Scuffy The Tugboat Cake

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Scuffy the Tugboat

3-D Scuffy The Tugboat Cake

Do you recognize this little tugboat?  If you’re like me and have a fondness for the Golden Books of your childhood you do!  It’s Scuffy The Tugboat from the beloved Golden Book.  The book is a classic that you shouldn’t miss out on, so if you haven’t read it yet go out and find a copy.  It is a beautifully illustrated and written book to share with your children and grandchildren.

Book and Invite

Children’s books offer great inspiration for birthday parties, and  I thought Scuffy The Tugboat would be a perfect party theme for my nephew’s 3rd birthday!  Also it was a great excuse to make a Scuffy cake.  At the time, I thought that everyone knew exactly who Scuffy was, but at the party many people thought the cake was just a tugboat.  I couldn’t believe they had never heard of Scuffy!

Fondant Scuffy Eyes

Scuffy’s Eyes

I knew I had to get the eyes right for the cake to truly look like Scuffy.  The eyes always bring a character to life, and it’s exciting when you get to the eyes, because once you put them on you can tell if everything is going to work.  You can have everything else right, but if the eyes aren’t spot on, you may have to try again.

Scuffy Closeup

Scuffy

Side of Scuffy

Scuffy Side

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally I wasn’t sure if I would use piping or fondant for the details on this cake.  I tried piping, but the result was not what I wanted, so all of the details are fondant and gumpaste.  The cake itself is just cake (no rice krispies) and though it is a 3-D cake, the shapes are not difficult, so it is pretty simple (as simple as 3-D cakes get).

Tugboat Bow

Bow of tugboat

The tool I use most often for wood grain is a plastic ruler.  I use the edge of it, and drag it across the fondant to make the pattern.  I brushed this wood grain with brown gel paste to bring out the grain.  I love to do fun cake boards, and this is one of my favorite. I went around the cake board with some red grosgrain ribbon and added yellow rick rack on top of that.  I think it is a cute detail for a child’s birthday cake.

3-D Scuffy Cake

Scuffy The Tugboat Smokestack

Scuffy Smokestack

Scuffy Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The most challenging part of this cake was definitely the smokestack.  I didn’t know how to make a hollow gumpaste cylinder, so there was a lot of experimenting.  Finally I wrapped a very sturdy paper cylinder from a roll of plastic wrap in parchment paper.  Then I rolled out a rectangle of blue gumpaste.  I cut the gumpaste to the exact size needed to cover the roll, and wrapped it around.  I sealed the seam with a bit of water and let the cylinder stand upright for a couple of days.  Once the gumpaste was dry, I slid the paper roll out and was left with a hollow gumpaste tube.  My previous trials taught me that the gumpaste will stick to the paper tube if you don’t wrap it in parchment.

3-D Scuffy The Tugboat Cake

Scuffy 3-D Cake

Well that is the Scuffy cake!  I hope you are inspired to read the story and maybe make a Scuffy cake or cupcakes of your own!

Scuffy Book

Scuffy The Tugboat Golden Book


Owl Houndstooth Cake

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Owl Cake with Houndstooth

Owl Cake

This cake was a last minute idea for the birthday of a very close friend of mine.  Colleen is one of my best and oldest friends, and as you can probably guess, she loves owls.  When I was first thinking about what to do for her, I thought about making a 3-D shaped owl cake or cupcakes.  I looked at a lot of different owl images. Owls are very popular right now, but a lot of them seem a little too cartoonish, and I didn’t want the cake to look like it was for a child.  I thought that I should stick with a “grown-up” color scheme and maybe something fashion related to fit Colleen.  That is what brought me to the houndstooth pattern. Owls are wise and dignified and the houndstooth pattern, being very classic and timeless, seemed to fit, so putting them together just worked for me.

Owl Topper

Gum Paste Owl

To make the owl, I used gum paste, which I make by adding tylose to my fondant.  I like this method because it allows me to take already colored fondant that I have on hand and turn it into gum paste for modeling.  I know there are commercial gum paste brands, but I have never used these. I also used gum paste for the houndstooth pattern.  I cut each one of these with an x-acto knife.  It was a painstaking process, and since then I have searched for and found a houndstooth cutter.  The benefit of cutting by hand is that you can customize the pattern size to your cake.

Owl and tools

Weighing gum paste owl

When modeling figures, a scale like this Salter comes in very handy.  I use it to measure small amounts of fondant and gum paste so that I will know how much to use next time.  The owl is made of 3.3 ounces of chocolate brown gum paste.

Modeling Owl Eye

Eye made of gum paste

Owl and tools

Weighing gum paste owl

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked through all of my scalloped cutters hoping to find one that would be just right for the green part of the eye, but I couldn’t find one small enough so I ended up using a bismarck tip (Wilton #230) to cut the little half circles and make the scalloped detail.  I continued to improvise with the bismarck tip and found that it worked wonderfully for making the little green feathers on the owl’s wing.  For the white and black parts of the eye I used tip #2A and tip #1.  I tinted some gum paste egg yellow, and used a small daisy plunge cutter to help make the feet.

Owl Houndstooth Cake

Owl Side View

This was such a fun cake to design and make, and I was honored to be able to make it to celebrate the birthday of an amazing friend!


Valentine’s Cookies

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Valentine Cookies

Embossed Valentine’s Cookies

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and while it is getting closer by the minute, it’s not too late to make some lovely cookies for your sweetheart!  These cookies are pretty perfect for a Valentine’s party or fun project.  You can make them as simple or detailed as you like, and who can resist a delicious decorated sugar cookie?

Embossed Quilted Heart

Quilted Heart Cookie

Love Heart Cookie

Love Embossed Cookie

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made these cookies with a clever cookie set that lets you use texture mats to imprint the details into fondant. The cookies look intricate and detailed, yet the process is very straightforward.  If you have shaky hands and shy away from piping, this set is perfect.  With the texture mats, you can get the look of a beautifully piped cookie, without the work.  The cookies are beautiful plain or embellished, and mistakes can always be eaten! See below for a step by step on making these cookies.

Cutting the hearts

Heart Cut-out Cookies

First you need to start with an excellent sugar cookie recipe.  This one is my favorite; the dough is so irresistible that a lot of the cookies don’t even make it to the oven!

Rolling Cookies

Rolling pin and cookies

Heart cutout cookies

Baked cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve got your cookies baked and cooled, now it is time to decorate!  This is the fun part!  To decorate about 14 cookies you will need about 7 ounces of fondant.  Use any colors you like.  To get the pink color I used, use a 3 to 1 ratio of Wilton rose gel coloring and Americolor burgundy gel paste.  For 7 ounces of fondant I used 3 drops burgundy and 9 toothpicks (half dipped) of the rose coloring.  While I generally stick with Americolor gel paste, I prefer the Wilton rose color to the Americolor pinks.  I sometimes end up with too much of a Pepto-Bismol pink with the Americolor and with the Wilton Rose you can achieve more of a raspberry.

Texture mat and fondant

Embossing fondant

You want to roll your fondant to about 1/8″ thick.  Spray your texture mats with non-stick spray and wipe away the excess.  You can press the mat into the fondant using either side of the mat.  One side will make a raised impression and the other will make an indented impression.  I opted for the indented impression with the exception of the love mat.  It only works one way or else the writing will end up backwards.

Imprinted pink fondant

Imprinted fondant

Embossed fondant hearts

Texture mat hearts

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have trouble with the texture mat sticking to the fondant try to let the fondant set out a bit (5-10 minutes) after you roll it, or use a tiny bit of cornstarch on top of the fondant to make it less sticky.  I think these look lovely just imprinted, but for extra oomph you can add some piped dots at the intersection of the lines on the quilted cookies, and some painted accents to the love and baroque heart cookies.

Painting heart cookie

Painting “Baroque” Heart Cookie

Painting "Love" Heart

Painting “Love” detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

To paint the accents I use a mixture of Wilton White Pearl Dust, Vodka, Royal Icing, and gel paste (1 drop Americolor Sky Blue and 2 drops Americolor Teal).  Just mix the gel paste, pearl dust, vodka, and royal icing until you get the consistency of paint.  The royal icing is optional.  I added it because I had made it already to pipe the dots on the quilted heart.  It makes the “paint” a little bit thicker and more opaque.  If you don’t use it, the paint will just be a bit more transparent.  They key to painting the details is using a teeny tiny brush.  I used the very smallest one I have.

