Baby Shower Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes and Lemon Velvet Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: July 21, 2017

A friend commissioned me to make 60 cupcakes for her daughter’s baby shower. I had made cupcakes for her bridal shower two years earlier, and a gender “reveal” cake when her daughter became pregnant. The the mom-to-be again requested the fresh strawberry cupcakes with buttercream frosting for her baby shower.

I told them I would make a cake as my gift to the bride. We decided on a lemon velvet cake with raspberry buttercream frosting.

The theme of the shower included elephants and the colors pink and grey. The grandma-to-be purchased pink polka dot cupcake liners, elephant cupcake toppers in pink/grey and pink/grey zigzag, and other shapes, as well as a cake topper. Links included to show samples; I can’t vouch for the vendors since I do not know where grandma-to-be purchased them.

The website for this cake topper wouldn’t load, so here’s a picture:

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For the cupcakes, I pulled out my big gun of a cupcake pan. This was the last of the batter going into the oven:

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The cupcakes were topped with a swirl of buttercream frosting. I then added pink and silver sugar pearls around the cupcake, and then topped them with the cupcake toppers that had been hot glued onto toothpicks.

Here are the cupcakes:

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Then it was on to the cake. I will say that I tasted the batter before I cooked it. It didn’t taste real lemony to me, so I squeezed some fresh lemon juice into the batter, in addition to the lemon zest and the lemon extract.

The raspberry buttercream recipe — holy cow — it makes a ton! This was the cake and the frosting before I got started:

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I tried a buttercream smoothing technique I saw on YouTube. I had placed the cake in the frig, so it took a bit longer and I never did get it completely smooth. In the future, I’d ice the cake and let it “crust” at room temperature, and then do this technique with the Viva paper towel and the fondant smoother.  I should have taken a before and after picture because it did help smooth out the frosting. Here’s the after:

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Around the base of the cake, I piped on bursts, and added a large white sugar pearl in the center of each burst. Finally, I spelled the baby’s name with raspberry buttercream piped on candy melt circles in bright white that I added some black color to in order to get a grey.

Here’s all of the sugar, ready to be delivered to the party:

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Here’s the table full of goodies:
Baby Shower table 1Baby Shower table 2

Congrats Kaitlyn and Kevin – we can’t wait to meet baby Hannah!

Kaitlyn and Kevin

Photo courtesy of Lidia Miller Photography.

My pricing philosophy:

How I price my work

Future Bobcat Cake

Baking date: July 14 & 15, 2017

I had some extra red velvet batter and cream cheese frosting left over from graduation cupcakes I had been commissioned to make, so rather than let it go to waste, I made a one layer 9″ cake.

Since the graduate was heading to Frostburg State University and would be playing baseball for the Bobcats, I added a red and black paw to the candy melts I was already making for the other cupcakes and cake. I also used candy melt molds to spell out FUTURE BOBCAT.

Here’s the top of the cake:

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Around the base, I piped on bursts. In a feat that would make Sister Francis Miriam — my elementary school algebra teacher — proud, I counted the bursts and then based on the number of mini-M&Ms I had, figured out how to space them equally around the base in the center of those bursts. I then added ruby red pearlized sugar sprinkles on top of the bursts. Here’s a shot that shows the base with the mini-M&Ms and sprinkles. Always remember to place the “M” side down.

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All the best as you head off to college this Fall, Josh!

Career Stolen Bases Record Cake

Baking date: July 14 & 15, 2017

This season, one of the seniors on the varsity Walkersville Lions high school baseball team set the record for most career steals. Josh has played on the varsity team all four years of high school. Since I love to make these pay-it-forward types of goodies for people we know in the community, I was ready to fire up the oven and get baking! This would be my gift to him, as I was already commissioned to make the cupcakes for his graduation party.

I decided to go with an baseball infield cake, so I started with the 12″ square pan in red velvet – Josh’s favorite cake flavor. I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate it, but would worry about that later.

After some thought, I decided to make a baseball infield with the bases. I made one cake in the easy layer square pan, and cut the layer into quarters for the square bases. One of the squares I fashioned into the shape of home plate.

The entire cake was covered in canned white frosting. The bases were placed on top in each corner of the diamond, and I frosted them as well.

