Tag Archives: cake decorating

Baking Birthday Party!

Congratulations to “semicrunchymomma,” who wins the Estelle headband from Guavaloo for her little girl! Thanks to all who liked & shared!

birthday girl

This darling girl turned 4 this summer, & she told me back in JANUARY (she plans ahead like her mama) that she wanted a “baking party, with cupcakes & pizzas & chef hats.” What fun!

dessert table

I had a field day with my cricut’s cupcake font for the “happy birthday” banner & these fun chandelier hangings my husband suggested:

chandelier

I also used the cricut to freezer-paper stencil custom “Chef [name]” aprons for each of the kids. Kid-sized apron & chef hat sets were around $5 each from Chefskin on Amazon. I kept the party small–8 kids total–to keep cost & chaos to a minimum.

This fun garland was just cupcake papers of different sizes & colors randomly threaded onto embroidery thread with an embroidery needle!

cupcake paper garland

While we waited for everyone to arrive, the chefs colored their very own restaurant menus…

menu 1menu 2

…drawn by the very talented Sister Alison Bowe, a missionary currently serving in our ward! (I enlarged them to 11×17 for the kids.)

menu 3As the menus said, once the kids were all there & dressed as chefs, they got to make pizzas. Our local Grimaldi’s donated the dough, & “Chef Dad” tossed it pizzeria-style before the kids “decorated” them, in the birthday girl’s words.

pizza
Tasty!
pizza 2Then they made fruit, yogurt, & granola parfaits. So that not ALL of the party food was junk.

parfait makingFinally, the part everyone was waiting for: decorating cookies & cupcakes! With like 6 different colors of frosting & more than a dozen kinds of sprinkles, what could go wrong?

cupcakes and decorationscookiesTurns out, not a whole lot. Luckily all of the parents stuck around to help out, which minimized the mess, & the kids took their decorating very seriously!

decoratingdecorating 2The birthday girl loved that she got to decorate her own birthday cupcake!

candles(I used this beet red velvet cupcake recipe. Had to counteract all that sugar somehow, right? See what a conscientious party host I am?)

Each kid got to decorate 4 cookies & 2 cupcakes. They ate 1 of each at the party, & the rest went home in these cute treat boxes from Michael’s, finished with baker’s twine & a darling tag.

favor boxWhat a fun time we all had! Special thanks to Ursula Borrack for capturing such sweet photos of this sweet party!

Shared at Tater Tots & Jello

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Activities, Crafts

“I Bleed Blue” Cupcakes.

I’m pretty confident that every major university has a blood drive leading up to their big rivalry game with the tag line “Bleed {fill in team color here}.” How do I know this? I’ve attended or worked for — & bled for — three different universities in three different conferences.

As a freshman at Vanderbilt, I “bled gold.” As a first-time blood donor, I didn’t know you were supposed to eat a big breakfast beforehand. I walked outside to continue working on our float for the Homecoming Parade… & woke up in my dorm room bed at 6pm.

When I saw the light & transferred to BYU (Go Cougars! Beat Texas!), I “bled blue.” I was smarter by now & ate a big meal beforehand… but still bled so slowly that each of the other 3 beds went through 3 other donors before being done with me.

Then I worked for the Indiana University Alumni Association, where I “bled crimson.” Well, I think I did… I don’t have any recollection of anything weird happening, so I’m assuming it went well.

This year, I decided to let baked goods do the bleeding for me. Blue, of course. (Go Cougars! Beat Texas!)

These cupcakes are a cinch to pull together to show your friends & fellow fans your true colors. (Go Cougars! Beat Texas!) & they don’t involve needles, blood, or passing out! Juice & cookies afterwards would be a nice touch though.

