Saturday, December 14, 2013

hello kitty mini cupcakes with purple bows

Along with the purple Hello Kitty birthday cake that I made for my daughter's 3rd birthday last year, I also made these mini cupcakes for her class birthday party at preschool.

First I made mini chocolate cupcakes, and then piped a Hello Kitty face on each one with cream cheese frosting. I used a large round tip to pipe an oval for the face, and a leaf tip to pipe the ears. And then used a small round tip for the eyes, nose, and whiskers.

Boy, have these come a long way since the first ones that I made for her one-year birthday party!

This time instead of piping the bows, I used multicolored heart shaped confetti sprinkles (and just picked out all the purple ones!)

They turned out to be a big hit at her class party.  And even the boys liked the Hello Kitty favors!

Stay tuned for the birthday goodies I end up making for her class party this year!

*** Update:
You can now find my recipe for Hello Kitty Mini Cupcakes in my new book, "The Hello Kitty Baking Book"! Enjoy!

purple hello kitty birthday cake

My daughter's fourth birthday is coming up in a few days, and I recently realized that I never got around to posting last year's cake!  Maybe it's because I thought the cake was just, meh, and it was nothing spectacular.  Or maybe it's because I baked and decorated it in a rush the day of her birthday, and I didn't have time to properly photograph it.  In any case, she had asked for a purple Hello Kitty cake, and that is what she got!

I still remember how cute she was that day; she wanted to "be a princess" and wear her pink tutu all day. She even got to lick the spatula after I finished making the whipped cream frosting!

I used the whipped cream frosting to fill and frost three layers of  homemade chocolate cake, for a very light and moist 6-inch layer cake.

After the top and sides of the cake were frosted, I finished it off with a shell border.

Then I piped a mini Hello Kitty face, and a birthday message for the birthday girl!

Since my little girl loves sprinkles, I threw some heart-shaped ones on along the shell border.

I kind of regretting adding the sprinkles though, it just all seemed to clash with the cake. But of course that was Melodie's favorite part. :)

Stay tuned for the cake I end up making for her this year - she has already placed her request!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

thanksgiving pumpkin pie with hand-turkey cutout

Remember those Thanksgiving art projects you used to make in school, where you cut out the shape of your hand onto construction paper, or made a hand print with paint, and then turned it into a turkey? Something like this?

Well that was my inspiration for this pumpkin pie! (The hand print above was made by my 9-month old son at daycare!) I actually saw this somewhere on Pinterest, and just couldn't get the idea out of my head! So this pie was among the desserts that I made for this year's Thanksgiving dinner.

I started out by making my favorite all-butter pie crust, and fitted it into a 10-inch pie pan. I trimmed the excess dough from the edges of the pan, and crimped the edges with my fingers. Then I filled it with a simple pumpkin filling spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and baked it until the crust was golden and the filling was set. Sadly, the crust shrank while baking in the oven, thus the slightly embarrassing edges!

With the trimmings of pie dough, I rolled it out and used a toothpick to mark the shape of my almost-four year old daughter's little hand, and then (without her hand there) I used a paring knife to cut out the shape.

I made sure to include the turkey's beak, eye, and feet!

Then I baked it on a cookie sheet at 375F for about 10 minutes until it turned golden brown.

Again, the crust cutout shrank (maybe I'm over-rolling my pie dough?) so I ended up with a teeny tiny hand turkey! But that's okay, a miniature turkey is just as cute!

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

funfetti welcome home cake with handmade bunting

Some of you may remember that we spent an entire month of our summer visiting my husband's family in Hawaii (see the bottom of this post for a few pictures from our trip).  What I didn't mention is that when it was time for us to go home, my son Matthew decided to stay and spend the rest of the summer at his grandparent's house in Hawaii. We missed him like crazy and skyped and talked on the phone to him almost every day while he was gone. But he had such a good time, and we were so glad that he was able to bond with his grandparents, cousins, uncles, and aunties!

When it was time for him to finally come home almost 2 months later, we decided that a "welcome home" mini party would be a great way to celebrate his return! So I baked up a homemade funfetti cake for the occasion!

I used this vanilla cake recipe from Sweetapolita (except I use sour cream instead of whipped cream), and added a bunch of colored sprinkles to the batter before baking (although I should have added way more!)

