October 11, 2015

As we always say, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays! And here’s one of our favorite Halloween projects! We put on our MAD SCIENTIST hats and came up with this bubbly TEST TUBE CAKE.

Take a close look and you’ll see why we think it’s a real EYEful!!

Test Tubes-22

The recipe itself is really fun to follow, and surprisingly easy. But you will need two colors of frosting: chocolate and vanilla and–believe it or not–acid green chocolate!

Start with a CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE and frost the outside with DARK CHOCOLATE FROSTING. (Make sure it’s really dark frosting, so the colors will pop.)

Next, take 13 TWINKIES (a good number for Halloween) and trim one end to make it flat.

Then dip the Twinkies (or Cloud Cakes, if you prefer) into the MELTED CHOCOLATE (Wilton Melting Wafers work great for this) that you’ve tinted ACID GREEN. (We used McCORMICK NEON FOOD COLOR.) and place them back side down on a cooling rack. Before the green chocolate hardens add a few white sprinkles to look like bubbles rising in the test tubes!

Once the green chocolate has firmed up, dip the flat end of the Twinkie in WHITE CHOCOLATE melting wafers to look like the foam at the top of each tube.

Attach the Twinkies to the side of the cake using chocolate frosting to secure. Make sure the flat white end is facing up.

To the flat white ends, add ACID GREEN SHIMMER COATED SIXLETS AND PEARLS (get them at Party City), using VANILLA FROSTING to glue them down.

Add more Sixlets and Pearls to the top of the cake, pressing them into the chocolate frosting.

To finish, add CANDY EYEBALLS from Party City.

And there you have it–a gory holiday treat!!

We even added a diabolical drink made from fizzy green soda with a GUMMY WORM in the bottom of each glass!! Enjoy!!!

A big BOO to everyone,

Alan and Karen


October 10, 2015

These aren’t cakes FOR kids. They’re cakes BY kids!

We were thrilled to see all the great cakes created by kids at the Oklahoma State Sugar Artists Show this year. Whenever we arrive at the OSSA Show, we make a bee-line for the junior division. There’s always lots of Hello, Cupcake pizazz to be seen, including candy for decorations (which is not allowed in the other divisions).

We love word play, and when we saw the Owl with the Book of Smarts (above) we thought, “Who’d a thunk it?” The fondant feathers and books were remarkably well done. Kudos!


This Island and Palm Tree Cake really took us by surprise. Not only did it use cookie crumbs for the sand, but it also incorporated Sixlets into the waves and as a border at the bottom. Nice Candy Detective work there!

And last but definitely not least, we loved this PIZZA CAKE complete with box and pizza wheel. The crust looked tasty, and the assorted candies made it look so real. Can you guess what they are? (Now it’s your turn to play Candy Detective!)


We’re sure all three young cakemakers will soon graduate to the main event. And we can’t wait to see more fun cakes from the Junior Division at the show next year.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


October 9, 2015
Pink Camo SW

Here’s a photo of a brand new cake we developed just a few days ago at the 2015 Oklahoma State Sugar Artist Show. We call it a PINK CAMOUFLAGE CAKE! We put it together using various ideas you might recognize from CAKE MY DAY! including our sugar smash technique (for the outside) and our pink ombre technique (for the inside). As usual, the Sugar Artist Show was a magical experience. We’ve been participating for 5 years—and this year, we even received a Medal of Honor to celebrate our many years of ongoing support for the Sugar Show.

Here we are with our medals and sashes.AwardAnd here we are checking the medals for gold!checking for gold

The Sugar Arts Fair is the most amazing gathering of cake-minded folks. Competitors come from around the globe to compete for prizes and bragging rights. We were honored to have spent several days in the Reasor’s Fairground Kitchen, decorating for the crowds. Among other things, we created seven Groom’s cakes which we themed “A Few of His Favorite Things.” We decided to follow our own advice from CAKE MY DAY! and decorate the cakes INSIDE AND OUT! (More on them in a future post.) We were happy to have the support of SweetWorks and Chocolate Frey this year. And we included their wonderful candies in our designs wherever possible.

Take a look below at our favorite cakes and moments from the show:

Here’s Karen showing off two camouflage cakes we made using SIXLETS: the Pink Camo Cake with a pink ombre interior (you can also see it at the top of this page), and a green “boys” motif, which has poured frosting for the camo on top, and camo cake batter on the inside.

