55 cupcakes and counting…

I started this post in July… when I had baked 55 cupcakes in one night for a few events the next day (two job anniversaries at work, a birthday, a going-away)… but realized that I bake cupcakes pretty often and never blog about them because they aren’t cool enough or cute enough. So this has turned into my tribute to all those prosaic cupcakes that are lost to the depths of the stomachs of the people around me.

Another commemorative event is that I used up 250 cupcake wrappers as of last Friday. May not seem like a lot to those who watch “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network, where they have to make 1000 in 2 hours, but for me? That’s a ton.

Let’s begin!

These are part of the 55 made for my dept at work. “30” for a 30 year anniversary at the company. “See you down the hall” for someone who was transitioning to another job, but right down the hall. . . Green and white, just because. They were all chocolate cupcakes and vanilla buttercream frosting.

Same goes for this photo below. 2 year anniversary and a “good luck!” for “see ya buddy, you’ll be missed,” job promotion. Thanks to Lala for helping with her impeccable piping skillz!

Next up? Decadent chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate ganache, dusted with a little cocoa powder and finished with a side of fresh strawberries. This was for a girl’s night, complete with puzzles and movies.

Below are some lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream frosting. I tried to jazz up such a simple cake/frosting combo by piping different designs on them. I really like the flowery look, very wedding-esque. These were for a potluck though.

To continue with the lemon theme, I helped Bri bake her friend some Lemon cupcakes with strawberry puree filling and cream cheese frosting. See below for 1. the full cupcake and 2. the innards.

The cupcakes below are chocolate cupcakes, filled with a chocolate-raspberry ganache, and topped with vanilla buttercream and berries. Although I liked the fudginess of these chocolate cupcakes, I still prefer the ones above, as they are moist and lighter.

Ah, these little green guys are from way way way way back in the day. I just never posted them. They are green tea cupcakes, made for a “desert dessert” party. I basically took a white cake recipe and added tons of green tea powder (matcha) into the batter and the vanilla frosting. I like the color, though I’d have to say the flavor was a bit underwhelming. Texture too. Meh, maybe better luck next time.

Oh dears, I am expiring. Enough cupcakery for tonight.

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Gradulations

Oh my, another post for May, I’m becoming too ambitious.

My friend Bri has been getting me “cake-gigs” with her friends who are celebrating! This weekend was a graduation for her friend Dave. He and two other friends just graduated from NAU with a degree in Education.

Amber, Dave’s wife, organized the cake and party. It was to be for 40 people (at least), preferably in the shape of a graduation cap, with the NAU colors (dark blue and yellow), and with a light blue tassle for Education.

At first I wanted to do a giant hat, and that’s it… a giant mortar board graduation cap. However, with a 14″ round pan as the base, it would have looked a little more than slightly ridiculous.

Scratch that idea.

Instead, we came up with a design where there’s a nice 9″ round hat sitting on a single 14″ round base. Proportions, I’m learning, are not as easy as they seem.

Anyways, Amber requested vanilla cake with chocolate ganache filling. An exciting time for me to use my baker’s scale (thanks for that great Christmas gift, Pezz and Mel) and a recipe for whipped chocolate ganache:

Chocolate Ganache

– 9 oz bittersweet chocolate

– 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions: Microwave whipping cream in a ceramic or glass bowl for 1 min. Remove from the microwave and pour chocolate chips/chunks/pieces into the hot cream. Let sit for 1-2 min. Whisk to an even, smooth and creamy consistency. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight, covered tightly with saran wrap. The next day, whip the ganache until it resembles a nice, thick, chocolate frosting.

Fill the cooled cakes with this rich, decadent frosting:

I wasn’t sure how ganache would work with fondant, as it’s a bit stickier and less solid than buttercream, so I stuck with my old stand-by this time… and butter-creamed the layers to prep for fondant.

The base layer:

Finally, fondant time! This was – and is- always the most difficult part- making and coloring fondant in a good sized quantity to ensure an even covering of the cake. Sigh, Bri put her muscles into this one, she was my designated kneader of the fondant.

Navy is probably one of the most difficult colors to achieve because of its darkness. For the flat mortar board top, I covered a 10.5″ square with blue fondant.

I covered the base in “golden yellow.” Looks a bit like cheese in the photo, no?

I mixed a little blue with a ton of white gum paste to make the tassel. I basically just rolled out a rectangle, made some vertical cuts into it to create the tassel look, and then rolled the top together, securing it with a little watered down golden yellow.

A close-up of the tassel on the hat.

The entire cake and its transportation device: A lovely cookie sheet and a no-stick blue drawer liner. I don’t really know what font I was going for with this… but it works. 🙂

Lastly, two photos taken at the graduation party. Ever so slightly different.

Congratulations Grads!