Descendants Themed Cake

It’s my Blogiversary! I started this blog 6 years ago and my very first post was an Elmo Cake I created for a friend’s daughter, aka my niece. Since then the cakes have gotten a bit more elaborate and 3 years ago they turned into fondant creations. I normally ask her a month or so in advance of her birthday what theme she’s thinking of. When she told me Descendants for this year I was stumped. I had only heard of Descendants, but had no clue what the deal was behind them. So, it was off to Pinterest to get some ideas. Once I had my idea down it was time to get my supplies and test out a few.

I needed to make sure that the icing was easily pipeable and also to test how thick the piping would be with the tip it came with. I opted to go with a smaller tip.

I also needed to make sure that the flower cut-out I purchased would make nice roses. Thankfully it did.

One more thing, I opted to purchase a dummy cake for the top tier of the cake. I normally do bake the cake, but, it usually doesn’t get eaten because it’s too much cake, so, to avoid waste and a little bit of stress on my part I purchased a dummy cake. In case you are wondering, it’s made out of Styrofoam. No one knew it was a dummy cake once it was covered and decorated.

To prep the dummy cake I covered it in frosting

I then covered it, as well as the actual cake, in fondant.

And after some piping, fondant rolling and cutting the cake came together. I have definitely learned with making these cakes that it’s important to walk away for a few minutes and then come back to truly appreciate the way it looks. So, I take a lot of mini-breaks, if not, I would probably drive myself crazy. One thing I did decide, I am going to avoid covering a cake with black fondant. I find that it tends to dry out fast and inevitably it always breaks. I had a few challenges trying to cover up the imperfections from it.

So, what will my next themed cake be…? Not sure yet. I’ll have to ask my other niece what’s she’s thinking of for her June birthday!

 

Happy Blogiversary and a Trolls Inspired Cake

It’s my 5 year Blogiversary and I am celebrating with a Trolls inspired cake. Okay, not really. But, it truly is the 5-year anniversary of Bead Yarn & Spatula. Boy, where does the time go? And I’ll be honest I wish my blog was further along and had more exposure than it currently does but I know I am part to blame for that. I definitely need to be more consistent with the posting. Hopefully this year I’ll be better with that. As for the Trolls inspired cake, I really did create one. But, it was for a friend’s daughter’s Birthday.

This cake was a three day process. And can I say I am always apprehensive to work with fondant because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s not as consistent as buttercream that’s for sure. But, it does make for a beautiful cake and is worth the extra work. On the first day, which only took about a half hour or so I created the rainbow that was going to sit on top of the cake. I made it a few days early to ensure that the fondant would harden and hold the arch shape. I rolled each color of the fondant about the same width and stuck them together by brushing the fondant with a little water, not too much as I didn’t want the colors to run. I used a 2-inch round cookie cutter as my base for the first arch and continued from there with the other colors. Once the rainbow was complete I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of it so I would be able to stick it on to the cake.

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The night before I was to cover the cakes with fondant I baked them. I don’t like baking my cakes too early because I want them to still be fresh when they are cut into. The bottom portion of this two-tier cake was a three-layer chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling and chocolate frosting. While the top portion was a yellow cake that I filled and frosted with chocolate frosting. After letting the cakes cool overnight I frosted and filled them the following morning and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could settle.

That afternoon I removed both cakes from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. You don’t want to place fondant on a cold cake because fondant is at room temperature and if you place it on a cold cake you will end up with a bunch of air bubbles; that can be quickly remedied with a pin but, why go through that if need not be.

For the bottom tier of the cake I covered it with yellow fondant and then with neon colored fondant I cut out flower designs to adhere to the cake. And to cover up any fondant imperfections along the bottom of the cake I opted for a half circle design around it in pink fondant…

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Which matched the top tier of the cake that I decorated to mimic the headband that the Poppy troll wears in her hair.

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I placed both of the tiers back in the fridge until the following afternoon when I completed the top tier of the cake by placing the rainbow on top of it and used marshmallows to mimic clouds. They stuck together and to the cake with just a few drops of water. That’s also how I stuck all the flowers and such to the cake. Once again though with not too much water so the colors don’t begin to run.

