Evil Yumminess in the Land of Giant Cupcakes

May 28, 2010

Dare-Devil’s Food Cake

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Devil's Food,Giant Cupcakes — by queenofevilyumminess @ 4:08 PM
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I was excited when someone asked me to do a devil’s food giant cupcake that involved a sky diving theme. I immediately envisioned a cake done up like blue sky and clouds with a sky diver figure on top.

Obstacle #1 – Actually finding a nice sky diver figure. I thought it would be easy, but alas it was not. Luckily I had plenty of time before the cake needed to be done. I found a Donald Duck sky diving figure on eBay and bought it. It didn’t end up looking quite as clean and nice as I had hoped, even though it was in the original package, but it still worked.

Obstacle #2 – The Parachute. I had a brilliant and easy (so I thought) idea for how to make an open parachute over good old Donald. I thought that accordion-style tissue paper banner would be perfect and I thought I could find it easily. Ummm…not so much. I went to numerous stores and finally settled on a more flowery-style banner than I had originally planned. The other kind apparently doesn’t exist in this area. Still, I think it turned out okay and gave a rather fiery/dramatic effect to the parachute.

Obstacle #3 – Suspending the Parachute. Luckily, I’d just bought my daughter a new baby doll and there were a million of those plastic covered ties that toy makers love to use to annoy us when packaging their product. These little guys were just the right length and were free. I love free. I wrapped them around Donald’s middle and stuck them through the “parachute” along with one strung through the middle of the parachute to give it support.

Obstacle #4 – How to Make Clouds with Buttercream. Is used a #12 round tip and piped on the clouds over the blue sky. Personally, I think it looks more like suds/bubbles than clouds, but it turned out better than I had expected. Next time I think I might pipe the white on and then use a spatula to swirl the icing up so it is a little more cloud-like. Still, it was fine and it gave me an idea for a great baby shower giant cupcake. Now I just have to find a friend who is preggers and needs a shower cake.

Obstacle #5 – The Banner. I offered to add a personalized message to the cake…because I had another brilliant idea. Make a banner that streams out behind Donald like the advertisement banner behind an airplane. The gal thought it was a great idea, so now I had to figure out how to actually do it. I decided to try using gum paste, since I had some on hand. I rolled it out and cute the banner shape. Once it was dry and hard, I piped the message onto the banner and stuck the banner into the buttercream on the cake. And then I said a prayer that it would actually stay where I had put it (which it did, thank goodness).

Obstacle #6 – Piping the Message. I’m not very good with lettering. I don’t have much practice and my hands shake. However, this time I was prepared. I used a teeny little parchment paper pipe bag and added some Cairo syrup to the icing so it would flow better. Amazingly, I was able to pipe the message on the banner without any problems. What really amazed me was that I had to pipe one side of the banner while it was attached to the cake…and I didn’t mess it up!

I did manage to take a couple of pictures while I was making the cake batter, but I forgot to take a picture once the cake was baked and out of the pan. Oh well, maybe next time. Anyway, I used a from-scratch recipe for the Devil’s Food Cake that I got out of  The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. Here’s what the batter looked like once I got everything mixed together.

Maybe it’s all in my head, but this batter rocks. It is so nice and smooth and fluffy. I don’t know whether it is actually that much better or if I’m just thinking it is because I went through the trouble to make it from scratch instead of using a box mix. Either way, I am terribly thrilled with myself when I make a cake from scratch. Maybe I’m just flying my freak flag a little…who knows!

Into the oven with you…Exciting picture, I know. But at least I remember to take it. And to end the post, here’s a picture of the full Giant Cupcake!

