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

BOX OF CHOCOLATES VALENTINES CAKE!

February 11, 2018

BOX OF CHOCOLATES CAKE for Valentines Day made in 4 SIMPLE STEPS inspired by our newest book MAKE IT EASY, CUPCAKE!

  1. Place dark chocolate candy melts in a microwaveable bowl and heat in the the microwave, stopping every few seconds to stir, until the candy is completely melted and smooth.
  2. Using a small craft brush, coat the inside of mini cupcake liners with the melted candy. Slightly crumple a few of the liners and coat the crumpled inside. Place the coated liners in the refrigerator for about five minutes to harden.
  3. While the candies chill, frost a heart shaped cake with vanilla frosting. Use red fruit leather to create an edge all around the heart shape. Add red candies at the base of the fruit leather edge to create a decorative border.
  4. Peel the paper from the hardened candy melts and place the molded candy liners on the cake to look like paper liners in a box of chocolates. Add red and pink and foil wrapped Valentines candies to the candy liners to complete the box of chocolates.

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 Valentines Day decorating!

Alan and Karen

MASKED MARDI GRAS CUPCAKES!!

February 9, 2018

We love finding IDEAS that use CANDY & SNACKS we already have in the cupboard! So when Alan broke his PRETZEL in half and held it up to his eyes…Karen was thrilled and shouted out “MARDI GRAS MASKS!” To make it even EASIER, we used a SIMPLE 4-STEP recipe inspired by the projects in our newest book, Make It Easy, Cupcake!

They are really easy to make. Either snap the pretzel by hand or even better use a serrated knife to saw through the pretzel and create the mask shape. (Remember you are using the two big loops of the pretzel for the eye holes.) You can make any color, but we love the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold! Just follow our SIMPLE 4-STEP photos below!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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 MASKED MARDI GRAS CUPCAKES!

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

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

 

Happy Mardi Gras…and as they say in New Orleans…Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Alan and Karen

LOVE BUG CUPCAKES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!

February 7, 2018

Send your Valentine a SWARM of LOVE BUG CUPCAKES! These critters are not only charming, they taste great too. Another SIMPLE 4-STEP RECIPE inspired by our newest book MAKE IT EASY, CUPCAKE!

    1. Start with strawberry cupcakes and coat them with milk chocolate frosting and smooth.
    2. Saw a small round cookie that just covers the top of a cupcake in half using a serrated knife.
    3. Coat the cookie halves with pink melting wafers and place them in the refrigerator for five minutes to harden.
    4. Cut PINK CHERRY JELLY BELLY beans in half and use a dot of frosting to attach them to the coated cookies for the red spots.

Get the whole recipe along with more Valentine’s Day ideas by Hello, Cupcake! on the Jelly Belly web site at https://www.jellybelly.com/valentines-day-recipes-and-party-ideas

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 LOVE BUGS!

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

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

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day and happy decorating,

Alan and Karen

LOVE LETTERS CUPCAKES FOR VALENTINES DAY!

February 5, 2018

We think SIMPLY PRETTY should also be PRETTY SIMPLE! We were inspired by the SIMPLE 4-STEP RECIPES in our new book MAKE IT EASY, CUPCAKE! where every design has four easy-to-follow photos, one for each step in the recipe! Here are the four easy photos you need to make LOVE LETTERS FOR YOUR VALENTINE!

  1. Trace the letters for your message on paper, adding a short line for the candy support at the bottom of each letter. (We went with LOVE but your LOVE LETTER could read BE MINE, KISS, HUGS, SWEET, HEART, MARRY ME, or whatever you feel is the right message.)
  2. Place waxed paper over the letters. Place candy melting wafers in a ziptop bag and microwave, stopping every few seconds to massage the bag, until softened. Pipe and outline the first letter and then flood the outline with melted candy. While the candy is still wet, cover with desired sugar or sprinkles.
  3. Repeat with the additional letters to create your message. Chill the letters for 5 minutes until set and brush off the excess sugar or sprinkles.
  4. Frost the tops of enough cupcakes to hold your message. Push a toothpick into the center of each cupcake. Carefully insert the support at the bottom of each letter into the hole in a cupcake so the letters stand up in the frosting on top of the cupcakes.

Our newest book Make It Easy, Cupcake! has over 100 SIMPLE 4 STEP DESIGNS just as easy and just as much fun as our Love Letters!

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

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

 

Make It Easy decorating,

Alan and Karen

MINI BIRTHDAY CUP-CAKE TOWERS!

February 4, 2018

These easy Mini Birthday Tower Cupcakes were inspired by the Simple 4-Step recipes in our newest book Make It Easy Cupcake! We used easy techniques from our book to create a warm glow without real flames! The candles were made using pink chocolate POCKY sticks with a little back and forth drizzle of vanilla frosting to mimic real candles. (Sorry Cake Mate!) We also put two colors of frosting in our piping bag, orange and yellow, so when we piped the flames they came out with mixed colors just like the real thing!

The tower itself is made from a jumbo cupcake at the bottom, a regular cupcake in the middle, and a mini cupcake on top…all baked in Reynolds foil liners!

What could be simpler….or prettier?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-order Make It Easy, Cupcake!  HERE!

AmazonBarnes%20and%20NobleiBooks

Happy Birthday Decorating!

Alan and Karen

 

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