Saturday, July 23, 2011

Transformers Cupcakes

For a friend's husband's birthday, she asked me to make a Transformers cupcake for him. I have to admit that as much as I didn't want to go and see this movie with my husband, I actually turned out really liking it. It was an appropriate 4th of July release and even though I later thought that Captain America should've been released on that weekend instead, I liked both movies way more than I thought I would.

These cupcakes were just vanilla with (yellow) cream cheese frosting and (red and blue) buttercream.

I learned again how HOT it is to deliver cupcakes in the summer! Good thing it wasn't far away!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Arrow of Light Cake

I got asked to do a cake for a ten-year-old who was receiving his Arrow of Light for Cub Scouts. I had been sick for a few days previous and completely forgot about this order until the night before when I got called to ask if it was still on. So his dad brought me a plain white-iced cake from Albertson's and I just added all the decorations including the blue border. The Arrow of Light and the letters are all hand cut and of fondant.

I learned to keep 3-year-olds away from the cake until you're done! My son tried to put the lid on for me and gashed the left side so I had to fix it with extra blue dots. I love doing lettering whether it is with fondant, paint, markers, pens or crayons. My husband says that every time we go to a restaurant, it's me that is using the kids' menu to write letters. I have tried all these different cutters for letters but I am too picky. I like cutting them out myself. That way, they can be special for each cake too.

Congratulations Bobby!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Toy Story Party

So my son is officially 3. He unofficially turned 3 a few weeks back when the sweet 2-year-old turned into a smart alack. On a side note, it's a good thing toddlers are angels until their third birthdays because their parents are so in love with them by the time they have to deal with the "terrible threes" (I never saw the terrible twos and I'm sorry to any parent who did!). Well this boy was spoiled once again by all the attention, as any 3-year-old should be. Once again, I spent many many many hours on his party. And once again, I considered it a very fun experience for both of us. Here are a few shots of what I did. I do have to say thank you to my mom for the extra help I needed into the wee hours of the night sometimes.

The treat table set up.
Had Toy Story fruit snacks, labeled Toy Story Cheez-Its, Mini Lotsos (Teddy Grahams), colored licorice, suckers, M&Ms, colored tootsie rolls and these fabulous Hershey's wrappers made by a friend for me. They even had Matthew's picture on them and everything.
Buzz and Woody's cake.

Hamm, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Cake Pops.
Big thanks to Bakerella for the instructions for Hamm and Mr. Potato Head. I made up the idea for Mrs. Potato Head using most of the same things as Mr. but with a few tweaks including an Inside Out Junior Mint instead of a regular, a fondant flower, lip sprinkles, yellow mini confetti "glued" to jumbo pink confetti for her earringed ears and purple-edible penned eye shadow on white mini confetti sprinkles for her eyes. I also used red and blue peanut M&Ms instead of gourmet mints. Cheaper and a lot more accessible. Fun project. Time consuming, extremely, but fun. Rewarding too until you notice you've never made these at all, much less in the summer when it's so stinking hot out that it melts even sitting on the kitchen table. We had issues with them being "scalped" by melting off the sticks, sticking to the Styrofoam and glass plates once laid down to prevent sliding off sticks, and becoming deformed potatoes instead of the nicely formed "pears" like Bakerella suggests. The reason for this? Because there is no time to let the stick dry in the cake pop before adding the rest of the ton of decoration to each of them. I literally had to take one cake pop out of the freezer at a time. No fridge for this. Next time I make them I hope to seriously make them sometime other than the summer unless I get an order!
Hamm ones were a cinch after making the Potato Heads. Wow. I was amazed. No falling off sticks, easily formed and smoothly finished. Jessie's hats. My mom actually put these together for me after I went all over looking for actual gum drops. Spice drops and Dots do not work for these. I found these instructions on the Disney website but I completely tweaked this too. I used Keebler fudge striped cookies instead of using sugar cookie dough and cut out strawberry fruit roll ups that stuck on without frosting to the chocolate part of the cookie. If you don't think about the strawberry/chocolate/frosting combo taste, this worked out nicely. No one seemed to complain about the taste except my husband anyway!
Plain orange cake pops to tie in with the color scheme and a place to put my other lollipop tags.
Mini Alien cupcakes. These are dyed neon green vanilla cake with my favorite cream cheese icing dyed the same color all frosted with a usually unwanted tip decorator's dislike and with three added eyes each. A great one or two bite treat.
Bo Peep's Sheep Cupcakes. These cute little sheep are mistaken for just one sheep because they stand closely together. I too got this idea from the Disney website. Adorbale because the heads are just cherry tootsie rolls dipped in white chocolate with black gel eyeballs and slivered almond ears. Also looks so cute with just one head if doing a baby shower. I made a cherry limeade cupcake with the same cream cheese icing as the aliens. I loved these cute things!
More colorful cake pops.
The food turned out to be so fun. What was such a cool thing about this party was the date. Matthew turned three the day before but because the movie came out last year on June 18th, all the promo posters and pictures said June 18 on them. No year. And since it was the 3rd movie, the pictures didn't even require a Toy Story anywhere on them. Just a number 3. It was absolutely perfect. All the tags had these "official" posters from the movie with a 3 somewhere on them and complete with the date below as the date of the party. I even was able to get a hold of an official theater poster on a random auction website since I refused to pay the $40 everyone else was asking. I have to admit, this was one of my most favorite parts about the whole party. I had to jump all over this opportunity because I don't think I'll ever get this again!Used cheap Toy Story buckets I found months ago from Walmart for the chips. Mr. Potato Head chips.
One of my son's favorite parts of all the movies is in Toy Story 2 when Woody is trying to retrieve his arm from a sleeping Chicken Man (Al) who dropped the Cheetos all over and "made a mess." He almost always asks for Cheetos during this part of the movie so I couldn't pass this up. It was a great way to tie in another kind of chip.
Thanks to a friend, I was able to use a Pizza Planet sign she had made for her son's Toy Story party complete with labeled pizza boxes (filled with Little Caesars of course). I wanted another thing to eat since a few guests couldn't eat cheese so I made Slinky hot dogs. We needed some sort of fruit and veggie so I used my mom's suggestion of a typical horse's favorite foods and had Bullseye's apples and carrots. Since I couldn't find anything I liked dinosaur-related, I ended with having Rex's Watering Hole with pop and water. (All the children had Toy Story chocolate milk.)Handmade Alien Favor Bags filled with many Toy Story favors. It included Toy Story bubbles, a whole box of TS crayons for each, games, paper, pens, pencils, candy, and random other TS paraphernalia. I don't know what the kids thought about them but I DO know that I never got a favor bag with this much stuff when I was young and attended parties. I used a Michael's coupon (a 25% off total purchase) for most of the items. So instead of the $1 each on the crayons, paper, etc. it was only 75 cents. Each guest received a Woody vest and a Buzz Lightyear party hat. I made the hats with instructions on how to cover them with Buzz fabric and had one of the greatest sewers I know make me the vests and I added the black felt cow spots.We had games like a Bingo game I made on Excel and the Disney website's "Pin the Tail on Bullseye." I wrote each child's name on the brown felt tail and added a yellow ribbon like Jessie wears in her yarnful of hair for all the girls.
More decorations (I made the Happy Birthday sign) with the gifts and the movie poster.
Everyone seemed to have a great time and I think it all went really well. Happy 3rd Birthday to my favorite little boy on the planet and my best little friend. I love you more than this party could ever show!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blessing Day Cake Pops

