Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

After reconnecting with a friend from high school, our family was invited to join theirs for dinner.  I am absolutely unable to visit someone empty-handed and so I asked what I should bring.  I was informed that because of my interest and skills, I had dessert duty.

No problem.

The only guidance that I was given was that the entire family loves chocolate except for one person.

My husband recommended cupcakes as something easy and basic.  I think he figured that I would slap some frosting on a few cupcakes and call it a day.

He should know me better than that.

After pondering the parameters and a few different ideas, I decided to go with a seasonal theme.  Four seasons allows for some nice variety and a range of creative expression.  I decided to make one batch of chocolate cupcakes and one batch of vanilla cupcakes and decorate a few of each in each seasonal style.  For added oomph I tossed some chocolate chips into the chocolate chips into the chocolate batch.  I didn’t have time to go pick up a box of vanilla cake mix, so I made the vanilla cakes from scratch.


I didn’t realize until the day after the party that the recipe turned out terribly dry.  I should have taste-tested them.  But at least they looked good and the chocolate ones turned out.

First up: Winter

Happy Snowman

A happy royal icing snowman sitting in a drift of french vanilla butter cream frosting.  The frosting was great and tasted like cotton candy.  I used a very thick orange royal icing for the carrot noses and they actually stood out from the snowmen.

Then: Spring

Delicate Flowers

Beautiful Roses

Lacey Leaves

I was tempted to make the green grass mint flavored, but I didn’t want to overwhelm or overpower the design elements.  I used a star tip to pipe the homemade butter cream onto the cupcakes.

The flowers and leaves are made of white modeling chocolate that was delicately tinted.  The leaves were each individually cut out and had veins etched in before the edges were ruffled and they were dried with bends and curves in them to make them appear more realistic.  The ribbon roses were made with thinly rolled strips and came out very nicely.  Modeling chocolate was certainly nicer to deal with than fondant for these elements.

Next up: Summer

Surf's Up!

Royal icing surfboards ride on waves of blue butter cream.

The shells are homemade chocolates with crushed peppermint candies in them.  They melt in the mouth and taste exquisite!

(Can you tell where my love lies?)






And finally: Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season.  I love the leaves.  I love the colors.  I love the cool crisp mornings. And I love any excuse to work Autumn into my art.

Maybe the entire reason that I did the 4 seasons cupcakes was so that I would have an excuse to make an autumn cupcake in February.

Autumn Leaf

The leaves were made of marshmallow fondant that I tinted red, orange, and yellow and then marbled.  I etched veins into each leaf and then draped them over a rolling pin to dry.  Right before I placed them on the cupcakes, I dusted them with gold shimmer dust.

Bright leaves










The frosting for these cupcakes is a double chocolate butter cream which was sprinkled with a whisper of hot cocoa mix before the leaves were put on top.

Awesome Autumn Leaves

This was a great project for me.  I was able to play around with various techniques and products and just let loose on things.  I have never done a cupcake project this large and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I may consider doing cupcakes for my next birthday…stay tuned to find out if I do!


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For my son's 2nd birthday I HAD to go with his favorite cartoon character.

This cake looks NOTHING like my original design, but I am not entirely surprised since I think that Blue’s Clues cakes for 2nd birthdays are doomed.

A friend of mine made a Blue’s Clues cake for her son’s 2nd birthday and at the last minute the nice royal icing topper that she had made for it broke and she was stuck with a very basic tiered cake.

I wanted to show that Blue is not adverse to royal icing toppers and with the help of the kids had designed  a cake which would have all of the main characters (Blue, Steve, Slippery Soap, Mr Salt, Mrs Pepper, etc) standing on top of the cake.  In order to be certain that the royal icing dried fully, I made them a month in advance.  There were a dozen characters each 2-4 inches tall that took me a couple of nights to make.  They were drying beautifully and all was good.

And then my middle kiddo ate them.


