Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I planned on creating and sharing a bunch of wonderful Holiday inspired sweets and treats with you all this past month. But somehow life made it's own plans and I found myself swamped with other things....Next year I'll be more prepared..wink...wink :)

But this is what I've been up to....

Marshmallow pops sprinkled with Christmas cheer.

They are super easy to make...I will share with you all at a later date. Kids LOVE them and they aren't as messy as some other treats...bonus!

And then it's been cake pops...

Cake pops....

and more cake pops....

And of course Christmas cookies....

I hope everyone has a Very Merry and a Happy, Happy for whatever holiday it is that you celebrate!!!


Monday, December 19, 2011

December Randomness

I'm here I really am, my only excuse for my absence is that I'm busy.

Like, crazy OMG!! I'm losing my mind type of craziness. Brought on not by the holiday season or by the amount of baking and decorating I'm doing. But something more sinister and deceptive and also kinda cute.

My kids.

A two year old and a one year old, who frolic within the madness of my life. Once I get something down with them, like a schedule, they start to do the darnedest things like decide....

Not to eat
Stop climbing,
To paint the couch with sippy cups filled with milk
To rub peanut butter in their hair
And the list seriously goes on and on and on and on...

But I won't bore you with those details. Bottom line is they are a handful and a half....so they have been keeping me busy. But I have been up to some stuff, of course none of it related to the holidays, but stuff none the less.

A friend of the hubbers and I just had a baby girl. They also have a three year old that desperately wanted to have a birthday party for her new little sister in the hospital. So I was sequestered to create a bunch of miniature cupcakes to welcome her into the world!

Simple and sweet vanilla cupcakes with my Fantabulous Vanilla Frosting ruffled on top and some pearl sprinkles.

I was informed everyone loved them, including the lucky nurses on shift during the party :) Welcome to the world Meya Arianna....Happy Birthday!!

These were made for a friend twins..she has one girl and one boy turning five. Instead of going for a specific theme for each child, she decided to go with the colorful theme to keep things fair and easy :)

Colorful and vibrant vanilla cupcakes with tinted frosting and colored confetti sprinkles! But you can't forget the double chocolate ones....YUM!!!

And of course last, but certainly not least was more Monster High inspired cupcake toppers. If you are interested in making them yourself, you can find out how {HERE}

And for now....that's enough and all I have time for as, my littlest one has decided to not longer wear clothes or a diaper at 14 months....God help me!

I hope to be back soon churning out all the other stuff I have been doing. But if I by chance disappear for a bit I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christening Candy Bars

It's December and Christmas is seriously right around the corner. I swear it was just Halloween, when I was struggling to make a few of the projects on my ever increasing to do, make, bake, create and gotta try list.

By Thanksgiving I had this crazy idea that I would be knee deep in the holiday goodness. But because I have a million and one other things I am supposed to be doing like designing and creating things that have to do with things such as Birthdays, Babies and all things not Christmas.

I will forgo for this moment, some of the treats I have made that might warm hearts and bellies and will instead share this little gem of a favor I created for my daughter's Christening last month in the spirit of trying to get myself up to date (That is how behind I am in my posting of what I have created as of late.)

Like em'?????? Well, you can make them too...

Printable versions, you can edit yourself, can be downloaded from the printable tab located at the top of the site. Or directly from the links below...

This is what you will need:
  • Full sized Hershey Chocolate Bars
  • Wrappers (I can help you with this if you need help)
  • Foil Paper
  • Tape
  • Double sided tape.
Before I did anything I had to create the wrapper for the Chocolate bar. If you have a graphics program you can easily make one if you have a little know how. I use a free program called Page Plus which is offered free through Serif. In all honesty, I'm too cheap (the Scottish in me) to buy a program and it does what I need it to do. It' s easy enough to navigate through, but if you need help, please shoot me an e-mail and I will do my best to assist you.

The dimensions of the wrapper was as follows...Width 5.25 Inches..Height 6.00 Inches.

This is what it looks like sectioned out on the computer....

This is a screen shot so it may be a bit blurry...but you get the idea :)

As you can see from above the  wrapper is "technically" divided into three parts. The top is the back of the actual wrapper. This section should be upside down, so when it is wrapped it is positioned properly. It includes any information I choose to add such as the Date, Time, Place. I also included a list of ingredients such as; love, faith and hope. A Thank you message hovered over a Celtic Cross. (We have a little Irish, Scottish Baby.) And for a final touch the God parents names are included. You can be as creative or simple as you like as you design this.

The second part of the wrapper is the middle section which is where I included a picture and the overall color theme of the party.

The third part of the wrapper is just blank space, it is the section that the top portion will attached to, so it will be tucked underneath it all. So after you design all your wrappers, print them and cut them; it's time to get everything else ready to put it all together.

When some people make these favors they opt to not wrap the bars in foil, I personally do it, because I LOVE the way it looks when the entire chocolate bar is finished. It's a personal preference if you want to do it or not. The foil wrap can be purchased in roll form like wrapping paper or packaged in a small pack like tissue paper. It's thin like cellophane, so it's pretty easy to wrap with. BUT it is annoying to cut into perfect little squares, so if it cuts a little jagged, don't even sweat it, because the edges will disappear when you wrap the bar.

Cut the foil wrap into pieces that measure approximately 6.25 inches x 7.00 inches. You can make it bigger if you want, because it gets tough to wrap it if it's small...the larger the better, but within reason. After one or two you will know what I mean about the sizing.

Get ready to start wrapping the bars. Place the bar smack dab in the middle of the foil face down and get your double sided tape ready.

Fold one end over and attach it to the bar wrapper so it has an anchor point and won't move all around as your wrapping it. Basically from this point just wrap it and seal the edges with regular tape...you won't see it after the wrapper added, so don't worry about perfection here :)

 It will look like this when you are done...after the twentieth bar or so, you will have a whole system down :) And they will look fabulous!

With all the bars wrapped in the foil, you can add the outer wrapper. This is the easier part by far and you can knock out a bunch of them in no time. Place the wrapped bar onto the middle of the back side of the wrapper with the tape side up. (The chocolate bars have a beveled edge to them so you have to wrap them like this.)

Wrap the blank part of the wrapper around the bar, but do not tape it down, then wrap the other part AND attach it to the blank part of the wrapper. The reason you don't want to tape it to the foil part of the bar, is because then it is stuck and you can't shift it or straighten it out if you need to. This way it can slide around the bar if you need to adjust it.

And after the first one...keep wrapping them until you have all that you need!

People always love these and they have such a personal touch to them! And ultimately you can customize these to any type of occasion or event that you might need them for, not just for a christening!

Hope you enjoyed this! If you have any questions or just want to say hello, please feel free to leave a comment  below to let me know you were here!

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to make a Cinderella Inspired Princess Cake

After a two week bout with the flu and a million and one other things; be they situations or circumstances that randomly erupted in my life over the past month. I am happy and relieved to be able to mull around and do some posting of all I have been creating in the past few weeks.

This particular post is one about a cake. Not just any cake but a princess cake; a Cinderella inspired princess cake to be exact. My daughters are still too young to be overly obsessed with the "Princess" stuff, but I know in time they more then likely will jump on that bandwagon.

This cake though was made for my friend Joe's daughter, Lexi. She is smack dab in to the middle of this Princess phase so it goes without saying that she would want a cake that looks like a princess. So I made her one.

You can make her too.....

This is what you will need:

  • 2 boxes of cake mix (Whatever flavor you prefer.)
  • Doll Cake pan
  • A Princess doll
  • Saran Wrap
  • Decorating bags
  • 2 Couplers
  • Angled spatula
  • #18 tip
  • Cupcake pearls (for decorating)
  • Vanilla Frosting
  • Blue gel food coloring
If your not sure what a doll cake pan is this is what they look like...

I'm pretty sure you can find them in most craft stores, or online. I used my Mom's which is a classic, it's over 30 years old, no joke! She made a many doll cake in her time!

First you will have to bake the cake. I use 1 1/2 boxes of mix, if you use any more it will most likely overflow when you are baking it which makes a complete mess in your oven. NOT fun :) With the remaining batter I typically just bake them into cupcakes.

While your cake is baking, use your this time to mix your frosting. You can either make your own frosting like I did with {this recipe} or you can use store bought frosting. Which ever you prefer or is easier to do. If you do use store bought frosting, add in about 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar to help it keep it's shape when you are decorating with it.

Split your frosting into two separate bowls and begin coloring it. I simply made two shades of blue. One dark and one light. Easy enough! It will darken a little over time so when you feel as though you reached the color you want, cover it and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it

Now you can get your princess ready. Start by pulling off her legs and wrap her bottom portion in saran wrap. This will help it from getting cake in all her girly doll parts :) Sorry I don't have a picture to demonstrate this, but I'm POSITIVE, you can figure it out!

After your cake has cooled completely it's time to get it ready to be decorated. You will most likely have to trim the bottom to get a flat surface. On the top of the cake make a small hole to put the doll into. Save the cake pieces you cut out, because you may need to stuff the hole a bit to keep her steady. And whatever pieces you don't use...eat them :)

Now it's time to start with a crumb coat....

If you don't know what a crumb coat is, well then here is my explanation. It's a rough cover of the cake. It doesn't have to be perfect, it may even be a bit messy. But the reasoning behind it all is that it seals the  cake and helps keep your frosting pristine when you fully frost the cake. It isn't the final finish, it's the undercoating.
After you have added you crumb coat, put the cake away and let it crust up for about 15-20 minutes. You will know when this has happened when you touch the cake and your finger comes away clean.

Now it's time to frost. It's sort of like adding a crumb coat, but much neater and smoother. I divided the cake into two sections of light and dark, which will eventually follow the lines of her dress when you pipe the frosting onto it. Don't worry about getting a perfect satin finish when frosting, after you let it set and crust over again I will show you how to smooth it out.

After it has crusted take a paper towel, the smoother the better (I use Viva) and gently rub and smooth the frosting. It will leave the smooth finish that you desire. When that is finished fill your decorating bags and lets get started with piping the frosting.

Really all I did was follow the lines I created with the initial frosting of the cake and added lines around to break it up. Get as bold as you wish...

After I added all the pipped frosting I added in the decorating pearls to accentuate breaks in the colors and to create new lines and designs.

The end result was a simple, pretty cake that the other parents were in awe of, but a cake that more importantly made a little girl smile ear to ear!!! Happy Birthday Lexi!!!

Hope you enjoyed this! If you have any questions or just want to say hello, please feel free to leave a comment below to let me know you were here!

Fantabulous Vanilla Frosting

I use A LOT of frosting.

For as long as I can remember, I would just use a simple basic butter cream version. But the overly sweet mixture never really "did" it for me.

So when I was whipping up a batch one day I decided to add in a few more elements to my Basic Butter Cream recipe.....

And OH MAH GAWD, not only was it better but it was fantabulous.

I bet you'll think it's fantabulous too....especially after tasting it!.

Try it I dare you!

This is what you will need.....

  • 2 Sticks (1 Cup) of Softened Butter (Room Temp.) 
  • 1 lb. Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 oz. Cream Cheese (room Temp.)
  • 1/4 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp Heavy Cream (or Milk)
I love a lot of vanilla flavoring in my frosting, so this version calls for more vanilla than most recipes do. I have found that the mix of the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk, do a wonderful job of carrying the flavor of the vanilla through the frosting, without it overtaking it. The combination of ingredients create a vanilla infused smooth, creamy flavor  that it not overwhelmed by any one of the ingredients. Bonus factor is that it's not super sweet like many butter creams as the cream cheese tones the sweetness down, without making it into a cream cheese tasting frosting.

Confused yet???

Let me explain a bit more...who cares about what happens, because the end result of this creates a delicate balance of the three parts, which in turns creates a must lick the bowl kinda frosting.

So here is how you should make it....

In a medium bowl cream together the room temperature butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and the sweetened condensed milk until it is all incorporated. 

Slowly add in the confectioners sugar until it is all combined.

To achieve the desired consistency, add in a tbsp of heavy cream (milk works too) until you get to where you like your frosting. Because I don't use a lot of cream cheese in this recipe, the amount I do use compliments the other aspects, creating a creamy, sweet vanilla frosting that is seriously good!

The more heavy cream or milk you add the creamier the frosting is, if it seems grainy or dry, add more. And if you add too much liquid, just add in more powered sugar until you get the consistency "you" like! 

It's really HARD to mess up a butter cream frosting, even this one :)


Just a little side note....to get the white, white look of the frosting I added in some white tint, which gives it a lovely white color and a beautiful, yummy contrast!

This recipe will frost 24 cupcake normally  or 12-16 cupcake piped like the pictures. It all really depends on how much frosting you use.

Hope you enjoyed this!!!If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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