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Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Fake Cupcakes

This tutorial was posted on my .mac account which I've allowed to expire so, I'm re-posting it here. Enjoy and please let me know if I need to clarify anything.

You will need…

• an old muffin pan
• cupcake liners
• plaster of paris
• toothpicks
• 3-inch styrofoam balls
• hot glue
• paper clay
• sand paper
• acrylic paint in desired cake and frosting colors
• lightweight spackling for frosting (1 1/2 - 2 cups per color)
• disposable pastry bags
• # 1 M decorating tip
• cupcake toppers/decorations (optional)
  1. Put cupcake liners in pan. Mix plaster of paris following directions on box (I mixed 3 cups plaster with 1 1/2 cups water and had enough for 7 cupcakes). Fill lined cupcake pan with mixed plaster of paris. As plaster sets, place a toothpick in the middle.
  2. Cut 3" styrofoam ball in half
  3. Pierce the center of the ball with the toothpick you inserted in the base.
    Take the ball off the toothpick and squirt hot glue in the hole created by the toothpick. Put the ball back on the toothpick/bottom.
  4. Cover the stryofoam with a thin & smooth coat of Paperclay. Allow the clay to dry thoroughly.
  5. Sand
  6. Paint dark brown or desired color
  7. Put about 1 1/2 cups of spackling in a bowl and add acrylic paint to make it the desired color.
  8. Stir
  9. Place spackling in a disposable pastry bag and pipe on cupcake as desired (I used a # 1M tip and spiraled the icing on starting on the outside and working my way in). WASH BOWL, SPOON, DECORATING TIP, ETC. IMMEDIATELY!!
  10. Adorn cupcake as desired and allow to dry

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Polka-Dot Cake

This weekend we had a family celebration for my Grandpa and mom's birthdays and I was in charge of bringing the cake.

I'm a confident and proud cookie and cupcake maker but cakes…

Well… I'm not so good with cake.

It's always one of the first questions people ask when they see my cookies/cupcakes. "Do you make cakes?"


Honestly… I'm just not all that interested in cake decorating. Maybe it's because there's usually only one cake and one chance to get it right. If you screw up on a cookie or cupcake it's no big deal. I don't know… I'm just not a cake decorator.

Anyway… for the birthday thing, I thought I would just make cupcakes. Then, my son & I stopped at the candy shop when we were at the mall yesterday and I saw these sprinkled chocolates. I remembered seeing this polka -dot cake in one of my vintage Betty Crocker cookbooks and I just had to give it a try.

I tried to show the cake at its best angle for this photo but, it was really a disaster. The top layer slid over, the frosting ran, the sprinkles bled… the only good thing about it was the taste. Thank goodness I went ahead and made the cupcakes too. Saved my pride a little bit.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Keeping Secrets is Hard!

We did it!

Remember in my last post how I said we had lots of things cookin' here? Well… we were cookin' up a surprise party for my mom. She's an occasional reader so I couldn't say anything about it.

Last weekend… That's right. One (just one) week ago…

My dad came over and suggested that we throw a surprise birthday party for my mom and a close family friend (Mrs. G) back in our home town (2 hours away from here). Sure… No problem. How many people are we talking about? …Ohhh… just a few, mostly just the teachers (my mom and dad both worked at the school back home) and a few other close friends. …Okay, so we're talking about 30-40 people right? …Probably.

So my dad and the close friend's husband (Mr. G) went about trying to organize this thing.
They both made a few phone calls to people in town and asked them to call others, sent out some e-mails, left some messages on answering machines and reserved the community center. Problem… they weren't telling people the same thing! People were given different party times, some were told to bring a covered dish, others were told it would just be cake and coffee. Sigh…

Meanwhile… Mr. and Mrs. G's kids and I were trying to coordinate on the food plans with no idea how many people to expect or really any idea what we were doing!

Since dad said he would provide the meat… on Wednesday, I went with him to get some already cooked barbeque pork. On Friday, after work, when the meat place was already closed… I was quickly told we didn't buy enough meat. No time for discussion, mom was just in the other room. No problem… I'll find some more meat.

Meanwhile… I'm in charge of cake or cupcakes. A normal person would probably just go to the bakery at this point or at least keep it simple, right? Not me… can't do simple… oh no… have to impress all the folks back home… sigh…

Decorations… I did my best.

Plates, cups, napkins, chips, buns… tried to think of everything. The other family took care of all the drinks and brought a roaster for the meat.

There were several times my dad said things that almost gave away the surprise. I was sure my mom knew something was up. She thought they were going home for the day to visit Mr. and Mrs. G and to go out to dinner with them and another couple. How they got my mom to the community center is another long and funny story but she really was very surprised. As they were walking into the building she even said "We can't go in there. There's people in there. They've got something going on."

Anyway… when it was all said and done I think we had 50-60 people come. We barely had enough meat, but I think everyone got to eat. I made about 55 cupcakes, so hopefully everyone that wanted one, got one. It all worked out. It was fun. Mom and Mrs. G were surprised. It was a great day and one we will be laughing about for a long time.