  • White or yellow cupcake recipe or mix (I used my all-time favorite easy yellow cake recipe, which is quite pale & works very well for this)
  • 1 box (4 oz.) Jello in team color of choice (just use one or they’ll mix & not look too appetizing)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • frosting
  1. Prepare your cupcakes as directed. Tip: don’t use foil cupcake liners. My only other option at Publix was pink, which I knew wouldn’t go over well. So plan ahead & visit Michael’s or something for some cuter paper cupcake liners that don’t stick to the cake & wind up getting swallowed by party guests. Oops.
  2. When they’ve cooled a little, poke each with a fork.
  3. Mix the Jello & boiling water; stir 2 minutes or until completely dissolved.
  4. Use a small spoon to carefully spoon the Jello into the fork holes in each cupcake.
  5. Chill 3 hours or until Jello is set.
  6. Frost as desired. I used this fabulous color swirl tutorial from Our Best Bites. Once I got the icing in the bags, it was seriously faster than my standard sloppy knife-frosting way, & so much prettier!

P.S. If you’re wondering where to get the awesome football platter, it was a fabulous $1 party-store find several years ago that has stuck with us every season since.

P.P.S. Go Cougars! Beat Texas!

Tidy Mom

Photobucket

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Tutorials

Toodles cake tutorial.

As promised, here is the tutorial for the Toodles cake I made for The Munchkin’s “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” party last weekend. Check out the rest of the party here.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a professional cake decorator — as I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t even taken a Wilton class — so I’m not pretending to be an expert, but I can give you a few of the tips & tricks I use. If you ARE a professional cake decorator, just skip straight to the part about flattening the Starbursts for the dots.

First, I baked a cake. (Duh.) I really like the Easy Yellow Cake recipe in the KitchenAid manual/cookbook. It’s easy, not too sweet, & holds up well while still staying moist. I’ve included the recipe at the end. A few days in advance of the party, I baked two 9-inch round pans & then carved them to my desired shape by finding some things in my kitchen that were the right size & shape & then using a sharp serrated knife to cut around them. In this case, I used a cereal bowl & the bottom of my meringue powder container. Then I double-wrapped each piece in two layers of Saran Wrap & put them in the freezer until I needed them. Freezing the cakes is important for 3 reasons: 1) It keeps the cake from going stale, 2) It allows you to break up the process so you don’t have to do it all at once, & 3) It reduces crumbs on the cut edges while frosting.

Then I made frosting. Lots of frosting. In this case, I used the extra left over from these Cars cakelets. In case you’re as dissatisfied as I am with my “add some powdered sugar &/or cream until it looks right but will probably end up being too thick anyway” method for frosting, try this: 2 sticks of butter, 6 cups powdered sugar, 2 tsp. CLEAR vanilla (best for dyeing), & milk or cream to desired thickness. Remember thinner is better for spreading. If you’re paranoid like me about running out, you may want to add half again as much of everything. I filled the cake with the delicious chocolate frosting I used for Mater, because I believe yellow cake just goes with chocolate frosting, but you can do what you want. If you’re not crazy like me & making a zillion cakes in 1 week, it’s probably not worth it to make up a whole other batch of frosting just to fill your cake.

Don’t forget to add a couple tablespoons of meringue powder to your frosting to help it set up & stay upt while & after your frost. Then use gel food coloring to dye it to your desired colors. (Tip: “Golden Yellow” is a lot more orange than it looks on the bottle. I think just plain old “Yellow” would’ve looked better.)

Now for the fun part!

First, take a cake board or some cardboard & wrap it in some pretty paper. This sounds silly, but it really does make a HUGE difference in the presentation. Pull your cake pieces out of the freezer & unwrap them, then slap a dab or two of frosting under the cake (all 3 pieces parts if they’re disconnected like they are here) to keep it from sliding off your pretty board. Fill your cake, if needed.

Put several pieces of wax paper around the edges of your cake to protect your cake board. When we’re done frosting, we’ll slide these out & cover any gaps with a pretty frosting border.

