Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Super Mario!!

Ah yes, the Super Mario party for a sweet boy named Ben. It was Ben's 5th birthday and that was the theme he chose. And off to work we went....

The 1-up mushroom cake was huge. Approximately 12" diameter -- a yellow cake, white buttercream and topped with vanilla fondant.

And then we get to the stars of the party.... The cupcakes. Not your ordinary cupcakes -- SUPER MARIO CUPCAKES! These fondant-topped yummies were very time consuming to make. My daughter Britt -- who, I have mentioned before is my biggest helper -- broke her right thumb the day before these cupcakes were due. She was a trooper with the splint on... still carefully molding every detail of Mario.

And we couldn't have Mario without his friends....
Yes, Britt's mushrooms are so much better than mine. She reminds me of that, too.

And the favors... I was asked to create Super Mario cookies to go in the goody bags with Game Stop gift cards. These were also a HUGE hit.

Any theme is doable... In fact.... I'm working on a Toy Story surprise for early December....

Does your Family Tree have some loose leaves??

I don't even remember where I came across this idea, but I instantly fell in love with it. Maybe because I'm a glutton for punishment and nothing I ever make is simple. Something about these random "messy" trees and the cute little leaf sprinkles just made me all warm and fuzzy inside. OK, that's an exaggeration. I just thought these were super cute and wouldn't take too much time to make.

I used a base chocolate cake - and infused the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. I then tinted the buttercream green (I left the infusion white - because there was just something "odd" about biting into a cupcake and seeing green cream).

For the trees, I melted some Mercken's chocolate in a double boiler and transferred it to a squeeze bottle. I freehanded some trees onto parchment paper - and learned after too many times - to leave a longer truck to stick into the cupcakes. As soon as I piped the trees with the chocolate, I used a tweezer to place the leaves where I wanted them. I know, I could have just sprinkled them on the trees, but I'm too anal for that. I found the leaf sprinkles in a variety pack at AC Moore/Michaels -- but found a 12oz bag of them online, so I'm all stocked up now.

I lightly frosted the cupcakes with my off-set spatula and then used a Wilton grass tip to pipe the grass on the cupcakes. Once the trees were hardened (just a few minutes), I very carefully stuck them in the cupcakes towards the back so I could sprinkle some extra leaves towards the front. Click on the picture below to see a larger image.

I loved this design so much that I think I'm going to use them for our place settings for Thanksgiving dinner. You'll notice that I made larger fondant leaves and put names on them. I'll do that for each guest and put their cupcake on their plate at the table.

Pumpkin Patch.....

I figured I'd do this one first for those of you that need a Halloween idea. I am also making mummy cupcakes on Friday - so be on the lookout for those -- the kids LOVE THEM!! I'm adding these to my holiday order form -- everyone keeps requesting them by the dozens!

Anyway - back to the pumpkin patch. I have a dear friend in Ohio who absolutely loves pumpkin, and a friend at work who loves it just as much. So I decided to make some pumpkin cupcakes 1) to bring to work for my friend(s), 2) add a new Fall flavor, and 3) perfect them enough to send to Nicole in Ohio. My BBB... best baking buddy... Kemely came over and made the pumpkin ones with me earlier this month. Now, I should probably tell you that I dislike pumpkin. And I HATE spices (and am allergic to cinnamon). But making a flavor I don't eat means less to glue to my own ass, right? And if I fatten Erik up from taste testing, I won't look so chunky. Just sayin'.

I decided to use Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Cupcake recipe found
here. And of course, had to decorate it "my way". So I opted for my cream cheese frosting infusion, and THEN I decided to frost the tops with a maple cream cheese frosting. I do like how the maple frosting was a nice tint -- and not so stark white. Ohhh my house smelled scrumptious!!!

Cupcake Recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, sugar, butter and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Divide batter evenly among liners --filling each a little more than halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched -- approx 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:
1 stick of salted butter (room temperature)

1 tsp clear vanilla

4 c confectioner's sugar

1 block of cream cheese (not softened) - cut into cubes (*use Philly... trust me)

Beat the butter and vanilla until blended. Add sugar one cup at a time, scraping the sides frequently. Whip in the cream cheese, a few cubes at a time. By adding the cream cheese cold (and not softened), the frosting will retain some of its stiffness. Do NOT overbeat -- just whip enough to blend the cream cheese. If you want to add maple extract, I used 2-3 tsp for a full batch of frosting. You can adjust to your personal taste.

Now to make them pretty....

This is Kemely working hard on some fondant leaves...

After you've infused them with frosting, use a 1M tip to pipe the frosting onto the filled cupcakes. Kemely and I decided to accent these with a fondant pumpkin. Let me tell you, Kemely is an artist! She turned a ball of orange fondant into a pumpkin that looked sooooo incredible!!! Come on - look at these pics!

You can also cut leaves from different colors of fondant or find leaf-shaped sprinkles to add.

I will tell you that these have become a favorite for many of my friends. I brought 36 of them to work with me -- and they were gone in minutes!! I sure hope Nicole loves them just as much!!

Really, how did I lose a whole month??

I know my goal was to blog weekly --- and I'm quite embarrassed that I haven't posted in a month. Life has been HECTIC. I've had so many cookies/cupcakes/cake orders and with it being Halloween, a ton of "Mummy to be" tshirt orders -- that I haven't had time to blog about my love of frosting.

So sit down with a cup of coffee and get ready for some new cupcakes.
I'll be uploading Pumpkin cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and showing you some pics of a Super Mario-themed cake and cupcakes. Oh yes, ANDDDDD I have the cutest idea for you for any Fall party -- or even Thanksgiving!!

I'll get to working on those right now and post them as they are completed....