“CAKE MY DAY” CONTEST!

March 2, 2015
CMD pre-order contest

Order CAKE MY DAY! by March 24 and you will not only be one of the first to get your hands on a copy of our newest book, but you can also enter to win an AMAZING PRIZE PACKAGE valued at over $250. Plus there will be three runner up winners who will each receive a $50 prize package.

GRAND PRIZE package will include some of our favorite things for decorating:

  • A dazzling selection of decorating candies including PEARLS and SIXLETS in a variety of fashion-forward colors. These gorgeous decorations from Celebrations by SweetWorks are what we use in projects throughout Cake My Day! The shimmery coating makes the candies sparkle and shine, and turns every cake into a real show-stopper! The lucky winner will receive over $100 in decorations; that’s enough decorating candy to become a cake star! Imagine using them to make your own Argyle Cake like the one in Cake My Day!

Work Boot26

  • Sara Lee Pound Cake gift certificates. We love this store-bought pound cake so much we devoted a whole chapter of Cake My Day! to using it. Starting with Sara Lee means no baking, so you’ll get to decorating faster, and have more fun doing it! The cakes are firm and dense, making them perfect for decorating projects, like the Work Boot Cake from Cake My Day! And Sara Lee Pound Cake tastes just as good today as it did when you were a kid.
  • OXO GOOD GRIPS tools. Winner will receive a selection of our favorite decorating tools from OXO, including an 8 piece baker’s silicone bottle decorating kit, offset spatulas, silicone spatulas, whisk, cake tester, silicone rolling pin, bowl scrapers, and a Good Grips Triple Timer.

To enter the contest all you need to do is send proof of purchase showing that you ordered your copy of Cake My Day! BEFORE MARCH 24 (a copy of your receipt, online order verification, etc).

Send your proof of purchase to contest@hellocupcakebook.com. Submission must be received by APRIL 17, 2015. The Winner and 3 runners-up will be randomly selected (and announced on the blog) before the end of April.

If you’ve already pre-ordered, great!! Just send us your proof of purchase by April 17th.

Pre-order links below:

AMAZON: Cake My Day!: Easy, Eye-Popping Designs for Stunning, Fanciful, and Funny Cakes

BARNES & NOBLE: Cake My Day!

INDIE BOUND: Cake My Day!

To enter send proof of purchase to:

contest@hellocupcakebook.com

Good luck to all,

Alan and Karen

TABBY CAT CAKE!!!!!

March 1, 2015
cat cake

We created this FROSTED FELINE as a possible cover for our newest book, Cake My Day!  But in the end, only one fabulous cake could get that honor—and we just adored the Unbaked Alaska Cake you’ll find on the cover. But while it didn’t make the final cut, we still think our Tabby is the CAT’S MEOW!!

It’s a project that’s sure to CAT-upult you to TOP CAT in the kitchen.

Here’s the complete recipe:

Ingredients:

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)

Optional:

1 chocolate cupcake frosted and sprinkled

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

1 red licorice lace

Instructions:

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!

We’ll be showing you some other book cover contenders in future posts. Till then…

Happy Cake-making,

Alan and Karen

PINK WALLPAPER CAKE!!

February 26, 2015
Pink-Wallpaper-Cake-germany2

COLOR COORDINATION is always a good idea when you’re planning a party.

Lately we’ve been designing party cakes and cupcakes to echo the colors and patterns of products we find at various party stores. After all, if you going to match your napkins, paper cups and tablecloths, you might as well match your desserts.

For this particular project, we started with a ten-inch round cake. We covered it in vanilla frosting. And then we took some shimmer-coated Sixlets and carefully lined them up to match the paper tray liner.

Easy as that! And we’re sure you can accomplish a similar effect with jelly beans, M&Ms and lots of other candies. Try checked and polka-dotted papers too, for a real challenge!

Give it a try! We bet it elicits some ohhhhs and ahhhhs!

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

WAFFLE HOUSE SHOW STOPPER!!

February 23, 2015
Wafer Cookie House

Setting up a CANDY BAR is all the rage for parties and showers these days. And to give it REAL IMPACT, we’ve got a great recommendation: ADD A DECORATED CENTERPIECE!

We created this show-stopping WAFFLE COOKIE centerpiece while in Germany recently. And we coordinated our design with the candy colors in the beautiful apothecary jars and giant martini glasses that surrounded it.

The house is crafted from large sheets of waffle-textured cookies sold in grocery stores in Germany. (We also found them here in the USA, but more on that later.) They are used for a variety of European-style desserts—usually for a torte made of sandwiched wafer cookies—and most brands are imported from Poland.

