May 2, 2016
mum grid

Mums the word! MARSHMALLOW MUMS are so gorgeous your friends won’t believe you made them, or how easy they were!

The image above is our handy info graphic showing how to do it. Pay close attention because this is going to be fast!!

Snip a mini marshmallow in half on the diagonal.

Dip it in colored sugar to coat the sticky cut side.

Press the marshmallow petals into a frosted cupcake in rows, starting with the outside and working your way to the center.

Add small colorful candies like pearls to the center.

Voila! Mums for mom!

We recently recreated this recipe which originally appeared in our book What’s New, Cupcake! as a Snap Chat recipes. If you haven’t seen our Snap Chat recipes they are told in easy to follow photos that we post to our Snap Chat story line! Add whatsnewcupcake to Snap Chat and wait for the fun to begin. We’ve been Snapping a new one every few days, but hurry, they are only up for 24 hours. That’s the fun part of Snap Chat!!!

You can also Snap us below!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Alan and Karen

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April 21, 2016
cat cake

A friend asked us why we don’t do more cat cakes. And we had to remind them of the FROSTED FELINE we whipped up as a possible cover for our book Cake My Day!  In the end, only one fabulous cake could get that honor—and we just adored the Unbaked Alaska Cake you’ll find on the front of our book. But while our Tabby didn’t make the final cut, we still think it’s the CAT’S MEOW!!

Here’s the complete recipe—only available HERE on the blog—for anyone who wants to CAT-upult themselves to TOP CAT in the kitchen.


1 box (16.5 ounces) yellow cake mix

1 cup buttermilk

3 large eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 (10 ounce) frozen pound cake, thawed (Sara Lee)

4 crème filled snack cakes (Twinkies)

2 egg cookies (Stella D’Oro)

1 jumbo marshmallow

4 circus peanuts

2 cans (16 ounces each) plus 1 cup vanilla frosting

Orange paste food coloring

3 cups white coarse decorating sugar (Wilton)

2 white Necco wafers

3 mini chocolate covered mints (Junior Mints)

1 soft caramel (Kraft)

12 mini marshmallows

12 banana shaped hard candies (Runts)

1 black licorice lace

1 tube (4.25 ounces) black decorating icing

1 pink fruit chew (Laffy Taffy, Starburst)


1 chocolate cupcake frosted and sprinkled

4 blue candy coated chocolates (M&M’s Megas)

1 red licorice lace


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with wax paper. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan as well as a 1 quart oven-proof glass bowl (Pyrex).

2. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions replacing the buttermilk for the 1 cup of water. Spoon 2 cups of the batter into the prepared bowl and pour the remaining batter into the prepared cake pan; smooth the tops. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for the cake pan and 35 to 40 minutes for the bowl cake. Transfer cakes to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert and cool completely.

3. Place the pound cake on a cutting board. Cut ½ inch from one short end to make level. Score the top of the cake with a small knife or toothpick into the shape of a cat tail using the level end as the base of the tail. Use a small knife to trim cake and discard the scraps. To create the front paws, remove a 2 inch diagonal piece from 2 of the snack cakes. Trim the top of the bowl cake level with a serrated knife. Place the bowl cake, trimmed side down, on a work surface and cut a ½ inch piece from one edge (this will be the bottom edge of the head cake). Cut the round cake in half crosswise to make 2 semi-circles. Spread some of the vanilla frosting on the flat (bottom) of one cake piece and sandwich it together with the other flat side of cake to make a semi-circle cake. Place the cake assembly, standing up with its cut side down, on the prepared pan. Place all of the cakes on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze to chill about 30 minutes.

4. As you make the parts, transfer them to a wax paper lined cookie sheet. For the ears, use a serrated knife to cut each egg cookie into a 2 inch triangle. For the chin, flatten the caramel to a 2 inch circle. For the cheeks, cut an 1/8 inch from each flat end of the jumbo marshmallow with scissors. For the claws, insert a banana candy into a flat side of a mini marshmallow. For the orange candy fur, cut the circus peanuts in half lengthwise and flatten slightly. Trim each piece into a long thin triangle. For the whiskers, cut the black licorice lace into six 2 inch long pieces. Cut a 1 inch tear shape from the pink fruit chew as the tongue.

5. Spoon 1 cup of the remaining vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Divide the remaining frosting into 2 bowls. Tint one bowl a pale orange and the other bowl a bright orange. Spoon ½ cup of each colored frosting into separate ziplock bags. Press out the excess air and seal the bags.

6. Place the decorating sugar into a large bowl. Snip a 1/4 inch corner from each of the bags of frosting. Working on one chilled piece of cake at a time, spread the cake with a thin layer of the desired color of orange frosting and make smooth. Pipe some of the other color of orange frosting on top to look like stripes.  Coat the frosting with the sugar, lightly pressing it against the cake. Brush away any excess. Lightly press an offset spatula against the sugar and make smooth. Repeat with the remaining cake pieces.

7. For the body of the cat, arrange the large semi-circle cake, cut side down, in the center of a serving platter. Place the tail cake, level end down, near the back tapered end of the body cake.  For the head, place the bowl cake, cut edge down, on the opposite side, securing with a wooden skewer in the center of the cake. (This area will be covered with the muzzle.) For the ears, pipe a line of orange frosting around 2 edges of the cookie ears and press into the sugar. Pipe some orange frosting along the uncovered edge of the cookies and press into the top edge of the head cake. Sprinkle with some sugar to cover any exposed orange frosting.

8. For the face, attach the caramel circle as the chin on the lower half of the head cake with some of the frosting. For the cheeks, use a dot of vanilla frosting to attach the marshmallow slices, sticky side against the cake. For the cat’s face fur, press the orange triangles on either side near the edge of the cake. Use a dot of vanilla frosting to attach the eyes above the cheeks. For the nose, add the remaining chocolate covered mint with a dot of frosting. Insert the black licorice laces as eyelashes and whiskers. Add the pink candy tongue with some frosting.

9. Pipe dots of vanilla frosting on the tip of the tail and around the face. Arrange the snack cakes as the paws around the cake, using a small wooden skewer to secure the upright paw. Pipe some vanilla frosting on the toe ends of the snack cakes and attach 3 marshmallow claws to each paw, adding more frosting as fur.

10. Serve with the cupcake, adding the blue candies as the wheels.

This recipe makes 16 PURR-fect servings—sure to please cake and cat lovers alike!

Happy Cat-Cake-Making,

Alan and Karen

Cake My Day!


April 20, 2016

We LOVE our CREATURE CAKES AND CUPCAKES—and we know they’re popular with all of you. So here’s a favorite farm animal project that goes especially well WITH MILK.

This cuddly cow will 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 entire moo-velous recipe—CLICK HERE.

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen


April 19, 2016
Beaver Cupcakes

Leave it to BEAVER CUPCAKES to make any day a fun day! And that’s especially true because these cupcakes are DOUBLE-TRIPLE chocolate delights!!!

To start with, the recipe calls for chocolate cupcakes. Then add brownies, chocolate candy melting wafers, chocolate chews—and, of course, chocolate frosting!!

The entire recipe can be found by clicking here.

We’re sure you’ll find it a lot easier to build a beaver cupcake than it is for these guys to build a dam!


Alan and Karen


April 17, 2016
Flag-feature size

The New York Primary is this week. So we thought it would be the perfect time to revisit our cupcake historian’s thoughts on the history of ELECTION CAKES. What are ELECTION CAKES you ask? Simply the most politically significant dessert we can think of.

It turns out there was a time in American history when election days were days of CELEBRATION—when a community came together to embrace that unalienable right. The earliest election cakes were enormous affairs, commissioned by local governments, and made to feed the entire voting body.

The first homemade election cakes were more like spice cakes, followed by a sourdough version. These days, what’s commonly referred to as an election cake is more of a fruitcake in a Bundt-cake shape complete with nutmeg, raisins and clove. This version is also called a HARTFORD ELECTION CAKE, which dates all the way back to 1771. (Apparently, back in 18th Century Hartford, Connecticut, if a man voted a straight party ticket, he was given some election cake.)

Many recipes for the Hartford Election Cake can be found on line. But we figure ANY CAKE made in the right spirit makes a good election cake. And we certainly love the idea of the entire community coming together over VOTING AND DESSERT!

So we offer this RED, WHITE AND BLUE CUPCAKE CAKE as a commemoration of all the primaries sweeping our nation, and with hopes for a good outcome (whatever your persuasion).

