"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Flower Cupcake Toppers

What do you do when one of your kiddos will be leaving for camp on her birthday?

You make birthday cupcakes for sharing with her friends of course.

Randa, our lovely middle daughter went off to camp this weekend and thanks to the brilliant suggestions by Anitra and Lenetta (who, after seeing my sugar fireworks, thought that the technique would work well for making flowers) I did just that.

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It took me two tries to get these because, once again, I didn't cook it long enough and they were droopy. People, when will I learn my lessons? My guess is never.

Jeff (who is by far the best baker in the family) whipped up a batch of banana cupcakes and then dipped them in a dark chocolate ganache. I piped little spirals of vanilla buttercream on top because it seemed to make the leaves stand out more.

Also, hello, piping instead of frosting cupcakes... awesome and wonderful. I may never frost another cupcake again.

When it comes to making these guys, luckily I remembered to add about an inch of stem below the leaves, which helped to anchor them when I shoved them in the cupcakes.

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They remind me of little kids' drawings of flowers. Since you can't control exactly where the sugar's going to fall, there's a messy simplicity that is really fun and sweet.

(In case you're interested in the specific recipes... the cupcakes and ganache recipes came from Cake Love and the vanilla buttercream from Baking Illustrated which, I think, is the easiest and also the tastiest buttercream recipe out there.)

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Related Posts-
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We're All in This Together

One of my absolute favoritest things about this blog is knowing that something I've made has inspired someone else. The first time I saw that another blogger had actually printed out one of my posts, I honestly got a little teary. (I feel I should remind you at this point in time what a dork I am.)

With that in mind, I bring you my newest category.

First up is from one of my good friends from high school. When Defne isn't using fluorescence microscopy to discover the mysteries of the world, apparently, she's pretty handy in the kitchen. She sent me this picture of the fantastic fireworks cupcake toppers she made after reading about mine. I love how she alternated red sprinkles and the toppers. And also how perfect is that red table as the background?

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And then there's Stefanie from Nutmeg Stamping who took my pattern for the sheer produce bags and decided to add stamps of fruits and veges. So brilliant! I cannot tell you how excited I am to try this. I just bought some permanent ink pads, and am ready to carve myself some stamps.

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Anyway, this post is just a little FYI in case you've been inspired by anything I've done and would like me to show it off here. Just send me an email or leave a comment somewhere.

Really and truly, the best part of seeing these pictures is the fact that someone followed my directions and it didn't end in a giant, smoking wreck. That truly makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

If that's a sad goal to have, please don't tell me.

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Also, for those of you who read this via a feed, I've changed out my Tutorials, Tips & Recipes to something a bit more summery, including some Margarita Jell-O Shots that you probably ought to go try.

;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gumpaste Frogs- A Tutorial by Kam

Recently, Jaden's favorite movie to watch is The Triplets of Belleville. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a kids' movie, though. It's really dark and weird and well, yah, you'll have to watch it yourself (plenty of it on youtube). But, what can I say. All of our kids love it too.

So, of course, she chose that as the theme for her birthday. For the cake, Aurora decided to cover a sheet cake with frog pieces. Once again, hard to explain if you haven't seen the movie. (Though if you watch from about 4:05 on this link, you'll get the gist.)

We all sat down to sculpt them out of gumpaste, but Jenny was the only one who was able to make anything presentable. My frogs were so ugly that I squashed all of them and made tadpoles instead. And even those managed to look more like sperm than tadpoles. Aurora's attempts were a bit better, but still, Jenny kicked our butts on the frog sculpting front. Then again, she's awesome like that (in a very 'perfectionist, keep going til it works' way, while my personal style is more along the lines of 'meh, good enough').

And guess what, I've got a Don't Do What Donnie Don't Does for you. Don't leave a bunch of gumpaste figures out in the garage during a rainstorm without first double, no, triple checking that your roof doesn't leak. Because ours leaks. And I had no idea that it did. And I actually cried when I saw this.

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(And for those of you who are wondering why I would put these in the garage... here's my reasoning. We have a naughty cat and I didn't trust her to not eat these. I thought of putting them in the oven for safe keeping, but I was sure that someone would turn it on without realizing they were in there. Most likely me. No one goes in the garage, so I figured they'd be safe out there.)

So my wonderful sister came over the next day and re-sculpted a cake full of frogs. Isn't she sweet? And I think the second batch turned out even better than the first.

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And while she was re-making them, Kam was nice enough to give a tutorial for just how to make this frog. We used cocoa to keep them from sticking and also to give them a nice "fresh from the swamp" color. It totally worked.



Aurora whipped up a sheet cake with some brown/pink cream cheese frosting and we just plunked the frogs down on it.

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And this last picture... technically that is one leg and one arm, but I stuck them in there like they were a pair of legs.

Don't tell Jenny.