THE SIMPLE SECRET OF A “PERFECT CAKE” MIX!!

August 31, 2015
Deli Chicken-assembly 2

Throughout our book CAKE MY DAY!, we suggest using what we call a “PERFECT CAKE” mix. Because the projects involve cutting cakes into shapes, stacking them and covering them with candy, we found we needed the cake to be extra firm. And we found that accomplishing this was surprisingly simple! In fact , all that was required was ONE SWITCH IN INGREDIENTS!!

All you do is take a box of cake mix and replace the water called for on the box with BUTTERMILK!! Easy as that—and you have a great base for decorating.

Deli Chicken-assembly 1

p.s. If you don’t have buttermilk in the fridge, you can whip it up yourself by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of whole milk. Let it stand for 10 minutes to sour.

We’ll be putting our perfect cake to use in our next blog post.

Stay tuned.

Alan and Karen

 

THREE BOUQUETS OF CHRYSANTHEMUM CUPCAKES!!

August 24, 2015
mums

MUM’S THE WORD on the blog today, as we whip up some classic Chrysanthemum Cupcakes.

Over the years, this project has been so popular, we’ve created many versions and variations.

The original version—which you see above—was from our book WHAT’S NEW, CUPCAKE. Its defining characteristics are mini-marshmallows cut diagonally and dipped in colored sugar. You can find the entire recipe on page 138 of WHAT’S NEW, CUPCAKE.

Below, you’ll find a variation. These mums contain larger petals which we made from regular sized marshmallows.

chyrs

For these large petaled flowers, we started by tinting white sprinkles a pretty salmon pink using McCormick Food Coloring. Just place the white sprinkles in a ziplock bag and add NEON Pink food coloring to the bag. Zip it shut and shake to tint the sprinkles. Spread the tinted sprinkles on a sheet of wax paper to dry, about 10-15 minutes.

For the large petals, we use scissors to snip regular marshmallows into slices, three from each marshmallow. Then we dipped the marshmallow slices in the dried sprinkles to coat the sticky sides of the petals.

Place 5 petals on top of a green frosted cupcake and add a yellow spice drop for the center. EASY!

If your attitude toward mums is “MORE IS MORE” (one of our guiding principles here at the Candy Lab), we have a third, somewhat subtle variation for you. You’ll find the photo and a complete step-by-step recipe on the McCormick site by simply clicking here.

Now that should be enough projects to satisfy any lover of mums—and cupcakes!!

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

LATE SUMMER FLOWER PROJECTS!!

August 24, 2015
Brownie FlowersRT

Before summer is over—and we find ourselves singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone”—we thought we’d offer up some QUICK AND EASY late summer flower projects.

The photos are pretty much self-explanatory once you realize that all we’ve done is pick the right dessert base (brownies, cookies and chocolate pie), creatively position various candies on the top—and glue them on with frosting.

Use any of your favorites. Just be sure they are colorful. Sixlets, jellybeans, gum balls, Pearls, M&Ms, Good and Plenty, Spree, and Runts all work perfectly for this.

The project at the top of the page is made from 3 brownies, covered in chocolate frosting. We use various colors of Sixlets for the petals with a contrasting Sixlet for the center, Green Baby Tears for the leaves and a yellow licorice lace for the stem.

Below, there’s a rainbow-colored SUNFLOWER. We used big sugar cookies for the base. We placed them on flowers cut out from colorful felt. Then we decorated them using rainbow colors of Sixlets in concentric circles, with frosting as the glue of course.

And here’s a chocolate pudding cake in a tart shell, covered with three different size daisies. We made the centers of the daisies from yellow Sixlets, and gum balls in mini and regular sizes. We surrounded them with white petals made from mini gum balls, Sixlets, and Pearls. We added green Sixlets around the base.

flower-Chocolate-Daisy-Tart

We’ll have a few more fabulous flower projects for you over the next few weeks. We’re out to prove that making flowers from candy is as easy as collecting a big bouquet from your backyard.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

HAPPY HOUR “MARTINI” CUPCAKES!!

August 18, 2015
Martini-Cupcakes

It’s time for a drink—or at least cupcakes that look like a drink.

Sometimes adults simply have to take a moment for themselves. These Martini Cupcakes are the perfect way to relax after a long day of piping frosting.

These treats don’t actually contain any alcohol. Simply start with 12 martini glasses and prepare to fill them with classic white cake mix. Then cover with vanilla frosting. Add sprinkles and edible glitter to give your martini the proper fizzy look.

You can get the entire recipe in detail by clicking here. Take special note of our trick for getting your cupcakes to have the perfect cone shape. It’s what a martini glass requires.

Bottoms Up,

Alan and Karen

A WONDERFUL WATERMELON CAKE!!

August 10, 2015
watermelon cake

Sometimes new projects just jump out at you! It’s a combo of the right timing and the right candies.

