Back from an awesome girls birthday trip in Vegas and now I’m officially in a new age decade…I guess I’m going to have to change my profile from 20-something to 30-something now!
Since I had been in Vegas for my 25th birthday there have been tons of changes. There’s a whole new area called The Linq over by the Flamingo. It has lots of shops, restaurants, and the world’s largest observation wheel….which is basically like a giant ferris wheel that takes you up in a pod and you can see amazing views of the Strip. Definitely a fun thing to do at night to see the lights.
To my delight, they also have a Sprinkles cupcake shop! I had passed by a Sprinkles in Chicago last year but didn’t have time to make a visit so I was excited this time I could. Now, the best part about Sprinkles is their cupcake ATM. That’s right, I said cupcake ATM. You can go up and choose from several different flavors, swipe your card, and the door opens up to a cupcake. It’s pretty cool because there’s a camera inside that shows your cupcake being retrieved. And the best part is no lines! All those suckers were waiting in a huge line to go into the shop but it’s so much more fun to say you got your cupcake from an ATM!
As far as the cupcakes go, they’re pretty good but I’m not sure they’re worth waiting in line for. I got a peanut butter chip cupcake which was a chocolate-chip studded cake is made with all natural peanut butter and topped with rich peanut butter frosting and sweet milk chocolate sprinkles. I love peanut butter and chocolate together but I felt like it was a little heavy on the peanut butter side and that there wasn’t enough chocolate. It was pretty sweet but the cake was light and fluffy which I always appreciate because I hate a dry cupcake! My travel buddy went for the classic vanilla cupcake which was a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, and white sprinkles. She also enjoyed her cupcake but said that it was piled a little too high with frosting for her taste.
Bottom line? Sprinkles is good but I wouldn’t wait in line for a chance to eat one of their cupcakes. I love the novelty of the cupcake ATM and it’s definitely a fun thing to do if you are ever around one but be prepared for a sugar rush when you eat your cupcake!
When my friend Kristin asked me to make cupcakes for her son Micah’s first birthday of course I was super excited about it! My cupcakes were going to be the first sugar baby Micah would get to eat! Then, when she decided on a jungle theme for the party and asked if I could make monkey cupcakes, I was even more excited. I had the perfect cupcakes that I had pinned oh so long ago and I knew they’d be great for this occasion.
Kristin and I decided on half chocolate cupcakes and half banana chocolate chip cupcakes because, well, how cute is it to have banana flavored cupcakes that look like monkeys?? I went with one bowl chocolate cupcakes since they are my ultimate favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. They always come out perfectly, it’s a no fail recipe if you’re looking for a good chocolate cupcake. And for an extra bonus, you only have to use one bowl so less to clean!
For the banana chocolate chip cupcakes I went with a recipe I had made very early on in starting my blog. But instead of the butter, I used canola oil since I think it makes for a moister cupcake. I also used about half the amount of chocolate chips because I didn’t want them to be too chocolatey. Blasphemy, I know. But I figured since I was making chocolate cupcakes already and both kinds were going to have chocolate frosting, I didn’t want to go too crazy.
Decorating the cupcakes were super easy. I just used large and mini Nilla Wafers for the face and ears. It did become a little ridiculous when I decided to pipe little white chocolate rounds for the eyes. After I had piped about a hundred of them I realized that I had basically made white chocolate chips. It would have been a lot easier had I made them but what can you do. The last step is to use black gel frosting to pipe on the eyes, nose, and mouth. I liked positioning the eyes differently so that the monkeys look like they have different expressions. Some silly and some serious. I’m not going to lie, I like my cupcakes better than the original ones I pinned!
The monkeys definitely fit in with the jungle theme of Micah’s birthday and he had a huge monkey balloon tied to his highchair so it was perfect! Can I tell you how chillaxed little Micah is? I mean that boy almost never stops smiling. And it’s so adorable how he loves driving his little car around with his arm hanging out the window. Parents hide your daughters!
I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the cupcakes as you can see from the picture. He seemed a little reluctant at first and unsure but once he got a taste, he really dug right in. I was so happy to see that mess all over him but I don’t think it was as exciting for mom and dad to clean up! Micah definitely had a good birthday and we loved celebrating with him!
My final week of cake decorating we were told to come to class with some ideas of how we wanted to decorate our final cake. Of course I went in with nothing in mind except wanting to practice more flowers. We were given two cupcakes and an 8-inch cake and were basically told to go for it. Oh, we also learned one more new trick for flowers. Freezer flowers! I love this trick! You pipe the flowers on a piece of parchment paper and let them harden in the freezer. Then you can put them on the sides of your cake. Makes it so much easier than piping flowers on the side of a cake.
For my cupcakes I decided to practice my roses more. They definitely take a ton of practice but I think they are so worth it. I love the way that they fill up the top of the cupcake with decoration. So there you go, there are my cupcakes. They could be better but I think it wasn’t too shabby for 3 weeks of cake decorating class. Now I just need to keep practicing.
Now for the cake.I wanted this cake to be my pièce de résistance, it was after all, going to serve as my final project so I had to do something that would be worthy of an A+. I decided to stay with the flower motif but wanted to really go all out with it. Basically covering the cake with as many flowers as I could. I figured adding in some vines would be a good way to go to really tie it all together.
I’m definitely happy with the way it turned out. I loved covering the cake with the vines and the flowers. And while I’m not sure I’ll be making a ton of cakes to decorate, it was definitely good practice for my frosting roses and flowers. And see those flowers on the side of the cake? Those are the freezer flowers. Love them!
I’m my own worst critic but I think this was my best project yet. And not too bad after three classes. I can’t wait to take more advanced classes. So what do you think about my final project?
Week two of cake decorating class was all about frosting flowers and fondant. It was definitely more successful that the first week but I think that’s because working with fondant is like working with play-doh. It’s super easy to roll out and cut shapes from it that look like they took a lot of work.
Just looking at the flowers and the butterflies seems super impressive but I pretty much used cookie cutters to make the shapes. I think I’m going to have to start using some fondant decorations on my cupcakes to really up the wow factor of them.
Frosting flowers on the other hand aren’t quite as easy as fondant. They definitely require a bit more skill to get the frosting to do what you want it to do. And did you know that you have to make those roses on a wooden dowel sharpened like a pencil and then transfer them to the cake on a pair of scissors?!? I didn’t and it’s definitely as hard as it sounds to make the transfer.
Excuse the blurry picture from my phone but there’s my cake complete with roses and lily of the valley (which was much easier than the roses). I had originally just had the roses and pipped pink dots all over it but when I saw the lily of the valley I had to try it. So I scrapped all the pink dots off for the lily (you can see the remnants of the pink dots smudged into the white frosting).
Stay tuned for the final installment of cake decorating class! I really think I improved by the third class!
I was at Michael’s this past weekend picking up a few things for some amazing monkey cupcakes that I’m going to be working on this weekend for my friend’s little one’s first birthday. They always get me there with all of the bins they have around the registers. You know I have to stop and look even though I never find anything good. You just never know what could be there!
Well this time I scored. They had a bin with all different kinds of decorated Duck Tape and one caught my eye.
Who knew there was such a thing as cupcake Duck Tape?!? Of course I had to get it because it’s so adorable, even if I have no idea what I’m going to use it for. Ideas?
It may be a little late to be talking about Valentine’s Day but I’m going to reminisce for a few minutes. Boy Cupcake and I had a lovely Valentine’s Dinner at The Cottage in Chestnut Hill. It was actually the first time that we’ve ever gone out to dinner on Valentine’s Day.
When we were leaving dinner we noticed that Treat Cupcake Bar was next door! I had been to their location in Needham and did the make your own cupcake (super fun and would make a great kid’s birthday), but had no idea that they had another location! The whole area over there is really built up with lots of shops, restaurants, and the best movie theater ever! The only downside is that because there’s so much over there now, it can be hard to find parking. I digress.
Anyway, we decided to stop in and get a cupcake to take home for dessert. I went in wanting to share a cupcake (they’re huge!) but Boy Cupcake had other plans and wanted his own. So he ended up with a lemon drop cupcake and I got the chocolate peanut butter overload.
I of course had to try both for research purposes. The lemon was delicious. It had a yellow cake, lemon frosting, and was garnished with sugar and a candy lemon. The combination of the yellow cake with the lemon frosting was perfect for the right balance without being too lemony.
The chocolate peanut butter overload was right up my alley. It was a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and topped with ganache. I’m obsessed with the chocolate and peanut butter combo so I could have used just a bit more peanut butter in the middle but I can’t say this cupcake was disappointing. I’d definitely get this one again, although next time I want to try the Needham cream pie cupcake!
It’s been a long 3 months away but I’m excited to share about my most recent adventure. Cake decorating class! I’m taking the class through Party Favors in Brookline and I couldn’t
be more excited about it. It’s a three week class where we learn everything from basic frosting, to flowers, to fondant! And the best part of this class is that I don’t have to make the cake or frosting to bring with me. Less prep!
Last Wednesday was my first class and it was a ton of fun but I have to tell you I was a little deflated after. I walked into class all confident thinking I’d be the star. I mean how couldn’t I, right? Well making pretty things with cupcakes isn’t as easy as it looks. Sure I can do all sorts of swirls on my cupcakes but that doesn’t transition over into frosting animals and flowers apparently.
The first class was on cupcakes and we started with a few different kinds of flowers. Let me tell you, getting the right pressure and movement of the frosting is tough. After flowers we move into animals. Penguins, pigs, and dogs to be specific. The penguin wasn’t too bad, it’s pretty basic. But as you can see my little piggy isn’t as cute as he could be. And don’t even get me started on the dog. It looked like a turd and I couldn’t get the shape I wanted so I scrapped it for another penguin since those little guys are pretty cute.
Clearly I need to practice a little more. I’m nervous that we’re going to be working on roses this week because my attempt to teach myself was disastrous. Keep your fingers crossed that with some one-on-one teaching I’ll get a little better at this!