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Friday, November 26, 2010

Mad Hatter Cake

I am so excited! I got to take a 3-day cake class from cake designer, Kaysie Lackey. Kaysie has won two Food Network Cake Challenges (so far) and a myriad of other awards. I have never taken a cake class before and now I am hooked. I am currently sitting here thinking.."what's next?" I learned so many new things about cake. Carving, stacking, was a great experience.

The best part is that we made the cake from a recipe that will hold up for a long period of time. This was made to be a display cake and therefore will be living in our kitchen for approximately 9-18 months. If you really want to see it, come on over.

Now, I just need an excuse to make more cake in order to use all my new knowledge. So...who needs cake?

Kaysie's Original Design

Kaysie and I with my unfinished cake

My final design

Toy Story Birthday Cake

Toy Story Bithday Cake for Mauricio who is turning 3. Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream.

Anna's Cupcake Birthday Party

I know this post is super late, but better late than never...right?

When I came up with the theme for Anna's 2nd birthday party my husband's immediate response was "Are you sure this isn't a party for you?" Although, yes, I do love cupcakes and while, yes, my birthday is just 2 weeks previous to Anna's, I emphatically told him "No, it's not for me. It's for her. Won't it be cute?"

I can back this statement up completely. Here are my justifications for having a birthday party for my little girl that I would actually love to have for myself.

1. She's 2. She doesn't really know what she wants and therefore the choosing falls to the mother.
2. 'Cupcake' was one of her first words (not kidding).
3. Anna does not have a lot of friends her age. Therefore, our parties are mostly made up of older children and adults. I thought it would be fun to have a cupcake party, sweet like our little girl, but fun and interactive for all age groups attending our party.

That's when the whole thing got out of control...

If you love cupcakes like I do, there are so many ideas out there for how to host a great cupcake party. Here's what we decided would work best for us (without over doing it):)

This year I went super simple for the invite. After finding the cutest 3D cupcake stickers at Impress at University Village, I went out and bought some simple pink ric rac at the craft store. I printed the invite info on one side of the card and then glued a picture of Anna to the other side. I glued the ric rac along the bottom of the card and stuck the sticker right on top in one of the corners. Voila! Not the most impressive of invites but it did the trick.

The invites asked guests to come ready to create by wearing their best apron.

Slugger, in her cute owl apron, with Anna

I also made matching Thank You cards using the same idea. I just used my "thank you" stamp on one of the top corners. They were super simple and super cute.

Decorations for the party became a semi-time intensive project. I saw so many cute ideas online but had to limit myself to just a few. The main project was an applique cupcake tablecloth. I bought a plain white tablecloth at the Target and appliqued a bunch of different cupcakes in lots of different fabrics all along the edges of the tablecloth. I love it...and the best part is that we can use it again and again. Although, I don't know how many more cupcake parties we will be having. I also made a pennant style banner out of the same fabrics I used for the applique cupcakes on the tablecloth. I don't have a good picture of it, but it turned out really cute. We also made a big 'Happy Birthday Anna' sign to hang in the living room for the party.

Anna's Birthday Banner

Fancy Cupcake Tablecloth

Matching birthday pennant banner

Anna's Cupcake Birthday Party Outfit
Not only are cupcakes for eating but they are also for wearing. I made Anna this super poofy chiffon ruffle pettiskirt, which when finished and piled up I thought looked just like frosting. I also made her this matching birthday cupcake shirt. I used the same chiffon ruffle for the cupcake as I used on the shirt. I love I just need to find more occasions for her to wear it.

I had to put so many pictures because I love this outfit!

The Cupcakes
I had so many lofty plans of making so many different cupcake bottom flavors...until my husband reminded me of exactly how many cupcakes I was planning on making. I wanted everyone who attended the party to be able to make and take home their own 6-pack of cupcakes, plus the cupcakes for eating at the party, times the 35-ish people get the picture. Ultimately, I ended up making a couple hindered vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.

The best thing that happened while making the cupcakes turned out to be a really cool addition to the party. Every time I would make some batter and put cupcakes in the oven I always had some batter left in the bottom of the bowl. I used the left over batter to make mini cupcakes. I pout all of the minis in a big bowl on the decorating table at the party and people used them to taste test their flavor combinations before committing to them. It was perfect!

Cupcake Decorating Supplies
Candy and sauces and bacon...oh my!

We started out with our three favorite buttercream flavors of vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter and then went a little over the top with the toppings. We had pie filings, fruit, candies, cookies, nuts, sprinkles, coconut, and, yes, even bacon. We also had a myriad of sauces such as chocolate, homemade caramel, marshmallow, strawberry, white chocolate and more. It was quite an overwhelming sight, but what other opportunity would our guests ever get to experiment with this many topping and flavors in one place; and of course we aim to please!

Cupcake Decorating Recipe Cards
I was worried that I was going to buy tons and tons of decorating supplies and topping and that people were not going to know what to do with themselves. there were just so many choices. So, we came up with a Cupcake Decoration Recipe Card. It was a great way fro people to 'get started'. You could actually pick the flavor cupcake you would like and then follow the 'recipe' to make it. After a while, people really started getting creative. I think the best creative cupcake would have to go to Munch for her Hawaiian Cupcake, white cake, vanilla buttercream, pineapple chunks, bacon and coconut!

Cupcake Recipe Cards

Taking the Cupcakes Home
I found out that I can buy the plastic cupcake holders the grocery stores use from my local Fred Meyer for SUPER cheap. So, I bought as many as they would give me and made up some cute 'Thanks for making my party sweet!' stickers to put on top and personalize the boxes for our party.

Grandmommie and cupcakes

Stephanie making cupcakes

J-Gym and his cupcakes

It was quite the event and so much fun. Thanks to everyone who came and helped make a very special day for my little cupcake!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Amie's Birthday Cake

Made this cake for my friend Amie who had a birthday last week. I love this color scheme and was excited to come up with an idea that I thought was very 'Amie'. It is a classic white cake with vailla buttercream and raspberry filling. I wish I had remembered to take a better picture because I really liked this cake!

Piping Royal Icing

Some things turn out great ....and some things don't.

One thing I have never really attempted to do is any decorative piping on my cakes. So, in an effort to learn something new I thought I would make up some royal icing, which I have never done, and try out some piping. I've seen a lot of cool stuff done with piping like dots, beads, swirls, damask, florals, etc. I thought I would start with straight lines since that was what I figured was most basic. What I found was that it may be basic, but it is really hard! After trying to pipe straight lines on this small cake, I have the utmost respect for people with extraordinary piping skills. This is definitely something that I will have to keep working on!

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I made these more than a few weeks ago and just forgot to post about them. I got the recipe from this month's edition of Cook's Country magazine. The cupcakes turned out great but I'm not sure they are worth all of the effort when it is just so easy to buy them at the store. The recipe was quite elaborate but worth it since bow I can say that I've made them.

Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5