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When people order cakes from me, my go to chocolate frosting has always been Martha Stewart’s Dark Chocolate Frosting. It’s absolutely sinful! The trick that differentiates this buttercream from the rest is the addition of over a pound of melted (cooled!) chocolate. I’ve used it to decorate many cakes and cupcakes, including these:

classic chocolate cupcakes!

But as much as I love this recipe, I’ve been wanting to find something that’s just a bit sweeter and a little less time consuming to make. I know there’s only 6 ingredients in Martha’s recipe, but… have you ever melted a pound and a half of chocolate and had to wait for it to cool? It takes quite awhile!

So anyways, I’d been doing some research online for a few months when I stumbled upon this recipe from Joy the Baker’s blog. Let me tell you guys, I have NOT looked back since. What is so wonderful about this recipe is that it’s sweet enough for the kids, but not so sweet that adults won’t touch it. Plus, there’s actually vitamins in this buttercream. That’s right, V-I-T-A-M-I-N-S! The secret ingredient is the addition of Ovaltine which, as we all know, contains 12 vitamins & minerals and is a good source of vitamin E and iron. 😀

Try it. I know you’ll love it.

Wedding tasting: Chocolate cupcakes with Ovaltine frosting!

Birthday cupcakes topped with this wonderful buttercream.

So far, this stuff has piped beautifully. You can easily control the consistency of the finished product by varying how much cream you choose to add to the buttercream. I’ve yet to try it with a sculpted cake, but for cupcakes and smaller cakes it easily gets my stamp of approval!

I’ve kind of been taking a break from baking. It hasn’t been intentional, it’s just the way the cards have landed lately. Between my car getting totaled (without me in it, luckily!), finding mold in my apartment, dealing with job stress, dealing with TMJ issues, dealing with more job stress and now, finally, apartment hunting… you could say I’ve been a bit preoccupied.

Even with my world spinning slightly off of its axis, I’ve managed to squeeze in a few different cakes/ cupcakes since my last post. Here’s what y’all missed:

whimsical college graduation cake

My good friend from college asked me to do a graduation cake for her younger sister. Within this cake, she asked for a variety of elements to be included. See if you can find them all: a grad cap, UC Davis colors, Banghra (Punjabi) dancing, elements of “college life,” and something relevant to dental school. This cake was a challenge, but very fun and every bit of whimsical as I’d hoped it to be!

 

25th birthday cupcakes (1 of 2)

bootie cupcakes (2 of 2)

In January, my friend R threw herself one hell of a 25th birthday party. She asked me to provide a variety of treats including 2 types of cupcakes (shown above), a few trays of chocolate whoopie pies and 1 large cupcake cutting cake. The vanilla cupcakes were topped with a marshmallow cream frosting, and decorated with handmade chocolate accents and edible glitter. The red velvet cupcakes were frosted with a thick swirl of classic cream cheese frosting and decorated with fondant butts.

Yes, butts. You heard me right. When I accepted this order, R had mentioned that she’d been working out really hard for the last year or so, and wanted everyone at her party to, “have a piece of my ass!” I love her confidence, enthusiasm and the fact she’s so secure in her own skin! You go girl!

PS – These toppers would be great for a bachelorette party too… 🙂

 

TokiDoki birthday cake

In March, my buddy G asked for a couple of cakes. For his wife’s birthday, he asked for a small, super chocolatey cake. He mentioned that TokiDoki is one of her favorite things, so I did some research and designed a simple cake with hand cut fondant TokiDoki accents.

Two of his friends also happened to have a birthday during the same week, so he asked for a casual cake for the guys to take on a weekend trip. I knew that this group of guys were all die hard Giants fans, so I couldn’t resist surprising them with a hat cake. Just like my earlier hat cakes, it was decorated in fondant with hand cut accents.

Giants hat cake

 

My cousin, M, is an incredible kid and I was super excited when her mom asked me to do her birthday cake a couple weeks ago. Along with the cake, she was going to be surprised with new archery equipment for her birthday. I designed the cake to go along with her fabulous birthday present, making the archery target out of fondant and the arrow out of gumpaste.

archery-themed birthday cake

 

A couple of weeks ago, one of my neighbors emailed and asked if I could do two dozen chocolate cupcakes for one of her employee’s birthdays. She requested the cupcakes to be as chocolatey as possible, and decorated in a “dog” theme. These hand cut fondant decorations might be my favorite cupcake toppers to date!

birthday "pupcakes"

Halloween was 2 days ago… Thanksgiving is less than a month away… and Christmas is a month after that. It’s safe to say that pumpkins are on everyone’s brain!

Is it orange enough for pumpkins?

I got an order last week to make some halloween inspired cupcakes, but the trick was they needed to be Happy Hour-inspired cupcakes (AKA: FULL of booze).

So how do you combine pumpkins and booze?!

I did some research… and then some thinking… and then some more research… before I finally decided that a spiced rum would be the most complimentary alcohol to pumpkin treats. I finally decided to make Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple and Rum based on a recipe from the Cupcake Project.

Fresh out of the oven!

I topped the cupcakes with Martha’s trusty swiss meringue buttercream that had been flavored with a heavy dose of spiced rum. Combined I thought the cupcakes tasted just a hair on the buttery-sweet side. They were really good, but maybe just a bit rich for my liking. In the future I’d consider adding a hint of maple syrup to the buttercream to enhance the flavor in the cupcakes and to mellow the afterbite of the rum. 🙂

OmNoms indeed...

That night I baked 2 dozen Pumpkin Rum cupcakes, 2 dozen Irish Delight cupcakes, and 6 dozen pumpkin whoopie pies. The whoopie pies were absolutely adorable and alcohol free…

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies... Mini-sized of course!

… but I think I was most proud of the cupcakes. The flavors were spot on, but the fondant pumpkins and witches hats really made them shine!

Fondant pumpkins & witches' hats atop Pumpkin-Rum cupcakes.

Finished Irish Delight cupcakes

Lots of OmNom Treats... 🙂

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

Photos by Maurice Trudell

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