Once ya cake pop, ya don’t stop

It’s that time of year to dig out and pull on every last crinkled piece of green clothing and string of mardis gras beads!

St. Patrick’s Day, also known as the “Feast of Saint Patrick,” is a time to celebrate all things Irish. After filling up on soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, what pairs better with your bright green libations than a happy little pot o’ gold cake pop?!

That’s what I thought.

These bite-sized treasures are filled with devil’s food cake and vanilla buttercream, dipped in silky milk chocolate, and topped with golden sugar crystals and sweet n sour rainbow candies.

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Before making a batch of my own, I never quite understood the cake pop. Why go through the trouble of baking a cake, crumpling it up, mixing it with frosting, putting it on a stick and then dipping it in chocolate?

Because cake pops travel so well.

Because cake pops are covered in chocolate.

BECAUSE CAKE POPS TASTE LIKE HOW LEONARDO DiCAPRIO FINALLY WINNING AN OSCAR WOULD FEEL. THAT’S WHY.

If I have convinced you to bite the chocolate bullet and make some cake pops, here are some helpful hints for when you do so:

1. After breaking up your cake into crumbs, mix in only a tablespoon of frosting at a time. You will not need nearly as much frosting to make cake pops as you would to frost a normal cake. You only need enough frosting to get the crumbs to stick together when you roll them into a ball. The consistency should not be overly gooey and sticky (does anybody else hate the word “moist”… because it’s rather difficult to avoid using it in cake-speak.), or else your cake pops will be very mushy.

2. Dip your cake pop sticks into your chocolate of choice and freeze until hard (~10 minutes) before sticking on the cake ball. After your little balls of cake all have little stick homes, freeze again for ~20 minutes before dipping into chocolate. This will keep your cake ball on the stick- not fallen into their jacuzzi of dipping chocolate!

3. After dipping your cake pops into their chocolate demise, stick them in styrofoam to dry to preserve their round shape. Or, for these little pots o’ gold, stick ’em face down on wax paper!

4. Give them away as soon as possible. Because you will eat them all. (And beach season is upon us.)

To Pebbles, With Love

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It seems like pugs are everywhere lately, probably because these flat-faced little cuties are hard not to adore. Given my reputation as a pug-fanatic, it is no surprise that when my little diamond sister (HAI COURTNEY!) sent me this pug cookie cutter last week, I had to break it in right away. All I did was whip up some royal icing, add some candy pearls and voila!

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I tried to make a few cookies with fondant details but I liked how the frosted ones came out more. Plus, frosting taste so much better than fondant.

While I was making these cookies I just couldn’t help but think of my dearly departed pug, Pebbles, also known as Peebz, Pebby, Pebbly Poo, Pebbles Chewy Muffin O’Mountain, and Pebbo.

ImagePebbles enjoyed life’s simple pleasures. She liked to sit on peoples’ feet and lick their faces.

She was smelly, lazy and sometimes pooped where she wasn’t supposed to, but when she snorted those sweet nothings into your ear, you just couldn’t help but fall deeper in love with her. She was sweet, patient and loved (err I think) to dress up. Did I mention she was patient?

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She could make even the most stoic of people smile upon seeing her her perfectly flat profile trotting down the street.

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Behind that wrinkled and roll-laden exterior was the heart of a dear friend and family member.

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Happy Birthday, Dad!

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This weekend my siblings and I celebrated our father’s birthday! I set out to make a cake that would both outdo the fish cake I made him a few years ago and reflect his love of the ocean and his boat to celebrate. To begin, my sister and I made these blue ombre ruffles out of four different shades of azure blue fondant to resemble waves.

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The plan was to make a cake topper that looked just like his boat. But when it came out like this, we quickly changed our minds:

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Yeah. Not cute. Instead of using our sad excuse for a boat on our beautiful ruffled cake, I cut out a circle of fondant and pressed letters into it, using edible gold shimmer dust to make the words stand out. Gold and blue is pretty nautical, right? Another cake, another lesson- flexibility is key!

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As my dad was watching us assemble the cake, I could tell he was questioning the ruffles- they were un peu feminine, I will give him that- but I think the end result is fitting for either a birthday boy or a birthday girl. It was the perfect dessert for his birthday celebration at the beach!

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Happy birthday, Dad! Thanks for sitting through all of those Backstreet Boys concerts back in the day.

And On the 3rd Day, My Cupcakes Rose Again

IMG_6560Happy Easter! My sister and I made these Easter egg cupcakes and Easter Bunny carrot cake last year while visiting my family in Denver. They were the belles of the Easter ball and everybody was dying to know how we got the cupcakes inside the eggshells!

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That’s right- these puppies were BAKED INTO our Easter eggs, leaving their vanilla and chocolatey fudge cake goodness perfectly moist and delicious. This was a bit of a process but the outcome is totally worth it. Just be aware that if you don’t prep correctly, your cupcakes will taste like egg. Ew. So pay attention:

First we took regular eggs and dyed them. We made sure the color was extra dark and vibrant.

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Next, we cracked little holes in the colored eggs to empty out the contents. You want to make that all of the contents of the egg shells are completely empty! We rinsed our eggs out and let them sit in a saltwater solution for about an hour to make sure they were all cleaned. This process may take away some of the color on your eggs, which is why it is important to leave your eggs in the colored solution for a bit longer than usual!

After our eggs were cleaned and dry, we carefully poured our cupcake batter 1/3 of the way full. I started filling them up halfway and quickly realized that there isn’t much room in that little eggshell for the cake to rise, so I reduced the amount later on. It was easy to tell which eggshells were too full because the cake kinda oozed out, which made it a lot less pretty, but the quick fix was to just trim the excess! These cupcakes can be difficult to tell when they are done- make sure to keep sticking a toothpick in them to make sure you don’t keep them in for too long.

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Some of you frosting lovers may be like wtfbbqkittens, these Easter egg cupcakes leave no room for frosting! Well, we thought of all you frosting fiends when we made the cake with chocolate fudge on the inside which ended up being the perfect substitute.

The cupcakes came out so freaking cute. We decided to peel the shell about a third of the way down so that everybody knew that they were cupcakes.

Any Easter party-goer will be DAZZLED by these cupcake eggs- I highly recommend!

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In case any party goers didn’t want to peel an eggshell to enjoy delicious cake, my sister and I also made this Easter Bunny carrot cake. Since we were at my aunt’s house in Denver and all my baking things were back in Boston, we had to be creative with our design. All we had were a few regular cupcakes and a circle cake pan, so we made this bunny butt cake. (Yes, I realize that this is the second butt cake I have featured on my blog- and I assure you it won’t be my last.)

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First we took the circular carrot cake and plopped it down and placed two cupcake halves on one side for the little bunny’s feet. We used white chocolate melts to make the bunny ears and a mini cupcake to be his tail.

He came out pretty cute and was a festive alternative to the Easter egg cupcakes. The little kids especially loved the little cotton tail!

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He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

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Pretty much anybody I’ve talked to for more than five minutes knows how completely and utterly obsessed I am with my little brother. It sounds creepy because it is. My sweet little angel bro-ha (did I mention that he’s 17 now? …Oops.) can do absolutely no wrong in my eyes. This is a fact that he both takes advantage of (when he wants something from me) and absolutely hates (when his friends come over and I embarrass him). For those reasons and probably many more, I have been banished from his Facebook and ever so callously placed onto his Limited Profile list, never to see a wall post by an emotionally unstable teen girl again!

But alas, I digress. This post is supposed to be about his birthday cake. Not to mention he’ll probably take drastic action if I continue on about him and maybe even de-friend me GASP!

