March 18, 2017

Some folks look for shapes in clouds. We look for shapes in candy and cookies. When we saw the two big rounded ends of a ‘Nutter Butter and the narrow middle, we immediately thought “BUNNY!”

Follow the diagram above to create your own cookie shapes. Then dip them in melted chocolate candy melts and place them on waxed paper until hardened. Add a dot of frosting with a mini chocolate morsel in the center for the eye (press the pointed end into the frosting).

To complete the basket, push the tapered bottom end of the cookie rabbit into the center of the cupcake and pipe green frosting all over the top of your cupcakes using a ziplock with a very small (scant 1/4 inch) hole or a piping bag fit with a grass tip. Add jellybeans for eggs. (The cookie might soften if it sits too long so we suggest inserting the rabbit no more than 30 minutes before you are ready to present them.)

Perfect for an Easter morning surprise! Our favorite holiday is almost here and the Candy Lab is in full gear so come back for more decorating ideas soon!

Happy decorating!

Alan and Karen



March 12, 2017

We’re always looking for inspiration in the PANTRY! Lucky for us we found a box of Fruit Loops cereal and it inspired this LUCKY LEPRECHAUN CUPCAKE!

To make your own Lucky Leprechaun Cupcakes, start by tinting frosting pink. Frost the tops of the cupcakes and smooth. Add a red jellybean nose and two brown M&Ms Minis for the eyes. Pipe the smile using a tube of red decorating icing. Press two mini vanilla wafers into the pink frosting for the ears. Add orange Fruit Loops for the beard and green Fruit Loops for the shamrock, with a small line of green frosting for the stem. And finally, use a large gumdrop and a small spice drop on top for the hat, with a line of chocolate frosting and a gold pearl for the hatband.

Happy St.Patty’s Day and happy decorating!

Alan and Karen

P.S. GOOD LUCK finding the Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold!


March 11, 2017

LION-SIZE winds are blowing outside! What better time to add ROAR to your cupcakes? You can craft this leonine beast on a cupcake topped with small scallop-shaped sugar cookies. Add a large dot of orange frosting to the center of the sugar cookies and smooth, leaving the edges of the cookies unfrosted. Use a lighter shade of orange frosting piped from a ziplock bag for the mane and add Fruit Loops for the ears. The candy decor cheeks have tiny dots of chocolate frosting for the whiskers. To complete his ferocious look, add a red hot nose and beady black pearl eyes!

Because spring will bring weather as gentle as a LAMB create a sheepish cupcake using Cheerios dusted with confectioner’s sugar for the wool.  The face ears and tail are all cut from a single Oreo cookie. Add candy decors for the tongue and eyes, and give the center of each eye a dot of chocolate frosting.

Happy decorating in any weather!

Alan and Karen


March 9, 2017

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here. So we thought we would share one of our classic St. Pat’s project—SHAMROCKS AND BLARNEY STONES!!!

It’s a great way to DOUBLE UP on the luck of the Irish!!


Our Blarney Stones are made from breakfast treat cookies that have been coated in stone-grey tinted frosting. The best way to do this is by placing the broken cookies on a cooling rack with a waxed paper lined cookie sheet underneath to catch the drippings. Melt the tinted frosting and pour it over the cookies to coat. You can always gather up the frosting from the waxed paper and reheat and pour as needed.

The Shamrocks are made from spearmint leaves candies rolled out in green decorating sugar. You can use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to cut the shamrock leaf shape from the rolled candy, like we did, or you can craft them by hand using a small pair of scissors. (The stems are also made from the rolled candy.) Be sure to make at least one FOUR LEAF CLOVER for a lucky guest. You can find the complete recipe by clicking here.

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Erin Go Bragh,

Alan and Karen



March 7, 2017

Cherry Pie Cake EQUATES with good eatin’ for PI DAY—3.14 or better known as March 14—the day the math concept “pi” (or “π”) takes the spotlight throughout the world. It’s celebrated with t-shirts, mugs, parties, races and pie-eating contests! So we thought we’d ADD to the fun, with a little CAKE MY DAY foolery!

To put it more MATHEMATICALLY, here at the Candy Lab, PIE = CAKE.

