Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Cupcakes!

Last year in the middle of November I was grocery shopping and right there on the clearance table was a box of Halloween funfetti cake mix for 75 cents. I looked at the expiration date and saw that it didn't expire until December of 2012, so I bought it, figuring that I could make cupcakes for one of my kids to take to school for a Halloween party.

Well, fast forward to the beginning of September this year, when I discovered at the school open house that my daughter's K4 teacher is anti-cupcake. Gasp! Well, I guess I can understand where she is coming from. After all, I know all too well the mess that comes with giving a 4 year old a cupcake, and when you multiply that by 15, it would be quite a lot for even two adults to clean up! My son, being in the 2nd grade, is too old for silly kid parties at school (how is he growing up so fast?), so I had to come up with a way to use that cake mix and do it fast. I thought of making cake pops, but by the time I volunteered it to the teacher, she had already gotten offers from two other parents to bring Halloween treats and wanted to keep it at that.

So back I was at square one... what to do with this cake mix? Well, my hubby mentioned to me a few days ago that one of the ladies he works with, who did cake decorating when she was younger, was asking how my cake decorating was coming along. Bingo! I baked them up, decorated them last night and sent them to work with my husband this morning. He came home with an empty tupperware container, saying that "They were a big hit!". And of course I left out two for my kids to have after their dinner tonight. What kind of mother would I be if I didn't? :)

Here's the entire assortment:

 And a close-up of the mummy cupcakes - lots of fun!

Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A cake fit for a king!

Or rather... the king of the jungle!

Now, have I mentioned how much I love referrals? Because I do! This cake order came came to me by way of Nekia, who I made the whale cake for at the end of August. Her friend Ratna wanted a cake for her son Zarek's first birthday at the beginning of October. (If you are beginning to see a pattern here of first birthday cakes . . . never fear, I can make cakes for any occasion!)
She sent me a picture of a very cute topsy-turvy cake with a fondant lion and elephant, and after researching how to make a topsy-turvy cake, she sent me another message with a few changes to the design, all centered around the party decorations she had bought. Instead of a lion and elephant, she wanted just the lion, and a palm tree. I, being the roll-with-the-punches type I am, said, "no problem!" After all, it was still a few weeks before her son's birthday. And I made a few suggestions to make the cake even better!

The cake itself is chocolate with oreo buttercream - my first time making it and I had some left over so I used it on a 6 inch cake I had in my freezer. It. . . is. . . divine!

The top tier is covered in chocolate fondant, the bottom with plain green fondant, and all of the dots and stripes were fondant as well. One of my favorite parts of this cake though, was making the lion. All gum paste, and it was a lot like making something with play-doh! And since it's gum-paste, it dried hard and can be stashed away in a keepsake box for years and years. The trees are pretzels covered with chocolate fondant, and then I stuck gum paste leaves on the top with a little extra fondant to hold them in place. I had to do a little bit of "digging" to get them in the cake itself, but the end product was pretty cute. I even got to use my favorite decorating tip to pipe grass around the trees and lion on top and and around the base of the top tier. Ratna provided the candle, which I stuck onto the front of the cake since it wouldn't have fit on top without falling over.

When I delivered the cake, I was greeted by this adorable sign, so I knew I was in the right place

And here we are, all set up and ready for the birthday boy!

And of course, a first birthday wouldn't be complete without a smash cake! Same cake flavor and filling, but with orange buttercream since that was the other main color in the theme of the party, and fondant polka dots to tie in to the main cake.

Happy Birthday Zarek! I hope your birthday was wonderful!