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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Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: September 3, 2017

I love that Pinterest is filled with “the best”, “the most amazing”, and “the best ever” recipes for anything your baking heart desires. Most of the recipes I have tried have been delicious. But a recent attempt at new recipes found on Pinterest didn’t turn out quite the way I envisioned.

My husband called me from the store and asked the question “do you have the stuff you need to make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting?”  I responded with “sure, but could you get me some extra powdered/confectioners sugar.” What I really was thinking was “holy Hell man, how long have you known me? I can’t believe you even have to ask that question.”

I searched Pinterest and found this old-fashioned yellow cake recipe. Then I looked for a chocolate buttercream recipe.

Long story short — my husband thought the cake itself was a bit dry. And he said the frosting tasted like “what they use on Tastykakes.” Hmmm…I guess everything on Pinterest isn’t the best or to to be fair, to everyone’s unique liking.

It did give me the opportunity to use Viva paper towels and a fondant smoother to try a buttercream frosting smoothing technique I found on YouTube.

Here’s the cake, after using the smoothing technique (I should have snapped a before picture – next time, I promise):

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I’m sure these recipes will work for others, but for my husband, his advice was “why do you go to all the trouble of homemade cake and frosting? Just buy a box of cake mix and a can of frosting and I’ll be good to go.”

Sigh

Cake with Frozen Buttercream Transfer

Baking date: November 19, 2016

A former colleague of mine Jennifer celebrated a fun family accomplishment recently – her husband Sean, and their two kids Caeley and Seamus published their first children’s book. It was written and illustrated by Sean and the kids.

Here’s a synopsis of the book Little Robin: Flying South for the Winter:

In this lovable adventure, we fly away on Little Robin’s journey to meet up with his friends and fly south for the winter. Little Robin is in danger of missing the trip when he is faced with the important decision of whether to help others in need. As the air turns cold, in a moment of fright and worry, Robin teaches us how to stay calm and not give up hope.

The family had a book publishing party with friends and family. I decided to make a cake to help them celebrate. I used the 16″ pan from the Wilton performance pans square set for the cake. I used a French vanilla box mix for the cake and wedding buttercream icing to ice the cake and make the buttercream transfer.

I had watched a video tutorial on frozen buttercream transfers on the Wilton channel on YouTube. Here’s the image after I had piped on the white outline, white/black eyes of robin, green leaves, the red robin, and black feet. As you can see, it’s not easy to pipe on small details – I smudged some of the buttercream in the lower right side of the image and had to fix it. After piping on the blue and brown, I let it set an hour. I then added plain buttercream over all of it and put it back in the freezer for another hour to help it set even better.img_2006

Here’s how the cake turned out once I piped on the names of the authors and added a border of blue bursts around the base. Because the transfer image sits higher on the cake, the next time I try this, I’ll add a decorative border around the image to that it looks more seamless:

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And here’s the book cover next to the cake – not a bad likeness!

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Congrats Sean, Caeley, and Seamus!

Halloween Rainbow Cake

Baking Date: October 20, 2012

One of the team moms severely sprained her ankle while playing with her boys.  She was now relegated to a walking cast. So I made her get well brownies; chocolate being the best healer out there.  As a thank you for the brownies, she bought me these:

Orange & black frosting, along with Halloween-themed sprinkles

We celebrated Halloween a little early with our football watching friends.  They will be going to the game next weekend and we will be stuck watching the games on our non-theater size screen at home.

For noshing this past weekend, I made a rainbow Halloween cake using the special frostings and sprinkles.  I followed the directions provided by Cooking with Sugar.  Except for wearing the sailor suit at the end to show off the cake.

Here’s how my cake turned out:

Halloween rainbow cake – photo with Instagram

And this was the inside:

photo with Instagram

The cool thing about this cake is that each time you make it, it will turn out different depending on how the multiple batters settle while baking.  And how you frost it.

I think you could modify the recipe to make various holiday themed cakes:

  • Green/Red/White for Christmas; Blue/White/Gold for Hanukkah; Black/Red/Green for Kwanzaa
  • Red/White/Pink for Valentine’s Day
  • Green/White/Orange for St. Patty’s Day
  • Pink/Yellow/Green (or other pastel colors) for Easter
  • Red/White/Blue for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day

Or, for your favorite team.  Or high school graduation.  The possibilities are endless!

I can’t wait to make one in royal blue/yellow gold/white for my boys’ football team!

Get Well Brownie

Baking Date: October 16, 2012

One of the moms from my kids’ baseball team got stung by a wasp.  Unfortunately, she had a bad reaction very late in the evening. Her husband (an infectious disease specialist) was out of the country on business, so she ended up at a “doc-in-the-box” walk-in clinic to treat what had turned into an infected sting.  The over-achieving wasp stung her not once, but twice. Ouch.

Even more unfortunate was that the medical personnel prescribed her medication in the same family as a pharmaceutical she told them she is allergic to.  She ended up sick (and thankfully nothing worse!) from both the bee stings and the medication.

Enter the get well brownie.  I used a simple milk chocolate brownie box mix, with frosting I made by melting some unsalted butter and milk chocolate chips in the microwave.  I then decorated it with sparkle gel frosting with a No Doc in the Box sign, and a wasp with a trail around the sign.  Because chocolate is the best Rx for any ailment.

Frosted brownie – the best medicine!

Feel better soon, Meredith!