I Am Baker

patriotic hi-hat cupcakes

I think it’s safe to say that I love all things surprise-inside.  These hi-hat cupcakes are a perfect way to celebrate with the classic red, white and blue theme, but to pleasantly surprise family and friends!

Patriotic Hi-Hat Cupcakes!  (with a fun surprise-inside!)

 

I really enjoy making hi-hat cupcakes and since I make them so often, I really experimented with these.  My vision was to have them be all white from top to bottom.  White cupcake then the white candy coating shell.

However, that does not bode well with bright red and deep dark blue frosting.  It took me no less than four coats of candy coating to cover the colors of the frosting, and then the shell was so thick it was hard to imagine eating it!

Patriotic Hi-Hat Cupcakes!  (with a fun surprise-inside!)

 

And even then the red, white and blue was still visible.  Sprinkles were the next logical step because, hello, sprinkles are always the answer.  But even that didn’t cover up the massive globs of white chocolate candy coating.

So back to semi-sweet chocolate shell.

Patriotic Hi-Hat Cupcakes!  (with a fun surprise-inside!)

 

Which worked great!  Still tastes amazing, still conceals the wonderful surprise, still perfect for any July 4th Party!

Here is my recipe for chocolate candy coating. (or magic shell)

And here is my new FAVORITE recipe for white cake cupcakes.  I am not kidding, it is truly delicious!  Perfect every time.  It is adapted from the Cherry Limeade Cupcakes that were adapted from Sprinkles.

the perfect white cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffins tins. (This recipe yielded 15 muffins for me.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream together room temperature butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add in eggs, one at a time and mix until just blended.
  4. Add in vanilla and milk and mix for about 30 seconds on low. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes.
  6. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack.
  7. Let cupcakes cool completely and dry before topping with frosting.
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Patriotic Hi-Hat Cupcakes!  (with a fun surprise-inside!)

 

To make the red, white and blue colors inside the cupcake, prepare one batch of frosting.  I recommend this Basic Buttercream, but use an imitation clear vanilla extract to help frosting stay white.

Evenly divide buttercream into three bowls then tint one bowl red and and blue.  I use Americolor gel food coloring and a LOT of it to achieve these vibrant tones.

Place frosting into pastry bag with a 9PT tip from Bakery Crafts.

How to Make the Perfect Hi-Hat Cupcake with Surprise-Inside Colors!

 

Holding bag directly above cupcake start to apply pressure.  Do not move bag up, keep at steady and apply more pressure, letting the frosting fill out around the cupcake.  When you have reached the desired size of dollop, release pressure and lift up.

How to Make the Perfect Hi-Hat Cupcake with Surprise-Inside Colors!

 

I tried this method in a pastry bag without the 9PT tip and while you can still achieve a somewhat similar result, it’s not as perfect as when the tip is used.  There is a little line from the pastry bag and the shape is not perfectly round.  But it could work in a pinch!

How to Make the Perfect Hi-Hat Cupcake with Surprise-Inside Colors!

 

Repeat with the red frosting.  You can really see here what a difference the 9PT tip makes!

Then I switched things up and did the colors in opposite order, and this happened.

How to Make the Perfect Hi-Hat Cupcake with Surprise-Inside Colors!

 

Just look at the perfect swirl.  Man I love that tip!  (For the record, I have no affiliate links, or pay-per-click links, in this post nor does Bakery Crafts know I exist, I just truly love their products and the beautiful results they give!)

How to Make the Perfect Hi-Hat Cupcake with Surprise-Inside Colors!

 

I have one more amazing-never-been-seen-before patriotic dessert to share this week and I am SO EXCITED for you to see it!

In the mean-time, here are some other fun patriotic desserts!

July 4th Surprise-Inside Cake!July 4th Surprise-Inside Cake

Red Velvet Graham Crackers!

Red Velvet Graham Crackers

Patriotic Rose Cake (the Original!)

Original Patriotic Rose Cake (video tutorial)

Patriotic Cupcakes!

Patriotic Cupcakes! (100% edible, even the wrapper!)

Patriotic Pancakes!

Patriotic Pancakes

I Am Baker

four cupcake decorating techniques with a large french star tip

I have to apologize.  I took a little poll on my i am baker facebook page and asked you which tip to tackle next.  The tip with the highest votes was the 2D.  But after extensive testing, it came out virtually the same as the 1M tip I had used in my post.  Come to find out that half of my 1M tips are closed stars and half are not. (they came that way!)  So going forward I will be recommending Ateco tips (my favorite brand) and referring to their tip numbers.  I will also share a link to where you can get them!

For these cupcakes I used the Ateco #869 tip.

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

I really love this tip and love the graceful scallop that you get when using it.

So lets start with that!

the first is the scalloped flower technique

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

1. Start at the outer edge of your cupcake and apply pressure to your pastry bag.  The bag should be upright.

2. While applying pressure, let the scallop “fill in” a bit, then move tip towards the center of the cupcake, releasing pressure.