Now we crumb coat. Take some frosting (plain un-dyed white is fine, but we used the already-dyed stuff) & thin it with a tiny bit of milk. Use an offset spatula like this one to make a thin layer to trap the crumbs. Have a paper towel handy to wipe any crummy frosting off of your spatula so you don’t contaminate your frosting. It doesn’t have to look pretty. Then stick your cake back in the freezer for a few minutes. (P.S. Shout-out to My Husband The Closet Ace of Cakes, who almost always does all of my frosting spreading so I just have to do the pretty stuff.)

Then pull the cake back out of the freezer. Grab your frosting, offset spatula, a dish towel, & a bowl or pie plate full of hot water. Sound weird? Just trust me. Spread your frosting, then smooth it by submerging your spatula in the hot water & then drying it completely with the dish towel. The warm spatula kind of re-melts the frosting to smooth out any bumps for you.

Now for the Starbursts. When I was trying to think of what to make the dots out of, my first thought was fondant. But you already know about My Husband The Opinionated’s feelings on the subject; plus, I didn’t want to either buy 3 colors of fondant or go to all the effort of learning how to dye it myself. Then I remembered a cake that my friend Laura had made for my baby shower 2 years ago: she made flowers out of flattened Starbursts! Perfect! So I called her up & she shared with me how to do it.

Unwrap a few Starbursts & stick them between the layers of a folded sheet of wax paper. Microwave it all for about 7 seconds, just enough to soften them. Use a rolling pin to flatten them to your desired width & thickness, stopping often to pull them off of the wax paper so they don’t stick. For a larger shape, you can even melt two candies together, side by side. That’s what I did for the largest red circle.

Now here’s the funny part. To cut them to the desired shape, use… scissors! You can use a stencil if you want to get them perfectly round, but I found it easiest to just eyeball it. I wound up making way more than I needed, so we just ate the extras.

Position them where you want them on your cake, & trim edges to fit if they’re on the edge. You should be able to just press them into your frosting, but if they’re overlapping one another, just pipe a tiny bit of frosting on the bottom of your top one to secure it.

Now put your frosting into piping bags (I use disposable ones because I don’t decorate often enough for the nice ones to be a savings, & I just prefer the ease of tossing them) with a coupler in the bottom of each to make it easier to switch tips. The tips I used were a 5 writing, 18 star, & 16 star.

I Nnever trust my freehand artistry skills, so I always try to find things to trace. Sometimes it’s a little odd, but it works. For the “poles” on Toodles’ face, I used part of a Zicam bottle cap. For the circles inside his ears, I used my half-tablespoon. I make small depressions in the hardening frosting to trace.

Then I actually did freehand the gear detail on his ears, consulting a picture I printed off the Internet every single step of the way. I filled in all the red details with my writing tip, & chose to smooth the “poles” the same way we did the frosting base, just with a smaller spatula. But I think they ended up looking too much like the Starbursts, so if I did it over, I’d leave it textured like I did the gear details.

Finally, I used the smaller star tip to do a shell border around the top in red (I think yellow would have been more accurate to the show, but I was worried about running out) & then carefully slid the wax paper out (I used my small spatula to keep the frosting in place) & used the larger star tip to do a shell border around the bottom in blue. This cleaned up all the edges & just gave it a more polished look. I also wrote The Munchkin’s name on the front side of the cake using my writing tip, but I’m not going to show that to you because I’m not ready to reveal her identity.

So there you go! I hope that this tutorial is helpful; if you wind up using it for your Munchkins, I would seriously love to see pictures! Comment with links, or email me (on the “About” page)!

Last, but not least, here’s the cake recipe. Happy thoughts go to my good friend Mandy, who saved me by emailing it to me when I couldn’t (still can’t — hopefully it’ll show up after we move?) find my manual.

