Sunday, April 22, 2018

yin and yang kung fu cupcakes

My two older kids are learning Kung-Fu, and last summer (or was it the summer before that? I'm really behind!) for the annual picnic I signed up to make cupcakes. When it came time to actually make the cupcakes, I had no idea what to do! Piped Kung-Fu frosting figures on the cupcakes? Chinese characters? And then when I looked at their Kung-Fu uniform, it came to me. Yin and Yang cupcakes. (It was printed on the sleeves!)

So I started by baking up my favorite chocolate cupcakes (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), as well as my favorite cream cheese frosting. I added dark cocoa powder to half of the frosting, and left the other half white, and then used a disposable piping bag fitted with a small round tip to pipe my Yin and Yang design.

I added the dots (chocolate dot on the white site, white dot on the chocolate side) to complete it.

The cupcakes were a hit, although when one of the Si-fu saw them he asked, puzzled, "Yin and Yang?" I just smiled, but I wanted to say "Yes! It's on your uniforms! I didn't know how else to decorate cupcakes for a Kung-Fu picnic!"

Anyway, all the cupcakes were eaten, so that's a good sign. Ha ha! The End.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

minecraft cookies

To go along with the Minecraft cake that I made for Matthew's 10th birthday, I also made these Minecraft cookies to include with the party favors, as well as to pass out to his class the day of his birthday at school.

For the cookies, I made my favorite sugar cookie recipe (from my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), chilled it, and rolled it out to 1/8 inch thick. Then I used a set of nested square cookie cutters to cut out shapes (I originally got mine at Williams Sonoma, but they don't carry them anymore so these cutters are pretty close), Then I baked them at 350F for 10-12 minutes until the edges were golden brown.

For the icing, I made a batch of royal icing (recipe also in my book!), and tinted the majority of it green (I used a combination of leaf green and forest green to achieve the perfect Minecraft green color!). Using stiff green icing and a small round tip fitted into a disposable pastry bag, I outlined each cookie, and then filled it in with runny green icing.

After letting the icing dry for several hours, I used stiff black icing (colored using Super Black) to pipe the creeper face on to each cookie, and then filled it in with runny black icing.

Then I let the cookies dry complete, and they were done!

I wrapped each cookie in individual cellophane favor bags and tied them with raffia, and Matthew passed them out to his classmates at school.

I also included the cookies in each favor bag at his video game birthday party at home.

Hope you had a happy birthday, my Matthew!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

minecraft cake

Man, where does the time go? My son Matthew turned 10 a few months ago. TEN. YEARS. OLD. I still can't believe he's hit double digits!

Well I make his birthday cake every year, and this year he wanted a Minecraft cake. He's obsessed with Minecraft! So we decided to have a Minecraft party. He invited a few of his best friends over and played Minecraft all day (among other video games), and we had a make-your-own burger station, and we had Minecraft birthday cake. Very chill and very fun!

A few days before the party, I prepped some fondant minecraft squares that I was going to decorate the cake with. I used regular white fondant and tinted it several colors (bright green, army green, brown, and black). Then I rolled it out and used a small square cutter to cut out little squares. (You could also use a ruler and a knife or a pizza cutter to get even squares).

For the cake itself, he wanted vanilla and filled with whipped cream and fresh berries. So I did a combo of raspberries and blueberries (although I forgot to take a picture of the blueberry layer!), nestled in whipped cream, in between layers of homemade vanilla cake (baked in two 8-inch cake pans, and sliced in half horizontally to give me four cake layers - you can find my favorite vanilla cake recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!). 

Then I whipped up a batch of buttercream frosting, tinted it green, and covered the cake in two coats of frosting. First a crumb coat, which I let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, and then a second final coat, which I smoothed out with a long metal spatula. Then I put the cake back in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, I used black icing to pipe his name on the side of the cake.

Afterwards, I attached my pre-made fondant squares, which were supposed to look like the pixels in the Minecraft game. Just a tiny bit of frosting on the back of each square help to hold them in place.

I added a few squares to the top of the cake as well.

The final touch was adding gold number candles (which I found at Party City, and saved me the trouble of making a gold "10" out of fondant, which I was fully prepared to do until I found these candles!)

And then it was done! Minecraft cake!

Happy 10th Birthday, my Matthew!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

deviled eggs

I normally don't write about savory items on my blog (there are so few that you can see them all here), but since it's Easter I thought it would be the perfect time to share my favorite recipe for deviled eggs! They are the perfect easy snack or appetizer to make for any gathering, including Easter!

For the eggs, you can boil them or steam them like I like to do (in a rice cooker for 12 minutes, with the eggs propped up on a metal trivet!), but be sure to submerge them in an ice bath afterwards for easy peeling. Once all of the eggs are peeled, cut them in half and carefully pull out all of the yolks, and add them to a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients. Then you can use a fork to smash the yolks with the rest of the ingredients. (I've also seen shows where they whisk the filling in a standing mixer for a smoother consistency!)

Once the filling is well mixed, I like to use a disposable pastry bag and a large star tip to pipe the filling into each egg white cavity, bur you could also just use a small spoon to drop the filling in.

Then top each egg with sliced gherkins (I also added homegrown cilantro instead of pimentos, but you could also do green onions or other herbs), and then sprinkle a bit of paprika over each one, and you're done! Super fast and easy, and the kids even helped me decorate them!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

basketball cupcakes

My youngest baby just turned FIVE!!! Where does the time go?!

Every year I make him birthday cupcakes. First there were these meatloaf cupcakes, as well as funfetti cupcakes. Next came Elmo cupcakes, and the next year Cookie Monster cupcakes because he was super into Sesame Street at that time. And now the thing that he is absolutely and completely obsessed with is BASKETBALL. He loves it. Can't get enough of it. We watch almost every Golden State Warriors game on TV. He plays basketball outside in our backyard when the weather is nice. Otherwise, he shoots hoops inside, because we have one of those small plastic basketball hoops that hangs over a door near the kitchen. He knows all the numbers of every Warriors player. He can even commentate while we are watching Warriors games, and does a pretty good job of it! So naturally, this year he asked for basketball cupcakes!

For the batter, I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (which you can find in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), which also works great for cupcakes!

Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting (you can also find this recipe in my book). I tinted the majority of it with bright orange gel-based food coloring. And then I used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, and piped big round mounds of frosting on each cupcake.

Then I tinted the remaining portion with super black gel-based food coloring, and used a small round tip to pipe the details of each basketball.

And then they were done!

I finished decorating them just in time to bring them to his preschool class party, so I loaded them up in my cupcake courier (my favorite way to transport cupcakes!) and brought them to school.

I also made goody bags for him to pass out to his classmates - blue and gold (Warriors colors) paper bags filled with mini bouncy basketballs, basketball-shaped whistles, basketball pencils, basketball chocolate candies, and basketball pillow mints. And all tied with matching ribbon and a handmade DIY basketball favor tag that I (painstakingly) drew with a sharpie and cut out of orange construction paper.

We decided not to have a real party (sadly, he has never had a real birthday party! Poor kid, I guess that's what happens when you're the third kid!) Instead, we bought him the ultimate birthday gift for a kid who loves Warriors basketball. WE TOOK HIM TO A WARRIORS GAME!

Happy Birthday, my Micah! Hope you enjoyed your basketball birthday!