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May 21, 2010

Epic Fail, Two Sheet Cakes, Angel Food Cake, and Barney

Filed under: Cake,sheet cake — by queenofevilyumminess @ 11:50 AM
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Let’s start with the epic fail. Last Sunday I decided to get a head start on my baking since I had SO much to do this week. My daughter’s birthday is today and I was planning on making her a 3-D Barney Cake. She LOVES Barney! I went out and bought the larger size of the Wilton 3-D Bear Pan and was excited to get this cake made. I whipped up a from-scratch devil’s food cake recipe that I found in one of the 25 cooking books that I have recently checked out from the library. So far so good. I carefully sprayed the bear pan and clipped it together as best as I could. I stood looking at the pan, wondering exactly how this was going to work, but I was in a good mood and decided to stay optimistic. I poured in the batter and popped that baby in the oven…and when I came back two minutes later, the epic fail had begun. Batter and oil from the spray were oozing out of the sizes of the pan. A huge puddle of batter was quickly forming on the baking sheet on which the bear pan was sitting.

At this point, I was getting quite upset. My good mood was gone, but I was still holding to together, if barely. Hoping to salvage the cake, I quickly got out the two smaller 3-D bear molds I own and popped all the extra clips on the pan. Unfortunately, this did NOT work. Batter continued to stream from the pan.  If it had been a box mix that was getting wasted, I think I would have handled this chain of events much better; however, since I’d make this cake batter from scratch, it was killing me that it was being wasted.

I yanked the pan out of the oven, grabbed another pan, sprayed it, and poured the batter into this new pan. Not wanting to waste any of my precious batter, I then scooped the stuff off of the cookie sheet and got it into the new pan as well. I was quite upset now and all I can say is that I’m glad my daughter was napping upstairs…she would have learned some interesting new words and phrases. The cake cooked up okay despite the trauma that it had sustained and tasted great! However, I was still left with no birthday cake for my daughter and a lot of other baking to do during the week.

On to the rest of the week…I had a LOT of baking to do so I got out my trusty planner sheets and planned away. I had to stick to my schedule or everything would NOT get done on time! Here’s how it panned out:

Sunday – Epic Fail…see above
Monday – Bake Quarter Sheet Cake
Tuesday – Bake Half Sheet Cake and Decorate Quarter Sheet Cake
Wednesday – Bake 2 small bear cakes, a 6 inch round and Decorate the Half Sheet Cake
Thursday – Decorate the bear that came out the best and bake an angel food cake (last minute addition to the plan)

Luckily, everything went smoothly for the rest of the week. No more epic fails; not even a tiny fail, which was great! The Quarter Sheet Cake was for a friend who graduated this semester with her bachelor’s degree. I demanded to be allowed to make her a cake for her graduation party. When I asked her what she wanted, she said orange cake with orange butter cream with a retro design and Gerbera daisies. I was so thrilled when I got this one finished. I think I gave her everything she asked for, and I must have been right because she was thrilled!

The daisy was interesting and not quite a nice as I had hoped it would turn out, but I think it still works. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the swirls. This is an instance where I saw what I wanted to do in my head and then actually was able to get it to work correctly on a cake. This is not always the case!

The Half Sheet Cake I did for my sister-in-law’s twin sister’s middle child’s 8th Grade Promotion Party (did you get all that?). I was nervous because it was going to require me to do two things I’m at which I do not excel: writing on cakes and drawing on cakes. Luckily, I had the brilliant idea of printing a clip art graduation cap on some cardstock and then cutting it out. I then used that as a template to trace the design onto the cake. After that, it was simple. Outline with icing and fill in with drop stars. The lettering I opted to do with drop stars and I almost ran out of room on the “congratulations.” Still, I was happy with the result, especially the cap.

Now, I still had to come up with something to do for my daughter’s birthday. I tossed around the idea of making her a Lightning McQueen cake since she loves the Cars movie, too, but after looking at some pictures, I decided I just didn’t have enough oomph left in me to get it done correctly. I decided to just bake up two of the smaller Wilton 3-D Bears since I knew from past experience that I could get these to come out correctly. This, however, meant that I needed to provide another cake for the rest of the family. So, I baked an angel food cake, too.

I sat down after mixing up the icing to the approximate colors needed for Barney…did I mention the lack of oomph at this point? Yes, okay, I just wanted to make sure! I was practically falling asleep while decorating this cake. Anyway, I carved and iced away on this little guy and ended up with a pretty close approximation of Barney.

