July 27, 2015
Coconut Shell Cocktail-1

We found ourselves in a TROPICAL MOOD (probably because of the sweltering temps). So we thought this COCONUT COLADA CAKE would be perfect for summer chillaxing. What you’re seeing are rum flavored bowl cakes with a coating of toasted coconut for the shell—plus some poured white frosting on the inside.

Bowl cakes are one of our newest obsessions! (We devoted an entire chapter to them in our new book Cake My Day!) They are E-Z to make. You just have to think outside the box…or bowl!

For each Colada, you will need to bake two small rum-flavored bowl cakes in 6 or 8 ounce oven-safe bowls to create spheres.

Next trim the top of each bowl cake level. Using frosting for glue, attach the cut sides to made a perfect sphere. Place the sphere cakes in the freezer to chill.

To create the Colada shape, remove 1 inch from the top of each chilled sphere shaped cake.

Using a small paring knife, make a 1/2 inch deep circular cut in the top of each cake 1/2 inch from the edge.

Excavate inside the circular cut, removing the cake to a depth of 1/2 inch, to make a circular depression in the top of each cake. (See photo.) Return the cakes to the freezer to chill.

Melt some vanilla frosting in the microwave. Pour the melted frosting over the top of each chilled cake to coat the insides of the circular depression and the 1/2 inch border surrounding them. This will create the white “flesh” of the coconut.

Place semisweet coconut in a ziplock bag and add a few drops of yellow food coloring. Massage the bag to evenly coat the coconut with the food coloring. Spread the tinted coconut on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 until lightly golden, toss the coconut and continue baking until most of the coconut is toasted golden brown in color.

For the outer husks of the coconuts, spread chocolate frosting over the sides of the chilled coconut shell cakes. Press the toasted coconut lightly into the chocolate frosting to cover.

Add bendy straws, orange slice candies, colorful napkins, and umbrella toothpicks. And now you can take a break!

After all, you’ve got a cake that says, “I’M ON VACAY!”

Cue the palm trees!

Alan and Karen


July 27, 2015

We just received our first box of 2016 HELLO CUPCAKE calendars—and they look great!! As it says on the cover, this is the “7th SMASH YEAR” for our calendar, always a big seller.

So we thought we’d let you know that they’re already out there. You can get them at Amazon right now (click here) as well as local bookstores (once they start stocking calendars).

The calendar includes 12 fun cupcake projects—including full lists of the candies we used to make them. You can see a few of the included projects on the back cover here:

cal b

Consider this an early Happy New Year!

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


July 19, 2015
Sailing Ship-cupcakes

You’ve heard of the TALL SHIPS. We call these the SMALL SHIPS!

These sweet sailing vessels are made from three cupcakes covered first in yellow-tinted frosting.

The masts and prow are thin breadsticks dipped in chocolate melting wafers, and we used melted chocolate to glue them together.

The red flags are fruit roll-ups.

The crow’s nest is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

The poop deck at the back is a Famous Chocolate Wafer surrounded by pretzel squares.

The portholes on the side are chocolate M&Ms.

And here’s a real trick: The sails are phyllo dough. We cut them into sail shapes, draped over tin cans and baked lightly to make them look like they’re filled with wind.

That’s that. Now you’re ready to sail away!

Bon voyage,

Alan and Karen



July 16, 2015
lucky and rock

Usually Lucky loves her days at the CANDY LAB. But the other day she seemed bored and was asking for tons of attention. So to make her feel better, we took a break from decorating. And Karen displayed a new talent: rock painting!

She made this cute, pretty accurate portrait of Lucky on a stone we had lying around. And lo and behold: Lucky loved it. She cuddled up right next to it all afternoon.

Just thought we’d share—to show it isn’t “all work and no play” at the CANDY LAB. (Not that anyone ever thought differently.)

Happy Summer,

Alan and Karen



July 13, 2015
Shark Attack-close up


It wouldn’t be summer without some reference to those sleek predators of the deep. (Bring on the JAWS music. Da-dum, Da-dum, Da-dum….)

And since last week was SHARK WEEK, we figured what better time to feature one of our all time most popular projects from our original HELLO, CUPCAKE!

Of course, our maneaters have a very sweet, soft center. In fact, they’re primarily made of Twinkies.

Their scary teeth are made of frosting and their fins are chocolate wafers.

You can find the complete jaw-dropping recipe starting on page 81 of HELLO, CUPCAKE!

Shark Attack-blog feature



Alan and Karen


July 11, 2015
kar al ff

The FANCY FOOD SHOW was such a blast this year. It took place right here in NYC, at the Javits Center.

We spent two great days manning the SweetWorks booth and creating projects for their display cases. We always love meeting newcomers, fans and other bakers. And we got to talk candy, cakes and cupcakes non-stop (which is one of our favorite things).

We also got to eat lots of the other food at the show. The chocolates were amazing this year!! (Imagine a chocolate truffle with bacon and maple syrup flavor.)

We are always designing on the spot,  and we came up with lots of variations on HELLO CUPCAKE and CAKE MY DAY projects. These flowers are always one of our favorites to create for the show. They make a big splash and yet they are so EASY!

We frosted mini cupcakes with colorful frosting (blue, green, and rose). Then we added SweetWorks Celebration candies (Baby Face Tears, Flying Saucers, and Kookie Bananas) to turn them into flowers. Then we simply pressed the mini cupcake into a sugar cone and used Sixlets to support the cones in a container.

Lots of people asked if they could take a photo so that they’d remember how to assemble the mini cupcake in the ice cream cones and make the flowers themselves. Always a sign of a surefire success in a design!!

flower cupcakes ffs

Now that the Food Show season has ended we are back at the Candy Lab making some new creations (and sneaking in a little VACAY time). Hope you’re having a great summer. Gotta run.

Alan and Karen


July 7, 2015
Blog Monkey

Here’s the first version of our MONKEY CAKE (which appears on page 225 of CAKE MY DAY!).

We thought you’d enjoy seeing this variation—which, at one time, was considered for the book’s cover.

Anyway, enough monkey business.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


July 2, 2015
july candy crunch

We came up with a bunch of July 4th themed cupcakes while we were at the latest FANCY FOOD SHOW this past week. And we wanted to share them with you before we split for the holiday.

july 6 cupcakes

You won’t really need a how-to. The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. We were manning the SweetWorks booth, so all the projects were decorated with an assortment of Sixlets, gumballs and Candy Crumble—as well as red and blue tinted frosting. It’s as easy as it looks.

july single cupcake

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Alan and Karen


June 29, 2015

In keeping with our SUMMER BURST OF YELLOW theme, here’s a batch of DAISY CUPCAKES to brighten your kitchen table.

They actually look like the kind of MONTAUK DAISIES that grow near here, at the end of Long Island.

You’re going to need white chocolate chips and lemon curd to pull this off—although it’s actually a very simple recipe.

For all the directions, click here.

We’ll be back soon with more summer fun (and a report from the latest FANCY FOOD show, which took place right here in New York).

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen