Monday, March 28, 2011

Koi Fish

These koi fish are definitely one of my favorite creations. They're so cute and weird looking. And not to mention easy to make! And when their creepy stares become too much to handle, eating them is a great solution.

Start out with two circus peanuts. Cut a small chunk out of the top of one full peanut and set to the side. Then take the other peanut and cut in half "hot dog style". Then cut both halves on a diagonal. Next, arrange the peanut pieces on top of a blue frosted cupcake.

Next, use icing to secure orange peanut butter M&Ms onto the face of the koi fish, then secure the eyes by placing an orange Froot Loop mouth underneath the peanut butter M&Ms. Finally, place brown mini M&Ms onto the orange peanut butter M&Ms for the pupils. I liked letting the vanilla icing show underneath the brown mini M&Ms; I thought it made the fishes more odd looking.

How easy! I really enjoyed making these. The only downfall to these cupcakes is that I really don't like circus peanuts. But they were easy to pick off when it was time to eat!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jungle Fever

Welcome to the jungle! These flamingo, alligator, and hippo cupcakes were a little bit of a handful but I really enjoyed making them. This recipe is another one from "What's New Cupcake", and required regular sized and mini cupcakes.

First I used neon blue food coloring to tint the vanilla icing. I iced the cupcakes only after I had the other animals made in order to ensure that the icing was wet. After icing, I rolled each cupcake in blue decorating sugar. This gives the cupcakes a little more pizazz, but if I were to do it again I would probably skip the sugar. While it looked better, it made the cupcakes a little too sweet for me.

(Ignore my wrinkly hands in the photo above, haha) I started out with the grass. I used airheads, only because I had them on hand from a different project - the recipe called for spearmint leaves. But I hate spearmint leaves so I opted for the airheads. I cut up two green airheads in different sized triangles and stuck them into the mini cupcakes. After about fifteen minutes, however, the airheads flopped over. But it wasnt hard to prop them back up.

Then I started on the hippos. I used a Nutter Butter for the hippo face. I iced on the orange Froot Loop ears and nostrils, and then I iced on the mini chocolate chip eyeballs. Let the white icing show behind the chocolate chips. I secured the hippo faces onto the regular sized cupcakes.

Next came the alligator. I used a serrated knife to cut the edges of a Nutter Butter to create a pointed shape for the head. I then used a knife to spread icing on top of the cut Nutter Butter and dipped the iced cookie into green decorating sugar. I cut the very bottom of two green Froot Loops and used them as the eyes of the alligator. I then used black tinted icing to pipe on the nostrils and pupils inside of the Froot Loops. Finally, I placed the heads on regular sized cupcakes, and used plain vanilla frosting to pipe on the alligators' teeth.

Finally I worked on the flamingos. I dipped pretzel sticks into pink melting wafers, placed the sticks onto wax paper, and stuck a large pink jellybean on the top of each stick. I put the pretzels and jellybeans in the fridge for 5 minutes. I then used a stencil to trace the wings of the flamingos onto wax paper with the pink melting wafers. I put those into the fridge for 5 minutes too. I iced the mini cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting and dipped them into pink decorating sugar. When I took the pretzel sticks out of the fridge, I inserted them into the mini cupcakes. Then, I cut banana Runts in half and used vanilla icing to secure them onto the pink jellybeans. I used black tinted frosting to pipe on the flamingos' eyes and smile. Finally, I inserted the wings and they were done!

The end result LOOKED great, but all the colored sugar made the cupcakes a little too sweet for my taste. The only time I would make these again would be for a kids party, I'm sure they would love all of the sugar!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In the spirit of St. Patty's Day I made green velvet cupcakes with creamcheese filling. YUM. Red velvet is one of my FAVORITES, so I had to make sure these were good. I used a red velvet and cream cheese filling recipe from Lick The Bowl Good and added green food coloring to make it deliciously green! I also added a cream cheese clover for decoration (and as a good excuse to add more cream cheese).

The batter is made of:
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon green food coloring
  • 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream (for those of you thinking EW, it worked really well in keeping the cupcakes flat and moist)
The filling is made of:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lightly beaten egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
This recipe is awesome because it only makes about 8 cupcakes. Who really needs 24 cupcakes sitting around the house? Its also great because it doesn't need frosting! The filling is sweet and savory enough to give you that extra punch. But make sure you refrigerate the leftovers or else the cream cheese will go bad.

First beat the cream cheese and sugar together until well mixed. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until well mixed. In a different bowl combine vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, egg, food coloring, vanilla, and sour cream. Stir until well mixed. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Now, fill 1/4 of the cupcake liner with the batter. Then fill another 1/4 with filling (or more depending on how much you like cream cheese!). Fill another 1/4 with batter. Finally pipe a clover design on top with the filling.

It's easiest to create these batter/filling layers when you pipe them into the liners from a baggie. This prevents the mess from a dripping spoon and also makes each cupcake more even. Just turn the baggie inside out and reach your hand into the it. Then create a cup with your hand inside the inside out baggie, and pour the batter into this cup from the outside. Then pull the top of the baggie off of your hand. This will catch all of the batter inside of the baggie and leave you with a clean hand and piping bag! I always use plastic baggies to pipe in my batter, and it never fails me!

(Inside out baggie with hand cupped inside)

I put the cupcakes in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, but I think it was a minute or two too long. Next time I'll put them in for only about 18 minutes. I'll also add more filling.

When you first take them out of the oven, the clovers will be a little bit broken because of the rising cupcakes, but as you let them cool, the cupcakes will fall and the clovers will recover. The cupcakes were SO good, and I will definitely make them again. I highly suggest trying out these fun creations. And since the color and design can change, you can use them for any occasion!