Tag Archives: Cupcakes

Elmo and Cookie Monster

Two catch-up posts in one day?!?!?  Now we are getting somewhere.   Back in October, a former coworker of mine asked if I could make a cake and cupcakes for her twins that were turning two.  The theme was Elmo and Cookie Monster which makes total sense given the age and, since they are boy/girl twins, it is a pretty gender neutral theme. It just so happens that before I baked cakes on a regular basis, I had done both of these themes for my oldest for his first and second birthday.  So this one was an easy yes.  I started by looking back at my old creations, and let me tell you, I was a little shocked.  They were not quite how I remembered them in my head.  I still liked the cupcakes mostly, but the cake….no.  The proportions were all off, the details were sloppy, the face was not as detailed.  It was one of those moments that you realize you have come a long way in a short amount of time.  So while I am not impressed with that cake at all, I am happy to see my progress from that short time ago.

I set out to do a better version of my former cake and cupcakes.  I started with cupcakes because the thought of mixing red icing was exhausting (more on that in a minute.)  I started by cutting my Oreo mouth pieces.  I split the Oreo’s, removed the filling, and then sawed through the cookies with a serrated knife. Don’t worry, my extra filling did not go to waste.  My husband stacked it into other Oreo’s to make some quadruple stuffed Oreo’s.  HAHA.  If you cut straight down, the cookie will break into multiple pieces, so you need to saw.  Next, I colored my tried and true buttercream icing recipe royal blue and used my “hair” tip, as I like to call it, to make fur.  I think the tip I use is a Wilton #233.  Before the icing crusts, I added the Oreo mouth and some candy eyeballs. I now make my own candy eyes (that will be a later post), but these pre-made ones from the store work great.

After the cupcakes, I geared up for the cake.  I am sure if you have talked to anyone who has made a cake with red icing, there has been a complaint in there about getting a good red.  Well, I am no different and I really messed up this first batch of red. I was mixing the red and wanted a little bit deeper color.  I read online about adding a touch of black.  Being a person who like very specific instructions (think scientist here) I don’t know what a touch meant. If I had been smart, it would have been to add the most minuet amount of black possible and see what happens.  I did no such thing and dipped my toothpick in my black icing and added it to the icing.  Wellllllll, lets just say that I got some version of red but it was not suitable for an Elmo cake.  Bummed that I had wasted a half batch of buttercream and a half bottle of red coloring, I started over.  Sticking to what I knew, I just added red icing and let it sit for a bit to let the color to develop.  What do you know, if I would have just had the patience the first time, the color would have developed just fine.  Patient is not a word that is used to describe me.

I used the same “hair” tip to make the fur on Elmo.  I did all the sides first to make sure I had enough icing.  If I was going to have to mix more, I would want all the same surface to be the same batch in case the color did not match.  Thankfully, I had made enough. Before, I added the fur on top, I added the Elmo face features.  This way, I could put the fur right up to the features. I was much happier with the proportions of the Elmo face this time around.

file-22

Elmo Cake

The icing for the features could have been a little smoother, but overall I was happy.  More importantly, there were some two-years-olds that loved their cake.

Clara

Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream

So…I have taken a looooong hiatus from posting in the blog.  As a matter of fact, a longer break than my time initially invested.  Maybe I am not a blog person or maybe I just don’t have time, but I am giving it another shot after my cousin Betsy started her own blog. Apparently she has the help of her dear friend and partner who is savvy in WordPress blogs.  While I am not so lucky, I am giving it another shot anyhow.  I would like my own chronicle of my cake and sweets progress over time, and outside of Instagram, this seems like the best way. So now it is time to get caught up!

Back in August, when the blackberries at the farm were at their peak, I made these cute little lemon cupcakes with blackberry buttercream. It seems like any berry goes well with lemon, but my favorites are blueberry and blackberry.  I found the original recipe on Pinterest which lead me to this post by Baker by Nature.  I made the lemon cupcakes as instructed.  For the buttercream, I followed the same process for cooking down the blackberries, but I added the blackberry sauce to my tried and true buttercream recipe found here.

Once complete, I added that scrumptious buttercream on those lemon cupcakes.  For once these cupcakes were for no one particular.  So off to work they went where all my extra sweets go for consumption by a bunch of people that give me way to much credit.

lemon-cupcake-with-blackberry-buttercream

Lemon Cupcake with Blackberry Buttercream

lemon-cupcake-with-backberry-buttercream-2

Lemon Cupcake with Blackberry Buttercream

One post down, a bunch to go!  Here is to trying to stay on top of this blog for longer than the first time.

Clara

Sharks and Tractors

So last weekend was a double cake weekend.  I wouldn’t usually do that to myself, but two of my best friends were having their kids birthdays on the same day.  Thankfully, one was during the lunch hours and one was during the dinner hours.  So not only was I able to make cakes for both, but we got to spend the whole time at each party without rushing.

So I will start with the shark party.  The shark party was a four-year-old pool party.  The party was inside at the clubhouse of the neighborhood pool with swimming to follow.  This was nice because I didn’t have to worry about the cake melting outside.  My BF Kelly wanted a small shark cake for her son to blow candles out on, and the rest of the cake in cupcake form.  This worked well since there were a bunch of kids ready to eat and be on their way to the swimming pool.  I made the cakes ahead of time like usual and froze them.

IMG_2736

Cooling Cakes – (Sim)fully Sweet

I was also able to make ahead the chocolate fins and shark that were going to adorn the shark cake and cupcakes. I printed out a template for the fins so they were all the same size.  I drew out a shark template that I thought would work for the smaller cake.

I didn’t put the  shark fins and shark on the cake until we arrived at the party.  I was too worried about breakage.  Also, the shark was quite heavy in the end and I didn’t want it tearing apart the cake. I ended up icing the cupcakes the night before and the cake the morning of the party.  I used different shades of blue and a large star tip to get a wave/water effect.  Kelly liked it and Liam enjoyed taking a big bite out of the shark!

 

Next up was the Johnny Tractor party.  My BF Kristen wanted something in the Johnny tractor theme for her little guys 2nd birthday.  She also only wanted cake and no cupcakes. So naturally, I went with a tractor.  I was going to build my own tractor until I found out that the party was going to be outside at a splash pad.  It wasn’t terribly hot and the cake had shade from the pavillion but it was in the 80’s and that still worried me.  I wanted to make sure I had a really stable cake.  I found a tractor cake form on Amazon for really cheap.  I used that to make two cakes that I could level and stack as I needed cake for about 45 people. I used my normal buttercream recipe however I substituted part of the butter for shortening to make the icing more heat resistant.  I don’t like doing it as I like the all butter buttercream better, but no one seemed to mind.  I looked at a picture of a John Deere Tractor on my ipad and got to work decorating.  I used a smaller star tip for most of the cake and a couple round tips for some of the details. The cake ended up turning out really nice and it was solid. Since I had to be at the earlier mentioned shark party, I packed the cake up and took it to Kristen’s house.  She made sure to keep it in the fridge so that it was nice and cold before sitting outside.  It held up really well and I am pretty sure it was all eaten!

Thats all for now.  I had a bunch of cakes right in a row, but now things are slowing.  Until next time.

~Clara

Snow White Cupcake Cake

IMG_2033

Snow White Cupcake Dress – Simfully Sweet

This weekend I made a Snow White Dress Cupcake Cake for a three year old birthday party.  Bea is a little girl of some friends that we see at IU football games.  I have two boys, so making a princess cake was a refreshing break from construction and Avengers.

This cake had 48 cupcakes and a whopping 2 batches of buttercream icing.  Those little roses take a lot of buttercream! The buttercream icing recipe I use was in my last post found here.  I ended up adding a little extra powder sugar than my usual 9 cups to make sure I had a stiffer batch to hold the texture of the roses.  It worked great.  It was pretty simple to construct and I was pretty please with the end product. This is the pattern I decided to go with:

IMG_2026

Snow White Cupcake Dress before icing – Simfully Sweet

I drew it out on paper first and then marked my circles with the colors.  The main dress was pretty simple, it was figuring out how big the sleeves needed to be relative to the dress.  I stared with the body of the dress first to make sure it looked right so that I could make adjustments if necessary.  Then I did the sleeves of the dress.  Both of those sections took one full batch of buttercream.

IMG_2027

Snow White Cupcake Dress – Simfully Sweet

IMG_2028

Snow White Cupcake Dress – Simfully Sweet

 

Next up came the dress.  I whipped up a new batch of buttercream and just added my yellow gel coloring straight to the mixer.  I made sure to take out a healthy scoop of plain white before I did that so that I could do some writing on the banner and have a little extra in case something happened that needed fixing (which I ended up needing).
IMG_2030

Snow White Cupcake Dress – Simfully Sweet

The last little touch was adding the Happy Birthday.  There is no pretty way to write on this cake with all those roses.  So I came up with the banner idea.  It ended up adding just the right thing to the cake by bringing some red to the bottom of the cake.  The banner is made of chocolate.  I used the Wilton chocolate melts.  I melted red chocolates and put it into a bag with a number 2 tip.  I had made a template on paper and covered with parchment paper.  I outlined the design and then popped it in the freezer for a minute to set.  Then, I filled in the design and put back in the freezer.  Once set, I was able to write on the chocolate with the spare white buttercream I had set aside.

IMG_2033

Snow White Cupcake Dress – Simfully Sweet

That was basically it.  Now about that extra buttercream I ended up needing.  The holes in between the cupcakes that I filled, sank overnight.  So I needed to refill so that the dress looked solid.  So for future reference, I need to just go ahead and fill the holes all the way to the board from the beginning.  Other than that, I had no other real problems and it turned out as expected.  I know that won’t always be the case in the future, but I will take it!

~Clara