Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sprinkled Heart Little Cakes



The other day, I was in the Target bargain section near the front of the store and I saw all sorts of cute accessories for Valentine's Day themed baking.  They have sprinkles, heart shaped measuring cups, red and pink spatulas, and lo and behold, heart shaped mini-cake silicone baking sheet.  Yes, please!  I tried searching Target's website so I can show you exactly what I used.  I think that these cuties would be better with a very small heart cake.  The one I used was about this size, but it would be more bite sized with this pan

To make these mini heart cakes, you need a heart shaped cake pan, non-pariel sprinkles (I bought mine at Target), and chocolate melts.

I used a vanilla  cake recipe (you can obviously use whatever flavor you would like) for my Little Cakes.  I should have purchased more than one of the sheets as each one only makes two little hearts, so it took a while to make them.  I baked them for about as long as a cupcake, perhaps slightly longer.  Be sure to use some sort of cooking spray or cake release so that the hearts pop out when done.  I personally like Wilton's Cake Release, which I put in cake pans and molds using a pastry brush.  


So cute! I cut the top off of the one on the left since it rose unevenly.  I was really impressed with how they came out!  It's the first shaped cake mold that I have (well, other than the Big Top cupcake mold).

The next step involves melting chocolate.  I used red Wilton chocolate melts as that's what I had around, but obviously any color would be fine.  I melted my chocolate candy melts in the microwave and poured it over the cake.  It was very messy.  I used a cooling rack with a plate under it to really be sure to cover the visible parts of the cake.  A wooden spoon is helpful for making sure the chocolate coats the cake evenly.




Allow the chocolate to harden a slightly before moving the chocolate covered cake via spatula to a bowl partially filled with the sprinkles.



Spoon the reserved sprinkles over the top and sides of the cake.  You have to get a little creative with wiggling the cake around to be sure that it's completely covered.  Again, wait a little bit to allow the chocolate to further harden on the cake so that it is easier to remove the cake from the bowl to completely dry on another plate.  

The cakes come out looking very pretty.  The only downside was that after eating one, my mouth, teeth, and tongue were pink from the sprinkles, which is part of the reason why it might be better to use a smaller heart.  Nonetheless, they are a great little treat for your Valentine ;-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Disney Pixar Cars Cupcakes




I had the pleasure of making cupcakes for my attending's son's third birthday today.  Carlos really likes Lightning McQueen from the Disney movie "Cars" so I decided to use that as a theme for the cupcakes.  I found some Cars cupcake liners at a party supply store (some similar ones are here) as well as some hard sugar decorations from the movie (available online here



Here are what the edible frosting decorations look like:







I decided to go once again for my vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  They are so easy to make and they were a big success last week.  Here's a tip for those of you that like to use character cupcake liners: double up on the liners.  Wilton's cupcake liners are typically not grease proof, which means that once you bake them they will lose their brightness and become more translucent.  




I didn't have enough of the hard sugar decorations to cover all of the cupcakes, so I used some large star sprinkles in the same color theme.  




The frosting is done with a Wilton Decorating Tip 2D.




I used some plastic cupcake containers that I purchased from a local bakery and decorated them with cupcake ribbon.  


In their proper place





Happy birthday, Carlos! 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Surgery Cupcakes




I started my surgery clerkship two weeks ago and it sure has been busy!  While that means I am learning lots of things (like how to tie a proper knot and how to evaluate a surgical patient), it also means less time for baking and blogging.  Sad face. However, I had Martin Luther King, Jr day off last week and that meant cupcake time.  And after being in the hospital 15 hours a day what kind of design did I choose?  SURGERY!

Oh yes.  Surgery cupcakes.  Somehow my classmates and I are able to talk about abscesses and weeping wounds while eating pudding, so I thought that laparotomy cupcakes wouldn't be unappetizing to them.  I used a my vanilla cupcake recipe and Martha Stewart's fluffy vanilla frosting.  I thought about putting some blue and red sprinkles into the cupcake mix so that it would look like veins and arteries, but I thought that was going a little overboard.

Laparotomy Cupcakes



I used caramel candies with cream fillings for the abdomens.  I scooped out the cream filling and filled the depression with red pop rocks that I had lying around (I keep all kinds of candies around the house just in case), however it would be easy to fill it with red icing.  What was neat is that the moisture in the icing made the pop rocks melt and gave it a translucent, serosanginous look to them.

I covered the cupcakes with a light layer of frosting and then place the prepared abdomen on the center of the cupcake.  Next, I used an offset spatula to frost the sides of the caramel candy so that the cupcake was rounded on top.

I then used blue gel food coloring to color some ready-made fondant.  It is important to use gel food coloring when dyeing fondant.  Also, it's important to wear gloves, otherwise your fingers turn blue.  Trust me, I know from experience.  I rolled it out on a clean surface and used the top of a class to cut out a circle.  I used a small square cookie cutter to make a hole in the center of the fondant.  And viola! Sterile drape.



I used a little square of white fondant and an edible black marker to make the little instrument tray (scissors, retractors, scalpel).  If you imagine, it is reminiscent of an operating room.  I am actually on the minimally invasive service, but showing an open surgery seemed easier to replicate in cupcake form.



If only the OR was really this yummy.

Just in case someone didn't find the laparotomy cuppies to be appetizing, Sara helped me make some other, less graphic surgery-inspired cupcakes.  They were all done using fondant (you could just as easily use marzipan, however).


Surgical gloves



Pick-ups



Scissors



Surgeon's hat and mask




I am hoping to make more medical cupcakes in the future.  It is time consuming to make all of the shapes and a pain to dye the fondant, but everyone was so excited to see them in lecture that it made all of the hard work worth it :)

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