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:

IMG_0456

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:

IMG_0457IMG_0464IMG_0463

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

Josh Graduate

My pricing philosophy:How I price my work

High School Graduation Cupcakes

Baking date: June 16, 2016

Many of my friends have kids that are now graduating from high school. One of them is my good friend Rebecca, whose oldest son Zack was part of the Walkersville High School class of 2016.

There was going to be a graduation party for her son Zack and three of his friends at a community park on a recent Friday. Rebecca asked me if I could make 4 dozen cupcakes for the event and was going to pay me for my efforts.

The schools colors are royal blue, yellow, and white. I decided to make royal blue velvet cupcakes, and top them with buttercream frosting dyed royal blue and golden yellow.

I piped on the blue or yellow frosting around the edge and then used the opposite color to create a peak. I topped all of the cupcakes with white sparkling sugar sprinkles.

IMG_1384

But I wasn’t done there! I created mini lion paws out of candy melts in royal blue and yellow. Some of those went on top of the cupcakes. I also made hearts out of the royal blue and yellow candy melts. They also went on top of some of the cupcakes.

I created square candy melts in royal blue and topped them with a mini M&M in yellow, and piped two loops of the yellow buttercream onto the top and over the edge to make a graduation mortar board and tassel. Those went on top of other cupcakes.

Finally, for the graduates, I created graduation mortar boards out of light cocoa (milk chocolate) candy melts. I topped those with blue mini M&Ms, piping on two blue buttercream tassels. I added each graduates name in yellow buttercream. These were placed on top of an inverted mini Reeses peanut butter cup.

Here are all the candy melts and M&Ms ready for decorating.

IMG_1392

Here are the four graduates’ cupcakes

Here are samples of the Lion paw, heart, mortar board/tassel topped cupcakes:

Finally, here are three of the four dozen cupcakes trays (not sure why I only took pictures of three of the four):

IMG_5453IMG_5461IMG_5465

Congratulations, Zach, Ethan, Jack, and Aaron!

My pricing philosophy:

How I price my work

 

 

Butterscotch Cake with Butterscotch Frosting

Baking date: June 3, 2016

This cake was my gift to a family we know. I was commissioned to make their son’s middle school graduation cake (he picked a baseball diamond cupcake cake), but I wanted to do something a little extra. We’ve been friends with his family for more than 6 years, and he has played on many of the same sports teams as my oldest son.

Mickey asked for butterscotch cupcakes, so I decided to use the recipe for butterscotch cupcakes I found on Pinterest to make a cake and the frosting.  Baker’s note: I did not add the butterscotch extract (or any of the other flavoring substitutes noted) to the frosting. I felt like the butterscotch topping that was included was fine in terms of flavor. Too much of a good thing, and all.

I made the cake using two 9″ round pans. I frosted the cake with the icing. I used the letters fondant mold, using a brush to dust corn starch in the mold to help remove the letters once they set. I used candy melts in green and dark blue, his middle school colors. I spelled out FUTURE LION, since he will be joining many of his friends at the high school this year. Baker’s note: while the Wilton rep I called on the phone said that the fondant mold could be used for candy melts, and I found the corn starch tip online, I still find removing the letters from the mold challenging. I find that I always have a few letters that need to be pieced back together, although if you use no corn starch,  almost every letter is sure to break when removing it from the mold.

Here’s a photo of the top of the cake:

IMG_1308

I used a large paw mold to make the lion paw in dark blue and yellow candy melts for the top of the cake, and used the small paw mold to make candies for around the side of the cake.

Around the bottom edge of the cake, I added bursts with a #35 tip. On top of each burst, I placed a butterscotch chip. Here’s the cake from the side:

IMG_1302

Congrats, Mickey!

 

S’Mores Cake and Spice Cupcakes

Baking Date: July 25, 2014

For the end of the season baseball gathering for my son Alex’s team, we had a pool party. Families brought sides, salads, appetizers, and we ordered fried chicken.  I was on dessert duty, as usual.

