Wednesday, December 21, 2011

We Wish You a Merry Cupcake

Posted by jenmeeko at 3:02 PM 0 comments

I was asked to make two dozen Christmas cupcakes for a coworker, and they needed to be extra jazzy for his family Christmas celebration. So I spent the better part of last weekend making cute cupcake toppers in assorted Chritmas designs. Loved how they turned out! The cupcakes are red velvet with cream cheese frosting - my favorite christmastime combo! All decorations are fondant with edible glitter, luster dust and sprinkles.

Love the reindeer most of all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Baby Shower Cupcakes

Posted by jenmeeko at 7:20 AM 0 comments

I had the opportunity to make some baby shower cupcakes for a coworker a few months back, and I just remembered to post the photos! We didn't know the baby's sex, so we went for pastel green and yellow and some traditional baby decorations: pascifiers, bottles, teeny footprints and a monogram. The cupcakes were blueberry white chocolate (made with fresh blueberries) and a lemony buttercream. Very fresh and yummy!

All decorations were fondant dusted with edible glitter. The tiny feet were my favorite.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Petit Fours and Chocolate-covered Strawberries

Posted by jenmeeko at 11:50 AM 0 comments

I was asked to make fall-themed petit fours and chocolate-covered strawberries for a wedding shower. This was my first real attempt at making pretty petit fours, so I was both excited and nervous. Everything I'd read make them sound ridiculously difficult, so I kept my expectations low going into this and made plenty of extras in case I screwed up. In practice, I didn't think they were nearly as hard to make as everyone says, but they are extremely time-consuming.

The cakes were cream cheese pound cake with raspberry filling, and I used a poured fondant mix from my local cake supply and tinted it gold. I didn't bother torting the cake; I just did two larger layers and I think it turned out just fine that way. Maybe a bit less traditional, but you still got enough filling I think.

So, after my first round of petit fours, here are my tips:

  1. Make sure each trimmed petit four is nice and cold. I refrigerated overnight.

  2. Use a candy fork to stab the top of the petit four and hold it over the poured fondant bowl as you use a large ladle to cover each side and most of the top with fondant. Then, set the petit four on a tray covered with a cooling rack so the sides can drip. Use a spoon to cover the little holes left by the candy fork if needed.

  3. Don't bother covering the bottoms.

  4. If the glaze looks too thin, let it dry and do another coat. Worked fine.
I really liked how they turned out! I decorated the tops with a marbled fondant leaf and a monogram. The chocolate-covered strawberries were drizzled with orange and gold to match.

Pumpkin Patch Cake

Posted by jenmeeko at 11:45 AM 0 comments

My coworker needed a cake to celebrate his daughter's birthday, and the party was held at a local pumpkin patch just before Halloween. I have been wanting to try a pumpkin-shaped cake for ages, so I was excited this came my way! The cake is two bundts (one chocolate and one vanilla) with cream cheese frosting covered in fondant and airbrushed. The leaves and vines are green and brown marbled fondant, and the stem is an ice cream cone covered in fondant and airbrushed brown. I love how this turned out, and I learned a few things that I'll put to practice next time I do a pumpkin cake!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tiny Cookie Cakes!

Posted by jenmeeko at 1:09 PM 0 comments
I was asked to make cookie wedding favors for a friend's recent garden-party themed wedding, and when I saw this idea on Martha Stewart's website I just couldn't resist giving it a try. Tiny wedding cakes made of stacked sugar cookies!

Each stack is made of two 2.5" rounds, two 2" rounds, and two 1" rounds held together with a soft royal icing. Each "cake" was adorned with handmade gumpaste flowers in the wedding colors (took a period of weeks to make!) which were attached with royal icing. Each "cake" was placed on a tiny 4" silver cake circle and 4" white doilies and then stuffed in a cello bag and tied up with sheer black ribbon and a matching tag. I made 130 in all, and with the help of some good friends I pulled off getting each one bagged and tagged in time for the wedding. They definitely took over my kitchen but looked cute at the wedding!

Harper's 1st Birthday

Posted by jenmeeko at 1:06 PM 0 comments

This was a first birthday cake for a good friend's niece. The cake was designed to match the party decor/scrapbooking papers. Love how this one turned out!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Superhero Firefighter 4th Birthday

Posted by jenmeeko at 4:01 PM 0 comments

I made this cake for my coworker's son for his superhero/fireman themed 4th birthday. His birthday party was held at a local fire station (how cool is that?), so the cake features a fireman's hat, ladders, hydrants, and of course a little dalmation! The superhero element is his name in a cool superhero font to match the party invitations. All decorations are fondant. Cake was vanilla/vanilla and chocolate/chocolate. Yummy!