Here’s the All-American recipe:

Start with the base of the cake. Use standard sized cupcakes. Cover 3/4s of them in vanilla frosting. Cover 1/4 of them in blue-tinted frosting. Arrange them into a flag-shaped rectangle.

Then add mini-cupcakes (covered in red-tinted frosting) to the top of the white cupcakes to make the stripes. And on top of those mini-cupcakes, we placed Red Hots, Hot Tamales, swedish fish, red Twizzler pieces and red jelly beans. RED is one of the most popular candy colors, so we’re sure you’ll come up with something all your own.

The same goes for the white candies that make up the stars. We used white Good & Plentys, Sixlets, white M&Ms and Baby Tears. We even used Chiclets (for a little extra chewiness). So have fun. And enjoy your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of cupcakes!!

Happy Voting,

Alan and Karen



April 15, 2016

DAFFODILS ARE EVERYWHERE! And their perky determination to drive away winter and make us feel HAPPY has inspired yet another marshmallow flower. This time out we used LARGE SPICE DROPS to make the centers! Take a look at how we did it.

Make the petal by snipping thin slices crosswise from regular size marshmallows. Toss the slices in yellow or white decorating sugar. (The sugar will only stick to the sticky cut side of the marshmallow.)

Use a small melon baller to remove a bowl shaped scoop from the flat side of a large spice drop (yellow, orange, or white). Sprinkle the inside of the scooped area with a contrasting color of nonpareilS (yellow, orange, or white).

Arrange 6 sugar coated petals on a green frosted cupcake and place a scooped spice drop in a contrasting color at the center.

Mix and match the colors of sugar and spice drops to make a whole daffodil bouquet!

Daffodil-iciously Yours,

Alan and Karen

P.S. This Daffodil is from our latest series of Snap Chat Recipes. To see them just add whatsnewcupcake to your Snap Chat! But hurry, each recipe is only up for 24 hours on our whatsnewcupcake Story!

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April 11, 2016

People have been asking us: Whatever happened to our cupcake historian? He used to pop by the CANDY LAB  fairly often. So we gave him a call and he was happy to join us for lunch (and a cupcake). And as usual, he had a handy fact or two to share.

He was looking through a pile of new cupcake liners we’d just bought, which inspired him to tell us about the history of cupcake liners. We were surprised to find out that this absolutely essential product did not arrive on the market until after World War Two.

Oddly enough, for something so cute and delicate, cupcake liners were created by an artillery manufacturer called the James River Corporation. After the war, the market for artillery shells dropped precipitously. So the fast-thinking folks at James River pivoted toward paper and created the first paper dessert cup, using the same machines they used for shells.

Before then, bakers had to laboriously prepare cupcake tins with oil and flour, and even then there would be sticking issues. So when the paper liner came along, it was embraced by bakers, growing immensely popular throughout the 1950s.

Then in the 1970s, the look of paper liners became much more varied in color and design—and it’s hard to imagine now what we’d do without all those colorful choices!

That pretty much takes us to where we are today, awaiting the next giant leap in paper liners.

Thanks, cupcake historian. We hope you drop by more often.

Historically yours,

Alan and Karen


April 9, 2016
Magnolia Cupcakes

Spring is exploding all around us. So we decided to see if we could give Mother Nature a run for her money by making Magnolia Blossoms almost as pretty as the ones on the trees. We used a technique right out of our book Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My! where we created Water Lilies floating on a pool of azure Jello!

Our inspirationmagnolia inspiration

Our techniquemagnolia collage

Take a look at the photos above and you’ll get a pretty good idea how we made them.

First combine white and bright pink candy melts in a microwaveable bowl and melt them in the microwave. Heat them 10 seconds at a time and stir slightly in between each 10 seconds, until they soften. Not too much stirring, though, because we want the colors to stay separate so we get variegated pink and white petals.

Once the candy is softened, dip the back side of a plastic spoon in the melted candy and set the spoon, candy coated side up, on a wax paper lined tray. (When dipping the back of the spoon, keep a slight margin of plastic showing all along the edge. Do not let the chocolate coating go onto the edges of the spoon. This makes the petal grab onto the spoon edge once it hardens and it is more difficult to remove the petal in one piece. Also make extra petals as backup just in case they crack while removing them from the spoons.)

