Woodland-Themed Cupcakes

A first birthday is such a special milestone. For this little lady, woodland-themed cupcakes were in order. I admit that when her Mom asked for this theme, I didn’t have a solid image in my head. I turned to Google and promptly found some great inspiration!

Carters Treetops collection was my inspiration. I spent a long time looking at adorable nursery collections! I chose a bunny, owl, fox and bear for this cake. Time to get started! After some discussion about cake vs. cupcakes, Payton’s mom and I decided that cupcakes would be a perfect choice. We chose to use a homemade cupcake stand decorated with some grass for our little forest friend delectables.

To make the stand, I used 3 square cake dummies (6″, 12″, 18″). I also used cardboard circular shapes to serve as separators between the tiers. I covered each cake dummy and then created the tower.

Creating the Tower

Making the Cupcakes

When you are ready to make your cupcakes, follow the steps below. I recommend making the toppers before making the cupcakes, as the toppers will take a bit of time. Plan on 4 hours for 36 toppers, depending on how quickly you work (see pictures below). After you finish the toppers, it is time to bake and make your favorite icings. These cupcakes were gluten-free (for Mom) and vanilla (for Payton). Because I used chocolate fondant for the toppers, I made a crown cupcake topper for Payton without any chocolate fondant in it. Have fun making the toppers! (Written instructions are below the pictures)

  1. Select your base color, roll out fondant and use a round cutter to cut the number of bases you need for your cupcake toppers. Lay them on parchment paper for easy release later.
  2. Select your first animal and draw a rough design based on your inspiration. Then, use fondant tools, cutters or both to form the basic shapes for your animal. I used a flower petal cutter for the bunny ears and a circle cutter for its head.
  3. Select the fondant you plan to use, mix any colors you need and begin rolling, cutting and shaping. You’ll see that I used one petal for the straight ear. For the floppy ear I used 1 1/2 petals and bent and cut the ear to fit. Once formed, lay the bunny on the fondant base. Repeat until you have all your bunnies cut.
  4. Move to your next animal. Make a rough outline and identify the cutters you’ll use. Flower cutters of all types come in very handy with woodland animals. I used a petal cutter, a round shape and a smaller flower cutter.
  5. Color any fondant needed and roll out and cut. For the owls, I used the round cutter to cut the body. Once cut, I pulled the fondant quickly and formed a teardrop shape. Lay on your cupcake topper base and repeat until you have all your owl bodies formed.
  6. Begin embellishing your owls. You may want to turn to your inspiration again to see just how much you will want to include. I rolled out rope lengths for branches, used the small flower cutter to make feet and a part of a petal cutter to make wings. Embellish as much as you wish: this is where your toppers will take on your own flair.
  7. Repeat the process of selecting cutters and drawing a template for your next animal. My next animal was the fox. I used a big petal cutter, the same small petal cutter from the bunny and a round cutter. Use your knife to cut everything to create your fox shape.
  8. Lay your fox parts on the cupcake topper base.
  9. Add any embellishments with edible marker and non toxic decorating chalks.

Time to Disco

This summer I had the opportunity to make a disco ball cake and cupcakes for a party! This was my first time using the ball pan to make a complete ball. For this fun cake, I got to break out the airbrush, work with lots of great sprinkles and use fondant.

This cake was for a 60th birthday party. As part of the party plan, I made cupcakes to serve most of the people. The disco ball was only a small part of the overall cake. To make the cupcake toppers, you’ll also need an airbrush, a stencil, circle cutter, and several colors of fondant. For the cupcake toppers, roll out your fondant and cut circles. Then, using a stencil and an airbrush, airbrush onto the circles. Allow to dry until they are hard enough to hold their shape on the cupcakes. I’ve detailed the steps in pictures and in writing below the composite of pictures.

When you are ready to make your disco ball, follow these steps:

  1. Bake your cake in the Wilton ball pan. Make sure to prepare  your pan by spraying with Pam for baking, or greasing and flouring. This will allow for a completely smooth release, making covering with fondant quick and easy. Allow to cool, then use Buttercream to connect the 2 pieces.
  2. Lightly frost the exterior of the cake with buttercream, then roll out fondant to cover the cake.
  3. Trim the fondant to form a smooth edge around the bottom of the cake.
  4. Using an airbrush with edible color, airbrush the fondant. If you don’t have an airbrush you may use Wilton’s color mist. This allows you to have some of the base color peeking through without it looking unfinished. Alternatively, you may plan to cover every portion of your ball and skip this step.
  5. Roll out your first color of fondant. While it is still very soft, press sprinkles into the fondant. Cut into squares.
  6. Place tiles on the disco ball. If you have worked quickly, the fondant tiles should stick to the ball. If they are having trouble sticking, use sugar glue, icing or lightly brush the back of each tile with water so that it will stick.
  7. Repeat with additional colors.
  8. Repeat until you have finished using all the colors you planned to use.
  9. Now your disco ball is finished and ready to show!

Bunny Cake

When I was a young girl, my Mom took a cake decorating class. In the years following the class, I always looked forward to picking out my cake from the Wilton ideas yearbook. One of my favorites was the bunny cake, and when my Mom made it for me on my 25th birthday, I enjoyed it as much as I did when I was little!

My birthday falls near Easter, so a bunny cake was an appropriate choice. Last spring we celebrated my birthday with family on Easter Sunday. I decided to surprise my mom and make the special bunny cake. In my attempt to recreate the cake, I enjoyed a lovely trip down memory lane, and learned a few things about this cake in the process.

The inspiration for this bunny cake was from a mid-1970s Wilton Yearbook. It had a cake bunny on top and a big basket handle. My mother (who always tried to satisfy our every request for cake) realized that the cake bunny would be WAY too much cake and that a frosted chocolate bunny would be A LOT more fun! And that basket handle? Well, that would be fragile, and who needs a handle anyway? So, my favorite bunny cake, inspired by Wilton and made by Mom, was born. Pictured at right, my 7th birthday!

I have since turned my baking hobby into a business, but my mother has so much more patience than I do now (and likely ever will)! When I made my bunny cake, I completely forgot that the point of using the chocolate bunny was to have less cake, but that I still had to DECORATE it. As we were eating the cake, my mom reminded me. I didn’t remember until she showed me the picture. Of course, someone with more patience may have made the cake again and frosted the bunny. I decided that I prefer the new version: it’s much easier and requires so little patience. Continue reading

A Fondant Tap Shoe

You may have seen my recent post about making an edible ballet shoe. Elizabeth takes tap too and was really excited to give her teacher a tap shoe. It was just as fun, but a little bit more of a challenge because the tap shoe has more embellishments.

Want to make your own tap shoe? First, it is a nice idea to have a model: Elizabeth’s size 8 shoes were perfect. They are large enough to be realistic and provide several servings (very important)! Before you get ready to create your shoe, prepare your work area with parchment or waxed paper, knives and vegetable oil spray. Have fondant and a rolling pin ready and prepare your Rice Krispie Treats. You’ll need:

  • Rice Krispies
  • butter
  • marshmallows
  • fondant (assorted colors)
  • chocolate melts
  • parchment or waxed paper
  • a clean diamond nail file (not the sandpaper kind that will file off but the type that can’t come off as you file)
  • rolling pin
  • knives
  • decorative tools (if you have them)

 

  1. After you have made the treat mixture, allow to cool until the mixture won’t burn your hands. Use your model(s) and form all your shapes. It helps to coat your hands with vegetable oil to avoid sticking. Work quickly and use waxed paper for support if you need something to stand upAllow to cool. Use your freezer or fridge to speed up cooling.
  2. Melt the candy melts and spread your shape with the melted mixture. Place in fridge or freezer until cool. **I used red because it is one of the dance studio’s colors. Any color will work. Use your file to file down the edges. You want a nice flat surface for covering.
  3. Cover with prepared fondant. For the black, we used chocolate fondant with black coloring. The chocolate has a nice taste, like that of a Tootsie roll, and its natural color allowed us to use less coloring. We used a paper towel to add texture to the shoe.
  4. Roll out fondant to mark off the part that will be the opening for the shoe.
  5. Roll out a thin rope of fondant and place it around the edge of the shoe opening. Add a tongue.
  6. Begin your embellishments. The tap shoe is fun! You can add eyelets, laces and do some texturing. Elizabeth wanted me to use fun lace colors. Because we made a realistic ballet shoe, I made the tap shoe just like hers. Create the taps of the shoe out of gray fondant. You may spray them with edible silver or paint them with edible silver if you like.
  7. You have a tap shoe. Photograph and enjoy!

Next challenge, pointe shoes. Elizabeth isn’t ready for pointe just yet, but I might practice. That way I’ll be ready when she asks for them!

Rice Krispie Ballet Shoes

Elizabeth and I decided it would be fun to make an edible ballet shoe for her ballet teacher as an end of year present. What a fun project! She was thrilled to present the shoe to her teacher.

Want to make your own ballet shoe? First, it is a nice idea to have a model: Elizabeth’s size 8 shoes were perfect. They are large enough to be realistic and provide several servings (very important)! Before you get ready to create your shoe, prepare your work area with parchment or waxed paper, knives and vegetable oil spray. Have fondant and a rolling pin ready and prepare your Rice Krispie Treats. You’ll need: Continue reading