Halloween Sprinkle Cake

Happy Halloween! So, will any of you be dressing up today? I can’t remember the last time I dressed up. These days I prefer to dress-up my baked treats with a Halloween theme. And this year, I made a Halloween themed Sprinkle Cake. If you’re wondering, a sprinkle cake is exactly what it sounds like. A cake covered in sprinkles. What’s fun and great about them, they work for any occasion… you just have to change the color of your sprinkles and you are all set.

I started off by baking, crumb coating and frosting my cake – getting it as smooth as possible. I opted to use a box cake mix – Pillsbury’s Halloween Funfetti Cake Mix – and store bought vanilla frosting – Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting. Since I wasn’t all that sure how many ounces of  sprinkles I was going to need – I had a rough idea -and because I was planning on rolling the cake in a bed of sprinkles I opted to keep it small – 6 inches.

Speaking of the sprinkles… I order nonpareils – basically tiny balls of sprinkles – in purple, orange and black from NY Cake. I did a little research and they had the colors I wanted at the best price. I also ordered the green cupcake liners I used for the Cupcake Bouquet I made back in May from them. I went to their shop once in NYC and at the time I was just wandering around aimlessly looking at things. Since I decorate cakes more often now I am sure I would make the most of my next visit.

Next, I emptied the sprinkles onto a rimmed baking sheet and mixed them together. Let me just apologize now for my pictures. I need to stop baking and decorating at night and also on rainy days. Well, I can’t control the rainy days, but, I could definitely pick better times to start my baking/decorating projects.

To efficiently cover the cake in sprinkles I opted to roll the cake in the sprinkles. To do so, I placed a cake board on top of the cake, as well as the bottom, and simply rolled the cake in the sprinkles back and forth until it was covered. I used a spoon to cover any small spots I may have missed. To cover the top, I carefully removed the cake board and spread more frosting on it and poured handfuls of the sprinkles over it. To remove any excess sprinkles, I carefully tilted the cake to the side and tapped the bottom cake board so they could fall off.

Now it was time for a little more decorating. I’ve been seeing a lot of cakes on Instagram with a chocolate drizzle and I have been wanting to try it myself. I decided that this cake would be perfect for that. I made a chocolate ganache – the same one I made for the Pumpkin Crepe Cake – and poured it into a decorating bottle. I let the ganache sit for a few minutes so it would thicken up but still be pourable. You don’t want to pour it too soon or you’ll end up with a runny mess on your cake. I put it in a decorating bottle because I was only planning on decorating the edges of the cake and the sides, but, if you want to cover the entire top of the cake you could pour the ganache in the middle of cake and then use an offset spatula to smooth it out and let it drip down the sides.

After that, I tinted some of the remaining vanilla frosting a light orange color and piped a border around the bottom of the cake and used a large star tip to decorate the top. And finally placed a bat and a few creepy crawlers – spiders – on the cake for a final touch.

 

I love how this cake came out! I can’t wait to make another one with a completely different theme.

Happy Halloween!

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

While scrolling through my Instagram feed I saw a picture of Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes and immediately thought… “I want to try that!” This happens a lot when I am looking at pictures on Instagram. It could be a recipe, a cake idea or a craft project. I recently purchased the supplies for a paint pouring project I saw on AC Moore’s page. I am sure it’s going to be a messy one so I am waiting for a decent weather day to make that outside. I initially thought that the cupcakes were baked in a mini muffin tin and then placed inside of the cupcake cones (silly me!) but after a Google search I learned that no, the cupcakes are actually baked in the cones (even better!) And what was even better than that, I decided that since these were a “fun cupcakes” I would use Funfetti cake mix and lo and behold on the side of the Pillsbury box on Funfetti cake mix were the instructions to make these.

I began by placing flat-bottom ice cream cones in a muffin pan…

Next, after preparing the batter, I poured about 3 tablespoons of batter into each cone. You don’t want to overfill the cones, if you do, you’ll end up with a cupcake spilling out of the cone once baked.

I then baked them in a preheated 350F oven for approximately 25 minutes.

I allowed them to cool completely on a wire rack…

And then piped frosting on each cupcake using a large star tip (I used Wilton size 1M) to resemble a soft serve ice cream cone. And no ice cream cone is complete without sprinkles.

There you have it… Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. While they are fun and delicious (and probably the perfect treat for a kids party) they do have a downfall, they are top-heavy. Which means transporting them can be a challenge. I dropped a few of them while trying to balance them on a cake stand while walking. Lesson learned!

Funfetti Cake

Are you ever too old for sprinkles? If you ask me, I’ll say absolutely not! I’m thirtysomething and when I go to Carvel to get a cup of soft serve vanilla ice cream I always ask for them to put sprinkles in the bottom of the cup before swirling in the ice cream and then ask for more sprinkles on top. So, when a friends’ younger sister asked me to make her a Funfetti cake for her 30th birthday I was more than happy to oblige!

