Category Archives: Kids’ Cakes

Peeps Cupcakes (with a Surprise)

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It has been a busy weekend for us around here, with a sleepover birthday party, a trip to the mall for an ear-piercing, church youth temple trip, oldest daughter returning from college, middle daughter returning from a school orchestra trip, a playdate for a little boy feeling left out of all the fun, regular Sunday church activities (plus an evening Easter devotional), followed by a child’s gall bladder removal on Monday.

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If anything can help you through the wonderful chaos that is raising kids, it is these Peeps cupcakes. We served them at Little J’s 10th birthday party, but they would also make a fun Easter dessert.

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The kids were excited to find a surprise inside of the cupcakes when they bit into them!

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I scooped out the center of the cupcakes and Little J filled them with candy Easter eggs and m&ms. I piped a swirl of the rainbow frosting onto each cupcake and then we topped each one with a Peep. We used the Vanilla, Strawberry, and Orange Crème flavors. These Peeps are separated in their package so that you don’t have white patches (with no sugar covering) where you have to break the Peeps apart from a normal package.

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To make the rainbow swirled frosting: Attach a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) to a pastry bag. Using a clean paintbrush, paint stripes of gel food coloring along the inside of the pastry bag (the stripes do not have to touch). Carefully spoon white frosting into the bag. Squeeze out and discard a little of the frosting, until you begin to see color on the edge of the frosting. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes: start on the outside of the cupcake, holding the bag straight up and down and proceed in a swirl, slightly overlapping layers, to the center of the cupcake.

Happy Birthday Little J! Here she is sporting her newly pierced ears:

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This week will be a much needed recovery week for all of us. A perfect time to reflect on the gift of the Atonement that we celebrate this week. Here is an Easter video on the Savior’s gift to each of us and who we can become Because of Him:

Because of Him

RECIPE:

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Cooked Vanilla Frosting

1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Gel food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk with a whisk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and let it cool completely to room temperature.  Stir in vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy and completely uniform throughout.

FOR SWIRLED FROSTING: Attach a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) to a pastry bag. Using a clean paintbrush, paint stripes of gel food coloring along the inside of the pastry bag (the stripes do not have to touch). Carefully spoon white frosting into the bag. Squeeze out and discard a little of the frosting, until you begin to see color on the edge of the frosting. Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes.

For a peaked swirl pattern: start on the outside of the cupcake, holding the bag straight up and proceed in a swirl, slightly overlapping layers, to the center of the cupcake. For a rose pattern: start in the center of the cupcake, holding the piping bag straight up and proceed in a swirl to the outside of the cupcakes (do not overlap layers).

Yield: frosting for about 24 cupcakes

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Partying with Penguins

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Today is my baby girl’s 9th birthday. We worked together to create this fun Penguin Cake. She has a delicious cotton candy belly.

Here is the penguin without the cotton candy:

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We love having Little J in our family. She is just as sweet as her penguin friend.

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Happy Birthday Little J

We love you always!

 

Inspiration for cake from an Australian Women’s World Cookbook magazine from 1998. Cake frosted with this Buttercream Frosting (with the addition of orange extract).

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Beachcomber Rainbow Cupcakes

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It’s Great to be Eight!

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Especially when turning “8” comes with edible flip-flop adorned rainbow cupcakes.

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Earlier this month was my baby girl’s eighth birthday. Unfortunately, due to a bout of the flu on birthday party day, we had to postpone celebrating until last weekend. With these cute cupcakes, our Hawaiian luau was a great success!

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We used this Vanilla Frosting Recipe to frost the rainbow-sprinkle-filled cupcakes. Buttercream or Swiss Meringue Buttercream would also work well. The swirl was made using a Wilton 1M tip.

How to make Rainbow Frosting

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Prepare frosting and divide into 3 bowls (or as many colors as you are using). Tint each bowl with paste or gel food coloring. Place each color in a separate piping bag (or use Ziploc bags). Don’t fill bags all the way. An easy way to fill piping bags is to place the empty bag in a tall drinking glass and fold the top of the bag over the edge of the glass. Spoon frosting into the bag. Rainbow Cupcakes 112-1

Secure tops of the filled bags using a rubber band or clip. You can secure them together or separately. Cut ends off of the bags. DO NOT put a piping tip on these bags.

