A Baking Adventure: Princess Cupcakes for Our Princess Niece

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Lylah, my 3-year-old niece, talked about her birthday party for 3 months. It started when her little sister, Lily, turned 1. “It’s my party? Those are my presents?” she would ask. Then when Leah turned a year old, we got the same questions, only to answer, “No Lylah, those are Leah’s. But your party is next!” As soon as items were purchased for her party, I was greeted with, “Auntie Jenny! Look at my princess party!” For the next few weeks, she talked about her princess party, which would have (of course) princess cupcakes.

We had all the fixings for a perfect 3-year-old princess party: My sister purchased a Wilton kit that had a Disney Princess cupcake stand, cupcake liners, and picks, and also bought the Disney princess frosting transfers. Crusader Stacy purchased purple metallic liners, which would be a complementing color, and I provided extra pink sugar crystals. Stacy came up with a plan of action for the frosting transfers, which included rolled fondant. After Leah’s party I’m now the fondant “expert” in the group, so I volunteered to help with the cupcakes.

I baked and frosted the funfetti and chocolate cupcakes the day before the party. We used Duncan Hines Strawberry Shortcake Flavor Creations for the pink frosting, which I had to add confectioner’s sugar to in order to pipe.

I did my best to pipe a flat swirl on the cupcakes that would be getting fondant circles placed on top.

I was really nervous about the transfers. I didn’t want to mess them up, because we didn’t have any extras, so I practiced with one a few days early and it worked great. The ink on the transfer didn’t get funky after a couple of days, so I was able to calm down a bit about preparing the cupcake decorations in advance.

The night before the party I prepped the fondant-transfer decorations, to place on the cupcakes the morning of the party. I rolled out the fondant, like I did for Leah’s birthday cupcakes, this time using the larger cutter to fit the whole top of the cupcakes. Then, following advice I found from Google searches, I used a damp cloth (AKA: a wet paper towel) to moisten the top of the fondant. The instructions for removing the transfer from the sheet worked perfectly and they peeled off easily.

I was really proud of trying something new again and it turning out well. The fondant with the transfers stayed perfect through the night (stored in an air-tight container), so the next morning I was able to finish up the decorating.

We rolled the edges of the frosting in sugar crystals, just to give it a finished look. Plus, a princess party needs a little extra bling!

I figured we would have enough time to sprinkle sugar on the pink frosted cupcakes when I got to the party location. Well, I’m glad I waited because as soon as I got in the car, on the way to the party, I noticed that the pink frosting had slide right off the tops of the cupcakes. It was a disaster. I’ve decided that moisture is a big issue with the Duncan Hines frosting and they are better off being left out to “set-up” (which is a problem when you want moist cake). Luckily I was going to be early anyway, so Stacy and I went into cupcake-rescue mode. We scrapped frosting and reapplied it to the cupcakes, sprinkled, and double-lined the wrappers, to hide some of the mess. The results? Not too bad.

Although it’s not exactly what I had envisioned, no one noticed. We did have a few pink survivors, which stayed at the forefront of the display.

The cupcakes with the fondant and transfers still stole the show and the birthday girl was giddy with delight over her princess cupcakes.

There was one casualty of this experience: my batter dispenser. A fallen hero, really. Cupcake baking hasn’t been the same without it, but it put up a good fight. So long, kitchen accessory. You shall be missed (until I’m able to get a new one)…

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Advertisements

Only 1 day left! Enter our 1 Year Anniversary Giveaway!

If you haven’t already entered our 1 Year Anniversary Giveaway, it’s not too late! Tomorrow (Tuesday) at midnight is the contest deadline. One lucky person will win this very cool gift pack:

For more details or to enter, simply visit this page, read the instructions, and place your entry!

Good Luck!

** This contest is now closed.**

1 Year Anniversary Giveaway!

We are so excited to announce that Saturday, July 7th, we celebrated our 1 year blogging anniversary! A year has gone by so fast and we’ve had so many fun and tasty adventures. We look forward to many more and want to thank you for following along and joining in the fun. The best way we can think to say “Thank You!” is by hosting a giveaway for 1 lucky person to win a prize pack full of cupcake goodies. Some of the fabulous items included have been donated by some of our cupcake loving friends:

– A cupcake recipe cookbook donated by Pink Rhino Cupcakes
– A set of cupcake thank you cards donated by Poundcake Press
– 2 jars of homemade jams donated by Sweetness Follows (perfect for a cupcake filling!)