Painted Baroque Heart Cookie

Baroque Heart Cookie

Piping details

Piping on heart cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

To pipe the dots on the quilted cookie, I used a #2 tip, and added a 1:2 ratio of sky blue and aqua to get the turquoise colored royal icing.  After you have piped the dots, look back to see if there are any pointy dots.  If so, just press down gently with the tip of your finger to smooth the peak into a nice rounded dot.  As long as your icing has not set too long, this should work. To attach the fondant hearts to the cookies, I used just a bit of thinned royal icing (since I already had it) spread over the cookie, and then just gently pressed down to get the fondant to adhere.  You could also use piping gel if you have it on hand.  I hope you have fun with this project.  There are so many variations and possibilities!  I would love to see your designs, so please post a picture if you give it a try!

Valentine's Close-Up

Heart Valentine Cookies

Excellent Sugar Cookies
Author: 
 
My favorite sugar cookie recipe for making cut-out cookies!
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and sugar.
  3. Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until particles are fine and crumbly.
  4. In a small bowl, using a fork, beat the egg, heavy cream, and vanilla.
  5. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients.
  6. Stir until dough comes together. Using your hands, combine and knead the dough into a uniform consistency.
  7. Roll out dough to about ¼” thick on a floured surface or non-stick baking mat.
  8. Cut out shapes and place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or cookie sheet lined with a non-stick baking mat) and bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are just slightly brown.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes, and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack and enjoy or let cool completely and then decorate!
Notes
Note: For cookies with super sharp edges, freeze cookies on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes (or refrigerate for 15 minutes) before baking.

 


Cake and Cupboard Cake

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Cake & Cupboard Cake on Pedestal

Cake & Cupboard Cake on Pedestal

I love polka dots!  They just seem very versatile and cute!  I can think of a thousand polka dot things that I love: polka dot fabric, polka dot ribbon, polka dot pillows.  I could go on. I even have a favorite polka dot sweater. Soooo, I have always wanted to make a polka dot cake and specifically I have always wanted to make a cake that looks like the one in our logo!  My brilliant husband designed the logo, and of course it is perfect for me considering my love of everything polka dot, and my love of cakes.  So what could be better than a polka dot cake that looks just like the one in our logo?

Polka Dots Closeup

Polka Dots Closeup

I looked at my round cutters to find a fairly small size for the polka dots.  I ended up using a 3/4″ round cutter and I designed the scallops using a piece of cardstock that I cut into a pattern.  The cake is covered in white fondant and then a layer of dark brown gumpaste that went about 3/4 of the way down the cake.  I laid the cardstock pattern against the fondant and cut the scallops using an exacto knife, being careful not to cut into the white fondant behind. I then used a ruler to mark the placement of the dots and I cut those out with the 3/4″ round cutter and filled them in with the 3/4″ dots I had cut out of pink gumpaste. Voila!  As far as time, this cake is one of the quickest and most simple I have made.  I love simple designs, but also find that the simpler the design, the more perfect it needs to be because the flaws really show.

Cake & Cupboard Polka Dot Cake

Cake & Cupboard Polka Dot Cake

 

You can see some creased fondant and overcuts in the brown gumpaste. I was in a bit of a hurry with this one (just trying to fit it in during my baby’s naps) so it is not flawless, but I still think it’s a super cute cake.  As with all cakes, there are things I would do differently if I did it again. The cake is a 7″ round cake and next time I would go with a 6″ round cake to elongate the shape and give more height.  You can’t tell but the middle cake layers are actually smaller (probably 6 to 6-1/2″ in diameter) to give the cake sort of an hourglass figure as it appears in the logo.  This effort was definitely lost, but I think it would show up better on a taller 6″ cake.  The other thing I would do is lose the cake drum bottom and just have the cake sit directly on the pedestal for an appearance more similar to the logo.  In this case the cake drum was necessary.  I made the cake for my own birthday adventure which was bike riding  around Angel Island, and I knew it would be going on a bumpy ride so I designed it for maximum stability (it is doweled into the cake drum).  Maybe it is just because I love polka dots, but I feel like it is a fun and simple cake that could work for birthdays, showers, anniversarys, etc.  I hope you had fun taking a look.  I am sure there will be more polka dot cakes in my future!


