Teddy Bear Cake Pops

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Teddy Bear Cake Pops

Teddy Bear Cake Pops

My son just turned two, and we had a teddy bear picnic themed party to celebrate!  I wanted to make some extra special treats for the kids, and thought teddy bear cake pops would be perfect!  I don’t have much experience with cake pops, so I stuck to the basics.  I used store bought cake mix and frosting because I was short on time, and didn’t know how difficult this project would be.  It turns out that cake pops are pretty easy and fun to make, so next time I won’t hesitate to branch out with different flavors and frostings.

Cake pop mixture texture

Cake pop mixture texture

Here is what the cake pop mixture looked like.  I baked one box of cake mix in a 9×13 pan and then crumbled it up and added about 3/4 of a container of store bought chocolate frosting.

Cake pop balls

Cake pop balls

Next I rolled the mixture into balls.  These are about 1″ in diameter.  I set them on a parchment lined pan to prevent sticking.

Cake pops on sticks

Cake pops on sticks

I used 4-1/2″ lollipop sticks for these cake pops.  To get the cake balls to stay put on the lollipop sticks, I dipped the end of each stick into the melted chocolate about 1/2″ deep.  Then I immediately stuck the lollipop stick into the cake ball and placed it on the styrofoam block to dry.

Dipping the cake pops

Dipping the cake pops

I used two 12 ounce bags of Wilton light cocoa candy melts to cover 48 cake pops.  The Wilton melts worked wonderfully because they were the perfect consistency.  With other brands, I usually have to add shortnening or paramount crystals to thin the coating; but with the Wilton melts I didn’t!  Pouring the chocolate into a tall narrow glass like this pint glass is helpful because it allows you to get the most dips out of your chocolate.

Dipped cake pop

Dipped cake pop

My technique for dipping each pop is to fully submerge the pop in chocolate and then pull it directly back out without swirling the pop around in the chocolate.  I found that if I moved the cake pop around in the chocolate, there was a much higher chance that it would fall off of the stick.  When I dipped the pop straight in and back out, I had almost no problem with cake pops falling off the sticks.  Once I had the pop out of the chocolate, I would swirl it around right near the surface of the chocolate (as shown in the above picture) to get excess chocolate off.

Cake pops drying

Cake pops drying

The cake pops dried surprisingly quickly (probably withing 10 minutes).  You can see the change in sheen once the pops are dry to the touch.

Rolling out the muzzle

Rolling out the muzzle

The next step is decorating the pops!  This is the fun part!  I used fondant for the decorations and colored three small pieces brown, black, and tan.  I used AmeriColor chocolate brown, super black, and ivory gel pastes to get the shades that I wanted.  For the muzzles I rolled out the tan fondant using my small fondant rolling pin with pink bands.

Tools

Tools

I used the bottom of a standard decorating tip to cut out the circle that forms the muzzle or mouth area of the bear.  The toothpick cut in half is used to make a small hole for the mouth.

Cutting out muzzle

Cutting out muzzle

Decorating tips work great when you don’t have a small enough circle cutter for what you are doing.

Making the ears

Making the ears

To make the teddy bear ears, I rolled a bunch of small brown balls of fondant and used a fondant sculpting tool to indent the center of each ear.

Cutting the ears

Cutting the ears

I cut each of the indented ovals using an x-acto knife and used the top portion as an ear.  Originally I cut these in half to make two ears, but I found that the ears were too small so I just cut them about 3/4 of the way to the bottom and re-rolled the excess fondant.

Eyes and nose

Eyes and nose

The eyes and nose are just small balls of black fondant rolled into oval shapes. The eyes should be smaller than the nose and more oval in shape.

Plain undecorated cake pop

Plain undecorated cake pop

Once you have the eyes, nose, ears, and muzzle all ready to go, things come together pretty quickly.  Here is a plain cake pop with no decoration.

Step 1 - Add the muzzle

Step 1 – Add the muzzle

Step 1 – Add the muzzle.  My fondant was sticky enough that it adhered to the cake pop just by itself.  If you are working with a drier texture of fondant, you could use melted chocolate or royal icing to stick the details to the pop.

Adding the ears

Step 2 – Adding the ears

Step 2 – Add the ears. Put them on the cake pop so that you can easily see them when you take a step back.

Step 3 - Add the nose

Step 3 – Add the nose

Step 3 – Add the nose.  Again my fondant was very sticky so the nose easily stuck to the muzzle, but you could use a bit of water to get the nose to adhere.