To create this Funfetti cake, I followed a recipe to make a white cake and in the end I folded in a cup of rainbow sprinkles. To create the batter for the cake I began by beating butter until it was creamy and then gradually added in sugar and continued beating it until it was light and fluffy. In a separate bowl I sifted together flour and baking powder and in a measuring cup I mixed together milk and vanilla extract. I added these two to the butter mixture alternating between the two, starting and ending with the flour mixture. In another separate bowl, I beat 5 egg whites until stiff peaks formed. I then folded the egg whites along with the sprinkles into the batter.

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I divided the batter among 3 8-inch round cake pans that I sprayed with baking spray and then baked them in a 350 F oven for about 25 minutes. After letting the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes I then turned the cakes out on wire racks so they could cool completely.

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I then made my go-to frosting, a Fluffy Vanilla Frosting from Martha Stewart. After crumb coating the cake…

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I finished frosting it, added some dropped dollops on top and of course some sprinkles. While everyone wasn’t a fan of the Funfetti Cake – I never realized it was one of those cakes that you either love or hate – the Birthday girl thoroughly enjoyed it!

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Funfetti Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

3 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

5 egg whites

3/4 rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 3 8-inch round cake pans.

Stir together the milk and vanilla extract and set aside.

Beat the butter at medium speed until creamy; gradually add in the sugar, beating until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl sift together the cake flour & baking powder.

Alternatively add the whole milk and flour mixture into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed after each addition until just combined.

Gently fold in the egg whites and sprinkles and then divide the batter among the 3 pans.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tested come out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, and then invert the cakes on the racks and let cool completely.

Recipe based on Mrs. Billets White Cake

 

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) Confectioners’ sugar, sited

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy.

Reduce the speed to medium and add the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, after every 2 additions increase the speed to high for 10 seconds to aerate the frosting. Scrape the bowl as necessary.

Add the vanilla and continue mixing until smooth.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Chocolate Crinkles

The Christmas Cookie fun continues with today’s Chocolate Crinkles. Now, I know the cookie recipes I’ve posted earlier – Rosemary and Pine Nut Cookies and Orange Scented Elephant Ears – aren’t your traditional holiday cookie recipes, but, these are definitely in line with what you see around the holidays. I’ve seen recipes for these cookies for quite some time, I probably have 1 or 2 saved in my recipe binder, but, it wasn’t until I was flipping through a Christmas Cookie recipe magazine recently that I finally decided to try them out and I wish I had tried them sooner. They are a cinch to make and delicious… Chocolatey without being overpowering.

I started off by melting unsweetened chocolate, shortening and butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.

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After letting the chocolate mixture cool for a few minutes I continued making the dough for the cookies by mixing together eggs, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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Once that was well mixed I then added in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and finally flour and unsweetened cocoa powder.

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It wasn’t long before the dough had come together. To make sure all of the ingredients had incorporated I gave the dough a few good folds using a spatula.

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Using a cookie scoop I scooped up the dough and shaped it into a ball and then rolled it in granulated sugar and then confectioners’ sugar. I then placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

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To give some of the cookies a festive touch I sprinkled them with red, green and white sprinkles.

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After baking them in a 350 F preheated oven for 8 minutes, I let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. While the recipe says to bake them for 8-10 minutes, I always like to bake my cookies on the lower end of the time span to ensure that I don’t end up with cookies that are like rocks. Letting them sit on the hot pan for a few minutes allows them to cook and set for a few more minutes. At first I thought I may have removed these cookies from the oven too soon, but, as they continued to cool on the wire rack they firmed up more and the texture of the cookie was spot-on. A little crisp on the outside and completely soft on the inside!

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Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup shortening

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

 

For Rolling Dough:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Over low heat in a medium saucepan melt the chocolate, shortening and butter. Let cool.

In a large bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. And then stir in the flour and cocoa powder.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and shape into balls and roll the ball in the granulated sugar and then the confectioners’ sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until edges are set and the cracks appear slightly moist. Cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens 100 Best Cookies Magazine

Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake

A great thing about blogging and social media – Instagram in particular – is the chance to discover other bloggers. One blog that I have enjoyed following is The Cake Blog – a blog with amazing cake designs that include tutorials so you can recreate them yourself if you wish. Recently they featured a Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake that I thought was too cute not to try.

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Using one milk chocolate box cake mix I baked two heart cakes filling the pan with about 2 cups of batter for each of the cakes. After letting the cakes cool completely I leveled the cakes using a large serrated knife. I used to use a cake leveler but have found that using a knife allows me to level the cakes more evenly.

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Following that I frosted each of the cakes with vanilla frosting and then placed them in the refrigerator so the frosting could harden in preparation for decorating them with fondant.

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And while I was on a kick making marshmallow fondant recently, I opted to go with store bought fondant to decorate these cakes. I picked up Wilton’s Decorator Preferred Fondant in red and pink and I was pleasantly surprised; it was easy to knead and roll out. I’ve used Wilton’s Rolled Fondant in the past and it wasn’t as easy to work with.

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After rolling the red fondant out to an 1/8 of an inch thick I cut two strips of fondant long enough to wrap around each of the heart cakes, one an inch and half wide – the height of the cake – for the top of the candy box and the other two inches wide for the candy box.

