Spring Is in the Air

With spring (maybe) just around the corner, that means we are in for some rain showers, which then brings the flowers. Here are some activities to get your little ones excited about what’s in store for the next few weeks. … Continue reading

Decorating Cookies & Cupcakes Using Stencils

Stencils are a quick and easy way to get professional looking results. They are usually made of food grade plastic and allow you to apply a pattern either using dusting powder, an airbrush or royal icing. The color is applied to the … Continue reading

Dinosaur Cookies, Suckers & Cupcakes

For the future paleontologist in your family, here’s a few sweet dinosaur projects you can work on together and enjoy! Dinosaur Cookies 1 cup butter, softened 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups sugar 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 eggs 1/2 … Continue reading

Strawberry Pink Champagne

StrawberryChampagneCupcakeCelebration

This elegantly displayed cupcake is the perfect dessert to start the new year off right. Club soda gives this cupcake that ‘fizz’, just like the real thing! Bake the cupcakes and make the filling and buttercream before hand and assemble the flutes closer to the party for best results.

You will need:

  • approximately 24 champagne flutes
  • 1 recipe for Strawberry Pink Champagne Cupcakes (below)
  • 1 recipe for Champagne Pastry Crème Filling (below)
  • 1 recipe for Champagne Buttercream (below)
  • 22-26 fresh strawberries
  • edible white glitter

Strawberry Pink Champagne Cupcake

  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, diced
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 tsp. concentrated champagne flavoring oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tbs. strawberry icing fruit

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line mini cupcake pans. Combine club soda and champagne flavoring. Dice up 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries and soak in champagne flavored soda; 15-20 minutes. Set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition. Combine the vanilla and milk in a large measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Scrape down bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat until just combined. Gently fold in diced soaked strawberries (do not add the liquid) and strawberry icing fruit, until just incorporated. Scoop batter into prepared pans filling each 2/3 full and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cupcake springs back when top is pressed. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely before assembling champagne flutes.

Champagne Pastry Crème Filling

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 tsp. concentrated champagne flavoring oil
  • 2 tbs. cornstarch
  • 5 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 cup whipping cream

In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar, club soda and champagne flavoring in a saucepan; bring to a boil them remove from heat. Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/cream mixture. Pour one-third of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook. Return the remaining champagne/cream mixture to a boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla. Press filling through a mesh strainer to remove and lumps. Set aside to cool. In a separate mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until firm peaks form. Gently fold cream into cooled pastry cream.

Champagne Buttercream

  • 16 tbs. (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 7-8 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 tsp. concentrated champagne flavoring oil

Place butter in mixing bowl. Add confectioner’s sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract, milk, salt, club soda, and champagne flavoring; beat on high-speed until light and fluffy. Add more confectioner’s sugar for desired consistency.

To assemble the flutes: Cut 8-10 strawberries into cubes. Cut another 8-10 strawberries into slices. Reserve strawberries to cut into quarters for garnishing. Drop 3-4 strawberry cubes into each champagne flute. Insert one mini strawberry cupcake on top of the strawberries in each flute. Next, pipe a swirl of pastry crème on top of each cupcake using a pastry bag with a tip #2A. Add a few slices of strawberries, then pipe a swirl of champagne buttercream on top using a pastry bag with a tip #2A. Repeat layers by inserting another mini cupcake. After piping a final swirl of buttercream, top with quartered strawberry and sprinkle with edible glitter.

New Cutie Cupcake Cutter Sets

Exciting new products from Autumn Carpenter! These fun, new cutters allow you to create adorable accents for your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. 9 different sets available, each with 4 stainless steel cutters. Cut shapes out of fondant or gum paste … Continue reading

Basketball Cupcakes

basketball cupcakes

March Madness is upon us. Celebrate your bracket wins with these easy-to-make cupcakes. Make them with or without numbers from your favorite team’s players. These cupcakes are also great for celebrating the end of the season for school or intramural sports.

