Thursday, December 2, 2010

Frosting for the Cause

I'm thrilled that this February I'll have the opportunity to guest-post for Frosting for the Cause, a 365-day project to raise awareness and money for a variety of women's cancer organizations. 

Each day of 2011, a different food/baking blogger with post a tutorial for a new cookie or cupcake design, along with the recipes they used. I'll be posting on February 6.

I'm probably going to do cookies instead of cupcakes since I'm trying to hone my royal icing skills, but what should I design??? It has to be something really original since there will be 364 other bloggers with great designs.

Got any ideas for great cookies?

I'll put up a reminder before my post is published, and another with the link once it goes live. 


Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Tutorials: Spongebob Candy Cupcake Topper

OOOoohhhhhh...who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!

We have been absolutely terrible about blogging consistently. But we have plans to start up the Monday tutorials again, and we will post tutorials for all the Mondays we missed as well!

However, we have a great kids' cupcake topper for you this week--and it's tastier than fondant! Inspired by Bakerella's cake pops, these use cookies instead of cake.

Here's what you'll need (unfortunately we don't have a photo of everything together):

- a package of yellow wafer cookies
- a package of yellow candy melts (we used Wilton candy melts, found at Michaels)
- a package of white candy melts
- a package of dark cocoa candy melts
- a small cookie sheet
- some waxed paper
- a tube of black frosting (we used Wilton), with a Tip #1
- a knife
- a small sauce pan filled about 1/3-1/4 with water
- a glass or stainless steel bowl, a few inches bigger than the saucepan
- white M&Ms (Michaels sells one-color packages of M&Ms) 
- small blue circular sprinkles
- pretzel sticks
- mini Oreos
- a package of pink and red (and white) heart-shaped sprinkles (Wilton, again)

Cut each wafer cookie in half. Three halves will be used to make one Spongebob.

Bring the water in the saucepan to a boil, then remove from heat. Place the bowl over the saucepan, with  about 1/4-1/3 of the yellow candy melts in the package. Stir constantly until melted.

Dip the pieces of wafer cookies in the yellow candy coating until completely covered. Set on cookie sheet (covered with waxed paper). 

When you have dipped 3 wafer pieces, place them directly next to each other on the cookie sheet (2 pieces shown in above photo, about to add the third piece). Once finished putting them all together, allow the cookies/candy to harden on the cookie sheet. Refrigerate to speed up the process!

Melt a few of the white candy melts. Dip the bottom third of the Spongebobs, then place back on cookie sheet, and allow to cool in fridge. 

Using leftover yellow candy, put a little on the back of the white M&Ms and attach to the Spongebobs for eyes. 

Twist apart the two halves of the mini Oreos. Using a serrated knife, cut the mini Oreos in half. We used the same knife to scrape away some of the Oreo center to create teeth.  

Melt a few of the dark cocoa candy melts. Dip just the slightest part of the bottom of the Spongebobs, and allow to rest on the cookie sheet in the fridge.

Now let's add on the finishing touches!

Break the pretzel sticks into small pieces, and dip in the yellow candy melts (reheat briefly if needed), and stick on as Spongebob's nose. 

Using the black frosting (with Tip #1), add eyelashes and a belt. Cut the point off a pink heart sprinkle, and use black frosting to attach to the mouth. Cut the point off a red heart sprinkle, and use the point for the knot of the tie. Cut a red heart sprinkle in half, and use it as the tie. Use the black frosting to attach the small blue circular sprinkles, and add an extra dollop of black frosting on top to finish off the eyes. 

All that's left to do is place them atop some tasty cupcakes, and watch the kids go crazy over their square-pantsed friend!

U of Cakes will be doing Q&A posts now as well, so submit baking and cake decorating-related questions in the comments, and yours could be selected and featured on our blog!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Tutorials: Fall Acorn Topper/Border

Don't you just hate Mondays? The first day back to work or school after a (hopefully) relaxing weekend. The day goes by at glacial speed, and you look for things to distract you from what you need to do. Well, look no further!

Welcome to our Monday series of tutorials. Cupcake toppers, borders, cake decorating techniques, etc. Every Monday we'll post a new how-to, and you'll have enough time to practice it for your own weekend creations.

Let's kick off the cooler weather (you know, if you're in some other part of the country) with a fall classic--the acorn!

Here's what you'll need:

- a small rolling pin
- a fondant rolling cutter (or a small paring knife)
- a 1/2" circular cutter
- a 1/2" ball light brown fondant
- a 1" ball dark brown fondant
- a small paintbrush (not pictured)
- a small glass of water (not pictured)

Using your hands, roll the dark brown fondant into an oval shape. Using the tips of your fingers, pinch one end to form a small point. Set aside.

Roll out the ball of light brown fondant until it is about 1/4" thick. Cut a small circle with the 1/2" circular cutter.

Using the end of the small rolling pin, gently press down on the small circle to thin it out and widen it a little. It does not have to be a perfect circle!

Using the rolling cutter or knife, score shallow lines on the fondant in a criss-cross pattern. Make sure not to cut all the way through!

Flip the scored fondant over, and after dipping the brush into the water, brush some water on it.

With the light brown circle in the palm of one hand (wet side up), place the formed oval on top (the side without the point down), and cup it around the ball to attach. Or, you know, if there's a better way that works for you to put them together try that! Apparently we forgot to take a picture of this step.

Using a very small scrap of light brown fondant, roll a small piece between two fingers to make an elongated shape. Dip one end into the water, and press into the acorn to form a stem.

Voila! A simple little detail to make some festive cupcakes or to trim a fall cake.

What other fall toppers or borders would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below! We love hearing from our readers!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We're new in town...

Why, hello there! We're U of Cakes, and we're new in town! We teach cake decorating classes--in the convenience of your own home--in the Phoenix metro area. Want to learn? Just gather a group of family, friends, co-workers, enemies, or even complete strangers, and we'll come to you!

Have you always wanted to try your hand at cake decorating, but were too nervous to try it yourself? Or maybe all the gadgets were a bit daunting and you just want to take an afternoon to see if you're any good?

A U of Cakes class is a great new activity for a group of friends, a fun time when relatives are in town and you're looking for something new to do in Phoenix, and a great way to meet new people with similar interests.

Don't think you have enough room to host a cake decorating party? If you live in an apartment or other community with many amenities, reserve a party space in the clubhouse! Not sure if you can get enough friends together? There will be opportunities throughout the year to combine multiple smaller parties to one location, or ask your friends' friends to join you!

If you just want to see what it's all about first, subscribe to the U of Cakes blog! We'll post special offers, host giveaways, show you some cake decorating tips and tricks, and other cool cake stuff on the web.

We love hearing from our readers! Have a question about classes, or about a cake decorating technique? Visit the U of Cakes official website, go to the contact page, and e-mail us! (No spam, please--it's not nice!).

Until next time!
Kirsten @ U of Cakes