Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes – Tutorial

With Easter right around the corner I decided to make some fun themed cupcakes to get in the spirit of the holiday. Today I am sharing with you these Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes and later this week I will be sharing with you Bunny Ear Coconut Cupcakes.

I began by baking a batch of chocolate cupcakes. While they cooled, I made the frosting. I made a basic buttercream frosting and then removed a third of it. In this third I stirred in melted unsweetened chocolate until it was fully incorporated. I tinted the remaining frosting orange and then transferred it to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

After the cupcakes were cool I used a paring knife to cut a small cone-shaped piece out of the center of each one. I crumbled these small pieces of cake into a small bowl and set it aside.

Next, I spread the chocolate frosting over the cupcakes leaving the holes open. I then patted the crumbled pieces of chocolate cake onto the frosting to resemble dirt.

To make the carrots I piped the orange tinted frosting into the holes and then mounded it a bit above the hole. And finally, I cut small pieces of green sour apple straws and placed them in the piped carrots.

And there you have it… Sprouting Carrot Cupcakes.

 

While I opted to make my cupcakes and frosting from scratch, you could easily go the time-saving route and use a box chocolate cake mix and store bought chocolate and vanilla frosting. If you opt for store bought frosting I would advise refrigerating the vanilla frosting after tinting it orange for about 10-15 minutes prior to piping the carrots. Store bought frosting tends to be on the softer side so decorating with it can be frustrating since it won’t take shape, refrigerating it helps to stiffen it.

 

Supplies:

12 chocolate cupcakes

1 cup chocolate frosting

1 1/2 cups vanilla frosting

Orange food coloring

Green sour apple straws

Piping Bag fitted with a round tip

 

 

YouTube Themed Cake

My blog started with an Elmo Cake for my niece’s birthday, and throughout the years there have been other character themed cakes, Minnie Mouse, Frozen, Trolls and last year’s Descendants. As you can see the themes aged as she did and by whatever was popular at the time. Well, fast forward 7 years and for her 9th birthday she requested a YouTube Cake. Initially she said she wanted the Cookies and Cream Cake I made a few months back (her younger sister will only eat Oreos in mini form thanks to that cake) but I guess she wasn’t ready to let go of a themed birthday cake just yet. Who knows what next year will bring, or what I will be making for my younger niece come June. I am thinking she’ll still want some sort of character.

Now, a YouTube cake sounded easy enough. It didn’t require any special decorations, the colors were simple (white, black and red) and I pretty much had all of the tools I needed to make it. But, there was one thing. While looking at some cakes on Pinterest and Instagram, I noticed that people opted to make their YouTube themed cakes round, but, I felt it really should be a square cake. Not that that was an issue, but then I wondered, how would I cover it in fondant? I sometimes have mishaps when covering round cakes (they seem to always tear) so I could only imagine that covering a square cake would be even more difficult. Especially trying to get the edges sharp. So, I thought, isn’t there a way I could panel the fondant. And of course a quick Google search assured me that yes, fondant paneling was possible and from the looks of it easier – I am actually thinking of trying the technique on the next round cake I make that needs to be covered in fondant. I decided to watch a few videos just to pick up a few tips and tricks. And I quickly learned that one of the keys to fondant paneling is to freeze the fondant for a few minutes after rolling and cutting it so it’s firm and easier to trim and place on the place.

I began by baking two 9-inch square chocolate cakes. After letting the cakes cool, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and left them on my kitchen counter. The following day I made a chocolate mousse filling for the cake and I took a major short-cut and used store bought chocolate frosting. I haven’t quite mastered making chocolate frosting myself. Anyone have a good foolproof recipe they can share? I leveled, filled and frosted the cake and then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day it was time to cover the cake in fondant. Normally I use confectioners’ sugar to dust my rolling mat and pin, but, opted this time to use cornstarch and what I found was that the fondant didn’t get as soft. I began by cutting a square piece for the top of the cake. To leave room for error, I cut the fondant about a quarter of an inch larger than what I needed it to be. To place it on the cake, I matched it to one corner of the cake so all I would have to trim was two sides. Now, I didn’t place this piece in the freezer since I thought it would be easy to trim it since it was just lying flat on the cake, a mistake. While I was able to trim it, it would have been easier had it been frozen.

