YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE CAKE!

March 19, 2018

MORE SUN = MORE FUN! We created this lemony YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE CAKE with GOLDEN RAYS crafted from Jolly Rancher Hard Candy in honor of the EQUINOX (March 20th!) You can use almost any brand hard fruit candy to make the rays, just be sure it is clear so the sun comes shining through! To give the frosting a SUNNY GLOW we painted it with a wash made from lemon extract. The rich color appears to SHINE from the inside! Here’s how we made it:

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE CAKE

1 lemon cake mix baked in a 9-inch springform (or deep round) pan

1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting

Yellow food coloring(McCormick)

For the rays:

30 yellow and a mix of 25 red, orange, and yellow hard candies (Jolly Ranchers Hard Candy or store brand)

Vegetable cooking spray

For the vodka paint:

Yellow and red food coloring(McCormick)

1 tablespoon lemon extract (McCormick)

  1. Cut the cake in half crosswise to make 2 semi circles. Spread some of the vanilla frosting on the flat side of one half and sandwich together with the other half. Place the cake, cut side down, on a cardboard cut to fit. Give the entire cake a light skim coat of vanilla frosting and freeze the cake for 30 minutes to set. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting yellow with the food coloring (frosting does not need to be a saturated yellow because the vodka paint will make the color more vibrant) and cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line several cookie sheets with foil. Place the unwrapped hard yellow candies in a zip top bag and use a small hammer or the back of a saucepan to break the candies into small pieces. Sprinkle the candy pieces in an even layer on the prepared cookie sheets. Spray a long smooth-bladed knife with cooking spray. Bake one cookie sheet at a time until the candies are just melted into a smooth pool. Transfer the cookie sheet to a wire rack. Immediately, using the sprayed knife blade, press the blade into the softened candy to score it with  long triangles roughly 2 inches wide by 5 inches long. (If the blade gets sticky quickly clean it, spray it again, and continue scoring the candy. If the candy hardens before it is all scored save the un-scored candy to reuse.) Let the scored candy stand until the candy has completely cooled, about 10 minutes. Carefully break apart the triangles, reserving any extra pieces to break up and melt into another sheet of candy. (You will need about 10 large yellow triangles.) Repeat with the mix of red, orange, and yellow candies to make 9 smaller triangles roughly 1-1/2 inch wide by 4 inches long. To get a stained glass effect, mix the crushed red, orange, and yellow candies together in a sheet.
  3. Spread an even layer of yellow frosting over the cake and make smooth. Return the cake to the freezer for 15 minutes to chill. Tint the vodka with the yellow and red food coloring to make a rich yellow color. Use a 1-inch pastry brush to coat the chilled cake with the vodka paint in overlapping horizontal strokes on the front and back and in long smooth strokes around the sides. Continue brushing to smooth any ridges in the chilled frosting and to intensify and vary the color at the edges.
  4. Using a small knife to make slits for insertion, insert the rays of sunshine into the curved side of the cake, placing them on a slight diagonal and alternating long and small triangles evenly spaced from one side to the other.

LET THE SUN SHINE IN!

Makes 12 servings

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE CAKE!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

Happy decorating, Sunshine!

Alan and Karen

DEMO & BOOK SIGNING!

March 18, 2018

COME TO AN EASTER CUPCAKE DECORATING EVENT AND BOOK SIGNING with our friends at SWEEETS in Larchmont, New York on Saturday March 24, 1 to 4 PM.

LIVE DEMO FROM 2 TO 3 PM EASTER CUPCAKES INSPIRED BY OUR NEWEST BOOK Make It Easy, Cupcake!

SWEEETS WILL BE SELLING OUR BOOKS AND YOU CAN STOCK UP ON ALL THE CANDY YOU WILL NEED TO CRAFT YOUR OWN EASTER CUPCAKES! (Already have copies of our books? Bring them so we can sign them for you!)

See the poster for more details about the event!

SWEETS IS LOCATED AT 1935a Palmer Ave, Larchmont, NY 10538

Phone: (914) 630-4400

See you there!

Alan and Karen

EASTER SHEEP CUPCAKES!

March 18, 2018

SPRING is the perfect season for combining CUPCAKES & JELLYBEANS! We made these adorable sheep from gourmet Jelly Belly beans, so they taste great, too! They make a perfect dessert for Easter, a baby shower, a birthday, or any SPRING EVENT! Watch our You Tube tutorial below to see how we made them! These sheep are so BAHHHD they’re GOOD!

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our JELLY BELLY SHEEP CUPCAKES!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

 

Have a very Happy Easter!

Alan and Karen

ST. PATRICK’S DAY CUPCAKES!!!

March 15, 2018

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

Our Blarney Stones are made from breakfast treat cookies that have been cracked in half and coated in stone-grey tinted frosting. The Shamrocks are made from spearmint leaves candies rolled out in green decorating sugar. Be sure to make at least one FOUR LEAF CLOVER for a lucky guest!!