3. Repeat this process around the entire cupcake.

4. For the center dollop, press tip into center of cupcake, apply slight pressure and quickly release upwards.

Variation: Use two colors, one for the scallop petals and one for the center dot.  

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

Pink, red, white with a yellow center, this cupcake is the perfect way to give mom flowers!  Edible flowers that is, by far the best kind.

The next technique is the side swirl.

I love how this looks but completely failed at getting a proper image of myself piping it.  (It was very difficult to hold a cupcake and try and take a picture at the same time, my apologies in advance!)

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

1. Start by holding your tip at about a 45 degree angle (can also be perpendicular to cupcake, or level with) and apply pressure at the very edge.

2. Similar to the flower cupcake above, you are piping a scallop, but this time its “on it’s side”.  Apply pressure at the edge, then move tip towards the center of the cupcake, releasing pressure.

3.  This technique works best when holding the cupcake and turing it as you add each scallop petal.
4. Repeat around entire cupcake, letting your final swoop end in the very center.

Variation: Using a small french tip looks really lovely!

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

This specific one took me about 4 cupcakes before I got it to where I liked it.  I highly recommend practicing and getting comfortable with it.

the next technique is the spiked petal flower.

So easy. So fun!

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

1. Starting at the edge of the cupcake, hold bag completely vertical and apply pressure.

2. Let “spiky petal” fill in for about one second, then quickly move tip up and release pressure.

3. Repeat around entire cupcake as well as the center.

Variations:  Do three dots instead of seven; making each “spiky petal” bigger.  Or pipe out “spiky petals” in rainbow colors!  You can also create a tall, long spike by slowly moving your tip straight up still applying some pressure.  When it is the height desired, quickly release pressure.

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

This technique is especially beautiful when it is vanilla buttercream piped onto a rich dark chocolate cupcake.

the last technique is the fat frilly.

I just thought of that name and am sorta loving it.  “I’ll take the fat frilly please!”

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

1.  Start by applying pressure to the frosting bag in the center of the cupcake.  Tip should be straight up and down.

2.  Apply more pressure and raise tip just slighty.

3. Let frosting spill out and fill in by using pressure only, do not move tip around. (If you can see in the images above, my tip barely moves throughout the whole process.)

4. Release pressure and lift tip straight up.

Variation: Use two-tones of color in frosting.

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

I am ALL about this technique.  Its adorable, easy, and means you get a big ole portion of frosting on your cupcake. #winning

So which was my favorite?

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

Fat Frilly of course!  How can you go wrong with a name like that?

four cupcake decorating techniques using a large french star tip #cucpakes #cupcakedecorating #pipingtutorial

 

 

I used the Perfect White Cake Recipe.

I share some of these techniques  (as well as others!) in my new book surprise-inside cakes.  Every cake has a fun and creative frosting technique with detailed step by step instructions on how you can achieve it!  You can get a copy of surprise-inside cakes here!

I Am Baker

four ways to frost a cupcake with an open star tip

Today I am sharing four easy and beautiful ways to frost a cupcake using any open star tip.

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

I am a huge huge fan of the open star tip.  I use it on 90% of my cake designs and 99.9% of my cupcakes.

Today I thought I would show you four really easy techniques to decorate a cupcake.  There are, of course, unlimited possibilities as to how you can use an open star tip.  I could probably do three more posts just like this one!  But for now I will just stick to the basics.

For these cupcakes I recommend a great white cake recipe as well as an amazing chocolate buttercream recipe!

The first is the Rosette technique

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating #rosette

 

1.  Apply slight pressure  and make a dollop in the center (without releasing pressure).

2.  Still applying pressure, slowly move tip out from center and start to circle around center dollop.

3. Make sure tip remains at a 90 degree angle.

4. Complete one circle around the center and then release pressure.

Variation:  Applying extra pressure will create a little “ruffle” along the edges of the rosette.  You can see that here.

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating #rosette #rosecupcake

 

As you can imagine, this technique looks wonderful in pale pinks, yellows, and whites.  Or covering an entire cake! (Rose Cake)

The next technique is what a call “fluff” frosting

It’s a billowy cloud of buttercream deliciousness!

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

 

 

1.  Start by applying pressure to the frosting bag in the center of the cupcake.  Tip should be straight up and down.

2.  Apply more pressure and raise tip just slighty.

3. Let frosting spill out and fill in by using pressure only, do not move tip around. (If you can see in the images above, my tip barely moves throughout the whole process.)

4. Release pressure and lift tip straight up.

Variation: Use two-tones of color in frosting.

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

 

By far one of my favorite ways to decorate a cupcake, but be warned that it is a lot of frosting.

The next is a mini flower technique

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

 

1. Start at outter edge of cupcake and hold bag at 90 degree angle.  Apply slight pressure to frosting bag.

2. Moving tip upward quickly, release pressure on the bag.

3. Repeat that same motion around the entire cupcake, then place mini flower dollop in the middle.

Variation: Twist bag as you are applying pressure.

