baking,

Monkey Cupcakes

These cupcakes came about because I was looking for some to match my daughter's 2nd birthday theme.

After spending a lot of money on her first birthday's cupcakes, I was convinced there was a better way! I started searching online and found directions for monkey cupcakes on Wilton's website. At first, they looked impossible. I decided to do a test run about a month before the party to make sure I could really do it. Below is the outcome!

They aren't perfect, but I was proud of them.

While browsing the site I also found "Monkey Pops." I decided to give them a shot to see how easy they were. The directions were easy to follow, but one tip I realized, the day of the party, is that they do not sit well on sticks! :)

Make it a party:
Find the decorations @ Birthday Express

Happy Baking,

Turn your favorite cake into a cupcake...

One of my favorite holidays is the 4th of July! Perhaps because it is my birthday, but I also like all of the traditions that go along with it:
  • cookouts
  • fireworks
  • parades
and most of all FLAG CAKE!

My Mom use to make this cake for me every year. One day I was craving this cake, but didn't want to make one this big. So I turned it into a cupcake:

  • Angel food cake mix (cupcake baking instructions can be found on the side of the box)
  • Fresh blueberries, diced
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Cool Whip
Baking instructions:
  • Line cupcake pans with desired liners
  • Spoon in angel food mix; add blueberries
  • Bake according to box directions
  • When ready to serve top with Cool Whip and strawberries
  • Don't add blueberries to cake mix; they will sink to the bottom and not make it into all cupakes
  • Wait until cupcake has cooled completely before eating. Otherwise, cake will stick to liner
  • Store cupcakes in air tight container to keep cake fresh

Happy Baking,

Cookies: The perfect accent for a cupcake!

For several occasions I rely on my local grocery store's bakery for the right cupcake flare! Small sugar cookies are normally sold for each holiday. I have found these little cookies, topped with colored sprinkles, offer a great accent to your holiday cupcake. Oh, and it also unites two of my favorite desserts into one, cookies and cupcakes! YUM!

Below are a few examples of cupcakes with cookie toppers:

Valentine's Day: Red velvet cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, topped with a heart sugar cookie

July 4th: Vanilla cupcake, vanilla frosting, topped with a star sugar cookie

Happy Baking,


Dress up your cupcake...

Fun cupcake liners can add a special flare to any regular cupcake! If you don't have the time to make special decorative toppers, just pick out a set of cute liners and sprinkles that match!

The Baker's Nook has a vast assortment of sprinkles to choose from! For great liners, check out your local Michaels or The Cupcake Social on Etsy!

(image from The Cupcake Social on Etsy)

Happy Baking,

Mickey & Minnie Cupcakes

My daughter loves Mickey and Minnie. Since her 3rd birthday was approaching we decided to make it her theme! I made 6dz cupcakes for her party, and displayed them on the newly introduced Mickey Mouse cupcake stands.

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • Boxed cake mix; each box makes 24 cupcakes (I used golden vanilla)
  • Homemade buttercream frosting
  • Primary color sprinkles (I used stars from a Duff Goldman set found @ Michaels)
  • Wilton Candy Melts for chocolate cupcake toppers (colors: reg chocolate, red, green & blue)
Decoration tools:
  • Cupcake liners (I used the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ones that came with the stand)
  • 1M icing tip
  • Large scoop (melon baller) for even cupcakes
  • #5 icing tip for toppers
  • Icing bags for frosting and chocolate
  • Templates for toppers (Mickey, #3)
  • Parchment paper
  • Scotch tape
How to make the toppers:
  • Determine how many you need and print out a template on a Word document
  • Tape the paper down to a flat surface and overlay parchment paper
  • Fill icing bag with melted chocolate
  • The #5 tip is small enough to "color" the template images. Just color in the image and allow it to cool
  • To create Minnie Mouse topper: wait for base chocolate to setup then draw two sideways triangles and top with a dot to create the bow
Below are the two images that I used for my templates:

I found them on Google and adjusted them to the proper size before I duplicated them in a Word doc.

How to assemble:
  • Create toppers and cool them in fridge until ready to use
  • Bake cupcakes as direction on cake mix box
  • Once cooled frost with 1M tip
  • Add sprinkles and topper
Tips & Tricks:
  • In order to ensure cupcake liner design stands out use lighter cupcake flavor like white or vanilla.
  • If you have to make a lot of cupcakes, prepare the toppers and cupcakes the day before. Then the day of the party you only have to decorate them.
  • If you are going to travel to the party destination add the cupcake toppers once you arrive. They may break during the trip, especially the #3s.
Make it a party:
  • Find the decorations @ Wal-Mart, Party City or Birthday Express
  • Get the cupcake stand and liners @ Wal-Mart or Party City
Happy Baking,