I made a large lion paw in royal blue and yellow candy melts. For each number of stolen bases in each year, I made royal blue numbers. I dyed some of the icing golden yellow, and piped the year (“Frosh”, “Soph”, “Jr”, “Sr”) on the base to indicate the number of bases stolen each year. The total number was in the middle, along with the paw and “Career Stolen Bases” piped on in the golden yellow icing.

Around each base, I added brownie/turtle crunch topping. It’s my “go-to” for dirt for all the baseball cakes I make. Unfortunately, I can’t find it anymore (may be discontinued?) and since I didn’t have a lot left, I only placed it around the bases and home plate. Originally, I wanted to make the entire dirt infield, but we pivot when we must!

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On the third base side of the cake I piped on Josh’s twitter handle:

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and on the first base side, I piped on “Lion Pride”:

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Around the entire base, I piped on a burst and placed a large white sugar pearl in the center of each burst. Finally, I added royal blue and yellow sugar sprinkles on top of the bottom border.

Congrats Josh and all the best as you continue your baseball career in Frostburg!

FirstTeamJoshFNP

High School Graduation Cupcakes

Baking date: July 14, 2017

Months ago, I had been commissioned to make to make cupcakes for a graduating high school senior whose younger brother plays baseball with my son Alex. The one potential wrinkle…I had surgery on May 31 to repair/rebuild a ruptured Achilles and remove a bone spur on my heal.

I would be off of my foot completely for 6 weeks, and then move to a boot/walker for 2 weeks. By the time of the party, I would be in the boot/walker phase of recovery and able to take on this task.

Easy-peasy, right?

Well, not so easy to begin walking on a foot in a boot when you’ve been off of it completely for 6 weeks. But I did manage not only the 36 cupcakes, a career stolen bases record cake, but also a cake celebrating the college he would be heading to.

The first thing I did was make a bunch of candy melts in the shape of medium- and large-size Lion paws, letters, numbers, and squares:

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Then, it was on to the cupcakes.

The cupcakes were red velvet, at the request of the graduate. Given that I was just starting to walk, I used box mix for the cake instead of making it from scratch. As always, I add a tablespoon of vanilla when mixing to make it taste more homemade.

Because I had been asked to make 36 cupcakes, I had half of one box of batter leftover. I used that for one layer of a 9″ round cake to make his college-bound cake.

I started with blue and gold foil cupcake liners I found on Etsy (very pleased with this vendor’s service and the product I received), which are the colors for the Walkersville Lions. I topped the baked cupcakes with a swirl of cream cheese frosting — another confession — I used canned frosting (easier than making from scratch in my post-surgery state!). I then used blue and yellow sugar sprinkles on top.

But that wasn’t all! I made candy melt paws in royal blue and yellow to top some of the cupcakes. For others, I made square royal blue candy melts, and topped them with cream cheese icing dyed golden yellow, piped on with a #2 tip to from the tassels with a yellow mini-M&M in the center. I placed them on top of an inverted mini-Reese’s peanut butter cupBaker’s note: I bought a small tube of mini-M&Ms at the grocery check out line and had only 18 yellows, since the pack contains multiple candy shell colors. Also, if you are aware of any peanut allergies, you may have to forego the mini-Reese’s and just put the cap on top of the frosting.

Here are some of the cupcakes:

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Congrats Josh – and all the best as you head to Frostburg this Fall!

Josh Graduate

My pricing philosophy:How I price my work

Home Run Cake for Jake

Baking date: May 26, 2017

I’ve made so many home run cakes over the years, I can’t keep count. This year on my son’s travel team, only one player hit a home run.

Technically, he hit two home runs. But one of them came after May 31 and I have been out of the baking game since then, when I had surgery to repair/rebuild a rupture in my Achilles. Recovery required 6 weeks completely off of my foot, so the the kitchen has been shut down while I was on the mend.

Jake requested a vanilla cake, so I used a French vanilla box mix — always add that extra tablespoon of vanilla when mixing to make it seem a bit more homemade.