He even had a tail…

Now, I was a little disappointed this morning when I showed my daughter a picture of the cake and she didn’t just scream, “Barney!!!!!”, but I’m confident (kind of ) that when she sees the real thing, she’ll recognize who it is. I guess I’ll just have to wait until tonight and see what happens.

May 14, 2010

White Chocolate Giant Cupcake

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Giant Cupcakes,white chocolate — by queenofevilyumminess @ 1:21 PM
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A coworker in my department is retiring, today actually, and knowing that she likes white chocolate, we wanted to make her something special and yummy to wish her well. Last week, I did a search and found a few recipes for from-scratch white chocolate cake. I finally decided on using the one I found at AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/white-chocolate-cake/detail.aspx).  It seemed pretty easy to make and had a four-star review so I though it would be a pretty good bet.

Last week I did the first trial run and was really displeased with the results. Instead of doing a cake, I decided to try doing cupcakes. I burned over half of them. In all honesty, part of the problem was because I was impatient and put three cupcake pans in the oven at the same time; however, I would like to point out that it is really hard to tell when these silly things are actually done! Once again, I neglected to take any pictures other than the end-result ones. Sorry.

The batter is nice and fluffy once it is put together. I popped these in the oven with high hopes. Well, the batter doesn’t rise very much, not like regular cupcakes usually do. The tops of the cupcakes are pretty shiny, so they don’t look done until they’ve browned up a significant amount. Like I said, I burned a lot of them on this trial run, but they still tasted pretty good.

I didn’t have a lot of time when I was baking the cake for my coworker, so I opted to use a white cake mix and then doctor it up some, or rather a lot. Here’s what I used:

1 box white cake mix
3 large eggs (whites AND yolks)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
4 ounces of white chocolate melted in 1/3 cup of water

The cake turned out very, very dense and smelled wonderfully like white chocolate. I think next time I might try leaving out the extra oil since the white chocolate is so rich and greasy, but I don’t know if that will make it better or worse. I haven’t tasted it yet, but I think it will be quite nice. I used the Wilton Buttercream Recipe for the icing, but I used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract and added in 3 ounces of melted white chocolate. I also added some pink food coloring and raspberry flavoring to half the icing so it would have a nice zing to it. Here’s the finished product…

And my artsy-ish picture for the day…

Another coworker, who had sampled one of the “trial” cupcakes from last week, asked me to make her a couple dozen regular sized cupcakes for her own personal enjoyment. I had plenty of patience and time  so I opted to use the from-scratch recipe instead of doctoring a cake mix. I was really careful with the batter and it mixed up like a dream. I carefully measured the batter into the cupcake liners. I carefully placed them in the oven…and then I carefully underbaked the first pan of cupcakes. They rose fine and looked beautiful. I checked then by touching the centers and with a tooth pick. They’d just started to brown a little on the edges. I took them out of the oven, all proud of myself, and then within a minute they had fallen in on themselves and the wrappers had come off! I couldn’t believe it.

Luckily, it turned out that I had enough batter left for nearly two dozen cupcake (ended up with 21). I let the second and third batch cook much longer and get a lot browner before taking them out. They still fell some, but were totally usable. I frosted them up and they looked yummy. I was lucky enough to get to try one and I was a little disappointed by the fact that had I not known that they were white chocolate flavored, I wouldn’t have really been able to pinpoint the flavor.

So, when pondering how I could make these cupcakes work better, I wondered if using a foil cupcake liner instead of a paper one would give the cupcake more stability and keep it from falling and losing it shape. I’m guessing it is going to be a while before I find that out, because I don’t plan on making these again until someone begs me to do it! Rest assured, I’ll have another post about those results…

May 11, 2010

Italian Cream Cake…Mmmmm!!!

Filed under: Cake,coconut — by queenofevilyumminess @ 10:29 AM
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A few years ago, I had an Italian Cream Cake from a local birthday. It was SO yummy!!! I’ve been wanting to make one for quite a while, but just haven’t gotten around to finding a recipe. I finally broke down and did a half-hearted search. I was so excited when a recipe by Pioneer Woman popped up at the top of my search. I felt that I needed to look no further for a good recipe. I quickly printed it out and got to cooking…or rather baking, as it were. If you’ve never visited her website, take a few minutes to check it out. Her stuff is amazing!!!