On first glance, our dessert might look like a pie. But check out the SUBTRACTION shown below. It reveals the whole EQUATION. The bottom layer is a pink tinted cake. The cake is topped with Dunkin Munchkins coated with a glistening red apple jelly glaze, and the pie is covered with a golden brown lattice made from tinted frosting and cocoa powder. Now that’s sure to please any pint-sized Pythagorus or budding Einstein in your home!

Cherry Cake Pie slice

Here’s the winning FORMULA for our CHERRY PIE CAKE. (And don’t worry: You don’t have to be a math whizz to pull it off.)


1 yellow cake mix

1 can (16 ounces) plus 1 cup vanilla frosting

Red and yellow food coloring (McCormick)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

18 plain doughnut holes (Munchkins)

1/3 cup apple jelly

2 tablespoons coarse natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

1 tablespoon vodka or vanilla extract

Large ribbon pastry tip (Wilton #789)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9-inch deep dish oven-proof pie plate (Pyrex) with vegetable cooking spray. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions.
  3. Tint the batter bright pink with the red food coloring. Pour the batter into the prepared pie plate. Spread batter to the edges of the plate and make smooth.
  4. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean; 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Invert the cake and cool completely.
  5. Tint 1 cup of the vanilla frosting bright pink with the red food coloring. Spoon the frosting into a glass measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting golden brown with the yellow food coloring and 1 teaspoon of the cocoa powder.
  6. Return the cake to the pie plate when cool. Spread some of the golden brown frosting around the outer edge of the cake, to cover about 2 inches. Place the cake and the doughnut holes in the refrigerator to chill, about 30 minutes.
  7. Spoon 1 1/4 cups of the remaining golden brown frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Spoon the remaining frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large ribbon tip (Wilton #789).
  8. To make the cherries, remove the pie cake and doughnut holes from the refrigerator. Microwave the red frosting, stirring every 5 seconds, until the texture of slightly whipped cream, about 20 seconds. Insert a fork or wooden skewer into a doughnut hole and dip into the frosting to cover, allowing the excess frosting to drip back into the cup. Press the bottom of the doughnut hole against the rim of the glass to remove any excess frosting and transfer the doughnut to top of the cake. Repeat the process, reheating the frosting if it becomes too thick, and cover the top of the pie. (Stack the doughnuts as needed to create height, leaving a 1 inch boarder at the edge.) Pour some of the melted pink frosting over any large openings on top of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator to set frosting, about 15 minutes.
  9. Tint the apple jelly bright red with the food coloring. Microwave the jelly in a small bowl, stirring every 5 seconds, until smooth, about 20 seconds. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and gently brush a thin coating of the apple jelly over the doughnut holes. Return to the refrigerator to set 15 minutes more.
  10. Pipe 1 band of the golden brown frosting using the pastry bag down the center of the cake. Pipe another band of frosting on either side, about 1 1/2 inches apart, on top of the cake. Turn the cake clockwise about 30° (not 45), so the second set of frosting bands makes a diamond pattern, not squares. Pipe 4 bands of frosting on top of the cake to make the lattice pattern. Snip a 1/2-inch corner from the ziplock bag of frosting. Pipe a zig-zag pattern around the outer edge to look like the crimped pie crust.
  11. Dissolve the remaining cocoa powder in the vodka or vanilla extract. Dip the tip of a firm pastry brush or new toothbrush into the cocoa mixture, hold it over the pie, and run a fork, finger, or chopstick over the bristles to lightly spritz the pie crust, dipping again when necessary, to make a pattern resembling brown spots. Use a small clean craft brush to lightly paint lines of the cocoa mixture on top of the lattice and crust areas of cake. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the coarse sugar.

All in all, it makes 20 servings—which is probably the most important number of all!

And it’s especially great to eat while watching reruns of THE BIG BANG THEORY!

Happy Pi Day and April Fools Day,

Alan and Karen

PS Check out our latest book, CAKE MY DAY! It’s a FORMULA for even more decorating fun!

Cake My Day!