Camo Karen

Here’s Alan pressing SweetWorks Candy Crumble into the frosting on the pink Hugs boot cake. The crumble is a vanilla flavored crushed candy—and it makes for a pretty (and tasty) coating.

Candy Crumble on boot Alan

Here’s Karen demonstrating how we got that boot shape for the Hugs Boot and our Work Boot Cake.

Boots and Karen

SweetWorks sent a ton of their decorating candy, and Sugar Show director (and creator) Kerry Vincent chose it for her yearly CROWD TOSS. It’s almost like Mardi Gras in the Fairgrounds Arena when Kerry starts pitching to the crowd.

Kerry Pitches Panorama

Karen stood nearby with lots of extra SIXLETS and PEARLS for Kerry to throw out to the bleachers. It was Karen’s big “game show” moment.

Karen SW shipper

When Kerry Vincent throws…America ducks!

Kerry Duck!

Finally, here’s Kerry sending a big thank you to SweetWorks for making the TOSS a huge success this year.

SW Kerry

And we send a big thank you to Kerry for having us at America’s premier cake decorating event!

Hope to see you all there next year!!

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

For more info on SweetWorks decorating candy click on the link below

Chocolat Frey_Logo Lockup_withNC_FINAL


October 1, 2015
Chocolat Frey_Logo Lockup_withNC_FINAL

We are so happy to be sponsored by SweetWorks as we head to Tulsa for the 2015 Oklahoma State Sugar Artists Show, as well as the Grand National Wedding Cake Competition.

SweetWorks is sending a tremendous amount of their gorgeous shimmering candy to the show. And contestants will be required to use SweetWorks candies for the live timed competition. That should be one EYE-POPPING event!!!

One of the biggest pleasures for us is seeing all the creativity in the cake arena. Every year, we offer a HELLO CUPCAKE “Pick of the Show” Prize including cash and signed copies of our books. We can’t wait to see what the contestants bring to the arena this year.

Last year’s winner was Jean Schapaval with what she titled her ROY LICHTENSTEIN POP-INSPIRED HAND-PAINTED CAKE!!


We loved Jean’s artful approach to cake-making. We also loved that she broke it into three sections. Very clever, Jean–and we’re certainly on the same page! We had we our own Lichtenstein-inspired cake in CAKE MY DAY! (below)

POP cake

Here we are last year—with Jean and one of her HELLO CUPCAKE prizes!!

jean al kar

Can’t wait to see what folks come up with this year!!!

See you there,

Alan and Karen


September 30, 2015
Photo by Tara Dunne
PARENTS Magazine

Check out the adorable Teeny Tiny desserts we created for a recent issue of PARENTS Magazine!!

We just love small desserts…like cupcakes, right? But this time, we decided to make a TINY dessert that looked like a BIG one. A full size birthday cake, only in miniature.

Big thanks to Tara Dunne who took this special photo.

Get the full party plan from PARENTS at http://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/themes/itsy-bitsy-party/

Meanwhile, here’s how we did it.


  • 16 ounce frozen pound cake, thawed (we used Sara Lee)
  • 16 ounce can vanilla frosting
  • cup milk-chocolate frosting (optional)
  • Assorted sprinkles and decorations (we used M&M’s Minis, Pearls by Celebration by SweetWorks, candy decors, nonpareils, and fine and coarse decorating sugars)


1. Trim short ends of pound cake; discard. Cut cake crosswise into eight 1″ slices. Use a 2 1/8″ and a 1 1/8″ round cutter to cut circles from each slice.

2. Arrange cake circles on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet. Attach smaller circles to larger circles with a dot of vanilla frosting.

3. Heat remaining vanilla frosting in microwave, stirring every 5 seconds, until slightly loosened. Pour frosting over each cake to cover completely.

4. To add chocolate topping, refrigerate iced cakes to set, about 15 minutes. Then spoon chocolate frosting into a resealable bag; press out excess air. Heat in microwave, about 5 seconds total, until slightly melted; message bag to even out texture. Snip a small corner from bag and pipe on top of cakes, allowing frosting to drip down over edges.

5. While frosting is still wet, decorate with sprinkles and candy decors.

Now that we think about it, these tiny cakes fit right in with the KITTENS AND CAKE PHOTO we posted just the other day. (Scroll down below.)

