Category Archives: Cakes

2016 Monthly Challenge: Checkered Cake

This month marks 5 years this blog has been running! Craziness. To celebrate I made a cake. A fancy cake that was new and different and a challenge for me… which qualifies it as one of my monthly challenges for 2016!

I originally planned on making a vertical layer cake, like this one by Amanda from i am baker. Well, we all know I am not great at following directions. So I didn’t realize how TALL these cakes needed to be in order to actually make vertical layers that looked like vertical layers. My cake was much too short and I had to improvise, so I made this checkered cake instead. I still used most of her techniques. 🙂

I used boxed cake. Easy. And the recipe isn’t the goal here. If you want to make your own cake, by all means make that mess in your kitchen.

I colored my cake pink and blue. Cuz pink and blue define me and this cake is to celebrate my blog and me, so it seemed fitting.

Ignore the mini cakes. Totally irrelevant and a poor decision.

So yeah, bake your cakes. Let cool in pan for just a couple minutes, then remove and trim the bump from the top right away. Wrap in cling wrap and put straight into the freezer. For at least a couple hours. I did mine the next day.

Once the cake is good and frozen, get your template ready. I started with my cake pan, tracing a circle onto cardstock. Then I found the center with a ruler. I don’t have a compass so we had to rig something with a pencil and string. Don’t recommend this, you can see how messy my lines are. But it works in a pinch.

Cut off the first layer, then center it on the cake. With a serrated knife, cut around the template with the knife straight up and down. Do this to both cakes.

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Then cut the next circle off the template and do the same thing again on both cakes. Do this all the way to the smallest circle.


Once all the circles are cut, cut a slit all the way through on one side, except for the smallest inner circle. Carefully separate the circles, and piece back together with the opposite color.

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Wrap parchment paper around the cake to hold the circles together, and tie with a string. Amanda recommends pouring simple syrup over the whole thing. I was too lazy to make simple syrup, so I just brushed corn syrup over the top. Didn’t really do the trick. I recommend following directions like I apparently can’t.

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At this point I put the cake wrapped with paper and string into a ziploc bag and into the fringe.

When I was ready to decorate, I put the 2 layers together with a layer of buttercream, then iced the outside of the whole thing in a thin layer of buttcream. I covered it in fondant, which was March’s monthly challenge. (My Easy Buttercream recipe.)

I was really nervous about what the cake would look like when I cut into it. With a technique like this, you just have to hope it’s lined up well and cross your fingers waiting for the cut!

I was super happy with how it turned out! The layers didn’t stay together very well because I didn’t do the simple syrup, but it tasted good and everyone was impressed with the checkers and fondant.


  

I don’t often make cakes, especially fancy ones. I don’t have a lot of confidence in this area, but this cake definitely helped with that!

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2016 Monthly Challenge: Fondant

It’s that time again!

I made a quasi-resolution to challenge myself every month to try a new technique or recipe that I’ve been scared to do before.

In January I made funnel cakes. On January 31st. In February I made granola bars. On February 29th. I’m happy to report that my March challenge was completed on March 30, with one day to spare! Small improvements people.

For March I made fondant.

In case you don’t know, fondant a paste used to cover cakes to give them that smooth perfect look. It’s also used as decorations, cupcake toppers, and sometimes on cookies. It’s edible, but typically not very tasty.

Homemade fondant is made out of marshmallows. Way tastier than store bought stuff!

I have never even worked with fondant before, so everything about this was new to me. I watched a couple how-to videos before getting started. This video by Lisa of The Bearfoot Baker helped me prepare my cake. I also used Lisa’s fondant recipe. I watched this YouTube video to get the technique down for covering my cake.

Fondant

Ingredients:

1 lb mini marshmallows

2 tbsp water

2 lb powdered sugar

**Lisa’s recipe called for vegetable shortening. I had some but it was bad (oops) so I just did without. It still worked fine, but it probably would have been a little easier. 

Directions:

1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt marshmallows and water, stopping to stir every 35 seconds. (It took me 3 rounds of 35 seconds.)

2. Dump most of the powdered sugar on a mat for kneading, creating a well.

3. Pour the melty mallows into the powdered sugar well. My well was not big enough and it spilled over and stuck to my mat. Make a big well.

4. I stirred with a spatula at first because the mallows were HOT. After a minute or so I was able to use my hands. No vegetable shortening means a big sticky mess. Knead sugar into marshmallows.

  …after a bit it finally started to come together. Still sticky gross hands.

5. Keep kneading until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated and there are no little powdered sugar balls.

This is how it looked once all of the powdered sugar was incorporated. My hands were still messy but not too bad!  6. Roll out the fondant as smooth and flat as possible, turning 1/4 turn after every couple rolls (to keep it from sticking). The diameter needs to be wide enough to cover your cake. H+W+H. I had a 6″ cake that was 3″ tall so I needed it at least 12″ wide. This recipe make probably 2x as much fondant as I needed.

7. Lift the fondant up and over the top of your cake. I had to get my husband’s help with this part.

**Shhh no peeking at the cake. That will come later!**

  8. Immediately smooth out the top to make sure there are no air bubbles…
  …then use your hands to start molding the fondant down the sides of the cake, starting at the top. 9. Then use the smoother to smooth out the sides as much as possible all the way down.

10. Use a knife to cut as close to the cake as you can around the bottom, and remove the excess. (Store airtight. I wrapped in cling wrap then put in a ziploc bag.)

 11. Voila! Not as hard as I thought it would be! It’s DEFINITELY not perfect, but I am proud of it! 
I used a stencil and a can of Wilton Color Spray to decorate the top.


 Can’t wait to share what’s on the inside!! 😛

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Raspberry Champagne Cupcakes

Champagne is for celebrations. With these cupcakes I’m celebrating ME!

(I made these cupcakes for my 3 year work-iversary!)

I followed this recipe by Courtney at Pizzazzerie.

I used this amazing raspberry champagne I bought a while back from a local winery. I’d been saving it for something special and this was perfect!

I also added a little pink food coloring to give them more of a raspberry-feel.

These were SO yummy! You can definitely taste the champagne in the frosting, but it was also in the cupcake itself. Both the cupcake and the frosting were so light and fluffy.

If you have something special to celebrate, or if you just want to celebrate nothing at all – make some champagne cupcakes! Either way they will brighten your day. 🙂

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Cotton Candy Marshmallow Frosting

I haven’t posted in awhile… but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking sweets!

I am just extremely pregnant. Which means I have been busy getting ready for baby, being gone from work for a couple months, and spending as much time enjoying my little family and relaxing as I can!

I have been craving funfetti lately, so I whipped up a box mix the other night and topped it with this light and fluffy Cotton Candy Marshmallow frosting. I used this recipe that I made previously for these cupcakes, and just substituted the vanilla for cotton candy flavoring.

It wasn’t too overpowering, but just enough flavor to give the hint and the scent! I died it light blue for cotton candy, and because it was the 4th of July!


When I started up the mixer, my son had no idea what was going on. I realized I only bake and create when he’s gone to bed so he’s probably never heard it going before or seen me making anything! He was very curious so I had to get him a stool so he could see. The fluffy frosting was still white and he thought it was ice cream. (Which is his favorite thing ever – and he’s only had it a handful of times.)

We don’t really let him have sweets ever (he’s only 21 months old and I figure there’s PLENTY of time for that later) so this was a big treat. We let him have a 1/4 of a cupcake with a smear of the frosting on it. He ate it SO FAST we couldn’t get any pictures. So naturally we had to give him another piece. 🙂

I’d say he approves!

Now when I say extremely pregnant… Today is July 5th and I’m 41 weeks! I had my son 3 days before my due date so this is definitely testing my patience! Send me good labor vibes everyone! 😀

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Drumstick Inspired Cupcakes

First and foremost, today is my blog’s 4th birthday! Funny story – last year I thought it was the 4th birthday. Posted it and everything. Realized later but I just figured I would correct it this time. Haha!

To celebrate my bloggy birthday I made some special cupcakes. These cupcakes were actually inspired by drumstick ice cream cones.

The cupcake is a vanilla bean cake, there is a gooey chocolate center, and the perfect chocolate frosting on top!

Originally I was going to bake these in ice cream cones, but I didn’t have enough. I had some of these adorable cupcake cups left over from a wedding last year so I thought they would be perfect.

I used boxed white cake and added the caviar from one vanilla bean to the batter. It reminded me perfectly of vanilla bean ice cream. The little flecks are so pretty! I need to add it to things more often!