What you will need:

Bake and cool your cupcakes. Smoothly ice the top with an icing that will form a crust. Mix a small amount of brown fondant into your orange fondant. Knead the fondant until the color is completely blended and is a nice basketball orange color. Roll the fondant out to about a 1/8″ thickness and emboss with the basketball design from the Sports Ball Cookie Cutter Texture Set. Cut the fondant basketballs out using the medium-sized cutter from the Cupcake Top Fondant Cutters. For more in depth instructions, visit our blog, How-To Cover a Cupcake in Rolled Fondant.

Once the icing on the cupcakes has crusted, brush a thin layer of piping gel over the tops of the cupcakes. Attach the fondant to the top of each cupcake. Gently press down with your fingers to adhere. Let cupcakes set awhile before adding black lines.

1

From your computer, print off players numbers in your desired font and size. Or just print off numbers 0-9. Place a piece of parchment paper over the printer paper. Melt black candy coating in a microwave safe bowl and pour into a squeeze bottle. Make sure the squeeze bottle has a fine opening so that you can control the chocolate easier. Carefully trace over each number by outlining it and then filling it in. Be sure to put the chocolate on fairly thick so that they aren’t as fragile later on. Place the sheet of parchment in the freezer for just a minute or two.

2

Make the black lines on the basketball with an edible marker. Once all the lines are drawn, carefully remove the numbers from the parchment paper by running the paper downwards across the edge of a table or counter. Attach the numbers to the cupcakes with a dot of melted chocolate.

3

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Edible Rocks

These fun rock decorations can make any cake great! Chocolate pieces are shaped and then coated in a colorful candy shell to create these edible rocks. Chocolate rocks are great for dinosaur, outdoors and under the sea cakes, army and construction … Continue reading

Pink Awareness Ribbon Treats

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These cookies, cupcakes, and suckers make the perfect sweet treats for fundraising events, friends and family members, or just because. Pink Ribbon Suckers You will need: Ribbon sucker chocolate candy mold #90-9229 Sucker sticks … Continue reading

Taste of the Holidays ‘”Enjoying the Holidays”

Don’t miss our annual event filled with samples, recipes, great gift-giving ideas, demonstrations, and so much more! Register to attend either our Thursday night demonstrations or Friday afternoon demonstrations; demonstrations are the same both days. Demonstrations will include recipes and samples for you to enjoy.

Cost: $5 per demonstration or $10 for all 3

(We recommend registering in advance due to limited seating. Registration fee will be donated to Icing Smiles, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides custom celebration cakes and other treats to families impacted by the critical illness of a child. For more information about Icing Smiles, Inc., visit http://www.icingsmiles.org.)

Thursday, November 8 (Extended store hours; store closes at 9pm.)

4:00 – 5:00 pm Decorating with Texture: Learn how simple it is to decorate cookies and cupcakes that look like hours were spent to create fabulous-looking treats to serve at holiday parties or to give away as gifts. Cupcakes and cookies are decorated using Autumn Carpenter’s new Cupcake and Cookie Texture Tops.

5:30 – 6:30 pm Shaped Cakes: Custom holiday cakes aren’t so difficult when you start with a holiday-shaped pan. Various techniques and mediums will be demonstrated to decorate a variety of shaped cakes.

7:00 – 8:00 pm Holiday Truffles: Truffles are not just for Valentine’s Day. Learn how to take two simple recipes and transform them into a variety (flavors and shapes) of delectable holiday chocolates.

Friday, November 9

1:00 – 2:00 pm Decorating with Texture (see description above)

2:30 – 3:30 pm Shaped Cakes (see description above)

4:00 – 5:00 pm Holiday Truffles (see description above)

Saturday, November 10

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

On Saturday, our classroom turns into a “Sweet Shop” filled with samples, samples, and more samples. Customers will receive our Annual Holiday Event Collection of Recipes.

All About Texture Mats and How to Use Them

Texture mats are a great way to easily add texture to your decorating projects. Whether you need all over texture or just small accents with texture, you can easily achieve the look you want with these mats. Texture sheets come in a variety of patterns and can be used with many different mediums. Use the sheets to texture cookie and gingerbread dough, buttercream and fondant iced cookies, cakes, and cupcakes, and chocolate wrapped cakes or dipped treats.

