Cupcake Madness

Okay, some of you know where I stand on cupcakes. I’m not a fan. Of making them. (Big fan of eating them, however…) They’re time consuming and painful, literally! Have you have piped swirls on cupcakes? Hand cramps!

Anyhow, my friends know this, but they also know I can’t help myself and I love a challenge. So I was given the challenge to end all challenges… 200 cupcakes for a wedding. TWO HUNDRED.

The best part was when I realized I only owned one cupcake tin… that would have been an issue. Can you imagine me making 200 cupcakes 12 at a time? lol! Thankfully, I hit the thrift stores and found two and my wonderful mother in law let me borrow a 4th. I was all set!
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Just another day in paradise. No big.

The second best part was when I was baking and suddenly realized “Wait… Why do I have so many leftover cupcake liners..? I thought I bought 3 sleeves of 75… but I’ve only used a sleeve an maybe half… OH NO.” I only bought enough stuff to make 100 cupcakes. Fact: I am AWESOME at math. (NOT)

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Ok, so I went to the store and got the rest of the supplies lol. I had bought enough of some stuff and not enough of other stuff. Because I’m, evidently, only selectively bad at math.

Cupcake hell. Kill me.
In the end it all worked out and everything came together wonderfully. I admit to using the phrase “cupcake hell” at one point, but I can admit I was completely thrilled to see them all done and frosted.

I also made this little stand and cake to go with the set as a center piece. I used my Cricut Cake to cut out the heart and boarders!
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So… the moral of the story, I think, is do the math twice, shop once. Or… something like that.

And… buy a big piping bag, or you’ll end up cutting a hole in the powdered sugar bag and using that until it explodes.

Also, anything worth doing is worth doing right!
Oh, and I hope you’ve gotta big trunk… cuz I’m gonna put my cake in it…
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Who wants to help clean?photo

Naughty and Nice

I just want to say… this cake was great haha. I loved making it. I actually think I sort of got out of hand with it and went a little overboard. It was only supposed to be two tiers, but I threw a third on top and added a few extras.

This cake was for a bachelorette party and needed to be good mix of naughty and nice. Princess and underpants lol.

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What a great cake! I think the little bra is my favorite. I created every little piece by hand and it was tons of fun!

The girl who ordered it from me got my name from the girl who ordered this cake from me. In October of 2009. 1.)It’s crazy to me that I’ve been making cakes since 2009. and 2.)I can’t believe how cute that cake was considering at that time I’d only been making cakes for like 6 months or something. that was also my very first attempt at zebra cake, which, as most of you know, is now like “my thing” which I feel I have completely perfected. Awesome sauce. All around.

Mystery Machine Birthday Cake!

My niece Sophia turned four this year! So crazy how fast the time flies.
Last year I made her this cake:
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This year she’s obsessed with Scooby Doo. Some one suggested I make the Mystery Machine and as much as it stresses me out to make vehicles, I decided I could make this happen lol…
I baked the cake for the van in a bread loaf pan sort of like this one:
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Then I stuck it in the freezer for a while to let it get hard so that I could trim it down a bit without it falling apart on me. The cake itself was a hilarious idea that I had to add half a package of strawberry jello and a few handfuls of fresh diced strawberries into my cake mix! (IT WAS DELICIOUS)
The bottom cake was tiedye zebra cake :) (See how to make this type of cake here!)
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That cake was gone in like… a split second haha. It was eaten about as fast as I could cut it! I think I cut almost 30 slices out of it all and there were only two left over! I call that sweet success! ;)

ps… someone send me a google+ invite!! plasticshakeupsnow@gmail.com
LOL

Bulldozer Birthday Cake!

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I made this awesome bulldozer birthday cake for a little guy named Atreyu’s 2nd birthday. The cake was chocolate filled with cookies and cream buttercream frosting and covered in fondant. I made the wheels out of cookies and all the dirt was cookie and cake crumbs.

Super cute!

Tutorial Tuesday: Striped Cupcakes

A slight variation on the zebra cake. Since they’re so small, they might not be all that stripy, but could at least be considered a cool marble! Results may vary haha.

I started with a chocolate batter and a yellow batter. I used teaspoons. I think the secret here is super small layers. Keep building layers like with the cake. Don’t spread with the spoon and try to get each teaspoon in the center of the last.
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Fill them about 3/4 of the way full and bake them according to regular baking directions.
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BAM… striped cup cakes…
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They’ll all look different, obviously, but some may end up more stripy than others! Happy nomming!

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.
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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

Dear Internet

Okay internet, so I have a confession to make… *deep inhale*

I, Tiffany Whitten, have never seen a Harry Potter movie, read a Harry Potter book or even have any solid knowledge about Harry Potter. That being said, my mom and brother love Harry Potter. They’ve seen all the movies, including the latest. Which I hear is part one of two. Which… well… confuses me further… because I thought it was like part 76 or something, but what do I know.

In any case, I did some googling and came up with some pretty common themes.
The Sorting Hat.
Harry Potter Cake for My Mom
I assumed this thing was something evil… I mean… come on! It looks evil, but evidently it tells you what house you’re going to be in. (Whatever that means lol)

The magic wand.
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I can get down on that. I know what a magic wand is for haha.

And of course, the signature Harry glasses and a spell book.
Harry Potter Cake for My Mom

I also tried my best to replicate the colors on those scarves I see everyone with lol. Believe it or not, between the 4 people in my house when I was making this cake, none of us had seen the movies and could decide if the colors I was mixing for the buttercream were right, so we had to google it. Hah.

In the end, I was really happy with how it all turned out.
Harry Potter Cake for My Mom

Please excuse the glare on my fondant pieces. I had just finished them and they’d just been brushed down with alcohol to remove the excess powdered sugar. :)

Now… before I show you the inside of the cake… I feel need for a disclaimer lol. I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate the outside when I first started this cake. I knew I wanted to do a zebra cake… so I just grabbed the first two colors in my color box. It’s a real tragedy that I didn’t come up with the HP idea sooner because I totally could have done a brilliant maroon and yellow stripe inside. Instead… I ended up with this:
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Zebra cake tutorial here.

All night my husband called it the Monster’s Inc cake hahaha. Oh well! I say that I like the inside to be a surprise! So there it was… surprise!

We took my mom out for Peking Duck at China Cottage and it was fabulous. then the awesome waitress even brought us little plates, new forks and a knife so that we could enjoy our cake after dinner. It was a lovely evening.

I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend! I’ll be in Wisconsin Saturday and Sunday with my great friend and fellow blogger Liz! There will be cake… and therefore photos! So stay posted! Also, check out her brand new blog! Black Heart Knits & Crafts! It’s just a lil baby blog in it’s first couple days of existence.

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