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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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

High School Football Championship Cakes and Cookies

Baking date: January 6, 7 and 8, 2017

I’m going to cut to the chase here – my son’s high school varsity football team won the Class 2A Maryland state championship in 2016. He played on the JV team because he is a Freshman, but this accomplishment is no less exciting for all of us in the community. Last year, the team made it to the championship game but came up short by 1 point.

In January, the teams — both varsity and JV — held their awards banquet and meal. Of course, this was a perfect opportunity for me to bake and pay tribute to the players, coaches, and parents who were part of this amazing season.

First up was general cakes for all to enjoy. I made a large (16″) square cake.  I covered it in buttercream frosting, and piped on bursts in royal blue and golden yellow, with white sugar pearls on top of each burst. The item in the center of the cake is a buttercream icing transfer. The intricate letters were not that easy to pipe on and instead of peeling off the wax paper, I used an icing spatula to “slide” it off, which smeared the colors a bit. Finally, I made a giant Lion paw with yellow and royal blue candy melts.

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I also made a 1, a 4, and a 0 (Baker’s note: this is the new version of this pan. I have an older version that does not have angled edges). This team’s record was 14-0. I even made a dash with a mini bread pan. I used the motto “Small Town, Bigger Dreams” we had printed on tee shirts as buttercream transfers on these cakes. The buttercream frosting I made is really better designed for piping and not spreading. In the future, I may microwave it a few seconds to get better spreading consistency.

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Next up were some special cakes. First was the cake for the team mom. She manages all the communications and activities between coaches, players and parents for both varsity and JV. She received a football make with red velvet cake (her favorite) and a chocolate cream cheese frosting (sorry, can’t remember where I got the recipe!). She also got a big lion paw candy melt in yellow and royal blue.

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Next was a cake for the head coach, who received High School Coach of the Year honors in the state of Maryland from the Baltimore Ravens.

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His football cake was triple chocolate cake with the same chocolate cream cheese frosting. He also got a large Lion paw candy melt on his cake.

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And then there were the players. I got the roster from the team mom. I made football shaped sugar cookies with royal icing. I piped each players name and number on the cookies with a #1 Wilton tip. There were also cookies for the coaches, managers, statisticians and videographers. Extra cookies were decorated with either royal icing or chocolate jimmies.

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There was also a special larger football cookie for a team mom and photographer, decorated with royal blue and golden yellow buttercream bursts.

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Congrats to the coaches and players for bringing the win home to our community and for all the accolades and pride that came with it!

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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:

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Lion paw cake – view from the front

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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!

 

Football Helmet Birthday Cake

Baking Date: October 12, 2012

I was asked to make a birthday cake for one of my son Nick’s football teammates.  Andrew also plays baseball with my older son Alex, so we pretty much see his family year round.

On Thursday, Andrew’s dad saw me at the grocery store and asked if I could make him a birthday cake for Saturday.  We settled on a helmet-shaped cake since Andrew is the quarterback of the football team.  It was a butter cake decorated it in the team colors – royal blue and yellow-gold.  I piped on the royal blue/yellow-gold icing using a star tip #16 from Wilton.  The white is sparkle gel frosting.

Before I personalized it for Andrew, I posted the “generic helmet” picture on our local high school football Facebook fanpage.  It happened to be homecoming weekend and I thought the parents, players and students would like it.

Go Lions!

It was Andrew’s 10th birthday, but we all know it’s his jersey number that is most important.  I used star-shaped candy melts in yellow and piped on his jersey number (11) with sparkling gel frosting.  I added the “10” for his birthday in the small circle on the helmet.

Happy Birthday Andrew!