The mats come in a range of sizes making them useful for all different projects. Larger mats can be cut for smaller projects. Most mats are made of flexible, lightweight plastic so that can easily be curved to fit your cake. You can use either side of the mat, for 2 different looks from the same mat. Wash the mats in warm soapy water and store flat if possible. If using the mat with fondant, lightly spray with cooking spray and wipe off the excess so that the fondant doesn’t stick.

Textured Cakes

Using with Buttercream Icing

Ice the cake and allow the buttercream to form a crust.

Use your hands to firmly press the texture mat onto the sides of the cake. (picture 1) Place the mat on the top of the cake and with a pastry roller, roll over the mat. (picture 2) Do not double roll.

Using with Fondant (method 1)

This method requires rolling out 2 separate pieces of fondant for the sides and top of the cake.

Ice cake and allow to crust. Brush a thin layer of piping gel over the buttercream. Roll fondant out into a long strip. (picture 1) Roll the strip to about 1/4″ thick. The strip needs to be long and tall enough to cover the sides of the cake. Pick the fondant up and place onto a texture mat. Using a lot of pressure, roll over the strip. (picture 2) Do not roll backwards or double roll.

If your mat is not long enough for the fondant strip, stop pressure just before the end of the mat. Flip the fondant over and peel off the mat. Match the pattern up so that the texture mat overlaps the textured surface just slightly. Begin rolling over the mat to finish texturing the entire strip.

Using a ruler and a pastry roller, cut the fondant strip to the exact circumference and height of the cake. (picture 1) Pick the strip up and carefully wrap around the side of the cake. (picture 2)

Roll out enough fondant to cover the top of the cake about 1/4″ thick. Place the fondant onto the texture mat and roll over with a lot of pressure. Flip over and peel off the texture mat. Place a cardboard the same size as the cake on top of the textured fondant. Use a pastry wheel to cut around the cardboard. (picture 1) Place the textured circle on top of the cake. (picture 2) Pipe a border on top of the seam to finish the cake.

Using with Fondant (method 2)

This method requires rolling out one large piece of fondant to cover the entire cake. Textured patterns may become slightly  stretched or distorted using this method.

Roll out the fondant as you normally would for covering a cake. Place the fondant onto the texture sheet. If the piece of fondant is larger than your rolling-pin is wide, you will have to texture the fondant in sections. Start at one end of the fondant and roll over using a lot of pressure. Texture the next section by rolling in the other direction. Flip the mat and fondant over and position over the cake. Peel off the texture mat. Follow the normal steps for covering a cake in fondant except do not use fondant smoothers to smooth out the fondant.

Textured Cupcakes

Roll fondant out to about 1/4″ thick. Place on top of texture mat and roll over fondant with firm pressure. (picture 1) Use an appropriate sized round cutter to cut out textured circles. (picture 2) Place the fondant circles onto prepared cupcake tops. Use your fingers to adhere fondant to icing.

Textured Cookies

Using with buttercream Icing

Ice cookies and allow the icing to form a crust. Place the texture mat on top of the icing. Gently press down to imprint the texture.

Using with Fondant

Ice cookies with buttercream or brush with piping gel. Roll out fondant about 1/4″ thick. Place the fondant onto the texture mat and roll over with firm pressure. Flip over and peel of texture mat. Use the same cutter that you used to cut out the cookies to cut out the fondant. Gently attach the fondant to the cookies.

Textured Chocolate

Dip items with flat surfaces in melted and tempered chocolate or melted candy coating. Place on a parchment sheet or silicone mat to set. Place a texture mat on top of the pieces while the chocolate is still wet. When the chocolate has set up, peel of the texture mat.

Here are just a few examples of what you can do with texture mats:

Bridal shower cookies with textured fondant accents

Best Wishes cake with textured top

Cupcakes with textured fondant tops and textured purse accents

Textured chocolate wrapped cake

Cowgirl cake with textured bandana topper