Wedding Cake Tower of Cupcakes

As promised, here are some pictures of my sister’s wedding cake that my mom and I created with love for my sister.  Awwwww.

The small cake atop the tower: lemon cake with regular buttercream frosting.

Cupcake flavor 1: wedding white with almond buttercream frosting

Cupcake flavor 2: butter pecan with regular buttercream frosting

Cupcake flavor 3: strawberry with whipped cream frosting

Cupcake flavor 4: chocolate with mint buttercream

Cupcake flavor 5: German chocolate with chocolate buttercream

Cupcake flavor 6: spice cake with pumpkin buttercream

Decorating the top part of the cake

Decorating with help from the other bridesmaids

Close up of cupcakes

Proud of my cake!

Center stage on the dessert table

Side view of the cake

Photos as Promised!

My friend requested two miniature cakes – one for her and one for her sister, the birthday girl.  In the end, I fit two 4-in. chocolate cakes filled with a mousse pudding on a 10-in. cake board (on which I wrote Happy 50th). I also made a “5” and a “0” out of chocolate to stick in the tops of the cakes. I think that they turned out pretty nice…and I know that they tasted AMAZING. I love the explosion of sweetness of a traditional buttercream flavored with almond. It tastes, well, decadent.

Birthday Roses…out of cream cheese?

Today is the birthday of a friend at work and I was asked to make a red velvet cake – which, obviously means they are waiting for the cream cheese frosting, as well.  I prefer the traditional buttercream or the whipped cream/cream cheese mix over a traditional cream cheese frosting. However, the design I wanted to try this time – very large, old-fashioned roses – required a sturdier frosting than one with whipped cream in it.

I seem to be having some trouble getting my cakes to rise consistently and on command, but overall the cake didn’t turn out too bad.  Next time, I’ll be sure to make two cakes rather than depend on the one cake (split and filled) being tall enough.  On the other hand, the roses are very large and sort of make the cake look shorter than it really is.

Once again, the cake is MUCH prettier in person than in the photos. I have got to figure out how to take better pictures of my creations.

Wedding Cake: Practice Effort 1

Only 8 months later than I had anticipated, I tried my hand at my first “wedding” cake effort. It didn’t turn out so great. Don’t get me wrong, the cake itself was pretty, but it was not wedding pretty.  However, I do know what I did wrong.  1) I didn’t cool the crumb-coated cake in the fridge to set it – meaning it was soft (too soft) for the fondant; and 2) I used old fondant (it still tasted right, but it was hard to work with).  The main purpose of this practice round was to see how the rock candy and the fondant worked together.  In the end, I smeared on a thin layer of frosting to “glue” the rocks to the sides of the cake.  I started off gluing them on one by one, but I would still be putting them on weeks later if I had continued with that method.

I have a better design in mind now, so the rock candy (on the cake part) is no longer being considered.  However, I still desperately need to work with my fondant and get that perfected.

Next step: Practice covering cakes with fondant correctly (after setting the frosted cake so that it isn’t soft).

And the winner is…

Caramel Sundae Cupcakes!

When I went to the grocery store to pick up my missing items for the cupcakes, I couldn’t find chocolate-covered cherries.  Apparently, grocery stores are not the place to go for this kind of candy.  Because it was already after 7:00 and I still needed to bake and decorate, I didn’t have time to go to a second store.  Therefore, I moved on to Plan B.  I decided to go with miniature special dark milky way candy instead.  Before I put the pans in the oven, I placed a mini chocolate candy in the center.

They baked up perfectly – just the right amount of puffy roundness. I ended up making two batches of frosting.  The first batch just didn’t seem to want to be a delicious, fluffy delicious treat.  So, I ended up tossing it and trying round two.  The second batch was DELICIOUS.  I made a traditional buttercream frosting with caramel topping as a flavoring agent.  Note: if you’re making this, you’ll need extra powdered sugar because the caramel sauce makes it thicker though less stiff.  For a little bit of extra decadence, I drizzled extra caramel on top of the frosting. Unfortunately, you can’t really tell in the photo because by the time I made it to the office, it had already sunk into the cake.  If you decide to make your own version of this, I recommend putting the drizzle on right before serving.

For my first official order, they turned out perfectly.  I overheard people in the hall as they passed discussing how good they were, and the birthday girl seemed really happy with the flavor.  She always has caramels on her desk, so it must have been meant to be that the grocery store didn’t have what I was looking for.

Happy Birthday Cupcakes!

My friend Debbie celebrated her birthday this past Saturday night with a party at her place.  To help celebrate, I was in charge of the cake – though she requested cupcakes.  I decided to go fancier than usual – and use new recipes.

Margarita-flavored cupcakes:  Those who know me, know that I’m allergic to fun – specifically alcohol.  That’s right, I am sensitive to hopps and liquor gives me a headache.  However, ALL of my friends like to get their party on. So, I felt that margarita cupcakes were just right for a party – too bad the birthday girl gets sick from margarita sour. Notice the zested lime in the frosting – that’s right, I used lime zest.

White Chocolate Mint Chocolate cupcakes:  I absolutely love the flavor combination of mint and chocolate.  So, when I found a recipe for a white chocolate mint frosting, I knew I had found my second cupcake for the party.  To date, it’s Sam’s favorite icing. I found that with the melted white chocolate mixed in with the rest of the ingredients, it was a little bit too heavy.  It looked amazing on the cupcakes – no wilting, even in the south Florida heat – but it felt heavy.

Here are some shots of the 4 DOZEN cupcakes I made on Saturday afternoon.

Mother’s Day and Birthday Cakes

This past Sunday was both Mother’s Day (Hi Mom!) and Pauline’s (Sam’s mom’s) birthday.  I ended up having the beginnings of a migraine on Friday and Saturday. Sam was kind enough to bring me an Imitrex early Saturday morning and I didn’t get out of bed until after 12:30 in the afternoon. While I was sleeping, he managed to go to the store and wash our cars – well, his entire car and the front grille of mine. Seeing as I was sleeping while he was working in the hot sun, I can only be grateful that he helped me out with my car at all. It looks great, after all.

Anyway, after eventually waking up and spending the late afternoon shopping with my friend Molly, I had all day Sunday to work on my cake for Pauline’s birthday.  My mom gave me a set of mini cake pans (for miniature filled cakes) of  ago that I haven’t used yet.  Because it was going to be just me, Sam, and Pauline for her birthday dinner, I figured it was the best time to try out a mini cake.

I tried a new frosting for the carrot cake base – cinnamon cream cheese. Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of a glaze than a frosting – meaning that it kinda slid off of the cake once frosted. Luckily, I had a back-up cake to try again. This time I used my cream cheese/whipped cream frosting recipe, with a mocha flavor added for fun. It tasted like a caffeine-free frappuccino exploded on the top of my cake.  As a decoration, I made a silhouette of a hibiscus flower. What do you think?

I also had enough batter to make dozen cupcakes (topped with a cinnamon cream cheese glaze and a mocha-flavored star) in addition to my two mini cakes.  The didn’t turn out too badly, actually.

Cake Dreams

I’ve been procrastinating my practice baking for my sister’s wedding, but I’ve found some designs that I like – I plan to combine a few ideas into one AMAZING design. I’m thinking an off white/cream fondant-covered cake, brown modeling chocolate for branches, a few leaves either sugar paste or fondant, and some kissing love birds out of fondant or actual figurines. I haven’t decided on the final design yet. But, it’ll be 1 tier atop of a tree o’ cupcakes. These pictures I’ve found online are what inspired me.  I’ll post pictures of my first wedding cake effort soon, I promise!!