Video: Get creative with your Mother’s Day cupcakes
Recipe: High-heel cupcakes
- 12 graham crackers
- 12 vanilla or chocolate cookie sticks (Pirouettes, Oreo Fun Stix)
- 11/2 cups white or cocoa candy melting wafers (Wilton)
- 1 cup decorating sugar, color coordinated to match shoe style
- 2 cans (16 ounces each) vanilla frosting, color-coordinated to match shoe style
- Food coloring, color-coordinated to match shoe style
- 24 cupcakes baked in liner style of your choice, 2 cupcakes per style
These cupcakes are made for walking! Start with cupcakes baked in fashionable paper liners, add chocolate-coated soles and wafer-cookie heels, and finish with fashion-forward sugar colors for a look that will set you back on your heels.
For the soles, place a graham cracker on a work surface. Using a small serrated knife, cut the graham cracker in half crosswise. Remove a corner, angled to ¾ inch, on both sides of each cracker half to make the tapered sole (see photo). Repeat with the remaining graham crackers. Cut the cookie sticks in half crosswise into two 2¾-inchlengths. Cut one end at an angle.
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Place the candy melting wafers in a glass bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir, and repeat until the candies are melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Dip one side of the cut crackers into the melted candy, one at a time, to cover, allowing the excess candy to drip back into the bowl and smooth with an offset spatula. Transfer the coated cracker, candy side up, to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining crackers and candy. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes. Save the excess candy melts to attach the heels.
Place the decorating sugar (use the color to match the shoe style) in a shallow bowl. Spoon ½ cup of the vanilla frosting into a Ziplock bag. Tint the remaining vanilla frosting with the food coloring (use the color to match the shoe style). Spoon ½ cup of the tinted frosting into a Ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bags. Spread the tinted frosting on top of the cupcakes, mounding it slightly. Roll the tops of the cupcakes in the decorating sugar to cover completely. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, mark a 1-inch-deep semicircle from the edge of a sugared cupcake (see photo). Remove the semicircle of cake and frosting with a small knife. For open-toed shoes, make a ½-inch semicircle cut on the opposite side of the cupcake from the first cut. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Snip a small (1 ⁄8-inch) corner from the bags with the vanilla and tinted frostings. Pipe vanilla frosting over the exposed cake in the cut areas.
Carefully peel the candy-coated crackers from the waxed paper. Trim any uneven edges with a small knife. Pipe a line of tinted frosting around the 2 long and 1 short sides of cookie. Dip the frosted edges into the decorating sugar to coat.
Line two cookie sheets with waxed paper. Reheat the reserved candy melts in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds to soften. Stir the candy, return to the microwave, and repeat the process until the candy is smooth, about 30 seconds. Dip one angled end of a cookie stick into the melted candy. Working on one shoe at a time, press the large end of the cracker sole into the cut area of the cupcake. For the heel, place the cookie stick, dipped end up to secure, under the small end of the sole. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, crackers, and cookies. Allow the candy to set for at least 20 minutes before moving the cupcakes.
To accessorize the shoes:
To make the shoes even more fashionable, you will need frosting and a selection of candies and gums of your choice. Candy decors (Cake Mate, Wilton, Red Hots), candy-coated chocolates (M&M’s Minis, Sixlets), gum balls, small hard candies, and pearlized candies (SweetWorks), and gum for bows can all be used for shoe accents. Use frosting to attach decorations and pipe outlines along the cut edges.
To make bows Cut 1¾-inch length from a stick of gum. Cut the smaller piece in half lengthwise. Pinch the center of the longer piece of gum. Wrap one of the smaller pieces around the pinched area to finish the bow.
To make swirl patterns Spoon vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Cut a small (1 ⁄8-inch) corner from the bag and pipe swirled lines of vanilla frosting on top of the sugared cupcakes.
To make zebra print Spoon dark chocolate frosting into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Snip a small (1 ⁄8-inch) corner from the bag. Following the basic method above, pipe wavy lines of dark chocolate frosting on top of the vanilla-frosted cupcake before rolling it in white sugar.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Recipe: No-bake emotipops
- 1 frozen pound cake (16 ounces; Sara Lee Family Size), thawed
- 18 plastic forks
- 1/4 cup canned dark chocolate frosting
- Black, neon pink, red, yellow, and green food coloring (McCormick)
- 1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
- 1 black licorice lace
Place the pound cake on a work surface. Trim 1 ⁄8 inch from each short end to straighten. Cut the cake into nine 1-inch-thick slices. Place a slice, cut side down, on the work surface and cut two 1¾-inch circles with a round cookie cutter or the rim of a small glass. Repeat with the remaining slices to make 18 cake circles (reserve the scraps for a layered dessert).
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Carefully insert the tines of a plastic fork into one side of each cake circle to secure and place them on the cookie sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Tint the dark chocolate frosting black with the black food coloring and spoon into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal. Divide the vanilla frosting among 4 microwavable bowls. Tint each bowl of frosting a different bright color of pink, orange (using red and yellow), yellow, and green with the food coloring. Cover the bowls with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
Working with one bowl of frosting at a time, microwave the frosting, stopping to stir frequently, until it has the texture of lightly whipped cream, about 10 seconds. Remove the cake pops from the freezer. Dip the cake into the melted frosting to cover, allowing the excess frosting to drip back into the bowl. Press the bottom of the cake circle against the rim of the bowl to remove any excess frosting and return to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining cake pops and frosting (two colors will have 4 pops each and two colors will have 5 pops each). Refrigerate until the frosting is set, about 20 minutes.
Cut the licorice lace into 1 ⁄8-inch, ¼-inch, and ½-inch pieces. Snip a very small (1 ⁄16-inch) corner from the bag with the black frosting. For the eyes, use tweezers and a toothpick to press 2 of the smaller pieces of licorice, cut side down, into the frosting of each cake pop. Use more pieces of licorice, along with black frosting piped from the ziplock bag for round shapes, to create the emoticon symbols, using the photo as a guide. Transfer to a serving plate.
Makes 18 expressions
Recipe: Whiteout cake
- For whiteout cake
- 1 cup white decorating sugar
- 12 marshmallows
- 125 mini marshmallows (one 10.5-ounce bag)
- 1 cup white candy melting wafers (Wilton)
- 2 recipes Almost-Homemade Vanilla Buttercream (recipe below)
- 1 recipe Perfect Cake Mix (recipe below) made with devil’s food cake, baked in two 8-inch round and one 51/2-inch round pans
- 86 white candy pearls
- For Perfect Cake Mix
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 box (18.25 ounces) cake mix (such as classic vanilla, yellow, or devil’s food)
- 1 cup buttermilk (in place of the water called for on the box)
- Vegetable oil (the amount called for on the box)
- 4 large eggs (in place of the number called for on the box)
- For Almost Homemade Vanilla Buttercream
- 3 sticks (3⁄4 pound) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 container (16 ounces) marshmallow creme (Marshmallow Fluff)
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more if desired
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Food coloring (optional)
A blizzard of marshmallow petals coated in glittering white sugar and dotted with pearlized candies makes this layer cake a spectacular finish to a holiday meal. And because the flowers can be made ahead of time, it is also a perfect DIY wedding cake.
For Perfect Cake Mix:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper liners or line the bottom of the pan(s) with waxed paper to fit and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Following the box’s instructions, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl: use the buttermilk in place of the water specified (the box will call for more water than the buttermilk here), use the amount of oil called for on the box (typically, white or yellow cake calls for 1 ⁄3 cup; chocolate cakes call for ½ cup), and add the 4 eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until thick, 2 minutes longer.
Using the chart on the opposite page, divide the batter between the pans, smooth the top(s), and follow the indicated baking times. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cake(s) to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Invert, lift off the pan(s), and cool completely.
Cakes or cupcakes that are not used immediately may be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 weeks.
For Almost-Homemade Vanilla Buttercream:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the marshmallow creme and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. If the mixture seems too stiff , soften in the microwave for no more than 10 seconds and beat again until smooth.
Taste, and add up to 1 cup more confectioners’ sugar, if desired, for sweetness (the frosting may be tinted at this time).
For the flowers, place the white decorating sugar in a medium bowl. Make the petals for the large flowers by cutting the large marshmallows crosswise into 5 thin slices, allowing the pieces to fall into the sugar. Shake the bowl and press the cut sides of the marshmallows into the sugar to coat. Make the petals for the small flowers by cutting the mini marshmallows in half on the diagonal, then coat in sugar as above. Remove the sugared marshmallow petals and store in an airtight container.
Line three cookie sheets with waxed paper. Place the white candy melts in a ziplock bag (do not seal the bag). Microwave for 10 seconds to soften, massage the wafers in the bag, return to the microwave, and repeat the process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Snip a small (1 ⁄8-inch) corner from the bag. For the large flowers, pipe a dot of melted candy about the size of a dime onto the waxed paper and arrange 5 large marshmallow slices, sugared side up, in the shape of a flower in the dot of melted candy (see photo). Repeat to make 12 flowers. Refrigerate for 5 minutes, or until the candy is set. For the small flowers, pipe a dot of melted candy the size of a bean onto the waxed paper. Arrange 5 mini marshmallow pieces, sugared side up, in the shape of a flower on top of the melted candy. Repeat to make 50 flowers. Refrigerate for 5 minutes, or until the candy is set. (The flowers can be made up to this point and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)
Spoon ¼ cup of the vanilla frosting into a ziplock bag. Place one 8-inch cake layer on a work surface. Use toothpicks around the outer edge of the cake to mark the cake into 3 layers. Cut the cake horizontally into layers with a serrated knife, using the toothpicks as a guide. Repeat with the other 8-inch cake. Cut the smaller cake into 4 layers.
Transfer one 8-inch cake layer to a serving platter. Spread a scant 1 ⁄3 cup of the remaining vanilla frosting on top of the cake. Place another layer on top and repeat the process 4 times, ending with frosting, to make 6 layers. Spread a thin coating of vanilla frosting on the side of the cake to smooth. Place a 5½-inch cake layer on a serving plate. Spread a scant ¼ cup vanilla frosting on top. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat the process 2 times, ending with frosting, to make 4 layers. Spread a thin coating of vanilla frosting on the side of the cake to smooth and fill any gaps. Refrigerate both cakes until set, about 1 hour.
Place the small cake on top of the large cake. Spread the remaining vanilla frosting on top of the cake and smooth. Snip a small corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Carefully peel the large and small flowers from the waxed paper. Arrange the flowers as desired on the top and sides of the cake, adding some vanilla frosting, if necessary, to secure. Pipe small dots of vanilla frosting in the center of the flowers and add the pearl candies, using 3 for each large flower and 1 for each small flower.
Makes 1 cake, serves 20
© 2013 NBCNews
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