The beginning of May brought my four-year anniversary but it also brought a new niece for me. My brother welcomed Addison to older sister Amelia. We were all so excited and had been awaiting this little bundle for many years (and many months of bed rest as well). I knew she deserved the best for her blessing day so I gladly made these pure white cake pops for such a pure spotless baby. She's so adorable with a head full of dark hair (compared to her sister's long blond locks) and her dad did a great job on the blessing.
I learned that white on white on white on white looks SO good together. I've had this idea to do these in my head for a long time now and was so glad to finally make them. Welcome Baby Addy! We love you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Reese's Cupcakes (again)

My brother-in-law graduated with his MBA this year! We were all so proud of him. To make it even better, he got his degree from Texas A&M. Since it was a surprise party that my sister was planning, she asked me to make cupcakes for it. I decided on two very very popular ones--red velvet cupcakes and the same Reese's cupcakes from the other graduation party I did. I put the rolled fondant diploma on the red velvet and the same Reese's cap on the chocolate cupcake. I was really happy with the turn out because I thought they both tasted better than the last time I'd made them. There's something to say about practicing! You learn a lot every time you make any recipe. Congrats to Zane for earning his MBA!

This time making cupcakes was a hoot for a few reasons. The night I made the red velvet (from a REALLY great recipe I have for a red velvet cake), things all went smoothly until I was placing the cupcakes into the oven. Now, anyone who knows the process of a red velvet cake knows it's not exactly the cheapest or fastest recipe (in comparison to others of course). I opened the oven and saw that there was a spot of red batter running down the pan so I licked my finger. I almost dropped the pan! I forgot to add sugar! I turned to the counter and saw the opened sugar container with a partially-filled measuring cup. It cracked me up so much because I almost would've cooked all of them and had them at a party! So, into the trash they went (after my husband tried it and did his signature gag reflux, even if he does eat things like durian. Apparently this sugarless red velvet batter tasted that much worse than durian. YEAH RIGHT!). So, another batch later (with all the sugar it needed), they turned out much better. I decided to fill these with THE best cream cheese frosting I've ever used. I am not one to love frosting, but this kind turned out to be divine.

So, after making the decorations to top them off, I loaded them into the car and that particular day it just happened to be hotter than usual. Well, the cupcakes noticed too.
I literally watched the peanut butter cream cheese frosting slide off about half of the cupcakes. It was so frustrating because there was absolutely NOTHING I could do about it. So, I watched it slide down, down, down...I got there and had to deal with it. Everyone was so nice and it all turned out to be okay, but I learned that YOU almost ALWAYS need to plan as if something like this would happen. Didn't I learn enough from Duff? Buddy?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Class of 2011 Reese's Cupcakes

For a class of 2011 graduation party, I made these Reese's Cupcakes with a chocolate cupcake (baked with a miniature Reese's inside) and topped it with a most decadent peanut butter cream cheese frosting, chocolate shavings and a chocolate cap (made out of Reese's minis and Hersheys). I also made a vanilla cupcake with a chocolate buttercream. I must say, the Reese's ones turned out good enough that I got individual orders to make them again.

I can't believe that I've been graduated from high school seven years and have not been to college since 2007! Time sure flies. Congrats to all the seniors/graduates of both college and high school!

I learned this time that it is so much nicer to frost cupcakes AFTER they've been put in their double liners, taken out and arranged then put back into the container. Since I'm a bit of a perfectionist, I get so frustrated if one little bit gets smeared or smooshed or brushed against another. I also learned that cream cheese makes almost every frosting better! I learned how to make cupcakes more moist, when to take them out of the fridge before serving them, and that you can't have too much frosting (unless it's a filled cupcake, but even that's rare).

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mini Cupcakes

You can't really get much cuter than a cake pop. But if you can't have those, then mini cupcakes topped with a swirl of buttercream have got to top the list. It's the perfect little bite and these (done for a church function) turned out so cute with their primary colored-liners.

I learned mini cupcakes are much easier all the way around. You want mini cupcakes? Please! I'll make them anyday!