Evil Yumminess in the Land of Giant Cupcakes

November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Baby Shower Cake

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Halloween,spice cake,Uncategorized — by queenofevilyumminess @ 11:42 AM
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Thank goodness this thing is done and eaten now! I always get so excited when I am asked to make a larger cake and want to make the most of the opportunity. This instance was no different. I was pretty much told I could do the cake however I wanted as long as it came out elegant and pretty. My friend was very happy with the end result, Yay!!!

The cake was a spice cake, thus all my overly obsessed blog posts regarding generating a good spice cake, with cream cheese frosting. The thing weighed about ten pounds, I swear! The bottom cake was a four-layer 9″ cake decorated like a basket. I added a candy pearl accent around the bottom and a peachy-pink ruffle around the top. On top of that there was a two-layer 6″ round and then the 3D pumpkin. I added mini cupcakes around the bottom for extra flare. I had originally intended to put the mini cupcakes on top of the bottom cake so that it looked like a basket of flower, but there didn’t end up being enough room on top of the cake to do so. I guess I should have measured or something to make sure that they would have fit. It worked out, though. I also used a ton of luster dust to give the cake some shimmer and shine.

Since I needed to fill in the empty space below the pumpkin, I whipped out a big flower-ish tip and plopped a bunch of flowers into that space. I didn’t like the effect really, but decided that if I added the luster dust it would be okay. I added some of the candy pearls, too, and it turned out looking nice.

I put both peach and white icing in a pastry bag and covered the 3D pumpkin with tip #18 drop stars. I started in the indented parts and worked my way out so that the shape would still show. The green on the top for the leaf, stem and vines got a treatment of luster dust, too, so that they would stand out some more. The pumpkin looked really, really sad without the green and pretty dang good with it.

I started icing this thing at around 7:30 pm Friday night. I took a short break (about 30 minutes) to get my daughter into bed and then dove right back into the cake. I finally finished the decorating, not including the mini cupcakes which I did the next day, at around midnight. I don’t plan to ever pipe cream cheese frosting again if I can help it. It is either too stiff or too soft. There is too small a window when the icing is just right to work with and I’m too impatient.

As I mentioned before, I think the cake weighed about ten pounds. Between the cake itself, the mini cupcakes, and the whoopie pies that I filled, there was 4 packages of cream cheese, 4 sticks of butter, and 4 pounds of powdered sugar. Plus, add in the weight from the different elements of cake and we are talking one dang heavy cake. I was so afraid I was going to drop it!

On another note, I really need to make a sign to put in the back of my car so that the poor souls that get stuck behind me when I’m delivering a cake know why I’m only driving about 4 miles per hour. I’m thinking something like, “Cake Delivery in Progress…SORRY!”

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October 12, 2010

Spice Cake…The Quest

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Halloween,spice cake,Uncategorized — by queenofevilyumminess @ 1:32 PM
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My best friend is planning her sister’s baby shower and enlisted my services for the cake. The sister notified her that the baby had been craving spice cake lately. So, naturally, the cake for the baby shower is going to be spice cake. I’ve never made a spice cake before. I don’t like spice cake at all and have no idea what a good spice cake tastes like. Neither the sister nor my friend live near enough to me that I can have them taste test for me. Luckily, I have a long list of friends and co-workers which I can call upon to participate in a taste test of this kind.

I started searching on the internet and found a ton of recipes, but I decided to ask my mom to delve into her recipe book cache to see if you should find a old recipe that might work. When I got home from work, she had about six cookbooks of various origins and age sitting on the table for me. One of these books was a very old, musty, dirty binder with typed recipes. No name, no date, nothing. I asked Mom what the deal was with it and was delighted to find that I was holding my great-grandmother’s recipes. Apparently, her uncle had typed them up a very long time ago so that they would all be in one place. THANK YOU GREAT-UNCLE L!

This cookbook is old and the recipes in it are even older. Many of the recipes do not include instructions. Some of them do not even have measurements. They’ll just say, “add enough flour to get a stiff dough” or “add flour until you get a dough that you are just able to handle.” Temperature settings are more likely than not to be “moderate,” “slightly fast,” etc. Obviously these recipes were from someone who knew how to bake in the first place. Some recipes even instruct you to take the pan out of the fire. Nice, huh!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to try the Spice Cake recipe and compare it to a cake mix to see which was better. Unfortunately, I did not own all the spices needed.  As I said, I don’t like spice cake, so I didn’t have nutmeg, cloves, ginger, or allspice. I went to the store and had a heart attack over the price of spices (once again). I decided to just buy the allspice and see how it went. Turns out, it wasn’t enough, but that comes later.