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And this cake wasn’t complete until a few trolls were placed on it. Of course Poppy and Branch, the main characters from the Trolls movie and a few of their friends. And if you haven’t seen the movie I highly suggest you do so. The message behind it is good for all ages to learn or to be reminded of.

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And there you have it… My 5-year anniversary post and an adorable – if I do so say myself – Trolls inspired cake. The Birthday Girl loved it and that’s really all that matters to be honest!

 

A Sweet Way to Ring in the New Year… Chocolate and Strawberries!

Happy New Year! So, how did you ring in the year? Asleep? Out and about? Or like me, surrounded by family and friends? In my case, the friends actually fall under the family category, so I should say I rang it in with family. Either way, I hope it was an enjoyable time and a great kick off to the new year ahead. And how about those resolutions? Did you make any? I may have mentioned it before, but, I don’t make resolutions. I think it’s great for those people who do so, but, I don’t think you need a new year to make a new start. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to do something different and better for yourself and those around you. I sound like self-help guru or something… LOL! But, it’s true. Every day we have a choice as to how we are going to lead our day and we can make the decisions that are best for us or the ones that are not so great. But, it’s up to each of us to make those decisions. So, maybe that’s my resolution, to live the best day possible each and every day. And trust me I know from experience that it’s not always easy, but, you always have to try and find the silver lining because if you don’t you may always wonder, “Why me?” And now on to the Chocolate and Strawberries!

So, I always want to make something different and delicious as a sweet treat for New Year’s Eve and I was pondering attempting to make macarons, but, I quickly decided against it. I think that’s best left for when it’s just a random day and if they don’t come out well I don’t have to scramble to make something else in their place. So I opted for cupcakes. Something that is foolproof and always a crowd favorite. And these were cupcakes that I wanted to make for a month or two now. I came across the recipe when I was flipping through an old holiday magazine for cookie recipe ideas – remember I am a bit of a recipe hoarder! They are a super simple mocha chip cupcake with a chocolate sour cream frosting. The coffee in the cupcake offsets the chocolate from the chocolate chips in it and the sour cream adds a nice tang to the frosting so overall this isn’t an overly sweet or chocolatey cupcake. And to make it festive I sprayed a few using an edible gold shimmer spray and topped the others with strawberries.

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And since I had leftover strawberries and half a bag of chocolate chips left it was the perfect set-up for some chocolate covered strawberries. I simply melted the chocolate chips in the microwave in minute intervals and then dipped the strawberries in it and then placed them on a wax-paper covered cookie sheet and placed them in the refrigerator until set. Once they were set I drizzled more melted chocolate over them. These were a HIT and barely made it to midnight!

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So, stay tuned in 2016 for more sweet treats, slow cooker meals, beaded jewelry and yarn projects!

 

Mocha Chip Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 12 standard cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. While the mixer is running, slowly poor in the sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, with the mixer on medium-high speed beet until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed. Beat until the batter is smooth and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate and beat until smooth and blended. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the dissolved espresso powder. Finally stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin and bake 20 to 22 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed in the center.

Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes on a wire rack and then remove them allowing them to cool completely on the wire rack.

Recipe from Fine Cooking

 

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

  • Servings: 1 1/4 cups
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Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, spooned and leveled

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

milk, if necessary

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk butter, sour cream, vanilla extract and salt to blend. Gradually whisk in the sugar until smooth. Add the chocolate and beat it in with the whisk until the frosting is smooth and creamy. The frosting must be thick and spreadable; if it’s too thick thin it with a drops of milk. If it’s too thin, chill it briefly, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Recipe from Fine Cooking

Thanksgiving Desserts

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and joyous times with loved ones. This year I spent the day at a friend’s house enjoying said delicious food and joyous times – although I did cook a turkey the following day. At this point though I am kind of turkeyed out! I didn’t go empty handed to the Thanksgiving celebration though; I brought the dessert… three pies, a cheesecake and a chocolate cake. What can I say, I love to bake!

Among the pies was a Pumpkin Pie that I decorated using Fall themed pie cutters. Then there was a Sweet Potato Pie that I decorated with a leaf border. I made this pie because I had never tried sweet potato pie and was curious what the fuss was all about, it was good, but, I am partial to pumpkin. And finally an Apple Pie that I gave a nice twisted pie crust design.