Other fun items we are adding to the package are stay bright cupcake liners, a cupcake scented candle in a cupcake tin, and cute cupcake plates!

Look out this week as we share photos of the items you could win! The contest will close on midnight next Tuesday, July 17th 2012. A winner will be drawn at random and announced on Wednesday, July 18th 2012. There are several ways to enter and each entry counts:

– Comment below telling us your favorite cupcake shop
– Like us on Facebook*
– Follow us on Twitter*
– Follow us on Foursquare*
– Follow us on Pinterest*
– Sign up to follow our blog via email or WordPress (sign up located in right column on homepage under Cupcake Picnic photo)*

* Please comment below after you sign up to follow our blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Foursquare, and/or Pinterest. Your comment below will act as an entry into the content. If you already have connected with us via social media, please make note below for your entry.

Please let us know if you have any questions. Good luck!

– The Cupcake Crusaders

NOTE: We are only able to ship within the USA. Sorry to those who don’t qualify!

** This contest is now closed.**

“Love is Like a Box of…” Cake Mix!

I knew I wanted to do something special for my sweetheart on Valentine’s Day. He’s come to love cupcakes as much as I do and might as well be an honorary Crusader with all the tours and tastings he’s helped out with. So when I starting seeing all the great Valentine cupcakes being created by our favorite bakeries, I thought I’d just pick up something from one of them. However, while I was out running errands I saw some Valentine’s Day cupcake decorations and decided that I could just make my own cupcakes. I found liners and toppers for under $2! Then, while thinking about what cupcakes I would make, I passed by the Pillsbury Valentine’s Day Funfetti mix and coordinating icing with sprinkles. These were each under $2 as well! After some debate I decided that with the time constraints of having an infant at home, a boxed mix was the way to go. And $6 for two-dozen cupcakes was too good to pass up! Luckily my husband is easy to please when it comes to sweets.

So last Friday, I pulled my holiday cupcake paraphernalia out of hiding to bake cupcakes ready for the weekend…a sort of pre-Valentine’s Day treat.

I added a dash of pure vanilla extract to the cake mix, because the batter seemed to be lacking in flavor versus other cake mixes I’m used to. I would have liked to pipe the icing on all of the cupcakes, however there would not have been enough if I had. So instead I compromised and just did a few. In the end, I’m happy with the results!

Do you have any special baking plans for Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear about them!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)

Bring on the Holiday Fun(fetti)!

He’s cute, right? When I saw this cupcake topper and liner set while out doing some Christmas shopping at Target, I couldn’t resist getting it. I had already purchased what I thought would be my holiday cupcake liners, but these were far cuter. Then, I spotted Pillsbury‘s Holiday Funfetti cake mix and frosting!

Being the “non-baker” that I am, I often look to box mixes to help me out, but I’m not sure why I get so excited about Funfetti cake. All you have to do is add sprinkles to the batter. It could be any box mix or recipe, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I love Funfetti.

Just look at all those “fun” red a green specks in the cake. Do they add flavor? No. They are purely for our visual enjoyment.

I was a little disapointed with two things though (regarding the Funfetti frosting). First, there weren’t nearly enough red sprinkles. Luckily I have a tub of them at home, so I just added my own. Second, the frosting was more of a minty green, and not the sage green that is on the packaging. I could have tried tweaking it with my own food coloring, but it didn’t seem so bad that it was worth messing with.

End result?

An army of festive penguin cupcakes.

Love it. Enjoy!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Cupcake Inspiration for the Festival of Lights

With tonight being the first night of Hanukkah, the Cupcake Crusaders wanted to pull together some great ideas for how you can incorporate cupcakes into this 8 day festival. Below you will see easy ways to “jazz up” your cupcakes for this holiday, and even a link to some recipes for how to combine some of the traditional foods eaten during Hanukkah with cupcakes. We hope you enjoy this post!

Cupcake Wrappers
With these cupcake wrappers, you can bake your cupcakes in any basic cupcake liner, and then add an extra touch of festiveness.

1. Dress My Cupcake’s Star of David Hanukkah Cupcake Wrappers (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

2. Outisde the Box Dessert (Photo courtesy of Outisde the Box Dessert)

Cupcake Kit
Want cupcake liners and toppers that match? Check out this cupcake kit! It even comes with stencils to decorate your cupcakes:

Found on Amazon.com (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)

Edible Cupcake Toppers
Want to impress your family? Add some of these edible cupcake toppers after frosting your cupcakes.