Even though it’s the middle of summer, we were actually working in advance on Christmas designs. (You can never get too big a jump on Christmas.) We were using red, green and white Sixlets. And at one point we noticed that the Christmas colors actually reminded us of watermelon.

And then it hit us: What a perfect summer project!

So here it is: the complete recipe for a wonderful WATERMELON CAKE:

INGREDIENTS

8 inch cake round (red velvet)

1 1/2 cans vanilla frosting

McCormick Assorted Food Coloring (green and red)

1 cup green Sixlets

1/4 cup white Sixlets

1 1/2 cups red Sixlets

7 or 8 black Sixlets

DIRECTIONS

We used an 8 inch round cake for the design. (Red velvet would be perfect because of the color.) Slice the cake in half and sandwich the two layers together using frosting in between to secure.

Next give the semicircle shape a crumb coat of frosting and place in the freezer to chill for about 15 minutes.

While the cake is chilling you can tint the frosting. Place 3 tablespoons vanilla frosting in a ziplock bag and set aside. Separate the remaining frosting into two batches and tint one batch green using McCormick Food Coloring, and the other half red/pink using food coloring.

Once the cake is well chilled, frost the side of the cake with the green frosting. Frost the top of the cake with the red/pink frosting.

Snip a 1/4 inch corner from the bag of vanilla frosting and pipe a thick line of white frosting between the green and red/pink frosting.

Now it is time to decorate the cake with candy. Attach green Sixlets to the side of the cake on top of the green frosting. Add a row of white Sixlets on top of the white border next to the green. Then attach red Sixlets to the top of the cake on the red frosting.

To finish the design, remove a few red Sixlets from the top and replace them with black Sixlets for the seeds.

And there you have it—just about the perfect cake for a summer picnic, seeds and all!

Enjoy!

Alan and Karen

LUCKY’S MAINE ADVENTURE!!

August 6, 2015
lucky lobster

Maine is one of the most dog-friendly states we’ve ever been to.  No wonder it’s Lucky’s favorite vacation spot! She loves all the access (to stores and restaurants) and all the attention!

Here we are, being corny, at Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf in New Harbor, Maine.

Maine is a great DESSERT place too.  Love that Indian Pudding! Love those blueberry pies!! And especially LOVE those Whoopie Pies!!!

There’s always plenty of inspiration here for new seaworthy dessert projects—like this CRAB CAKE (click here to find it in the blog archive)!

Crab Cake47

Hope everyone is having a fab summer!

Alan, Karen, Lucky and Bunny

 

MAINE “LOBSTAH ROLL” CAKE!!!

August 3, 2015
Lobster Roll Cake-2

A LOBSTER ROLL made of marshmallows, coconut and vanilla frosting: that’s what’s on the menu today!!

And what could be more appropriate. We’re up here in Maine, mainly resting, gazing out from the coast, counting the lobster traps out in the bay and looking for inspiration for new projects, like this “Lobstah Roll” Cake!

Here’s the entire lobster-icious recipe. Don’t worry. It doesn’t involve tussling with claws or cracking any shells.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (16 ounce ) frozen pound cake ( Sara Lee), thawed

1 cup white marshmallows, cut into quarters

1 cup pink marshmallows, cut into quarters

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

2 green apple licorice twists, cut crosswise into small pieces

4 inches red fruit roll snack (Fruit by the Foot), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups whipped vanilla frosting

For the Garnish:

4 inches red fruit roll snack (Fruit by the Foot)

1 thin pretzel stick

2 yellow fruit slices jelly candy

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the broiler. Make 2 cuts the entire length on the top of the pound cake, 1 inch in on either long side and about 1 1/4 inch deep. Carefully remove the center piece of cake with a paring knife and discard or use for another purpose. Place the cake on a cookie sheet. Toast the cake in the broiler, turning the cake after each side is lightly toasted, about 20 to 30 seconds per side. Transfer the toasted cake to a serving platter.

Combine the marshmallows, coconut, green pieces of licorice twist and cut pieces of fruit leather. Toss to combine. Add the whipped frosting and 1 tablespoon warm water, stirring until pieces are completely coated. Toss gently to blend. 

Fill the opening of the toasted pound cake with the marshmallow mixture. 

To make the pretzel stick garnish:

Use small scissors to make cuts 1/8-inch apart along one long side of the red fruit leather, keeping a 1/4-inch edge of the strip uncut on the opposite side. Wrap the fruit leather strip around one end of the pretzel stick, pressing the uncut edge gently into the stick to secure. Loosen the cut ends to look like a feathery toothpick garnish.

Garnish the cake with the fruit slices and pretzel stick.

Makes 12 servings

Enjoy! You can never have too much Lobster Roll. (A friend of ours just got back from Maine and said he ate it EVERY DAY!)

See you soon, back at the Candy Lab.

Alan and Karen

COCONUT COLADA CAKE!!

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

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