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

I especially love this technique with cream cheese frosting on a red velvet cupcake.  I am not sure why. ;)

The last technique is what I call the “tall ruffle”

This is my go-to method when I am making cupcakes for events.  People never fail to oohh and aahh!

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

1.  Apply slight pressure  and make a dollop in the center (without releasing pressure).

2.  Still applying pressure, slowly move tip out from center and start to circle around center dollop.

3. Make one complete rotation around the center then start around again, only making your circle slightly smaller while you are moving up.

4. Move tip around in one final small rotation (three tiers in all) , then quickly move tip up while releasing pressure on the bag.

Variation: Apply extra pressure to create a bit of a “ruffle” on the edges of the frosting.

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

 

I like this specific method because you can make a “clean” version and a really really ruffly (thats totally a word) version.  See here! And on a cake here!

 

So what is my favorite?

I think this one!

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

 

Which of the four is your favorite?

Four Easy Ways to Frost a Cupcakes with an Open Star Tip! #chocolate #buttercream #cupcakedecorating

 

I share many of these techniques  (as well as others!) in my new book surprise-inside cakes.  Every cake has a fun and creative frosting technique with detailed step by step instructions on how you can achieve it!  You can get a copy of surprise-inside cakes here!

 

I Am Baker

“Frozen” Inspired Layer Cake

My daughter is obsessed with Frozen.

And I think there are at least 29,000,000 moms who can say the exact same thing.

Just in case you haven’t heard it enough times, click here to listen to “Let it Go” while learning how to make your very own Frozen Inspired Cake.

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

So I decided to make a cake that would be easy enough for anyone to make, but that would remind little kids of their most beloved movie and characters, Elsa and Anna.

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Even though I leveled each cake and used the same amount of frosting in between each layer, my cake still turned out crooked and wonky.  I hope that it was just a fluke and that your cake will NOT turn out wonky.

I did a few things on this cake.

1. Made it in 6 inch round cake pans, which meant the cake would be tall and skinny.

2. Make it a different color layered cake to match Elsa and Anna’s dresses in Frozen.

3. Made “icicles” on the outside.

You will need:

2 white cake recipes

1 batch buttercream

Gel Food Coloring (see below for exact colors and amounts)

White Sprinkles

To make the I started by first prepared one white cake batter.  My white cake recipe yields about 4 cups of batter (as does a box mix if you prefer) so I divided that between three bowls. (1 1/3 cups batter per bowl)

You can also double the white cake recipe and divide the batter between six bowls.  I chose to make one cake, prepare the three colors and bake the three 6 inch cakes before starting on the next white cake.

To get the layers these vibrant colors I used AmeriColor gel food coloring.  They worked perfectly!

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

For ANNA’S colors I used the Super Black, Fuchsia, and Royal Blue.  I used about 1/4 teaspoon of each, but you can use as much as you want/need to to achieve the color you want.  (While the Fuchsia above looks pink, it turned out very true to the color in Anna’s dress after I added the full 1/4 teaspoon.)

For ELSA’S colors, I used Royal Blue and Sky Blue.  In three bowls each containing 1 1/4 cups cake batter you will add:

5 drops Sky Blue + 1 drop Royal Blue (If you want to have a more distinguishable difference between the layers, you can add 2 drops Royal Blue)

5 drops Sky Blue

1 scant drop Sky Blue

So each different color layer was baked in 6 inch round cake pan for approximately 25 minutes (20-30 minutes depending on your oven) and then cooled.

Once cooled I leveled each cake to approximately 1 inch high.  After adding in frosting between each layer, my cake was about 8 inches tall, which is vey tall!  And now I will show you why I wanted a tall cake.

(My daughter pointed out that Elsa’s original party dress was the same colors as Anna’s.)

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Icicles!  Well, kinda.  More like sparkly wanna-be icicles.  But definitely pretty enough for any Frozen Fan!

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Here is how to made the “icicles”.

First I started by covering my cake in a coat of white buttercream.  This crusting buttercream recipe works really well because it is very white, but you can certainly use your favorite recipe.

Get your icing as smooth and flat as you can.

Place in freezer for at least one hour.

How To Make Icicles ~ Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Get out a piece of parchment that is the length of your cake.  My cake was about 20inches around, but you will want to measure YOUR cake.  (You can do this by wrapping parchment around the cake and then marking where the ends meet.)

Lay parchment flat on table and start making icicle shapes pointing down.  There is no right or wrong, but I found that the more icicles the better.

How To Make Icicles ~ Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Starting at the top of your sheet, cut the “icicles” out.  (If you used a black marker like I did, be sure to cut out all areas that marker is on.  I did not do that.  The marker bled in a later step.  Don’t be like me.)

How To Make Icicles ~ Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Remove cake from freezer after it has been chilling for at least one hour.  (Again, please make sure you did not leave any black marker spots on your parchment.)

