Bridal Shower Cupcakes: Chocolate with Mocha Buttercream; White with Strawberry Buttercream

Baking date: March 2, 2018

I was commissioned to make cupcakes for a bridal shower. I was asked for chocolate with a chocolate frosting, and a white cupcake with strawberry frosting.

I ordered purple foil liners, since that was the color for the wedding. For the chocolate cupcakes, I used one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes – one bowl chocolate cake with a chocolate mocha buttercream. I piped on the frosting with a 1M tip. I hand piped chocolate heart shapes and added a gold sugar pearl and purple sugar sprinkles on each heart.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Here’s the cupcake up close:

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The base for the other cupcakes was a white cake recipe. The strawberry icing recipe received rave reviews, but I found it difficult to pipe on in a fancy swirl. It wasn’t firm enough to keep it’s shape, like in the inspiration photo:

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I may have added too many strawberries, so it was not as firm as it needed to be. I topped the strawberry frosting with white sparkling sugar sprinkles.

Here’s a photo:

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In the future when using this strawberry frosting recipe, I’ll stick with the recommended amount of strawberries. And if I still find it won’t pipe on and hold it’s shape, I’ll probably add fresh strawberry garnish to improve the aesthetic appeal of the cupcakes.

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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.

Invite

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!

Birthday Girl with friends

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

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

 

Red Velvet Birthday Cupcakes

Baking date: January 30, 2018

A mom who’s oldest son is a freshman in college this year commissioned me to make him a birthday treat. She was going to visit him and wanted to take something special with her.

She asked for red velvet cupcakes (his favorite), so I went to the Food Network site and searched for recipes. I found one from Tricia Yearwood. To save time because this was a mid-week request, I used canned cream cheese frosting.

I used baseball cupcake liners, since the birthday boy has been playing baseball since he was very young and is now a member of the Frostburg Bobcats team.

I frosted eight of the cupcakes flat and dipped them in gold pearlized sugar and ruby red pearlized sugar. Using some leftover red dyed icing from a get well cake, I piped his name on the cupcakes dipped in gold. For the other cupcakes, I added bats and balls from the large sports sprinkles pack.

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For the remainder of the cupcakes, I frosted with a swirl and then sprinkled on the gold and ruby red pearlized sugar on top.

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He enjoyed the treats:

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Happy Birthday, Josh!

My pricing philosophy:

How I price my work

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!

Football Banquet Cookies and Cupcakes

Baking date: January 12 and 13, 2018

Last year our town’s football team were the State champs in our division. I baked a boatload of goodies for the celebratory banquet, including cakes and cookies. This year, our team won the conference title again, but was knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs on a controversial play.

But it was still an amazing season. And this year, my son was selected for varsity in just his sophomore year.

I purchased a t-shirt cookie cutter and decided to start a new tradition of creating personalized jersey cookies for the graduating seniors. The remainder of the varsity team get personalized football-shaped cookies, and the JV players get a cupcake with their number. This is the jersey I modeled the cookie after (it’s my son in the picture – he’s a lineman):

Alex

I decided to make a favorite chocolate sugar cookie recipe. It makes a ton of dough — and I would need it because the t-shirt cookie cutter was bigger than I anticipated. There were 25 seniors on the football team this year.

Here is a look at the cookies as the first layer of cookie icing went on – white for their home uniforms. I think it looks like a bunch of undershirts:

Tshirts

I piped on blue numbers and their last names, as well as some yellow and blue piping along the sleeves and sides. And I added football mini-decorations from the large sports sprinkles set:

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And then there were the rest of the Varsity players, coaches and team mom cookies in the shape of footballs. I added yellow paw prints and topped them with gold sugar sprinkles (yes, yes, I see the one that didn’t get the paw print):

Varsity Football Cookies

With the rest of the football cookies, I added on the laces for the many siblings that would be attending the banquet.

Plain football cookies

For JV, I made chocolate cupcakes with royal blue and gold foil cupcake liners and topped them with vanilla frosting. Then I dipped the tops in gold pearlized sugar sprinkles and blue sugar sprinkles, alternating the cupcake liner color with the sprinkle color. I added each players’ number on the top.

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For the extras, I added the football decorations.

Extra Cupcakes

Here’s the whole production on my kitchen table, ready to be transported to the banquet:

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Congrats to my son on earning his varsity letter in his sophomore year (this is his ‘I’m trying to be cool and act like I don’t care’ face) …

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Even though back-to-back State championships weren’t in the cards for the team,  congrats to the Walkersville Lions on their back-to-back Conference Championship seasons!

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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!