Peter Rabbit Cupcakes

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Peter Rabbit Cupcakes

Peter Rabbit Cupcakes

Here comes Peter Rabbit pushing a wheelbarrow full of carrots from Mr. McGregor’s garden. These Peter Rabbit Cupcake Kits and Cupcake Holders by Meri Meri will brighten your Easter and bring you back to your childhood and the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter.

Peter Rabbit and Wheelbarrow

Peter Rabbit and Wheelbarrow

Do you remember Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Tom Kitten?  These adorable cupcakes will remind you of all your favorite Beatrix Potter tales, and if you’re not yet a fan maybe you will bake up a batch of these delightful cupcakes and become inspired to begin reading Beatrix Potter’s beautifully illustrated classics.

Peter Rabbit Up Close

Peter Rabbit Up Close

These Peter Rabbit cupcake holders are designed as little wheelbarrows. They are very simple to put together and each wheelbarrow holds one cupcake.

Peter Rabbit and Friends

Peter Rabbit and Friends

Each cupcake pick features a different Peter Rabbit character.

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit

Use tip 4B to pipe the decorations on each cupcake. My friend Grace had the brilliant idea to use orange sugar pearls at the center of each flower.

Benjamin Bunny

Benjamin Bunny

Egg yellow gel paste is used to color the frosting on these cupcakes. Use about one-quarter teaspoon per 4 cups of frosting to get this shade.

Jemima Puddle-Duck

Jemima Puddle-Duck

You will need about four cups of frosting to decorate 12 cupcakes using tip 4B.

Tom Kitten

Tom Kitten

Jelly beans, sugar pearls, and orange carrots can be used for added color!

Decorating Supplies

Decorating Supplies

For perfectly sized cupcakes, use a batter scoop to fill your baking cups. I use one level scoop per cupcake.

Ready to Bake!

Ready to Bake!

Even the cupcake cases have Beatrix Potter Characters decorating them.

Cupcake Tip 4B

Cupcake Tip 4B

Begin by piping from the center outward using tip 4B.

Fully Piped Cupcake

Fully Piped Cupcake

Continue all the way around until the cupcake is completely covered.

Placing the Sugar Pearls

Placing the Sugar Pearls

Use tweezers to place each sugar pearl. Then carefully push down using your finger.

Piping Grass onto the Cupcake

Piping Grass onto the Cupcake

Use grass tip 233 to pipe the blades of grass. Layer the tufts of grass for a full look. Sprinkle with carrots.

Grass Cupcakes with Carrots

Grass Cupcakes with Carrots

To get this shade of green frosting, add one quarter teaspoon avocado gel paste, 3 drops leaf green gel paste, and one drop mint green gel paste per 2 cups of frosting.

Name Tags

Name Tags

Print up name tags and stick them to toothpicks to personalize your Peter Rabbit cupcakes.

Jelly Bean Cupcake

Jelly Bean Cupcake

If you are having an Easter party or family get together, these Peter Rabbit cupcake holders will make your table extra special.  Use your Peter Rabbit cupcake holders as place cards, and each guest will get their own special treat!

Row of Rabbits

Row of Rabbits

Put your Peter Rabbit cupcakes on parade or display them on cake stands for a dazzling centerpiece.

Cupcakes on Cake Stands

Cupcakes on Cake Stands


Hungry Polar Bear Cake

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Polar Bear Cake

Polar Bear Cake

A polar bear eating ice cream? What could be more fun and delicious than a snowflake covered cake with a happy polar bear on top? Just the thought of a polar bear eating ice cream makes me smile, and children will be pleased to see that polar bears like ice cream just as much as they do!

Happy Polar Bear

Happy Polar Bear

Cozy in his striped scarf, this polar bear couldn’t be happier while enjoying his ice cream.

Polar Bear Backside

Polar Bear Backside

Aside from the polar bear itself, most of the decorations for this cake are made using cutters of various shapes. This speeds up the decorating process. The polar bear is sitting on a scalloped fondant circle made using our scalloped cutter set.

Tools

Tools

Using different cookie cutters to cut out fondant decorations is a simple and easy decorating idea.

Snowflakes

Snowflakes

Cutters that imprint patterns or textures will give more dimension and depth to the design. A non-stick mat is a wonderful work surface for rolling out fondant because you can leave the decorations on it while you work and they won’t stick.

Snowflake on Cake

Snowflake on Cake

Attach the fondant snowflakes to the fondant covered cake by applying a bit of water using a small paint brush.