Step 4 - Create the mout

Step 4 – Create the mouth

Step 4 – Create the mouth.  I used a cut toothpick to make a tiny hole for the mouth.  For the teddy bear pop that is smiling in the first picture of this blog, I just used a fondant sculpting tool with a flat edge.  You could also use the tip of a ruler.

Step 5 - Add the eyes

Step 5 – Add the eyes

Step 5 – Add the eyes.  Here is where your teddy bear really comes to life!

Cute teddy bear cake pop

Cute teddy bear cake pop

The only problem with these cake pops is that they are almost too cute to eat!

Bow-tie bear

Bow-tie bear

I had a great time making these cake pops, and will definitely make more cake pops in the future, but as I learned at Hudson’s party, they do have one limitation, heat. The temperature was 82 degrees, and even in the shade it wasn’t cool enough for these poor bears!

Melted teddy bear cake pop

Melted teddy bear cake pop

 


Pink and Black Dessert Table

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Pink and Black Dessert Bar

Pink and Black Dessert Bar

Dessert bars are so much fun, I knew I couldn’t resist when my friend, Amanda, told me she wanted one for her 30th birthday.  I was completely sold on it once she told me the colors were hot pink and black! This was the first dessert table I had ever done, so I put a lot of time into baking and planning.

Pink and Black Dessert Bar

Pink and Black Dessert Bar

The party was held at my friend’s tasting room, Malm Cellars, so I knew I would need to transport all of the desserts and items for setup.  Creating a dessert table requires a lot of coordinating, and having some store bought items can make things a bit easier.

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

Lucky for me, there were a wide variety of store bought candies and confections that fit the pink and black color scheme.  I purchased pink snowballs, black jelly beans, Good and Plenty candy, black and white ribbon candy, black licorice, white mini meringues, pink stripe candy sticks, white fudge covered pretzels, pink and white ice candy, white nonpareil gumdrops, pink rock candy, M&Ms (in pink, black, and white), black and white peppermints, and pink button candy.

Snowballs

Snowballs

The items that I made were chocolate covered cheesecake hearts, mini pink velvet cupcakes, mini pink macarons, and pink rice krispy treats.

Truffles

Truffles

If you are running short on items, you can always wrap truffles in tissue and tie with a bow that coordinates with your color scheme.

Button Candy

Button Candy

I love the button candy because the little dots really pop and make such a cute display.  I just cut the pink portion from a rainbow strip of button candy and then used tape to secure it into a roll. The stacked rolls add a lot of visual interest.

Cheesecake Hearts

Cheesecake Hearts

The cheesecake hearts are a crowd pleaser and I am always looking for desserts on sticks because they add height to the dessert table.  Whether it’s cake pops, cookie pops, pie pops, or cheesecake pops like these, I like to include at least one “pop” item on every dessert table.

Candy in apothecary jars

Candy in apothecary jars

Apothecary jars filled with colorful candies are a great addition to any dessert table.  Getting enough candy to fill the containers can be pricey and one way around this is to make some of the items or fill the jars with large items that take up a lot of space.  I love to include rice krispy treats in my dessert tables because people really do love them (they are almost always gone first), and you can make them in any color just by adding food coloring to the melted marshmallows. You can also cut them into different shapes and sizes using a cookie cutter sprayed with non-stick spray.

Candy

Candy

The mini pink velvet cupcakes are a smaller version of my pretty n punk cupcakes.  They are frosted with vanilla buttercream and topped with black sugar pearls.  I still love Bella Cupcake Couture cupcake wraps, and these are the mini version of their Lu Lu Damask Black and White wrapper.

Dessert Bar

Dessert Bar

You may want to consider offering some gluten free or sugar free items for people with dietary restrictions.  The french macarons are made with almond flour so they are perfect for gluten free guests.  Also rice kripy treats, meringues, and most hard candies and jelly beans are gluten free.

Mini pink velvet cupcakes

Mini pink velvet cupcakes

Here are some photos of the dessert bar items in the making.  I use sheets of shelf liner cut to fit my baking sheets to prevent the cupcakes from sliding around.

Chocolate Cheesecake Hearts

Chocolate Cheesecake Hearts

Chocolate covered cheesecake is not only delicious, but also easy to store.  I freeze these pops and store them between sheets of parchment paper in plastic ziploc containers right up until the event.  They thaw very quickly and some people prefer the taste of them frozen!

Sparkly macaron tops

Sparkly macaron tops

I just love these sparkly macaron tops! Pipe your macarons and then dust with a sprinkling of hot pink sanding sugar to get this effect. All these sweets are making me hungry!

Dessert Table from the top

Dessert Table from the top

Amanda had a great birthday, and the guests enjoyed overdosing on sugar, so I think my first dessert bar was a success.  I had a fun time with it, and I hope you had fun taking a look.  I am always looking for new ideas and items to include, and would love to hear any of your dessert bar tips, tricks, and adventures!


Circus Cake

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Circus Cake

Circus Cake

So this is my favorite cake.  Yep, it’s really my very favorite cake (that I have made). It is even more extra special to me because I made it for my nephew’s 1st birthday!  I had been wanting to make a circus themed cake, and I had a picture of this one in my head long before I started. It all began when I found the retro chocolate molds for the animals on the cake.  The adorable elephant, monkey, and seal chocolate figurines were calling my name and crying out to be part of a fun, cheerful circus cake!

Elephant Chocolate Topper

Elephant Chocolate Topper

You may already know this about me, but I’ll say it again, I am a BIG fan of using chocolate on cakes!  Especially now that I am a mom and have to try and squeeze in cake projects here and there, being able to make chocolate figures ahead of time is unbelievably convenient.  When I saw the cute little retro elephant rocking horse chocolate mold, I knew it needed to be the center of attention on this cake!

Monkey Chocolate

Monkey Chocolate

The peanut border is a fun detail that reminds me of the circus.  I made these with some peanut butter flavored candy melts, not for the flavor, but because the color was perfect.  The yellow stars on the top tier are made of fondant using a pie crust star cutter from Williams-Sonoma.  I love their pie crust cutter sets because they are so versatile.  I end up using them for so much more than just pie crust!

Seal Chocolate

Seal Chocolate

The chocolates on the cake are pretty substantial, and I was worried that if I didn’t connect them properly they would just fall right off the cake. I whipped up a thick batch of royal icing and it held the figures on with no problems.  Royal icing is such a lifesaver!

Elephant Chocolate

Elephant Chocolate

The scalloped red and yellow vertical stripes on this cake really bring everything together and give it that big top feel.  I actually placed the vertical stripes on the cake and then cut the scallop pattern using a piece of cardstock and an x-acto knife.  I had to be careful not to cut through the base layer of yellow fondant, but this method was much easier than transferring the individually cut pieces onto the cake.

Top of Circus Cake

Top of Circus Cake

The cake drum is wrapped with yellow grosgrain ribbon and blue rick rack.  I think the rick rack adds to the retro style of this cake, and I love using it as an accent on cake bases. I always hot glue my ribbon to the cake drum.  I have tried other methods such a double stick tape, and white glue, but I really want to know it is going to stay put, and hot glue is the only reliable method I have found.  Thinking back on the making of this cake, it was one of the smoothest and easiest cake experiences I have had.  Maybe that’s why it’s my favorite cake! Once I had the cake covered in fondant, all I had to do was pop on the chocolate figures, which had been made in advance.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Thanks for taking a look at this cake, I hope it inspires you to try a cake with chocolate details!

 


Dapper Duck Family

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Dapper Duck Family

Dapper Duck Family

Easter is on its way, and this dapper duck family seems like the perfect something sweet for this holiday.  I love chocolate molding, and Easter is never complete without chocolate, so this is the best time of year to dust off your old chocolate molds and get to work.  I try to find unique and unusual molds, and while bunnies are the traditional choice for Easter, this duck family is so cheerful and cute, I just couldn’t resist!  Searching for chocolate molds is like looking for buried treasure;you never know where you’ll find them.  You can find good molds at specialty kitchen stores and online, but I have found some of my best molds at swap meets and yard sales.  It’s fun to hunt for molds, and you may just find a one of a kind mold that had been forgotten for years in someone’s attic.  The older molds have some fun retro designs that you just can’t find in the store.

Duck Family in Mold

Duck Family in Mold

Back of Mold

Back of Mold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made these ducks for my son’s 1st Easter, and I chose bright colors so he would really notice them in his basket.  This happy little duck family reminds me of ours, now that we have a little one waddling around!

Daddy Duck

Daddy Duck

Mama Duck

Mama Duck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used candy coating for all of the details and filling of the molds.  I really love my candy melter palette for projects like this, because I can easily keep a variety of colors warm all at once.  This speeds up the mold painting process by leaps and bounds!

Mama Duck Chocolate

Mama Duck Chocolate

The mama duck is probably my favorite; I love the pretty pink Easter bonnet! I added the eyelashes to the mama duck for extra beautification!

Duck Family

Duck Family

The only hiccup in this project was the baby’s hat.  I had mixed a custom color for the light blue using some candy coloring, and that particular chocolate ended up sticking to the mold a bit and not properly releasing.  There are too many factors to pinpoint the exact reason for this failure.  I think it was just to much liquid (candy coloring) added.  I have used candy coloring, which is an oil based coloring designed for chocolate, many times without any issue, but some times you just run into trouble! Oh well!

Ducky Easter Basket

Ducky Easter Basket

Look at this little duck family!  All dressed up and ready for an Easter party! Happy Easter!  I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!


Daffodil Cookies

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Daffodil Candy Cup Cookies

Daffodil Candy Cup Cookies

Spring is finally here, and nothing makes me happier than seeing the cheery bright yellow daffodils that bloom this time of year!  Daffodils are my favorite flower, and last year I came across a cute little craft project on Martha Stewart’s website – making paper daffodil candy cups.  I loved the look of these delightful decorations and thought why not make them edible! So this year I turned them into a cookie with a candy cup center.  These cheerful cookies would be the perfect accent for your Easter table.  I’m thinking of putting a cookie at each guests plate; I could even write a name on each cookie and use them as place cards. They would be beautiful for a baby or bridal shower as well!

Cutting out cookies

Cutting out cookies

To make the cookies, I started with my Excellent Sugar Cookie recipe.  I used the daffodil template from Martha Stewart’s site to make a card stock guide to cut out the cookies.  I reduced the template to 85%, but I’m sure it would work at full size as well.

Cookies on sheet

Cookies on sheet

I baked the cookies on a Silpat non-stick baking mat.  I love using these mats because the cookies slide right off, and they make for easy cleanup!

Cooling the cookies

Cooling the cookies

While the cookies are cooling, you can get the icing ready!  I have tried a lot of royal icing cookie decorating techniques and recipes, and I have not always been successful.  Through a lot of trial and error and searching, I came across a book called Decorating Cookies by Bridget Edwards.  This is the most amazing cookie decorating book I have found.  It has tons of tips, tricks, and methods for creating beautiful cookies, but most importantly it features what is, in my opinion, the perfect foolproof royal icing recipe, and the author, Bridget Edwards, has very kindly allowed me to feature that recipe here!  Thank you Bridget!!! I should also mention that Bridget has a wonderful blog where she shares more of her lovely cookie creations and insight!

Outlining the cookies

Outlining the cookies

I used a bit of Americolor lemon yellow and egg yellow gel pastes to get the right shade for these cookies. I used a number 2 tip to outline the cookies with royal icing.

Filling in the cookies with flood icing

Filling in the cookies with flood icing

Next, working with three or four cookies at a time, I filled in the cookies with flood icing.  Flood icing is just royal icing thinned with water.  It is the icing you use to fill in the outlined area of the cookie.

Using a toothpick to drag icing to the edges

Using a toothpick to drag icing to the edges

I like to use these funny little picks called Bamboo Forks to drag the icing to the edges of the cookie.  The ends of these picks are wider than a toothpick and I find that they really help me nudge the icing into those far corners. After I had covered the three or four cookies I was working with in yellow flood icing, I immediately piped the white dots onto the cookies.

Piping the dots

Piping the dots

Piping the white flood icing dots on top of the yellow flood icing was a bit intimidating, but it actually worked out great! Following the advice in Bridget’s book, I added the same amount of water to both icings (the yellow and white) to make sure that the flood icings were the same consistency.  For the white flood icing I added Americolor bright white gel paste to get a super white finish, and to help me get the polka dots pretty uniform in size I used these tiny little squeeze bottles.  I use these bottles a lot for chocolate details, but they came in really handy for these cookies as well!

Letting the cookies dry

Letting the cookies dry

Once I had piped all of the polka dots, I breathed a sigh of relief and let them set out to dry.

Shiny, glossy cookie

Shiny, glossy cookie

I love the shiny, glossy sheen on these cookies.  It took about six hours for the cookies to dry.  I usually plan for them to dry overnight just to make sure they are completely set.

Filling candy cups

Filling candy cups

Okay so I feel like this project is getting a bit long now, and the cookies are cute just as they are, but if you’re still as excited as I am about daffodil candy cup cookies, stay with me! I promise it’s worth it! I filled these little fluted candy cup molds with candy melts.  I like to use a baby feeding spoon to drop a dollup of candy coating into the mold cavity.

Back of baby spoon

Back of baby spoon

You can use the back of the baby spoon to push the chocolate up the sides of the mold.

Orange Candy Cups

Orange Candy Cups

I made these candy cups in two colors, because I wasn’t sure which I would like better.  I just let these candy cups dry at room temperature (it is 65 degrees in my house this time of year) for about 20 minutes, but you can stick them in the fridge to get the candy coating to set up even faster.

Jellybeans

Jellybeans

Now time to sort the jelly beans!  If you have a little helpers, this is a great job for them!  Just be aware that one or two jelly beans may go missing!

Jelly beans and Candy Cups

Jelly beans and Candy Cups

I used orange and yellow jelly beans, but you could fill the candy cups with other candies like Reese’s Pieces or anything you like!

Royal Icing glue

Royal Icing glue

I saved a bit of royal icing to use as glue to stick the candy cups to the daffodil cookies.  Royal icing is very strong and just a small dab is enough.

Placing candy cup

Placing candy cup

By pressing down in the center of the candy cups, I made sure my daffodil centers were completely stuck.  I allowed about fifteen minutes to make sure that the royal icing was dry before filling the cups with jelly beans.

Daffodils in a row

Daffodils in a row

Put these little treats in cellophane bags and tie a ribbon around the top and you have an irresistible favor or gift!

Packaged Daffodil Cookie

Packaged Daffodil Cookie

Royal Icing
Author: 
 
The perfect royal icing for decorating sugar cookies! Recipe as printed in Decorating Cookies by Bridget Edwards.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup meringue powder
  • 1 scant cup water (meaning not quite full)
  • 2 pounds (32 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Instructions
  1. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the meringue powder and water until foamy and combined.
  2. Sift in the powdered sugar, add the corn syrup, and mix on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the mixer’s speed to medium-high and continue beating, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. To check for stiff peaks, take the beater off the mixer and hold it so that the icing is pointing up in the air. If the peak is floppy, keep beating. If the icing holds a point and keeps that point when jiggled, you have a stiff peak.
  4. Note: Be careful not to overbeat the icing, or it might become flaky when applied to the cookie. Keep a close eye on the glossy sheen; overbeating will cause it to go dull.
Notes
This is my favorite foolproof royal icing recipe for decorating sugar cookies! Bridget Edwards, an amazingly talented and creative cookie artist, very kindly allowed me to feature this recipe from her book, Decorating Cookies. Thank you Bridget!

 


Dancing Goldfish Cake

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Dancing Goldfish Cake

Dancing Goldfish Cake

This is a fun little cake I made for my mom’s birthday.  I was inspired by the goldfish chocolate mold, and couldn’t resist putting this little happy goldfish on top of a cake.  I like using chocolate figures on cakes because I can make the figures way in advance and then just pop them on the cake at the last minute.  For this particular cake, I knew I would be short on time and sleep because I had a two month old baby at home. Even though I was short on time, I wanted to make something special for my mom, so I chose this design.

Painting Chocolate Mold

Painting Details on Chocolate Mold

I have tried a lot of different methods for “painting” chocolate molds, and for fine details like these I prefer to use a candymelter palette and paint brush (one that is dedicated to food use only).  Once I found the candymelter palette, I really got excited about chocolate because it allows you to keep up to ten colors warm at the same time in the small aluminum cups attached to the palette, and for painting details, there is nothing better.  When you stop having to worry about keeping all of your chocolate melted, you find there is so much more you can do with your designs.

Painted Details Front of Mold

Painted Details Front of Mold

The basic strategy for painting chocolate molds is a layering technique where you paint all of the details first and then fill in the background color.  You need to leave a little bit of time in between layers so that the colors don’t run.  For example, I painted the black pupil of the eye first and had to let it set before applying the white part so that the two wouldn’t run. All of the colors that you see are melted candy coating (a.k.a candy melts, confectionery coating, summer coating, chocolate wafers).  Candy melts are not actual chocolate.  They have a higher melting point than chocolate, do not require tempering, and come in a variety of colors, so they are quite convenient.

Filling in the Background

Filling in the Background

Once all of the details have been painted and are dry, you are ready to fill in the mold.  For this, I use a chocolate squeeze bottle. I melt my background color, pour it into a chocolate squeeze bottle, and then fill the mold.  Make sure to tap your mold so that all of the nooks and crannies are filled in with candy coating.  Luckily, the molds are clear so you can just lift them up over your head to see if there are any gaps or bubbles.  For this goldfish, I stuck a lollipop stick in at this point since I knew I would be putting it on a cake!

Goldfish in Mold

Goldfish in Mold

This goldfish just makes me smile!  It is so cute and it reminds me a bit of Cleo, the goldfish from Pinocchio.  The pretty pink flowers and lovely bow remind me of my mom.  Once your chocolate is dry, you can flip the mold over and unmold your figure.

Unmolded Chocolate Goldfish

Unmolded Chocolate Goldfish

Once your goldfish is unmolded, you are left with a beautiful, shiny, chocolate goldfish!  Looks like the perfect cake topper to me!  This happy goldfish looks like it is dancing for joy.  I was so excited about the goldfish, I almost forgot about the cake!  For my mom’s cake I wanted the chocolate goldfish to be the focal point, so I needed something simple that would coordinate with the goldfish and not detract.

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake

To keep things simple I frosted the cake in cream cheese frosting and decorated the sides with toasted coconut.  I love how the toasted coconut is a thousand different shades of golden brown.  I am partial to Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut, and use it whenever I can.

Dancing Goldfish Cake

Dancing Goldfish Cake

Whimsical, simple, and fun!  That is how I describe this cake.  Next time you need a cake in a hurry, think about using a chocolate cake topper.  It adds a lot of interest and detail to the cake, and can be made well in advance so you don’t have to invest a lot of time decorating at the last minute!  You may have noticed that there is a happy dancing boy goldfish as well!  Hopefully someday soon, I will be able to make a happy pair of dancing goldfish!


Haunted Forest Cupcakes

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Haunted Forest Cupcakes

Haunted Forest Cupcakes

Create a petrified forest full of spooky trees and plump pumpkins. These Haunted Forest Cupcakes are sure to please this Halloween.

Supplies

Supplies

Begin with black baking cups, haunted tree suckers, Bundt bon bon pumpkins, and a pastry bag filled with blue frosting.

Blue Frosted Cupcakes

Blue Frosted Cupcakes

Use Americolor Royal Blue gel paste to tint your frosting. Ateco tip 825 is used to pipe frosting on these cupcakes.

Cupcakes with Pumpkins & Trees

Cupcakes with Pumpkins & Trees

Add some plump little pumpkins to spice up these cupcakes.  These pumpkins are chocolate, made using our bundt bon bon mold and decorated with green royal icing.

Single Cupcake

Single Cupcake

Add your own details and decorations to these cupcakes to make them your own.  Yellow sugar pearls will add an extra splash of color and purple polka dot baking cups are also a fun choice.

Haunted Forest Cupcakes

Haunted Forest Cupcakes


Haunted Tree Molds

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Haunted Tree Chocolate Suckers

Haunted Tree Chocolate Lollipops

Haunted Tree Suckers are Spellbinding and Simple. Great for Halloween parties and fall gatherings, these chocolate suckers will add a spooky spectacle to any celebration. When I saw these molds I couldn’t resist the petrified faces on these trees and immediately wanted to make a haunted forest of chocolate trees.

Supplies for Haunted Trees

Supplies for Haunted Trees

This project is wonderful for beginning chocolatiers because you need only a few supplies and one color of chocolate. To make these chocolate pops I use the haunted tree chocolate mold, one 12 oz squeeze bottle, one pint glass (this is to hold the squeeze bottle), 16 milk chocolate melts, and 4.5″ lollipop sticks.

Chocolate in Mold

Chocolate in Mold

Place the a lollipop stick in each one of the mold cavities and then squeeze chocolate into each cavity. Be careful not to overfill the molds because this will cause the chocolate to flow outside of the cavity and will create a border. If you overfill the mold, just wait until the chocolate has set because the excess chocolate can be trimmed away once it has solidified.

Tapping the Mold

Tapping the Mold

Tap the mold on your work surface to release air bubbles and ensure that the chocolate fills in all of the crevices. You can also hold the mold above your head to see if air bubbles remain. Continue tapping until air bubbles no longer rise to the surface.

Haunted Trees in Mold

Haunted Trees in Mold

Put the mold in the refrigerator for ten to fifteen minutes. Flip the mold onto a flat surface and the suckers should release easily.

Haunted Trees

Haunted Trees


Paisley Cake

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Paisley Cake

Paisley Cake

This paisley cake is something I made for my mom’s birthday. I love that the paisley chocolates that decorate this cake resemble a beautiful wrapping paper pattern.

Paisley Cake Side View

Paisley Cake Side View

This cake is covered in fondant, and the bow and pearl edging are also made of fondant. The pearl/bead edging is made using a 4mm bead mold brushed with super pearl luster dust (that is why the pearls are shiny and opalescent).

Paisley Cake Closeup

Paisley Cake Closeup

The paisley chocolates are attached to the cake with royal icing. See below for a photo journal of the making of this cake.

Leveling the cake

Leveling the cake

This cake is an 8″ square so I leveled the layers using a small cake leveler. I then cut one of the layers in half, so that there would be three layers.

Filling the cake

Filling the cake

The cake is a champagne cake with a champagne custard filling. I piped a buttercream dam around the perimeter of the cake to make sure that the filling would not ooze out. Champagne cakes used to be popular and could be found in many bakeries. I remember the classic pink champagne cake that was covered in pink chocolate curls. It was stylish and delicious!

Stacking the cake

Stacking the cake

The stacked cake is about three and three quarter inches tall. This means that once the cake is crumb coated and covered in fondant, it should be about four inches high.

Crumb coating the cake

Crumb coating the cake

Here is the crumb coated cake. Crumb coating is applying a light coat of frosting (in this case buttercream diluted with water) to cover the cake and seal in all of the crumbs. Once this crumb coat sets up, you are ready to apply your final coat of frosting or cover your cake in fondant. The crumb coat is a rough coat and does not need to be perfect. It is intended to seal in the crumbs so that your final coat will not have any crumbs or bits of cake peeking through.

Smoothing the crumb coat

Smoothing the crumb coat

If you are covering your cake in fondant, you will want your crumb coat to be smoother than if you were going to apply another layer of frosting. This is because the shape and texture of the frosting that is underneath the fondant will show, so you want to get it as smooth as possible. To do this I fill an asparagus steamer with boiling water. I then dip a large bent spatula into the water and wipe it off with a paper towel and then run the hot spatula on the sides and top of the cake to smooth.

Smoothed cake

Smoothed cake

This is the cake after I have smoothed it with a hot spatula. Don’t fuss over the frosting too much, because the fondant will cover small imperfections.

Covering the cake in fondant

Covering the cake in fondant

This is the fondant covered cake. The red silicone rolling pin is the one that I use to roll the fondant. The straight rolling pin in the background is the one that I use to roll the fondant onto and pick up to lift and place on the cake. I use the fondant smoother (right side) to smooth the fondant over the cake.

Trimming the fondant

Trimming the fondant

I use an x-acto knife to trim the fondant from the bottom of the cake.

Making fondant pearls

Making fondant pearls

For this cake, I am trimming the fondant ribbon with fondant pearls/beads. I use the 4 mm bead maker to make the strings of pearls that will be attached to the ribbon. The super pearl luster dust is brushed into the pearl mold to keep the fondant from sticking.

Adding ribbon to the paisley cake

Adding ribbon to the paisley cake

Next I begin adding the fondant ribbon and pearls to the cake. Both are attached using a tiny amount of water (painted using a fine paint brush).

Materials for paisley cake

Materials for paisley cake

Now its time to start adding the paisleys to the cake. The fondant bow is formed using rolled paper towels stuffed in the loops to keep its shape while it dries overnight.

Attaching the paisleys

Attaching the paisleys

Adding more paisleys

Adding more paisleys

Paisleys panoramic view

Paisleys panoramic view

The paisley chocolates are attached to the cake with royal icing. Royal icing is very strong and the chocolates need to be held in place for less than a minute to get set on the cake.

Dried fondant bow

Dried fondant bow

The bow has dried overnight and is now sturdy enough for the pearl trim to be applied.

Adding pearl/bead trim to the bow

Adding pearl/bead trim to the bow

The fondant pearls are attached to the ribbon by applying a very small amount of water to the ribbon using a fine tipped paint brush. The strings of pearls will stick to the surface that is covered with water, but too much water will make them fall off and can also leave marks on the fondant.

Attaching fondant pearls to the bow loops

Attaching fondant pearls to the bow loops

Attaching the pearls to the bow loops was probably the hardest part. I had some strands of pearls that I had made the night before, but found that I could not attach them to the bow loops because the curves were too much and would cause the strands to break.  I ended up making additional fresh pearls for the bow loops.

Putting the bow together

Putting the bow together

Even though the bow looked like one piece when it was drying, it is actually five different pieces. If  it was all one piece, it would be even harder to attach the pearl trim. The final five pieces were assembled on top of the cake as the final step.

Paisley Cake birds eye view

Paisley Cake birds eye view

Here is the finished cake! It was a lot of work but definitely worth it!

Paisley Cake corner

Paisley Cake corner

The paisleys with polka dots are my favorite.

Paisleys

Paisleys


Paisley Chocolates

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Paisley Chocolates

Paisley Chocolates

Paisley Cake

Paisley Cake

When I first saw these paisley chocolate molds I knew that I had to make something special with them. They are so whimsical and unique and add a lot of detail to any creation.

I made these chocolates to attach to a cake that I was making for my mom’s birthday.The cake is designed to look like a gift and I think that these paisleys are perfect because they really look like a beautiful wrapping paper pattern. My mom’s favorite color is pink, so of course the paisleys are made using three shades of pink chocolate.

