Mini Christmas Cakelets

As usual, the holiday calls for a spectacular bake-off at my office.

I wanted to use some super cute mini cake pans - or cakelets, as I like to call them - so I bought a mini snowman shaped pan from Wilton [I had my heart set on mini gingerbread men but they didn't have any of those left.] I used a German Chocolate cake mix which I thought I could doctor up to make it taste like gingerbread by adding ground cloves, cinnamon and ground ginger... but of course I couldn't find the ground ginger in my cabinet. It ended up just tasting like a spice cake, which happens to still be yummy.
I covered them in white chocolate ganache and decorated them with some store-bought cookie icing and some miscellaneous holiday candies...
Luckily my friend surprised me with a mini gingerbread man pan from Williams Sonoma and I was able to make little gingerbread cakelets after all! I didn't have time to buy chocolate for more ganache so I used some green candy melts that I already had - which I thought was a festive choice... until they turned out looking like little martian men. Oops.
I left some of the cakelets uncovered.
I brought my cakelets to work to add to the holiday spread...
My coworkers never disappoint! Red velvet cookies, Magic layer bars, Pecan bars, Rainbow cookies, Ginger spice drops, Chocolate Cupcakes, Peppermint Bark... this isn't even all of it!
My little green men...
Mr. & Mrs. Snowman
How freakin' cute are these reindeer & sleigh cupcake holders from my fellow decorator/co-worker?
Hope you had an awesomely sweet Holiday Season!


Poinsettia Puddin' Poke Cupcakes

I had a few decorations left over from my double wreath cake and didn't want to waste my hard work (and incredible talent) so I made some holiday cupcakes for my chiropractor's office. Let's just say that slouching over cake decorations hasn't been very good to me but at least the chiropractic office has treated me well.

I found an interesting Chocolate-Peppermint Poke Cake recipe on the back of a Betty Crocker cake mix box which I had cut out, saved and adapted for these festive cuppies.
I'll be honest... the only reason I adapted the recipe is because I couldn't find any peppermint extract. It must've sold out for the season because I looked everywhere! And no... mint extract is not the same as peppermint, I tested. Blech!
I used the recipe posted below and topped these cupcakes off with a sprinkle of red & white sugar crystals, my extra royal icing poinsettias, fondant holly leaves and lil' fondant blossoms.

box chocolate cake mix

Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

box (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
cups milk

container chocolate frosting
container of vanilla frosting (I used extra vanilla buttercream I already had)

Step 1
Heat oven to 350°F for shiny metal or glass pan (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Line 2 cupcake trays with paper or foil liners. Fill liners 2/3 with prepared mix. Bake cupcakes as directed on box for 24 cupcakes. Cool 10 minutes. With handle of wooden spoon (or something slimmer), poke the top of each warm cupcake in about 4 or 5 spots.

Step 2
In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with wire whisk about 2 minutes. Immediately pour over cake. Cover loosely; refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.

Step 3
Fill a disposable decorating bag fitted with a 1M tip with half chocolate icing and half vanilla icing.  Pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake. Decorate as desired and store covered in refrigerator (although I don’t recommend storing fondant in the fridge at all).

Done! Yummy cuppycakes to share...

or not.


Double Wreath Christmas Cake

Taking the Wilton Method Cake Decorating Classes during the holidays is a great idea! Mainly because you can work the seasonal themes into weekly assignments but even more so because you usually have more reason to celebrate... and therefore eat cake!

My final cake for course 3 had to be a tiered cake. It was near Christmas (last year) and I had a friend's holiday party to go to so I wanted to make something festive. I had some royal icing poinsettias already made from a prior class so I wanted to work them into my final. I came across an photo of a round wreath cake somewhere and decided to make my own double tiered verion.

A few days before class I made a bazillion green fondant holly leaves using a mini cutter from Wilton's holiday mini metal cutter set. Okay, well not a bazillion but I kept cutting until I thought I would have enough and then cut out a few more. I kept myself busy by watching a 1945 Sherlock Holmes crime film.

The night before class, I made the cake and covered it in fondant. Then Saturday morning I nearly cried because it was raining and I had to walk my 2-tiered cake and all my supplies the half-mile from my apartment to Michael's. Luckily I found a ride at the last minute... crisis (and tears) averted.

At class, I assembled this:
My Wilton Method Instructor helped me figure out the best way to lay out the leaves and I attached them to the cake with royal icing. To finish it, I made the bow from red fondant and draped it over the top tier of the wreath.
I really think this came out awesome! I can't believe I went from not knowing how to make icing or use a pastry bag to making a tiered cake in just a few weeks!

I was skeptical of using the pillars and separation plates at first but they made travel easier because I was able to stack the cakes for class and then take them apart to transport them to my friend's party. Yay!


Chocolate Snowman Dress Up

One of my favorite activities to get in the holiday spirit is attending local Christmas craft fairs. I usually don't buy much but am always looking out for a vintage jewelry score or some sort of unique craft. I have to say that in recent years the search has proved to be fruitless... there's only so many clothespin reindeer one can handle!

At one particular church fair there's a room of donated items that are usually more amusing than useful but always super cheap. I came across this interesting snowman chocolate mold for 25 cents. It was actually a set of 4 of the same molds. I tried to only buy one for 25 cents but the guy made me take all four.

They're snowman boxes! They're pretty big and use up quite a bit of chocolate which made me glad I took all four molds because each box took a while to set.

I used Wilton candy melts in White and Colorburst Brights.

But guess what... the adorableness doesn't end there. Look at what's inside!
Each box contains chocolate dress-up pieces. Chocolate snowman hat, scarf, mittens, and boots! Too cute.

I wrapped these up in cellophane baggies as a sweet surprise for a special few.