It’s Coming…

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Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. These white chocolate message hearts are an adorable way to celebrate your sweetie… or lack thereof. Sweet or sassy, you’re bound to get a good laugh out of making your own messages (especially if you throw in a Mean Girls quote or a Twitter hashtag here and there).

IMG_0093I recreated the classic Sweethearts candies by dyeing white chocolate melts and I since didn’t have any molds on hand, I improvised with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

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My favorite part about these is that every single part goes to good use. I made too many little pink hearts and ended up sandwiching frosting between them and using them as cupcake toppers.

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Eat your hearts out, kids. (GET IT?! Hearts in the cupcake… and you can eat it?! No? Okay bye.)

Super Bowl Funday

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Super Bowl Sunday: or, another excuse for my beloved “kegs and eggs” get-togethers. While I can’t say I follow football religiously (or any sport, if we’re being real), I will say, however, that I use any excuse to bake in theme.

This year I made these little field goal and football cupcakes. I piped the field goals and footballs with chocolate melts. The “turf” is coconut that I dyed with food coloring. They were extremely easy and quick to make!

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…Unlike last year’s Super Bowl cake which was a tad more involved. I made this cake for a fraternity on campus (dare I say my favorite fraternity) and between the decals and the face masks on the helmets, it took quite a while. Luckily, I had some expert help from my friend Isabelle. The helmets are made of cake covered in marzipan and the details are piped frosting and marzipan.

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Happy Super Bowl, friends! …But more importantly, Happy Beyonce Bowl!

Cupcakes on Cupcakes on Cupcakes

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Happy 2013, everybody! Today I was finally reunited with my Little Diamond Sister in my sorority, Courtney, after her semester abroad in London. I missed her so much, I wanted to welcome her back to Boston with these British cupcakes! I used fondant to create the telephone booths, tube signs, and union jacks. My mom’s homemade buttercream frosting recipe was the perfect texture for piping the details. I always find the stiffer the frosting, the cleaner the details!

Hopefully 2013 will bring many more celebrations that call for cupcakes! Here are some of my favorite cupcakes I’ve made for friends and family so far:

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Cheerio for now, darlings!

Getchya Bake On (With Bacon)

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It’ll be bacon you crazy how good these cupcakes are! Please excuse the awful play on words. As this post is dedicated to bacon, it deserves a little “umph” if you will.

Yes… bacon. They say that everything tastes better with bacon, and it is absolutely true. I swear, everybody freaked out at how delicious these maple bacon cupcakes were after they got over the initial “what? bacon cupcakes?” moment. They taste like the fluffiest pancake you’ve ever had coupled with the sweet tang of maple syrup and the salty crunch of bacon. In short, they are heavenly. AND because they are so easy to make (the recipe I found at http://www.thegingerbreadblog.com/ uses boxed cake mix!) you owe it to yourself and other bacon-lovers in your life to try them at least once.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make cupcakes with your favorite yellow cake recipe or boxed cake mix. While they’re in the oven, cook the bacon and let it cool completely. Cut into pieces or crumble by hand!
  2. After the cupcakes have cooled, poke a small hole in them using a butter knife. Pour a little bit of maple syrup into the hole to let the cupcake soak it up.
  3. Next, create the frosting by blending together:
  • 8 oz. package softened cream cheese
  • 1\2 cup maple syrup
  •  2  1\2 teaspoons butter, softened
  •  1\2 teaspoon vanilla
  •  2  1\2 cups powdered sugar
 We found that we liked the consistency to be more like a glaze so we just used less confectioners sugar (about 2 cups). Lastly, sprinkle the cooled bacon on top and voila!
 Do not be afraid, friends. Cupcakes and bacon can go together and do so quite divinely. Just bake, eat one, and try not to eat the rest of them.

The Greatest Christmas Cookies You Will Ever Make

These Santa cookies have marked the beginning of the Christmas season at our house for as long as I can remember. Whenever my mother would bring out her coveted Santa cookie mold (“you can’t find it anywhere these days!”), I knew it was time to break out the Christmas List. These cookies are festive, fun and such a joy to make! You’ll definitely want some help making them, and luckily there are plenty of jobs to go around for eager little hands if you have children to entertain. A batch of these are the perfect “thank you” for a holiday party host and individually wrapped they make adorable party favors! You seriously cannot go wrong with these cookies.

Starting out with a good sugar cookie recipe that won’t rise too much during the baking process, I rolled out the dough using the countertop as my workspace. I left the dough in the refrigerator overnight so that it would be nice and chilled. A cooled dough won’t stick as much to your counter and more importantly, your cookie mold. Even so, make sure to put down enough flour! Next, I took my mom’s floured-up Santa cookie mold and went to work.