I held my parchment up to my cake to determine the height needed and trimmed a bit off of the bottom section.  I then started to carefully wrap the parchment around the cake.

Go slow, and smooth the parchment out as needed.  This does not need to be perfect, we just need the parchment to stick to the frosting right around where the icicles will be.

How To Make Icicles ~ Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Now get your “white sparkling sugar” or “shimmer white sugar” or “sparkling white sprinkles” (all can be found at grocery stores and Walmart).

Place your cake covered in parchment on a clean baking sheet.

Pour a generous amount of sprinkles into the palm of your hand and start pressing your hand into the cake where the frosting is exposed.

How To Make Icicles ~ Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

Do this around entire cake.  If you need to, scoop up excess sprinkles from around cake stand base and from baking sheet and press into any areas of frosting that need to be covered.  Also be sure to cover top of cake.

Once you have covered everything, you can either place the cake back in the freezer or you can begin to remove the parchment.  Start by testing a small section; if you pull the parchment and some frosting comes up then the cake needs to be chilled. (Start with at least 30 minutes).  If you can safety remove the parchment without any frosting being removed, then proceed slowly.

How To Make Icicles ~ Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

My cake was nicely chilled, so the parchment peeled away very nicely, leaving a nice clean, sharp line. Nice.

Remove all of parchment and discard.  If you have any sparkles left over, they look great right around the base of the cake.

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

You can easily make this cake in 8 inch pans, it will just not be as tall.  (Just make the necessary adjustments for the height of your icicles.)  I would take a bit more care to make your layers neater… mine don’t look as good as I would like. (And I didn’t have time to re-do!)

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

(taken with my iphone)

If you do not want to put that much black food coloring into your cake here are two options.

1.  You can add up to 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.  Doing that can provide a base color, allowing you to add less food coloring.  (This will also give the cake a slightly chocolatey flavor.)

2. You can bake a separate cake that is a dark chocolate cake for the bottom layer.  (I would still recommend using a little black food coloring to achieve the same colors as in Anna’s dress.)

Disney's "Frozen" Inspired Layer Cake! #frozen #elsaandanna #elsacake #annacake #layercake

And that is how to make a “Frozen” inspired layer cake!

Do let me know if you have any questions.  This cake will lend itself to so many possibilities, and I do hope you are inspired!

I Am Baker

Countdown Cake Tutorial {surprise inside cake}

Here is the tutorial for the Countdown Cake!

My timing could be better, I know.  So I am doing something a bit unorthodox and posting to my blog twice in one day, just in case there are any of you who want to make the countdown cake!

New Years Eve Countdown Cake #surpriseinsidecake

Here is a video tutorial on how to make the Countdown Cake.  The complete directions and instructions are listed below as the video is very quick and doesn’t cover the details.


You will need:

(Feel free to use box mixes)

1 chocolate cake recipe

1 white cake recipe

1 chocolate frosting recipe

Optional: Sprinkles

1 set of number cookie cutters, measuring about 1 1/2 inches high

sheet pan

9 inch round cake pan

baking spray

offset spatula

New Years Eve Countdown Cake #surpriseinsidecake

Begin by making a chocolate cake in a sheet pan.  (You want the pan to be approximately 12 x 18 inches.)  Make cake then freeze cake for at least 2 hours.

Remove cake from freezer.  Using number cookie cutters, start by pressing a ’1′ (or number of your choice) into sheet cake.  If cake feels at all crumbly, put back into freezer.  Press ’1′ into cake and then remove cake from cookie cutter.  Set it on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Repeat this process for all numbers.  Make three sets of each number, even though you will only use two in the cake.  The extra set is ‘just in case’.  So you will press out three sets of 10, three 9′s, three 8′s, three 7′s and so on.

Place cut out cake numbers back into freezer.  You want them to be frozen when inserting into white cake batter.

Prepare white cake batter and pour HALF of the batter into a prepared 9 inch round cake pan.  To make this easier I pour my cake batter into a 4-cup measuring cup, then pour out approximately 2 cups into my cake pan.

Starting with the 10, place the 1 and 0 into batter filled cake pan.  Make sure there is at least 1/2 inches between the number and the edge of the pan.  Place two 10′s back to back so that its about 3 inches thick.  Now place two 9′s in pan directly behind 10.

Continue placing numbers into pan in a circle, working back from 10.  Once you are about half way around the pan, check to make sure that you are working on the number 5.  10-6 should take up half the pan and 5-1 should take up the other half.  If you have any extra space, simply fill in with 1′s.

New Years Eve Countdown Cake #surpriseinsidecake

Mark your pan so that you know where the 10 is.  You can either make a dot with a black permanent marker or drop a small piece of chocolate cake on top of the batter where your 10 is.  (This will most likely be trimmed off when/if you level the cake.)

Carefully pour remaining batter over numbers making sure to cover them completely.

Bake cake for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Keep an eye on it and test to make sure center is completely cooked.

Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then place in freezer for at least an hour. (You can freeze the cake up to 3 months, just make sure its properly covered.)

