Evil Yumminess in the Land of Giant Cupcakes

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…

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It’s Raining Cupcakes – Part 1

Filed under: Cake,Cupcake,Giant Cupcakes,Red Velvet — by queenofevilyumminess @ 9:49 AM
Tags: , , ,

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!

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!

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…

February 18, 2010

Attack of the Four Giant Cupcakes

Filed under: Giant Cupcakes — by queenofevilyumminess @ 10:47 AM
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So, last week I had happily planned out my baking schedule and was thinking that it wouldn’t be too terrible even though I had a lot to do…and then, I received a message from someone requesting a Giant Cupcake. That put my total of Giant Cupcakes for this week up to four. And then I was given two tickets to a Christmas symphony concert, too. A busy week turned into a hectic week! I managed to make it through, though.

Cake #1 was for my niece last Sunday. The cake was pretty, white and turquoise with white candy pearls. I should have planned more with this cake or perhaps stuck with the original design I had envisioned. I actually got if iced in record time, but then I spent like 45 minutes adding the little candy pearls because I felt that it needed more. I wasn’t sure what kind of more, but it definitely needed something. I doubt I will ever use those pearls in the same way again unless forced to at gun point. It was very tedious as they kept running away from me.

Cake #2 was for my coworker’s birthday. Her birthday was Monday, but thankfully she decided to take the day off! So, I had an extra day to get the cake done. It was a Triple Fudge Chocolate Cake with a hint of hazelnut coffee and was decorated with chocolate and white chocolate buttercream. A friend of mine had given me this really involved recipe for an awesome chocolate cake…but I’m too lazy to spend that much time making a cake, so I decided to doctor up a cake mix and see how it turned out. I used a strongly brewed hazelnut coffee instead of the plain water that the cake mix directions call for and added in some extra vanilla. The cake was really moist and yummy with just the slightest hint of the hazelnut coffee coming through. It turned out to be my favorite Giant Cupcake that I have decorated so far. It just looked so pretty.

Now, before I continue, I should add that brewing the coffee was an experience in itself. I don’t drink coffee and have no coffee supplies at all. I had meant to snag a coffee filter from someone else but just flat forgot about it. I got the coffee made, but the process probably would have made any coffee aficionado cringe. My first thought was that I would just boil some water and then put the coffee grounds in a paper towel, which I would then submerge in the water to make the coffee.  Well, that didn’t work, or rather was taking much too long to work. I got mad and just dumped the grounds into the hot water. Now I had a new problem. I didn’t want to just dump the grounds of coffee into the cake; I just wasn’t sure how that would turn out. So, I grabbed a little colander that I had stuffed in the back of a cabinet and lined it with yet some more paper towels. Then I poured the coffee through the paper towels to strain it. Hey, it worked and I ended up with some very strong coffee.

Cake #3 was for the coworker’s mother’s birthday on Wednesday. I had grand designs for this one, but it ended up looking nothing like I had planned. It was supposed to have had a tie-dyed cake (forgot to do it and didn’t even realize it until much, much later when it was too late to rebake it). It was supposed to have white chocolate curls all over the top (I curse chocolate curls! Curse them I say!).

As you can tell from the picture, the chocolate curls just didn’t happen. I couldn’t get them to work no matter how I tried to do it. All that careful planning and designing and then at the last minute I had to come up with an entirely new design! Good thing I’m creative. All was not lost, and I’m told the cake was delicious.

Cake #4 was requested for delivery on Friday, but due to the concert on Thursday night, I decided to get it done a day early. Thank goodness I had the foresight to see the complication, otherwise Thursday would have been a very, very long night for me. Doing this cake prompted me to declare that drop strings are no longer allowed on my Giant Cupcakes. I was concerned about how they would hold up during delivery. They did really well until they got attacked by the box when the lid was taken off. The box popped a flap open and cut some of the drop strings off. I could, and may, do a whole rant about trying to find a good box for these cakes, but for not I’ll save you the drama. Suffice it to say that I will NOT be using this type of box again if I can help it. When we went to fix the damage, more strings fell off. Luckily, the woman I made the cake for is very nice and assured me that this would not be a problem. I felt horrible and this incident made me realize how happy I am that I don’t bake for a living. I would be a nervous wreck!

My “Note to Self” for this week is the following: Do not add that one last detail…When you are looking at something and wonder if it could take just ONE more detail to make it perfect…DON’T DO IT! On cake #3 I added a little flower at the top of the cake and regretted it. It didn’t look bad, but it definitely looked better before the flower. On cake #4 I added what ended up looking like a large swirly pile of green and orange alien poo on top, which I promptly removed. No one wants alien poo on their cake. On that note, I’ll wrap up this post.

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