OWLY OWL CUPCAKES!!

January 2, 2017
Owls-feature size

We’re taking a short post-holiday break. In the meantime, here’s one of our favorite HELLO CUPCAKE CLASSICS. This project is a real HOOT.

We got the idea while we were eating some OREOS at the Candy Lab.

We know Oreos are one of the most popular cookies around, so we started brainstorming on how we might use them.

Alan broke open a cookie to eat the frosting inside–that’s his method–and suddenly the idea hit us: Owl Eyes!!

We got to use a regular Oreo for the owl parents, and mini-Oreos for the kids. (Plus Junior Mints for the big eyeballs, and M&Ms for the small eyeballs!)

For the total how-to, take a look at pages 171-3 of  HELLO, CUPCAKE! Or you can click here.

Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen

A “CAKE MY DAY” CLASSIC: OUR NEW YEARS BUBBLY CHAMPAGNE CAKE!!

December 26, 2016
Champagne glasses-blog1

Here’s a special CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE to bring in the NEW YEAR!!

We call it our Bubbly Champagne Cake—not that there’s any real champagne in it. But there ARE fluted glasses made from snack cakes and cookies coated in chocolate, overflowing with faux champagne created with shimmering Sixlets, gumballs, and Pearls.

For the complete recipe, read on:

INGREDIENTS:

Vegetable cooking spray

Two 9-inch round cakes, made from devil’s food cake mix

2 cans (16 ounces) vanilla frosting

14 vanilla créme-filled snack cakes (Twinkies)

1 bag (12 ounces) yellow candy melting wafers (Wilton)

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons white nonpareils (Wilton)

1/2 cup white pearlized small candies (Pearls)

1 bag (12 ounces) white candy melting wafers (Wilton)

14 rolled wafer cookies (Pirouettes)

7 Vanilla Wafers

Blue neon food coloring (McCormick NEON)

3/4 cup white pearlized round candy-coated chocolates (Sixlets)

1/2 cup white pearlized mini gum balls (SweetWorks)

 

  1. Using a knife long enough to go all the way through the 9-inch round cakes, slice each in half horizontally to make a total of four layers. Place one cake on a 9-inch cake round and using the first can of vanilla frosting, spread a layer of frosting over the top of the cake. Add a second layer, taking care to keep the layers level, and spread a layer of frosting on the top. Continue with the next two layers to make four layers. Give the top and sides of the cake a crumb coat of vanilla frosting and place the cake in the refrigerator to chill. Spoon the remaining vanilla frosting from the can into a ziplock bag (take care that there are no chocolate crumbs in the frosting). Press out the excess air and seal the bag
  2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Spray a wire rack with vegetable cooking spray and place on top of the lined baking sheet. Place a snack cake flat side down on a work surface. Cut a ¾-inch piece crosswise from one short end and discard. Transfer to the wire rack, flat side down. Repeat with the remaining snack cakes. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer to chill, about 30 minutes.
  3. Place the yellow candy melting wafers in a microwave-safe bowl with the vegetable shortening. Microwave, stirring every 10 seconds, until smooth. Spoon the melted candy over the tops of the chilled snack cakes to cover completely, allowing the excess candy to drip onto the wax paper. Sprinkle the bottom of each snack cake with a few of the white nonpareils and pearls while the yellow candy is still wet to look like a line of fizz rising from the bottom (see photo). Refrigerate the coated snack cakes until set, about 5 minutes. Gently remove the snack cakes from the wire rack, trimming any excess candy drips from the edges, and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
  4. Cut the pirouette cookies in half crosswise, to make pieces about 2 inches in length. Cut the vanilla wafers in half, crosswise.
  5. Place the white candy melting wafers in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, stirring every 5 seconds, until smooth. Dip the trimmed end of a coated snack cake 1/2 inch into the white candy melts to create the lip of the champagne glass. Allow the excess candy to drip back into the bowl. Return the snack cake to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining snack cakes. Dip each of the pirouette cookies, and halved vanilla wafers in the melted candy, and place them on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Place the coated pieces on the baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill.
  6. Tint the remaining can of vanilla frosting light blue using the neon blue food coloring. Transfer the chilled cake to a serving platter. Spread a thick layer of blue frosting all over the cake and smooth use a large frosting spreader. To make the bases for the glasses, place the candy-coated vanilla cookie halves at the base of the cake, cut side against the cake, on the serving platter, about 1/2 inch apart. For the stems, press a pirouette cookie into the frosting above each vanilla wafer, coated side facing out. Attach a snack cake, white end up and flat back side against the cake, at the top of each cookie stem, pressing into the frosting to secure. Return the cake to the refrigerator to chill, about 20 minutes.
  7. Once the cake is chilled, snip a small (1/8-inch) corner from the bag with the white frosting. Pipe some of the vanilla frosting on top of the snack cake champagne glasses, adding some frosting down the sides of the snack cakes to look like overflow. Press some of the white candy-coated chocolates, the small candy pearls, and the mini gum balls into the frosting on top of the test tubes to look like bubbles. Press a few small candy pearls and nonpareils into the drips of frosting on the sides of the glasses and sprinkle a few at the base of each glass.. Sprinkle the remaining gum balls, candy-coated chocolates, and small candy pearls on top of the cake to cover, using any remaining white frosting in the bag, to secure. Add white candles and serve.