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For the Cheesecake I stuck to a basic recipe that was a hit and topped it with sugared cranberries. The cranberries were so good that I ended up eating the leftovers like they were candy.

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And finally, the Chocolate Cake. The cake had a pumpkin spice mousse filling – it was super simple to make and delish thanks to a box of Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix – and frosted it with chocolate frosting. And to give it a Fall theme I topped it with white chocolate leaves in seasonal colors.

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1 Week, 3 Cakes & 48 Cupcakes!

Recently I was elbow deep in flour, sugar and butter for the better part of a week creating some lovely cakes for some momentous occasions – a friend’s daughters’ first birthday and her older daughters’ pre-k graduation.

To kick off my week of cake baking & decorating I made a 3-tier 9-inch white cake layered with vanilla mousse and covered with pink tinted vanilla frosting. I didn’t just simply frost the cake though; I opted to decorate it with buttercream ruffles. To create the ruffles I used a No. 125 Wilton Tip, which is considered a petal tip. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures of the process, only the final product. I began by applying a thin layer of frosting to the cake so the ruffles would be able to stick to it. To ensure that the ruffles would be evenly spaced and the same width throughout I used a straight-edge to score the cake. Since I had placed the cake on a cake board that had half-circles around it I used that as my guide to create the lines. Once that was done I scored lines along the top of the cake towards the center. I made those lines double the width of those along the sides of the cake. I then filled my pastry bag that was fitted with the tip and began creating the ruffles. With the thicker side of the tip against the cake I began making the ruffles starting and ending the ruffle when I hit one of the score lines. This video shows the process I used.

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And once I got the cake to its intended destination I topped it with a cake banner topper I made. I did receive one complaint about this cake… It was too nice to cut. I was very happy with how it came out; it looked just like how I envisioned it. But, more importantly it was delicious. The Vanilla Mousse filling was perfect and the frosting wasn’t too sweet, and lastly the cake was incredibly moist and light.

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Next up was another cake to celebrate that first birthday. This time it was a two-tier fondant covered Mickey & Minnie Mouse themed cake. I actually had a bit of anxiety to make this cake. You never know what’s going to happen when you are working with fondant – mainly will it tear!?!? Thankfully there were no tears whatsoever, but, there was an air bubble here and there that was quickly remedied with a needle.

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And to go along with the cake there were cupcakes that followed along with the Mickey & Minnie Mouse theme. These cupcakes actually did cause me some stress. Initially I was planning on using Mickey Mouse themed liners, actually I did use them to bake the first batch of 48 cupcakes but those liners were on the smaller side so my cupcakes all looked like they had been nibbled a little around the edges once I took them out of the cupcake pan. Definitely not something that was presentable and couldn’t be masked with frosting. So, I baked another 48 cupcakes (this blog title should really read 96 cupcakes!) using white cupcake liners that I picked up at a restaurant supply store quite some time ago. It’s a package of 500, so I’ll be using them for quite some time. But, thankfully they turned out perfect cupcakes that I then topped with vanilla buttercream frosting – the same frosting I used for the first cake. I then topped them with Mickey Mouse picks and Mickey Mouse sticker button picks (I made these) to ensure the theme traveled through to the cupcakes. Oh, and since not everyone is a sprinkle lover like myself, I only covered have of the cupcakes with sprinkles.

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The cake and cupcakes together…

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And finally, a cake to celebrate a Pre-K graduation. The young graduate requested chocolate, so I made a Triple Death by Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Frosting. It was a lot of chocolate but delicious nonetheless. To decorate this cake I opted to cover it with rosettes using a No. 22 Wilton Tip. Initially I was going to use a 1M Tip, but my rosettes just looked too sloppy so big. And to finish it off I topped it with another cake banner topper that I made.

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After a week like this I think I’ll take a break from cakes and cupcakes and stick to cookies for a bit!