I made team-themed cupcakes. I started with a box spice cake mix. I then used vanilla icing and dyed half of it royal blue.  I piped it on using a star tip.

I still haven’t mastered this dual icing color decorating technique, but I refuse to give up. I will get it at some point!

I also made lion paw candy melts in blue and gold to place on top of the cupcakes. Here’s is the finished product:

Because this was a party for the players and families, I also made a No Bake S’mores Cake. It’s another inspiration recipe I had pinned. Here’s what the steps looked like:

No_Bake_Smores_Cake

Copyright myrecipemagic.us 2013 – 2014 – All right reserved

Bakers note: The recipe calls for 1 cup of heavy cream. I made the mistake of thinking it was a full measuring cup worth, and had to throw out my first batch of the chocolate topping (chocolate soup, actually). Next time, I will definitely consult a weight/measurement converter when the container measurement doesn’t match the recipe measurement. In this case, 1 cup = 1/2 pint.

Marshmallow fluff is a pain. I ended up with some in my hair after wrestling it out of the jar — I have no idea how that happened. #NotMarthaStewart

Here’s my version:

No bake smores cake

No bake smores cake inside

Inside of the gooey, yummy mess

 

The recipe was a big hit with the kids and parents.

Thanks for a great season boys.

2014 12U GVAA Walkersville Lions All Star Team

2014 12U GVAA Walkersville Lions All Star Team

 

Basketball and Lion Paw Graduation Cakes

Baking Date: June 13, 2014

Our family was invited to a graduation party for two high school seniors – Lana and Sydney. Our son Alex plays baseball and basketball with Lana’s younger brother, and we’ve known the family for more than 5 years.

The families were hosting the party at one of their homes. There was great food, games, and music playing on a gorgeous Saturday evening. It was a really nice party.

The girls have been playing basketball together for years. Their high school team had made it to the semi-final game in the state tournament this year. I had made a cake for Lana to celebrate that feat.

There was a fabulous cake for the girls. But I never arrive at a party empty-handed, so I made a couple of special cakes to help celebrate Lana and Sydney’s basketball careers and the high school mascot, a Lion.

First was the similar basketball cake I had made Lana earlier. This time, I made it using a white cake mix. I separated out the batter into one half, one quarter, and one quarter. I colored one quarter royal blue, and one quarter golden yellow, which are the high school colors.  I then poured in the white cake batter and added the royal blue and golden yellow batter, swirling it around. This is what it looked like going into the oven:

Cake batter getting ready to head into the oven

Cake batter getting ready to head into the oven

Once the cake had cooled, I iced it using chocolate frosting, I then covered it with orange and black M&Ms to make the basketball. My husband said I should have used gold and blue M&Ms in the school colors — great idea for next time!

I also made candy melt lion paws in blue and gold. I used these as decoration around the cake. So here’s the final product:

At the party, the M&M cake was a big hit with the kids. It was gone pretty quick. I found someone who got a piece and asked if I could get a picture of the inside. Here’s how the swirling turned out:

Blue/gold/white swirls

Blue/gold/white swirls

The second cake was in the shape of a paw, using a special pan. I made a chocolate cake and decorated it with vanilla frosting as the base. The paw pads were decorated using a #17 tip with white icing dyed royal blue and golden yellow, with golden yellow icing trim around the base of the cake.

I made a candy melt basketball, with black sparkle gel frosting as the seams. I placed this on the center of the cake:

Lion Paw Basketball 2I used the remaining blue/gold candy melt paws around as additional decoration:

Lion Paw Basketball 3

Lion paw cake – view from the front

Lion Paw Basketball 5

Lion paw cake – view from the top

Sydney’s mom and her younger sister Riley came up to me at the party and asked if the basketball was edible. When I said yes, Riley got the biggest smile on her face and ran to get it.

Congrats Lana and Sydney!

