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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:
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!
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… 🙂
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.
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.
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!
Awhile back I wrote a post called Weekend Gameplan in which I described the noms that I was going to be baking. Well, its been nearly a month since that weekend and I feel that I owe it to you to give you a recap!
I mentioned that my friend Mary had recently graduated from Stanford with her teaching degree, and she didn’t want a traditional graduation motif for her cupcakes. We decided on making a “bushel of apples” to celebrate her accomplishments. Here’s how they turned out!
I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out! Mary had mentioned to me that she needed some of the cupcakes to be vanilla because there were a couple of people in her family that didn’t like chocolate. About two days before the cupcakes were due I realized that I needed a way to differentiate between the two flavors — hence the two different colors of apples. Very creative, right? Unfortunately I can’t take credit for the idea… the boyfriend came up with it so allllll the praise goes to him. 🙂
As cute as they were, these cupcakes gave me some trouble.
The first factor was the heat. It was 83 degrees in Oakland that day, and my kitchen doesn’t have air conditioning. The buttercream was wilting as fast as I was putting it on the cupcakes! I ended up using the refrigerator more than I would have liked, and I’m very grateful that the cakes didn’t dry out. Something to remember when you’re planning your next event… heat + treats = 😦
The second factor had to do with the method of decorating the Red Delicious inspired apples. In the book, What’s New, Cupcake?, the author suggests halving a mini-donut (think hostess) and applying it to the top of the cupcake with buttercream. In theory this would add structure to the cupcake and give it that hump that Red Delicious apples are known for. Well… the donuts were simply too small for the cupcakes. Normally one would remedy the situation by using buttercream to build up the edges, but the heat was making the buttercream melt off of the donut resulting in an awkwardly shaped apple. I quickly abandoned the donut idea and just used sizable amounts of buttercream to recreate the apple’s shape. I think it worked out pretty well given the circumstances!
Ha… Brandon didn’t even know that he was getting cupcakes, so he had no choice in the overall design. I know that I mentioned in my gameplan that I was considering doing geeky cuppies, but I ended up going the traditional route with 3-D grad caps & diplomas.
I made the caps & diplomas out of pre-colored fondant from Wilton. I did them a couple of days before hand and let the pieces dry. After letting them dry out for 24 hours I used vodka to seal all of the pieces together. Don’t worry… if you’re not a lush like me you can always use lemon extract to “glue” pieces of fondant together. 🙂
The treats were a basic chocolate cupcake topped with either vanilla or chocolate buttercream. I decorated these cupcakes late at night, so I didn’t run into any problems with the heat until the next day. Whatcha think??
That’s that! What do you think? What would you put on your graduation cupcakes??