Ingredients

  • 24 chocolate cupcakes baked in green paper liners
  • 1 cup vanilla frosting
  • green and black food coloring
  • ½ cup green decorating sugars
  • 24 spearmint leaves
  • 6 breakfast treats
  • 1 can (16 oz.) chocolate frosting
  • 1 ½ cups ground chocolate cookies

Baking Instructions

  1. Tint ¼ cup of the vanilla frosting bright green. Spoon into a small freezer bag. Press out the air, seal and set aside.
  2. To make the blarney stones, break the breakfast treats into 12 small uneven pieces. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and place a wire rack on top.
  3. Tint the remaining ¾ cup vanilla frosting with a drop of black food coloring to make gray. Microwave in a 1 cup microwaveable measuring cup, stirring frequently, until it is the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 25 seconds total. Drop several breakfast treat pieces into the frosting and stir to coat completely. Use a fork to remove pieces, allowing the excess to drain back into the cup, and transfer to the prepared wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until set.
  4. To make the shamrocks, sprinkle the work surface with the green sugar. Press 2 spearmint leaves together and roll out with a rolling pin, coating with more sugar as necessary, to make a 4″ circle about 1/16″ thick. Repeat with the remaining spearmint leaves and sugar. Use a 1¼” heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out 3 heart shapes from each flattened disc. Cut a 1½” stem from the scraps. Reroll scraps and cut out an few additional hearts to make 4 leaf clovers. Pinch the pointed end of each heart shape to make the leaves.
  5. Spoon the chocolate cookie crumbs into a small shallow bowl. Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the chocolate frosting and smooth. Roll the edges of the cupcakes in the cookie crumbs. Arrange 3 to 4 green candy leaves on top of 12 of the cupcakes, pointed end in center. Add a green stem. Transfer 2 of the chilled gray dipped breakfast treats on top of each of the remaining cupcakes. Sprinkle with additional cookie crumbs. Snip a small (⅛”) corner from the bag with the green frosting. Pipe pulled dots to make patches of grass in random areas next to the blarney stones.

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our ST PATRICK’S DAY CUPCAKES!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

Happy ST PATRICK’S DAY!!

Alan and Karen

LUCKY LEPRECHAUN CUPCAKES!

March 12, 2018

IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY! These St. Patty’s Day Cupcakes were inspired by the SIMPLE FOUR-STEP RECIPES in our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! Made from everyday ingredients like an ice cream cone and a vanilla wafer sprayed with food color for the hat…spice drops rolled in sugar with M&Ms leaves for the Shamrock…orange M&Ms for the beard…and candies for the buckle, nose, and eyes! What could be simpler?

In Make It Easy, Cupcake! we created four simple photos for you to follow, one for each step! Follow the photos here to make your own leprechaun cupcakes! GOOD LUCK!!!

You can find the whole written recipe in our column in this week’s Woman’s World Magazine.

There you have it! LUCKY LEPRECHAUN CUPCAKES!!!

 

 

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our LEPRECHAUN CUPCAKES!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

 

Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Alan and Karen

CHERRY PIE — PI DAY CAKE…APRIL FOOLS!

March 9, 2018

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 April 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 topped with plain Dunkin Munchkins and coated with a glistening red-tinted apple jelly glaze. To complete the effect, the pie is covered with a golden brown lattice made from light brown-tinted frosting with a splattering of vodka soaked-cocoa powder. That’s a FORMULA sure to please any pint-sized Pythagorus or budding Einstein in your home!

Cherry Cake Pie slice

 

Here’s the WHOLE FORMULA. (And don’t worry: You don’t have to be a math whizz to pull it off.)

CHERRY PIE — PI DAY CAKE

INGREDIENTS

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 (McCormick)

Large ribbon pastry tip (Wilton #789)

 DIRECTIONS

  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.

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!

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our CHERRY PI DAY CAKE!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

Happy decorating!

Alan and Karen

LADY BUGS—THE INSIDE STORY!

March 2, 2018

When SPRING is in the air we become OBSESSED with making LADY BUGS on cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, brownies, candies, and cookies! Why? Because they are SO DARN CUTE! They are as easy as making a red body…think round cake pan, round baking bowl, round cupcake top, round cookie, round candy. And adding black spots and head…think donut holes, Oreos, small chocolate bowl cake, M&Ms! Add eyes, legs, and antennae and you have an adorable dessert!

But we have a way to put spots on the inside, too! We use chocolate donut holes in the batter! For a cupcake we add a little pink batter to the cupcake liner and place one donut hole on top. Then fill the cupcake liner to about 2/3 full to cover the donut hole. Bake as usual and VOILA, CHOCOLATE SPOT ON THE INSIDE!

You can do the same for a full size cake. Add pink batter to the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of chocolate donut holes in the batter and continue filling the pan. Add a second layer of donut holes and top with the remaining batter to cover the donut holes. Bake and when you serve the cake you’ll get a SURPRISE INSIDE! CHOCOLATE SPOTS!

