Sunday, August 26, 2012

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

This order was for a little boy celebrating a big day in his life; his first birthday and his baptism!  This is the first "smash cake" I've done and I was very excited to do it.  It is a six inch white almond two layer cake with vanilla almond butter cream frosting in blue ombre.  That's a mouthful.  The red "one" is made of fondant with a toothpick in it.  The cupcakes were also white almond and chocolate, both with vanilla almond butter cream and fondant toppers.  The trucks and a few other details were cut by hand but the others were cut with mini cookie cutters.  I like smaller orders where I can take time to focus on tiny little details.  I certainly couldn't do 200 of these, but 36 were a lot of fun to make!

 The Smash Cake!

 Blue Ombre.
 The Cupcakes.
Choo choo...
Apparently someone needs more adult time and less time in the basement with the plethora of miniature things that move and make noise.  I'll go make myself a cocktail now...  ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Princess and the Frog Cupcakes

Pink velvet cupcakes with white chocolate butter cream frosting and fondant decorations.  In different shades of pink and green, and little frogs to boot, this is my favorite kid birthday order so far this year.  Happy Birthday to a spunky little 4 year old!  :)

 Princess and the Frog cupcakes.

 Sugar glitter wands.

 I may never do these again.  Trying to balance a ball on a point proved to be a teensy bit difficult.  But they sure are cute!

 Plus a dozen minis.

Hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Sister's Wedding

My sister is the reason I got into cakes and cupcakes.  She took a decorating class in our hometown in NC and did so well I thought, "I can do that."  So I did.  And she probably hates me for it; little sister wanting to do everything big sister does...still!  But at least she got her wedding cake and cupcakes out of the deal!  ;)

 Sister Love.

On a serious note, whether she knows it or not, my sister is an inspiration to me.  She has gone through trials in life with grace and humility and come out a better, stronger person.  When she met and eventually decided to marry her husband, I couldn't have been happier for both of them.  He is her perfect match.  They are both wonderful people who deserve every bit of happiness they bring to each other!  Yay!  (sniff, sniff)

 L.O.V.E. Love.

So I packed up the boys and a good part of my cake supplies and hopped on a plane back home to bake, decorate, coordinate, be a bossypants, and pretend to be a photographer.  Whew!  Good thing we had a beach trip planned for after the wedding! 

A few of the worker bees helping set up the tables (and putting up with my bossiness).

Here goes...

 My sister made the display!

 Side of the cake (got a little smashed in trasnport).

 Purple Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 The favorite.  Mandarin Orange with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.
My brother-in-law is Hawaiian.  This one was for him.

 Love the itty bitty black pearls as the center of the dogwood.

Vanilla Bean Cake with a pretty ruffle flower.

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Butter Cream.

 Time to cut the cake!

 I like the people's expressions in the background.  Everyone has their mouth open.

 Vanilla Bean Cake.  I had the leftovers from their slices while we were cleaning up.  Don't tell!

 Ah, time to sit down and enjoy some cupcake...

and some fudge our other sister made.  We are a family that loves our sweets!

Congrats to my sister, her husband, and their beautiful (big!) family!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lemon Raspberry Cupcake Recipe

Someone reading this blog asked for my lemon-raspberry recipe so here it is.  Be sure to read the instructions.  This is an adaptation of a recipe I found online somewhere I don't even remember where now but there are several little things that are important to do!  Here goes...

Lemon Cupcakes

1 cup unsalted butter at room temp
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
fresh grated zest and juice of one large lemon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups sour cream, full fat
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat unsalted butter for a few minutes.  Add the sugar and beat for 5-10 mins more until well combined.  It is important to beat the butter and sugar well so you don't get any sugary lumps when you bake.
In the meantime in a separate bowl whisk all the dry ingredients plus the lemon zest together.
Back to the mixer, add the eggs one at a time.  After adding two eggs, scrape the bowl, and add the other two eggs.  Scrape again. 
Add the extract and lemon juice, beat for a min. 
Add the sour cream and beat for another min or two.  Scrape the bowl.  Always scrape the bowl!
With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  I usually add about 1/2, turn the mixer up for a min, turn it off and scrape the bowl, then back on for the rest.  Mix on medium until it is incorporated but not over mixed.  It will be thick.
When you lift the head of the stand mixer, take a spatula and scrape the blade.  The lemon zest will stick to it.  Fold it back into the batter with your spatula so there are no chunks of zest in the cakes.
Line a baking pan with paper liners and fill about 2/3 full (not too full because these rise really well).  I use the medium sized Pampered Chef ice cream scoop and over fill it to measure these out.  Makes about 30 - 36.

