Homemade lollipops? Sure! I have time for that

May 25, 2012

Someone has a 1st birthday coming up!! That means 3 things:

Mixed emotions going on here, but I have been focusing on party planning for the past month or so. Well, party prep really since the planning has been going on a lot longer than a month!! I will have a post or two to share with you after the big day, but I’m going to share one thing beforehand.

The major party project I took on (other than the cake/cupcakes which I will be doing next week) is something that I decided to do kind of on a whim. I wasn’t planning on doing favors or goodie bags since we only have a few kids attending and adults don’t tend to care about or expect a favor. But then I saw this:

And since we’re doing a jungle theme and our nickname for Caelan is “monkey” well, I just had to make these lollipops!

I picked up all of the supplies I’d need at JoAnn’s and since I’d never made lollipops before, I checked out a couple of YouTube videos with demonstrations. It’s not rocket science, but it is meticulous and time consuming work. Once I got the hang of it, I could make 6 in about an hour. So a few evenings a week over the course of a few weeks, I made lots and lots of lollipops! I had a little trouble with the green candy in particular – it tended to stick. Not sure why. But overall, I love how they came out and I think they will be perfect for our little monkey’s party!

Butterflies for Ella’s 2nd

January 24, 2011

A fellow Nestie, Kathryn, asked me to make a birthday cake for her daughter’s 2nd birthday in mid-December. She asked for a half sheet cake with 3D butterflies.

Prior to this cake, I only owned one 11×15 cake pan because I wasn’t sure it’d be worth it to have two. But being able to bake two at a time is definitely a time saver, so I picked up a second pan before I made this cake.

I made 2 recipes of a basic yellow cake (one for each pan), plus a single recipe of chocolate ganache for the filling, and a triple recipe of cream cheese icing to cover the cake.

For the butterflies, I used a technique that I’ve used before from Hello, Cupcake! – and instructions from Annie’s Eats. I used pink candy melts to make the wings, and then I sprinkled on some pearl decors. I used mini marshmallows to make the wings stand up on the cake.

I’m told that the cake was a hit with the adults and the birthday girl munched on butterfly wings, so that sounds like a success to me 🙂

Butterflies for a Baby Shower

October 11, 2010

My sister-in-law, Jen, asked me to make a cake for a baby shower she was having for a coworker of hers. The mom-to-be is expecting a girl but Jen didn’t want the cake to be too PINK. She showed me the inspiration picture below and asked for purple and pink butterflies, and possibly combed sides on the cake.

[photo credit]

For the butterflies, I used a technique from Hello Cupcake! – a book with tons of creative cupcake designs. Annie, of Annie’s Eats, posted about these cupcakes last year and I basically followed her directions with a few modifications.

I used white chocolate candy melts (because I stopped by Walmart instead of Michael’s and they only had white) and I colored them using Violet and Rose Wilton gel colors. This type of color isn’t exactly what you’re supposed to use on candy melts and after the wings were set, the color wasn’t very solid. But it worked out okay in this case given that the wings were swirled and not smooth anyway. I made 8 butterflies.

The cake is an 8″ round white cake. I tried a new white cake recipe this time and I was very pleased. I read this blog post from The Way the Cookie Crumbles that compares 3 different white cake recipes. I went with Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake and it was white, moist and delicious. The only issue I had was with the height of the cakes. One recipe made 2 8″ rounds and they were each barely an inch tall. Once I leveled them, the cake would be very short. I ended up making one more 8″ round and making this a 3 layer cake. It came out to be about 4 inches tall in the end.

This cake had a raspberry filling. I had planned to make the filling from scratch, but I was short on time, so I used raspberry jam. I put a very thin layer of buttercream under the filling to help prevent the filling from bleeding into the cake.

I also used a new vanilla buttercream recipe that I found in this blog post from Annie’s Eats. It’s butter and powdered sugar, and no shortening. It also has a couple tablespoons of heavy cream. It was nice and fluffy, tasty, easy to work with, and crusted well. I will definitely be using this recipe again!