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Friday, December 12, 2014

How to throw a Cupcake Party fit for a Snow Queen ♥

People always ask me...
"Why do you share your baking tips with others?"
Because I love to teach, and I believe everyone has their own style when it comes to baking and decorating cupcakes.  Every cupcake is an original.  I haven't always been a Cupcake Queen. I was a Cupcake Student at one time too! Some of my favorite online bakers that I learned the most from are I am Baker and Bakerella.  Because I've learned from others, I pass on the knowledge. Pay it forward ♥

This early winter, I taught two cupcake classes at the Royal Palace, Givens Farm in Hortonville, Wisconsin ♥ The theme:  By popular request..Disney's movie "Frozen".  The ambiance was perfect.  Glittery snowflakes were falling both nights I taught classes.

I even wore glittery eye make up and a braid to look like Snow Queen Elsa.

Have you seen the movie yet? I enjoyed watching Frozen because while it channeled my love for classic Disney Princess nostalgia for the first time in a long time (think Sleeping Beauty, Snow White), Frozen empowered Disney princesses in a very different way than any other Disney princess movie has!  
Plus..there is this snowman named Olaf who makes the movie worth watching.  Snow Queen Elsa creates him with her snow queen magic.  It is the first time since Frosty the Snowman that I have wished for a snowman as a best friend.  Olaf is the kind of fun snowman friend that would take a sunny tropical vacation with you. You have to watch the movie to understand!
 I shared some of my Cupcake Queen magic with the class, and we all created our own Olafs.  His huge smile made all of us smile.

His nose was made out of Cheddar Bugles.  They look just like carrots!  Using a clean pair of scissors, we cut them down to fit the size of his sweet cupcake face.

On a pan lined with parchment paper, we poured melted chocolate candy melts into a disposable piping bag or ziploc bag and cut a tiny hole at the end of each baggy.  We piped out the little "branches" for the top of his head onto the parchment paper.  We used the same technique to make the big smiles. While the chocolate "smiles" were still wet on the parchment paper, I centered a piece of Trident gum on each chocolate smile for Olaf's tooth.  Candy melts dry really fast, but I like to "set" all of my pieces in the refrigerator when I am done piping because all the little pieces of handiwork are very fragile and they tend to break if too warm.  The colder the little chocolate pieces are before you handle them, the harder they are and the less likely they are to break apart or melt.

Since I am super detail oriented, I piped Olaf's famous eyebrows on his little edible sugar eyes using the melted dark chocolate candy melts (you can find the sugar eyes at local cake decorating stores).   
Look at how many Olafs I had in the kitchen with me when I was practicing for my class!   Every Olaf will look different, but I think that's what makes your hand-crafted Olaf cupcake charming.

When throwing cupcake party classes, I love using these little painters palettes to put the sprinkles and edible gems in!  You can place your cupcake in the center of the palette as the centerpiece. Some of my favorite sprinkles for a Frozen Cupcake class:  Mini Snowflake Sprinkles, Edible Pearls, Chocolate Covered Blueberries, Disco Dust, Hot Pink Nonpareils, and Lavender Sixlets that look like giant pearls.

As a class we made handmade "Frozen" hearts and princess names by piping them freehand onto parchment paper.  (Hint:  If you're not great at freehanding, you can find any shape clipart you desire on the internet.  Parchment paper works awesome as tracing paper.  You just print the clip art out on a piece of paper, place under the parchment paper, and trace over the art onto the parchment paper with your candy melts).

Elsa, Anna, and Olaf. 

Remember those princess dress cakes from your childhood?  We recreated those princess dress cakes as cupcakes!  ♥  All you have to do is find your favorite picture of your favorite princess..and glue the paper doll to a toothpick.  Once you have frosted your cupcake to look like a puffy ruffly princess skirt, you can insert the paper doll.

The perfect flavor for a Frozen themed cupcake class?
 Blueberry Velvet cupcakes.
Rich, Royal and "Iced" for a Snow Queen.
Recipe for Blueberry Velvet Cupcakes here.
Recipe for Fantasy Rainbow Frosting Swirls and Buttercream Frosting here.

The lavender colored cupcakes remind me of Anna more than Elsa. I used a dot of Americolor Regal Purple Color Gel Paste in white buttercream to achieve this color!

