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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guitar and music note cookies

guitarnotecuttersWe’ve just added some really cute cookie cutters to our “rock star” birthday party theme. Don’t you just love the flames! You can find guitar, musical notes and star cookie cutters with all of our other “rock star” decor.

As for recreating these fun cookies, here are a few tips on flooding. It’s really quite simple. Give it a whirl.

Icing – First of all, you have to have the right type of icing: royal icing. Don’t let the name scare you, it’s just one pound of confectioner’s sugar, five tablespoons of meringue powder, a half cup of water (or less) and gel-paste food coloring (available at most bakery and craft stores; the food coloring in grocery stores is usually very watery taking more of it to achieve the color you want). You’ll need to mix the icing until it’s fluffy, yet dense, about seven to eight minutes. Then you’ll need to use the icing immediately or transfer it to an airtight container.

Coloring – Separate your icing into the number of colors you need for your project. Then color your icing one drop of gel at a time. It’s a lot stronger than you might think. Once all the icing is the colors you need, separate them again so that you can thin one half for flooding. With your second set, thin each color with one teaspoon of water at a time. Often, one teaspoon is all it takes depending on how many times you’ve separated your icing. Now you have thick and thin versions of all the colors you need.

Tools – Trim one corner of a resealable bag and insert a #3 icing tip with a connector. Repeat this process for each of your colors (thin and thick). Then spoon each into a bag. (I always mark the thin bags so I don’t accidentally ruin a cookie by trying to trim it with the thin icing.)

Flooding technique – Now that your icing is prepped, take a cooled sugar cookie and pipe an outline around the shape. Allow it to set for 10 to 15 seconds and then you can flood the cookie with the thinner version of the color. While the flooded color is still wet pull it to the edges of the outline with a toothpick. You can even add a different thinned color to make polka dots or other designs. Doing it quickly will allow the second color to settle into the flooded color and dry flat. Allow the flooded colors to set for several minutes before adding any additional piping or layers to your design (like the flames). 

 Happy baking everyone!

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bridal shower cookie cake

showercakeThis cake idea is a beautiful way to shower your bride-to-be with something sweet. And if you’re not comfortable with tiers, this would also be very pretty as a one tier. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 white cake mixes
  • 2 cans white icing {cream cheese is my favorite!}
  • Edible flowers (e.g., day lilies)
  • Sugar cookie dough {a roll/stick from the grocery works just fine; no need to make this difficult}
  • Gel food coloring
  • Icing tips
  • Resealable bags (freezer weight are best)
  • Tip connectors
  • Cake cookie cutter {scroll down the page for a cake cookie cutter and diamond ring cookie cutter}
  • Two 8″ round cake pans
  • One 6″ springform cake pan
  • 10″ pedestal cake plate
  • Freezer paper
  • (Note: You could also go with 10″ and 8″ pans depending on the number of people you’re planning to serve.)

My advice, bake your cookies and decorate them a few days before the event so that you don’t feel rushed. As a matter of fact, you can bake your shapes and freeze them (without icing) up to a month in advance.  As for decorating your cookies, I’m not going to go into great length in this post, but if you’re not familiar with flooding cookies or baking sugar cookies for that matter, make sure and check out previous posts with my tips on how to make sugar cookies keep their shape and my tips on flooding cookies.

As for the cake:

  1. Bake your cakes and allow them to cool completely before starting the icing process.
  2. Place freezer paper on your cake plate in two or three sections that you can easily remove after icing your cakes. This will keep your cake plate tidy.
  3. Place your first 8″ cake on your cake plate, ice the top and stack on your second 8″ cake. Now apply a thin crumb coat to the entire cake. Repeat this with your 6″ cake and allow both to set before icing your top coat. This will keep cake crumbs from appearing in your beautiful icing work.
  4. This cake has a very smooth icing, not fondant, but a skilled hand at a smooth coat. If you want this effect, use an icing spatula and work in one direction with even strokes. But, you could also have a more whimsical effect with your icing and it would look just as beautiful. Don’t be afraid to make this cake your own.
  5. Once iced, embellish your cake with your sugar cookies. If your icing has set, just use a fresh dollop as glue to hold your cookies in place.
  6. You could further embellish with edible flowers or you could even pipe on your own.