When ready to frost cake, remove it from freezer.  If needed, level cake.

Make note of where the “10″ is on your cake then remove cake from cake pan.  Place on cake stand and mark where your 10 is.  You can use a piece of tape on the cake stand to mark.

New Years Eve Countdown Cake #surpriseinsidecake

Cover cake in chocolate buttercream and then sprinkles, refrigerate until ready to serve.

When you are ready to cut into your cake, just make sure you make your cut where the ’10′ is.  Cut each piece about 2-3 inches thick.  You will then be removing the pieces in descending order.

New Years Eve Countdown Cake #surpriseinsidecake

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to let me know!

I Am Baker

Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

So there is this image floating around the internet.  I am just going to link to it (I was not able to find the owner and get permission!) but I do encourage you to check it out.  It is a chocolate chip cookie with spiders superimposed on it.

I kid you not I stared at that thing for five minutes straight.  I was perplexed.  I was horrified.  I was intrigued.  I was fascinated.  I was officially obsessed.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies

So this is my little attempt to re-create that, only with no photography tricks.  Just some melted chocolate and a little time.

I started out by baking some chocolate chip cookies.  I highly recommend making these New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are amazing and delicious and something you must try at least once in your life.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #spiders #scary #cookies

When I baked the cookies I took them out 2 minutes before they were supposed to be finished and added some extra chocolate chips on top.  I placed the chocolate chips tip down into the cookie so that flat bottom of each chip was sticking out of the cookie.  (This will be the base of the spider body.)

I then put the cookies back into the oven for the remaining two minutes. (When you remove them, the chocolate should be soft but not completely melted.)

Next I added about a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into a plastic disposable pastry bag and microwaved for 1 minute.  I then removed the bag and massaged the chocolate to see if it was all melted.  It wasn’t so I placed it back in for 15 more seconds and at this stage it was mostly melted and hot so I removed it from the microwave.

Then I snipped off the TINIEST bit from the pastry bag and piped “legs” onto the cookie right around the chocolate chip.  I pipe eight legs then put the pastry bag down and picked up a toothpick.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #spiders #scary #cookies

I wanted to legs to look as realistic as possible, so I painstakingly used the toothpick to go in and really add detail to the legs.  I made the ends as pointy as possible and tried to make all the legs uniform in size and length.

This took FOREVER.  I seriously got a kink in my neck.  I think each cookie was roughly about five minutes.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #spiders #scary #cookies

 

But it was worth it.  These really are creepy and a bit gross.    If its just too much for you then you are exactly the friend I want to invite over when I make them.

#moreforme

Creepy Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #scarytreats

I did post a super quick video on Vine about these… (haha, get it?  Vine only has 6 second video’s) so if you are on Vine stop over and check it out! I am @iambaker

Let me know if you try these!  Would love to see!  Well, no, I dont really want to see cause that would freak me out but I will definitely look!

If you are on google+ I would love for you to +1 this post!  You can do that by just clicking on the button below.  Thank you!

I Am Baker

Candy Corn Cake {cake decorating tutorial}

I have something very serious to talk with you about today.  There is a great travesty occurring in our nation. A great injustice!  And I cannot, no I WILL NOT sit idly by for one moment longer.

And please forgive my boldness as I callously divert from the true spirit of this blog.  I try so very hard to have fun here.  To keep things light.  But enough is enough.  This has to stop.

Candy Corn Cake & cake decorating tutorial! #cakedecorating #halloween #cake

I am taking a stand.

There is the little tiny candy that I hold near and dear to my heart.  I have loved it from the moment I tried it.

Candy Corn Cake!  Full frosting tutorial!  #halloween #candycorn #cake

Its candy corn. To be more specific Brach’s Candy Corn.  The REAL stuff.

There is only one real candy corn.

 

That stuff?  Over on the right?  IMPOSTOR.  I dislike them very much.  I dislike them on a crutch.  I dislike them on a spoon.  I dislike them under the moon.  I dislike them all the way to mars and back!  I would not eat them, not for all the money in a sack!

Why oh why are the grocery stores carrying them?  Why do companies even try to replicate the awesomeness that is Brach’s Candy Corn?  It must be stopped!!

(Brach’s has never heard of me, I am seriously just a big -weird- obsessed fan.)

So anyway.  While I dislike the fake version, I have intense adoration for the real stuff. Hence this cake.  Which I am pretty sure has been made a million times before.  Except this is kinda  new way to frost a cake. At least I haven’t seen much of it around, so I figured why not a tutorial?

(A word of warning, this post has numerous images.  Many more than I usually post, so I apologize for any slow loading times!)

CANDY CORN CAKE {cake decorating tutorial}

You will need: (please feel free to substitute a box mix here!)

3 white cake recipes

2 buttercream recipes

Yellow and orange gel food coloring (I use Ateco or Americolor)

9 inch cake pans

#32 tip, pastry bags, coupler set

Rotating Cake Stand (optional)

Prepare cake batter.  Tint one recipe cake batter yellow and place in a prepared 9-inch cake pan.  Prepare another white cake and tint orange; place in prepared 9 inch cake pan.  Make last white cake and place in prepared 9 inch cake pan.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes longer than the recipe directions call for.  When cakes are done baking remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature in pan.  Carefully remove cake from pan and determine which is the shortest cake.  Level all the cakes to that level.

Next came frosting.  There are two full buttercream recipes here, which is a lot of frosting.  Divide one batch equally into two parts then tint one yellow and one orange, trying to match the shade of your cooked cake.  Leave remaining batch of buttercream white.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Candy Corn Cake: Frosting Tutorial #halloween #cakedecorating #buttercream

 

Start by placing your yellow cake on the cake stand.  Cover in approximately 1/2 cup of yellow buttercream.  Carefully place orange cake on top.  Cover with approximately 1/2 cup of orange buttercream.  Place white cake on top.  Smooth out an excess frosting.

As you can see above, I chose not to do a crumb coat.  I wanted to be sure I had enough frosting!  With the two recipes of buttercream it turns out I did, so I would recommend covering your cake in a crumb coat of white buttercream.

For the frosting.  My trick is this:

Great trick for changing out frosting bags when decorating a cake! #cakedecorating #halloween

I place all my frosting into plastic disposable pastry bags.  I then get a new clean bag with the tip I am using, in this case a #32 tip, and coupler set.  Cut off about 2 inches from the tip of the bag with your first color and place the frosting into the bag with the couple set and #32 tip.  Pipe out decoration and then when the frosting runs out, remove empty frosting bag from bag with tip and coupler.  Grab new frosting bag, cut off tip and drop into bag with tip and coupler.  When you have a new color change out your frosting tip.  Easy peasy!  Moving on.

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

Starting with the yellow frosting in the bag with the #32 tip; place your tip at the very base of the cake.  Apply pressure and then swoop UP.  If you are at all uncomfortable with the motion, practice on a piece of parchment paper until it feels right.

At this point you can determine how big you want each dab to be; just try to remain consistent around the entire cake.  Continue this motion around cake until you have completely covered the bottom of the cake.

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

For the next row, place your frosting tip right in between the dabs from the bottom row.  Repeat the same motion as you did above and do this around the entire cake until you have two full rows of mini scallops.

You will be doing three full rows of yellow, so once you have completed the second row, go back in and do a third in the exact same way.

Remove yellow frosting from your bag with the coupler set.  Change out to a clean #32 tip and then add orange frosting.

Just a note: I pipe one handed and was able to turn my cake around with the other hand.  If you want to make the piping even easier, place cake on a rotating cake stand.

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

This is how the cake should look at this point. (Of course, yours will be neater since you did a beautiful crumb coat!)

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

The orange dabs are done in the exact same way as the yellow.  Do one row, go back in and add another row, then finish with a third row.

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

This is how the orange layer looks when done.  You can see it will overlap onto the white layer of cake and that is great.

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

If you are anything like me you will want every single dabs to be perfectly uniform and placed just right.  Well, I got over that pretty quick!  In my humble opinion, imperfections are beautiful too.  If you have a dab you dont like, simply remove it carefully then go back in and pipe another one.  This cake is very forgiving!

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

For the white layer, do the dabs exactly as you have done wit the yellow and orange.  I did two rows of white dabs around the cake.  Looking back at the finished cake I could have fit three in, but didnt.  Be sure to carefully look at your cake and see what will work best.

Candy Corn Cake Tutorial: the frosting #cakedecorating #halloween #buttercream #cake

The third row I started at the very edge of the cake then swooped IN, towards the center of the cake.  I went around the cake until I reached the center.

If you are a faithful iambaker reader you will recognize this technique from this Mini Heart Surprise Inside Cake I did!

Candy Corn Cake: frosting tutorial #halloween #cakedecorating #buttercream #cake

Keep going around and around the cake until you reach the center.

Candy Corn Cake: frosting tutorial #halloween #cakedecorating #buttercream #cake

When you get to the center just take extra cake to make your final dabs as uniform as you can.  Even if they are not its ok, the over effect is still quite lovely.

Candy Corn Cake: frosting tutorial #halloween #cakedecorating #buttercream #cake

And this is how the top looks all completed!  Can you see the reflection of the yellow and orange in the cake server?  I totally planned that. #totalydidnotplanthat

So lets re-cap.  All impostor candy corn is wretchedly bad.  Brach’s candy corn is the real, the best, and the only candy corn allowed in this house!

Candy Corn Cake! #halloween #cakedecorating #buttercream #cake

As you can see, I may have a small obsession with them.  It is my understanding that some people even add peanuts to theirs.  And M&M’s or some such nonsense.  I am afraid this is the dividing line between us.  Difference in political and religious beliefs?  I can handle that.  Nuts in my candy corn?  Get outta here.

No nuts!  No M&M’s!