 

There you have it! LADY BUG SPOTS, INSIDE AND OUT!!!

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our LADY BUGS!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

 

Happy lady bugs!

Alan and Karen

CACTUS FLOWERS…DESSERT BLOOMS!

February 25, 2018

4 EASY TO FOLLOW PHOTOS, inspired by our newest book MAKE IT EASY, CUPCAKE! Madeleine cookies, a green candy coating, and white sprinkles for the cactus. Marshmallows and sugar for the flowers. What could be SIMPLER?

Here’s how to make them.

    1. Trim the short end of a madeleine cookie to flatten. Insert a pretzel stick into the cut end.
    2. Dip the madeleine cookie into green candy melts and sprinkle with white sprinkles while the candy is still wet to make a cactus.
    3. Cut mini marshmallows in half, crosswise. Dip the sticky side in sugar to coat. Pipe a dot of melted candy on waxed paper and add five sugar-coated marshmallows to the candy to form a flower. Add a pearl candy to the center.
    4. Pipe a dot of chocolate to the end of each cactus and attach a flower. Frost a cupcake and roll it in cookie crumbs. Poke a hole in the center of the cupcake and insert the pretzel stick with the cactus. Scatter candy rocks in the crumbs.

We hope your DESSERT BLOOMS all year!

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as our CACTUS FLOWER CUPCAKES!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

Happy decorating!

Alan and Karen

PRESIDENTS DAY CUPCAKES!!

February 16, 2018

Because the STATE OF OUR CUPCAKE UNION IS STRONG, we have made an EXECUTIVE decision to honor LINCOLN and WASHINGTON in true Hello, Cupcake! style. So in honor of PRESIDENTS DAY, we proudly present this pair of PRESIDENTIAL CAMEO CUPCAKES!!

In order to create these chocolate cameos, FIRST you’ll need to draw a TEMPLATE for the profiles. You can use our photo above or any other drawing or photograph of the presidents in profile. Simply reduce or enlarge the drawing to a size that will easily fit on top of a cupcake, about 2 inches across. After you have drawn the template, place a piece of wax paper over it, and then pipe an out lie around the design using candy melts and a ziptop bag. Next fill in the outline and gently tap the working surface to make the candy settle into a smooth shape. Place the drawing in the fridge to harden (about 5 minutes).

This simple example using a drawing of a butterfly wing shows how to use a template to pipe chocolate on waxed paper. (More about piping with templates on pages 16-17 of our original book HELLO, CUPCAKE!)

SECOND, peel the chocolate profile from the wax paper and gently place it on a frosted cupcake. Trim the outside edge of the cupcake with a row of M&Ms placed on their side.

Hope you enjoy this face time with the Presidents.

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4-STEP DESIGNS that are just as easy and just as much fun as the PRESEDENTIAL CAMEOS!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

Happy decorating, America!

Alan and Karen

FORTUNE COOKIE CAKE!!

February 15, 2018

Every FORTUNE COOKIE contains a BIRTHDAY WISH!! We asked the birthday girl’s friends to write special wishes for the cake…and she opened every cookie and read them all! There are so many events that would be perfect for FORTUNE COOKIE WISHES! An anniversary, a going away party, a retirement party, or even a romantic celebration…MARRY ME!!! You could even stuff the fortune cookies with CHARADES CLUES!! This is going to be FUN!!

Here’s how we made the Fortune Cookies

1 cup butter
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons warm water

100 paper fortunes about 3/8 wide X 2 inches long (we wrote them on a computer and printed them on white paper, then trimmed to size)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, non stick foil or sil pads. Spray vegetable cooking spray on the parchment paper if using.

2. Melt the butter and cool to room temperature.

3. Beat the egg whites, sugar and extracts until foamy. Stir in the melted butter, flour, and salt until well blended. Add the water and stir until smooth.

4. Spoon batter onto the prepared cookie sheets into 2 inch circles, about 6 per pan. Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Quickly remove them from the pan, place a fortune across the center and fold the cookie in half. While holding the sides together, press against the straight back side to bend the cookie in the middle and create the fortune cookie shape. Repeat with the remaining cookies, working quickly. If the cookies become too hard, return to the oven to soften for about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining batter to make about 100 cookies.

To assemble the cake:

Frost a two-tier cake with white buttercream and press the fortune cookies into frosting all over the cake to cover. Add candles and make a wish!

(PS If you live in an area with Chinese bakeries and Asian markets you can sometimes find fresh-made fortune cookies. If you don’t have time to bake your own, simply remove the pre-stuffed missives from the store-bought cookies and substitute your custom fortunes!)

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4 STEP DESIGNS just as easy and just as much fun as our Box of Chocolates Cake!

You can pre-order now and get delivery by June 7!

Pre-order HERE! AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

 

 

 

Happy FORTUNES,

Alan and Karen

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