Once they cupcakes were baked and cooled, I used a small corer to cut a hole in the top of each cupcake. (A small knife would work fine too.) Then I filled each hole with chocolate pudding. I didn’t have any on hand so I made my own! (Recipe below.)

I topped each with this smooth creamy chocolate frosting. It’s so perfect, I am definitely going to be coming back to this recipe again!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding (Hershey’s recipe, found here)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. In a medium pot, mix together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly add milk. (It looked so weird at this point so I took pictures so you don’t freak out when it looks weird to you too.)

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. It will sloooowly stir together well then start to thicken up. Once it starts to boil, let it boil for 1 minute then remove from the heat. (It took so long! Okay maybe just 10-15 minutes, but it feels like forever when you’re stirring constantly.)

3. Stir in butter and vanilla.

4. Cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming on the top, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

*I didn’t have 2 hours to wait, so I put a little of the pudding into a piping bag, cut the tip, and squeezed a bit into each cupcake white it was still warm.

Perfect Chocolate Frosting (recipe by My Frugal Adventures, found here)

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

6 tbsp cocoa powder

5 tbsp milk

6 tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa, set aside.

2. Cream butter with mixer until creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar mixture, alternating with milk.

3. Scrape sides of bowl and add vanilla, the mix again to incorporate.

 As you may know, I’m not the biggest chocolate fan, but I did try these and they were so yummy! The gooey center is a fun addition to the cupcake, and the frosting isn’t too over-the-top rich. Perfect combo. 🙂

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Bridal Shower Cupcakes

I made some bridal shower cupcakes for a friend of a friend. Her wedding colors are coral and pewter/grey. Sounded easy enough, but when it came time to color the buttercream I realized I had no idea where to start! Thankfully Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle is an AMAZING resource for color mixing. A quick search on her blog and I had the exact answers I needed!

Here is her post on coral, and here is her post where I found the best way to get to grey.

Both were easy and took me only a second to do. No back and forth of adding colors.

Here are a couple pictures from the shower. The table set-up is so gorgeous!

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Pumpkin Smash Cake

Reese turns 1 right around Thanksgiving time, so her party was pumpkin themed!

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I got to make the smash cake!

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Poor Reese got burned on her candle while everyone was singing to her, so she was terrified of her cake from that point on.

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Mama had to cut it up to give her some, at which point all was again right with the world. 🙂

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Happy Birthday Reese!

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Oreo Wedding Cupcakes

I made cupcakes for a friend for her wedding. The theme of the wedding was “Til Death Do Us Part.” Quite perfect since it was the weekend before Halloween! All decor and attire was black and white. Very stunning! It was fun to get to make them and be there to enjoy their special day too!

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The cupcake liners I purchased from The Tomkat Studio Store and from Fancy Flours.

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I made white cupcakes with Golden Oreos in the bottoms and Golden Oreo frosting.

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The other half were chocolate cupcakes with regular Oreos in the bottoms and in the frosting.

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Me being a non-chocolate gal, I of course picked a Golden Oreo cupcake at the wedding. YUM.

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I used 8 packages of Oreos. I made my husband buy them for me because that’s pretty embarrassing. Oh, and I only use Double Stuft, cuz duh.

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Carter is 1

My little man turned 1 year old a couple weeks ago!

I didn’t go all out with the sweets cuz I had so many other things to get ready.

We had a pirate themed party.

Here are the cookies I made:

Pirate Cookies

I made funfetti cupcakes with bright blue buttercream frosting. Unfortunately no one remembered to take any pics.

And a personal little cake for my birthday boy. First time he’s had sugar and he LOVED it of course!

Carters Cake

I spent a ton of time making him a birthday board. I am a perfectionist and it was agonizing. Cookies are easier! Ha. But I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Birthday Board

Happy 1st Birthday to my little man!

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Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

My brother came to town. I promised him treats while he was here, and this was first up.

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The cake is just plain-Jane vanilla. But the frosting is what’s special. It’s FULL of Oreos! I made my normal buttercream recipe, and added half a package of crushed Oreos. Why just half a package you’re wondering?

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…because the other half was a little busy… Being baked into the bottom of the cupcakes!

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I also made mini ones without the Oreo in the bottom. Because I only had 1 pack of Oreos, and half of them went into the frosting. Plus, mini cupcakes go further when sharing. Which my coworkers appreciate. 🙂

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These cupcakes were kind of a trial-run for a wedding this fall. One of the them was taken to the bride and she approved!

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