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 22-25 mins or until it springs back after gently pressing with your finger. 

Take out of the pan after a min or two so the bottoms don't brown and let cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

4 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
about 6 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
about 1/4 cup fresh raspberry puree*

*Raspberry Puree: 6 oz fresh raspberries cooked in a small sauce pan with 1 Tbs white sugar and a splash of lemon juice.  Cook until the berries break down and you can smash them with a spatula.  Let simmer for 5-10 mins more and set aside until completely cool.  It should thicken a little.  (I do this to cook some of the water out of the berries so the butter cream doesn't separate.)
If you don't want the raspberry seeds in your frosting, you can use a sieve to separate the pulp and juice from the seeds.  This takes some time and I don't mind the seeds so I used an immersion blender to puree it. 

For the butter cream, in the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth. 
Add the vanilla extract and 3 Tbs of raspberry puree and mix until incorporated. 
Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time remembering to scrap the bowl every so often. 
When all the sugar is mixed in, continue to add the raspberry puree until you get the desired texture, flavor, and color.  Remember that adding too much can make the frosting runny and it will separate.  It's hard to tell you exactly how much to add because each batch of berries seems to have a different amount of water.  Use your best judgement and good luck!

Frost the lemon cupcakes with the raspberry butter cream, top with a fresh raspberry (or even fill them with more raspberry preserves) and enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pretty July 4th Cupcakes

These were for no real reason at all.  In fact, I actually made these on July 9th.  Ha! I had some left over star fondant toppers to place on top of vanilla bean cupcakes baked in dark blue wrappers and Voila!  My husband took them over to our mechanic and his crew as a long over due thank you for staying open late on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend to replace a flat tire we'd gotten 30 miles out from town.  (I might of eaten 1 or 3 of the extras too...)  I hope the cupcakes were as awesome as they are!  We <3 our car guy!  And our country too!!!  :)

Simplicity.  All it takes are three different sized star cutters, a circle cutter, red, white, and blue fondant, and a pastry tip and you have ultra chic cupcakes to take to that BBQ for everyone to ooh and ahh over.

They also made for a really pretty table centerpiece.  I left them there until my boys woke up (and almost dove in for a taste) just to look at how pretty and festive they were.

Even though it was over a month ago, I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe 4th.  Now you'll know what to make for next year!  ;)

Cupcake Decorating Birthday Party

I had an idea a little over a year ago about wanting to do a cupcake decorating birthday party where I would bake cupcakes and make frosting, and bring along all the tools to teach kids at a party how to decorate their own beautiful cupcakes.  Then came along a good friend of mine who asked if I could do this for her daughter's 10th birthday (and I'm pretty sure I never shared this idea with her).  Why yes, I'd be delighted!  :)

The birthday girl and her bf.

It. Was. So. Much. FUN!  I loved everything about it.  It was so girly and I just don't get enough of that around here.  And for once in my entire life a 10 year old girl actually thought I was kinda cool.  Ha!  Oh, I think the girls had fun too.  ;)

Upon arriving.

It took quite a bit of preparation to get the different colors of fondant and cutters and rollers and tips and tools and everything required for ten 10 years olds to decorate cupcakes.  But it was well worth it to see all those excited smiling faces ready to learn something new.  After passing it ALL out, we got busy with cutting out our fondant shapes so they'd have a little time to dry before topping the frosted cupcakes. 

Since it's like playing with play dough, this part went fast.  They made so many little toppers and exchanged some so they'd have different colors and shapes.  Lesson #1: Share.  :)

Next I taught them how to fill a pastry bag and do two different types of frosted tops; the classic swirl, and the rose swirl.

 What I wouldn't give to know what she was thinking.  :)

The rose cupcake.

I'm secretly hoping the birthday girl can someday be my protege!

Finally I brought out a ton of different pearls and edible markers and fun stuff for the girls to top their pretty frosted cupcakes with.  They went crazy!

The birthday girl's little brother had a lot of fun too!

Their masterpieces!

Did I mention how much fun this was???  I hope I get to do this again some time soon!