Makes 24 servings

champagne glasses-blog 2

Here’s to health, happiness and lots of GREAT NEW DESSERTS in THE NEW YEAR!

Alan and Karen

Jolly Santa Cake!

December 22, 2016
santa-face-ww-dec-2016

HO! HO! HO! Just in time for Santa’s big day, we created this Jolly Santa Cake! In true “Hello, Cupcake!” fashion, we found an easy way to make Santa. Take a close look at Santa’s beard; it’s simply made from ANNA’S GINGER THINS Swedish cookies!

We have partnered with our friends at Woman’s World Magazine to bring you an easy decorating idea every month. This is our first, and they loved it so much they put it on the cover of their gorgeous Christmas Issue! Check out the recipe in the December 26 issue on sale now at your favorite grocery store! Keep an eye out each month for a new Hello, Cupcake! design!

womans-world-magazine-1We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

Happy decorating!

Alan & Karen

ANOTHER QUICK LAST MINUTE HOLIDAY IDEA: OUR “ODE TO JOY” CAKE!!!

December 18, 2016
Celebration Doves-03

Our JOY CAKE captures our fondest wishes for you this holiday season–ALL IN ONE WORD!

And BEST OF ALL, it is very easy to make–and we know time is running out.

We began with a chocolate sheet cake–which we covered in chocolate frosting.

Then we placed chocolate Ovation Sticks around the border, because they looked good–and because they helped hold the red and green Sixlets in place.

We used the red and green Sixlets to make some holiday stripes along the top of the cake.

Then we spelled out JOY using SweetWorks’ “Celebration Doves.” We used a dot of frosting to hold each Dove in place.

We finished up by putting a white Sixlet in each corner, and more white Sixlets around the base.

Simple as that.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

—–

LAST MINUTE SNOWFLAKE COOKIES!!

December 17, 2016
karens xmas cookies

Christmas is almost here—but we figure there’s always the time (and the need) for a few last-minute recipes before the big day.

These snowflakes are Karen’s simple sugar cookies. Feel free to use your favorite sugar cookie recipe, or  you could use Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough from the refrigerator case, just add a little extra flour for rolling them.

Roll out the dough and cut out 4-inch snowflake shapes. Bake them till golden.

While they bake and are cooling, prepare royal frosting for the decorations. We use a pretty standard recipe for royal frosting: 1 pound 10x sugar plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder and 5 to 6 tablespoons water. Beat until well blended.

Then, pipe royal icing along the arms of each snowflake and add little flourishes and swirls for fun. Because it hardens, royal frosting makes it possible to stack the decorated cookies on a platter without messing them up!

While the icing is still wet, sprinkle them with decorating sugar. Feel free to use any color sugar.

Mmm-mmmm. They taste good, look good—and they make the house smell delicious.

karens xmas cookies 2Merry Christmas,

Karen and Alan

HOORAY!!! IT’S NATIONAL CUPCAKE DAY 2016!!!!

December 15, 2016
penguins

December 15th is National Cupcake Day!!!

So, of course, we’re celebrating at the Candy Lab—with an extra long lunch. (Not TOO long though. We’re very busy crafting new recipes and decorating ideas for our latest book.)

Make sure to take some time and celebrate everyone’s favorite little dessert today!!

By the way, you can go to the official National Cupcake Day site by clicking here.

Happy Cupcake making—and eating,

Alan and Karen

OUR “PEACE DOVE” CUPCAKE!

December 12, 2016
Dove of Peace

“Peace on Earth. Good will to men.” Important words to remember this time of year—and just about always. And to celebrate that very idea, we’ve concocted, what else, a cupcake—a “Peace Dove” cupcake.

As an early holiday gift to you, here’s the entire recipe:

To make our Peace Dove, start by attaching a doughnut hole to a cupcake (for the head), using frosting as glue.

Freeze it 15 minutes and then cover the head and cupcake in a smooth coating of frosting.

Gently roll the entire assembly in white decorating sugar to cover. Place the cupcake in the refrigerator while you prepare the wings and beak.

For the wings, snap one Pringle potato chip in half lengthwise. For the tail feathers, snap one Pringle chip lengthwise into quarters. Melt 1/4 cup candy melts in the microwave, stirring every 10 seconds, until smooth. Brush one side of each piece of Pringle chip with the melted candy. Sprinkle the soft melted candy with white decorating sugar to coat. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes.

For the beak, snip 2 small triangles from a circus peanut candy. For the olive branch, cut a green licorice lace into a 6 inch length and 6 small 1/2 inch pieces cut on a diagonal.