Remember, don’t be afraid to be creative. Happy baking!

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microphone rock star cake

micphonebirthdaycakeToday we’re launching our new “rock star” birthday party theme complete with cool and creative décor (that would be perfect for any American Idol party). In honor of this new custom invitation, check out this fun microphone birthday party cake. I have to say, parenting.com did an exceptional job with creating a series of super fun birthday cakes!

Here’s what you’ll need for this one:

  • 12 colored ice cream cones
  • 1 large bag jelly beans, M&M’s, or other preferred small candies
  • 1 can (12 oz) whipped chocolate frosting
  • 12 baked cupcakes, paper liners removed
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate sprinkles
  • 12 (3-inch) lengths of black licorice laces

Check out parenting.com for the how to! Happy baking.

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soccer ball cupcakes

soccercupcakes_widrigI found these on about.com submitted from baker, Johanna Widrig, and wanted to share. The cupcake itself is not difficult, it’s making the fondant soccer ball that might take a little time and okay… some patience. But you have to agree that the outcome is awesome. Plus, your guests can just lift off the ball and eat the yummy cupcake!

A tip on the ball, you can buy boxes of pre-made fondant at your craft store. Roll your balls by hand. Then, tint some black with gel food coloring (the other is water-based and won’t do as well). Roll out the black and cut out your shapes with an exactor knife. If you have to use a kitchen knife make sure it isn’t serrated. Now apply your black shapes with a touch of icing and connect them with a black cake writing pen.  

Here’s what the baker, Johanna, had to say. “These are just a few of the soccer ball cupcakes I created for an 11 year old soccer fan’s birthday. I did both vanilla and chocolate, with butter cream icing using a Wilton grass tip. I made the soccer balls by hand using fondant. They were a labor of love, but the end result was exactly what I was hoping to create!”

Happy baking!

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candy pacifiers

candypaciI came across these candy pacifiers, the perfect baby shower favor, today and just had to share them. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chocolate covered Oreos
  • Life Saver candies
  • Jelly beans
  • Melting chocolate

Read all the how to details at designergirl007.com. Happy baking!

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princess tier cake

princessbirthdaycake_parentingThis idea for a princess birthday cake (have a look at our invites and décor) from parenting.com takes the cake. {smirk} A little decorating talent is needed, but mostly patience will be the key. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Ingredients:

  • 5 sugar cones
  • 2 Kids Cones (mini-ice cream wafer cones)
  • 3 pink ice cream wafer cones
  • 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • ½ cup pink decorating sugar
  • 1 (8-inch) round cake
  • 1 (9-inch) round cake
  • 1 jumbo cupcake, paper liner removed
  • 2 cans (12 oz) whipped vanilla frosting
  • 1 roll Bubble Tape
  • ¾ cup Smarties
  • Orange and pink Runts
  • 2 bags sour gummy Life Savers
  • 2 rolls Necco wafers

Read all the directions and see a template for the cake sections on parenting.com. Happy baking!

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graduate cupcake

dsc_0803We just launched two new custom graduation invitations, “graduation girl” and “graduation guy.” I know, I know, but once you look at them you’ll understand. One is pink and the other is blue and they are perfect for preschool, high school or college graduation parties.

Okay, so to the cupcakes. These were created by Melanie Hess and they are oh so cute! Here’s what you do. First, ice red velvet cupcakes with chocolate frosting. For the caps, turn a Reeses Peanut Butter cup upside down and top it with a Ghiradelli chocolate square. For the finishing touch, pipe a tassel in your graduate’s school colors (tint white icing and use a #2 tip) and top with a mini M&M for the button.

Happy baking!

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