Being me, I had forgotten about the family weenie roast last Sunday until my husband came home at 2:30 and reminded me. He wasn’t sure if we were going to go until around 3:15 and at that point I didn’t have anything to take with us. We have to leave at 4:30. Perfect time to make up these spice cupcakes, right? I thought so. Also being me, I decided that I should be able to get two batched, one from scratch and one from a mix, baked and iced in an hour.  Imagine my distress when my hubby declared at 4:15 that it was time to go. I just laughed…he did not. I did get them done, but I was taking the last batch out of the oven when it was time to actually leave at 4:30. Hubby was annoyed; he hates to be late. I got enough of them iced using store bought cream cheese frosting (sad face) to take to the weenie roast. The rest I stuck in a container for later.

Now for the comparison…

On the left is my great-grandma’s recipe and on the right is the box mix. You can tell in the picture that one is much lighter in color than the other. The from from-scratch recipe was a little less moist, was spongier, and not as flavorful. the lack of flavor was expected, though, since all I used was cinnamon and allspice to flavor it. The box mix was moister and denser. It also smelled much better. So far, the reviews have been mixed. Some like one and some like the other.

I robbed my Mom’s spices and came away with cloves, ginger, and nutmeg, so I plan to do another trial on the recipe to see if it is any better. In addition to the extra spices, I plan to use a little brown sugar to see if that will help the flavor and color at all.

Here’s the recipe:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk (aka buttermilk)
1 cup raisins, chopped (which I omitted because I despise raisins)
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp soda in sour milk
2 large cups flour

One can only presume to know exactly what this recipe means by “large cups flour.” I just measured it out like I usually do (Stir flour, spoon into measuring cup, and level with spoon). Just another joy in the quest for an excellent spice cake! This recipe only make 19 cupcakes instead of the usual 24, too.

By the way, I do NOT recommend trying to make two batches of cupcakes in an hour and expect to get them iced, especially if one recipe if from scratch. It was a sketchy business, to be sure!

July 21, 2010

Cupcake Massacre

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,mascarpone — by queenofevilyumminess @ 3:14 PM
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I don’t think that I have ever, EVER had a batch of cupcakes turn out this ugly. Don’t get me wrong, they still tasted delicious, but they looked terrible. After making a tiramisu cake a while back, I fell in love with mascarpone. It is so creamy and light. I did a search one afternoon for cupcake/cake recipes that included mascarpone. I found the following recipe at Pickycook.com, and the pictures sold me.

The recipe was easy and came together easily. However, I chose to follow the recipe exactly and filled the cupcake liners almost to the top. I thought perhaps the cupcakes didn’t bake up as much as a normal on would. WRONG! They baked up like normal and ended up with a significant edge all around the cupcake. This in itself wouldn’t have been a bad thing, but these cupcakes are really heavy and creamy, so they didn’t hold together when I took them out of the pan. The paper liners came off and the cupcakes slumped. The few that I had filled with less batter managed to hold it all together, barely.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with…a cupcake massacre!

Keep in mind, though, that these cupcakes had been sitting in my fridge for a couple of days after I had glazed them. The glaze looked much prettier when I first applied it. I still have big, big plans for these little guys, though. Actually, I have plans for modifying the recipe and adding some extra oomph. I’ll make sure to post the changes to the recipe and picture of the end result. Hopefully, the end result of the next batch will look much, much better than these last sorry suckers!

Maybe if I had baked them longer they wouldn’t have fallen apart, but then they wouldn’t have been so creamy and moist. This recipe apparently originated from the FoodNetwork star Giada De Laurentiis. It just goes to show that the recipe is not always correct, no matter who writes it.

July 14, 2010

It’s Raining Cupcakes – Part 2

Now, for Part 2 of this tale. After I had committed to the bridal shower order discussed in Part 1, I volunteered to make the cake for my cousin’s baby shower. I did NOT have the sense to ask WHEN the shower was being held before I volunteered my services (not that it would have mattered because I probably would have done it anyway, but aaaannyway). Turns out, the bridal shower was on Friday and the baby shower was the following Saturday AND that there were going to be around FIFTY people there! This meant that I had to bake the following all in one week: 2 giant cupcakes, 64 regular cupcakes, 2 star cakes, and 30 + cake pops. I’m proud that I managed to get it all done in four days and without a total breakdown, too. Who needs sleep, right!?!

I had been wanting to make this particular giant cupcake for quite a while, but had no excuse to do it. Instead of trying to explain exactly what it was that I had in mind, I’ll just show you a picture. Trust me, it is much easier this way!

The lighting was very dim in the church, so I didn’t get the best picture of the cake. It was a chocolate cake. I used a big basket weave tip to make the bottom part look like a wooden washtub. If I had more time (and more frosting) I would have added a few more accents, like the iron bands, etc. to make it look more realistic. I dirty iced the top of the cupcake with white icing and then slopped on a bunch of the sparkly blue piping gel that Wilton makes. Next, I plopped on a bunch of marshmallows to look like bubbles and then topped it off with a patriotic rubber ducky. I was so excited when I ran across those star marshmallows and I think they worked out really nicely. The little red stars were added at the last minute and were made from cherry slices. I rolled them flat, re-sugared them, and cut them out with a teeny star fondant cutter. I also used the piping gel on the bottom of the cake board and dressed it up with more marshmallows.