The frosting was white. I dyed some red for the baseball stitches and some green for the grass around the base, piped on with a #233 tip. I also used some of the white for piping his name and date of the home run on the star candies. The large red star candies were for his name; the small star candies for the date of the home run. Home run was spelled out using royal blue candy melts (only the number mold is shown on the site, but they have an alphabet mold also).

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Finally, I added turtle crunch sprinkles around the base of the cake on the grass to simulate dirt. It’s been my go-to for sports cakes that require dirt, but I fear the product has been discontinued. It’s no longer on the Wilton site, and every place that does show it says it’s out of stock with no anticipated available date. Guess I’ll have to buy Heath bars or Butterfingers and pulse them in the blender if I need “dirt”. *sigh*

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Turtle Crunch sprinkles – the perfect “dirt”

Congrats on your home run, Jake — and welcome to the cake club!

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21st Birthday Cake

Baking date: May 20, 2017

The 21st birthday for my friend Lou’s daughter was celebrated at the Springfield Manor Winery and Distillery. Lou had reserved a large table, ordered sangrias, wines and food, and even secured a stretch limo to get us all to and from the venue safely. The party guests included good friends and family:

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All the ladies

a number of which were mothers/daughters that Lana (the birthday girl) had grown up with:

Moms and daughters

I have known Lana and her mom for many years – our sons have played baseball together for 8 years, and basketball a number of years. So — of course — a special cake was my gift to the birthday girl. Her mom told me chocolate on chocolate was good. And her favorite color is blue.

I made both the one bowl chocolate cake and the chocolate ganache frosting from scratch, which included cocoa powder. The very same cocoa powder that fell out of the cabinet at one point. The top popped off and the cocoa powder ended up all over my mixer. I’ll bet this shit never happens to Martha Stewart.

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For the decorations on top of the cake, I hand-piped a two and a one using bright white candy melts. I covered the numbers with royal blue sugar. I piped on bursts of the ganache and set the “2” and the “1” into the ganache.

Using a very small star tip, I piped Lana’s name in script using the ganache. I then placed blue sugar pearls in the center of each small burst.

Around the top edge of the cake, I piped shells using star tip #21. Inside the shells, I filled in with large blue and white sugar crystals.

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Around the base of the cake, I piped on bursts of ganache and placed a white sugar pearls in the center of each burst.

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Happy 21st birthday, sweet Lana. And thanks for having me be part of your special celebration!

Lana

Chocolate-on-chocolate Home Run Cake

Baking date: May 13, 2017

As my oldest son has gotten grown up, I haven’t had the opportunity to make as many home run cakes for his baseball teammates. Those fences have gotten farther away as they have become teenagers, and it’s become tougher to crank it out.

So, when an opportunity comes along to make a home run cake for someone I know, I jump on it. Such an opportunity presented itself in May when my youngest son’s football coach posted this:

Csm at bat

I texted Coach and asked what kind of cake Cam liked so I could make him a home run cake. He asked and Cam said “chocolate with chocolate frosting”. OK…makes it more of a challenge, since my typical home run cake has white frosting.

I made a one bowl chocolate cake with easy chocolate ganache frosting. It was a two-layer, 9″ round cake.

I decided to decorate the cake with round bright white candy melts for the baseballs. I used a basic round mold. I use bright white candy melts for anything I want really white, because I feel like the white candy melts are more ivory. I had some leftover white frosting that I was going to use to pipe on red seams, once I dyed the frosting. But I was out of red icing coloring. Yikes – quick trip to grocery store to get emergency supplies. since my craft store go-tos (AC Moore or JoAnn) are on the other side of town and I was on a tight time line to finish!)

Red icing

I made star candy melts using the Starry Mix candy mold with red candy melts to spell out Cameron’s name and date of the home run. I used white icing to pipe on the name and numbers.

I used white candy melts to spell out home run with Make ‘n Mold Bakerella letter candy molds — the only molds listed on the website are the numbers, but they have letters also. You can really see the difference between white and bright white candy melts in this photo of all the candy melt decorations for the cake:

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Here is the cake all put together and decorated from the top and side:

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Cam was delighted with the treat…

Cam with Cake

And his dad was very appreciative…

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Even though I don’t make as many home run cakes for the kids on my son’s baseball team as I used to, you can always find a way to pay it forward, if you are tuned in to your community!