Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to Make Pooh Bear Cupcakes

At school, we have department meetings once a month. The most important part of these meetings, it seems, is the food. The first item on the agenda at the first meeting each year is to decide the snack schedule. We pair off and choose different months in which we are responsible for bringing the refreshments. When the meeting reminder e-mails are sent out, there's always a reminder as to who is bringing the food. This is very important to us. Early on, we had to school the men in the department about making sure they have both salty and sweet snacks, and to not forget the diet soda (the first time they were in charge they brought meats and breads for sandwiches ... that's it). When my months came up this year, I brought ... you guessed it ... cupcakes.

One of the men, Thomas, is a recent father. One day I got a phone call from Thomas's wife. Their little boy was having his first birthday, and Thomas had mentioned my cupcakes. The party was going to have a Winnie the Pooh theme and she wanted to know if I could make her a dozen vanilla and a dozen chocolate cupcakes. So here's what I made ... Pooh heads and "hunny" bees.

To make the Pooh heads, I started off with some Wilton fondant. I used the ready-made fondant because it's a lot more sturdy than my marshmallow fondant. I tinted a bunch of it yellow, rolled it out and, using a round fondant cutter, cut a bunch of circles.

With my fingers, I shaped the circles into Pooh heads.

Next, I used a piping tip to cut half circles from the sides of the circle cut-outs.

Before everything had time to dry too much, I folded the half circles over to make ears (attaching them with a little water) and also pressed a mini chocolate chip into the fondant to make a nose.

Finally, I used a Wilton Food Writer to draw the rest of the face on each of the Poohs.

While these dried, I got started on the bees. First I took the yellow fondant and rolled it into little cylinder shaped bodies.

Next, I took some black fondant, rolled it as thin as I could, and cut some thin strips. I wrapped two of these around each body and attached them with a little water.

I wasn't sure how to do the wings, so I took the piping tip, cut circles out of white fondant, and then cut them in half. I then used a little water to "glue" them on top of the bees. Then to make sure everyone knew that these were friendly bees, I gave them little happy faces with my black food writer.

To assemble the cupcakes, I just made a chocolate swirl on the chocolate cupcakes and placed the Pooh heads on top. Then I took some vanilla buttercream, tinted it yellow, and swirled it around on the vanilla cupcakes to make a bee hive. I then placed a bee on each hive and prayed that they would stay put and not jump off.

And there you have it ... cupcakes for a Winnie the Pooh themed birthday party.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

It's no secret ... my boys are music boys. They are not ashamed to play in the band and sing in the choir ... and that's okay with me. When Collin was in junior high, he was a member of the swing choir. Jared, of course, followed in his brothers footsteps and also auditioned for the junior high swing choir. Both boys are talented musically, but let's face it ... they're boys ... they're going to make the swing choir.

Every semester the choir director puts together a snack schedule for the the rehearsals. The kids practice one day before school and one day after school, and snacks are a must. Today was Jared's turn to bring snacks, so cupcakes for everyone!

I decided to send two different kinds of cupcakes - chocolate (because really ... who doesn't like chocolate?) and snickerdoodle. Thanks to Jessica Burns at Elegance Made Easy, I was able to provide the kids with a treat they all loved.

Here's how I made them:


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.


Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Use a large plain tip to pipe your favorite buttercream onto each cupcake. Dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

These really do taste like snickerdoodle cookies. The junior high kids loved them. The kids always look forward to the snacks ... and it's fun for them to get something different each week from the different parents. They all seemed pretty enthusiastic today when they saw the cupcakes (but I've also seen them enthusiastic about pre-packaged Rice Crispy Treats). I was told "Thank you!" and "These are awesome!" repeatedly while the kids were eating. If that doesn't feed the ego, I'm not sure what does.

These are definitely kid-friendly cupcakes. I'll have to make these again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The List

A year ago this month, a woman I work with asked me to make some cupcakes for her to take to her card club. I spent a lot of time trying to make them look just right.
She really liked them and so every month she asked me to make more for her card club. This is where it all began. Since then, I started giving cupcakes for bribes and treats and thank-yous. I've put cupcakes in auctions and have even given a cupcake lesson. It's been a crazy year.

Last night, my friend Ginger told me that I need a "drink menu" for my cupcakes. She doesn't want to scroll through my blog or my Facebook page to see what cupcakes I've made ... she just wants a list. So, today's blog post will be devoted to my "Cupcake-tini List."

Here goes ... in no particular order ... okay it's me ... alphabetical order ...

Bailey's Irish Cream
Banana Cream Pie
Blueberry Pancake
Boston Creme Pie
Cherry Coke
Cherry Vanilla
Chili Chocolate
Chocolate and Bacon
Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Chocolate Stout
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Coconut Cream Pie
Coke and Potato Chip
Cookies and Cream
French Toast
Heath Bar
Hot Fudge Sundae
Lavender Marble with Honey Buttercream
Lemon Meringue Pie
Mint Chocolate
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Peanut Butter Cup
Pecan Pie
Pink Champaign
Pumpkin Pie
Raspberry Hot Chocolate
Red Velvet
Rose Water
Triple Chocolate
Vanilla Rainbow
White Almond

Until I wrote them all down, I had no idea I had made this many different flavors of cupcakes ... and all within the last year. Add to it the different kinds of frostings, fillings, and decorations ... wow!