Saturday, September 29, 2012

super hero cupcake toppers for charlie's 3rd birthday

I usually like to make my cupcake toppers out of gum paste. Like I did here, herehere and here. But when it comes to making cupcake toppers for toddlers I'm switching it up and piping them out of royal icing. Because when you're a little kid, you want to eat everything off of your cupcake!!! That includes the decoration!!! 

***Gum paste is totally edible too, but gum paste dries quite hard and honestly not the best tasting stuff.***

My first attempt at making royal icing cupcake toppers was for Jasper's Cars themed birthday. And since I felt it was pretty successful I decided to use the same technique for Charlie's Super Hero birthday party this weekend. 

So let's get piping.

What you'll need:
1 batch of your favorite royal icing
gel food coloring
sheets of parchment paper
clean sheet pans
plastic piping bags fitted with a tip with a small piping hole/opening
OR parchment paper triangles rolled into cones 
small binder clip
a piece of thin cardboard for cutting out a stencil
a Sharpie

Before you get started, tint the shades needed for your royal icing. Be careful not to add to much water in the beginning because you want your royal icing to be quite stiff to pipe out the flood lines. Pretend you're about to decorate invisible cookies. 

For Superman: Figure out how large you want the "S" to be and using the thin cardboard, cut out a stencil. Take a large piece of parchment paper and fold it in half. Open up the parchment and on the inside of the parchment paper trace the stencil with your Sharpie marker.

Fold over the top part of the parchment paper so you're ready for piping. Place folded parchment onto a clean sheet pan.

***You don't want to pipe directly onto your outline because (A) it's ink from a Sharpie and (B) because it's just yucky.*** 
Fill your piping bag or parchment paper cone with red royal icing and fold over the top so that the royal icing doesn't ooze out.

Since you've used a Sharpie tracing out your outline, you'll be able to see it through the paper. Begin piping out all of the outlines and set aside to dry. 

Once your outline is dry, fill it with your yellow tinted icing. You might need to add a little water to your icing so that it resembles a thick heavy cream.

After the icing has dried for a couple of hours, carefully pipe the red "S" on top.

Set aside to dry completely.

For Batman: Batman's symbol was a little difficult to cut out a cardboard stencil, trace and pipe so I decided just to free pipe the design with black royal icing on parchment on a clean sheet pan.

Pipe out the outline.
Let it dry completely.
Fill with black icing.

***The toothpick helps you guide the royal icing into the crevices.***

The bat is pretty delicate. I'd recommend piping over the entire design again after it has dried for a couple of hours.

Set aside and let dry completely.

***These WERE pretty delicate and I got scared that they would break during transit because I was handing over the toppers and cupcakes separately. I went ahead and cut out bats out of gum paste just in case.....*** 
The Green Lantern's symbol was pretty easy. No need for a stencil or tracing. Just free pipe. Let dry and fill in the center with white royal icing.
For Spiderman: Follow the Superman steps for making a stencil and tracing out Spiderman's face onto the inside of a folded piece of parchment. This will ensure that they're all the same size. 

Pipe out flood line with red royal icing.
Fill with red icing.
And with a toothpick, draw icing to the edges.

While the icing is still wet, pipe 3 black icing circles into the red icing.

To make the spider-like web for Spiderman's face, take your toothpick and draw through the lines starting from outside of the largest circle and then from the inside circle; drawing inwards then outwards.

You may want to wipe off the toothpick in between drawing through the icing so that the colors don't get muddled.

Let this dry completely. At least 2 hours or more.

Pipe out a long teardrop for Spiderman's eyes. Let this dry completely. About an hour.

Fill the eyes in with white royal icing. Without disturbing Spiderman's face, with your toothpick carefully drag white icing to fill in the crevices. 

Let dry completely, 2 or more hours.

To define Spiderman's eyes, I repiped the outline with black royal icing.

Let your icing toppers dry completely overnight.  

Royal icing cupcake toppers are very delicate compared to gum paste toppers. Once dried completely (preferably overnight) they can be stored in an airtight container for future use or used right away. 

These Super Hero cupcake toppers were created for Charlie's 3rd birthday this weekend. And since I do not know what happens to the toppers once refrigerated I had to hand over the cupcakes and toppers separately.....No pics. Sorry!!!

You're 3 !!!

