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

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50th Anniversary Cake and Cupcakes

Baking date: October 9, 2015  This project was actually done over two weekends — I made some of the icing decorations the weekend before October 9.

I was approached by one of the sports moms I know, who asked if I would be interested in making a 50th anniversary cake for her in-laws. Her son has played baseball, basketball, and football with my oldest son, and her in-laws come to all the games. We know them well.

This would be my first “big” cake. They wanted one layer to be vanilla, one to be marble, and it should feed up to 100 people. The theme for the celebration included coppers, golds, and other fall colors.

I started with a Wilton square pan set, using the 12 and 16 inches sizes. (Note that these pans angle out and are not straight up and down on the sides. For the less casual baker, they may not be the best choice for stacking cakes.)

I used a french vanilla cake mix for the bottom layer (3 boxes) and a fudge marble cake mix for the top layer (2 boxes). When using a box mix, I add 1 tablespoon of vanilla per box to give it a more home made flavor.

I had never made icing roses before, so I watched a YouTube tutorial by Julia Usher on how to do it. While this video focuses on royal frosting, I used buttercream. Buttercream doesn’t seem as “sturdy” as royal icing, and I did have a few “whoops” as I made the roses:

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That’s the remnants of a rose on my pants

I made other buttercream decorations for the cake: leaves using a #67 tip in moss green, roses in burgundy using a #102 tip, a different rose style in copper using a #102 tip, and a swirl rose in golden yellow using a #31 tip.  Here’s a sampling of the flowers and leaves – this was my first attempt at all of these.

I made a buttercream frosting that I used for both the flowers and icing the cake. I left space on the top for the topper that had been purchased by the family.

Once the cake was iced, I added star bursts around the top layer bottom edge and the bottom layer bottom edge. In the middle of each burst, I placed a gold sugar pearl. I then added the burgundy roses around the top edge of the top layer of the cake, with 2 leaves on each corner rose. I alternated the copper and golden yellow flowers on the next tier.

I snapped a picture of the cake in my fridge and sent it to my friend, to give her a sneak peek:

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Here are some more photos of the cake:

This is how I set my pricing when I am asked to make a cake. I ask the requester to pay for the cost of  materials – in this case $40. I then tell them how much time it takes and tell them they can add on whatever they think is fair for my time.

I know this isn’t a traditional way to price work, but let me be clear. I have never taken a cake decorating class, so what you get looks nice but it is definitely not perfect. Also, decorating is an incredibly relaxing and therapeutic exercise for me. All the stress and worries of my job melt away — I am totally focused on what I am decorating and the enjoyment I get from it. What a nice escape! And finally — my paternal grandmother was an artist. She painted and sketched and I like to think that my baking/decorating is that creative gene living on in me. That brings me great happiness that no amount of money can.

As my gift to the couple (since I have known them about 4 years now) I made French vanilla cupcakes with a swirl of buttercream frosting, gold sugar pearls, and a free-hand candy melt heart design, which was dusted with edible gold pearl dust.

Here it is, put together on the dessert table at the party:

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And here are Judy and Alan cutting the cake:

Judy and Alan cut cake

Happy Anniversary Judy and Alan. Thanks to your family for thinking of me so I could be a small part of the celebration!

Snickerdoodle Cake

Baking Date: May 27, 2014

I have made this Snickerdoodle cake before, but I used canned butter cream icing that I added a bit of cinnamon sugar mix to before icing. I also didn’t try to make it the four-layer variety, as the inspiration recipe called for.

When the sister of one of my son’s baseball teammate’s had knee surgery to repair an injury from soccer, I decided to try it again in all its buttery glory — including the brown sugar cinnamon buttercream frosting recipe.

Here’s the inspiration photo:

The inspiration photo  © Copyright 2009-2014 · All Rights Reserved · Foodie with Family

The inspiration photo
© Copyright 2009-2014 · All Rights Reserved · Foodie with Family

Below is my cake. I didn’t use cinnamon sticks for garnish; I just kept it simple.  A note about the frosting – it makes a ton! I had enough for the four layer cake, 24 snickerdoodle cupcakes, and another 24 cupcakes.

My snickerdoodle cake

My snickerdoodle cake

The cake and frosting received an enthusiastic thumbs up. Get well soon, Lauren!

Happy Birthday to Me

Baking Date: August 19, 2012

My birthday takes place during the dog days of Summer.  This year, the Steelers were playing a pre-season game the night before, so I made some cupcakes, pumpkin bread mini-loaves with chocolate chips and a snickerdoodle cake with brown sugar cinnamon buttercream frosting for our viewing party.  Once I had frosted it, I sprinkled Sugar in the Raw on top for “bling”.