A Nightmare Before Christmas Birthday

You’ll have to excuse the lack of tutorials maybe for a week or two. I’m still trying to piece my life back together.

This is one of the coolest cakes I’ve ever put together. I was super proud of it. My friend’s son was turning 4 (which is INSANE) and wanted a Nightmare Before Christmas theme.
I think I did them proud…

Jacks’ face was hand drawn with edible markers and the skulls were cast in white chocolate! Yum!
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Everyone loved it and the birthday boy was happy… success!

Yaaaay featured on musthavecute.com!!

Tutorial Tuesday: Making a cake filled chocolate… well… anything!

Alright, so I was a slacker last week, so I promised something epic this week. So here we go! I’m going to show you how to make your very own custom molds and create with them!!

I’m pretty sure this would be a great project to do with kids. I mean, I don’t really know this. I don’t have kids. It’s a terrible project to do with cats. For the record.

For the basics of this you well need:
Some cake! Just a little bit of cake. I have some frozen in my freezer, but a cupcake or two would be more than enough cake for this. A little bit of frosting (Like half a table spoon), Some chocolate or candy melt.
This ridiculous stuff called Amazing Mold Putty! It’s $20 at your craft store. I got it at Michael’s. It’s my new favorite thing on earth maybe.
And you’ll need an object that you want to immortalize in chocolate. I wanted to make a chocolate wii remote. I ordered this wii remote on ebay and it doesn’t really work because it’s a damn cheap knock off. So I wasn’t worried about messing it up, though it was not harmed in the process anyway!

Alright, so to start with, I did wipe down the remote with a disinfectant wipe, since, obviously, I’ve had my grubby hands all over it.

Alright, we’ll start with the putty. You need equal parts of each color. Grab as much as you think you’ll need to cover your object. You can always mix more.

Knead it until you get a solid consistency with the color:

I sort of flattened and rolled mine out until I thought it was a good size to fit over the remote. It doesn’t have to be super thick, but if you’re too stingy with it, you’ll end up with bad results when it tears.

Start to mold it over your object, pressing down to get all the details in to the putty. This stuff doesn’t dry crazy fast, but you’re still working against the clock, so remember that!
Once I got it pretty well around the edges, I trimmed a little off the sides and made sure it was pretty well tucked around it and all.

You have to let it sit for about 20-30 minutes to fully harden.
Then, you’re ready to pop our your object and see your mold! Practice makes perfect and this is only my third mold, so it’s not perfect, but I’m working on it lol


When it’s set you can rinse it with warm water and a tiny bit of dish soap, but make sure to dry it 100%! Chocolate and water are like mortal enemies. Just throwing that out there. I’ll be totally honest and say I was so stoked, I didn’t even wash mine out. I’m still alive. We’ll see what happens… hmmm.

Alright! So now, you have your mold. You’re going to want to melt down some chocolate to pour into it. I actually decided to fill in the buttons with white chocolate first.

I melted down my chocolate in a make shift double boiler. I’ve grown to prefer this method over microwaving it in short bursts, but you can melt it how you’d like. Just get it to the nice liquid consistency.
Again, hard to say how much you’ll need. Enough to coat the inside of your mold and then cover the cake once you’ve stuffed the mold with cake.

Start by dropping some chocolate in and spreading it around the bottom. Coat the bottom of the mold and then use the back of the spoon to coat the sides. Remember you need room for the filling! You’re just trying to get a nice chocolate crust.


Now pop that bad boy in the freezer and let it chill for about 5 minutes or so until it’s hard.
I decided to add cherries to my bar! So I cut some cherries in half and plopped them in there. Then I mixed my cake with a tiny bit of frosting and stuffed it in there, leaving room to add more chocolate on the sides and top. Don’t press too hard when you fill though, you don’t want to break the chocolate that’s already set on the sides and bottom!

Now pour more chocolate over the filling until you’ve filled the mold.

Once it’s full, drop it on the counter a few times. Air bubbles WILL rise to the surface. Fill them accordingly. I do this for a minute or so just to make sure everything it full of chocolate.
Now, again, pop that sucker in the freezer for another 5-10 minutes.
Then you’ll be ready to unmold. It’s like… opening the freaking ark of the covenant. No matter how badly you think your mold might have turned out, you’re going to be ridiculously stoked right now to see how your masterpiece turned out. Get giddy.
Make sure it’s solid! Figure out the part that peels the most easily and start there. A large mold like this, you can turn inside out, but peel slowly!


Trim off any excess on the bottom:

And then behold!
Is it perfect? Absolutely not.

Can I play wii with it?
Turns out… no.

Is it omg amazingly delicious?


Here are the other two molds I’ve made:

So yeah, overall, still something I’m perfecting, but I am having SO much fun with it!! Seriously. The possibilities are endless.
And, come on, that candy bar might not be PERFECT, but if you made that for some one they will still be super impressed and probably be obligated to love you forever. Jussayin.

You can wash the molds out with mild dish soap and warm water. They’re awesomely reusable.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial! I promise I’ll be back next week with more! I have some awesome cakes coming up as well! I’m doing my second wedding cake this month and I’m thrilled about it!