Name in Lower Case Funky Tappit Letters

Name in Lower Case Funky Tappit Letters

These fondant letters are made using the funky lower case letters tappit set.

Tappit Set

Tappit Set

For this cake I wanted the first letter of each word to be capitalized, so I used the funky letters and numbers tappit set and the funky lower case tappit set.

Cutting out the lettering

Cutting out the lettering

Roll out long strips of fondant to cut out the letters using the tappit set. The tappit cutters are designed to cut each individual letter separately.

Fondant Letters

Fondant Letters

I use the pink (1/16″) dough bands on the 9″ rolling pin to get the fondant to the correct thickness.

Tappit Letter Detail

Tappit Letter Detail

I love the tappit sets because they produce stylish, crisp, clean, sharp looking letters. Tappit letters produce a fresh unique look that is different from hand piping plus there is the added benefit of being able to move letters around. If you make a spelling mistake with the tappit set, just remove the letter from the cake. Mistakes made with icing are much harder to fix.

Lettering on Cake

Lettering on Cake

Apply the tappit letters using a tiny bit of water applied with a paint brush. If you allow the tappit letters to dry, they will be stiff enough to attach to your cake with royal icing at the base of each letter so that they are free-standing.

Rounded Border Set

Rounded Border Set

The scalloped edge that surrounds the top tier of the cake is created with our rounded border cutter set. Cutter sets like these have endless uses and are great to have on hand for quick design ideas.

Top Tier

Top Tier

Scalloped stripes in alternating shades of blue add extra detail to this cake.

Sculpting the Polar Bear

Sculpting the Polar Bear

The part of this cake that is most daunting is probably sculpting the polar bear. I was inspired to make this bear by a greeting card I saw on one of my favorite stationary sites, Hello Lucky. A sculpting tools set will help you out with sculpting figures.  Don’t be afraid to try because it is just fondant and if you mess up you can always eat it and start over!

Starting the Scarf

Starting the Scarf

Making the scarf is a lot of fun, and the technique can be used for a variety of decorations. Begin by cutting small uniformly sized strips of fondant in two alternating colors. I use a ruler and x-acto knife to cut the strips to the same size.

Striped Scarf

Scarf and Ice Cream

Next use the small rolling pin to roll over the strips of fondant. Roll over them with even pressure so that they meld together. Now you have the fabric for the scarf.

Cut Out Shapes

Cut Out Shapes

The strips that have been rolled together should be stuck to each other and form one piece of fondant from which you can cut out a scarf, bowtie, or any shapes you can think of.

Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Polar Bear


Skateboarding Dragon Cake

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Skate Boarding Dragon Cake

Skate Boarding Dragon Cake

Make this daring dragon cake for your skateboarding daredevils. The colors can be tailored to their favorites, and a message can be added to the fondant skateboard. This dragon cake is inspired by the dragon cake in Debbie Brown’s 50 Easy Party Cakes.

Cover a Cake Board with Fondant

Cover a Cake Board with Fondant

Take a 12″ cake drum and place a dollop of buttercream in the center (spread with angled spatula) and then cover with colored rolled fondant. I prefer Massa fondant from Switerland, It comes in a big tub, but homemade, Wilton, or Duff’s Charm City Fondant will work just fine too.

Trim Excess Fondant

Trim Excess Fondant

After the drum is covered, take a sharp knife and trim the excess fondant. Next, neatly shape the edge  with your fingers or a fondant smoother.

Bake Two Cake Halves

Bake Two Cake Halves

I ended up baking two cake halves in pyrex bowls because I need a larger cake to feed 24 kids. For a slightly smaller cake use our 6″ ball pan.

Level The Cakes

Level The Cakes

Next, cool the two halves overnight and then level them with a cake leveler as needed.

Assemble The Ball

Assemble The Ball

Pipe an icing dam around the edge of the bottom half and add a filling of your choice.  Place the second cake half on top and press down to make sure it is settled. Now crumb coat with buttercream icing using a spatula.

Mold The Head

Mold The Head

Make sure to mold the head at least 2 days ahead of time. While drying set on parchment or a silpat and support with tissue papper.  Attached the ears by applying a tiny bit of water with a decorator’s brush.

