LEGO Annivarsary Cake / Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

A small gift a friends asked for, for her husband of 29 years. This cake taught me to listen, and pay attention a bit more. I actually got the message wrong. The hard thing about making cakes for friends is that I think it hurts even more when you make a mistake. But the good thing about it, is that if there friends worth having, there is always grace.

A 6 in. chocolate cake, filled and iced in orange cream cheese frosting. I covered and decorated it with my usual Marshmallow Fondant.

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A note for next time. Cream cheese icing is A LOT softer then regular American buttercream. It was so soft that it tended to come up threw the cracks in between my LEGO bricks. Next time I will have to do it a bit differently.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese (225 g.)
  • 1 cup softened butter (227 g.)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 4 cup (approximately 1 pound or 454 g.) powdered sugar

Method:

  1. With a stand, or hand mixer, cream, cream cheese and butter together.
  2. add in orange zest and orange extract, mix.
  3. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Mixing until well incorporated.
  4. Ice your cake of choice, or refrigerate for latter use.

The Orange zest in this recipe adds a wonderful boost to the orange flavoring, and looks beautiful. Keep in mind for decorating purposes, that this is not a crusting recipe. (It will not harden over time like American buttercream.) I don’t recommend using for any except the most basic piping decorations, such stars or a simple shell border. If you do use for any decorations make sure your orange zest is FINELY chopped or processed to prevent it clogging your piping tips. Also remember to refrigerate any cake iced in cream cheese frosting.

Mary Grace

Basket Ball Cake / Half Sphear Cake Tutorial

I own Wilton’s sports ball cake pan. But when my sister asked for a basket ball birthday cake, for a friend at her collage and career bible study, a 6 inch half sphere was just not going to be enough cake. What dose one do in situation like that? What containers are suitable to bake a cake in?

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Glass and metal, is the answer. But if you turn to glass you have to make sure it is oven safe. If its not it could explode in your oven…not a good thing. Also if a glass bowl says its microwave safe, that dose not automatically mean its oven safe as well. This is the problem I ran in to while looking threw my collection of glass bowls. I have quite a number that are oven safe, but they were not quite the right size, or shape. I needed something at least 8 inches in diameter. After going threw them all and not being able to find one I was happy with, I was at a bit of a loss.

I did a search on the internet. I have NO idea why I had not thought of my metal mixing bowls to do the job, but that is what they are, mixing bowls. I had never used them for anything ells. But after looking it up and seeing some examples of other peoples success I decided that my 9 and a half inch metal bowl, was the way to go for a first try.

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So I greased and flowered it up REALLY well, added a metal flower nail in to the mix to help with an even bake, and filled it with one regular recipe of Beat and Bake Orange Cake. I LOVE it when things come out well the first try.

I started checking the cake after 45 minutes in the oven, at 325 degrees F. It took an hour and a half before my skewers cake out clean. I was a bit apprehensive about it being over baked and therefor dry.

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It was well browned on the bottom, but I chose the right recipe for baking in a bowl. Everything was still moist and enjoyable. My first few tries to get it OUT of the bowl frightened me a bit as well. It just would not shake out. I was afraid I would have it in pieces and have to start over again. But after letting it cool for well over an hour, and gently using a fork to slide down the edges and just pull a bit to get it to release, it came out clean and beautiful. Oh I was so happy!

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The cake didn’t rise as well as I had hoped, but it baked well and rose enough to give me the rounded shape I needed for my basket ball cake. After letting it cool completely I cut the crown off, wrapped it well in plastic wrap, and chilled it in the refrigerator over night. The same day I also baked one regular 10 inch round to place under this half sphere shape, to give to basket ball more height. Next I will show you some pictures of how I went about assembling and decorating the cake.

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I started with my 10 inch round, leveled and turned upside down to give me a nice flat surface to place my half sphere cake.

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I filled the cake with orange flavored Swiss Meringue Buttercream icing, and set it to chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This firmed up the icing to it was easier to hold on to, and carve, with out it squishing all over the place and making and unwanted mess.

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I carefully trimmed down the sides of the 10 inch round to match the sloping edges of my half sphere cake. I used a regular serrated stake knife for this, and only removed small portions of cake at a time.

