Monday, February 20, 2012

Pink and Green Monkey First Birthday Cake and Smash Cake

Our neice Chloe turned one year old! Her Mom and Dad gave her a wonderful birthday party yesterday with this adorable decor:

Chloe's mom, Sarah, let me have free reign with the design, and with such fun decor for inspiration, I had a lot of fun! The big cake is covered in buttercream with fondant decorations and the monkey is sculpted from gumpaste. I also made a little smash cake for the birthday girl with fun, and easy!, ribbon piping. All the cake is vanilla with vanilla buttercream filling.

smash cake

party setup

Happy Birthday Chloe!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Assorted Valentine's Day Cupcakes and Black Forest Cupcakes with Cherry Liqueur Buttercream Recipe

I have never been hugely into celebrating Valentine's Day. I will not bore you with all the bah humbug reasons why V-Day has not earned a place on my holiday hit list. We'll just say I've never thought the day was worth making a fuss over. This year however, my almost 4 year old daughter was so jazzed up about her approaching Valentine's Day party at her pre-school that I could not help but get into the spirit a little.

Okay, maybe I got into the spirit a lot.

You see, I'm usually not a big cupcake baker either. I prefer making one big, uniquely decorated cake to making many similarly decorated small ones. Maybe cupid got me while I was sleeping or something, because as Valentine's Day approached I fell in love with the idea of cupcakes, many different kinds, to suit the many different tastes of all the Valentines in our lives.

So, I made some vanilla cupcakes frosted with vanilla buttercream and decorated with tiny candy hearts.

I also made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and topped with a delicate red chocolate heart I made by piping some melted candy melts onto a silicone baking sheet.

I wasn't done there. I felt I would be remiss to bake 6 or 7 dozen cupcakes for Valentine's Day and not include red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I topped them with a whimsical ( I am using this word as a euphemism for messy) sugar crystal heart.

Last but not least, I made Black Forest cupcakes with cherry filling, frosted with cherry liqueur buttercream, and dotted with tiny cocoa pearls.  These were a new cupcake for me, but have turned out to be my new personal favorite.

My daughter proclaimed the cupcakes "AHHMAZING!" and was very excited to give them as a Valentine's gift to the teachers and staff at her school. My husband and I also shared some with our coworkers at our respective offices. I hope these little treats brought a little joy into our Valentines' lives. With as much joy as my little girl's enthusiasm and excitement has brought me, the least I can do is pay it forward!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Black Forest Cupcakes with Cherry Liqueur Buttercream  basic concept and cherry filling recipe from Cupcake Project

Make a batch of your favorite chocolate cupcakes. I used the Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake recipe and adjusted the baking time down to 20 minutes.

Cherry Filling

1 lb cherries, washed, pitted, and destemmed ( I used a 12 oz. bag of frozen cherries)
1/4 C water
3/4 C sugar

1.Throw all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil.
2.Reduce heat and let mixture simmer for 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
3.Remove from heat and let cool

Cherry Liqueur Buttercream
I use this buttercream recipe and substitute the cream for 2 (okay maybe closer to 3) Tablespoons of  a cherry liqueur. I used Dekuyper's Michigan Cherry Liqueur.

When the cupcakes are cooled core out the center and put in a few cherries from the cooled cherry mixture and spoon in a few teaspoons of the juice. Replace the tops.

After all the cupcakes are filled add 3 Tablespoons of cherry liqueur to the remaining cherry and sugar syrup mixture. Brush a generous amount over the top of each cupcake.

Frost with the Cherry Liqueur Buttercream and decorate as you would like.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Jungle Themed Baby Shower Cake with Koala Topper

This jungle themed baby shower cake was designed to coordinate with the shower invitation. The tree decoration is made from fondant as are the animals on the side of the cake. The 2D animals are hand painted with gel food coloring. The Koala on top is holding a blue baby blanket and is made from gumpaste.

My friend Michele asked me to make this cake for her baby sister, Laura who is expecting a sweet baby boy named Reid in March. I have known this family for 17 years, so this was a special cake to make! The flavors are chocolate cake with classic chocolate buttercream filling per the expectant mother's request.