Toy Story Alien Cupcakes

Add excitement and fun to your next Toy Story themed party with these Alien Cupcakes!  By using my simple decorating techniques to make these Toy Story Alien Cupcakes, your guests will “be eternally grateful” for your effort!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

Today is Matty’s 2nd birthday! I can’t believe that 2 years of his life have already come and gone.   It just seems like yesterday that I was celebrating his first birthday with these Sesame Street cupcakes!

Two weekends ago, we celebrated his birthday with a huge joint party with his little friend, Lena.  Lena and Matty are just two weeks apart so it was a treat to be able to celebrate their birthdays together this year! The theme of the party was Toy Story!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

For the Toy Story party, I made a variety of fun, themed desserts including these super cute Alien Cupcakes! I had seen a variety of different ways to make these Alien cupcakes all over the internet, but since I’m in Germany I knew my supplies would be limited.

For the ears and antennae, I used green gummies.  Luckily, Germans love their gummies so I was able to find those easily out on the economy.  I used green gummy rope for the antennae and cut flat rectangle gummies into triangles for the ears.

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

The eyes are made from Wilton candy eyes.  If you can’t find these in your local craft store, you could just pipe white dollops of frosting and add a touch of black for the pupils.  Or maybe you could find white candies to use.  The mouth is made with a tube of black decorating gel.  Easy peasy!

One of the best things about making a cupcake like this is that when YOU make them at home, they don’t have to be exactly like mine.  Use what supplies you have at your disposal.  Use what your grocery store carries.  Improvise.   It’s not about taking exactly what I did and recreating it, it’s about making the cupcakes your own with the supplies you have!

To be honest… that’s the most fun part for me!  Figuring out how I can take the inspiration I got from someone else’s creation and turn it into my own! I hope that these Alien Cupcakes can do that for you!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |

Here’s more from the Toy Story Party:

And because it wouldn’t be a party if my friends didn’t get a little crazy… here’s Lena’s Mom, Mareile, being silly in her Alien shirt with the Alien cupcakes!!

{Tutorial} Toy Story Alien Cupcakes |


Toy Story Alien Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Serves: 2 dozen cupcakes
Alien Head
  • Green gummy rope
  • Green flat gummy squares
  • Black decorating gel (in a tube)
  • Candy eyes (I used Wilton brand)
  1. Prepare the batter as i am baker describes in the recipe link above.
  2. Line cupcake pans with green liners and fill ⅔ with batter.
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Once the cupcakes have cooled, core the center of each cupcake out and fill with strawberry jam.
  1. Prepare the frosting as directed in the link above.
  2. Tint the frosting green using the gel food coloring.
  1. Frost the top of each cupcake with the green frosting making sure to create a flat surface on the top.
  2. Place three candy eyes in the center of the cupcake. Squeeze a circle or squiggly line of black decorating gel under the eyes for the mouth.
  3. Cut the square gummies into triangles and place one above the eyes on the edge of the cupcake. One triangle on each side for the ears.
  4. Cut a ½ in piece of gummy rope and place it in the top, center of the cupcake.
To make things even simpler, use store bought cake mix for the cupcakes and use pre-made frosting to decorate. Focus on the Alien head and decorating!

Please PIN this image to save these party ideas for later or to share with your friends! THANK YOU!

Toy Story Party Desserts & Decorating Ideas |

Toy Story Cookies – Sheriff Woody’s Star & Jessie’s Hat

Creating a Toy Story themed birthday party doesn’t have to be difficult!  Just use the recipes and techniques described in this post to create  delicious, easy and crowd-pleasing Toy Story Cookies!

Toy Story Party:  Sherriff Woody's Star Cookies & Jessie's Hat Cookies

One of the most fun things I made for Matty’s Toy Story themed birthday party were the cookies.  These Sheriff Woody Star cookies & Jessie’s Hat cookies really brought the theme of the party to life on the dessert table!

And they were so simple to make!