February 27, 2017

CANDY is our INSPIRATION! So when we recently opened a bag of Jelly Belly’s PEARLIZED PINK Valentine’s Mix we were struck not only by the gorgeous colors but also by the amazing flavors! Those pretty little pink beans were screaming to be turned into something special.

Our PETIT FOURS are perfect for Easter, a Sweet Sixteen party, or even a baby or bridal shower!

The cake itself is a delicious strawberry flavor; we used strawberry jam and frosting between the layers. But our favorite part is the DELICATE LITTLE PINK JELLY BELLY BEANS on top of each delicate little treat!

You can get the whole recipe along with more decorating ideas by Hello, Cupcake! on the Jelly Belly web site at

Happy decorating,

Alan and Karen


February 26, 2017

We love finding clever ways to use CANDY and SNACKS we already have in our cupboard! So when Alan broke his PRETZEL in half and held it up to his eyes we both shouted out “Mardi Gras Masks!”

They are really easy to make. Either snap the pretzel by hand or even better use a serrated knife to trim the pretzel into the mask shape. (Remember you are using the two big loops of the pretzel to create the eye holes.)

Line a cookie sheet with a sheet of waxed paper. Next, place 1/2 cup purple candy melts in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave stopping to stir every few seconds, until they are completely melted (about 45 seconds total). Dip a pretzel in the melted candy and place on the prepared sheet. Cover the dipped pretzel with purple decorating sugar to coat. Continue to dip and sugar each pretzel one at a time in matching Mardi Gras colors of purple, yellow, and green. (Do not dip all at once or the candy may harden too much for the sugar to adhere.) Once all of the pretzels are dipped and sugared place the pretzels in the refrigerator to harden, about 5 minutes.

While the pretzels set, cut Sour Belt candy into 2 inch long strips. Create fringe from each strip by making cuts every 1/8 inch, leaving one end of the Sour Belt strip uncut (about 1/2 inch) so it will hold together.

Place 1/4 cup candy melts in a ziplock bag and melt as described above, stopping to massage the candy every few seconds, until fully melted. Snip a very small hole in one corner of the bag, scant 1/4 inch. Add dots of the melted candy to the sugar coated pretzels and attach yellow, green, and purple candy pearls. Pipe swirls of candy as desired to create the mask design.

Frost cupcakes with vanilla frosting and smooth. Roll the top of each cupcake in yellow decorating sugar to coat. Add a dot of frosting to the top of each cupcake and place a sugar coated mask on top of the cupcake. Position a Sour Belt fringe under each side of the mask pushing into the frosting to secure.

Happy Mardi Gras decorating!

And as they say in New Orleans…Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Alan and Karen


February 17, 2017

It’s Your Lucky Day! Chocolate shamrock cupcakes are wearing green this year! These SWEET LITTLE TREATS are made from mini cupcakes covered in gourmet jellybeans in shades of GREEN from Jelly Belly.

All you’ll need are mini chocolate cupcakes, chocolate frosting, a chocolate stick cookie for the stem, and green Jelly Belly beans in flavors like LEMON LIME, GREEN APPLE, WATERMELON, MARGARITA, or KIWI. And LUCKY FOR YOU because the entire recipe can be found at

Happy St. Patty’s Day,

Alan and KAren


February 10, 2017

Send your Valentine a SWARM of LOVE BUG CUPCAKES! These critters are not only charming, they taste great too. We started with strawberry cupcakes and then added PINK CHOCOLATE COOKIES with red spots made from PINK CHERRY JELLY BELLY beans! LOVE IT! You can get the whole recipe along with more Valentine’s Day ideas by Hello, Cupcake! on the Jelly Belly web site at Happy Valentine’s Day and happy decorating, Alan and Karen


February 10, 2017

Send a your valentine HUGS and KISSES with these SWEET Valentine’s Day Brownies. We made them using the Valentine’s Mix from Jelly Belly brand jellybeans so you get all of the colors you need in one bag! And to make it even easier, we used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the heart brownies.

You’ll find the complete XOX Brownie recipe along with more Valentine’s Day ideas from Hello, Cupcake! on the Jelly Belly web site at

Happy Valentines Day and happy decorating!

Alan and Karen