Happy Polar Bear Day!

February 27th is Polar Bear Day!  In honor and celebration of these amazingly cute bears, we of course made cupcakes!  Click here to learn more about polar bears and ways that you too can celebrate and help protect these animals.

For the cupcakes:  we decided on Devils Food mini cupcakes with our favorite whipped frosting.  Then we used all kind of delicious chocolate and coconut candies to make their cute little faces and paws.  AND we even found tiny tiny marshmallows for the ears!  I promise those will be used with a LOT of different things.  These cupcakes were kid approved earlier this afternoon, rest assured!

Mardi Gr….wait, those look gross. Ok, Mardi Gras!!

Fat Tuesday is less than 24 hours away, and this weekend, I really wanted to bake something in the spirit of Mardi Gras.  My original thought was to bake a traditional Kings Cake–my first attempt was about 10 years ago and it was awesome!  But in the end, the Kings Cake was too ambitious for the resources that we had available.  So maybe next year I will create the amazing braided sugary cinnamony treat!

Instead of the cake, we decided to make cinnamon swirl cupcakes.  Now if you search on-line for “cinnamon swirl cupcakes,” you find so many amazing ideas that one can probably pull off without a hitch!  So if you want me make them….find an ambitious recipe and attack it.  Don’t take the lazy way like we did, you will be disappointed.

As I was running around on Saturday morning, I came a cross a Cinnamon Swirl cake mix!  I think I heard angels singing when I found it!  I thought to myself, “perfect!  most of the work is done for us.  we just add water, put them in pretty foil wrappers, and voila!  Cinnamon swirl cupcakes!”

It almost worked like that.  We added the water and eggs.  We put the batter into pretty gold foil wrappers.  We added delicious cinnamon and sugar to each cup and then, with a toothpick, we swirled each one to get that perfect aesthetic.  Then, we put them in the oven and waited, feeling so proud of ourselves.

Then, we opened the oven…..and I fell into a cinnamon induced depression.  This cake mix we had gotten apparently wasn’t a normal cake mix, so the cupcakes didn’t really rise correctly.  So, they rose out of the cups and then spread.  And our toothpick swirls did almost nothing.  While they tasted delicious, they just looked terrible!  I’m not going to go so far as to say “don’t ever use that box of cake mix” because it did taste delicious; just don’t use it for cupcakes.  Maybe use it for a bunt or a normal cake.

Mad props go out to my bestie for taking on the task of pulling me out of my deep depression our baking fail had spiraled me into.  She rallied and started searching the web for Mardi Gras cupcake ideas and found this one with multi colored batter and cinnamon frosting.  The original blog talks about separating the batter in the cups with spoons, we tried that on one and wanted to rip our hair out.  So we used our own method of putting each batter into its own ziplock baggie and piping it into the cups.  It worked so well!

So we went to work.  And this time, it was a huge success!

Happy Valentine’s Day–Part 1

We dreamed up this idea a couple weeks ago and have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to execute it.  We decided to make mini-cupcakes with a surprise inside!  The surprise?  A cookie!  We made strawberry cupcakes with a Nilla Wafer baked into the bottom and Valentines Fun-Fetti cupcakes with a mini Oreo baked into the bottom.  They are so cute and delicious–it’s like a yummy little crust at the bottom of the cake!

We learned a lot about mini cupcakes today: 1) bake them at around 325 for 18 minutes; 2) one box of cake mix will make 72 mini cupcakes; and 3) one canister of frosting will frost 72 mini cupcakes.

So, after I tied on the apron I made in the 7th grade and queueing up Frank Sinatra, we rocked out 12 dozen mini cupcakes.  12 DOZEN.  Needless to say, we are taking a ton to work and making Valentine’s deliveries to family friends!

Thank you, morning sunshine, for making my pics turn out great!

Snowy Owl Scarf

I made this scarf as a birthday gift for a friend a couple years ago.  She loves owls and we had just gotten done marathoning all the Harry Potter movies, so naturally, I wanted to make the owls on the scarf snowy owls like Hedwig!  I used a Bedazzler (yes, an authentic Bedazzler) to attach the amber jewels for the eyes.  I wanted the scarf to be super cozy because we live in Minnesota, so I found a pattern that’s actually for a baby blanket and just modified it down to a scarf.  It’s so thick and warm!

It’s all one piece, but you could make the owl pieces separate and then sew them to the scarf.  That might be easier than doing it all in one piece like I did–making the owl part upside down proved challenging!  There were a lot of obscenities aimed at that part of the project, but I dominated that yarn and made it work!

I got the owl pattern here.

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

This week, we decided to create Cookie Monster cupcakes.  Good news–we were successful!  With the help of the internet, we found some great pictures and tutorials here that we tweaked a little bit.

We used all of the same materials except the black fondant.  We just used normal black icing for the eyes.

cookie monster eyes--candy melts and black icing

Two things that stumped us for a minute: 1) we had no idea where to find “white chocolate buttons” and didn’t feel ambitious enough to go to a fancy candy store, so we used vanilla Wilton Candy Melts.

And 2) we didn’t realize until we were in the middle of the process that the coconut used in the tutorial was desiccated–not just a bag of flaked coconut.  If you’re like us, you might be wonder what the heck the difference is…with the help of a smart phone, we found out that desiccated coconut is basically dried coconut flakes.  So we improvised and emptied the bag of flakes onto a cookie sheet and popped it in the oven (heated to about 250) for a bit–make sure to check on it and stir it around to evenly dry it all, and be careful not to toast it!

 

We also modified the mouth because our cupcakes weren’t as giant as the tutorial’s.  We just made a slit in the top of each cake and jammed a cookie half in (we cut each Chip’s Ahoy in half so it wouldn’t overwhelm the rest of the monster).

To get the coconut to stick, we frosted the cupcakes first with icing that was almost the same shade of blue as the coconut, then we rolled each one in the coconut.  There’s a picture of it below.

Without further ado…the pictures really speak for themselves!