Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cookie Cupcakes

My sister in law sent me a link for a tutorial on how to make these cupcake cookies...
The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

These remind me of my little teeny tiny cupcake balls...however, cookies are even more fun! - what beautiful, yummy little treats! And, what a great compliment to a birthday party!!! :)

When I make some of my own (which might be very soon) I'm going to make one change...I'm going to use vanilla Swiss-Meringue buttercream!!! :) I really don't like royal icing! So, I'd slap a big swirl of buttercream on those babies and call it a day! - as I hide from my kids and eat them in bed! :)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lollipop Lollipop Ohhhh Lollipop

Have you ever felt defeated by a cake??? - I did on Sunday! I'm not sure if the fondant won, or if I just plain ol' lost!? :)

I had in my mind to create a stand-up lollipop cake for my daughter's 6th b-day party! We were going to do a "sweets" type party, so a giant lollipop would be fun, and something new that I've never seen!! :) I had the design/execution set in my mind on how I was going to achieve the twisted/swirled look like a real lollipop, however, I realized the desired execution was impossible for the medium I was using!! - after I had started making it and only had an hour to finish it!! :( So, I ended up with a tie-died lollipop!!!!!!! URGH! :)

I didn't even have time to make a fondant bow for it because I spent so much time wrestling with the fondant! :( Boo hoo...but, the curly ribbon was cute...made it look more like a balloon! :)

I had in mind to roll out a lot of ropes of various colors, then twist them together and begin wrapping them into a circle shape to get the twisted lollipop design. The problem I had was by the time I rolled 5 different colors out, they would harden slightly and the surfaces wouldn't stick together. Then, once I started twisting, they began breaking because they wouldn't hold together. Oh, it was a nightmare and I was soo disappointed. So, the only thing I could do with an hour left before the party was mash all the colors together and create a tie-die lollipop! My daughter still loved it, and that truly is all that matters, but it was a serious learning experience on MANY levels!

How did I get it to stand up? - well, that was the part that went well! It worked great actually!!! Here is the structure I used...you might have to click on the pic to read it all. But it was built on a wedge of styrofoam and around a 1/2" diameter pipe system I created. I baked the cake in a 1/2 sheet pan and then cut the chilled cake into 2.5" wide strips. I then laid them on a cake board glued to the styrofoam and began stacking them to create a square. I ended up having 6 layers...divided into two 3 layered cakes with a board in between. I chilled everything really good and then layed the cake down and cut it into a circle using a template. Then I crumb coated it and chilled it really good again. Once chilled, I covered the back and sides with one layer of fondant and chilled again. I then flipped it over on some wax paper covered with a bit of cornstarch and laid the tie-died fondant layer on top. Once chilled again, I turned it upright and screwed the coupler (attached now to the cake) to the 18" tall post...and whallah...a stand up lollipop! :) I hope all that made sense! :)

I had this top part with the coupler laying flat to put the fondant pieces on. I had unscrewed it from the long 18" post. When I was done with the fondant pieces, I screwed it back into the the 18" pipe and then covered all that metal with white modeling chocolate to form the stick.

Now, if I would have done a little research on the lollipop, I might have copied this idea (below) from Planet Cake! I LOVE the graphic, clean look of this swirl! SO cool!! I just plain ol' love their work anyway...all of it is sooo clean, straight and amazing!!!! Such an inspiration!
But, I didn't do that! :)

So, in order to not be defeated by the lollipop, I got out the fondant today and figured out a better way to make the lollipop - for future! I couldn't end on a failure!! I had to figure it out for me...and for you all out there in blog land! :)

What I did was roll out just one rope of each color, and began swirling them together. I made sure they all were different lengths so they wouldn't all end at the same spot. The pink and blue is fondant, the red and orange is modeling chocolate. I would use modeling chocolate exclusively next time because they held their shape and I could smooth the breaks together so you can hardly notice when you add new pieces.

See the orange seam. I cut them each at a 45 degree angle. I would spend a few more minutes to rub the seam out since it's modeling chocolate. I heart modeling chocolate! :)
And you can just keep going and going and going until the desired size is needed. Again, only rolling out additional fondant/modeling chocolate when you need it so it doesn't dry out! So easy and so fun! I did this lollipop in about 30 minutes. TOOOO bad I didn't figure that out on Sunday when I was getting so frustrated!!

OH, and another fun use for a random item is this:
I took this pic while making my Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Otter pops!!!!! Every household with kids has them!! And they work SUPER good to cool down that swiss meringue!! I've used them twice now and it cuts the cooling/whipping time in half. So, there you go! - a fun use for Otter Pops! - and then you stick them back in the freezer for next time! :)

Well, I hope you all enjoyed my learning experience!!! Thanks for looking!!