Now, if you hadn’t figured it out yet, the theme for the shower was Red, White, and Blue. I decided to bake a star cake and use pillars to suspend the giant cupcake above the star cake. I also wanted to make the star cake had a tie-dyed effect. The first cake was kind of a flop. I used the Better Crocker gel food colors and the blue really wasn’t all that blue. Also, I had just spooned the different colors into the pan and when it baked, there were huge cracks from where the different colors didn’t fuse together. I’m not sure if it was from air being present or maybe it was because of the spray I used to coat the pan getting between the colors. Who knows, but it wasn’t the best looking cake and I decided that I really had to redo it. Here’s the end result for the first star cake. I hadn’t planned on using it at all, but I had some chocolate frosting left over so I figured, what the heck! You can see some of the non-blueness of the blue part in the picture.

The second try for this star cake turned out way better than I had hoped. Since I wanted to avoid the cracks again, I used a different method for tie-dying the cake. I mixed up the batter, divided it into even potions, then dyed one blue and one red. I used the Wilton food coloring gel this time and had much better colors. I then dumped everything back into the original bowl and folded it a few time to slightly mix the batter up. Then, I carefully poured it all into the pan. This was how it turned out. VERY tie-dye, I think.

And here’s what the inside looked like.

I think this method has way more of a tie-dye look than just spooning it into the pan separately.

I wanted to try out using the frosting plug technique that SeriousCakes demonstrated recently in one of her many fabulous videos on YouTube. Check that video and many other out here. I am incapable of filling a piping bag with more than one color and having it come out correctly. This frosting plug thing was a dream come true. I was able to use red, white, and blue icing all at once without it blending together. You’ll be able to see it a little better on the regular cupcakes.

I wanted to keep with the red, white, and blue theme for the cupcakes, too. I opted to make red velvet cupcakes since I was already making some for the bridal shower. I also made blue velvet cupcakes. I used a from-scratch recipe for red velvet and instead of adding red food coloring, I added royal blue food coloring. The cupcakes came out a really awesome color of dark blue. They were all decorated with the left over icing I had from when I did the star cake. Some had more blue, some more red, and some more white, but the design was the same.

Okay, so after having slaved away at the oven all week and flaring up my carpal tunnel with all the piping, I finally had everything finished. I was so excited to get all this stuff set up at the baby shower. This is how it all turned out…

Here are a few more pictures…

It’s Raining Cupcakes – Part 1

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Giant Cupcakes,Red Velvet — by queenofevilyumminess @ 9:49 AM
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I was asked to make a spread for a bridal shower that was held last weekend. This would be “Part 1.” Then I volunteered to make a bunch of stuff for a cousin’s baby shower that was also held last weekend. That would be “Part 2.” Let’s just say…I was a tad busy last week!

For the bridal shower, I made a giant cupcake, 12 red velvet cupcakes, and 30 cake pops. I was a little nervous because she asked for the giant cupcake to be yellow cake and I haven’t made yellow cake before. I search far and wide for a recipe that sounded good, but decided to just doctor a cake mix instead. I wanted something that I wouldn’t need to test out in advance and that would be a no brainer but still taste yummy.

My solution was to take a Golden Yellow cake mix, add a box of pudding (add dry to the cake mix), and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The cake came out moist and tasted really good.

In a compromise between cost and quantity, we decided to go with 12 matching cupcakes and 30 cake pops. I was pretty sure (mostly) that I could get a dozen cupcakes and that many cake pops from one batch of batter. I lucked out, though, and someone else ordered some red velvet cupcakes so I was able to freeze an 8 inch round as an insurance policy for the pops. It worked out really nicely using the frozen cake.

I wanted to make the matching cupcake pretty and use a design different from anything that I have done in the past. This is the design that I used.

Since I was planning on making red velvet cupcakes for the baby shower, I decided to just bake all the batter as cupcakes and use the frozen round that I had made previously for the cake pops. As I said, this worked out rather well. The cake was still really moist when I thawed it out. I needed 30 cake pops and I ended up with around 50 from that one cake. I tried thinning the candy melts out with a little Crisco, but I ended up with some grease spots on the pops that I had to soak up with a paper towel. I’m not sure if that stemmed from the Crisco not being incorporated enough or from the fact that I had a teeny bit too much cream cheese icing in with the cake. I also designed a special tag for the cake pops with the couple’s name and the wedding date, which was tied on each cake pop.

I did not attend the baby shower, but I managed to get a picture of how they set up the cake and everything. I thought it was simple and pretty. I’m dying to get a set of crystal/glass stands like they used for the cupcakes!

Overall, the planning of when I was going to bake/decorate everything was the hardest thing. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there had only been the one shower, but with two in the same weekend, it was a little hectic. I definitely worked with cake way more than I slept last week. So, on that note…I’m going to take a nap!

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