Mini Paisleys

Mini Paisleys

To make the paisleys you will need the following ~

Paisley accessory mold and paisley mini mold (if you are making a large quantity I recommend you use at least two molds. The more molds, the faster the process will go.)

2 bags of pink candy melts

Pink or red candy coloring

Tools needed for this project are as follows ~

Three 12oz squeeze bottles

Chocolate in Bottles

Chocolate in Bottles

Very fine tipped paint brush

Candymelter palette

Electric skillet (optional)

Toothpicks (use these to periodically stir the chocolate in the candymelter palette)

Begin by selecting the three colors that you will use to make your paisleys. I suggest deepening shades of the same color, but you can use any color combination. I chose pinks, but once I saw the finished chocolates, I found that two of the shades were too close to together and could not really be distinguished from each other, so I suggest distinctly different shades.

Step 1 – Pour both bags of pink candy melts into a microwave safe bowl(I use a large Pyrex bowl). Melt in the microwave on the defrost setting in 30 second increments stirring each time. It is critical that you stir in between each 30 second increment. This will ensure that the chocolate is heating evenly and will prevent it from getting too hot which will make it seize and become difficult to work with.

Single Paisley

Single Paisley

Step 2 – Use a funnel to fill one 12 oz squeeze bottle with melted chocolate and place it in the electric skillet which should be turned on to the lowest possible setting and lined with thick dish towels. The electric skillet is great because it will keep your chocolate from cooling down and hardening while you work. Rotate the bottle every so often to ensure that it is evenly heated. Note – Do not leave the electric skillet unattended as it is a potential fire hazard. If you are not using an electric skillet to keep your chocolate at working temperature, you may have to microwave the chocolate once it is too cool to work with. You can do this by removing the squeeze bottle lid and placing the open squeeze bottle in the microwave on defrost setting for 20 second increments until the chocolate is sufficiently warm.

Paisleys & Flowers

Paisleys & Flowers

Step 3 – Divide the remaining chocolate into two separate bowls. Use the red or pink candy food coloring to tint the remaining two bowls of chocolate to different shades. Make sure you are using candy food coloring as regular coloring is not suited for use with chocolate because it is water based and will cause the chocolate to seize. Candy food coloring is an oil based product that is specifically designed for use with chocolate. Begin by dropping a couple of drops into the chocolate, stir and continue to add coloring until you reach the desired shade.

Step 4 – Use a funnel to fill the other two squeeze bottles with the new shades of chocolate you just mixed. Place the bottles in the electric skillet to keep them warm.

Step 5 – Plug in the candymelter palette and squeeze a dollop of each of the three different shades of pink from the squeeze bottles into separate aluminum cups in the palette. This is the chocolate the you will use to paint the details on the paisleys.

Stage 1

Stage 1

Step 6 – Using a very fine tipped paint brush begin painting the first level of detail onto the chocolate mold. You can use any of the three colors that you want, but keep in mind which color you are planning to use as your background color. The background color is the color that you will fill the mold with after the details are dry. The details should contrast the background color so that they really stand out.

Step 7 – Once the first layer of detail has dried (dry time will vary depending on air temperature), you can paint the second layer of detail. I generally paint this layer with the the color that you will not be using for the fill. You have already used one color for the 1st level of detail, and you are planning on using one color to fill the mold, so the only color that is left is the color you will use to paint the second layer of detail.

Stage 2

Stage 2

Step 8 – Once all of the details have dried, it is time to fill the molds. Use the three different colors that you have in the squeeze bottles to fill the molds. You can use the same fill for all of the cavities in the mold or you can vary the fill color. Because I used all different color combinations, I used all three colors to fill the cavities. If I had used light pink and medium pink for the detail colors, I would use dark pink as the fill color. If I used Dark pink and light pink as the detail colors, I would use medium pink as the fill color. The idea behind this is to make the different shades pop as much as possible. If you are putting these decorations on a cake, you may also want to consider the cake background when choosing the fill color. If the cake is white, you know that any darker shades of pink will contrast best against it. If the cake is light pink, you know that a chocolate that is filled with light pink will blend into the color of the cake, and stand out less. Your color choice will depend on the look you are trying to acheive.

Stage 3

Stage 3

Step 9 – Place the molds in the refridgerator for approximately 15 minutes or more until the chocolate is hard.

Step 10 – Release the chocolates from the mold. I do this by turning the mold upside down onto a piece of parchment paper (the chocolate will not stick to this)

Step 11 – Enjoy! These fantastic little chocolate decorations will look amazing on a cake or placed on top of cupcakes or brownies.