There were quite a few steps involved in putting this batter together, but nothing I couldn’t handle. It was pretty easy, even if it did require me to kind of things ahead a little so everything was ready when I needed it. You can find the recipe here, Billie’s Italian Cream Cake Recipe. The recipe calls for it to be made in three round pans, but I did it in two 9 inch pans, at least I think they were 9 inchers. Anyway, it worked out okay with just the two since I sliced each one to make four layers of cake. I was glad I had don that, too, since the icing recipe makes an enormous amount of icing. I slathered it on each layer and then iced the whole cake like a half-inch thick and I STILL had a ton of icing left over (which I slapped onto the top of the cake for good measure). This might have been why the cake was so heavy…just maybe. My coworker put a slice of it on a small styrofoam plate…and when she picked up the plate, the weight of the cake actually BROKE THE PLATE! Now, that’s some serious cake.

This cake smelled so good while it was cooking that I had to call my mom and rub it in! If she hadn’t been out of town at that exact moment, I have no doubt that she would have parked herself in my kitchen all afternoon just so she could smell it! Once again, I slacked off and didn’t take any pictures until the end of the baking process. I really need to start thinking about that a little earlier in the game. But anyway, here’s what the iced cake looked like…

I was supposed to have made this cake to take to a church function, however, it smelled so heavenly and the icing was so yummy by itself that it just didn’t make it that long. I wanted to try it!!! The cake weighed a TON and just looking at it you could feel a heart attacking coming on. That’s when you know it’s going to be an excellent cake…and it was. One bite and I was total goner. I decided very, very quickly that I had better get rid of this evil cake as quickly as I could. I took it to work the next day and peddled it to everyone in the building. I wasn’t going to be the only one having chest pains if I could help it!

And if looking at the outside of the cake didn’t cause you to drool, then here’s a look at the inside.

I mean, just LOOK at it. It’s all moist and yummy. Those of you who out there that don’t like coconut…well, frankly I feel sorry for you. This is the most decadent cake I think I’ve ever made. It is pure and simple evil. If you are feeling naughty and want to torture a friend, just make them this cake.

Tie-Dyed Giant Cupcakes

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Giant Cupcakes — by queenofevilyumminess @ 9:47 AM
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I was cruising the internet one day looking for fun cake ideas and I ran across a site where someone had done a fun tie-dyed cake. It’s been a long time since I visited that site, so I honestly couldn’t tell you who it was that gave me the idea. My friend, Mel, wanted a fun, bright birthday cake for her daughter which presented the perfect opportunity to try out this new technique. Luckily, I had time for a trial run first to make sure I could get it to work correctly.

It thought it turned out nice, well, at least the INSIDE of the cake did. I was experimenting with drop strings and had mixed results. Practice, practice, practice!!! Anyway, I thought the inside of the cake looked totally groovy! So did Mel, I did the inside of her cake this way, too.

It is really easy. I made up the cake batter like I usually would and then divided it evenly into two bowls. One bowl I dyed green and the other I dyed purple. Then I just spooned the batter into the pan, alternating the colors to achieve the tie-dyed look. She asked that I decorate her cake a little more simply…

The next time I made a cake like this, it was just as bright but in different colors. I though ahead a little bit more and snapped some pictures of the inside of the cake BEFORE I iced it to demonstrate how cool this effect looks. So, here’s before…

And here’s the after…

This cake, unfortunately, called for more drop strings. While they went onto the cake in a decent manner, they rebelled and decided to fight with the cake box.  A set of the drop strings decided it could no longer be associated with the cake and bailed. The gal I made the cake for was really nice about it, but I was mortified!!! Grrr….so drop strings are my current arch-enemy and it would take an act of God to get me to put them on something I have to deliver more than five minutes from my house. Still, the cake turned nice. (You can see the rebel drop strings on the left side of the picture)

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