September 9, 2014
Birthday Present-25


We’ve been gone for the summer while we built our new blog. But now we’re back–bigger and better.

So we thought we’d start where we left off–with this sweet petite project–and its easy, breezy recipe.

As they say: Good things come in small packages. And these tiny GIFT BOX CUPCAKES are definitely a good thing. They’re sure to be a big hit at any celebration.

Here’s how we did it:

First we had to create square cupcakes. We used a foil liner with a pattern. We pinched the liners to create four corners. We placed as many as we could fit into a 9 by 13 inch cake pan (which came to about 20-24 liners). That helped them keep a square shape.

Then we filled each liner 2/3′s full with batter and baked according to cake mix instructions. Once they were baked and cooled, we pulled them apart, like a pull-apart cake.

We frosted the tops of our square cupcakes with vanilla frosting and added a few confetti sprinkles, which we color-matched to the liner.

Then we rolled the top of each cupcake in white decorating sugar to coat them.After that, we smoothed out the tops, using an offset spatula. We removed the excess sugar with a dry pastry brush.

This gave us a great sparkly package with polka dots.For the bows and ribbons, we used stick chewing gum: Big Red for pink, Juicy Fruit for yellow. (We split the chewing gum sticks lengthwise to give them a thinner look.)

And that’s a wrap!

Do not open till dessert time!!


Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen



September 8, 2014
Spaghetti and Meatballs 3-feature size

People always ask us: What are your most POPULAR projects?

So we took a semi-scientific poll (that is, we asked a bunch of friends and fans). And we came up with a rough list of GREATEST HITS.

We thought we’d feature some of these “classics” on our NEW BLOG–especially since some of them go pretty far back at this point. So here’s one of our ALL-TIME top vote-getters:  SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALL CUPCAKES.

This project really fools the eye. At public appearances, we find that SO many people think it’s actually pasta—which is lots of fun. We think that’s one of the main reasons this project is so popular.

It’s also very easy to accomplish. All you need are a few piping skills—to pipe out the spaghetti shaped frosting—and the ability to dunk a Ferrero Rocher chocolate into some strawberry jam.

For the complete instructions, check out pages 34-5 of out original HELLO, CUPCAKE! book. And you’re sure to find yourself saying, “That’s Italian!!”

Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen


September 7, 2014
hoda 2nd layer

A cake covered in guitars definitely hits the right note.

But it’s just the second layer on Hoda Kotb’s 50th Birthday Cake.

During the summer, THE TODAY SHOW staff asked us if we could make a giant layer cake to surprise Hoda on her birthday! The three-tier concoction took us about a week to make–but we were happy to do it.  Hoda and Kathie Lee have always been great friends–and supporters.

Check out the entire cake in the following video, direct from the folks at NBC.

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Here are some fun recipe facts about Hoda’s cake:

The bottom tier is a rectangular layer cake, made to look like the beach, Hoda’s favorite place. A cupcake shaped like her adorable dog Blake is riding an egg bagel painted fire engine red!! (The waves are made out of S-shaped “Breakfast Treat” cookies dipped in blue chocolate.)

The second tier plays tribute to Hoda’s love for music.  Those guitars and musical notes are made out of sugar cookies.

The third tier is made from Hoda’s mother Sammy’s baklava recipe. A few years ago, after appearing on the Today Show, Hoda was sweet enough to send us the recipe. We were excited to use it!! And as you can see in the video clip–so was Hoda!!!

We had a great time building Hoda’s mega-dessert. We hope it’ll give you some good ideas–and inspiration–for your next birthday cake!

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen



September 6, 2014
Penguins-feature size

These lovable Penguin cupcakes have always been a big hit—so big, in fact, that their CANDYMATION adventures even made it to our app.

And you have to agree: When it comes to CUPCAKE CLASSICS, these guys are the COOLEST.

We got the idea just about the time we created our BOWLING PIN cupcakes. For that project, we put a donut hole on top of a regular cupcake. And we thought: Wow! We can do a lot more things with that!!

We added some chocolate frosting and a fruit chew for a beak and—lo and behold—we were halfway to penguins.

Shaved COCONUT proved to be perfect for the snow. But we used so much of it—especially when we did the app—we’re STILL finding coconut in the Candy Lab carpet!

You can see more of these icy fellows on the back cover of HELLO, CUPCAKE! and on pages 44-7.

Happy Penguin-making,

Alan and Karen

p.s. For those who are so inclined, you can watch a penguin animation (or what we call a CANDYMATION) on our BOOKS page.


September 5, 2014
Owls-feature size

This project is a real HOOT–and definitely one of our CUPCAKE CLASSICS.

We got the idea while we were eating some OREOS at the Candy Lab.

We know Oreos are one of the most popular cookies around, so we started brainstorming on how we might use them.

Alan broke open a cookie to eat the frosting inside–that’s his method–and suddenly the idea hit us: Owl Eyes!!

We got to use a regular Oreo for the owl parents, and mini-Oreos for the kids. (Plus Junior Mints for the big eyeballs, and M&Ms for the small eyeballs!)

For the total how-to, take a look at pages 171-3 of  HELLO, CUPCAKE!

Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen


August 21, 2014

We LOVE creating new animal projects. And here’s one project that goes especially well WITH MILK.

This cuddly cow was developed for PARADE magazine. And we think it’ll definitely put you in a good MOOO-d.

We used a pretty wide variety of cookies and candies to create our cow: jelly beans, Necco wafers, Junior Mints, gumdrops, Oreos and biscotti. (Can you pick them out?)

For all the details on our divine bovine–including the recipe and a special how-to video–CLICK HERE.

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen