American flag cupcakes

We should all treasure our American holidays: Memorial Day, July 4, Veteran’s Day. I’m proud that as a country we celebrate those who serve to protect us and those who have fallen to save us. 

These cupcakes are my (small as it may be) way of saying thank you to those in my family who have served (my grandfather, several great uncles, my hubby, all of his brothers, his dad and our neice and nephew; the two youngest in Iraq). I hope you enjoy them and make them for your next American celebration!

Here’s what you’ll need to decorate your cupcakes:

  • Red, white and blue icing (remember that gel food coloring work best)
  • #46 icing tip
  • Lollipop sticks
  • 2 resealable plastic bags
  • 2 icing tip connectors

And here are the simple steps:

  1. Once cooled, ice your cupcakes with white icing {cream cheese is my fav!}.
  2. Color some white icing red and some blue. You’ll likely use several drops to get even a small amount of icing bright enough.
  3. Snip the corners of your resealable bags and insert your connectors.
  4. Spoon your red icing into one bag and your blue into another.
  5. Apply your #46 icing tip to your blue bag and using the flat side pipe three stripes (1/3 the length of your flag) and then another stripe from the top {see picture}.
  6. Take your icing tip off the blue bag, clean it out and apply it to the red bag. Pipe the red stripes starting at the top of the flag using your blue stripes as a guide to keep them even. Make sure you skip just below the blue as that should be a white stripe.
  7. Finally, cut a lollipop stick in half and apply it to the side of the flag for your pole.

Have a wonderful holiday and as always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake and create!

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cool summer treats

cool-summer-treatsCool down this summer with these fun treats:

Ice cream cone cupcakes – I love the thought of serving ice cream in the summer, but keeping it from melting is such a challenge. Well not with these adorable cupcake ice cream cones from BrightIdeas.com; there is actually no ice cream involved, but don’t they look cool!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups chopped SNICKERS® Bars
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) vanilla frosting
  • 2 cups M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies
  • 24 ice cream sugar cones
  • Red food coloring
  • Sprinkles
  • 24 paper cupcake liners
  • 2 12-cup standard size muffin tins

And here are the easy steps:

  1. Prepare a yellow cake mix according to the package directions. Fold in SNICKERS® Bars before transferring the batter to cupcake paper-lined muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Tint the frosting pink with a few drops of food coloring, set aside
  3. Fill each sugar cone with 1 tablespoon of M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies.
  4. Remove the paper liners from the cupcakes. Top the cones with the cupcakes, and cover with pink frosting. Decorate with M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies and sprinkles.

Life Preserver Cookies – I thought these were fun, especially if you’re planning a pool party. You can find them at sugarbowlcreations.com.

Snow cones – Okay, so this just made me think of summer when I was a kid {plus it’s from Southern Living Magazine… remember, I’m southern!}. You can read the complete article with recipes here.

Fruit popsicles – And last but not least, let’s keep it healthy when we can. Let’s face it, kids, especially when not given a choice, will love these popsicles made of real fruit just as much as they would a fudge pop. Read all the facts at rd.com.

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ocean birthday party ideas

ocean-party1I’m like a proud momma when it comes to our invitation designs and the décor we’ve chosen to coordinate with each. And just like a momma, I don’t have favorites… but I can have an “oh you’re just too cute today.” Right? {giggle}

So if you’re looking for some fishy fun, grab your snorkel and dive in to this bright and fun ocean birthday party theme. The invite is ours, of course. {wink} You can have a closer look at the invite, thank you, wave plates and more by visiting our “deep sea” birthday party theme in our shoppe.

The cupcakes are ours too. We simply tinted our icing an ocean blue and whipped it on with a spatula for a little wave effect. As for the embellishment, we cut out wave shapes from a blue cardstock to made a cupcake wrapper. As for the life preserver, we used a cirlce gum drop and piped on the stripes with the flat side of a #47 icing tip. Too cute huh!

And last but not least, the cake pan is from William-Sonoma. Love how they used Smarties as the suckers on the tentacles.

Happy planning.

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M&M baseball cupcakes

baseball_brightideasThis idea is from BrightIdeas.com and I simply love it! It is so easy; I only wish I knew where they got the cupcake liners. No fear though. If you can’t locate something similar I would go with a white baking liner (use a white cake mix and egg whites… and maybe substitute apple sauce for the oil to keep the liners crisp) and red and white grosgrain ribbon.

Here’s all you need:

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups chopped MILKY WAY® Bars
  • 2 12-oz. cans whipped vanilla frosting
  • 3 cups M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies
  • 2 12-cup muffin tins
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • And here are the simple steps:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the package. Fold the MILKY WAY® Bars into the batter.
    3. Line the muffin tins and fill. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely before spreading with whipped frosting.
    4. Following the photograph, decorate the cupcakes with single color M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies to create the baseball seams.

    Happy baking!

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    flip-flop ice cream cake

    flip-flop_cake_bhgI’m loving this too fun flip-flop cake creation from BHG.com. This is perfect for a sleepover birthday party theme or for a pool party {note to self, create a beautiful invite for you}.

    Here’s what you’ll need for one flip-flop (double for pair):

    • 1  10-3/4-ounce frozen pound cake, thawed
    • 3/4  to 1 cup desired-flavor ice cream
    • 1/2  of an 8-ounce carton frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
    •   Pull-apart licorice twists
    •   Bright-color candy wafers and/or round candies
    •   Graham cracker crumbs (optional)

    And here are the super simple steps for one flip-flop:

    1. Halve pound cake horizontally. Using a serrated knife, cut off the rounded top of the cake so each layer will be level. Cut each half into a flip-flop shape. (TIP: Trace the bottom of a child-size flip-flop (needs to be 7 to 7 1/2 inches long) on a piece of paper. Cut out shape. Place paper, clean side down, on a piece of clean cardboard or sturdy paper; trace shape. Cut out shape. Place cardboard shape on top of one cake half and use a small sharp knife to cut around shape and through cake. Repeat with other cake half.
    2. Place ice cream in a small bowl and stir to soften. Spread softened ice cream over one of the cakes. Top with second cake. Place ice cream-filled cake on a baking sheet. Cover and freeze until firm (2 to 3 hours). Spread with whipped topping.
    3. To decorate, cut the ends of two twists at a diagonal. Insert a toothpick on the underside of each twist. Arrange the two twists with the cut ends together to form a V-shape, inserting toothpicks in cake to hold the twists in place as straps. Arrange candy wafers around base of flip-flop to decorate. Cover cake loosely and freeze until serving time. Serve on a platter sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs as sand, if desired.

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    sweet owl cupcakes

    owlcupcakes_hellonaomiHow adorable are these owl cupcakes from Hello Naomi! They are perfect for our owl couple baby shower theme or for our owl fun sleepover birthday party theme with a few color tweaks.

    Naomi doesn’t provide instructions, so I’m going to give you a few tips on how I think you can pull this one off without the use of fondant. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 white cake mix (don’t use the yellow of your eggs and bake them in white baking cups)
    • 2 cans icing {cream cheese is my favorite!}
    • Gel food coloring {the others are too watery in my opinion}
    • 2 resealable bags
    • 2 icing connectors
    • #2, #3 and #6 icing tips
    • Toothpicks

    And here’s what you do:

    1. Bake your cupcakes so that you have a muffin top (filling the cups ¾ way full).
    2. While they cool, tint your icing. The image shows a light pink which works great for our owl fun sleepover birthday theme, but you might want a nice yellow for our owl couple baby shower theme… unless you want to show off the gender! {wink}
    3. Now, microwave your tinted icing in intervals of 7 seconds, stirring in between, until it is a little bit like soup. It will harden back up quickly so you’ll have to remicrowave it between every other cupcake or so.
    4. Take your cupcake and dip the muffin top in the icing, being careful not to get it on your baking cup. Slowly lift it out and spin the cupcake allowing the excess icing to drip off. Place it immediately on a cooling rack to allow the icing to dry. (Tip: If you have a little point in your icing where the last dripped off, quickly, and gently, shake your cupcake back and forth so that the icing will settle before it dries.)
    5. Now for the owl, tint a half can of icing the color you want your owl to be and set aside.
    6. Take a resealable bag, insert a connector and attach a #3 tip. Fill the bag with half of the tinted owl icing.
    7. Outline the shape of the owl on the cupcake.
    8. Change your tip to a #6 and pipe on your branch and dot leaves.
    9. Now to fill the owl, microwave the remaining icing, minus a heaping tablespoon for the eyes and noses, and carefully fill the owl outline. Smooth the icing to the edges with a toothpick. (Tip: Plastic icing bottles are great to control spilling, but you can do it with a spoon if you’re very careful.)
    10. Allow the owl to dry completely.
    11. For the outer eyes and nose, take another resealable bag with a connector and a #2 tip. Pipe your circles and triangles on each cupcake and then microwave the remaining icing to fill them in. Once dry, use the bag with the #6 tip and pipe the inner eyes.

    For presentation, I love a tiered cake plate, but if you’re fresh out, buy some coordinating gift wrap tissue paper and line your serving tray. And if you have a pair of scalloped scissors to trim the edges, all the better.

    Happy baking!

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    cowboy boot birthday cake

    cowboybookcake_parentsIf you’re planning a roundup of your favorite cowboy buckaroos, this cake from Parents.com is the perfect cake for you… plus it is a cool addition to our wild west cowboy birthday party theme.

    Here’s all you’ll need:

    • 1  box (18.25 ounces) yellow or devil’s food cake mix
    • 1  can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
    • 1  can (16 ounces) caramel frosting
    • Red food coloring
    • Boot cake template (will have to sign up on Parents.com)
    • Boot piping template (will have to sign up on Parents.com) 

    And here are the simple steps:

    1. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Using the pound-cake variation on the side of the box (add instant pudding and 1 extra egg), prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Bake and let cake cool completely.
    2. To make the boot, print out the boot template. Place it on top of cake, angling so that the template fits. Using a food-coloring marker, draw the outline of the boot pieces on the cake, and cut out pieces with knife. {Love the tip about the food coloring marker!}
    3. Spoon 1/2 cup vanilla frosting into a freezer-weight resealable plastic bag, and snip off a small corner. Tint remaining vanilla frosting red. On a serving platter, attach cake pieces together with red frosting to make shape of boot. Cover entire boot with a thin crumb coat of red frosting. Once dry, apply a thicker coat and freeze the cake for one hour.
    4. Next, frost the heel, toe, sole, and top of the boot with caramel frosting. Place 1/4 cup caramel frosting in freezer-weight resealable plastic bag, and snip off small corner. Pipe a line down the center of the boot.
    5. Print out the piping template. Cut it out and place it on the boot, tracing the outline with a toothpick. Flip the template and repeat on other side of boot to create mirror image. Pipe white frosting over scored outline for stitching. Pipe white lines around edges of caramel top and toe of boot.

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    tropical fish birthday cake

    fishcake_parentsThis fun idea from Parents.com goes perfectly with our deep sea birthday party theme. And I love the modernly decorated fish cookies all around it. We even have a fish cookie cutter that will work perfectly!

    Here’s all you’ll need for the cake:

    • Box (18-1/4 ounces) yellow-cake mix
    • Can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
    • Orange food coloring
    • 1 blue sour gumdrop
    • Twizzler Pull-N-Peel in Watermelon Mania

    And here are the simple steps to pulling it off:

    1. Bake your cake mix according to the package directions for a 9 x 13-inch cake using the pound-cake variation (add instant pudding and an extra egg). Cool completely.
    2. Using the fish template on Parents.com as a rough guide, cut out the fish shape.
    3. Tint your vanilla frosting orange and start with a light crumb coat allowing it to dry. Next, frost entire cake again to cover completely.
    4. Place the gumdrop on the cake for the eye. Cut the Twizzler to fit the cake, and place it on top to divide the face and the body. Trim another Twizzler string into strips for the tail. Finally, using the back of a spoon, pull the frosting away from the cake to give the body of the fish a scaly look. (Tip: Make sure you do this fairly quickly so that your frosting doesn’t harden.)

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    happy baby cupcakes

    pacicupcake_tastentell1While scouting for cool ideas to complement our baby shower invitations and decor, I ran across these a few days ago and just had to share this simple idea from the Taste and Tell blog.

    Here’s what you’ll need to decorate your cupcakes:

    • Melting chocolate (dark and pink)
    • Life saver candies
    • Wax paper
    • Resealable bag (freezer works best)
    • #2 icing tip with connector
    • Pink tinted icing

    For all the details and some great step-by-step pics, visit the Taste and Tell blog.

    Happy baking!

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    pirate ship cake

    pirate-cake

    Have a pirate longing for a swashbuckling good time? Invite the crew to weigh anchor and follow the treasure map to this fabulous pirate ship cake from parenting.com. It’s the perfect addition to our pirate ship birthday party or pirate skull birthday party theme.

    Here’s the ingredients and supplies you’ll need:

    • 1 (13 by 9-inch) cake
    • 1 can (16 oz) dark chocolate frosting
    • Yellow food coloring
    • ½ can (1 cup) vanilla frosting
    • 1 plain breadstick (8 inches long)
    • 16 yellow mini-candy-coated chocolates
    • 6 PepOMint Life Savers
    • 1 cup blue coarse decorating sugar
    • 2 thick pretzel rods
    • A bread knife
    • A serving platter
    • A fork
    • Scissors
    • Black and white construction paper
    • Glue

    For all the “how to” details and a template for cutting out your cake, visit parenting.com. Happy baking matey!

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