Then I sliced each cake in half horizontally, and filled the layers with freshly whipped cream (giving me 4 layers of cake and 3 layers of whipped cream).

Next, I covered the entire cake with two coats of whipped cream, and then added a decorative shell border on the top as well as the bottom of the cake.

I had recently found these colorful sprinkles (at Target!), and thought they would be perfect - colorful and fun just like the the funfetti in the cake batter!

So I sprinkled them generously along the top and bottom borders.

While the cake chilled in the fridge, I made a "welcome home" bunting to go on top of the cake. I cut little triangles out of cardstock and craft paper, and used a needle and thread to string them together.

Then I attached each end of the bunting to bamboo skewers, before securing the skewers in the top of the cake.

My brother's girlfriend helped us make a matching "welcome home" bunting for the wall decoration as well, and they picked up colorful balloons for the celebration.

Little Melodie was so happy to have her big brother back home again!

Cutting into the cake revealed the lovely layers, however I just wish there was more funfetti on the inside of the cake!

Welcome home, my Matthew! We missed you so much, and it's great to have you home again! :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

firetruck birthday cupcakes

I'm so sorry for the lack of posts lately!  All I can say is that it's been a crazy past several weeks, and I've been working on an exciting project that I can't wait to share with you more in the next coming weeks!  But more on that later! :) For now, let's talk firetrucks!

Last month, a mom from my daughter's preschool asked me to make cupcakes for her son's birthday. He absolutely loves firetrucks, so we decided that I would make firetruck cupcakes!

After I baked up three dozen chocolate cupcakes, I topped them with a tangy cream cheese frosting, using a Wilton 1M tip to pipe a pretty rose design.

Then I set about piping the firetrucks on top of the cupcakes.  First I divided frosting for the colors I would need - red, black, yellow, and white.

Then using a Wilton #3 tip, I used red frosting to pipe little rectangles (with a notch in the middle) on each cupcake. Then using the same sized tip, I used yellow frosting to pipe the ladder on the side of each firetruck.  Next, I used a slightly larger round tip (Wilton #5) with black frosting to pipe the wheels. And for the final touch, I went back to the #3 tip with white frosting to pipe a dot on each wheel, and a small square for the window.

Despite the fact that they looked like one of my kids drew them, I thought they turned out pretty cute!  And I love the fact that you can eat the entire cupcake, without having to peel off fondant or that type of thing. (Actually, I love to pipe frosting on cupcakes instead of using fondant cut outs - see my Hello Kitty cupcakes, dinosaur cupcakes, duckie cupcakes, jack-o-lantern cupcakes, spiderman cupcakes, thanksgiving turkey cupcakes, etc ...)

Happy Birthday, Ethan! Hope you had a fun birthday party and enjoyed all the firetrucks!

Monday, September 2, 2013

cherry vanilla hello kitty bow birthday cake

After my recent obsession with making dark cherry ice cream, I decided to include those same cherry flavors in the birthday cake that I baked for myself this year! So I baked up my favorite vanilla cake recipe, and waited for them to cool before slicing them in half horizontally.

I've seen cake recipes before which use a simple syrup brushed over the cake layers, in order to keep the cake moist and add extra flavor.  Since I had cherry syrup leftover from when I drained homemade candied cherries for the dark cherry ice cream, I decided to brush the cherry syrup onto my cake layers.  And then I topped each cake layer with cherry whipped cream (freshly whipped cream with the same cherry syrup added to it).

Then I colored the rest of the frosting a soft pink, did a quick crumb coat and a smooth final coat of frosting, and added a quick shell border to the top and bottom of the cake.

At the time (I made this cake in April and only now got around to posting it!), my newborn was only 2 months old, so the decoration had to be simple given my limited time.  I simply added some rainbow sprinkles, and piped on a quick Hello Kitty bow (my favorite part of last year's birthday cake).

When I cut into the cake, I was dismayed to find that the cherry syrup had turned a purple-blue color, instead of the lovely shade of burgundy that I had brushed on!  But it did add more cherry flavor to the overall cake, as the amount of cherry syrup in the whipped cream was barely detectable.

Happy (belated) birthday to all of you April babies out there!

*** Update:
You can now find the recipe for a strawberries and cream version of this cake in my new book, "The Hello Kitty Baking Book"! Enjoy!