Mold The Parts

Mold The Parts

Sculpt the tail and neck piece 2 days ahead of time also. As the fondant sets up add the nostril holes with the opposite end of the decorator’s brush.

A Spot of Icing

A Spot of Icing

Add a spot of royal or buttercream icing to the fondant covered cake drum before placing the cake.

Assembly

Assembly

Place the cake as shown and add the neck piece and tail.

Roll Out The Fondant

Roll Out The Fondant

Take a string and measure the circumference of your dragon cake.  Roll out  a fondant circle that has a diameter equal to the measurement you just took. Roll out (with cornstarch) so that it is 1/4 in thick.

Drape The Fondant

Drape The Fondant

Roll the fondant onto your 21 in rolling pin and then drape over the cake supporting the fondant as you cover it.

Form The Body

Form The Body

Form the body around the cake using fondant smoothers and your fingers.

Place The Head

Place The Head

Cut the mouth into the dried head with a sharp knife and add the eyes (colored fondant).

Add A Skateboard

Add A Skateboard

Now add a skateboard or other prop.  This was made of fondant (colored with gel paste, like all my fondant) and dried for 2 days.  I thought about piping happy birthday on it, but ran out of time.

Fondant Rocks

Fondant Rocks

I had my husband sculpt all these fondant rocks.  He came up with a method of twisting two colors of fondant together, forming a ball, and then tapping them with a butter knife and crumpled tin foil.

Fondant Dragon Wings

Fondant Dragon Wings

The last thing to do is add the wings.  Again, make these ahead of time so they can dry thoroughly. Attach the wings with a little water.

Side View with Tail

Side View and Tail

Here is the back view of the finished cake.

Final Cake

Final Cake

A Skateboarding Dragon Cake Just in Time for Shelby’s 10th Birthday Party!


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


Mouse House

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Mouse House

Mouse House

Create an adorable Autumn cake with two whimsical mice living in a pumpkin house. This Mouse House cake is one of my favorites. Fabulous for Fall, and cute as a button, this cake will capture the imaginations of young and old alike.

Mice Peeking Out

Mice Peeking Out

Mouse

Mouse

The cake design is from Debbie Brown’s 50 Easy Party Cakes, a book that I absolutely love! This book can be found on our site, and I highly recommend it because it has tons of inspiration and provides instruction on making simple but striking cakes.

Mouse Looking at You

Mouse Looking at You

I chose to make a pumpkin flavored cake with cream cheese frosting to go with the Autumn theme. This cake is made with two half spheres. You can make this shape cake with a ball pan or if you have a bowl that is oven safe and fairly round, you can bake two halves to make the pumpkin.

Sculpted Fondant Mice

Sculpted Fondant Mice

One of the nice  things about this cake is that the mice figures can be sculpted far in advance. I suggest making them at least 2 days ahead of time so that they have plenty of time to dry. You want them to be pretty sturdy by the time you place them on the cake, so that they are easier to work with and don’t break. To prevent sticking, set your figures on a silpat (non-stick baking mat) or parchment paper to dry.

Side View

Side View

If you are intimidated by sculpting fondant figures, this is a good cake to start with. The mice are fairly simple, and you can make the figures far in advance which will give you time to practice. A fondant sculpting set will help you with the small details, and this product can be found in our store www.cakecupboard.com.

Bottom of Pumpkin

Bottom of Pumpkin

Covering the pumpkin shaped cake in fondant is easier when the cake is placed atop a tall cake pedestal. This enables you to see the sides and bottom. If you don’t have a cake pedestal, you could also rest the cake on a round jar lid that is smaller than the base of the cake. This will allow you to work the fondant all the way under the cake so that you won’t see any seams or bunching at the bottom. Once covered in orange fondant, I transfer the cake to a green fondant covered cake board. If you lift the cake from the bottom, you will minimize fingerprints in the fondant, since this bottom portion will be covered when set on the cake board.

Mouse House Back

Mouse House Back

To make the windows that the mice peek out of, I used the round end of a large decorating tip/tube. You could also use a small round cutter if you have one.

Mice Peeking Out

Mice Peeking Out

I attached everything except for the mice to this cake with a tiny bit of water. For the mice, I used royal icing to make sure that they would stay in place.

Mouse Tail

Mouse Tail

The curly mice tails and pumpkin stems add interest and detail to this cake.

Looking down at the Mouse House

Looking down at the Mouse House