To assemble, use a small paring knife to make a small slit for the wings in each side of the cupcake and four small slits at the back side for the tail feathers. Insert the two wings and the four tail feathers in the slits.

Press the two circus peanut triangles into the front of the head for the beak. Add two dots of frosting to the head and attach M&M Minis for the eyes. Give each eye a white highlight.

Place the long piece of licorice lace in the beak and make six small dots of frosting along the lace at even intervals.

Add the small pieces of licorice lace and two or three white pearlized sprinkles to each dot of frosting to finish the olive branch.

And there you have it—a delicious desert that’ll warm your insides in more ways than one.

Peace everyone,

Alan and Karen

THE FIRST NOEL CUPCAKE CAKE!!!

December 11, 2016
Noel Cake-blog image

We think of this Christmas project as our WORD CLOUD CAKE. You see: We were looking at the word cloud on our blog and noticed how the words and letters come together in such playful ways. So we decided we wanted to try some kind of word cloud-inspired cake. We played around and after a while—with Christmas in mind—we’d spelled out N–O–E–L.

Here’s how it all came together:

We began by making the letters, using a familiar Hello Cupcake technique. We took green spice drops—4 or 5 at a time—and pressed them together. Then we rolled them in one of two colors of green sugar—one lighter and one darker. Then we cut several of each letter out of each color, using alphabet cookie cutters.

Noel Cake-how to for blog

 

We also made a batch of bright green candy clay and cut some letters from that—just for variety.

We decided to make it a cupcake cake because they are so much fun to serve and eat, but you could just as easily bake a 9 x 13 cake and cut it into the tree shape. We took 11 cupcakes, frosted the tops with vanilla frosting, and laid them out on a tray in a tree shape (as shown). Then we placed the letters on the cupcakes in a playful pattern to give it the feeling of a word cloud. Finally we added a few decorative Sixlets in red and gold.

For the tree trunk, we used a Cadbury Flake chocolate bar—because it looks like tree bark. (Of course, if you can’t find a Flake bar, feel free to substitute with another chocolate stick bar like a Kit Kat or a Nutty Bar.)

And there you have it—one sweetly satisfying Christmas tree!

It was so much fun to make. And because we are so into word play, we’re looking forward to making more word cloud-inspired projects in the new year!

Happy Holiday Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen

UNWRAPPING OUR “BLOW UP LAWN SANTA” CUPCAKE!!

December 8, 2016
blow-up-lawn-santa-1

Santa Claus is coming to town in all sorts of ways this season. At the mall! On TV! In movies! And of course, down your chimney!

But the most scrumptious Santa of all has got to be our BLOW UP LAWN SANTA CUPCAKE!! (This cupcake is dedicated to a neighbor of ours who had a little trouble keeping his Santa inflated all season.)

You’re gonna need frosting, taffy and ESPECIALLY spice drops for this project. Even Santa’s beard is made from rolled-out white spice drops.

For the entire ingredients list and recipe, click here!!

Happy Holiday Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen

SIMPLE VANILLA CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!

December 3, 2016
vanilla cookie

In our quest to find EASY-TO-MAKE desserts with a BIG PAYOFF, we had to share this cookie recipe that came our way via our cupcake historian.

Every Christmas, for the past few years, our historian pal brings us a batch of ITALIAN VANILLA CHRISTMAS COOKIES that he makes himself, following his mother Anna’s recipe (which, to a large extent, was her mother’s recipe).  We always find these cookies incredibly addictive. And he never quite gives us enough of them. (Hint. Hint.)

They’re a very simple cookie, with just the right touch of sugar and vanilla. They taste great on their own, AND they’re also great for dunking.

Here’s our original VINE VIDEO (which can only be SIX SECONDS LONG). Here’s our historian demonstrating, in speedy Vine fashion, how these cookies come together.

For those who’d like to see the steps in a little slower fashion, here’s the full recipe:

Start with:

1 ¾ cups sugar (ever-so-slightly more sugar is okay)

2 ¾ teaspoons vanilla (a little more vanilla is good too)

6 eggs

Blend the eggs, sugar and vanilla together.

Then add 1 ½ cups Crisco. (Other shortening is okay, but Crisco works best.)

Mix until smooth. No lumps.

Then, in a separate bowl, sift:

6 cups flour (don’t overdo flour; better to slightly underdo)

6 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Then add the sifted ingredients to the egg blend. Mix thoroughly with whisk or wooden spoon. Then knead with hands till very smooth.

Roll strips of dough into “S” curved shapes. The strips should be on the smaller side, approx 1½ inches. Very big and plump strips will not cook through.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the oven.

Pull out when medium brown on bottom.

And that is that!

We promise you: you won’t be able to eat just one! And there’s a very good chance these cookies may become a holiday tradition of your own!

Happy Cookie-making,

Alan and Karen

css.php