 

Basketball Birthday Cupcakes

Baking date: February 22, 2014

My oldest son’s birthday is February 21. I had made cupcakes for his actual birthday, that were shared with the kids from his travel and all star baseball teams during winter baseball workouts.

On Sunday of the same weekend, Alex had a game with his basketball team (yes, we are a big sports family!). His best friend Ty is also on the team, and the two share the same birthday, with Alex having arrived a few hours earlier on that day than his friend Ty.

So, to celebrate the boys’ birthday, I decided to make basketball cupcakes for his team and coaches, and some treats for the family members who would be at the game.

I started with a yellow cupcake. I used the same chocolate frosting as the baseball cupcakes I had made last year and tried that with the orange sugar sprinkles. I had purchased orange sugar sprinkles because I wasn’t able to find orange sugar pearls at my local craft store, but you can find them online. I quickly realized that orange sugar sprinkles are too transparent, and had to move to vanilla frosting.

Yep, sugar sprinkles are too transparent for the orange to pop on chocolate icing

Yep, sugar sprinkles are too transparent for the orange to pop on chocolate icing

Once I had frosted the cupcakes and dipped them in orange sugar sprinkles, I piped on chocolate frosting for the seams of the basketballs:

Basketball cupcake with seam lines in chocolate frosting

Basketball cupcake with seam lines in chocolate frosting

And finally, I added lion paw candies on top. I had made the lion paw candies for another batch of cupcakes earlier in the week.

The final cupcake all put together

The final cupcake all put together

Here is the batch of final cupcakes:

For the parents, siblings, and fans of the players, I made Rolo stuffed snickerdoodles. Use the snickerdoodle recipe as the cookie base and then follow the steps for stuffing with Rolos. I find that mini-Rolos are best for this recipe. If you use regular size Rolos, the cookies are huge and take a long time to bake. Even with mini-Rolos, I bake the cookies for 16 minutes instead of 14 minutes.

Rolo stuffed snickerdoodle cookies

Rolo stuffed snickerdoodle cookies

Happy birthday Alex and Ty!

Editor’s Note: I always bring Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, Skittles, or Starburst when I make goodies for my kids’ team, in case any kid or family member may have an allergy.

Lion Paw Birthday Cupcakes

Baking Date: February 20, 2014

My oldest son’s birthday is February 21. I actually had to be out of town on business that day and wasn’t arriving back home until very late. That evening, he had baseball winter workouts with the kids from his travel and All Star teams, in addition to a few other kids. To celebrate (even though I wasn’t there) I made cupcakes the night before for his dad to take to the workouts.

These cupcakes were devils food, with vanilla frosting.  On top, I put a lion paw candy melt (the team name is the Lions) in blue/gold, which are the team colors. Actually, royal blue and gold are the colors of the elementary, middle, and high schools, but the recreational sports go with royal blue/white/yellow. The candy melts don’t offer a royal blue, so I used dark blue. I was out of white candy melts, so yellow it was!

First I created the candy melt paws. This can be a tedious job, especially if you are working in dual colors. You need a great deal of patience to fill the small paw pad section with one color. As you can see, sometimes you get an explosion when you use a plastic bag to pipe the candy melt in!

Lion paw mold - the blue is what happens when the plastic bag you are using to pipe in the paw pads explodes.

Silicone paw mold – the blue is what happens when the plastic bag you are using to pipe in the paw pads explodes because you are squeezing too hard!

But the final product turned out pretty well. I did some with blue paw pads/yellow background, and others with yellow paw pads/blue background:

Lion paws in yellow and blue

Lion paws in yellow and blue

Lion paws yellow pads with blue background

Lion paws yellow pads with blue background

I then topped the cupcakes with the lion paw candies, and added blue shimmer dust and yellow sugar sprinkles.

Alex and his friends enjoyed the treats after 2 hours of intense practice.

Editor’s Note: There is one kid on Alex’s team with egg/flour allergies, so I always make sure I have Jolly Ranchers, Twizzlers, Skittles, or Starburst for him.