I love using oversized chocolate covered blueberries on top of the cupcakes. Edible gems!

Student Art! Pretty amazing!

Last but not least....
(She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten)...
Each student received a capsule of non-edible glitter as a gift (and a warm hug) from me!  At the end of class, we each opened a capsule of glitter and threw a fistful of glitter into the wind/snow.  If that won't make you feel like a Snow Queen, I don't know what will.  I told the students to feel free to make a wish as they were throwing the glitter.  (I found the glitter in cute little capsules like this at the dollar store-nail art actually, but perfect for this occasion).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adorable ZOMBIE Cupcakes!

I made Zombie Cupcakes.
You might say this is as "dark" as my dark side gets.

Pink and Green Frosting Brains, sprinkled with sugary bones.
Candy Melt Mouths with little white zombie fangs piped on.
If you didn't notice, the pink zombie has just been bitten by the green zombie.
He is transforming into a Cupcake Zombie.
My little Cupcake Zombies might be more adorable than scary.
..And they are really fun to play with when you are done decorating them.
Perfect for The Kid at Heart.

Cupcake Zombies in a Cake Pop Forest.

There are so many scary things out there in the world.  I thought...if I am going to make Zombie Cupcakes, they should be fun and adorable with a little glob of scary on top. That's my style. Zombie Love.

And this is how you make Zombie Cupcakes come "alive"!

1.  Bake & Fill the red velvet cupcake zombie bodies with strawberry jelly or cherry pie "guts".

2.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

For the "X" eyes:  I used multi-colored mismatched M&Ms, and laid them out flat on the parchment paper.  I piped little "X" shapes onto the "eyes"out of a piping bag that was filled with melted white candy melts. The white "X"'s have to dry before you can put the eyes on the zombies.

For the hungry zombie mouths..

I used Dark Chocolate Candy Melts, and cut them in half so that one side of the round candy melt was flat. These were also laid out flat on my parchment paper.

Some of the zombies were just bitten so they don't have fangs yet. Poor things.  They look bewildered.  I piped little fangs onto the candy melt mouths of the hungrier zombies with a piping bag filled with melted white candy melts. 

You'll need to pipe an electric green or electric pink frosting swirl on top of each zombie so you can put their "face" together.  The big fat zombie frosting swirl was made using my buttercream recipe (see below) and a 1A Round Tip at the end of a piping bag.

I added the "brains" on the side of the frosting swirl by "bashing" the zombies in the head with a cake pop stick. (You could also use a toothpick). This indented the frosting on the upper side of the zombie frosting head and made room for me to pipe swirl of contrasting frosting in that "hole" in the zombie's head.  The brains fit perfectly.  Are you getting hungry?

Stick the eyes and mouths on the zombies.
Scary..but adorable ♥

I made these too. Matching red velvet zombie cake pops.
These are a little less adorable and a little more scary.
All the cupcakes and cake pops are completely edible.
even the BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Zombie Unicorn Cupcake, made by one of my Cupcake Students, Natalia.
Made with a Bugle Horn, A Marshmallow, Edible Ink, and assorted candies!

Red Velvet Zombie Cupcake Recipe by Amanda Cupcake:
3 Cups Flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup veg oil
2 1/4 C Sugar
1 1/4 C Buttermilk
2 Eggs
2 T Red Color
1 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 C Water
1 tsp almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 325  and line your pans with 24 cupcake liners.
2. In one large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder together.
3. In stand mixer, cream Vegetable Oil, Eggs, and Sugar together. After you have creamed these together, add your vinegar to this mixture.
4. In separate bowl, combine/ whisk liquids together: Water, Vanilla, Buttermilk, and Almond Extract.
5. Alternate the addition of dry ingredients & liquid ingredients to the creamed mixture. 
6. Add red color at the very end to make sure red velvet color is vibrant. Like Zombie Blood Red.
6. Fill Cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 18-22 min at 325 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe by Amanda Cupcake:
1 lb butter (softened)
1 T Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
8-10 Cups Powdered Sugar (depending on how thick you want your frosting to be)

Cream the butter in your stand mixer.
Mix well until fluffy and well blended.
Gradually add a pinch of salt and vanilla extract.
Now add your powdered sugar, slowly until the frosting reaches desired consistency.
(The more powdered sugar you add—the more stiff the frosting will be for decorating).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Candy Corn Cupcakes!