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Place a large tip (I used a Wilton 1M) on a separate clean bag. Place your frosting filled bags into the empty bag with the tip. Make sure that the ends of the frosting filled bags go into the tip of the empty bag. Don’t fill the frosting-filled bags too full, or they will not fit well in the empty bag. You will probably need to refill the bags before you are done frosting all of the cupcakes. To refill bags, place the entire set of frosting bags (leave them inside the bag with the tip) in a tall drinking glass. Remove rubber band or clip. Fill each bag with an equal amount of frosting. Re-secure the ends of the bags.

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This technique also allows you to easily switch the frosting-filled bags to a different sized tip, if you want to create different effects on your cupcakes.

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Happy Birthday Little J! Love you always!

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Soccer Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

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We had a slightly different cake planned for Little A’s birthday party, but with the unexpected hospital stay, we went with something much simpler: a rectangular cake make into a soccer field. The frosting is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It has a few steps, and does require a double boiler (or metal bowl over a pot of water) and a stand mixer. But the result is a wonderfully light, not too sweet frosting. You start with a cooked meringue (one whole cup of egg whites for a regular sized round cake; two cups for the cake we made). This is a fairly large cake (two layer 11×15” rectangle).

I had about a cup of egg whites left from making the Vanilla Custard for the Trifle, so I used that plus some reconstituted dried egg whites (Just Whites brand-available in the baking aisle of most grocery stores). Once the meringue has cooked, it is beaten until cool and glossy, then butter is beaten in to make a stable, spreadable frosting. I think this is my new favorite frosting. It was very easy to work with once it was beaten, and it is not too sweet. Now, almost a week later, the frosting is still soft (no crust) and delicious.

I love that this frosting gets most of it’s bulk from egg whites, and not sugar (that makes it almost healthy, right?). Just ignore the 4 sticks of butter when you answer that question.

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I made a raspberry filling for the cake by beating 1/2 cup Raspberry Jam into about 3 or 4 cups of the meringue frosting. It held up great, and did not ooze out at all when the top layer was added. This would make a great all-around frosting as well, if you are looking for a pink cake. I would just use either a seedless raspberry jam, or a lightly sweetened raspberry puree if I was going to put it on the outside of the cake. The little bits of pulp and seeds were fine for a filling, but I would prefer a uniform color for an outside-of-the-cake frosting.

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RECIPE:

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Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing

1 cup egg whites (about 8 large egg whites, or use “Just Whites” egg white powder, reconstituted, or refrigerated egg whites)
1 1/2 cups sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature**
2 tsp vanilla extract (or use small amounts of other flavored extracts)
Gel food coloring (for colored frosting)

In the top of a double boiler, stir together  egg whites, sugar and salt. Bring water in bottom of double boiler to a low simmer; cook until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 160°F and sugar is completely dissolved (rub mixture between fingertips-it should not feel gritty). Mixture will be foamy and not a uniform consistency.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip until meringue is completely cooled and glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. DO NOT ADD BUTTER UNTIL BOTH THE BOWL AND FROSTING ARE COMPLETELY COOL. Switch mixer attachment from the whisk to paddles. Add butter 1-2 Tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Mixture may appear curdled at times.  Continue beating until butter is fully incorporated and frosting is fluffy and smooth.  This will take about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla and beat smooth. Add gel food coloring and beat until color is uniform.

**BUTTER NOTE: butter should be room temperature soft, but not at the point of melting. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate well into the meringue, and you will have butter chunks. If the butter is over-soft, it will cause the frosting to curdle while beating-this is okay, it isn’t ruined: it will just take longer (more beating) for the frosting to become smooth.

Storage:  Store frosted cake at room temperature.  To store leftover icing: store in a covered container in the refrigerator.  When ready to use, bring to room temperature and beat until light and fluffy.