1. Clineff’s Confections Edible Cupcake Decorations (Photo courtesy of Clineff’s Confections)

2. Cakes and Kids (Photo courtesy of Cakes and Kids)

Make Your Own Cupcake Menorah

Follow these instructions on The Shiksa in the Kitchen’s blog to create your own cupcake menorah like the one above. The link includes free printable cupcake wrappers that you can download! (Photo courtesy of The Shiksa in the Kitchen)

Cupcakes for Hanukkah

I found a post from Kveller {A Jewish Twist on Parentings}‘s blog that contains several recipes that incorporate tradition foods eaten during Hanukkah. The recipes include Jelly-Filled “Sufganiyot” Cupcakes, Lemon Cupcakes with Olive Oil, Sage, and Sea Salt
and Deep-Fried Chocolate Cupcakes. They all look (and sound) delicious! (Photo courtesy of Kveller)

Not a baker? Why not order cupcakes?

Sur la Table is selling these adorable cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake on their website. So, if you aren’t that great in the kitchen (join the club), you can simply place an order and have them delivered right to you. Delivery takes about 3 to 5 business days, but that would get them to you in time for the last night of Hanukkah. Or, try calling your local bakeries and cupcakeries. There are several that I’ve seen offering Hanukkah specific cupcakes, so you may be able to pick some up. ((Photo courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake)

We hope you have a great Hanukkah filled with good times, family, and cupcakes!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

Deck the… Cupcakes?

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope that your tree is up, your house is decorated and you have finished all your shopping. Well, maybe you haven’t finished ALL your shopping… but since Christmas is less than a week away, we wanted to share some of our favorite Christmas decorations for your cupcakes so that it’s not just your baking skills that impress your family and friends.

Cupcake Liners
A great place to start when “Christmafying” your cupcakes is with the liners. Here are two that we think would be a great addition to any dessert table:

1.Martha Stewart Crafts Holiday Cupcake Wrappers (Photo Courtesy of Scrapbook.com)
2. Meri Meri’s Christmas Cupcake Cases (Photo Courtesy of Meri Meri)

Cupcake Wrappers
If you want to take it just a step further, instead of just using liners, add these cupcake wrappers to any cupcakes for an instant “wow” effect.


1. Bella Cupcake Couture Cupcake Wrapper (Photo Courtesy of ChefTool.com)
2. Cakedoodle on Esty.com (Photo Courtesy of Cakeadoodle)

Free Printable Cupcake Toppers
Want to show your crafty side, but still want something professional looking? Try out these FREE cupcake toppers printables. All you have to do is print and construct at home yourself.

1. Cheery Cupcake Toppers from Bake It Pretty (Photo Courtesy of Pink Bake It Pretty)
2. Printable Christmas Cupcake Decorations from Craft Jr. (Photo Courtesy of Craft Jr.)

Decorative Cupcake Toppers
Would you rather purchase your cupcake toppers? No assembly required? How about these options?

1. Ho! Ho! Ho! Holiday Cupcake Topper from Stunique (Photo Courtesy of Stunique)
2. Christmas Character Cupcake Picks from Oriental Trading (Photo Courtesy of Oriental Trading)

Edible Cupcake Toppers
While paper cupcake toppers are great, what about a cupcake topper that you can eat? Here are a couple we love:

1. Santa Clause Fondant Cupcake Toppers Cake and Kids on Etsy.com (Photo Courtesy of Cakes and Kids)
2. Lucks Royal Icing Decorations (Photo Courtesy of ChefTools.com)

Cupcake Kits
Want to get the full package instead of “mixing and matching?” Look at these cupcake kits that include the liners AND the cupcake toppers.

1. Meri Meri’s ‘Tis the Season Cupcake Kit (Photo Courtesy of William-Sonoma)
2. Wilton’s Holiday Homemade Cupcake Combo Pack (Photo Courtesy of Amazon.com)

Cupcake Boxes
Giving the gift of cupcakes? Then you’ll probably need some packaging for them. Instead of trying to figure out how you are going to wrap a box of cupcakes, order these holiday cupcake boxes. All the hard work has been done for you!

1. Christmas Cupcake Boxes (Photo Courtesy of Oriental Trading)
2. Cookie and Cupcake Boxes (Photo Courtesy of Crate & Barrel)

This time of year can be stressful for some, but don’t let your holiday baking stress you out. Instead, have fun with it. We hope these cupcake decorating ideas have helped spark some ideas!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)