Sunday, August 26, 2012

Woodland Cupcakes ~ Part 3

Happy Sunday! This week's post is the last of the Woodland Cupcakes series!  In addition to the owl cupcakes and the robin's egg cupcakes, I also made some toadstool cupcakes.  I think these were my favorite!  They were just so cute!

The colors for the baby shower were brown, green, blue, and ivory.  So, I decided to make blue and brown 'shrooms sitting in green "grass" (icing).

I started by shaping the stems and caps of the toadstools out of colored fondant.

Once those had set up a little bit, I put them together with a little bit of royal icing and added the spots.

Aren't they great?  It looked a little like some Mario video game had descended upon my kitchen with all the toadstools sitting on the table!

Once the cupcakes were done, I piped a swirl of green icing in top and put a couple of toadstools in each one.

Too cute!

And here's the whole set...

Happy baking!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Woodland Cupcakes ~ Part 2!

Happy Sunday!  I hope you're all enjoying this beautiful day as much as I am!  We've had some wonderful weather in Nashville the last few I'm sitting outside enjoying a delicious homemade lunch of arugula salad with crispy artichoke hearts, hard boiled eggs, and toasted pine nuts, drizzled with a lemon vinegrette....oh and french press coffee...oh so tasty!  

The week's blog features part two of the woodland cupcakes from last week.  The second style they wanted was a bird's nest with pastel blue eggs.

I looked at several websites to find candy eggs, but I wasn't happy with any of them, so I decided to make them myself!

I started with fondant that I colored robin's egg blue, then hand-rolled about 50 tiny eggs.  It took a little bit of practice to get them to look like eggs and not albino blueberries.  The shape isn't as easy as it looks!

Once the eggs had dried overnight, I used a paintbrush dipped in brown food coloring to "splatter" paint the eggs so they looked speckled.  Of course, this speckled my table as well....thank goodness for mr. clean magic erasers!

I had seen several different ideas for making the nest....toasted coconut, piped icing, chow mein noodle haystacks, etc...but my favorite one used shaved looked rustic yet elegant at the same time - perfect for this baby shower.

Since I had to chop some chocolate for the cupcakes too, I decided to go ahead and chop all my chocolate:

It took about an hour, but now all 14 lbs are chopped and ready for any recipe....which has me thinking about what I can make with bittersweet chocolate...hmmm.....maybe that recipe for flourless chocolate cookies I saw on Pinterest...anyway, back to cupcakes!

I piped a swirl of buttercream on each cupcakes, topped them with chocolate shavings, and then nestled a few eggs on each one...

And another shot... 

Stay tuned for some exciting news over the next few weeks!

And follow me on Facebook for a chance to win free cupcakes!  Once I hit 100 followers on Facebook, I'll randomly pick one lucky follower to receive 1 dozen cupcakes.  You can pick the flavor too...caramel macchiato, margartita, strawberry lemonade, or you can be creative and come up with your own specialty!

Happy baking....and eating!  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Woodland Cupcakes Part 1

Happy Sunday!  Like I mentioned last week, this is apparently the season for baby showers.  But, this week, its cupcakes!  I think these are seriously the cutest cupcakes I’ve ever made!

They were for a woodland themed baby shower.  The client sent me a link to their Pinterest board so I could get some ideas.  There were lots of owl designs, some acorns, burlap, twigs, toadstools, etc.  It was the perfect mix of cute and rustic.  But I didn’t want to just copy one of the cupcakes design they had picked for inspiration, so I sketched a few ideas that I thought captured their theme too.

They ended up picking all three!  So they had a variety of designs which looked fantastic the way they presented them.

The first ones I made were the owl cupcakes.  I used a technique called “flooding.”  Flooding is traditionally used to decorate sugar cookies, but I used it to make two-dimensional designs that would stand up in the icing of the cupcakes.

With the flooding technique, you start by piping a border around your design with royal icing – like the little guy in the middle here:

Then you use a thinner icing to “flood” the design – like all the other owls above.  

Since the second icing is thinner, it flows into the edges of the design and leaves a perfectly smooth finish.  This initial layer of icing needs to dry for at least 12 hours before you add any of the details.  

So, once the brown icing had cured, I added the white for the eyes using the same process: pipe the border, flood the middle.

After the white icing had dried for several hours, I added the green for the owls’ belly.  

But for this part, I didn’t let the green icing dry before adding the blue “feathers” - you can see the blue on the top row.  By piping the blue on top of the green while it was still soft, the blue sinks into the icing and makes it smooth.

Lastly, once everything was set, I added the finishing touches: black dots on the eyes, and the yellow beak and wings. 

Whew!  It took three days to finish the whole process.  

The last step was to add them to cupcakes….these were butter cupcakes with vanilla frosting.

Aren't they just adorable? :)

Next week, I'll show you the robin's egg nest design.  I'm saving the toadstools till last 'cause they're my favorite!

Happy baking!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Baby Shower Cakes

Happy Sunday!  There must be something in the water around here!  I’ve suddenly gotten several requests for baby shower cakes!

This week’s feature was for a small baby shower hosted by one of my former brides.  She wanted something cute and girly, and the colors were purple and green (which happen to by my favorite colors too!)  So I sketched a few designs: flowers, stripes, or polka dots with a little baby rattle and bow on top.

Like with all buttercream cakes, I started with the "crumb coat".  This first layer of icing is  usually pretty thin - you can even see some of the cake showing through in my picture:

The crumb coat seals in all the crumbs and evens out the sides of the cake so that the final coat of buttercream is perfectly smooth and white:

Now the cake was ready for decorating.  I made some green and purple fondant in a couple of different shades and cut out lots of dots, big and small.  Here's all my leftovers!

Finally I carefully placed all the dots on the cake and laid the rattle and bow on top.

The rattle and bow are handmade out of fondant too...the bow looks almost real, doesn't it :)   

Happy baking!