So I remade them with a couple of changes.  I wasn’t as pleased with the results, but they would do. It’s a cake for a 2 year old after all.  He won’t really care.  But a week before the party, when I went to remove them from the wax paper and flip them over so they would be fully dry, about half of them broke.  So I changed my design and planned on sticking them around the sides of the cake with Blue and Steve standing on top with the candle.  I kept the cookie sheets of characters hidden in the oven so that middle kiddo wouldn’t get to them.  (He has a history of taste-testing my creations. )

When my landlord came over just days before the party, I took them out to show her.  I figured that they would be fine in the couple of minutes it took to walk her to the door when she left.  I was wrong.  I entered the kitchen and the HE was, hiding behind the table with a half-eaten character in each hand.  I was furious, especially when I saw that he had scarfed down all of the unbroken topper pieces.

So I settled on this design.  I actually found making the paw prints around the sides of the cake to be very therapeutic after the difficulties of getting the cake put together.  And it tasted great and everyone enjoyed it…especially the birthday boy.

Luke dives for his Blue's Clues cake

The cake is funfetti and the frosting is homemade butter cream.  The letters on top are the only original royal icing toppers that weren’t eaten or damaged.

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Here is what my daughter’s birthday cake ended up looking like.  Due to some family stuff that came up, I wasn’t able to be as OCD as I would have liked and the corner towers are not perfectly square and identical in size, but I am very pleased with the result.  And most importantly, MY DAUGHTER LOVED IT.  Actually she and her brother helped put on the life saver windows.  It is a little tough to see, but tucked behind on the right hand side was the tiara I made out of fondant and royal icing.  The Princess on top is made of royal icing and was drawn from a design by my daughter whose favorite stories all seem to involve a princess in the top room of the tallest tower (Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty especially).  I even tinted the funfetti cake pink and purple and alternated the layers to make it more interesting when we cut into it.  A perfect cake for a girly Princess’ birthday, and even her 14 year old brother (partially shown in the pic) was amused.

The Birthday Princess With Her Cake.

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Gloomy day today, so I am in the process of making some pita bread ( http://klutzychef.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/grilled-pita/ ) to go with the roast and veggies that are in my crock pot for dinner tonight.  Hopefully they last, but as I am craving pitas and the dough tastes so nummy, I cannot make any guarantees.

I have been playing with the royal icing designing the tiara for Lottie’s cake.  I am going to have to really crack down on it all very soon.  In the meantime there are all sorts of icing designs kicking around my kitchen.  Mostly of pink butterflies in matching with my current painting project.  (More on that later)

I should probably do some dishes.  Baking and cooking are my favorite activities that result in much time spent on my least favorite activity.  But instead of jumping into it, I am sitting her pretending things are clean.

So, that’s what I am up to today…if anyone is interested.

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Well, my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter has finalized her cake request.  I have just over 3 weeks to pull it off and pull it off in royal fashion.

The cake is to be a 3 tier round cake.  The bottom tier will be designed as a castle with towers and “gemstone” windows (wait till you see how I plan to pull that off…I hope) in pink.  The next level up will have a princess tiara wrapped around it which will be done in white or light pink royal icing filigree and accented with lustre dust.  And at the top…The princess herself.  I will transform a self-portrait that she drew into a royal icing topper with a fondant ribbon wrapping around that wishes her a Happy Birthday.  The cake itself will be funfetti or chocolate or a combination of both with pink buttercream frosting.  Lots of work, but I love to do it.

The only thing is that with a major project like this, plus preparing for the party itself and making her a new dress for said party, I will have very little time to complete / post the many other projects that I have in the works.  I apologize to my loyal followers and look forward to sharing pics of the final project with you.

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A front view of the details on the Watermelon Truck I made for my son’s 3rd birthday.

A bunch of green Jelly bean watermelons contrasted nicely with the watermelon pink of the truck.  It was supposed to be red, but the pink worked better with the blue and green cars.

The cars were decorated with homemade butter cream frosting and candy details.

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Jake’s Cakes

Birthday Cakes for Jake's 3rd Birthday

My son turned 3 this year and my daughter insisted on 3 cars for him.  I just put them together on upside-down cookie sheets, since we weren’t having any company over for the party and I wasn’t too stressed about the presentation.

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