Next, I covered the sides of the cake. Before I started though, I decided which sides of the cake would be the front, back and sides. This is important as you cover the sides of the cake first before the front and back. Since the cake is a square, all of the sides were the same length and width. I rolled and cut two pieces for the sides and placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes I removed them and before placing them on the cake, I lightly brushed the cake with water so the fondant would adhere better. As I did with the top piece, I lined the fondant piece with one bottom corner of the cake and then used my fondant smoother to smooth (and stick) the fondant onto the cake. I then trimmed the fondant. I used a small knife that I sharpened. I think next time I will purchase an X-Acto knife to get a cleaner and closer cut. I repeated this three more times and was pretty happy with my end result. It wasn’t perfect, but, I was happy that I didn’t have any mishaps and that my fondant actually stuck to the cake and that I had clean edges and no fondant tears! I would have benefitted from trimming my cake prior to frosting it so it would have sharper and cleaners sides. Each time is a learning experience so I am sure next will be better.

Then it was time to make this square into a YouTube cake. I cut out letters and a triangle (for the play button) using white and black fondant. For the red pieces, I actually used a band aid cookie cutter I purchased to make a Doc McStuffins themed cake a few years back.

And to cover up the unfinished edges around the cake, I decided to put a black trim over it. To adhere all of these pieces I lightly brushed the back of them with a little water. And that was it. This cake was a hit with the Birthday girl and everyone who saw it!

This is the recipe I used for the chocolate cake. I have been using it for years now and haven’t had any issues or complaints. As for the chocolate mousse, I used the mousse recipe I made for the Spice Cupcakes and instead of using a box of pumpkin spice Jell-O mix I used chocolate.

Yule Log Cake

Each day this week I will be bringing you a cake / cupcake idea that is perfectly festive for this time of the year… It’s Holiday Cake Week.

To kick off Holiday Cake Week a traditional cake seen around the holidays… A Yule Log Cake. It originated in France and is a sponge cake rolled and then frosted with chocolate frosting to resemble a tree bark. Customarily a small portion of the cake is cut off and either placed on top of the cake or protruding from the side of the cake to resemble a chopped off branch. The cake can then be furthered decorated with powdered sugar to resemble snow, fresh berries, mushrooms made of marzipan and so forth.

I opted to go the easy route with my cake and used a box cake mix and a container of vanilla frosting for the filling. Also, while the recipe didn’t call for it, I ended up a slicing off a portion of the cake and placing it on the side to get that traditional branch look. And to top it off, I sifted confectioners’ sugar over the cake and placed some decorative holly berry picks I got from a local craft store around it.

Yule Log Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:

6 eggs

1 box of Devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

 

Chocolate Frosting:

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Filling:

1 container whipped vanilla frosting

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of a 15x10x1-inch (Jelly Roll Pan) pan with foil or waxed paper, spray with baking spray.

In a large bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high until the eggs are thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes. Add the cake mix, water and oil and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 1 minutes. Pour about 2 3/4 – 3 cups of the batter into the prepared pan. Use the remaining batter to make cupcakes, or as you wish.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Turn the cake out on a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with the confectioners’ sugar. While the cake is still hot, carefully roll up the cake and towel together from one shorter end to the other. Cool completely on a wire rack from 1 hour.

While the cake is cooling make the chocolate frosting… In a medium pot heat the whipping cream over medium heat until the cream starts to boil. Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate chips and corn syrup, let stand for 3 minutes. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth and then add in the vanilla. Refrigerate for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, until it’s a spreadable consistency.

After an hour, unroll the cake carefully and remove the towel. Spread the vanilla frosting evenly over the cake and roll it up once again. Place the cooling rack on sheet of waxed paper and return the cake to the wire rack and frost the cake with the chocolate frosting. Drag the tines of a fork through the frosting to give the cake a log look. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes and then refrigerate loosely covered until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature prior to serving.

*If you want to make the log resemble more of a branch, prior to frosting with the chocolate frosting, cut a piece of the cake off and place on the side of the cake or on top and then frost.

Recipe from Betty Crocker

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
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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 Potatoe Pie and was curious as to what all the fuss was about. It was good, but, I am partial to pumpking. And finally an Apple Pie that I gave a nice twisted pie crust design to.

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For the Cheesecake I stuck to a recipe that was a hit and topped it with sugared cranberred. 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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