Cupcakes to three-tiered cakes – oh boy!

My husband has so much more faith in me than I ever will.  That’s one of the many reasons I love him so much.  The guy really believes in me and despite my lack of confidence, many times he makes me believe in me, too.  Take for instance this three-tiered Over the Hill themed cake, or cake wreck if you prefer.  Ok, it wasn’t really that bad, but I still felt like I let the birthday girl down.  I think it’s the Virgo in me.  Virgos are perfectionists.  Perhaps that explains my lack of confidence and the reason I am so picky. *sigh*   I’d like to say it’s getting better with age, but sadly it’s not.

So, back to the story…hubby’s co-worker needed a cake for his wife’s 50th birthday party.  Because I like this particular co-worker so much, I  gladly volunteered and sent him some sample cake pictures to get an idea of what he wanted.  I hoped that he would pick the two-dimensional tombstone cake, not the stacked one.  It’s my own fault, I know.  I did send him the picture after all.  Soooo, there I was with a three-tiered monster challenging me to a fight and my husband cheering me on. I took a deep breath and after deconstructing the beast, I felt like maybe I could do this after all.  Here is the inspiration photo ( I apologize for not knowing who made it, but I can dig around and find out if you want me to.   It was on cakecentral.com.)

Inspiration cake

I didn’t have enough fondant to cover the cake and no time to order the one I like.  Yes, I could have picked up the Wilton fondant, but I wanted the cake to taste good.  Sorry Wilton, but your fondant is gross.  Fondant covered cake is really delicious if you have the right kind.  In my case, I like the Satin Ice brand.  I have heard you can make your own, but I have not tried that.  Yet. My cake was going to be covered in just  buttercream instead.  I did have enough fondant to make the tombstones and the reaper.  The one in the above photo is plastic.  I couldn’t find one near me.  So, I decided to make my own.  I was pretty happy with him.

Coffee cup, wooden skewer, rice krispie treats and fondant.

Draped in black fondant and fondant covered wooden skewer complete the look.

The three cakes were baked and assembled.  One chocolate Guinness cake with Bailey’s ganache center, one strawberry cake with strawberry swiss meringue center, and one vanilla cake with raspberry preserves in the center.  All were covered in different shades of gray.  Yes, on purpose.  😉  Cakes were stabbed with straws and wooden skewers for support and then carefully stacked in the “close your eyes and drop it” method.  Success!  Yay, me.  I added some decorative edging and admired my slightly lopsided creation.  Now to get this beast to the party in one piece.  Good grief was it heavy!  We got it in the car and the first bump we hit sent the bottom layers insides sliding around and trying to ooze out the sides.  Ugh!  I got it stabilized – hubby was driving and I was holding the cake – and we made it to the event.  Slightly lopsided became very lopsided.  I fixed it as best as I could and successfully fought the tears that threatened to flow.  Tombstones were carefully placed to hide the scars and the reaper was placed on top.

The finished wonky cake.

Much to my surprise the guests were amazed by the cake.  They loved how I made it wonky and lopsided – like I had done it on purpose.  🙂  They were all so sweet, that I quickly forgot about the mishap, and enjoyed the party.  The birthday girl seemed to really like the cake, too.  Yay. And the best part – they loved how it tasted.  Especially the strawberry cake.  Taste is equally, maybe more, important than how it looks in my opinion.  Ever bite into a beautiful cake and find out it tastes like ick.  Last two weddings I attended had cakes like that.  Very disappointing.  But I’ll save that rant story for another day.

Stay sweet,

Kate

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Last year I was inspired to make Sweet Sugar Belle’s (she has an amazing website!) Bunny Cupcakes -you can find them here –http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/blog/2011/03/bunny-ear-cupcake-toppers/.  Talk about cute!  I was making a dessert for our church’s Friday Fish Fry and wanted to really wow them.  I think these did the trick!  Here is my version –  I must admit these were very time-consuming, but really worth the effort.  I used a bunny head cookie cutter and cut off the bottom part of the face (sorry bunny!), leaving just the ears and a small part of the head.  The cookie sinks into the frosting so you need a little extra. I froze the cut dough before baking to help them resist spreading in the oven.  Meh, it didn’t work as well as I hoped, but the ears turned out okay still.   I used royal icing to outline and flood the ears, waited for them to dry overnight, and then using a pink edible ink marker, drew in the pink centers. I think if I do it again I will use pink royal icing instead.  I “glued” popsicle sticks to the back of the ears using royal icing.  Once dry, they were ready to be inserted into the frosted cupcakes.  Add eyes and ears, mine were sprinkles I dug out of sprinkle mixes, and you are done!   I just love the pink heart noses!  Check out the directions and photos on Sugar Belle’s site for a detailed explanation and a photo of what good cookies look like.  Mine are a little rough.  They did taste good though, so there’s that.  Hee hee.

I am making dessert for another Fish Fry this week.  Trying to decide between coconut cupcakes with little bird’s nests on top or vanilla cupcakes with royal icing daffodils.  Hmmmm decisions, decisions…I will keep you posted.

Sweet Treats for the Father/Daughter Dance

Every year my daughter and her daddy get to go on a date to her school’s Father/Daughter dance.  She loves getting all dressed up, he loves spending the evening dancing with his little girl, and I love that the two of them get to have these wonderful memories that I know they will both cherish.  It never fails, I always tear up when he gives her her corsage and they head out the door.  *sniffle*  I wish I had been able to have this tradition with my dad, but alas it wasn’t something we had even heard of back then.  Instead, my dad and I shared a love of sports.  More specifically, Redskins and Orioles.  The memories of those games (live) and alone time with my dad are irreplaceable.  I am so grateful for them.   I think it is so important to have that one on one time with your parents and I love that the two of them really treasure and look forward to their annual date.  

This year I volunteered to make some treats for the dance and I am so glad I did.  It’s such a fun event and since I had to deliver desserts I got to peek on the dads and daughters. Cute overload! We made 150 mini vanilla cupcakes, 100 heart-shaped sugar cookies with royal icing, and 175 heart-shaped chocolate-covered marshmallow pops.  It was a busy week!   Here are some of the goodies.

Mini vanilla cupcakes

Chocolate sugar cookie hearts with royal icing and sanding sugar

My favorite and most time-consuming treats were the marshmallows.  I have recently discovered how yummy and easy homemade marshmallows are. I use the recipe from Alton Brown (I have a total crush on him.  Weird?  Idk.)  You can find it here – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe/index.html.  I found a Wilton whoopie pie pan that had heart shapes and it was perfect for piping in the marshmallows.  I even added some pink food coloring to a few batches.  Super cute!  Once they set for 12 hours they were ready for lollipop sticks and to be dipped in milk chocolate.  I added sprinkles, too.  I just loved the colors of these sprinkles and used the whole thing.  So sad I can’t find anymore.  I looked everywhere.  Oh well.  Once the chocolate set, I placed them in cellophane bags and tied them with ribbon.  Simple and they will stay fresh for about two weeks. 

Marshmallow Pops

The dance was a big hit, as usual, and my daughter is already planning her outfit for next year.  🙂  And I am thinking of themes and desserts to go with it.  It’s her last one, so it has to be over the top!
Any of the desserts you see here are available for order.  Marshmallows need time to set up, so I need a few days notice on those.  They are so delicious, you will never be able to eat a packaged one from the store again.  Promise.  You will be seeing some gourmet (and boozy) marshmallows soon, too.  Stay tuned.
 
Stay sweet,
Kate