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Then I dirty iced and cake, (or crumb coated it) making sure to fill in the gap between the cake layers. I did not have to worry about getting this coat var smooth as I would soon cover it. I also used the icing to create more of a rounded top to the cake were it baked on the falter bottom of my metal bowl. I didn’t heap it on, but just added enough to give it a bit more of a round look.

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I used a #21 star tip to pipe my stars, and I started with the black lines of my basket ball. To get this look, pipe two crossing lined on to your cake. Try to keep it strait, but don’t worry if its not perfect, the nature of the piped star technique hides small imperfections like that. Next pipe two parallel lines, giving them a slight curve over the top part of the cake and making them more strait closer to the bottom. (Best to look at a picture of a basket ball while doing this, or better yet, get one of your kids to lend you theirs.)

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After the lines are in place its just a matter of filling in the spaces with orange stars. It took me about an hour to pipe over the whole cake. I have to say, the affect it quite nice for such a simple piping technique. If your a beginner, this would be the easiest , cleanest looking method out there.

You can use this baking and decorating method for SO many different cake designs. How about a Lady Bug Cake for a first birthday party? Any kind of sports ball, or even a globe! Oh I am getting excited just thinking of the possibilities. The best part of it is that you do NOT have to be any where close to a pro to make a cake like this. Just choose a sturdy cake recipe and have at her.

Any questions? Or suggestions? I would love to here from you if you found this post helpful.

Note: The whole cake is iced in Swiss Meringue Buttercream Icing. This is an icing that dose not crust because of the low sugar ratio. But it holds is shape perfectly for simple piping techniques like this. I love it! A much more common icing used to decorate cakes, like this one, is American Buttercream Icing. American buttercream has a much higher sugar ratio, and is a favorite with cake decorators, and people who love sweat treats.

God bless!

Mary Grace

Beat and Bake Orange Cake Revipe Review

Orange has got to be one of my favorite flavors of all time. I love to pare it with dark chocolate, and or raspberries. A good Orange cake recipe is then, an essential for me. I enjoy baking, using, and eating this Beat and Bake Orange Cake recipe from Allrecipes.com.

I recently used this recipe to create a Basket Ball cake. The orange flavor isn’t over powering, the cake is moist, and a great density for carving simple shapes like a half sphere. It also worked great for baking in a metal mixing bowl to create the crown for my basket ball cake.

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It calls for caster sugar, but I almost never have that on hand. I have had no problem with using regular granulated sugar as a substitute. If your able to get your hands on, or make our own orange infused oil. USE IT for this recipe. The first time I tried it out I added some delicious Blood Orange Olive Oil my mother gave me, It added a huge bust to the orange flavors. But I do enjoy this cake with regular oils as well.

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It holds up well in tiered cakes. and I believe any one who loves a good citrus cake would enjoy it.

You will need to juice your own fresh oranges and utilize the zest as well. This adds a few extra steps to the recipe, but its well worth it. ( I do often add in extra orange zest then what is called for in the recipe.) I find the written directions easy to fallow, and the cake can be enjoyed with many other options besides the suggested icing.

I give this recipe a 3 and a half stars. It misses 4 for me because I do often use substitutes or enhance the orange flavors a bit with orange extract or orange infused oil. I hope next time your in need of an orange cake you try this one out!

Thank you for reading.

Mary Grace

All Occaion Downy Yellow Butter Cake Recipe Review

I used this recipe for the Queen Elsa Birthday Cake from my last post. Rose Beranbaum, author of The Cake Bibile, describes it as one of her favorites for its versatility. Using all eggs yokes instead of the whole egg gives it a beautiful bright yellow color. Its soft like a white cake but has a much more appealing flavor. (I find most white cakes vary bland.)

I  made a 2 tier birthday cake, so I chose to bake in 8, and 6 inch round pans instead of the 9 inch the recipe calls for. Naturally I had to adjust my baking times accordingly, but everything came out wonderfully.

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I buttered and flowered my pans well, and all my cakes slid out wonderfully after baking. The 8 inch rounds took around 35 minutes, while the 6 inch rounds were closer to 25.

