November 22, 2015
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


November 20, 2015

Our cupcake historian provided us a bunch of fun facts about pumpkin pie. We thought we’d dig through them and share the five best. That way, we can all seem like the SMARTEST person at the dinner table.


Did you know that the pilgrims did NOT necessarily eat pumpkin pie at the first Thanksgiving? Many sources say that pumpkin pie was not introduced until the SECOND Thanksgiving in 1623 (although pumpkins were always a staple of the Native American diet). (It’s even said that Native Americans fed pumpkin to their horses.)

Did you know that the FIRST pumpkin pies were actually WHOLE BAKED PUMPKINS stuffed with assorted spices and apples? The first recipe for our kind of pumpkin pie (“pumpkin pudding baked in a crust”) doesn’t appear until the LATE 18th CENTURY (a mere 215 years ago) in a book entitled AMERICAN COOKERY by Amelia Simmons.

american cookery

Did you know 50 million pumpkins pies are baked every year?

The LARGEST PUMPKIN PIE on record was five feet around. It used 80 pounds of pumpkin and baked for six hours!

And last but not least, according to the American Pie Council, 1 out of 5 Americans has eaten an ENTIRE pumpkin pie by themselves.

Illinois, by the way, is where the most pumpkins are produced.

Okay. So that’s SIX facts. Well, Thanksgiving is always a time to OVERDO.

Have a great, warm, food-and-love-filled holiday.

Alan and Karen


November 19, 2015
donut hole

Occasionally we’re sent some funny baked-goods-related pictures. And we love to share them. This vintage photo might even be of some historical interest—if what it purports is true. If we keep going in this direction, the donut hole might completely disappear one day.

Well, whatever the case, now we feel like having a snack.


Alan and Karen


November 18, 2015
Pull Apart Turkey-29

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!

Autumn Leaves-11

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


November 16, 2015

We figure: There can never be too many turkey cake ideas out there this time of year. But we wanted to do something truly unique. So we set ourselves the goal of coming up with the most REALISTIC TURKEY CAKE we could imagine.

Yes. Believe it or not, that’s a picture of a cake up there. (Photo by Andrew Purcell for PARADE magazine.)

CARAMEL is the key.

You can get the complete instructions by clicking here.

At that link, you’ll also find a fun STOP-MOTION ANIMATION that’ll show you how the entire cake comes together.

Have fun crafting this BIG BIRD—along with your other big bird!

Alan and Karen


November 9, 2015
HC 2016 Calendar

Folks have been asking us how to make the little pigs on the cover of our 2016 calendar. They are actually a delicious variation on the Pigs in a Blanket from our book Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh, My!

To make the piggies, we start by covering our cupcakes with pink frosting. The ears are made from pink marshmallows cut on the diagonal. We also use a pink marshmallow for the snout. M&Ms Minis make perfect beady little eyes, and a line of chocolate frosting forms the nostrils. Add a bit of pink taffy for the tongues. The pork butt is also made using pink marshmallows for the hooves and tail.

For the checkered blanket we roll out red and white taffy and cut it into squares. Assemble the blanket by pressing the edges of the sticky squares together. The blanket can be draped over more frosted cupcakes, or do as we do, and nestle it on top of a cream pie.

You can see more images from our 2016 calendar by clicking here.

Fabulous Fall Crafts

November 5, 2015
Acorn Crafts02

We like to describe cupcaking as CRAFTING FOR BAKERS! That’s why we look at candy and snacks differently. They are basically art supplies to us!

Here’s a perfect example. Karen gathered acorns from her yard to make a centerpiece for the upcoming holiday. They were her favorite price…FREE! She removed the little caps and spray painted the acorns gold. Then she replaced the caps and made a little centerpiece using the gold nuts and oak leaves.

Compare that to the acorns made from candy and snacks. We simply removed the foil wrappers from the Hershey KISSES and used a dot of frosting to attach each to a Mini Vanilla Wafer. Voila! A little centerpiece for the top of each cupcake!

And that’s The Candy Lab philosophy in a NUTSHELL…pun fully intended.

Happy cupcaking,

Alan and Karen


November 4, 2015
Autumn Leaves-005539

Fall’s the ideal time to cover the dining table in colorful chocolate leaves—CANDY LAB STYLE!!

Our AUTUMN LEAVES cake is actually a wreath of cupcakes that can be easily pulled apart and served.

The leaves themselves are made by painting melted chocolate on actual maple or oak leaves. Once the chocolate hardens, peel off the leaves to reveal stunning chocolate replicas in their place. (Don’t worry. You can find the technique completely explained in the link below.)

For the elegant wreath above, we used brown, orange, and green chocolate melting wafers in subdued colors. You could create a brighter wreath by using scarlet, yellow, and orange melting wafers.

For the nuts, we used caramels rolled into acorn shapes. Dip the tops in frosting and roll them in sprinkles to make the tops.

Autumn Leaves-005552

For the complete step-by-step recipe on our Duncan Hines page, click here.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


November 1, 2015

Every year at Halloween we dress up a few skeletons in our front yard—and they are always a big hit in the neighborhood! We had a high-tech skeleton sitting at a computer. We had a tiny skeleton that played “Another One Bites the Dust.” We even had live brain (actually a head of cauliflower). But this year the biggest hit was our well-read skeleton—glasses and all. And he was dressed in our fave t-shirt from our book CUPCAKES, COOKIES & PIE, OH MY!

So many kids came into the yard yelling “OH MY!”—and left giving him a high five. It generated lots of laughs and some family group photos. A few of the parents even noticed he had a taste for Freud!!

Anyway, enough Halloween. Time to get back to work—and more cakes, cupcakes and pie. (oh my….)

Alan and Karen


October 24, 2015
chilly ghosts 2

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