Candy Corn inspired cake! #cakedecorating #halloween #cake #frostinglesson

Just candy corn.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of CANDY CORN!

And cake.  Always lots of cake.

Candy Corn inspired cake! #halloween #cakedecorating #cake #buttercream #beautifulcakes

My apologies for this longest and most picture heavy post I have ever had the pleasure of assembling.  Please do let me know if you have any questions.

And lets brainstorm for the next cake!  Should we tackle this one for Christmas?  Red, white and green?  Should we take on New Years and make it black, white and gold?  How about Fourth of July with red, white and blue?  How about a rainbow with all the beautiful colors??  The possibilities are endless!  Cant wait for the next one, which you are sure to see very soon!

Candy Corn Cake! #halloween #cakedecorating #buttercream #cake

For the record, I have enjoyed candy corn with salty peanuts before and they were ok.  I may have gotten a little intense up there.;)

Feel free to check out my other Candy Corn Cake!  Its based off of the Indian Candy Corn.

 

I Am Baker

BOO surprise inside cake tutorial

I love the idea of having words inside a cake and this tutorial will share just one method of achieving that.  I actually did my first already baked surprise inside cake for my book, Surprise-Inside Cakes, back in 2011.  (The book is out this March!)  Cant wait to show you that one! :)

I created this skull surprise inside cake and now have a tutorial for it!  If you want to create the skulls on the outside, I share the tip #’s on my post.

Surprise Inside Cake!  The PERFECT #Halloween #cake!

 

(I will link to some recipes, but feel free to use your own or a box mix!)

1 chocolate cake

1 white cake

1 recipe buttercream (or your preferred frosting)

Start by baking one chocolate cake in a 9×13 pan.  Allow cake to cool to room temperature.  Prepare buttercream.  Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Remove any hard edges or burnt spots and then add approximately 1/2 cup of frosting.  Using your hands, mix the frosting into the crumbled cake until fully incorporated.  You are creating a play doh like consistency, or a cake pop consistency. (The exact same consistency you would use when making cake balls)  You can add more frosting if needed!

Surprise Inside Cake tutorial

Take about a handful size of cake mixture and roll it into a snake.  The snake should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and as long as your pan.  (I used a 5×9 inch pan so my snake was about 9 inches long) Roll out two more snakes, only make them approximately 1 inch in diameter.

Place the largest snake on a cool solid surface and press down slightly; you want to create a hard edge on the back; you are forming the back of the B.  Using your pinky finger or the back of a long knife, press down in the center of the snake.  This will create the two bumps of the B.

For the other snakes, simply press down very slightly to turn the O shape into more of an oval.

Surprise Inside Cake tutorial

This is how they should look.

Prepare white cake batter.  Spray (or butter and flour) a loaf pan or 5×9 inch pan.  Pour half of your white batter into loaf pan.  Carefully lift cake snakes into pan and place in order.  B first, then the two O’s.

Surprise Inside Cake tutorial

This is a very important step… mark your pan in some way so that you know what end is which.  I dabbed a bit of batter to the top of my pan so I knew which end was correct.

Cover the BOO with remaining batter and bake for at least 32 minutes.  You will be able to tell this cake is done when it cracks at the top and pulls away from the sides.

Allow cake to cool then remove from pan, being sure to note what side is the correct side to cut from first.  We want to read that BOO correctly!

At this point I trimmed my cake to make a perfect rectangle.  I cut excess cake off the top so that it was flat and even then made sure the sides were squared off.

I then covered my cake in a crumb coat and let it sit for an hour.  Make sure you know what side you want to cut into!  You can make a mark on your cake plate or on the cake itself.

I then went back and covered the cake in a smooth coat of frosting and decorated with skull-type embellishments.

Skull Cake with a Surprise Inside!

Tips & Tricks:

Get comfortable with the cake mixture.  Play around until you get shapes that you like.  This can be fun!

You do not need to do the “skull” embellishment on the sides of the cake.  You can decorate in any way you want

This cake does not dry out; it stays moist and delicious.

Please do let me know if you have any questions!  I will stick around the computer today just in case. :)

I Am Baker

How to Build a Layer Cake

One of the most common emails I get is “Can you do a tutorial on how to make a layer cake?”

And while I am no expert, I would love to share the tips and tricks that I use!

 

This is the SUPER FAST and EASY version.

Use a good recipe.  This can be a box mix or your favorite homemade recipe.  You are looking for a cake the bakes up flat and even and moist and firm.  Easy right?

Just in case your cake does not bake evenly, have no fear!  You can simply level your cake.  There are three easy ways to do that:

Use leveler or a long serrated knife to skim off the top dome part of your cake.

If your cake has risen above the edges of your cake pan, you can rest the knife on the edges of the pan and use the pan as your guide.

As soon as your cake is done cooking, take a clean towel and lay it on top of your cake.  Press gently and evenly.  Tip: This only works if your cake is done cooking!  So make sure you test it.

Make sure all your layers are the same height.  