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I ran out of cake flower in the middle of baking. AW! I hate that! But this gives me the perfect opportunity to show you what the difference between cake flower and all purpose really is. The round on the left was baked with cake flower, the one one the right with all purpose flower and corn starch to create a substitute for the cake flower. As you can see even the look of the cakes is quite different.

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The crumb of the cake flower is much finer. producing a much more tender cake. The taste of the rounds were identical, but the texture was slightly different. The rounds baked with all cake flower also rose more evenly, and did not make as pronounced a peek as the all purpose round. I found this VARY interesting. A more even rise means less cake must be trimmed away when leveling, and that means less waist. Another interesting thing to not was that my knife slid much easier threw the cake flower round, creating a much smoother surface and less crumbs to get in and all over everything.

But whether you use cake flower or substitute with all purpose, this cake is delicious. The buttery flavor and vanilla compliment each other so well. I pared this cake with American buttercream, as it was for a child birthday and in my area other icings are not as well known. It was vary good. I look forward to using it with Swiss Meringue buttercream, and other icings as well.

I give this recipe 4 stars. ( It misses 5 for me because I felt it needed the compliment of icing for me to fully enjoy it. The icing just added the right amount of moisture.)

The original All Occasion Downy Butter Cake recipe was published in Rose Beranbaum’s book, The Cake bible. It can be bought from Amazon.com, or check out your local book stores cooking section.

Note to my friends: I know my counter top isn’t vary sightly at the moment. Please ignore it. This one is waiting to be refurbished and at present is only used for cooling things on wire wracks. No food but crumbs ever touches it. (Slowly but surly my kitchen is transforming in to a thing of beauty. But it all takes time.)

Thank you for reading!

Mary Grace

Queen Elsa Birthday Cake

The Disney movie Frozen is one of the most popular themes for birthday cakes right now. I was wondering when someone would ask if I can make one. This last week, it finally happened. The BEST part was I was asked to come up with the design all my self. YAY! I Love being able to do that from time to time. The Elsa and Olaf figures were purchased from a store. My design was limited on what the mother of the birthday girl could find. But I am vary happy with how it turned out.

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The Elsa dolls feet were really small, so it was a bit of a challenge finding a way to get her to stand up strait. BUT after 2 fail attempts I finally got it to work. My original idea was to have her stepping on to the cake and have frost patterns spreading out from that point. But even though I had to give up on that idea I am still pleased with how this turned out. Its not overly original, but I had always wanted to try out the rose swirls I used for the bottom tier.

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Surprisingly I struggled with my roses. After making the first bottom row I hated it and ended up taking them all off. My second attempt was much better and I stuck with it. I hit that tier with a bit of blue Wilton color spray to add some depth, and dusted the snowflakes with a light layer of silver purl dust.

I wasn’t able to ice that top tire as smoothly as I wanted to, but as its an ‘ice’ cake the imperfections add to the look. (I love it when that happens.)

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I used Rose Beranbaum’s recipe, All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake, and was vary happy with it. Stay tuned for a recipe review! The icing was regular American Buttercream, while the snowflakes were marshmallow fondant.

God bless!

Mary Grace

Orange Glow Chiffon Cake / Recipe Review

I have only tried baking chiffon cake once before, and on that attempt I had beginners luck. Everything went perfectly. This time I was excited to use a new recipe from The Cake Bible, by Rose Beranbaum. The Cakes turned out beautiful! Well…that is until I tried to take the first one out of the pan. Lets just say I ended up keeping that first one and making another to replace it.

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The cakes were for a friend of my mothers. Last time I made a chiffon cake, it was for her, and also my first time making them. I am so pleased that I seam to have the knack for it. Its just tricky and takes patience to get the cake out of the pan, and still looking nice. BUT the taist? Now I had never even tasted a chiffon cake before this. WOW. I think I have fallen in love!

I have always liked angle food cakes, but they are so dry. I just can not enjoy them with out a lot of sauce or ice cream. But this? Its the perfect middle ground between a butter cake and an angle food. Light, airy, but still moist. I LOVED IT. This Orange Chiffon cake is SO yummy all by its self. Its divine with an orange glaze as well.