To craft the house, we cut the shapes for our walls, roof and gable from the waffle sheets using a serrated knife. A gentle sawing motion works best. If you press too hard you might shatter the cookie. If you prefer a centerpiece that can also be served as dessert, you could make this a CAKE. In our newest book, Cake My Day! (you can preorder it now, publication date is March 24)  you will find a Cake House design created from layers of 9 x 13 cake.

To assemble the walls of the waffle cookie house and to attach the decorations, we used chocolate candy melts. (We steered clear of using frosting because we felt the waffle pieces might warp from the moisture.)

Then we used dots of the melted chocolate to add the candies to the center of the waffle dimples to create patterns, doors, windows, gable accents, etc.

This is one project that gives “HOME SWEET HOME” a whole new meaning!

We even made a mini version from cookies, which we turned into an edible birdhouse for our display.

Waffle Bird House

By the way, as promised, here are three brands of Waffle Sheets that you can find on AMAZON.

Tort Wafers
Waffle Cookie Sheettort wafers thick

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

A PRIVATE DECORATING CLASS WITH KAREN & ALAN!

February 22, 2015
almost homemade buttercream

How would you like to have a PRIVATE CUPCAKE CLASS with the HELLO CUPCAKE team?

You can bid on a special Cupcake Clinic with the two of us. And help us raise funds to fight kids’ cancer (together with the COOKIES FOR KIDS’ CANCER organization).

We’ll teach you—and 7 of your friends—some of our favorite tricks and techniques. And everyone is guaranteed to leave with some great projects and a signed copy of one of our books!

Just click here for the details.

Maybe we’ll be seeing you—in person—soon.

Alan and Karen

NEW AUTHOR PHOTOS!!

February 21, 2015
alan and karen

A NEW book means NEW author photos. But while we always know how to make a cake look good, when it comes to us….that’s a different story.

Our publisher said, “You can’t keep using the same photo from when BILL CLINTON WAS PRESIDENT!!” But we were hesitant. Karen worried about her hair. Alan worried about his lack of it. So we decided we needed some gentle handholding and asked our photographer friend Jorge Madrigal (madrigalstudio.com) to come to the Candy Lab. We thought we would feel at ease in our own work space.

The photo session started like they all do. We were VERY STIFF and had FROZEN SMILES on our faces. It wasn’t until Karen pushed Alan off his stool and pretended to hog the camera lens that we started laughing and loosening up. A few minutes later Alan held a big pound cake in front of Karen’s face while the camera snapped. That really got the ball rolling.

Several hours later (poor Jorge) we reviewed the images on the back of the camera and realized PANDEMONIUM had overtaken the shoot. We had portraits with us holding towering piles of cakes BARELY balanced on plates, a long series of us racing around with frosting STREAMING out of piping bags…

That’s when a wise photographer steps in and and says, “BEHAVE YOURSELVES FOR ONE MINUTE, PLEASE!” Jorge handed us the Work Boot Cake which just happened to be sitting nearby. He deftly guided us around the Candy Lab until he got a beautiful color background, and then snapped about six perfect portraits of us proudly showing one of our favorite projects from the book.

We all looked at the preview screen and knew immediately that THE SHOOT WAS OVER. Besides, all that ham and baloney had made us very hungry.  And off we all went to our favorite restaurant in town, Las Brisas, for a celebration of tacos and a JOB WELL DONE! Thank you, Jorge!

Hope everyone likes our new “official” picture.

Alan and Karen

CakeMyDay_blogClick to pre-order

 

CHOCOLATE STAR CAKE!!

February 19, 2015
starry cake

In our upcoming book, CAKE MY DAY!, we decided that WHAT’S ON THE INSIDE IS AS IMPORTANT AS WHAT’S ON THE OUTSIDE!

For example, here’s a little test we did this morning using Sara Lee Pound Cake, a star shaped cookie cutter, and a devils food chocolate cake batter.

We poured a little batter in the bottom of a ring cake pan. Then we placed our stars cut from the pound cake in the pan, cut side to cut side, so they were all oriented the same direction around the ring. (That way each time you slice it will cut crosswise through a star shape.) We poured the remaining batter over the stars to cover and evened it out.

Bake as directed on the chocolate cake recipe. Your cooking time may vary a bit but ours was right in time with the directions. Cool the cake completely before slicing and serving.

You may get one or two cuts that land between pieces of pound cake, but most of ours came out with a PERFECT STAR SHAPE on the inside!

Wouldn’t this be a terrific award for the Stars in your household—-or those attending your Oscar party on Sunday?

Meanwhile, for more info on how to purchase CAKE MY DAY!, click here.

CakeMyDay_blog

Happy Baking,
Alan and Karen

MYSTERY DOLL CAKE!!