Side view:

The hydrant:

The doggie:

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes!

Posted by jenmeeko at 3:57 PM 0 comments
How to make a strawberry/vanilla cupcake better: top with chocolate drizzle and a chocolate-covered strawberry!

S'mores Cupcakes

Posted by jenmeeko at 3:46 PM 0 comments
A minature version of my S'mores Cake. Noms! Marshmallow buttercream and a graham cracker, chocolate and toasted marshmallow!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

S'mores Cake

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:23 AM 0 comments

S'mores gooood. Cake gooood. This cakes was for a quarterly office birthday celebration. Vanilla cake with layers of marshmallow buttercream, chocolate ganache and graham cracker crumbs, finished off with more marshmallow buttercream and crumbs, more ganache, toasted marshmallows and some chunks of Hershey's chocolate bar and Graham crackers. I just love toasting marshmallows with my culinary torch, so I may try to think up other recipes that need toasty marshmallows!

Hines Ward Cake

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:21 AM 0 comments

What better way to celebrate your retirement than with a cake to match Dancing With the Stars winner Hines Ward's jersey? This cake was for a super Ward fan to celebrate her last day.

Luau Cupcakes

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:18 AM 0 comments

My friend Mel is a grade school teacher, and she wanted to finish out the school year with a luau party for her kids. I made these vanilla cupcakes decorated with flip flops, leis, hibiscus and surf boards for the party. The flowers and surfboards are sugar art from my local cake store, and I made the flip flops and leis from fondant. The vanilla buttercream was an ocean-blue color.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Cupcakes: UK Ingredients and the Metric System

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:51 PM 0 comments
For Easter, I decided to make cupcakes in homage to my favorite Easter treat: Cadbury Creme Eggs. So it was egg-celent timing that one of my favorite caking blogs, Cupcakes Take the Cake, posted an awesome recipe for just such a cupcake. Thanks to UK food blogger Sticky Pinny for the great recipe and technique.

Since the recipe originated across the pond, I had to do a bit of searching to find some of the key ingredients. For your edification: Golden Syrup, Caster Sugar and Dark Muscovado Sugar.

So golden syrup reminds me a bit of Karo syrup with the color of honey. Found it at my local Kroger in the international foods aisle; it's sweet and sticky, like you might expect. The Dark Muscovado sugar looks and smells like gingerbread. It's like a spiced dark brown sugar; seems like it would be awesome in holiday recipes. The Caster Sugar is basically just really super-fine white sugar; would be great in iced tea. I was able to track down both sugars at Central Market. Note: They weren't cheap. These one-pound bags cost 7 bucks each! It was worth it for the experiment, but probably not on a regular basis.

The original recipe gave the measurements in grams, so I was really glad I own a food scale. Sometimes I wish we could just all be on the metric system...accuracy is key in baking!

So the cupcake recipe was supposedly for Devil's Food, but these seem more like a sort of cocoa spice cake to me. It's definitely not as sweet as most of the cakes I'm used to making (but the frosting makes up for that). Also the recipe said it would make 12-15 cupcakes, but I got an easy 20. They baked up perfectly at 20 minutes.

The dual-flavor frosting (fondant and cream cheese swirled) is meant to mimic the filling inside a Cadbury egg. Mine didn't turn out quite as pretty as the originals, but overall I was happy with the project. And I learned something new, which is always fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cupcakes in a Jar

Posted by jenmeeko at 11:01 AM 0 comments

For our friend Lindsay's birthday, our group of friends planned to go out to dinner after work. So I had to figure out a birthday cake that I could transport by myself to my office in the morning and to the restaurant that night, and it needed to have staying power! I saw the awesome idea for cupcakes in a jar on a cake blog recently, and I thought it would be a perfect solution!

The birthday party was at a Mexican restaurant, so I went for Margarita Cupcakes with Cheesecake Filling and Lime Buttercream topped off with a fresh lime. They were pretty tart, which is a departure from my usual super-sweet frosting, but the creamy filling balanced that out pretty nicely.

I finished off each jar with a ribbon, spoon and label, that way guests could enjoy them at the restaurant or take them home for later. Worked out pretty well! I'll definitely be making these again. Just need to buy more jars!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not cake, but posting it anyway

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:12 PM 0 comments
So this was the recipe I entered into the Pillsbury Bakeoff Contest today. It's my Spicy Jalapeno Popper Dip with crusty French loaf slices. It's a mix of cream cheese, mayo, peppers, bacon, cheese and spices topped with a bread crumb mixture. Crossing my fingers to make it to the next round! I am sure they get millions of entries, so it would be nothing short of a miracle. But I guess it's worth a shot!

Duct Tape 30th Birthday Cake

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:00 PM 0 comments
Our good friend Mike celebrated his 30th birthday with a duct tape themed party, so naturally this meant a duct tape cake was in order. I used 6" rounds to make the rolls of "tape"; I just cut holes in the center and inserted left over cardboard rolls from real duct tape. I tried to make it appear as though the cake was decorated with torn duct tape, which was difficult because it was almost like trying to make it look bad on purpose. But I think it turned out as planned! And the flavor experiments mostly seemed to work out. White Chocolate Creme Brulee with raspberry filling was my favorite. Peanut butter chocolate chip was good, but not without some complications. (Note: it's best to use the mini chocolate chips in less dense cakes. I tried giant chips, and they sank to the bottom of the pan. Fail.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lego Yankees Eric Birthday Cake

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:46 AM 0 comments

Here's a cake for all you lego lovers and Yankees fans out there. It was a BaseballLegoPalooza for Eric's Birthday! I went into this cake thinking it would be relatively simple, but I didn't account for the fact that legos are extremely precise toys. Once it donned on me how important proportions and measurements would be to this cake, I went out and purchased a big box of legos and actually built a model of this cake out of real legos first. That was a good plan because it allowed me to count the exact number of little nubs I needed on my base and on each lego to make this work. Getting the spacing exactly right was basically impossible, so I just tried to get it as close as I could! Other lessons learned:

  • It is much, much easier to frost a big cake than a bunch of small pieces of cake. Pieces of cake like to crumble. I think I spent longer frosting the legos than making the entire rest of the cake!

  • If you're making a big figure out of fondant, allow at least a week for drying time. Mushy figures = no good.

  • Dowel rods work well for making lego hands from fondant, and also baseball bats.

  • Gel food colors work pretty well as paints, as evidenced by the baseball and cap. Painting the little laces on the baseball was an excercise in patience for sure.

  • The pockets on baseball pants actually go on the back. Oops.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Animal Cupcake Tower

Posted by jenmeeko at 8:28 PM 0 comments

Last weekend I had the opportunity to do a fun cupcake tower for an animal-themed 4th birthday party. The topper cake featured a fondant party monkey and decorations, and each of the 46 cupcakes was decorated with a fondant animal face. These took for-ev-er to make, but I love how they turned out!
Much thanks to Paul and Mike for building me the awesome tower base, sanding it and painting it to look all pretty. They are so handy with power tools! Lesson learned though: if you are going to Home Depot to buy sheets of MDF, don't bring the Nissan Altima...bring the F150. Duh. You can just imagine four people and two large sheets of MDF riding in my car...but somehow we did it! Must have looked hilarious though!
Next project: Lego Cake. Coming this weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Almond Babies!

Posted by jenmeeko at 6:29 AM 0 comments

When a coworker asked me to make four dozen Jordan almonds decorated like tiny babies for a baby shower she is throwing, I have to admit I was a little intimidated! It took some practice, but I think these little guys are adorable. The little faces are made of fondant balls, and the bonnets, hair and bows are Royal icing. We also did 20 jungle animal almonds using some great sugar decorations from Petit Flours (an awesome website). The koalas are my favorite.
This must be animal theme party week, because my next project is a cupcake tower with monkeys, lions, tigers, puppies, giraffes, bears, and more! Stay tuned for that one after Sunday!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ballerina Birthday

Posted by jenmeeko at 1:31 PM 0 comments

I did this cake for the daughter of a friend. She likes purple and ballerinas, so this is what I came up with! This was a fun cake to make. I especially liked making my first pair of gumpaste shoes. Loved how they turned out!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Posted by jenmeeko at 1:04 PM 0 comments

This year, I tried my hand at my first homemade King Cake for Mardi Gras...complete with colored sugars, beads, and a tiny baby and coin baked inside. It was delicious. Hope everyone had a great Fat Tuesday and is ready for Lent!

French Fry Cupcakes? Yes!

Posted by jenmeeko at 1:00 PM 1 comments

My friend Bill gave me an awesome cupcake cookbook that I have been dying to experiment with, and our annual Super Bowl party seemed the perfect time. I made these French Fry cupcakes (the fries are pound cake!) with hopes of fooling our guests...and it worked! Everyone thought I had gone off the deep end and put fried food on cake. The "ketchup" frosting was the perfect touch.

Cakes by Jen Copyright 2009 Sweet Cupcake Designed by Ipiet Templates Image by Tadpole's Notez