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This time around I was asked if I could make the cakes a bit fancy, seeing as it was my mom’s friend’s birthday. I was dreaming of orange Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and a generous shell border with fondant daises around the bottom. Well…as you can see not all of that happened. But the Orange Swiss Meringue Icing was just lovely.

It was a cloudy chilly day, and the orange sent wafting threw my kitchen really brightened things up. The picture isn’t that great but the gold sprinkles I opted for in loo of time really added a lot as well. As I was icing the cakes I was wishing I had fresh raspberries to fill the middle and garnish the edges, but I had forgotten to ask if the birthday girl liked them. (Her husband was out of town, and the cakes were a surprise. So no one to ask if it was okay.)

NOW I am dreaming of raspberry chiffon cake…

But back to the recipe. Absolutely 5 starts from me. The baking time was right on for my oven, and the instructions were easy to fallow. I love how Rose makes sure she has the ingredient amounts in grams as well as US measuring cups. I also love it that she makes sure you know how many eggs or egg whites make up so many ml. I am enjoying The Cake Bible recipes more and more as I go along.

You can find Rose Beranbaum book The Cake Bible on Amazon, or check out your local book stores cooking section.

Another great Orange Chiffon Cake Recipe can be found on JoyofBaking.com.

God bless!

Mary Grace

Strawberry Bride and Groom Wedding Cake

I recently had the unique experience of helping out a friend with a wedding cake she took on. Things have really picked up for her, with the addition off a food trailer to her catering business. Its been so exciting to watch! Imagine being able to have a kitchen no matter where the venue of a wedding is? Being able to serve wedding guests scrumptious meals out in the middle of nowhere? SO AWESOME!

But as sometimes happen, she found she had over booked herself during the local fishing tournament. She needed to be at the tournament with her food trailer, but also had a wedding cake to do. Some of her help wasn’t around that week as well. In comes Mary Grace!

Did I mention that this dear lady is the same lady who made MY wedding cake? The same lady who has given advice and cheered me on as I learn about cake decorating? I was honored to trusted with this responsibility.

She baked the cake and made the icing to her standards and recipes, and I came in to assemble and decorate.

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It was a good learning experience working in a kitchen other then my own. I didn’t get the icing as smooth as I wanted. I liked the piping pattern I came up with at first, but after standing back from the cake it wasn’t what I was going for. Not as full as I wanted, but I couldn’t decide how to fill it up with out making it look weird. Its always a little stress full for me to make a wedding cake, and it didn’t help that this was only my SECOND all buttercream wedding cake. My first was my Rustic country Wedding Cake.

My FAVORITE part of this cake was the cake toppers. Originally the bride wanted real strawberries dipped in chocolate all over the cake, as well as 2 jumbo strawberries decorated as a bride and groom. But My friend was afraid the strawberries would bleed out all over the cake in the heat. So the bride decided that we could make 2 fake jumbo strawberries for the top of the cake. This is what I came up with.

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They looked a lot better in person trust me. I was vary pleased with this bride and groom.

I was not present when the cake was delivered and the topers added, so I do not have a photo to show it all together. I spent a day having the feeling that I MUST have done something wrong, or my friend, or even the bride and groom would not like the finished product…

Of course that fear was unfounded and I was told that everyone was happy with the wedding cake. Why do I do that to my self? I think its just because I care so much about getting it right.

Thank you Mickey for tusting me enough to ask for my help. And to the Bride and Groom. God bless your marriage!

Thank you for reading!

Mary Grace

Pink with Sparkle Cupcakes

Have I ever said that I love cupcakes? Well in case you missed it…I do. They are my favorite thing to bake for my friends and family. I have been making so many of them the last few months that I decided to pick up some actual cake/cupcake boxes. I LOVE my reusable cake carriers but not everyone finds it easy to bring them back to me.

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They served me well this week when a friend asked for 30 cupcakes, and I had not gotten my big case back from the last person I lent it to. My husbands commented as he watched me fill them with these goodies. “Now you look like a REAL cake lady.” You mean I wasn’t one already??

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ANYWAY. I made these cupcakes for a speshial lady turning 92. When her daughter came to pick them up I was heartbroken to here this dear lady was in the hospital. I send my prayers and love her way. Its so bitter sweet to think that one of my cupcakes might be the last desert she will enjoy before God comes to take her home. If you are a praying person, please think of her this week.

The pink frosting is regular vanilla American Buttercream. I was excited to be asked for a few with Swiss Meringue Buttercream on them as well. (The white ones) For the cakes I used my go to Chocolate cake recipe and my new favorite Vanilla cupcake recipe.

A testament to how good these recipes are. last night the cupcake boxes were returned to me and I was asked ‘refill please?’. So today is another day of baking and filling those boxes with sweetness!

God bless!

Mary Grace

 

Simple Owl Cupcake Toppers Tutorial

I don’t know about you, but I think owls are so cute. For boys or girl, for children or adults. They are a BIG favorite. So I was really happy to make these vary simple, yet sweet cupcake toppers for a friend and her little one’s first birthday party.

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How did I do it? Let me SHOW you!

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First off, your going to need fondant. I work with Marshmallow fondant for almost everything. Its inexpensive to make and taists alot better, in my opinion, that almost everything you can buy. I say almost everything because you never know, there might be something out there I have not tried that is good. BUT moving on…here is a link to how I make marshmallow fondant. I have also posted a chocolate marshmallow fondant recipe that would be great for this little brown owl.

You will need two different shades of brown, or whatever color you would like your owls to be. White and a contrasting color for the eyes, and yellow or something close to that for the beak. (Yellow is not in the photo because I used the remnants of the white and colored it after I made the eyes.)

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Second your going to need 3 different sizes of circle cutters of some kind. Here you can see I put a variety of piping tips to good use. The first and largest is a #789 wilton. I find the circular opening at the bottom is almost exactly the same size as the top of most cupcakes. If you don’t have this tip, or want to make your owls smaller or larger, biscuit cutters are great for this. As well as any kind of circle cookie or fondant cutter. The next two tips are a #1m wilton, and a #3. This last one I actually swapped after the photo for a smaller one. I wanted the pupils a bit smaller. But this size works fine. (All standard sized icing tips are roughly this size along the BACK side.)

I also use water and a clean paint brush.

my fondant cutting tool. (even a butter knife would work.)

A smaller sized fondant rolling pin. (Use any size you have on hand.)

And crisco shortening.

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I start out with making the eyes. Role out your white fondant and using the back side of a #1m pipping tip, cut out as many circles as you will need for eyes. Two to a bird of course. Set aside.

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Next role our your chosen contrasting color and using either the back side of a #3 or here I chose to go smaller and used the tip of a #12, cut out a dot to go with each eye.

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Using the tip of my finger I gently rounded the edges of my blue dots. This makes them seam thinner and more flush with the eye whites. (It also makes them slightly bigger. Witch is why I chose to go a bit smaller with my cutter.) Then using a small dab of water on my clean paint brush, only enough to moisten the back of my dots, I applied them to my eye whites. Wala! Eyes. Set aside.

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Now comes the main body of the owl. Role out your darker brown. Using back side of the large #789 tip, or your cutter or choice, cut out as many circles as you need owls. Set aside.

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Using the lighter shade of brown, or any color of your choice, role and cut out half as many circles as you need owls. (Using the large #789 piping tip.) Then using this tip cut away a small section of each side of your circles as shown in the pictures above.

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Cut each of the resulting shapes in half. Now you have two ‘feather skirts’. Proceed to cut out as many as you need for your owls.

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Using one of the tips, gently make half circle impressions in a horizontal patter along each feather skirt. This makes it look like there might be some plumage there.

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Now its time to start assembling our little owls. I start with the feather skirt. Moisten the back of one with your clean paint brush and watter, line it up with the bottom of a dark brown circle, and gently smooth it on. Above this place two eyes. My eyes were a bit large for the body so I had to gently mold them to fit after sticking them on. (Yes…they do look more a giant eyes and a duck bill at the moment, but stay with me.)

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Now we need ears. Cut a small strip of dark brown fondant. Using a fondant cutter or butter knife cut this strip in to small triangles. Cut them a bit larger then you think you will need them. Part of them will be tucked under the main body of your bird.