February 16, 2015
Candy Crumble Blonde germany

Can you guess who inspired this delicious doll cake? We created it while attending the ISM sugar fair in Germany—and we couldn’t wait to show everyone at home. (Hint: We were inspired by one of our favorite TV shows.)

Time’s up. Believe it or not, this cake was inspired by big, blonde, woman warrior BRIENNE OF TARTH, our favorite character from GAME OF THRONES! We almost went with a KHALESSI cake. Then we considered TYRION LANNISTER. But mighty Brienne won the battle this time. (Do we sound like GAMES nerds? That’s OK—because WE ARE!!!)

Brienne was really fun to create and assemble. Here’s how we did it:

More and more, we teach and demo on the fly, and that has made us really appreciate a whole new aisle in the grocery store. That is, the snack and cookie aisle. We can’t always bake cupcakes and cakes to take on the road (and we know you don’t always have time to make them either). That’s when all those interestingly shaped packaged snacks and treats become especially useful.

To create the shape for our Brienne of Tarth doll, we started with a basic pound cake from the bakery section of the grocery. We removed a slice from one end and then trimmed the corners to create the shoulders. We shaped the two corner pieces we’d removed to create the short arms.

For the legs, we found German snack cakes that looked almost like good old American Twinkies, but a little more square in shape. The head is a jumbo sweet muffin also from the bakery case. And the hands and feet are made from store bought cookies, cat tongues for the hands and chocolate covered square shaped cookies for the feet. So you see, Brienne is totally assembled from the bakery and the snack aisle at the grocers.

The decorations we used are pretty simple. We gave all the cakes and snack cakes a coating of vanilla frosting except for the large muffin which we frosted pink.

The pink arms and blue pants are made from Candy Crumble (a crushed vanilla candy we discovered at ISM) and the red and blue buttons are Pearls, Sixlets, and Mini Gumballs. We gave Brienne an Ovation Stick belt, and candy hearts for a bow tie.

For the face we used Baby Tears (nose), Sixlets (cheeks), Red Banana (mouth), and black Sixlets (eyes). And for her signature hair? Yellow Banana candies! Her little Westie companion (new next season?) is made from a cupcake with frosting for fur. (See the Westies recipe from our original Hello, Cupcake! book.)

And there she is, the bold Brienne: ready for whatever comes at her from Winterfell, King’s Landing or beyond The Wall!!

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

“AWARDS SEASON” CUPCAKES!!!!

February 15, 2015
Awards-Cupcakes

Red carpets! Fashion police! A glut of must-see films! Yep, the OSCARS are only one week away. So here’s a project for any big award party you might be throwing. After your guests take a bite, you might find yourself feeling: “They like me! They really, really like me!”

The coveted statue itself sits on a cupcake–and it’s made out of a creme wafer, a pretzel and a malt ball. Better than gold, if you ask us.

The complete recipe can be found on our Duncan Hines page. You can find it by clicking here.

Give it a try. You might win the award for BEST CUPCAKER.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

2 FAST LAST-MINUTE VALENTINE’S PROJECTS!!

February 12, 2015
valentine2 germany

Clearly, we were already thinking about Valentine’s Day while we were at the Sugar Fair in Germany a few weeks ago.

We were invited to Germany to help man the SweetWorks booth, where we busily greeted fans and improvised new projects. And we quickly worked up 2 Valentines dessert projects we think might help if you’re in a time crunch.

One of the great things we learn when we decorate on the fly is how to create projects that have a lot of impact using whatever baked goods are available from the grocery store. Germany posed a special challenge because the dessert treats there are so different from the ones in our stores. It was a bit like “Grocery Store Games” with the two of us racing through the aisles, grabbing any and every treat that looks like a good possibility.

The project at the top of this post uses a store-bought rectangular cake we found. We covered it with vanilla frosting. Then we added an assortment of Sixlets in pink, black, white and red. We laid them out in a pattern of hugs and kisses (Xs and Os). Then we placed the cake on a piece of heart-shaped felt—to complete the presentation. Easy as that!

The project below is reminiscent of the much more ambitious HEART CAKE from our last post. But it’s actually a gathering of store-bought treats: marshmallow topped cookies, cupcakes, small cakes, and cookies. Some were already frosted. Some needed frosting. And some we sandwiched together with frosting. Once again, we covered them with various patterns of Sixlets, Pearls and Gumballs in Valentines Day colors. And we placed them on a red felt-shaped heart. Simply follow the photo—or come up with your own great variations!!

Valentine Cookies germany

We hope these speedy projects leave you plenty of time for other Valentines Day activities.

And we’ll be back soon with more of our projects from Germany.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

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