SO, now that everybody is caught up on my over-sistering ways, you could probably guess that I wanted to make him a really special birthday cake. Andrew is a music fanatic and an extremely talented guitar player- third parties have confirmed this, so this is not just my rose-colored glasses speaking-  so I knew it had to be something music related. I wanted to do something a little more unique than a guitar cake and since he’s obsessed with his record player I thought it would be cool to make him a record player cake!

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First, I took two 13 x 9 in cakes and covered them with a thick coat of chocolate frosting.

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Next, I rolled out some fondant and colored it brown, leaving in some streaks of gel coloring to get a wood grain effect. After covering the cake, I made a gold trim with yellow fondant to make it look a little older and fancier- only the best for my brother, of course.

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I used a bowl to get a perfectly round shape for the record and used measuring cups to make some imprints to give it some more texture. I made the speakers, needle, and knobs with black fondant as well.

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Lastly, I used a dry paint brush to apply edible gold dust to give the yellow fixtures some shine. I did this part last because I was worried if I did it sooner, the glitter would blow all over the entire cake.

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Andrew was happy with his cake. At least I think he was… teenage boys don’t really say a whole lot. I was thrilled to spend Andrew’s birthday with him though I can’t say the same for him. Unrequited sibling love is the toughest kind of love. If you have a younger sibling who doesn’t appreciate excessive coddling, you have probably experienced this unique anguish before.

Anyways, here are some pictures to help you understand the level of cuteness I grew up with:

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Those cheeks!photoThat little button nose! That smile! I just can’t even.

Can you blame me?!

I Heart NYCake

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Today we celebrated my good friend Nick’s 22nd birthday with this New York City cake. Nick has been friends with my roommate Kenna since they were just babes and he has been to visit us in Boston many times. This year she wanted to surprise him with a party- and of course a beautiful cake! Nick loves the city and spends a lot of time there, so it was only fitting that his cake reflect his love for the big apple.

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This lemon sponge cake (a nice diversion from the typical chocolate and vanilla) has some trademark NYC details that make it really fun. Thankfully I had some help (holla, Isabelle and Mike) with these adorable marzipan taxis and street signs or else it would have taken a lot longer than it did! I piped the famed city skyline with black and white buttercream over a thick layer of shimmery dark blue frosting. It was a really cool way to frame the bottom layer of the cake.

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Nick was so surprised and really enjoyed the party and his NYCake in all of its lemon-y goodness.

Happy birthday, Nick!

Puissance de Fleur

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Spring has sprung!…or at least it has in my kitchen. While the east coast may still be a bit chilly, this blue and white ombre rosette cake is reminiscent of the sunshine and flowers in bloom to come.

I made this cake for my sorority sisters to congratulate our newest members on initiation day! I used Alpha Delta Pi’s colors and I am so pleased with how the ombre came out! To get the ombre effect, I separated the batter into four different bowls. I started with the deepest shade of blue and worked my way to white. I did the same for the frosting making sure to match to color of the batter with the frosting to make the ombre effect continuous when the cake was cut into.

ImageI covered the cake in rosettes with a Wilton 1M star tip. It was super quick and ensured that each bite included a ton of homemade frosting!

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Next up was my mother’s birthday! I wanted to make her cupcakes look like a big bunch of hydrangeas in her favorite colors. I used the same star tip as the rosettes (Wilton 1M) and mixed together different hues of blue, purple and white.

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I filled my piping bag with the different shades all together- making sure not to pre-mix them so that the colors only mixed together as they piped onto the cupcake. I think this technique was helpful in giving the petals a depth of color that looked pretty realistic (if I do say so myself).

I used toothpicks and florist foam to secure the hydrangea cupcakes in a bunch within a little pail. In the future I will use a more flat formation as the frosting was too heavy to keep the cupcakes so far sideways- hence the blurry picture as my little creations were falling all over the place!

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These goodies certainly got me looking forward to spring more than I was already (if that was even possible) and are the perfect addition to any springtime birthday or event!