Candy Corn is here to cheer us up as we gradually let go of the short summer we just enjoyed.
Even if you think candy corn is gross, you can't deny, it is a staple of the chilly..tingly..blissful Fall that lies ahead ♥ 

While making the candy corn cupcakes , I always ask myself..what color comes first in a piece of candy corn?  The yellow or the orange or the white?  Deep thoughts..

Or an excuse to shop the sprinkles aisle at my local Bulk Food Shoppe and do some yummy research.
If my dad doesn't eat all my research (he loves to eat my sweets from the bulk shoppe), I can use these gummi candy corns as cupcake toppers!

Tripled Candy Corn Cupcakes
(Candy Corn on the inside, Candy Corn Frosting Swirl, and GIANT Candy Corn Gummies on top).
Yellow on the bottom.
Orange in the middle.
White on top ♥

The inside even looks like a piece of candy corn. ♥
My candy corn cupcakes are vanilla almond, but when you eat one, your inner kid kicks in and believes that they taste like candy corn! 

This is how I turn a cupcake into a piece of candy corn.

I start with a white batter (see a delicious recipe below)
The two edible colors I use are from Americolor:  Electric Yellow and Electric Orange Gel Paste.
I divide the batter into two separate bowls and color each bowl a separate color a candy corn color story.

Using a small cookie scoop, I layer one scoop of yellow on the bottom of the cupcake liner,
I repeat with the orange on top of the yellow batter to make a "striped" effect, and fill the cupcake liner about 1/2 full.  I bake at 325 for about 22 minutes ♥ Sometimes I change it up and leave some of the batter white and add a white "dome" on top of each cupcake like real candy corn.

Super puffy candy corn cupcakes!!

The candy corn cupcakes look really good with rainbow owls on top too ♥
(almonds for the "feathers", white candy wafers, multi-colored m&ms for the eyes, and sunflower seeds for the beek!) For rainbow technique, see my rainbow cupcake blog here!

They also look good with Halloween costumes!
Maybe I'll dress up as Lucille Ball with my friend Alicia as Ricky again ♥
Or how cute would it be to be Lucille Ball wearing a cupcake costume?!
Fall Inspiration is everywhere.
And it all started with candy corn.

I've got a treat for you. (I'm more into the treat side instead of the tricks).

The Bake At Home Version of the Amanda Cupcake Candy Corn Cupcakes!
(I recommend these for this year's Halloween Party):

Ingredients Needed:
White Cake Mix (Betty Crocker works well if you buy in the local store)
1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk, room temperature (in place of the water on the box)
4 eggs, room temperature
3.9-4 oz White Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 1/2 teaspoons of Almond Extract
½ Cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
Light colored cupcake tin
White Cupcake Liners (this recipe makes about 18 cupcakes)
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.
3. In a bowl or a stand mixer cream eggs, vegetable oil, and dry box of pudding mix.
4. Gradually add remaining ingredients, little by little until everything is evenly blended, scraping bowl down in between to make sure all ingredients are evenly mixed).  I don’t dump everything in the bowl all at once.  When doctoring a cake mix, I treat this like I am mixing ingredients from scratch so that all ingredients are evenly blended/mixed.
5.  Take out 2 separate bowls, divide batter in half into each bowl.
6.  For Electric Yellow:  Mix a few small drops of Americolor gel paste in one vanilla batter bowl.
7.  For Electric Orange:  Mix a few small drops of Americolor gel paste in one vanilla batter bowl.
**The more color you add, the more vibrant it will get.
8.  Using a small cookie scoop for each color, scoop the yellow batter onto the bottom of the cupcake liner. Dip your second scoop into the orange batter and layer this orange batter on top of the yellow. Fill cupcake liner about 1/2 full and let bake for appx 325 min.

**Once cupcakes are cooled, frost to your heart's delight and top each cupcake with an candy corn gummy treat!  (I bought mine at Greenville Bulk Food Supply).

Frosting Recipe (for coloring, use same technique and colors as the candy corn batter technique):

13-14 oz Marshmallow Fluff or Cream
1 lb butter
1 T Vanilla Extract
Dash Salt (to lessen the sweetness a tad)
8 Cups Powdered Sugar (depending on how thick you want your frosting to be-use less for creamier frosting and more for thicker swirls)

  • Use a spatula to scrape the fluff and the butter out into your stand mixer.
  • Mix well until fluffy and well blended.
  • Gradually add a pinch of salt and vanilla extract.
  • Now add your powdered sugar, slowly until the frosting reaches desired consistency.
  • (The more powdered sugar you add—the more stiff the frosting will be for decorating, so you will get a "point" that looks just like a piece of candy corn when piping on with a 1A round decorating tip.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I auditioned for Shark Tank ♥

 I did it.

I auditioned for Shark Tank. 

I'm a fan of the show, but I have to admit..watching it makes me nervous.

I get nervous because I watch all these dreamers (like me) taking big risks.

When the recipient on the show receives a good offer, I get nervous because I start listing all the things in my head that ***I*** need to do to turn this little cute company I've got into a glittery lifestyle brand! I think.. "If they can do it, so can I." Then I can't sleep.  And...when the recipient gets declined, I am sad with them but then I start to problem solve about how they can move forward from here.  I know what it is like to put yourself out on the line.  I am rooting for these small business owners with big dreams.  ♥

So..I wasn't so sure about auditioning.

But I could totally use a launchpad for Amanda Cupcake!

Sort of a big deal...right?! This is honestly what motivated me to audition. Even if this was the ONLY conversation I have ever had with this man. It was on Facebook, in the middle of the night.

Can you imagine a whole line of Amanda Cupcake products for sale on QVC?

Edible Glitter, Blinged out Mixers, Interactive Cookbooks..

In hopes of a product line, I designed this t-shirt a few months ago. I hope to start selling it to my fans in the near future!

Maybe I'm dreaming here..but I've even dreamed of a Cupcake Jet that can fly anywhere globally to deliver cupcakes to the world?! ♥ 

I've already delivered cupcakes on a giant cupcake float in the New Dublin Parade.. a jet isn't too far off. ♥ Maybe I'll start with a cupcake mobile that poofs glitter out the exhaust!

Oh and where those ideas come from there are many more.

You see..Amanda Cupcake is so much more than just a delicious cupcake.

She's a brand. A lifestyle of glitter, love, dreams come true, indulgence, luxury, youth.

The world has a Cake Boss.

They have a Martha Stewart.

They have a corporate Cupcake Company (Sprinkles)

but the world doesn't have a Cupcake Queen yet!

My first solo cover girl moment, quoted as a Cupcake Queen! Wisconsin Lifestyles Magazine! I look like a cupcake...right?!

My inspirational characters or brands in my own brand making venture are Dr. Seuss, Walt Disney, Starbucks, Ellen Degeneres, Dr.Seuss, Betsey Johnson, and Willy Wonka. Big dreams, I know.

However..look at what I've done this year!

It has almost been 1 year since I started selling at my 1st big box retailer, Woodmans ♥

The 4 packs of nostalgic cupcakes are the most popular!

And the surprise Instagram tags I receive from fans make my day. ♥♥♥

One of my biggest events of the year, teamed up with the Make A Wish Foundation to make cake pops that looked like balloons (that guy is my biggest fan, my dad) ♥ This was on my 35th birthday!

This past July, I auditioned for Shark Tank.

(My "Shark" Cupcakes!)

When I auditioned, I couldn't see anything beyond making it to the next level. It meant the world to me, and you can see why with all my big dreams and ideas. How in the world was I going to describe me as a person and as a business to a casting director in 1 minute?!!?  But I did. At the end of my short meeting with the casting director, I handed her a bag of sprinkles to take outside, throw in the wind, and make a wish. 

After I was done with the casting call, I received all of this recognition from you (my fans), and just that by itself was overwhelming.  I couldn't believe it:

I didn't hear back from the show.

But after putting this blog together I was like, wow...look at all I've done and can do as just Amanda Cupcake in just one year's time. Who is to say I won't try to get on the Shark Tank again? Maybe I won't be quite as nervous next time! 

And I'll leave all of you aspiring entrepreneurs and dreamers with this inspirational "recipe", I look at it every time I am a little bit sad that I didn't make it on the show. There are great things to come for those who have a vision and never stop trying!

The day I auditioned for Cupcake Wars, video here: