Monday, October 1, 2012

German Chocolate & Camo Cupcakes

Something terrible happened last week.

It was actually a day i have feared for a very long time.

My son, my oldest baby, my longtime joy... turned 18.

See, i told you!! It was horrible!

Okay, well it wasn't HORRIBLE. Not really. But i was sad. And i cried. Not like a river of tears, but there were a few. And maybe a sniffle. And chocolate.

Speaking of chocolate! (See how my brain switches gears?) When i asked him what he wanted, he was very specific. He wanted a German chocolate cake. It's his favorite! (Mine, too!) So i said i would do that for his actual birthday (which was on Thursday) and i would make him camo cupcakes for when he invited friends over for a cookout. He liked the idea.

This was actually the first German chocolate cake i have ever made from scratch. Every time i said i was making it from scratch, if someone new was in the conversation, they'd say "Even the frosting?" Yes, even the frosting. I don't think anyone i know had ever had one totally from scratch before, so i was interested to see how similar the frosting would be to what you get in a can.

It. Was. Amazing. Heaven on a plate. Seriously. This is the kind of cake that can kill a diet. Or even make you decide cake is better than being skinny and ever getting your butt in those size 7's again.

My husband actually hid the rest of the cake away in our bedroom to prevent teenage boys from eating it in the middle of the night during their sleepover. It was that good.

I didn't toast my coconut or pecans because my recipe, which came from my BH&G cook book, did not ask me too. I saw other recipes saying to do it but i hate toasting coconut if i don't have to. 

For his birthday, the camo cupcakes! You make them a lot like you make any other multi-colored cupcake. I got the tutorial i used from Pinterest, and i will link you there. I feel uncomfortable doing things i see on Pinterest and making my own tutorial on it, you know? So, here is the link: CLICK!

My icing looks so creamy soft. Normally the edges of my icing fray a little. I have to remember that less sugar is better sometimes.

These were fun to make and everyone really loved them. I didn't have ANY left when everyone left, thanks to the teenage boys. Not that i really thought i would.

A Doll Cake For My Dollface

This last couple of weeks i have been very busy! It's amazing, really, how much i have crammed into my life lately.

Late August kicks off what i fondly term "Birthday Season".Of course, you may have seen my daughter's Pixie Hollow cake, but this whole thing escalates in September, when birthdays are rampant. Thankfully, not everyone wants me to make cake. I would never leave my kitchen!

Midway through September is my beautiful niece's birthday. She is our gorgeous brunette, the only one in her whole generation (of our tiny family branch).

She asked for a doll cake for her birthday. I was a little nervous, but excited!

I have to admit, i had this elaborate vision in my head of what i could do to a doll cake if i had time and tools and, i admit it, a heck of a lot more skill than i currently possess. It was gorg. She would have a fondant dress, and it would cut away in the front for a petticoat, and there would be ruffles...

In my head.

However, that proved to be way more difficult than i expected. Just the dress alone gave me fits and i *finally* figured out a place in my life where math could be useful. That's right. I said it. This one time.

Dress logistics aside, it was honestly one of my easier cakes. If i had stuck to icing and not tried to wrestle for 2 hours with fondant, i could have been done a lot quicker, and don't think i won't remember that next time.

I chose a Skipper™ doll for the doll portion of the cake, specifically because she looks so very much like my niece. Even so, she was almost too tall for the cake. I had to bend her knees and put her in a semi-chair pose to get her in there, and even then her hips stuck out of the cake by at least an inch. Next time, i won't be afraid to fill the pan even further to make the cake taller. Even so, a regular sized Barbie would probably not fit. The box says the pan dimensions are 5 1/2 inches tall, and that is far shorter than a standard Barbie™ doll's legs. I think i measured a regular doll at at least 7 1/2 inches from hips to the balls of her feet.

With icing, you can't tell the doll was slightly too tall.

So, she wanted a strawberry cake swirled with white cake. I had an even better idea. Strawberry zebra cake! Yum! It's a King Arthur Flour recipe, but i modified it for my own use here. I made 2 bowls of white cake batter. In one bowl i used a box of thawed and drained strawberries plus a couple tablespoons of the drained juice and mixed it into a strawberry flavored cake.

You pour a big dollop of one color into the pan. Then you add a big dollop of the other color batter in the middle of the first dollop. You keep doing this over and over and the cake batter spreads, and it creates this zebra pattern on the inside. It's really cool! I did this to the inside of the doll cake as well.

In order to make strawberry buttercream icing, i creamed by butter, and then added the remainder of the juice from the strawberries i thawed for the cake and beat that and the butter really well. Then i added in my powdered sugar and added in some strawberry flavoring i got at the store because i didn't think there was enough and wanted it to really taste like strawberries.

See, this is my poof that i CAN work with fondant, at least in small batches. lol

Fully decorated doll cake. I was trying to go for two-tones ruffles, but mainly all you can see is purple.

I wanted there to be enough cake for whoever might be there, and the doll cake was only about 8 inches in diameter. So i made a dance floor for her to stand on. My writing could still use work.

The finished product at the party! Not too shabby!

The inside of the cake:

I learned a lot of lessons with this one. Which is sort of the point. I enjoyed making this cake as much as the birthday girl enjoyed receiving it!