Neapolitan Cake

Chill your layers before assembly.  I find that working with a chilled or partially frozen cakes really helps.  There is nothing worse than trying to assemble a layer cake and having it fall into pieces in your hands.  And you totally know I am speaking from experience.

There are many methods to torting, or using frosting in between the layers of your cake.  I like to do what is easiest and whatever method requires as few tools as necessary. (Yes, you may call it what it is.  Lazy.)

I just decide before hand how thick I want my layer to be and then use an appropriate amount of frosting.  One half cup is a nice thin layer on an 8in cake,  but 1 cup of frosting is my go-to amount.  I like frosting.  Lots of it.

I typically use about a cup of frosting on a 6in as well as an 8in cake.  I dont recommend that.  You be normal and use less on that 6in cake, ok?

Place your first layer on your cake stand.  Put  frosting on it and use a small offset spatula to make frosting an even layer.

Place your next layer on top.  Some frosting should “spill out” the sides and that is ok.  Repeat this process;  frosting, layer of cake, frosting, layer of cake, until you have added all your layers.

When making a layer cake it is important to do a crumb coat.

A crumb coat is simply a thin layer of frosting applied to a cake.  The crumb coat is intended to seal in crumbs, hence the name, crumb coat.  I talk more about it here, or you can watch a video here.

Some frosting may have spilled out, or your layers may not be perfectly aligned, or maybe your cake is slightly lopsided.  Doing a crumb coat is a great opportunity to fill in any problem areas.

 

Want to see how this cake turned out?  It’s the New Years Eve Cake in my book, ‘surprise-inside cakes’

Use an offset spatula.  I put a dollop on top of the cake and then use the spatula to bring it down over the sides, making sure to get the frosting all the way to to bottom.

If you have a rotating cake stand, you can place your spatula flat against the cake and slowly turn the stand.  This will help smooth out the frosting and create an even coat.

Once your cake is covered in the crumb coat, I usually chill it.  I like the cake to settle and the frosting to set.

To decorate a cake, I start by putting a smooth layer of frosting on.  This is done the same way as the crumb coat.  Place a dollop on top of the cake and pull it down over the sides using an offset spatula.

To smooth out sides, make sure cake is covered in an even layer of frosting, then place spatula flat against side of cake.  Slowly turning cake, smooth out layer of frosting until you have polished, even coat.

This step takes practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t look perfect.  Just keep at it until you are comfortable with how your cake looks!

I have also placed my cake stand directly on a rotating stand, and this helps me when smoothing out the edges.

How to Frost a Cake!

In my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes I share many MANY more details on this method.  I also share techniques on what to do if your cake domes, if it sinks in the middle, and how to do easy (no-fuss!) frosting decorating techniques.  Not to mention over 40 cakes with surprises inside!

Check out Surprise-Inside Cakes now! (It’s on sale for 93% off!)

 

I Am Baker

Daffodil Cake Tutorial

Did you want to know how you can make this fun cake?

I put together a tutorial for you!  But instead of on a cake I put them on cupcakes.

I hope you are able to translate the look into any medium that you want!

Make your favorite flavor cupcakes.  Then make a batch of crusting buttercream frosting.  I halved this recipe.  I then tinted 2/3 of it yellow and the remaining 1/3 orange.

For the petals I used #127 tip, but you can also use a #104 tip.  For the center and the little stamens, I used a #10 and a #3 tip.

To make the base of your flower, start by piping out a petal.   With the smallest edge of your tip facing out, apply light pressure to the bag and allow to tip to form the petal.  Try to let some of the petal tips hang over the edge of your cupcake.

Repeat five times.  Then move on to next cupcake and repeat process again.

If you look at a real daffodil, their petals are pointed.  Since I was unable to get the point I wanted from the #127 tip, I decided to just go back and do it by hand. (I also tried a leaf tip and was not successful at that either)

So to get the point I dipped my fingers in powder sugar and just pressed in.  Easy peasy.  To do a dozen cupcakes took about 10 minutes.

 

Now get out the orange frosting and the #10 open round tip.  I just piped out a center that was about an inch high.

Do this to all your cupcakes.

Place them in the freezer for five minutes or fridge for half an hour.

Now switch from the #10 tip to a #3 tip. (#2, #4, and #5 all work just as well!)  Starting at the bottom, bring your tip to the top of the center portion and quickly pull away.  This should leave a nice little bit of frosting extending just above the center.

Pick up your yellow frosting and #127 tip again.  With the smallest edge pointing up and starting at the center start piping around.

I found it easiest to pick up the cupcake and turn it around in my hand as I was piping.  If you want you can go back in and (gently) press the top edge down and out.  This helps to better replicate a real daffodil.

After having made a cake already, it took me about 30 minutes to do two dozen cupcakes.

After posting my Daffodil Cake here, on facebook, and Pinterest, I was able to learn about so many ways that we use the Daffodil in charitable organizations and as a message of hope.  Thank you for sharing what Daffodils mean to you!