Tag Archives: cupcakes

Island Cupcake Tower

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IMG_5701Recently we held a birthday party with a beach theme. As the centrepiece of the food table, I made cupcakes to place on my cupcake stand. My stand has three levels for holding cupcakes, plus a place for one right at the top. I used this design to make the cupcake stand into an island cupcake tower.

Freshly baked cupcakes.

Freshly baked cupcakes.

First, we baked the cupcakes using a basic butter cake mix. A helped me set out the paper cases (she chose ones with Disney Fairies on them!), and spoon the mixture into the cases. We only filled each one about half way so that they didn’t rise too much.

Once the cupcakes were completely cool, A and I divided the cupcakes into piles for each level on the stand. The lowest level held the most cupcakes, and was to represent the water of our island. A helped me mix up the butter (vienna) cream to ice them. I like to use a simple recipe for butter cream that I found on Taste.com. We added some blue food colouring to the butter cream until it was the blue we wanted, and then we generously covered the cupcakes with it. We used the flat edge of a knife to create the “waves” by tapping the top of each iced cupcake, pulling some of the butter cream up in peaks.

A sea cupcake.

A sea cupcake.

Adding coconut to the top of the cupcake.

Adding coconut to the top of the cupcake.

We made a second batch of butter cream, this time colouring it yellow for our layer of sand cupcakes. We had previously coloured coconut to use as the sand on these cupcakes. We covered each cupcake with butter cream, and then dipped them into the yellow coconut until the tops were completely covered. I made the butter cream thick on these cupcakes to help hold the plastic toy palm trees we then placed on each one.

Beach cupcake.

Beach cupcake.

Grassy cupcake.

Grassy cupcake.

The final layer of cupcakes was to be the heart of the island, with green butter cream and green coconut for the grass. Again, we applied the butter cream generously to help secure the plastic ferns we added for foliage. These cupcakes were the pinnacle of the cupcake stand. The cupcake on the very top was the centre of the island, which sloped down to the sea at the bottom. I think it looked quite effective on the table!

Island cupcakes.

Island cupcakes.

Cat and Mouse Cake

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I have made this cat and mouse cake a few times for the kids’ birthdays. It is quite easy and has been a big hit at birthday parties. I normally make butter or vanilla cakes, but A begged for chocolate cake, so I used some White Wings mixes to make the cakes.

Prior to icing.

Prior to icing.

The cat’s head is make with a round cake base, with another cake cut up to make the nose and ears. The mice are decorated cupcakes. I just cut a rough circle section for the nose, and then I sliced the piece of cake so that it was about half the depth. I attached it to the round cake using some white buttercream (vienna cream or frosting). I also used some buttercream to attach the triangular ears to the top of the round cake. I don’t worry too much about how the cake looks at this point because I know I will make it look nice with the frosting!

There are lots of recipes around for buttercream, but I used one I found on taste.com.au, it was light and fluffy and very tasty.

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After applying white buttercream.

After applying grey buttercream.

After applying grey buttercream.

A asked for her cat to be grey and white, which is pretty easy. A little bit of black liquid food colouring added to the plain frosting gives a nice grey. As I was also icing the cupcakes in white and grey, I made up a triple batch of buttercream, and divided into two bowls, keeping one white and making the other grey. A double batch probably would have done it, but I’d rather have extra ready to go if needed, especially if I am using coloured buttercream, it’s so hard to get the colour to match if I have to make more.

I roughly added the white buttercream over the nose and to make the inside of the ears. Then I did the rest of the head in grey neatly, butting it up to where the white should end, and covering any excess white frosting along the way. To give the buttercream a bit more texture, I used the flat side of a butter knife’s blade to slap against the buttercream, causing little peaks to form. I did this all over the grey areas, while keeping the white fairly smooth. The kids thought it looked more like fur that way.

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IMG_2377In the end, I decided that I wanted the white to extend a bit further down to encompass the mouth more, so I added some more white buttercream from the nose down. This gave me more room to apply the mouth and nose. The nose and tongue are half a pink marshmallow each, while the eyes are smarties. A chose the pink ones, though I suggested blue or green! The rest of the facial features are drawn on with writing icing. These little tubes are very handy and easy to use.

IMG_2411IMG_2421To make the cute little mice cupcakes, I iced half the batch with grey buttercream and half with white buttercream. The ears are made from pink or white marshmallows cut in half. Each half is placed on top of the cupcake so that the sticky cut edge is facing forwards. The eyes are shiny cachous and the whiskers, nose and tails are added using the writing icing. I had thought about using liquorice strips for the tails, but I am the only one in my family that likes liquorice, so it seemed like a bit of a waste.

Shiny cachou lollies.

Shiny cachou lollies.

The cat’s head was placed in the centre of the pre-prepared board (a piece of plywood covered in foil), and the mice cupcakes were arranged on either side. I only used eight of the mice on the board. The extras did not go to waste though, the kids finished them off quite quickly.

Unfortunately, before the cake could be unveiled at the party, Baby T leant across it and smooshed a couple of the mice and the cat’s nose. The kids didn’t care, they still gobbled it up!

 

Ice-cream Cone Cupcakes

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IMG_2351We had a birthday on a school day for the first time recently, and A asked me to make cupcakes to take along for her class to share. She had seen cupcakes made in mini ice-cream cones somewhere before, and suggested we could make some. I did do a trial run before the big day to make sure I had it right. It turned out to be a rather easy undertaking, and I have made several batches now with great success.

I have used a few different brands of mini ice-cream cones, and have found that the square based cones seem to be a bit more stable than the round based ones when the cake mix is in them, but both work quite well.

Ready for baking.

Ready for baking.

A drippy cone.

