Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rapunzel Tower Cupcakes

My daughter really, really LOVES the movie "Tangled".
She owns all the dolls, sings all the songs, quotes all the lines,
and can tell you who does the voice of every character.

When "Beauty and the Beast 3D" came to theaters, she HAD to see it...
because there was a new "Tangled" short before the movie.

We just celebrated her birthday, and you can guess what theme she chose.
I created these Rapunzel tower cupcakes for her party.

I was inspired by these cupcakes at Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.
 Want to make some too?

What you will need:
Flat bottom ice cream cups
Sugar cones
Your favorite cupcake recipe
White and purple candy melts
Yellow, green and pink frosting
Yellow moldable candies (Laffy Taffy or Starburst work great)

Mix up your cupcake batter.
Place the flat bottomed cups in a muffin tin.
Fill the cups only 1/2 full with batter (this is important!).
Bake as your recipe directs.

Melt your candy melts on 50% power in the microwave,
stirring at 30 second intervals until smooth.
(I used mostly white, with a few purple thrown in to make lavender.)
Use a pastry brush to coat the outside of each sugar cone.

Place the cones on a sheet of wax paper and let dry.

(I forgot to take a photo of this next part.)
Pipe yellow frosting on top of the cupcakes,
making sure to cover the entire top, all the way out to the edge.
Place a sugar cone on top of each cupcake, pressing down into the frosting.

Pipe some green leaves on your tower (Wilton tip #67).
Add a few pink flowers among the leaves (Wilton tip #16).

Microwave your yellow candies for 5-10 seconds.
Flatten them with a rolling pin and cut out window shapes.
Put a little frosting on the back of each window, and attach them to your towers.

Since we had to transport these cupcakes to the party,
my husband created a custom cupcake carrier (similar to this one) 
using a thick cardboard box.

Best. Birthday. EVER!

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Puzzle Piece Cake

I recently shared this Puzzle Piece Cake tutorial at 30 Days
for Autism Awareness Month.

Puzzle pieces are often used as the symbol for Autism Awareness.
So, I decorated this cake with edible puzzle pieces in primary colors.

Let me show you how easy it was to make!
Start with a silicone mold like this one.

Melt some vanilla candy coating or candy melts,
and add food coloring.

Put your candy coating in a decorating bag and snip off the tip. 
Squeeze the chocolate into the mold, just covering the bottom of each cavity.

Let them set up, then gently push on the back of the mold to pop the puzzle pieces out.

Arrange them around the sides of your cake, and put a few on the top.
You could also color your cake layers to match the puzzle pieces. :0)

"Motherhood is about raising and celebrating the child you have, not the child you thought you would have. It's about understanding that he is exactly the person he is supposed to be. And that, if you're lucky, he just might be the teacher who turns you into the person you are supposed to be."
- Joan Ryan

If you would like to learn a little about our autism story,
you can read about it here and here.

 I link up at these weekly parties.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Earth Day Cupcakes

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. 
- Native American Proverb

April 22nd is Earth Day!
Here is a fun and simple treat to help you celebrate.

Prepare a white cake mix.
Divide your cake batter into 2 bowls.
Color one bowl of batter green, and the other blue.

Line your cupcake pan with baking cups.
Alternating colors, drop spoonfuls of batter into the cups.

Bake your cupcakes and let them cool.

Cut off the tops.

Press a small heart-shaped cookie cutter into the center of the cupcake.

Use a spoon to scoop out the cake inside the heart,
and eat the scraps.

Fill the heart-shaped cavity with red frosting.

Replace the cupcake top and enjoy!

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.  ~Brooke Medicine Eagle
I hope you will take a minute to reflect on all the wonders and beauties
of this planet we call home, and how we can take better care of it.

Happy Earth Day!
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Come visit me at 30 Days!

Today I am a guest at 30 Handmade Days,
as part of Mique's Autism Awareness Month series.

I am sharing a bit of our families' autism story,
along with a tutorial for this fun puzzle piece cake!

Come on over and check it out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Caramel Pecan Chocolate Cake

I know what you are thinking...
"It's almost Easter!
Where are the pastel colors?
...the Bunnies? ...the Easter eggs?"

I already had fun making a Polka Dot Easter Egg Cake
and Easter Chick Cupcakes!

 This week I wanted to make something rich, caramel-y and totally over the top!

Here is a cake that will seriously impress your family at Easter dinner.

Chocolate cake, caramel frosting, pecans, whipped chocolate ganache...
and more caramel dripping down the sides!

I'm in love!!! 

Caramel Pecan Chocolate Cake
by Bird On A Cake

    Chocolate Cake
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    Caramel Frosting
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 6 Tablespoons milk
    • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    • approx. 1-3 Tablespoons milk
    Whipped Ganache
    • 1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • 3 Tablespoons butter (softened)
    • 1/3 cup pecan halves
    • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
    Chocolate Cake
    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of three 8 inch round pans with wax paper. Grease the sides. Bring some water to a boil and keep it simmering while you mix the other ingredients.
    In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream, vinegar, oil and vanilla. Beat with mixer until combined.
    Add 1 cup of the boiling water and carefully stir until it is mixed in. Beat for 1 1/2 minutes with mixer. Batter will be thin. Pour into pans and bake for 18-22 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).
    Caramel Frosting
    Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 6 T. milk, still stirring constantly. (It helps to have someone pour the milk in for you!)
    Return to heat and bring to a boil again. Stir until any lumps are dissolved. Remove from heat. Divide into two bowls and set one bowl aside. Let cool until lukewarm (approx. 20 minutes).
    Combine one bowl of caramel mixture with the confectioners' sugar. Beat until smooth. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
    Whipped Ganache
    Microwave chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl on medium power, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Whisk in butter; let stand 20 minutes. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 to 4 minutes or until ganache forms soft peaks.
    Assembling Your Cake
    Level your cake layers. Place the first layer on your cake stand and cover with half of the caramel frosting. Sprinkle 1/3 cup chopped pecans on top. Repeat with second cake layer. Place third cake layer on top, then cover entire cake with whipped ganache. Arrange the pecan halves on top of your cake. Warm the remaining caramel mixture to pouring consistency. Slowly pour caramel over the top of your cake and let it drip over the sides.
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