Yield: frosting for a two-layer round cake. For the cake above which is a double layer 11×15” rectangle, double the recipe.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

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2 cups prepared Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing
1/4 cup raspberry jam or lightly sweetened raspberry puree

Beat with a mixer until smooth. Spread between cake layers.

To frost the entire cake with raspberry buttercream, use about 1 cup lightly sweetened raspberry puree or seedless jam (for a uniform pink color with no seeds or pulp pieces) with entire batch of icing above.

Makes enough filling for a 2-layer round cake.

 

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A Butterfly in Buttercream

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Today is my Little J’s 7th birthday. It is amazing how quickly time flies. My once-upon-a-time-baby is all grown up and decorating her own cakes now! I am glad she is still interested in fun little girl things like butterflies. Last year we made Cupcakes topped with Chocolate Butterflies for her 6th birthday. This year it was one great big butterfly cake.4911 071-1

Little J was in charge of design and decorations. She chose the color patterns of the icing sections, the sprinkles and the M&M borders (I love Easter-colored candies!). She also put on all of the M&Ms and sprinkles and shaped the antennae. She is very meticulous! My job was heavy construction: cake cutting and icing spreading.

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She carefully separated a rainbow mix of sprinkles into separate colors.

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If you look closely, the sprinkles are shaped like tiny butterflies. Little J says they are the baby butterflies and the big cake is the Mommy Butterfly.

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Congratulations Little J on a cake well done!

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Happy 7th Birthday Little J. We love you lots!

RECIPE:

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Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening (or additional butter)
1 lb (4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
Additional milk to thin icing

Cream butter and shortening with a mixer. Beat in powdered sugar, 2 Tbs milk, vanilla and salt. This yields 3 CUPS STIFF icing (for piping borders and decorations).

For thinner icing (spreading on cake): Gradually beat in additional milk, 1 tsp at a time, until icing is desired consistency.

FOR CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM: Add 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled and additional 1 Tbs milk.

 

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Jaws 2010

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A quick break from Thanksgiving Recipes to bring you Jaws 2010. Three creative young bakers put together this fabulous 3-D Jaws Cake (complete with dismembered Barbie) for a Retro Jaws Party last night.

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An open-mouthed shark (formed out of Rice Krispies Treats) filled with blood-stained teeth (piped white chocolate) all on a sea of Red Velvet Cake. After the cake was completed the girls had a whole new respect for Cake Boss!111210 010-1

A-M-A Bakers hard at work!

111210 013-1 Many thanks to Little J for sacrificing a Barbie for the project!

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It’s Great To Be Eight!

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Happy 8th Birthday to my Little A,
who is not quite so little anymore.

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Don’t you just love a good set of dimples!

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How To . . . Make Butterfly Cupcakes (and a totally delicious frosting!)

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These are the cupcakes we made for Little J’s 6th Birthday Party.  The butterflies were easy to make, and look so cute sitting on top of a brightly frosted cupcake!

I first saw these butterflies on the blog Annie’s Eats. They are also shown in the book Hello Cupcake!

I used a boxed mix (as I had 6 party-going 6 year olds helping bake and decorate) for the cupcakes, but made a homemade frosting for the girls to tint and ice their cupcakes with. The frosting was absolutely decadent! I normally dislike most frostings: buttercream, royal icing, fondant—they all get scraped off onto the side of my plate. But this frosting is amazing; it tastes like a rich buttery whipped cream. Maybe I like it because it doesn’t use powdered sugar. That and the butter!

The frosting recipe is below, at the end of the post. It is different from many frostings in that it is thickened with a cooked milk and flour concoction (that looks like glue!), and uses granulated sugar instead of powdered. This will be my go-to cake frosting from now on!

What really makes the cupcakes, of course, are the butterflies. They were surprisingly easy to make.

Making Chocolate Butterflies

040910 085-1 Assemble ingredients: Melting chocolate (both chocolate and colored), waxed paper, toothpicks, writing tip, Ziploc bags or pastry bags, butterfly stencil, “sprinkles”

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Trace wing and antennae pattern onto a piece of white paper.