A drippy cone.

I lined the cones up on a baking tray, in this instance I used pizza trays, and then fill the cones to about two-thirds full with cake mix. I have only used butter cake mix for these cupcakes, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the kids ask for them made with chocolate cake! I have been baking these cupcakes at a slightly lower temperature than normal, and I check them regularly to prevent overcooking. Sometimes a bit of the cake mix will overflow the cone and drip down the side, but if too much overflows, the cone goes soggy and collapses! So it’s important not to overfill the cones.

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Cooling.

Once the cupcakes have cooled down, I used a basic butter cream frosting to ice the top of the cupcakes. I placed the sprinkles in a bowl, and then dipped the frosted cones into the sprinkles, making sure the tops were completely covered in sprinkles.

The kids in A’s class were delighted with the ice-cream cone cupcakes, and were amazed to find the cones filled with cake and not ice-cream! They were a big hit, and made A very happy.

A frosted cupcake.

A frosted cupcake.

Dipping the cupcakes in sprinkles.

Dipping the cupcakes in sprinkles.

Bee Cupcakes

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L helped me to make these cute little bee cupcakes.

IMG_0483We made a batch of vanilla cupcakes in dark coloured muffin cases. Once they were cool, we iced each cupcake with yellow icing. I wanted the icing to be thick, but smoother than I normally make cake frosting. So I didn’t use as much butter, and I added the milk to the mix a little at a time until I had a nice consistency. I only had liquid food colouring on hand and that makes the icing runnier too. Over the top of the yellow icing, I carefully iced stripes of black icing, well, dark grey was as dark as I could get it, but I used black food colouring. Gel or paste colouring would have been better for making black. I’m happy with the colours anyway.

Once the stripes were done, we added a head made from a honeycomb pods (little choc filled biscuit cups made by Mars). I used white chocolate fudge writing icing to draw on the faces and then some black icing for little antennae. Some of the bees also got mini choc chips as antennae.
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Wing made from a pipe cleaner.

Wing made from a pipe cleaner.

L helped me make wings and stingers from black pipe cleaners. She placed the wings to the sides of the cupcakes, and the stinger at the opposite end to the head. I was quite happy with how the wings looked when we were finished.

L made a couple of bee cupcakes all by herself too. I didn’t interfere with her creative juices, just let her get on with making her bees how she wanted. She used some of the pods for antennae, mini choc chips for eyes, and the white chocolate for the pupils and mouth. Her wings and stinger were pipe cleaners. She had a lot of fun creating her bee cupcakes.  And she really liked eating them too!

One of L' s bees.

One of L’ s bees.

Cupcake Bee Cake

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Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.

Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.

I was thinking about ways to make bee cupcakes, when I thought that perhaps I could make one big bee cake using cupcakes. I pondered this for a while, but finally came up with a plan. After baking two dozen cupcakes, I laid them out in a bee shape to see if it looked okay. It did, so I mixed up some yellow icing and some black icing, which is not perfectly black, but rather a dark grey. To get the icing really black, I would have needed some food colouring paste or gel, but I only had liquid colouring, so dark grey it is. This wasn’t an issue though, as the colours looked quite good together.

L icing a cupcake.

L icing a cupcake.

I got to icing, starting with the black head. The two cupcakes at the front are angled up a little to create the head shape. I used a couple of toothpicks to secure them into place against the single black cupcake behind them. L helped me to ice some of the other cupcakes, and was a big help whilst making this cake. The cupcakes that make up the stripey body are just placed into the correct shape. I ended up using fourteen cupcakes for this cake.

The head of the bee.

The head of the bee.

L made the antennae and stinger out of black pipe cleaners. I stuck one antenna into each of the head cupcakes, and then added eyes below them. The eyes are made from a single malteser chocolate ball with some white chocolate fudge writing icing blobbed on it. L stuck the stinger into the last yellow cupcake.

A wing.

A wing.

The wings of the bee were the trickiest part of this cake. They are made out of clear cellophane. I cut a double sheet into a rough wing shape, and then scrunched one edge together to create the shape of the wing emerging from the body. I separated the two sheets of cellophane slightly to give the wing some depth, and then wrapped half a black pipe cleaner around the scrunched section, and secured it between two of the body cupcakes using toothpicks. The toothpick slotted under the pipe cleaner and then poked into the sides of the adjoining cupcakes. I made another wing for the other side.

And there I had my cupcake bee cake. It was very difficult to photograph, but I’ve done my best. The cellophane didn’t show up very well in the photos, and it was difficult to get one good shot of the whole cake, so the photos don’t really do it justice. It did look much better sitting on my dining table!

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Sheep Cupcakes

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IMG_8959A while ago I saw some of the librarians at our local library had made foods inspired by books, and they had made sheep cupcakes for Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek. We own this book, and it gets read over and over to the point where both L and A are able to recite the words! I love the idea of book inspired food, and these sheep cupcakes looked simple enough, so I gave them a go.

Cupcakes ready for icing.

Cupcakes ready for icing.

Big L made a double batch of butter cupcakes, and when they were cool, I iced them with basic vanilla frosting. Then I covered each one with mini-marshmallows (I think the pack called them mallow bakes). I had these in pink and white, so we had some pink sheep and some white sheep.

Covered in mini marshmallows.

Covered in mini marshmallows.

For the heads I used some honeycomb chocolate pods, which are like a small biscuit cup filled with chocolate and come in a number of different flavours (I think they are made by Mars). The filling side of the pods was facing out, and I drew on this using white chocolate writing fudge to form the facial features and ears of each sheep.

It didn’t take me as long as I expected to make these sheep cupcakes, and I was quite happy with the result. Everyone thought they were very yummy too.

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