Mario Kart Race Across the Country

Ever since I started making Super Mario cupcakes, toppers, and cakes [here, here, here, here, and here], they have quickly become my most sought after themed items. It's amazing to think that not only has Mario held his appeal since his arcade debut in 1983 [that's as long as I've been alive!!] but has even managed to gain popularity across all generations to this day!

With all his success, the Mario franchise has no end in sight... there's a seventh version of Mario Kart releasing later this year. Mario Kart 7! Not too shabby for the 19 year old series.

Lucky for me, my success also continues to grow as more and more orders for Mario are requested. This time around, a long distance client asked for a shipment of 5 dozen Mario Kart themed cupcake toppers. No big deal, right? Well picture a late summer New York heat wave... now picture my poor fondant babies traveling in a box 3,352 miles away to Alaska[!]. I was beyond nervous. Even my dad thought there was no way they would make it.

To my knowledge, they survived. Here they are before their frightening cross country trip.
I can't help imagining them driving for days in a Super Mario Kart race to Alaska.

The Mario Kart characters include:
Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Banana, Blooper, Bullet Bill, Fire Flower, Green Shell, Mushroom, Star, Thunder Cloud, Checkered Flag

I [with the help from my lovely mom and dad] securely packaged each fondant cupcake topper by placing them in a folded piece of parchment paper, laying them on top of a small square of cardboard, wrapping them individually in bubble wrap and sealing them with tape. I layered them in a small box so they didn't have a lot of wiggle room and placed that box in a bigger box filled with miscellaneous stuffing to avoid any dents, smashing or blunt trauma.

I would not be hesitant to ship more toppers but I think, in order to save everyone some stress, I should take the weather and climate into consideration.


Harry Potter Cake of Spells

I've had the pleasure of working closely with a really fun couple on a few previous sweet treat orders who ended up trying to surprise each other at the same time. In the midst of making Frog cupcake toppers for his wife, I was receiving e-mails from her about his secret birthday cake. She wanted to surprise her Harry-Potter-fan-hubby with a cake and some cupcakes.

I had made some Harry Potter cupcakes before so I added a few new characters to this bunch.
I still can't tell you the names of these characters... I had to look up inspiration online and am taking other people's word that these relate to HP.

In addition to the cupcakes, my customer wanted an 8" round cake. The cake design was tricky... I wanted it to look weathered like an old spell book without actually making it in book form so I sponged on a mixture of food coloring and gold luster dust until I achieved a cool antique look. [Pardon all the cell phone pics - I left my camera at my parents' house]
My goal was to make the cake look more "grown-up" since the cupcake decorations were mostly cartoon-like. I started with Harry's spectacles. I made them from black fondant and they were pretty delicate, yet very effective.
I wanted to write spells on the cake and make a page that looked like it fell out of a wizard dictionary so I looked up some common spells on Wikipedia and transferred them onto the fondant with food coloring markers. I was finally able to put my calligraphy knowledge from high school to good use. [BTW- don't look up the spells because I spelled quite a few of them incorrectly]

In addition to the spell book page and glasses, I needed to add Harry's recognizable striped scarf and wand. I draped the fondant scarf over the top and used a co-worker's wand replica as a guide to create an edible piece.

Lots of spells around the cake... I have no recollection of the meanings.

Once I got the cake finished, I iced the cupcakes with some vanilla buttercream and they were ready to go.
The final result was the best of both worlds - Fun, child-like Harry Potter cupcakes and a sophisticated birthday cake.
I guess that's the appeal of Harry Potter, he's a great source of enjoyment for all ages.


Easy Patriotic Swirls

Although I love the holidays, they always approach much too fast and I'm usually left unprepared while the holidays fly by. Why does this seem to happen even more as I get older? I think there's actually a scientific reasoning behind it. Anyone know?

I was born on Flag Day [June 14th - since no one knows the date. Ever.] and am very biased towards everything and anything red, white, and blue. [Okay... maybe not this.] I wanted to whip up something super cool for my parent's Fourth of July party but ended up with somewhat lame cookies. The idea was to make patriotic pinwheel cookies using ropes of red, white, and blue sugar cookie dough... what I ended up with was cotton candy colored blobs.
I used a prepared package of sugar cookie mix and divided the dough into three parts. I left one section plain, dyed one 'red', and the last 'blue.' Then I created ropes of each color, twisted them together, and rolled them into a spiral.

Oh well. They were bite size. They were yummy.

Plus, less time on cookies = more time choosing which shades to wear.
Yeah. I wore them all.