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Flower cupcakes for my daughter’s 3rd birthday
Posted: 22 October 2009 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi all, haven’t done much baking that is worth showing off lately, but I got it together to make some flower style cupcakes for my elder daughter’s third birthday party yesterday. The cupcakes were baked in two batches, both recipes from Heavenly Cakes. First one was the yellow downy cake derivative to use up the egg yolks from the whites taken by the frosting. Second was the cream cake recipe, since we had some cream in the fridge we needed to use up. I was 1/2 cup short of cream, so I tried to make it up by using some butter and dry buttermilk powder, and trying to whip it sort of like in the Real Old-fashioned Whipped Cream recipe in TCB. This was a bit marginal, but the cake tasted good and rose well.

Frosting is swiss meringue buttercream. I know, I know, the mousseline is the queen of buttercreams, and I do love it, but (possibly because lack of practice) it takes me significantly less time and stress to make the SMBC. I made up a batch from 5 egg whites, 1c sugar, and 4 sticks butter, plus vanilla for flavor, then a few days later my housemate made another half batch to supplement. I got tempted to try this buttercream originally because of the great youtube video by Dyann Bakes on the subject.

I’ve done very very little cake decorating, especially piping and buttercream work, and even that has been super time consuming and not come out as well as I liked. I’m sure its all about practice. But I was quite surprised at how well these turned out. I have a little ~20 piece Ateco tip assortment, and started out using ziploc bags for frosting sacks. But I found these too squishy and my hands got tired squeezing them, and also heated up the frosting too much. So I tried making parchment cones according to instructions in TCB, and those worked wonderfully. Also great because you can make a bunch of tiny ones for the colors you just need a touch of.

For decorating, I used the instructions in this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Little-Cakes-Whimsical-Bakehouse-Cupcakes/dp/0307382826/ref=pd_sim_b_2
with the oreo center of the sunflowers idea coming from:
http://www.amazon.com/Hello-Cupcake-Irresistibly-Playful-Creations/dp/0618829253/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256226889&sr=8-1
I didn’t have exactly the tips they recommended in some cases, but I’m happy with how it turned out. They looked great and tasted great too.

No one could believe that the cupcakes were homemade, and even after they found that out minds were doubly blown by fact that the dad made them! I’m probably patting myself on the back a bit too much here, but hopefully people on this website can understand the feeling of pride in a cake well made.

I spent one weekend day baking cupcakes and mixing frosting, then one night after the kids went to bed until about midnight doing the roses and hydrangeas. Then another late night making all the rest of the flowers. My housemate helped out the second night. All of them got frozen as soon as they were frosted, then transported frozen to the park where we had the party. They sat out for about 45 minutes before we ate them and were pretty much defrosted by then.

A couple more pictures here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/holly.gates/VioletS3rdBirthdayParty#

Yay!

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Posted: 22 October 2009 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Your cupcakes are absolutely beautiful!!!!  You should be proud of a job very well done.

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Posted: 22 October 2009 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Holly Gates - 22 October 2009 04:09 PM

No one could believe that the cupcakes were homemade, and even after they found that out minds were doubly blown by fact that the dad made them! I’m probably patting myself on the back a bit too much here, but hopefully people on this website can understand the feeling of pride in a cake well made.

Pat yourself on the back all you want. You deserve it. You did an outstanding job!!! They are absolutely beautiful! Picture perfect!

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Posted: 22 October 2009 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Holly - gorgeous cupcakes. I agree with others that you should be very proud of yourself. Those cupcakes look so perfect.

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Posted: 22 October 2009 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Those cupcakes are really, really lovely. They looked so real, I wanted to sniff them :-D

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Posted: 22 October 2009 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Wow!  They are amazing - and so many different colours and flowers.  Did you work from photographs of the flowers?

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Posted: 22 October 2009 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Wow!  I bow to your superior piping skills.  These are beautiful!

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Posted: 22 October 2009 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Absolutely gorgeous!  Those could win prizes!

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Posted: 22 October 2009 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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So impressive…wow! I can just imagine the smile on your daughter’s face.

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Posted: 22 October 2009 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks for the compliments! Before I did these I thought my piping skills were pretty poor, but there is nothing like doing a lot of piping to improve piping skills!

The hydrangeas, roses, and dahlias were pretty much straight out of the Whimsical Bakehouse cupcake book. The colors on the hydrangeas and roses changed as I did them since my stripe of white in the bag got used up before the rest of the color. So they started out whiter and trended towards all color as the frosting ran out of the bag. I ran out of rose frosting about halfway through on one cupcake, so I filled the middle with little dots of yellow to make the ‘peony’ on the lower tier.

I guess the roses turned out more carnation-like, but thats ok.

The sunflower piping technique was also out of the Whimsical Bakehouse cupcake book, but while they melted a black center in with wafer chocolate I just used oreo halves like in Hello Cupcake!, then dotted with buttercream.

The brick red mini ones on the top tier were supposed to be ‘poppies’, which are outlined in the Whimsical Bakehouse cupcake book, though mine didn’t turn out quite as nice as theirs. I had originally mixed this color to use for the dahlias, but it turned out way too dark so I used it for poppies. In the book they melt wafer chocolate in for the center, but I just dotted black buttercream instead.

Part of why there are so many different kinds is that my wife Becky told me to frost a bunch more cupcakes since we were going to have more guests than we originally thought. So on the second night my housemate LeeAnn made some more frosting and wanted to make some orangey sunflowers. She colored some of her frosting and did those. Meanwhile I did a few mini-roses, red ones with white tips. These turned out more pink and with a higher white percentage than I planned, but they looked good too.

Then I wanted to tear through the rest of the mini cupcakes with something easy while LeeAnn finished the orange sunflowers, so I tried out some daisies. The piping technique is described in the Whimsical Bakehouse cupcake book for Gerbera Daisies. Not sure if I was doing it right, but it mostly worked. They did something else for the centers, but I just dotted in some of the orange that was leftover from LeeAnn’s sunflowers.

-Holly

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Posted: 22 October 2009 08:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I like how frilly the petals are on the hydrangea and carnation cupcakes. The two-tone effect on the blue petals is impressive. Well done! I’ve always wanted to do a bouquet of flower cupcakes for a birthday party, but my kids always nix the idea in favor of a cake.

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Posted: 22 October 2009 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Wonderful job!  From reading your post, I never expected such lovely, professional looking cupcakes, you really did well!  Yes, a pat on the back is well-deserved.  How did your daughter react?

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Posted: 22 October 2009 10:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Beautiful cupcakes! Your piping skills are really impressive, the flowers all look so gorgeous.

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Posted: 23 October 2009 02:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Very tasteful use of color and piping.  GRAND!

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Posted: 23 October 2009 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Julie - 23 October 2009 12:33 AM

Wonderful job!  From reading your post, I never expected such lovely, professional looking cupcakes, you really did well!  Yes, a pat on the back is well-deserved.  How did your daughter react?

Actually she had looked through the cupcake books with me and had requested the pool balls or some of the face style ones from Hello Cupcake! But I wanted to make the flowers. And she thought they were neat when she saw me making them, and of course was very excited to help.

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Posted: 23 October 2009 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Wow, these flower cupcakes are STUNNING.  Especially all placed together like that.  The huge variety of styles and colours works so well.

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