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I rolled up the strips and then unrolled them around each of the cakes.

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Next I rolled out more of the red fondant and using my heart cake pan as a template, I traced out a heart for the cover of the candy box.

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Once I was done with the red fondant I rolled out the pink fondant and cut out two hearts – one smaller than the red cover I previously cut and one to fit inside of the wider red border – the candy box cake. On the smaller of the two pink hearts I used a fondant stitching wheel to etch an angle design.

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Next it was time to make the candy box cake actually look like a candy box and to do that I needed candy, more specifically chocolate candy. I melted some Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts and filled heart & circle swirls molds to create the candy.

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After refrigerating the molds so the chocolate could set I tapped them out onto wax paper.

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I then used some of the melted chocolate to glue two pieces of the candy together so they would have a little height inside the candy box cake.

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To add a little more pizazz to the chocolates I drizzled them with melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with Valentine’s themed sprinkles.

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Then I used more of the melted chocolate to glue the pieces onto the candy box cake.

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On the original cake the edges were painted gold using gold dust and extract. I attempted to do the same with shimmer powder I had on hand…

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But unfortunately I wasn’t too successful as the powder I have didn’t have the same color intensity. It was worth a try though! While there were some imperfections with my final outcome, overall I was pleased with it. I definitely need to work on cutting fondant shapes and making straight lines when etching a design into the fondant.

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Christmas Themed Sugar Cookies

It’s Christmas Eve and I am happy to say that all of my Christmas baking is officially done. For my final cookie post before the holiday – check out my Rainbow Cookies and Gingerbread Men from earlier in the week – I am going completely traditional with sugar cookies decorated to reflect the holiday!

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After sifting together cake flour (yes, you read that correctly, cake flour for cookies), baking powder and salt in a large bowl…

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I then mixed together butter and sugar in a separate bowl and then added in an egg and vanilla extract and continued mixing until all of the ingredients were incorporated.

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Next I added in the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 additions.

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Once the dough came together I divided it in half and wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it until it was firm – the recipe stated at least an hour but I left it in the fridge overnight and just let it sit out for a few minutes before rolling it out.

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Whereas the recipe said to roll the dough to about a 1/8-inch thick I found it to be thin to work with and the few cookies that I did manage to cut out at that thinness ended up over-browning when I baked them so I went with the standard 1/4-inch thick.

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I decorated a few of the cut-outs with sanding sugar prior to refrigerating them for 30 minutes before baking them in a 350 F preheated oven.

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After letting the cookies cool it was time to spruce them up with royal icing, sanding sugar and sprinkles.

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These snowflakes were by far my favorite and I must say that the cake flour produced a sugar cookie that was much more delicate than and not as crunchy as your typical sugar cookie. I definitely think this will become my go-to sugar cookie recipe from now on.

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Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Sugar Cookies

Makes 24 to 36 cookies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment paper or into a medium bowl; set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 2 batches until just incorporated. Divide between 2 pieces of plastic wrap; shape into disks. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.)

2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out the dough on a floured surface, dusting with flour as needed, until about 1/8 inch thick*. Cut out shapes with 2-to-4-inch cookie cutters; arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. (If the dough becomes too soft as you work, return to the refrigerator until firm.) Gather the scraps and refrigerate until firm; reroll once to cut out more cookies. Chill the cutouts 30 minutes.

3. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are slightly puffed and just golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely before icing.

*I rolled out my cookies 1/4 inch thick.

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th on Friday and that the rest of your holiday weekend was good. As for me, the 4th was a bit of a washout due to rain but the rest of the weekend was beautiful which meant I was able to do some yard work. The rain wasn’t all that bad though, it gave me the perfect excuse to stay in and bake some patriotic themed cupcakes. I settled on making Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. I should note that the recipe for the Lemon Buttermilk was originally for a loaf cake, but, I decided to turn it into cupcakes and add some frosting.  
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I began by whisking together the dry ingredients -flour, baking powder and salt – in one bowl and the wet ingredients – oil, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest and juice – in another.
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After whisking those ingredients together by hand I opted to use my hand mixer to whisk all of the ingredients together.
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I then used an ice cream scoop – I find it’s always the perfect size for scooping cupcake batter – to fill patriotic themed cupcake liners.
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I then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 20 minutes – rotating the tins halfway through. After letting the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan I removed them and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
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I then whipped up a batch of Cream Cheese Frosting and used a large open star tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
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And since these were patriotic themed cupcakes I added some red and blue with stars and stripes sprinkles, blueberries and strawberries and blueberries and raspberries.
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Final verdict… Lemon & Cream Cheese are a winning combination!
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Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes – adapted from here

Makes 14 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup canola oil

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest and juice. Add to the dry ingredients.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating the tins halfway through.

5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins on a wire rack for a few minutes and then remove them and let them cool completely on the wire rack.

6. Frost and enjoy!

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

8oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups Confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Cream together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer

2. With the mixer on low speed add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth and creamy

3. Beat in the vanilla extract