Happy Birthday Charlie!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

peach & almond buttermilk coffee cake

We seem to be on target with the seasonal gods here on the East Coast. September 22nd marked the first day of fall and the gorgeous weather came along right with it. No complaints here because cooler weather means more baking without turning on my A/C!!! Yeah!!!

A few weeks ago I made this coffee cake with some peak summer peaches for my best gal pals. The hubs didn't even get a square of it, so with the last of the summer peaches coming to an end soon I had to make this cake again. 

Peach and Almond Buttermilk Coffee Cake
original recipe adapted from PBS food 
makes one 8 or 9-inch square pan

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar - packed
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter - softened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter - softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large peach - cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or line your pan (bottom and sides) with parchment paper. For a thick coffee cake, use a 8-inch square. A 9-inch pan will also do.

To make the TOPPING:
In a bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. With a pastry cutter (or 2 forks or fingers tips) mix in softened butter to resemble course crumbs. Toss in sliced almonds. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the COFFEE CAKE:
With a stand or hand held mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl and add egg and extracts. Mix until thoroughly combined.

In another bowl, whisk your dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Gradually mix in your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients. Alternating with the buttermilk and ending with dry mixture. I like to fold in the last of the dry ingredients so that I do not over mix. Batter will be super thick.

Take half of the batter and spread it out onto your prepared pan.

***If you've lined your pan with parchment paper this is a little difficult to do because the paper slides all over the place. You can clip the edges down with binder clips or have patience and spread the batter out slowly.***

Sprinkle your chopped peaches onto your batter. It's best not to put too much fruit in the middle of the cake because your cake will sink and cook unevenly. 

Dollop the rest of the batter onto the fruit. This will make it easier to spread out the batter without disturbing the fruit layer.

Gently spread out your batter. It's OK if some of your fruit peaks out.

Retrieve your topping from the frig and generously top your cake.

Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. ***My cake, baked in an 8-inch square, baked for 55 minutes.***

Delicious warm. Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before serving. 

If you've cooled your coffee cake completely, it can be dusted with powdered sugar. Or dust each piece individually.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

finding nemo & birthday cookies for phoebe & paula

It's Phoebe and Paula's 4th birthday today and I surprised them with Nemo & Dory birthday cookies. I actually don't own a "fish" shaped cookie cutter, so I had to get REALLY creative cutting and piecing out Nemo.....

Dory was also pretty challenging and again not perfect but you get the idea, right???

Nemo and Dory were created out of these cutters.....And can you believe that Nemo was cut and pieced out of a handbag cutter and circles?

The usual cutters were used for Phoebe and Paula's names and I tinted the royal icing in shades of ocean blue.

A batch of birthday cookies always includes a birthday cake. This batch is for a set of twins so of course I sent two cakes.

The Twins are 4 !!!!

Happy Birthday Phoebe & Paula!!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

circus themed birthday cookie cakes

It's a double early celebration for my honorary niece and nephew today!!! We will all be out of town to actually celebrate their birth days but I don't think they'll mind celebrating a couple of weeks early.....

The two year old asked for cookies for her birthday instead of cake, so I'm giving her a combination - a cookie cake.

I had these plastic animals lying around and I thought they'd be so cute as circus themed decorations so I embellished them with ribbon and mini pom poms.

I've made cookie cakes before here and it's a first time adding some candles.....

To make these adorable circus animals all you need is some plastic animals, ribbon, mini pom poms, needle and thread, and a glue gun.

You're 2 and 4 !!!!!

Happy "Early" Birthday Beah and Cassius!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

the year of the water dragon & it's a boy cupcakes

Little Jackson will be born this year, 2012, The Year of The Water Dragon.....

I tinted the gum paste in shades of blue to give the feeling of water and used a dragon rubber stamp to imprint the image onto the circles. 

After the gum paste circles were dry, I dusted them with an edible pearly white luster dust

 and framed the dragon with royal icing dots.

It's A Boy!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

cars themed cupcakes for jasper

These Car themed cupcake toppers were made from royal icing. I blogged about what to do with your leftover royal icing here, and although they're not perfect, I do think they turned out pretty cute.

Lightning McQueen

A little more lightning and some store bought checkered flag action.....

Some supporting characters from Cars 2.....

Sally Carrera


and Ramone

You're 2 !!!!!

Happy Birthday Jasper!!!!!