KitchenAid Easy Yellow Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease & flour (I prefer Baker’s Joy or PAM for Baking — 1 step!) two 8- or 9-inch cake pans
  2. Add dry ingredients to mixer bowl. Add shortening, milk, & vanilla; use flat beater to mix about 1 minute at speed 2. Scrape bowl.
  3. Add eggs; mix about 30 seconds on speed 2. Scrape bowl.
  4. Beat at speed 6 for 1 minute.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans & bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then drop pans gently on the counter to free the cake from the sides of the pans & invert onto a wire rack to remove. Cool completely.
  7. Carve, freeze, & frost as above.
Tidy Mom

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes, Tutorials

“Cars 2” cakelets for the birthday Munchkin!

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or just don’t have a child under the age of 10 in the house) Cars 2 comes out tomorrow! We’re not excited about this or anything…

I’m pretty obsessed with Nordicware molded cake pans (I’m sure you’ll see more of my collection over the coming months). Knowing this, & knowing that they came out with a limited-edition Cars 2 cakelet pan, & knowing that The Munchkin loves Cars & had a birthday was coming up, my dad sent her an early birthday present. So guess what we did today for The Munchkin’s 2nd birthday?

I baked the cakelets last night using the recipe on the insert that came with the pan. I love these inserts because they calculate the exact right amount of batter for each molded pan! So perfect. However, I realized quickly that leveling in the pan was out of the question; pieces were breaking off faster than I could saw. So I just popped them out of the pan as-is & trimmed them with a paring knife this morning.

Then I made the frosting.

7 sticks of butter, 4 pounds of powdered sugar, & a diabetic coma later, I had a ridiculous amount of frosting. I’m always so paranoid I’ll run out, that I make way too much. Though this time I made extra on purpose for The Munchkin’s Toodles cake for Saturday’s birthday party (I told you it was Sweets Week at our house!). For the vanilla, I used my “add some powdered sugar &/or cream until it looks right but will probably end up being too thick anyway” method — don’t recommend it. For the chocolate, however, I used this recipe from A Southern Fairytale. Super delicious, & the perfect consistency for spreading! I also added a couple tablespoons of meringue powder to each to help them set up more quickly, but should’ve added more to the chocolate.

Then we decorated. & decorated. & decorated.

The sheer tininess of scale was almost too much My Husband The Closet Ace of Cakes & me! We’d never frosted anything that small before. (Why not fondant, like they show in the product photos, you ask? Because My Husband The Persnickety views the sheer existence of fondant as an affront to his palate. Plus, I’m completely self-taught as a cake decorator & have never learned to use it.)

But The Munchkin didn’t mind one bit!

As long as Guido tastes good, that’s all that matters, right?

Finally we got into a groove & finished 5 of the 8 (The Munchkin was happy to take care of the rest). Do you recognize the characters from the new movie?

We used mini-Oreos for the tires (though you could use more of the black-dyed chocolate icing if you want), & mini-M&Ms for the eyes. I had bought a bag of regular M&Ms so we’d have the full complement of eye colors, but they were far too big for the size of the cakes. As My Husband The Comedian put it, “They could be Anime cakes…” So we dug out a still-sealed tube of mini-M&Ms left over from Christmas — yes, Christmas, but they were still good — so our eye-color choice diminished significantly.

I made the cake board the night before with a Wilton cake board (totally worth the investment — I’m still on the same package I bought 3 years ago!), construction paper, & a logo I printed out off the Internet. Free & easy!

The Munchkin requested that “Wight-Queen” be her birthday cake. He was just the right size for 2 candles!

She was so happy about her cakes. All day today, she kept telling everyone we met, not that it was her birthday, but that she made “Cars cakes.” So all the work & powdered-sugar-inhalation were worth it!

See you later! Ka-chow!

(P.S. If you’re heading to the theatre this weekend to see the movie, come back & leave a comment letting me know how it was — & whether it’d be too scary for a 2-year-old. Thanks!)

Tidy Mom

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap   up           party!

“Share Awesomeness” Thursdays at The 36th Avenue

24 Comments

Filed under Activities, Recipes