040910 087-1 Place a small amount of colored and chocolate melting disks into separate Ziploc bags (or small bowls). Melt in microwave—Start with 30 seconds, squish bags, then add an additional 10 seconds if not completely melted.

I used a writing tip to pipe the chocolate, but I just cut off a small end of the bag to squeeze out the melted colored vanilla candy. I used Ziploc bags simply because I did not want to clean out pastry bags. I don’t recommend store-brand bags for this; I have had the seam rip while squeezing out the chocolate. Huge mess!

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Place a small square of waxed paper over your stencil paper.

Pipe chocolate around the edge of one wing at a time. Squeeze a small amount of colored chocolate into the center of each wing section. Use a toothpick to spread colored candy to fill the wing. Use a toothpick to gently swirl chocolate and colored candy. Sprinkle edges of wings with sprinkles, if desired.

Work with just one wing at a time. The chocolate hardens quickly!

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Place your bag of chocolate back in the microwave for a few seconds if it becomes too stiff (don’t forget to take off the metal writing tip!).

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Trace the antennae. Let wings harden completely.

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There are two ways to assemble the butterflies: create self-standing butterflies, or assemble the butterflies on the cupcakes.

I was making these for Little J’s party, where the girls were making and decorating their own cupcakes. I thought assembling them on the cupcakes would be too time consuming for the party, so I made mine self-standing. The down side of trying to make self-standing butterflies is that the cute little segmented bodies (see picture below) don’t stay quite so cute when you are trying to balance the wings in the still-wet chocolate.

For a great tutorial on how to assemble the butterflies on the cupcakes, visit Annie’s Eats.

040910 108-1 For self-standing cupcakes: using the melted chocolate, pipe a body onto a separate piece of waxed paper. Make little dollops of chocolate, being sure that they touch.

Now for the tricky part: find some odds and ends in your kitchen drawers to use to prop up your butterfly wings and antennae while the chocolate body hardens (I used plastic mason jar lids and medicine cups). Place the wings at an angle in the still soft chocolate body. Prop them up underneath. Place the antennae at the head of the butterfly and prop that as well.

I tried just holding the wings while the chocolate hardened, but the wings started to melt in my fingers before the body was hard enough to support the wings. Propping them was much easier!

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Gently peel the butterflies off of the waxed paper when you are ready to put them onto your cupcakes.

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RECIPE:

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Vanilla Cupcake (or Cake) Frosting

1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Optional: food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and let it cool completely to room temperature.  Stir in vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy and completely uniform throughout.  Beat in food coloring, if desired.

This frosting looks best when piped with a large decorating tip (1M), but can also be spread with a spatula.

Yield: frosting for one cake or about 24 cupcakes

 

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Butterfly Wings and Apron Strings

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This weekend was my baby girl’s 6th birthday.

As we count down the days to the end of kindergarten, I am also counting down to the first time in 18 years that I will have all of my children in school all day. So what is more fitting for the birthday of my last stay-at-home-at-least-part-of-the-day child than a party full of apron strings (that I’m longing to keep tied) and butterfly wings (that she is yearning to open and fly).

So we planned a “Cooking Party” for 6 little girls, complete with hand-sewn aprons, chef hats, and a make-your-own menu of mini pizzas, fruit kabobs and butterfly cupcakes.

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Our butterfly cupcakes, inspired by Annie’s Eats.

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Little J modeling the apron she helped design and make. And if you look close enough, you can see (or not see) the first tooth that she lost on the night of her birthday!

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So, how come no one ever told me that there was such a thing as a “bias tape maker” before I made about 600 yards of bias tape with just a pair of scissors and an iron!? (Actually it was closer to 20 yards, but it sure felt like 600)

0401010 023-1 All of my love to my sweet Little J, who is growing into such a lovely young lady! As you stretch your wings and fly, I hope you never completely forget those apron strings we tied together.

 

Tomorrow: a tutorial on how to make Butterfly Cupcakes, plus a totally delicious cupcake frosting (from someone who picks the frosting off of just about every cake around).

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