As a disclaimer, I’d like to apologize for taking all the photos for this with my iphone. It’s not as good as my camera, but the batteries were dead and I needed to get this done!

I created this as an instructable as well and within moments of submission, I was chosen to be featured on the front page!!!

Check it out here!

Tutorial Tuesday: Chocolate Butterflies

Better late than never, Tuesday isn’t over yet!
I’ve had a few requests for a tutorial on how to make the chocolate butterflies I use to decorate some of my cakes.

Butterfly Baby Shower Cake spring birthday cake
It’s super easy and fun! You can use this technique for lots of other things as well!

Tutorial Tuesday

Ok, so we need to start with two different colors of chocolate or candy melt. If you’ve not worked much with melting/tempering chocolate, candy melt/almond bark is your best bet. You can find a package in the baking isle at your grocery store for around $3.

You’ll need wax paper, a couple of icing tips, frosting bags and some scotch tape.

Go online and google “butterflies”, find a page of those suckers and print that baby out! You’ll want to tape that print out to your counter and then tape the wax paper over top. The tape will keep your sheets lined up and not sliding around.

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I wouldn’t use anything larger than a no.3 icing tip. Remember, the smaller the tip, the more detailed your butterflies will be.
Melt down the chocolate that you want to use for your outline. It doesn’t matter which you use for the outline, either works great.
I melt 30 seconds at a time stirring in between in the microwave until it’s melted.

Tutorial Tuesday

Fill your icing bag with your chocolate and start tracing your butterflies. (YES it is THAT EASY!) :D
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Once you’ve finished your outlines, melt down your second color. This one, you’ll be using to fill in the rest of the butterflies. As you get this ready, your outlines should cool and set up enough to hold the white chocolate.
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They should set up pretty quickly, but you can speed up the process by cooling them in the fridge. Once they’re solid, you can just peel them off the wax paper!
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See, super simple!

You can attach these to the cake with melted chocolate, frosting or piping gel.

Hope you are all having a good week. I can’t wait for the snow here in Ohio to melt so that I can see some real butterflies.

Tutorial Tuesday: Cake Truffles

Alright guys! This is my first ever blog contest!
Heart Truffles

I’ve been busy creating all these wonderful cake truffles and I’m going to show you how to make them! And give you a chance to win some!

How do you win these delicious treats??

1. Subscribe to my blog! If you are already subscribed, you’re already one step ahead!

2. Leave a comment on this post suggesting some thing cake related you’d like to see me create a tutorial for! Or, if you aren’t baking inclined and don’t really have anything you’d like to learn, ask me a question about anything you’ve seen on my blog! It doesn’t even have to be baking related!

3. Share this post with your friends via facebook or twitter!
The buttons at the bottom the page make it sooo easy!

That’s IT. Next Tuesday (FEB 8, 2011), I will announce the winner and send them a package of cake truffles!

For those of you who don’t win, here’s how you can make them yourself!

You’ll need some cake. You can even just prepare a box mix cake, let it cool and then crumble it up for this, but I have a lot of spare cake lol. When I first learned how to level a cake, I was mortified. So much cake gets cut off! I couldn’t just throw it away. That seemed so wrong. I hate to waste food! So, I started saving all the cake tops in my freezer. Every few months… I turn that cake into truffles!
You’ll need
-your cake (at room temp)
-Frosting- about 2 table spoons, I used home made that I had on hand, but I’ll admit to using store bought frosting for these in the past with good results!
-One package of candy melt (also called almond bark or candy coating)
-sprinkles and candy for garnish
-wax paper
-a spoon
-a fork
-a frosting spatula
-and a microwave safe bowl

You’ll want to start by adding two table spoons of frosting to your cake. Then mashing it all together. Using your hands really is the best way to accomplish this.
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The consistency should be sticky, but not overly wet. Remember, you can always add more frosting if it’s too dry, but you can’t take any out of it’s too wet! You should be able to form it and have it hold it’s shape.
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Then you roll it with your hands and form tight little balls. I think they’re best when rolled about the size of a golf ball.
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I line them up on a wax paper covered cookie sheet and then leave them in the fridge to chill for 15-30 minutes. This will really help the chocolate harden around them.
When you’ve got about 5 minutes left before you want to take them out, go ahead and prepare your chocolate coating. If you have the discs, you can just pop them in the microwave in your bowl, but with these big blocks, I like to cut them down into small pieces to help the process along.
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I microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.
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You’re really looking for a liquid consistency.

Alright, now start by dipping the bottom of the cake ball into the melted chocolate. Then cradle it on a fork, so that excess chocolate can drip through the fork tines.
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Now you’ll use the spoon to pour chocolate over the ball while it rests on the fork.
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Let the excess chocolate run off the sides and the bottom, wave the fork back and forth over the bowl to shake extra chocolate off. When it’s not really dripping much anymore, use your spatula to move the ball from the fork to a cutting board or cookie sheet covered in wax paper. I use a marble board because it helps cool the chocolate very quickly.
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Add your candy or sprinkles before the chocolate sets!
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Depending on how fast you are able to work, you may need to microwave the chocolate coating again once or twice for 20 seconds or so to return it to it’s liquid state. You’ll also need to clear the tines on the fork a few times so that they don’t get clogged up with set chocolate or cake bits.

Now, they look finished, but I like to go a step further. I take a small knife and cut that excess off the bottom. And then look, underneath, there’s some cake showing through still. I don’t want that!
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I like mine to be all sealed up tight in chocolate to stay moist and delicious! So after I trim the bottoms, I dip the bottom again!
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And honestly, what’s better than a delicious cake and frosting ball coated in a tasty sweet chocolate candy shell!
Truffle Inside

I’d also like to comment that is was hilariously hard to make these and take all the photos myself haha. I probably looked like a crazy person! I think I washed my hands a dozen times. At the points where I got food on my hands, I was washing them between each photo so I wouldn’t get my camera all grossed up haha! I think my skin is going to come off!
No regrets though! I’m glad I got this done… and on schedule!

So come on and try win yourself a box of these!
Heart Truffles

Contest entries will be accepted up until 9:00am (EST) Tuesday Feb 8, 201110:00pm (EST) Monday Feb 7, 2011. I realized I need to give myself time to pick the winner with random.org and draft and schedule the post!

(Unfortunately, this contest is only open to the lower 48 US states! I don’t think these would travel well outside of the country and it would probably end up being pretty costly to ship them! Sorrrrry!)

Salvaging Undercooked Peanut Brittle

I don’t always bake. I am a true lover of sweets though and this time of year, there’s just so many other good things to be made. I have never made peanut brittle before, but I decided to give it a try. It’s delightfully crunchy, sweet, salty and sticky. It’s basically the perfect holiday treat!

I invested in the biggest bottle of Corn Syrup I could find at the store and bought a lot of sugar. When I do something, it’s kind of go big or go home. Last year I made peppermint bark and cake truffles… and I mean… I made TONS of it. My husband was probably SO sick of eating the stuff. I had truffles lined up on parchment paper filling the fridge. What can I say, I just get on these kicks…

Anyhow, So I used this simple recipe:
1 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tblspn baking soda
1 tblspn butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup peanuts

Bring corn syrup, sugar, salt, water and peanuts to a boil with a candy thermometer, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture up to hard crack (290-300), stirring more at the end, you don’t want the peanuts to burn. It should be turning a golden color.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla, butter and baking soda. Stir it up until mixed. It should double in size.
Pour onto two greased baking pans.
I kind of lean them back and forth to spread it out. Once the edges cool, I hand pull it so that it gets thin. It’s something you figure out how to best do after a while. You’re supposed to wear rubber gloves. I just get burnt. It happens…

(There are MANY variations how to make peanut brittle. Some involve different ingredients or methods. This is simply the one I’ve chosen to use. It’s simple and works well for me… MOST of the time…)

However, twice now I’ve made a batch and had it come out… well… a gross yellow color. And it doesn’t even taste good. It’s too tacky in your teeth. Evidently, I didn’t cook it long enough, even though the thermometer read 300!

So what could I do? The first time I tossed the offending batch. Heartbreaking, I know.
This time I was determined to fix this some how. I googed how to fix it. I literally found ONE site where someone had microwaved it and then reheated it on the stove. They still weren’t totally successful though because they burnt the peanuts. Well, hell… I can do this I decided. I will make it happen.

I considered my options and decided to just smash it and put it back in the pot. I split it into two batches so I could have more room to sir in the pot. I thought of adding more liquid, but decided not to. I started on medium heat, but turned it down to a bit below medium. KEEP STIRRING. christmascrap 018 christmascrap 020
While it’s still semi solid you MUST keep stirring or it WILL burn.
I thought it was never going to turn into a liquid, but of course it did. I gradually turned it up as it melted more. But kept stirring occasionally to keep the peanuts from burning on the bottom.
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You haaave to let it come back up to hardcrack stage. If you don’t it’s not going to set right. I wanted to just stop and pour like 400 times because it looked and smelled ready, but I knew I just couldn’t. I stirred like crazy to keep it moving and not let it burn. As soon as it reached 300, I poured it.
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I pulled it out once it was cool enough and broke it up.
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Guess what? It was excellent! As if I’d never messed it up to begin with! I was so happy I wasn’t going to waste another 2lbs of brittle!

It’s the perfect handmade gift! You could make and bag enough for probably 10 people for under $10 and it’s such a thoughtful gift.
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(And yes… my fingers hurt intensely after hand-drawing all of those tags… Ohhhh the pain I put myself through for those I love!)

I hope this helps anyone who was as lost as I was! Happy Holidays and happy treat making!
Most of all have fun and be careful! I have sustained a few burns from my brittle making adventures this year! Mostly from hot sugar bubbling and spitting out of the pan! I’m starting to think candy makers probably wear long sleeves. Ouch. I have burn blisters on two of my favorite tattoos right now and that’s a bummer!

Anyhow, I cannot waaait for Christmas! I have everything all wrapped up and ready to go! So come on and get here already! I’m super pumped to make peppermint cupcakes… and that means a lot coming from me! Everyone knows I am not a huge fan of making cupcakes!
My Christmas Gifts

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