Place the tray of petals in the refrigerator for a few minutes to chill. Once hardened, test a couple to find the best technique for removing them from the spoons. We find a slight twisting of the plastic handle helps. Gently nudging the tip of a fingernail under the edge of the hardened chocolate often works, too. Just remember, they are chocolate, so don’t let them sit in your hands too long or they will start to soften. If they do soften just place the tray back in the refrigerator to firm up.

Once you have removed the petals from the spoons, set aside in a cool place on wax paper.

To assemble the flowers, place a large dot of melted candy in the bottom of a cupcake liner. This can be done in a muffin pan so the liner doesn’t spread and you will get a tighter blossom. Or you can assemble them with the liner sitting right on the counter  and you will get more open blossoms. Arrange  a few petals in the shape of a flower making sure each petal sits in the dot of melted candy at the bottom. Let the candy holding the first few petals harden before adding more candy to the center and placing a few more petals to fill out the blossom. Let the blossoms sit until the chocolate holding the petals together has a chance to completely harden.

Once they are set, simply frost your cupcakes with green tinted frosting, gently remove a magnolia blossom from a liner, and attach to the top of each cupcake. Beautiful, right? We hope Mother Nature approves.

Happy Spring Decorating!

Alan and Karen

P.S. Wouldn’t these be perfect for Mother’s Day?


March 31, 2016

It may be gray and gloomy here at the CANDY LAB today. But we are determined to feel like SPRING IS HERE!! So here’s a recipe for one of the most Springy things we can imagine: happy, chirping, hungry, little Baby Birds…well…Baby Bird CUPCAKES, that is.

Our baby bluebirds are sitting in a nest of Chow Mein Noodles. And each of these cuties has their beaks open, waiting to be fed. One of them, you’ll notice, was lucky enough to catch a worm (which is actually a pretzel stick).

For the fine feathered recipe, click here.

Meanwhile, we’ll go back to hoping we get a little sunshine today.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


March 30, 2016

We love to FOOL THE EYE and APRIL FOOLS DAY gives us the perfect excuse to trick the family with a Delicious Deli Chicken CAKE! And you even get two sides with your order, COLE SLAW and BAKED BEANS!

We made this robust rotisserie bird with sides for our latest book, CAKE MY DAY! But like many other amazing projects there just wasn’t room for it. So here it is, just for our blog readers! ENJOY!

Making the cake couldn’t be easier. We baked cakes in round bowls, a larger one for the carcass and a smaller bowl for the thighs.

Deli Chicken-02

Then we made some simple cuts in the bowl cakes, added a Twinkie cut in half, and assembled the cakes to create the chicken shape.

Deli Chicken-08-2

If you want to complete your April Fools Day cake with a real FOOL-THE-EYE look, clean and dry a plastic deli container to be used for the serving platter. Assemble the cake in the deli container using frosting to attach the cake parts. Next coat the entire cake with vanilla frosting and smooth. Pop it in the refrigerator to chill for 5 to 10 minutes, just to set the frosting.

For the skin, roll out 40 Kraft caramels. (This step can be time consuming so you might want to start it while your cake is baking. The hardest part is convincing the kids to unwrap all those squares of candy.) If you need to soften them to a rolling consistency, just pop them in the microwave for 1 or 2 seconds to soften slightly. (You don’t want molten lava caramels so keep it short!!)

Once the caramels are rolled out, you cut out a large circle of the candy for the body and two smaller circles for the thigh-leg sections. Drape the large caramel circle over the chicken shape to make the BREAST section. Press to smooth. Trim, and tuck any excess candy under the cake. Do the same for the THIGHS AND LEGS.

Add a piece of smooth bread stick (plain, not garlic flavor!) to the end of each leg for the LEG BONE.

Mix a small amount of cocoa powder with water to make a thin paste. Dip a clean toothbrush or the bristles of a pastry brush in the paste and use your finger to flick the bristles and splatter the caramel skin so it looks WELL ROASTED!!

For the sides, bake two small cakes and place them in plastic deli side dish containers. For the COLE SLAW mix coconut, small slivers snipped from a Circus Peanut, and vanilla frosting. Frost the top of one small cake to cover. For the BAKED BEANS, toss brown or russet red colored Jelly Belly jellybeans in caramel ice cream topping and frost the other small cake. Add extra jellybeans and caramel topping as needed to fill out the container.

We think we know what’s on the menu at your house tonight. A hot heaping pile of APRIL FOOLERY!!!

Happy April Fools Day

Alan and Karen