Rainbow Birthday Cupcakes

Baking date: March 3, 2018

My good friend Rebecca was having a birthday party at Hot Fired Arts for her daughter Sami. We’ve been friends for close to a decade and even though I don’t have a daughter, Rebecca asked if I would join the party and bring cupcakes for the birthday girl.

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Using the invite theme of a heart and multi-colors, I decided to use a rainbow of sugar sprinkles to decorate the requested chocolate cupcakes. The recipe for the cupcakes was one bowl chocolate cake.  I used a canned white frosting.

The colors of sugar sprinkles I used were pink, yellow, royal blue, orange, purple, gold, pastel green and pastel pink (from Betty Crocker, but couldn’t find a link to it online). I topped the cupcake with the white frosting, then dipped the cupcake into a plate of the sprinkles, pressing all areas to ensure coverage of all the frosting.

To top each cupcake, I created a candy heart in bright white. Before pouring the bright white candy melt into the mold, I added some sugar sprinkles in the mold, so they would match the sugar sprinkles on top of each cupcake. Once the candy melt had set, I then “attached” the heart with a bit of the white frosting.

Here are the cupcakes:

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And a couple up close (in her favorite colors, purple and pink):

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Happy Birthday, Sami! So glad I got to spend the afternoon with you, your friends, and all the moms crafting some pretty cool stuff!

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Sami (middle) and her friends at Hot Fired Arts in Frederick, MD

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60th Birthday Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Baking date: February 10, 2018

I was asked to make a special 60th birthday cake for my friend Rebecca’s fiance Gary. Rebecca had requested carrot cake, and I had never made one from scratch. So I looked for a recipe that I thought would be good, and came across Grandma Hiers’ carrot cake recipe from Paula Deen. I opted not to add the pecans to the batter, but did use some for decorating.

A few days before I was going to make the cake, I saw my hairdresser. I’ve been going to her for 25 years for my cuts and colors (the older I get, it’s more color than cut!). She takes care of me at her house, and we use the time to catch up on our lives. She’s a fantastic cook, so I told her about the cake I was going to be making.

“Oh, let me tell you the secret to an amazing carrot cake!” she exclaimed. “First, add a small can of crushed pineapple. And then – here’s the real secret – instead of shredded carrots, use canned carrots. Drain them, but they already have extra moisture and will shred apart once you mix them into your batter. The cake will be so moist.”

Since I had already googled “how many carrots does it take to make 3 cups of grated carrots” (yes, there is a website that will tell you), I did not look forward to shredding 9 carrots, and probably a few knuckles in the process. I figured I would give this canned carrots thing a try.  I did not go for the crushed pineapple, since I’m not a huge fan of it. Nor did the recipe call for pineapple or raisins, as I have seen in some carrot cakes.

I made the cake in the 12″ and 16″ pans from the performance square pan set. It was a busy weekend for me, so I used canned cream cheese frosting, rather than the recipe that was part of the offering from Paula Deen.

Gary is a boater. He and Rebecca also love the beach. So I decided to make sea shell candies to decorate the cake. I used a two-tone technique I saw on a YouTube video, using light cocoa and white candy melts. I finished them by brushing on white pearl dust.

I kept the decorating simple. I used crushed pecans to fill in the pressed outline of the 6 and 0 I made using cookie cutters on top of the cake. I also sprinkled crushed pecans on corners of the cake, but not all over, since I didn’t know if there were any allergies among the guests invited to his surprise party.

Here is the cake:

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And a close up of some of the candies:

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Here’s the cake, with all the photos and decorations for the party:

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I am pleased to report that the recipe with the “secret ingredient” (canned carrots) received rave reviews! People commented on how moist the cake was, and many party guests took an extra piece home to enjoy later.

Happy Birthday, Gary! Glad my husband and I could join your family and friends to help you celebrate ringing in a new decade.

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Left to right: Rebecca, Becky (me), Michael, Gary

 

Get Well Soon Chocolate Cake

Baking date: January 13, 2018

One of the kids my son has played basketball, baseball and football with at various times had to have shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. The surgery meant that he would not be able to play varsity basketball or baseball in his junior year, and was hoping to be cleared in time to start back on the field for his senior year with football in the Fall of 2018.

I wanted to make him a get well soon treat. I asked his mom about a favorite flavor of cake, and it was chocolate. I made a one bowl chocolate cake recipe, and topped it with an easy chocolate ganache frosting.  I used red cookie icing to pipe on the get well message. I created a candy melt basketball, football and baseball, to represent the sports Elias plays and added them to the cake.

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I delivered the cake to Elias and not long after, his mom posted this message on Facebook:

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There’s nothing better than knowing I helped put a smile on this talented athlete’s face. Looking forward to seeing you back on the field soon, Elias!

Rocket “Launch” Cake

Baking date: January 7, 2018

At work, we had a big project launch. To celebrate this three year project that merged two separate online applications/databases into one, I decided to make a launch cake.

First, I googled rocket cakes. I found an image of one that seemed simple enough. As far as I could tell, it was a 9 x 13 sheet cake, with one end carved. Those carved off pieces would then become the boosters at the other end.

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The cake I made was a yellow box mix, with vanilla added in to give it some “homemade” flavor. The icing was the canned white Pillsbury variety.

I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan and then sliced a rounded edge off each side of one end. I then placed those cut off  edges against the bottom of the other end.

I frosted the main body of the rocket in white, and I dyed the boosters (no taste) red.  Around the edge of the rocket, I added silver sugar sprinkles. Given how difficult this was to do, I understand why the inspiration cake baker used some sort of candy strip instead:

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I added dark blue (no longer available) candy melt circles for the rocket “windows” and piped the date of the launch (1-9-18) onto the discs.

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Finally, I made mini-star candy melts in orange, and larger stars in yellow. I’m not sure they make this mold any more – there are four of each size star on the mold tray and the  large stars have space for a stick. I piped the acronym of the program being launched (VLSO) on the smaller orange star in red icing, with red icing dots in the point of each larger yellow star. I affixed the orange stars to the yellow stars with some of the white frosting.

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Here’s the whole cake, on a black cake board:

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Congrats to my colleagues for all their hard work!

50th Birthday White Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Baking date: November 24, 2017

One of my dear sports mom friends turned 50 in November. Her good friend Erin pulled together a lovely brunch for a number of her friends at The Main Cup.

While many of the gifts bestowed upon our friend where of the alcoholish variety, mine was dessert, of course. I had asked her family for the type of cake (white) and frosting (chocolate) she would like, along with her favorite color (red).

I made a white cake recipe I found on Pinterest, in 9″ round cake pans. The frosting is an easy chocolate ganache, another Pinterest recipe that I have made multiple times. The frosting recipe makes a ton, so you will have extra leftover (I rewarmed it and dipped shortbread cookies in it).

I used candy melts to decorate the cake, some red hearts with white stripes and some white hearts with red stripes. I mounted some of the white hearts onto red square candy melts using the ganache. I used the numbers and alphabet candy molds to spell out her name and 5-0, on top of white circle candy melts. Finally, I piped ganache bursts along the base of the cake and added white sugar pearls in the center of each burst.

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Happy Birthday, sweet Lou!

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Left to right: Lauren, Emily, me, Lou and Michelle

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All the gals celebrating Lou!

 

 

French Vanilla 50th Birthday Cake

Baking date: November 17, 2017

My dear friend Rebecca celebrated her 50th birthday this year. We met more than 10 years ago when her now ex-husband was coaching a t-ball team my boys were on with her kids.

Her fiance Gary planned a surprise party and asked me to make her a cake. He didn’t have any specific instructions other than vanilla cake, and sharing the party favors/decoration theme he was using, which was pink and sparkly.

So I made a two-tier French vanilla cake with the square 12″ and 8″ pans. For the frosting, I used white canned frosting. I sprinkled pink and silver sugar sprinkles all around the cake.

I decorated using bursts of frosting in rose, white and black along the corners. Around the top base border and lower base border, I made rose bursts with smaller white bursts inside.

Using heart candy molds, I made tri-colored hearts in bright pink, bright white and black. Finally, I used a “5” and “0” cookie cutter pressed into the top and then followed the outline of the numbers with the black icing.

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I used a star candy mold on a pink stick to make black stars with rose icing to pipe a letter of her name on each star. The final star I piped on ‘& FAB’.

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My intent was that the final product would read REBECCA 50 & FAB.

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Here’s to the next 50, my good friend!

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HBday Rebecca

Cheer Cupcakes

Baking date: October 20, 2017

This year, my son Alex was moved up to the varsity high school football team. He is one of only 4 sophomores and 1 freshman to be invited up. It’s exciting for him, but we know that he won’t see much playing time unless the team has a lead securely in hand.

It’s quite an accomplishment to be that close to the older kids, who made it to the state championship game in 2015 (lost 21-20), and in 2016, when they went 14-0 for the season and brought home the championship. This year, it was #NewTeamSameDream of heading back to the state championship game for a repeat.

I’ll spare you the suspense..our boys lost in the Regional Championship game. It was a close-fought game, against two powerhouses in the region.

But back to those cheer cupcakes…the cheerleaders had made yard signs for all the varsity players this year at the beginning of the season:

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I thought that was a very nice gesture and wanted to do something for the cheer team. I asked for the team roster and set out making chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. But to amp up the offering a bit, I dipped the frosted cupcakes in blue sugar sprinkles, piped on the cheer names in golden yellow tinted frosting, and added candy melt hearts in royal blue and yellow. I made extra cupcakes with yellow frosting and added the blue sugar sprinkles. Some had the extra candy hearts (the mold makes 20) with some of the blue sugar sprinkles.

Here’s a look at the cheer cupcakes (coaches included!):

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And here are all the cupcakes:

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Thanks WHS Cheer!

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And thanks to my friend Michelle, for capturing photos during my son’s Sophomore year on the varsity squad. I   and I ❤️ #54

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