ImageIt’s important to push down the dough into the cookie mold so that you have the best impression possible. The outlines serve as your guide for decorating, so the more defined, the better!

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While I was cutting out all of the Santa faces, my dear friend Alexis was busy creating the eyes. She did so by cutting a raisin diagonally across to create a “smiley eye” shape. After all, we don’t want any mean-muggin’ Santa Clauses. After she cut the raisins up, we placed them right onto the cookies like so:

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So many happy Santas! Next, they all went into the oven and came out looking jollier than ever.

ImageWonderful. After letting the cookies cool completely, I took one egg white and added a few drops of red food coloring. I brushed Santa’s cheeks with the dyed egg whites and immediately pressed on some red colored sugar. The bright red cheeks can look a little abrasive at first. It’s like, Santa, tone it down with the blush! But trust me, his wind-burned cheeks will look adorable by the end of the process.

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I used the same egg white and sugar dipping process for his hat. You can use a clean, dry paintbrush to wipe away any stray sugar granules- we don’t want Santa looking like he has redeye! Or a bad case of pink eye. Because that would be gross and Santa doesn’t deserve that.

Next up: the coconut beard. We made a quick frosting a la Paula Dean (pre-diet, of course) of butter, confectioners sugar, granulated sugar and a teensy bit of milk. This acts as a “paste” for the beard and keeps all of the coconut in tact. It also tastes so. freaking. good.

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And oh no, my friends, we weren’t done there. Who is Santa without those big, bushy, unkempt eyebrows? (Luckily for him, thick brows are so in this season. Lily Collins, I am absolutely looking at you.) Using a white frosting with a very fine tip, I piped on his brows and the pompom of his hat.

And there we have it; the cutest Santa cookies you have ever seen in your entire life.

Again, this is a very long process and unless you have a few extra hands to help you out, it would be wise to break up the baking and decorating over a few days. While time-consuming, they are so worth the sweet payoff! I hope this puts me on the Nice List because I could really use a new pair of Tory Burch flats.

…Santa, can you hear me? (That means you, Dad.)

Sistah, Sistah

Today’s post is dedicated to my lovely big sister, Emma. Or as I like to call her, Erma.

She’s sweet! She’s sassy! And she just turned 25! To celebrate her turning a quarter-of-a-century last month, like the best little sister in the entire world that I am, I made her one of my most intricate cakes yet. She has always loved elephants and Indian culture, so this elephant cake (hint: the trunks make a “25”. So cute, AMIRIGHT?) was perfect for her!

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This four-layer cake is covered in marzipan with buttercream piping details. The elephants are also made of marzipan with silver-colored sugar sprinkled on top to add a little pizzaz.

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Emma loved her cake and brought the leftovers from her celebration into work the next day. Her coworkers were so impressed, she asked me to make the cake for her boss’s upcoming office surprise party. He is getting married in two weeks and they wanted to do something special to celebrate!

Now, this was fun. Not that it wasn’t fun making my other cakes, but like any other girl with a Pinterest, I’ve seen so many wedding-themed cakes that I couldn’t wait to make something of my own! Emma baked a regular 9×13 in cake and some cupcakes (she is a terrific baker) and brought them over. We wanted to keep the design as masculine as possible while still keeping within the wedding theme, so we decided on a tuxedo cake and accent cupcakes.

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On this occasion I used fondant and it was extremely easy to work with. We made little fondant top hats, bow ties, and miniature tuxes for cupcake toppers.

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I used little sugar pearls to add a bit more detail. I’m so happy with the way these turned out. I hope my sister’s boss enjoys eating them as much as I did making them, and I wish him a very happy wedding!

Erma, thank you for all of your help baking and decorating! I dedicate the following embarrassing pictures to you. Stay fabulous.

ImageI’m sorry, Kardashians who?

Election Day 2012!

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Happy Election Day, everybody! I hope you have all had a chance to go out and vote today or send in your absentee ballots!

Today we celebrate our democracy, and what better way to do so than with some voting-themed cupcakes?

I made these little elephants and donkeys with marzipan and rolled the edges of the frosted cupcake in colored sugar. To keep with the patriotic theme, I dyed the cake batter red, white and blue. It’ll be a nice surprise when people bite into them!

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I can’t wait to find out who our next president will be. (And for those annoying campaign commercials to go away.) Now go out there and VOTE if you haven’t already!

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