Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cupcake Cake Take 2

I have a wonderful daycare that my 18 month old goes to and my 3 1/2 year old went to for the year before preschool. The owner is like family to us, so when she wanted a cake for her sister, I was more than happy to oblige. She first told me that her sister was a singer, so it needed to be something musically related. My first thought was - microphone, I'll build a microphone! But then she saw the giant cupcake and said she must have that, but still musically related.
The ambitious woman in me still wanted to do the microphone, but maybe put it on the top of the cake. Somehow I couldn't wrap my mind around how that would turn out, so I had to convince myself it was okay to do a simple cake.
The day before I was to give it to her, she gave me the spelling of her sister's name. Now, you might have noticed that blatantly missing from all of these cakes is piping, especially when it comes to writing. Give me a challenge to carve or decorate, and you got it, but ask me to write someone's name on a cake? Deer in headlights. (My wonderful friend J recently took me to a decorating/piping class for Christmas, to help with my phobia, but that's a story for another day...maybe). Anyhow, she was dead set on having her name on there, so I improvised. And really if I were her sister, I would be psyched to have my name in chocolate, instead of some boring old piping! Sidenote - hilarity (and almost tears) ensued when I pulled the letters out of the fridge and dropped them directly on the floor, sending shards of chocolate through the air. Good thing it was cold out, because that second batch didn't get much time in the fridge!
Now, many have asked me if I use the cupcake cake mold, and to that I say - why would I spend $30 and waste kitchen space on something that is so easily carved? I can't speak from experience, because I haven't used one, but I'm having a hard time imagining the center being cooked properly without the outsides getting a little dark, don't you think? Besides, most of the fun of making the cake is starting with a blank pallet. Not to mention, eating the scraps from cutting down the cake is really the best part about making a cake, and is a must in my house. That is the only way my husband tolerates my spending the weekend baking something he cannot eat. Especially when that something is red velvet - such as this cake.
There were a few things that were not ideal though about carving this cake. I discovered that while red velvet is tender and delicious, it's really not that much fun to carve. In fact, it's damn near frustrating. I would recommend to anyone using red velvet for anything other than a circular cake to make sure you give it proper time to cool in the fridge. Between my day job and my kids, I rushed this one along, and almost paid the price - of making a whole new set of cakes. And, on the same note, while cream cheese frosting is absolutely d-lish and so easy and fun to decorate with, it too needs extra time in the fridge, or you might have a sliding mess on your hands. Also, dowels are your friend.
From what it sounds like, the cake was well received, and that's really what matters!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Monster Cupcakes

I don't have the words or energy to describe my neighbor's son. By the time I get done with this post, he'll probably already be a different kid, or at least have run 10 laps around the house. I needed to make something that would make even a kid like him, stop in his tracks long enough to say 'COOL!'
These monster cupcakes did just that and he even immediately picked out my favorite one! These were delivered at 7am and were promptly devoured. It was okay though - the sugar rush was being followed by Disneyland!
***I must give credit where credit is due, and I would like to personally thank Martha Stewart (or more likely someone on her staff) for the inspiration, and my darling husband for his participation.