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Take two triangles and moisten the bottom edges of each. Line them up with the eyes and tuck them under the main body. Then using the flat of your hand gently press down on the whole owl. This secures the ears.

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Lastly our little owl needs a beak. using the same method for making the ears, cut out small triangles. Again moisten the back of this triangle and place it in the center of your owl. I like to mold my bills a bit by curving the edges and making sure they fit well.

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There you have it! My army of little owls. Cute! As well as easy to make! Need them a bit more girly? Add a tiny flower or bow beside one of the ears, or make the feather skirt pink or purple instead of light brown.

I recommend making these a few days ahead of when you need them. They need time to dry so they will not sag on your cupcakes. These could also be used as decorations on the side or top of a full size cake. In that case you will not need to dry them. They will stick better if they are freshly made, or stored in plastic wrap until needed to decorate.

Note: I have seen many owl patterns vary similar to this one. I take no credit for coming up with it all on my own. This tutorial is just to show how I achieved the look my self.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.

God bless!

Mary Grace

Green Apple Caramel Cupcakes

My family are BIG fans of the flavor, green apple. As teens my brothers and sisters and I drooled over those green apple caramel lolly pops they sell in the US. So I have been on a search to combine these flavors in a cupcake.

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My brother is home for a visit this week, so I NEW it was the perfect time to try out a new recipe. I was so excited back in April when Foodlikecake.wordpress.com posted a Green Apple Cupcake recipe. So yesterday, as I was home alone, with a bad cold, lonely and feeling sorry for my self. I decided what better therapy then to bake these cupcakes! Thank you to my mom who found the Jones Soda I needed for the recipe, JUST IN TIME!

For the original cake recipe please visit Foodlikecake.wordpress.com.

I had used cake recipes with carbonated beverages as a key ingredient before and I was expecting the cupcakes to come out a bit lighter and fluffier then they did. The batter is vary runny, like allot of my favorite cupcake recipes. So I was a LITTLE disappointed with the cake texture. But the cake has a pleasant hint of the green apple Jones Soda in it.  That hint is just that, a hint. I was expecting the flavor to be light though so was not disappointed with this. Despite the cake not being as light and fluffy as I had anticipated it was still yummy! (I did not add any green food coloring to my cupcakes.)

Next came the frosting. I didn’t want to use regular butter/icing sugar icing, if I could get away with it. I had some left over Swiss Meringue Icing in the fridge that needed to be used…my brain started to buzz. Could it work? No… But why not just try it? Okay! So after letting the icing come back to room temperature and lightly re-whipping it in my stand mixer, I slowly, apprehensively added in 1/4 us c. of Jones Green Apple Soda.

Your probably all screaming at me…WHAT? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU DO THAT? IT WILL NEVER WORK! Well, if I had not JUST had the experience of making Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and having the water in the blueberries separate from it while re-whipping, and then coming back together, I would have given up right away. At first it resembled, well…what it was. Fat floating in liquid. but I was persistent, I whipped and whipped and whipped. LOW AND BEHOLD when I stopped to scrape down the sides it seemed as if there was less soda in the bottom of the bowl. KEEP WHIPPING! It took about 10 full minutes before it all come together, but it did! I was floored. I mean really…who would have thought that would work?

Again the green apple flavor was light, and if I had made the icing especially for this I would have left out the vanilla to see if that let the green apple threw a bit more. But all in all…I thought I would end up with a mix throw away mess. I am so happy that it worked! (I did add a drop of green color to the icing.)

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I filled each cupcake with caramel, (the recipe here) and then thinned some of that same recipe down with a bit of extra whipping cream to drizzle over each iced cupcake. The caramel really overwhelmed the light green apple flavor. *sigh* So I will have to try another variation in the near future. But here is to seeing my brother again after a year and a half of missing him, and getting to try out a new recipe to welcome him home! Love you John!

Next time I am thinking forget the soda and go for the real thing. finely graded or chopped granny smith apples in a vanilla cupcake batter? Possibly looking in to trying some kind of green apple syrup. Got any ideas? I would love to here them! And maybe I will try this recipe again sometime, with out the caramel. I am just so stuck on the caramel part of it right now.

Thanks for reading!

Mary Grace