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes With Chocolate Frosting

While I do have a sweet tooth for desserts I have never been one to eat much candy. I have this idea that eating a cookie is a better sweet fix than a piece of candy, yes, they are both sweet, but, somehow that cookie is the “healthier” option in my mind – this coming from the girl who has never met a glass, bottle or can of Coca-Cola she didn’t like! Don’t get me wrong though, I do love the occasional truffle from Godiva, but, you definitely won’t find me eating a bag of Skittles. I swear I am not a candy snob or anything though… I just don’t particularly care for candies that can change the color of your tongue all shades of the rainbow. There is one candy though that I do have a sweet spot for – Reese’s. That can be a Reese’s Peanut Butter (any size or shape, but especially the Easter egg one’s) or Reese’s pieces. There is something about peanut butter and chocolate together that is oh so delicious! So how could you go wrong with a peanut butter cupcake with chocolate frosting!

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To begin I sifted the together flour, salt and baking powder and set it aside.

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I then creamed together softened butter, light brown sugar and vanilla extract.

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Up next I added in smooth peanut butter to the butter mixture.

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Once the peanut butter was incorporated I added in two eggs, one at a time.

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And the final wet ingredient…milk.

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And then I added in the flour mixture.

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Per the directions I didn’t over-mix the batter and I must say this was one of the smoothest batters I have ever made for any cupcake or cake I have baked. I instantly knew this was going to be a perfectly textured cupcake – light and smooth. And I must admit, I couldn’t help it and I had to try the raw batter and it was the perfect peanut butter flavor.

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After filling the cupcake liners with about 1/4 cup of batter I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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I let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before removing the cupcakes and letting them cool completely on a wire rack.

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While they cooled I made the frosting, which was super simple. I melted a 12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in 1 1/3 cups of heavy cream over low heat.

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I then cooled the melted chocolate in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes and then 15 minutes in the freezer so it could chill but not become too firm. I then whipped it until it was creamy and then spread it over each of the cupcakes.

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These were absolutely delicious and I assume would go perfectly with a tall glass of cold milk – I am not much of a milk drinker. I prefer my milk with my daily bowl of oatmeal for breakfast.

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I wish I could reference where I got the recipe from, but unfortunately I ripped it out of a magazine some time ago and have no clue which one.

 

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1/2 cup whole milk

For Frosting:

1 12oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:

For Cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking cups. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In another bowl, beat the light brown sugar, unsalted butter and vanilla extract. Add in the peanut butter and beat until completely blended. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the milk. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until mixture is combined; do not over-mix. Fill each muffin cup with about 1/4 cup of the batter. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when touched lightly. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before icing.

For Frosting:

In a saucepan over low heat stir the chocolate chips and heavy cream until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl; refrigerate 1 hour, or until chilled throughout but now too firm. Beat the mixture until creamy, about 3 minutes. Spread about 1/4 cup of frosting over each cupcake. Garnish with peanut butter chips or peanut butter – filled candies, if desired.

Checkerboard Cake

I’ve attempted to make a Checkerboard Cake two times before and both times I didn’t have much luck. The first time I followed the directions on the pan set  I have for it exactly, even following the recipe for the cake and I didn’t like the taste of the cake and my cake batter ran into each other so it didn’t look all that great when I sliced into it. The second time I opted to use box cake and while the cake tasted better I still had the issue of the cake batter running so once again not all that checkerboard looking when I sliced into it. According to the directions for the pan set you put the ring separator into the pan, pour the batter in, remove the ring and then bake. This wasn’t working for me, so on this (my third) try I opted to bake the cakes first and then use the ring separator to cut the cakes and then assemble it for the checkerboard pattern and I’m happy to say I didn’t strike out! Granted it was a bit messy to assemble but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed (or hidden) with a little frosting.

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Using Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Milk Chocolate and Yellow cake mix I prepared the cakes according to the directions on the box.

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After letting the cakes cool I took the ring separator and sliced each of the cakes into three rings.

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And then the messy part began… Assembling. As you can see some of the rings broke up a little, but like I said frosting covered up all the little imperfections. To make sure the rings of the cake wouldn’t fall apart when slicing I “glued” them together with icing along the inside of each ring.

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After covering the first layer with frosting I added the second layer and then spread frosting on it as well.

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And finally the third layer…

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I’ll admit the final product was a bit lopsided and could have used a little extra frosting (I used two containers of Betty Crocker’s Milk Chocolate Frosting to get to this point) but this was an afternoon whim of baking to see if the technique would work.

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And the moment of truth… I got a pretty decent looking checkerboard!!! The saying is true… If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again. And I’ll definitely be trying it again with more time and frosting.

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