Marriage of Chips, Dip & Chocolate

I was throwing my coworker a surprise pot-luck-style bridal shower at our office and wanted to make something really cute but was running out of time, all the planning and keeping secrets was wearing me down. I needed a quick idea so I rummaged through my cake supplies and saw the custom cake mixes that my roommate bought from Cake Chalet for my birthday. The Potato Chips & Dip Batter Booster caught my eye. I knew my coworkers would be intrigued. 

The Batter Booster description:
"Sweet and creamy with a dash of salt, a touch of vinegar malt"

The Cake Chalet Batter Booster is sooo simple, I just mixed in the booster 'pack' with my usual cake mix and added an additional 1/4 cup of fluid. Done and done. I decided to make cupcakes from this mix since they'd be easiest to serve at a pot-luck lunch. The website even gives suggested frosting flavors. Chocolate wasn't listed as an idea but I immediately thought that chocolate buttercream would balance out the salty chip batter.

Okay well that's a start... I got something flavorful and easy, but what about making it cute?

I stopped at the local cake supply store and BINGO! found this awesomely sweet cupcake set by Meri Meri. Thank goodness!
Bridal Shower Cupcake Set by Meri Meri
I was really impressed with the quality of the Bride and Groom cupcake toppers. They seem like they're made from a light weight foam-core board and have cute little details like the bride's ribbon "veil." Perfect for this occasion.

They're ready to walk down the chocolate buttercream aisle. Ugh, too cheesy??

Chocolate buttercream swirls and edible pearls with the cupcake toppers finished these treats wonderfully.

As far as taste, the chocolate icing was a little overwhelming but the salty undertone was just enough to add some interest.

Click here to read my previous Cake Chalet post.


Monkey Girl Baby Shower

I was recently asked to do pink and lime green boxed cupcakes for a friend's baby shower. I'm not usually a fan of the pink and green color combo. Yes, I did grow up in Connecticut. No, I never wore plaid pants and boat shoes. It just gives off the whole preppy vibe of twill/ribbon belts with D-rings sold at Martha's Vineyard. I'm not even quite sure why that image leaves a bad taste in my mouth but I do know that these cupcake favors may have changed my mind! I was a bit sceptical, but after seeing the logo sticker she showed me based off a popular Monkey Girl shower theme I felt more confident that they would turn out super cute.

I like that the individually boxed cupcake favors have gained popularity. They're sort of becoming my signature treat plus they're really fun to make... and who doesn't like edible party favors? I think they go over better than dollar store trinkets that know one knows what to do with after the party!

I start by making small fondant flower blossoms to match the party's color scheme... in this case, the dreaded pink and green combo. But wait! Look how nice the white fondant and edible sugar pearls add a little touch of sophistication instead of prepsterness. (Not that there's anything wrong with being a bit of a prep, it's just not for me.)

Cupcake wrappers are key in enhancing the look of the boxed cupcakes. I bought the pink ones at the cake supply store and used the Cricut machine to make the white ones.

I baked dozens of vanilla cupcakes and iced them with tinted vanilla buttercream swirls.

I added the fondant flower blossoms. Look how sweet!! Totally appropriate for a baby shower.

Now time to box them up.

Easy to stack, transport and display.

Some decorative ribbon and cute custom Monkey Girl stickers by Konstant Design finish them beautifully!

It may just be that they were for a baby shower, but I have to admit... I think I'm sold on the pink and green color combo this time. These cupcake cuties are adorabalicious! (thanks Leify for introducing me to that word.) Maybe it's just the little Monkey Girl that's too irresistible?


Hey Diddle Baby Shower Tower

 Nursery Rhymes have been designed to amuse children with ridiculous images such as "the Cow jumped over the Moon." I bought a Nursery Rhyme book as an adult and realized how silly the poems actually are. As a kid, I never really thought twice about a cat playing a fiddle or a laughing dog. Anything seemed possible. What better way to bring a child into this world then showing them that anything is possible, if you make it so.

Here's a baby shower cupcake tower modeled after the 'Hey Diddle Diddle' rhyme:

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon!

I made a 6" round cake topper for the cupcake stand and hand cut the characters from fondant. 

 There's the cow jumping over the moon and the dish running away with the spoon...
the only thing I'm missing is the cat and the fiddle.

Close-up of the cow and moon.

The entire cupcake tower put together with 60 cupcakes.

Some cupcakes had fondant clouds, moons and stars. Others had fondant flower blossoms and decorative signs with the baby girl's initials. I used 8 of the cupcakes to spell out 'Samantha' from fondant covered with edible glitter.

Yummy cupcake baby shower tower.

Wishing you all an imaginative life!


Bad Romance Birthday Cake

Wow! I just realized it's been a year since I walked into my first Wilton cake decorating class at Michael's. It has been such an exciting year! Is it possible that it was both a long and a short year? When I think back, I can't decide if time went by too quickly or if it was a long year. I guess at times it was a little of each, but overall it was successful.

Lady Gaga is quite an icon of the times with her crazy antics and incredible fashions, not to mention her amazing talent! It's no wonder that my friend chose to have a Lady Gaga themed birthday bash and asked if I would make the cake.

This is the photo I used for inspiration.

Timing was a little rushed - I was working on two other baking projects (almost three) plus working a regular 45 hour week! Needless to say, the pressure was on... but I was up for the challenge.

To make the glittery triangular peaks, like Gaga's Grammy Awards headpiece, I experimented for the first time with making my own gumpaste from the canned powder sold at the bake supply store. Not. A. Good. Idea. It was such a sticky mess! I had to use lots of cornstarch and confectioners sugar to even roll out the gumpaste.

My friend made cardstock templates of the triangles, which helped a lot, but I learned (at the last minute) that I needed more of them so I could lay them out to hold their shape and dry overnight.

Another thing I learned is that I should have tinted the gumpaste grey because when the edible glitter was applied, a lot of the white could be seen glaring through where the glitter didn't stick. The same goes with the cake. I covered the cake in white fondant before spraying it with edible silver cake spray by Chefmaster. The can of spray should have covered about 9 cakes but because I had to layer it so thick to disguise the white, it only covered the 2 cakes I had made.

 My friend also gave me the black sequin trim to put around the cake.

After making enough gumpaste triangle skewers, the next challenge was transporting the cake to the venue by subway. I decided to arrange the glittery topper once the cake made it safely to the party. Luckily nothing broke along the way and I was able to assemble everything without a hassle.

 I think it looks cooler without the flash.

 If I get the opportunity, I'd like to remake this cake with less time constraints or maybe make another crazy Gaga cake... who's up for another party in the name of the Fame Monster??