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


September 27, 2015

We were going through our CAKE AND CUPCAKE PICTURE FILE which has gotten almost too big to handle. We figured it was time to reorganize it and edit it a bit. But before we got rid of any of our old photos, we wanted to share this pic with you.

Even though we both have DOGS, this KITTENS’ BIRTHDAY PARTY is one of our favorites.

Time to go “Awww….”

(Wonder if that’s our WHITE-OUT CAKE from WHAT’S NEW, CUPCAKE?)

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen


September 26, 2015
Hot Air Balloon 2 cake

Ever since watching the movie Up!, we’ve wanted to create a cake that looks like it’s soaring above the clouds.

Sometimes we just can’t shake a certain idea! We plan it and plan it but for some reason, we never get to it. But at a recent candy fair, we finally did it. We created our first “Hot Air Balloon” cake!! And it was sooo easy.

We were brainstorming on some quick ideas to demo at the candy fair. And suddenly we found ourselves trimming a 9 inch round cake at the bottom to narrow the shape. Lo and behold, we had our balloon—and we were on our way into the stratosphere.

For the basket, we used a snack-sized pound cake (like the ones made by Entenmann’s) and covered it with chocolate frosting, piped in a basket weave pattern.

The cables supporting the basket are Ovation Sticks. And we used Sixlets, Pearls, and Mini Gumballs for the decorations.

Surrounding the Hot Air Balloon, we added some Kookie Banana bluebirds and some cloud clusters made of Pearls and Sixlets. We thought they’d complete the scene. And we always like to complete the scene.

We can’t wait to try more variations back at the Candy Lab. But for now, we’ve got Up! out of our system. I guess we can move on to our next animation inspiration. Maybe Inside Out!

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen



September 21, 2015

September 22nd is NATIONAL ICE CREAM CONE DAY!! And to celebrate, we thought we’d feature our own Candy Lab version of that cold, creamy, crunchy snack.

Our version is actually made from a mini-cupcake (BIG SURPRISE!) in a sugar cone, covered with frosting. We applied some Candy Crumble for that crumbly look, a gumball for the topper, and Sixlets surrounding it. Easy as that!!

Because it’s a big day for the ice cream cone, we of course became curious about its origins. According to the National Day Calendar website, “The ice cream cone made its (U.S.) debut at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904.” It turns out that in 1912, “an inventor from Oregon obtained a patent for a machine to make them.  He sold his company to Nabisco in 1928 and they still make ice cream cones today.”

Our cupcake historian took us back a little farther. He told us that you can find mentions of an ice cream cone-like concoction as far back as the early 1800s. One early French cookbook describes them as little waffles.

So enjoy a “little waffle” cone today–whether it’s a real one or a faux one courtesy of the Candy Lab.

Happy Holiday,

Alan and Karen


September 17, 2015
Red High Heel Shoes 2-feature size

The most fashion-forward of our Cupcake Classics has got to be this sweet attempt at fabulous footwear: High-Heel Cupcakes!!!

It might be our most popular project ever, and we’ve gotten repeated requests to re-post it. So here it is. It’s originally from our book CUPCAKES, COOKIES & PIE, OH MY! (You can find them—and lots of glam variations—on pages 111-115.)

We’ve been asked to recreate this project at many different cupcake events—including one hilarious happening in Miami, FLA.

We were invited to kick our heels up at a big outdoor confectioners celebration at the famous Fontainebleau Hotel.  It turned out to be the hottest, most humid night they’d had in a while—and that’s saying something.

We had over 600 cupcakes sitting out in the heat. And they kept melting and slipping off their cookie-stick high heels. We had a crazy time keeping each and every shoe aloft—while meeting and greeting all the guests!  After a while, the whole experience became hysterically funny–like something out of an I LOVE LUCY episode. But we did manage to keep most of the heels high! And the cupcakes were a big hit!!

Moral:  Don’t make high-heel cupcakes outdoors in the summer!

For the full recipe, check out OH MY. You’re going to need graham crackers, Pirouettes or any cookie stick, melting wafers and, of course—decorating sugars (to make the widest array of shimmering shoes you can think of).

Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen


September 14, 2015

We’d like to make a TOAST to Autumn. And what better way to do it than with our TOASTER CAKE from CAKE MY DAY! It’s one of the projects our fans mention most. And why not? Who doesn’t love toast—and retro appliances?!!

We gave it a vintage look by using poured frosting for the red enamel and chocolate cookies for the Bakelite handles. It actually looks like the toaster in Alan’s kitchen. And it’s a lot easier to make than you might suspect.

Here’s how to do it:


1. For the bagels, preheat the broiler. Cut the doughnuts in half horizontally. Place the pieces, cut side up, on a cookie sheet. Toast the doughnuts under the broiler until just golden brown around the edges.

2. Place the cake on a work surface, bottom side up, and cut it in half crosswise to make 2 smaller rectangular cakes. Spread some vanilla frosting on the bottom side of 1 cake and place the other cake on top, bottom side down and cut edges adjacent to each other, pressing it into the frosting. Place the cake, cut side down, on a cardboard cut to fit. Use a serrated knife to round the corners of the top of the cake. Spread a thin crumb coating of vanilla frosting on the cake, filling in any gaps, and smooth. Place the cake in the freezer until set, about 30 minutes.

3. Spoon the dark chocolate frosting into a freezer-weight ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Spoon 1/3 cup of the vanilla frosting into a small dish and cover with plastic wrap. Place the remaining vanilla frosting in a glass measuring cup and tint it red with the paste food coloring. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

4. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. As the parts are made, transfer them to the cookie sheet. For the lever handles, cut 1/2 inch from one edge of each of the 4 chocolate mint cookies. Snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the dark chocolate frosting. Pipe a dot of frosting on the flat side of 1 cookie and press another cookie on top, flat sides together, with the trimmed edges lining up. Repeat with the remaining 2 cookies.

5. For the electric cord, twist the licorice laces together to make a double strand. Insert one end of the laces into the round end of 1 black spice drop. With a small knife, cut 2 slits parallel to each other on the flat end of the spice drop. Insert the small end of a white gum rectangle into each slit.

6. For the controls, cut a 1/8-inch slice from the flat end of the black gumdrop. Press the red pearl candy into the cut side of the slice for the button. Pipe lines of black decorating icing on the white flat candy and attach the cut side of the black gumdrop as the dial.

7. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and place a wire rack on top. Place the chilled cake on the wire rack. Microwave the red frosting in the glass measuring cup, stirring every 5 seconds, until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 25 seconds. Pour the melted frosting over the cake to cover completely, allowing the excess to drip onto the cookie sheet. Place the cake in the refrigerator to set the frosting, about 30 minutes.

8. Use a large spatula to transfer the cake to a serving platter. For the toaster openings, use toothpicks to mark 2 side-by-side 3/4-x-4-inch rectangles on top of the cake. Use a small knife to remove about 1 inch of cake along the length of each rectangle.

9. Pipe a line around the base of the cake with the dark chocolate frosting. Press the fudge-covered wafers into the frosting, trimming as necessary to fit.

10. Starting about midway up from the base of the cake and centered from side to side, pipe a vertical 2-inch line of dark chocolate frosting on both short sides of the cake. Press the cut edge of the chocolate mint cookies into the cake, crosswise, as the lever handles. Insert a thin pretzel stick into the cake under the cookie for support.

11. Press the black gumdrop candies on one long side of the cake as the button and the dial. Insert the licorice end of the electric cord near the bottom of one end of the cake. For the toasted bagels, pipe a dot of dark chocolate frosting on one edge of 2 of the doughnut slices. Insert the frosted edge into the toaster openings, standing upright.

12. Sprinkle the top of the reserved vanilla frosting in the small dish with the green sugar for the cream cheese.

13. To make the knife, cut the stick of gum into a long peanut shape. Trim 1/8 inch from each flat side of the remaining 4 black spice drops and discard the trimmings. Press the cut sides together to make 2 balls. Trim one rounded side of each ball and press the cut sides together to make the handle. With a small knife, cut a slit in one rounded end of the handle and insert the stick of gum as the blade of the knife.

Serve with the 4 extra toasted doughnut slices. And there you have it: an edible kitchen appliance!!

Remember: For more warm and toasty projects, CAKE MY DAY is still available at Amazon (by clicking here) and BARNES & NOBLE (by clicking here).

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen