OUR CRAFTY CHRISTMAS “BUBBLE WREATH” CAKE!!!!!

December 1, 2016
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Once the calendar flips to December, it’s non-stop Christmas at the Candy Lab. And this year, we’re really determined to keep up the good spirits!!

You might say we felt especially bubbly when we came up with this colorful variation on a Christmas wreath—A BUBBLE WREATH!!

It has some things in common with our EMOTIPOPS project. So if you’ve mastered that, this should be a breeze.

HERE’S THE RECIPE:

Begin with 2 FAMILY-SIZED FROZEN SARA LEE POUND CAKES.

Cut into 9 one-inch thick slices.

From the slices, cut circles of various sizes, using three sizes of round cookie cutters ranging from 1-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.

Cut as many circles from the slices as you can. Place them in the freezer to chill.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. Place a cooling rack over the wax paper.

Then take 2 cans of DUNCAN HINES CREAMY HOMESTYLE VANILLA FROSTING and divide it into 5 microwave-safe bowls.

Using McCORMICK ASSORTED AND NEON FOOD COLORING, tint each bowl a different color. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Working with one color of frosting at a time, microwave the frosting, stoping to stir frequently until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 10 seconds. (Don’t forget to take off the plastic wrap before you microwave the bowls!)

Remove some of the cake circles from the freezer (as many as you will want in a single color) and place on the cooling rack.

Pour melted frosting on top of each cake to cover. Let the frosting run off cake. Once it sets up a slight amount, use an offset spatula to transfer the coated cakes to another wax-paper lined baking sheet and place them in refrigerator to chill.

Continue with each of the other colors until you’ve coated all of the cake circles.

Remove the chilled and coated circles from the refrigerator and arrange them on a round platter large enough to hold the wreath. Alternate the colors and place smaller circles overlapping the edges of larger ones to make a full wreath shape.

Add SPREE candy to the tops of some of the cake circles to give the wreath one more size circle and an extra pop of color. (We didn’t use the purple ones. Those got eaten!)

Add a festive bow and your wreath is ready to serve.

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen

 

HERE COMES POLAR PETE—OUR “CHRISTMAS BEAR” CAKE!!!!

November 28, 2016
Christmas Polar Bear

We’ve just completed Thanksgiving–and Polar Pete is already psyched for Christmas 2016!! Our cuddly, coconut-covered concoction is set to climb right up and take his place at the center of your holiday dessert table.

Pete is something of a holiday mash-up: combining the Polar Bear cupcakes in CUPCAKES, COOKIES & PIE, OH MY with the Christmas Bear Cake from CAKE MY DAY!

Here’s how it all comes together:

Bake four cakes in Pyrex bowls, two 12 ounce and two 1 quart bowls. Level the cakes and then using frosting, we glue the two smaller cakes (12 ounce) together to make the head and the two larger cakes (1 quart) together to make the body.

Use one Twinkie for each arm, removing 1 inch from one end, cut on a diagonal. For the feet use Ring Dings, and for the ears use Mini Golden Oreos.

Coat each of the parts with a thick coating of frosting and smooth. Press chopped sweetened coconut into the frosting to make a smooth fur coat. Place the coated pieces in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.

Place the head on the body cake using frosting to hold it in place. Insert a plastic straw through the center of the head and down through the body to hold it in place. Use frosting to attach the arms and legs, and secure each with a thin pretzel stick pushed through the part and into the cake. Press the ears into the frosting at the top of the head, using a dot of frosting if necessary, to secure.

The following parts are attached using frosting as the glue. The nose is a chocolate candy melt and the eyes are Mini Kisses inserted pointed end first. The pads on the feet are chocolate candy melts and the toes are mini Kisses inserted pointed end first. The fingernails are chocolate M&Ms pushed into the frosting on their sides. The buttons are green striped starlight mints. And the ribbon is cut from Fruit by the Foot that has been rolled out in red decorating sugar to adhere the sugar to the candy strip.

And there you have it. Of course, by changing the colors of his buttons and tie, Polar Pete works any time of year. He’s a bear for all seasons.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

TWO “OH MY” CLASSICS FOR THANKSGIVING!!

November 21, 2016
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Turkey Day is almost here—which is one of our favorite times of year. After all, it’s a holiday that’s all about FOOD. We’ll both be hosting big gatherings of family and friends, and we’ve been putting out heads together, trying to decide just what our desserts should be. (There’s a lot of pressure when you’re the authors of HELLO, CUPCAKE!)

But meanwhile—as inspiration for you and us—we thought we’d remind you of two of our favorite Thanksgiving projects. They’re guaranteed to make your holiday company happy—and thankful!!

First up is a turkey, of course. BIG TOM—as we’ve named him—is basically a CHOCOLATE CAKE. The tail feathers are made from three flavors of candy clay: chocolate, white chocolate and caramel. The head is a cupcake frosted pale blue. You can find the completely succulent recipe on page 199 of CUPCAKES, COOKIES & PIE, OH MY!

Next, here’s a swell idea for dressing up your PUMPKIN PIE. Take a look at the photo below. It IS an honest-to-goodness pumpkin pie—not an attempt to fool your eye. But look twice at those autumn leaves—they’re actually made from pie crust!

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We painted them with an egg wash tinted with food coloring before baking. The rake is made from a bread stick and Fruit Roll-Ups. The tines are cut from pie crust too. The full recipe can also be found in OH MY!—on pages 191-193.

Hope these projects provide you with some great holiday inspiration!!!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Season,

Alan and Karen

THE RETURN OF LARRY THE TURKEY!!

November 20, 2016
larry the turkey

Larry the Turkey has been with us all the way back to the beginning of our cupcake adventure. He was one of the original HELLO, CUPCAKE projects. And he’s always been one of our most laugh-producing and popular. (I guess everyone has some version of Larry the Turkey in their lives.)

So being in a nostalgic mood this holiday, we thought it was time for Larry’s return appearance—times two!!!

To make Larry, you’ll need a few cupcakes (we recommend pumpkin or spice), caramel frosting, scalloped orange or ginger cookies, candy corn and caramel jimmies.

The entire recipe is on pages 183-5 of our original HELLO, CUPCAKE!

Or you can find the recipe by clicking here.

TIP: Decorate your turkey bodies, heads, and tails the day before but do not assemble them. Instead store them separately on waxed paper and cover lightly with plastic wrap (do not refrigerate and do not seal the plastic wrap). The next day assemble them just before placing them out on your holiday table, using a small dot of frosting for the glue. This will prevent the cookies from getting soft or the head falling off before your party begins.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Alan and Karen

QUICK THANKSGIVING DAY COOKIES!!

November 19, 2016
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There are all sorts of complex Thanksgiving dessert recipes out there this time of year. But here’s just about the QUICKEST seasonally-themed dessert we could come up with for T-Day.

Let’s call them FAST FALL COOKIES!!!

Don’t blink while reading this easy recipe, or you’ll miss it.

Buy a pack of ARCHWAY GINGER cookies.

Cover them alternately with VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE FROSTING.

Then on top of  the frosting, place yellow, orange, red and brown SHIMMER-COATED SIXLETS AND PEARLS. (In some stores, you can actually find these colors in one AUTUMN-MIX package.)

Just follow the designs in the photo above. And there you are. One dessert down.

Now back to that complicated dressing.

Alan and Karen

HELLO, MUMMY!!!

October 24, 2016
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No need to fear. Your Candy Lab 2-for-1 HALLOWEEN SPECIAL is here!!

We’ve concocted two projects in one: a sweetly wrapped mummy and, for a little tomb-like atmosphere, we added an assortment of creepy, crawly spider web cupcakes!!!

Our mummy may look like a cake but it’s actually made of 6 chocolate cupcakes—plus some frosting and cookie crumbs!

For the recipes on both, click here.

Happy Halloween,

Alan and Karen

LAST MINUTE HALLOWEEN GHOSTS!!

October 21, 2016
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OH NO! All Hallows’ Eve is only a few days away—and you haven’t made any holiday cupcakes yet!! Call it the NIGHTMARE BEFORE HALLOWEEN!!!!!

But have no fear! We’re here to save you with a fast Halloween project that’ll please as many trick-or-treaters as you need it too.

I mean, what’s more Halloweeny than ghosts!

These chilly phantoms are a breeze to make. Here’s the speedy recipe:

With a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped hole into the top of a CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE. (Put the small cut-out piece of cake aside. You’ll need it later.)

Cover the cupcake in CHOCOLATE FROSTING, leaving the cone-shaped hole unfrosted. Then roll the cupcake in a shallow bowl full of CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUMBS.

Place a 1 1/2 inch ICE CREAM BALL into the cone-shaped hole. Then put the cone-shaped piece of cake on top, flat side down.

Pipe a circle of WHIPPED TOPPING around the base of the cone cake. Pipe a smaller circle on top of the ice cream.

Then, to make the peaked ghost’s head, pipe a third layer of whipped topping (using a squeeze-release-pull motion).

Insert two matching CANDIES for eyes.

And there you have it: a quick concoction that really captures the spooky spirit of the holiday!!

Feel free to freeze or keep cool as you wish.

Happy Trick or Treating,

Alan and Karen

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: INTO THE WOODS!!!!

October 20, 2016
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This blood-curdling FOREST is one of our fave Halloween projects. We think it’s super-creepy and creative. And why wouldn’t it be?! It’s inspired by the work of one of the most fantastic filmmakers (and a personal favorite at the Candy Lab): TIM BURTON!!

These eerie trees are made from chocolate candy melts. And the soil is composed of Oreo cookie crumbs. For the FULL FRIGHTENING RECIPE, read on.

First, take 3 cookie sheets and line them with wax paper. Then draw a tree (about 4-inches tall) on another piece of paper, adding a 1 1/2 inch line below the base of the tree which will serve as the tree’s support. Place the drawing under the wax paper.

Take ONE CUP OF DARK COCOA CANDY MELTS and separate it into 3 plastic bags. Don’t seal the bag. Microwave each bag for 10 seconds—one at a time. This will begin to soften the candy melts. Massage the mixture and return to the microwave. Repeat the process until the candy is smooth. Now you can seal the bags, pressing out the excess air.

Snip a 1/8 inch corner from the bag and, following your drawing, pipe an outline and fill in the center.

While the candy is still wet, add ORANGE SPRINKLES to get the effect shown in the picture above. Place the tree into the refrigerator to set. Then repeat the process to make more trees. Each tree should take about 5 minutes to set.

After the trees are made, spread some CHOCOLATE FROSTING on top of a cupcake. Roll the top of the cupcake in a medium sized bowl in which you’ve placed 2 cups of GROUND CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUMBS. Repeat with your remaining cupcakes.

At that point, you can gently peel the candy trees from the waxed paper. Then place them on top of the cupcakes, into the chocolate frosting, until they stick. Repeat until you have as many trees as you’d like.

And there you have it: ONE PETRIFYING FOREST!!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN SEASON,

Alan and Karen

HELLO CUPCAKE HALLOWEEN CLASSIC: OUR TEST TUBE CAKE!!

October 19, 2016
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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!!

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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

OUR HARVEST TIME “TRACTOR” CAKE!!

October 18, 2016
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HAPPY HARVEST, EVERYONE!!

Autumn is the time for taking those shovels, scythes and sickles—and getting your last crops gathered before winter. So we thought it would be the perfect time to roll out our TRACTOR CAKE, along with its own little HAYWAGON. And since you are soooo busy with your crops we made them using store bought pound cake…no baking!

How did we do it?

For the tractor body use a Family Size Sara Lee Pound Cake. Trim about 2 inches from one short end to use as a support under the tractor (to lift it up off the ground). Trim one long side of the cake just enough to level and flatten the side. Place the cake upright on the flattened side and give it a smooth coating of vanilla frosting, and then completely cover it in green decorating sugar. Press the sugar all around to smooth.

For the tractor cab use five graham cracker halves. Trim two of them square and leave two longer to make the cab a little longer than it is wide (see photo). Coat the pieces in white candy melts and let them harden. Once the coating is firm, use additional candy melts to assemble the four coated crackers into a rectangular shaped box. Trim the fifth cracker to fit as the roof of the cab. Coat the top piece with candy melts and sprinkle with the green decorating sugar to cover. Attach the roof to the box made for the cab.

Now it is time to assemble. Cut the 2 inch piece trimmed from the cake in half and space the 2 halves on a platter to support the tractor body. Place the tractor body upright on its side on top of the supports. Use frosting to secure. Attach two chocolate coated doughnuts at the rear for the large tires, and two mini chocolate coated doughnuts at the front for the small tires.Place the graham cracker cab on top of the body. Add details like fruit chew hubcaps with M&Ms at the center. Graham cracker fenders coated in green sugar. M&Ms for headlights and running lights. Frosting for chrome trim, side vents, and tire treads. And Ovation Sticks to make a ladder, for the exhaust pipes, and to outline the cab windows.

Garnish the platter with potato sticks and serve your hungry harvest crew!

For an extra large hoedown, add a hay wagon. It is also made from pound cake. The crib is crafted using graham crackers and pretzel sticks, and gets filled with more potato sticks.

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Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen

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