Toy Story Party:  Sheriff Woody's Star Cookies |

They did, however, take a bit of time and planning to put together.   But, once I sat down to assemble them all, it was really quite easy!  My daughter, Emily, who is 14 actually decorated every single one of Sheriff Woody Star cookies!  If she can do it… you can too!

The cookies are made from my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I’ve shared on my blog over and over again… so I’m not going to post that recipe here.  But, you can find it here and here and here!

Toy Story Party:  Jessie's Hat Cookies |

The kids at Matty’s 2nd birthday part absolutely LOVED these cookies… almost as much as they loved the cake and cupcakes!  The red hats were I think they’re favorite.  I think they were drawn to the bright red color.  I mean, if I were a preschooler or toddler, I would be too.

The Sheriff Woody’s Stars though… they were Matty’s favorite.

Toy Story Party:  Sheriff Woody's Star Cookies |

In case you missed it… here’s the main post about the Toy Story Party.  There will be three more posts coming next week that will teach you how to make the S’mores Pops and Donut Push-Ups, the Alien cupcakes and the Checkerboard cake!  I’ll also be updating this post as well as the main post with all the links to these recipes and tutorials!

I really hope that my ideas and creations help to inspire you to create a Toy Story themed party for your little ones.   It’s really not as difficult as you may think to pull off a themed party like that that will truly WOW everyone in attendance!


Toy Story Cookies – Sheriff Woody
Cook time
Serves: 5-6 dozen cookies
Sheriff Woody's Star
  • 2 star shaped cookie cutters - 1 3in and 1 1in
  • Yellow sugar crystals/sprinkles
  • Yellow M&M candies
  • Buttercream
Jessie's Hat
  • 2 round cookie cutters - 1 3in and 1 1in
  • Red gel food coloring
  • Wilton #4 piping tip & disposable bag
  1. Prepare cookie dough as instructed in the link above.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll cookie dough ⅛in thick and cut out equal numbers of large/small stars and large small/circles. Place them on prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 5-6 minutes and remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Prepare buttercream as instructed in the link above.
Sheriff Woody's Hat Assembly
  1. Completely cover the top of one small star cookie with buttercream. Press the cookie into a bowl of the yellow sugar crystals until completely covered.
  2. Spread a small amount of frosting onto the under side of the star cookie then press onto a large star cookie.
  3. Put a small dollop of frosting onto each corner/tip of the star and press a yellow M&M onto it.
  4. Allow the frosting to dry for several hours before stacking in an air tight container until ready to eat.
Jessie's Hat Assembly
  1. Prepare the piping bag with the Wilton #4 piping tip. Place 1½ cups of buttercream into the bag and set aside.
  2. Using the red food gel coloring, color the remaining buttercream red. Allow the buttercream to set out for about 15 minutes so that the red color has time to soak into the frosting and really turn a dark red color.
  3. Frost the tops of the large round cookies with the red buttercream and set aside.
  4. Frost the tops of the small round cookies with buttercream.
  5. Piping a small amount of white frosting along the bottom edge of the small round cookie then gently press onto the top of the large frosting cookie, making sure it's centered.
  6. Pipe a small border around the edge of the red frosting on the large cookie and add hash marks to create the look of the stitching on Jessie's hat.
  7. Allow the frosting to set up on the cookies for several hours before stacking in an air tight container.
Cookies will last up to a week if stored in an air tight container.

PIN this image to share it with your friends or save it for later when you make your own Toy Story themed party!

Toy Story Party: Sheriff Woody's Star & Jessie's Hat Cookies |

Toy Story Party – Dessert & Decorating Ideas

Woody, Buzz and the gang come together in this easy, fun Toy Story themed dessert party that anyone can put together!

Toy Story Party DIY Dessert Table |

My son Matthew celebrated his 2nd birthday this past weekend and I put together the most elaborate dessert table I’ve ever done!  Now… don’t let that scare you from putting one together yourself!  All it took was a little planning, time management and help from friends to collect Toy Story props!

For the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the details of everything you see on this Toy Story Party Dessert Table… including the decorations, props and food with recipes too!

The only money I spent on this display table was the food.  Seriously.  I didn’t spend a dime on the decorations.  A few months before the party, I enlisted the help of my friends to keep their eye out for FREE Toy Story themed toys and party supplies.

Toy Story Party DIY Dessert Table |

To set the theme of the dessert table, I started with a disposable Toy Story plastic table cover.  I chose this because the party was at a public place and I wanted easy clean up.  If I were having the party at home, I would have used a table linen in blue or green.

Sunnyside Toy Box

So… what’s on the table?  Let’s start first with the main centerpiece of the table… the box of toys!  I absolutely loved this part of the table because it really brought the entire theme of the party together.  Best part… so simple to make!

Toy Story Party Dessert Table:  DIY Sunnyside Toy Box |

Supplies needed: 

  •  Medium/large cardboard box with no writing on the outside.
  •  Toy Story Toys: Buzz, Woody, Bullseye, Jessie, Mr/Mrs Potato Head, Rex, Barbie, Ham & Slinkie (not in my box, I couldn’t find them)
  •  Scissors, black sharpie or marker, smaller boxes or newspaper

To assemble the box:

  • With the black sharpie, write “Sunnyside” on the side of the box.
  • Place newspaper or smaller boxes inside your box to add height to the toys.
  • Arrange the toys so they appear to be coming out of the box.
  • The front flap of my box was slightly too long and was getting in the way of the display aspect of the box, so I cut in down about half.  This step is optional.

Etch-a-Sketch Food Signs

Of course, all the desserts on the table needed to have food signs to go with them.  I looked online for some on ETSY, but I just wasn’t in love with anything I saw, so I decided to make them myself. “Etch” was the perfect shape for the signs.  Rectangle with a large space in the center, plus it was super easy to make!  So easy… that I’ve made a blank template for you to download and use at your Toy Story Party too! Just click the link below to download!


Toy Story Party Dessert Table: Etch-a-Sketch Food Signs |

Supplies needed: 

  • Download template from the link above
  • Glue sticks
  • Yellow card stock
  • Black Marker

To assemble the signs:

  • Cut out each Etch-a-Sketch along the red border
  • Cut a piece of yellow card stock big enough to fit the sign and fold over
  • Glue Etch to the card stock
  • Write the name of your food on the white part of the sign

Easy Toy Story Party Table Decorations & Props

Toy Story Party Dessert Table: Prop Ideas |

Since there are so many amazing themed desserts on the table, I didn’t want to over decorate it with too many props.  I gathered the Toy Story toys I had on hand and placed them around the table, just to add a little character.  Here are a few of the highlights

Toy Story Table Decoration & Prop Ideas: 

  • Hide green Army Men around the table as if they were on a recon mission.
  • Toy Story DVD box in the shape of Andy’s toy box was used to hold the s’mores pops.
  • Small Woody doll sat in the toy box.
  • Etch-A-Sketch sat against the wall behind a plate of cookies.
  • Unicorn, Mr. Pricklepuss, Buzz and Wheezy filled in the gaps of space on the table.
  • Buzz was used as a cake topper.

Toy Story Desserts

No Toy Story party would be complete without dessert!  There were going to be about 40 people, including kids, at Matty’s party… but I’m certain I prepared enough desserts for 75 people!  I went a little overboard.  But hey, my baby only turns 2 once and will only have one Toy Story party in his life!  Go big or go home! hehe

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be posting recipes for all the desserts I made, so in this post I’ll just be sharing with you what I made.

Toy Story Party Desserts |

On the dessert table:

NOTE:  Click on the links above to find recipes and tutorials for making some of the other desserts in this Toy Story Party!

Toy Story Party Checkerboard Cake |

Toy Story Party Alien Cupcakes |

Overall, this dessert table was a huge success.  I’m so very proud of how it turned out.  You might remember last year I put together a Sesame Street party for Matty’s 1st birthday… which was great!  The cupcakes turned out amazing and I put out a few themed snacks.  But it was NOTHING like this years party!

Here’s me an my little man at his party.  He had so much fun playing and eating his desserts!  Actually… everyone at the party loved it.  I look at the pictures and am still in awe of what I created!

My hope is that by the end of this Toy Story Party series… you will feel confident to recreate some of my desserts and decoration ideas yourself!  It just takes some planning, reparation and help from a few friends… but none of it was really “hard” to do!

So… until next year’s party… I hope you enjoy the upcoming recipes & tutorials for this Toy Story Party!

Toy Story Party |

Please PIN this image below to share with your friends or save the ideas for later!

Toy Story Party Desserts & Decorating Ideas |

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening

When I first moved to Germany three years ago, I was devastated to realize the closest Starbucks to where I was going to be living was an hour away.   Nuremberg was where I needed to go to get my Starbucks fix.

Talk about culture shock. 

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

See, I’m from the Seattle area… the home and birthplace of Starbucks Coffee.  I have spent most of my adult life living within a 5 minute drive from at least 5 Starbucks.   And, if I’m being honest, the city I grew up in had about a dozen Starbucks stores in a 10 mile radius.  It was crazy insane how conveniently located my favorite coffee was to everything I ever did in life.

Starbucks is a part of my DNA.


For anyone that follows me on social media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… I’m sure you’ve seen the dozens of selfies I’ve posted from the many Starbucks I’ve visited during my time here in Europe.  I’ve been to Starbucks in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland.    This summer, I’ll add France and the UK to that list!

I’m a bit obsessed.

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

And now… there is a brand new Starbucks store only 2 minutes away from my house!  YAY!  Today was the grand opening of the Starbucks Grafenwoehr Coffee House on the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria – Grafenwoehr Training Area. Of course I was the first in line at this Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening!

Of course, I couldn’t go to Starbucks without my two Starbucks-loving friends Chasity and Rachel!  I got Chasity hooked on buying Starbucks mugs while traveling… she doesn’t actually like Starbucks.  Her hubby even got me a Jordan mug while he was there sweeping for bombs with his K-9 unit for Obama.   Rachel is my bloggy friend from Glitter & Bow and she just loves coffee… and Starbucks.

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

There were several hundred people at the Grand Opening celebration including lots of high ranking officials including the US Army Bavaria Garrison Commander and the head of AAFES in Europe.  During the opening ceremony speech, the emcee mentioned that it cost $375,000 to build this Starbucks and this location was the 4th Starbucks to open in Europe on a US military base with more to open in the future!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

This Starbucks isn’t the biggest store, but it’s better than not having  a Starbucks at all!  There are two seating areas (I didn’t take pictures of those since it was so crowded), a small merchandise display and a lots of snacks and goodies available in the cold case.  I was told by an employee earlier in the week that they hope to have Grafenwoehr mugs, but had to lobby the corporate office to design and make them!

Crossing my fingers!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

It wouldn’t be a party without cake either!  Since this Starbucks is partnered with AAFES and the Exchange, they had a big cake made to celebrate with the Starbucks coffee logo on it!  It was actually pretty tasty!

 Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

So, what was my first order in the new Starbucks?  I got a Vanilla Spice Latte!  It was pretty tasty too!  Smooth vanilla flavor with a hint of spice.  It was a nice diversion from the usual vanilla latte!  These four coffee’s wasn’t even our complete order… Chasity had a strawberry frapp, but it wasn’t ready when I snapped this picture.  That tall caramel macchiatto in the back… it was free.  I love that Starbucks lets you keep the coffee mistakes!

Oh… and it wouldn’t be Starbucks if they didn’t completely butcher the spelling of my name on my cup.  Beatsy? lol

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Matty came with me to the Grand Opening.  He loves Starbucks too!   As a part of the grand opening, they handed out balls and balloons for the kids.  And Matty drank pretty much all of Chasity’s Strawberry Frapp.  hehe  He was a spoiled and happy baby!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

It was a pretty great morning!  I’m so super happy to have a piece of my Seattle home so close to my home here in Germany now.  There are very few things in life that I’m super passionate about… and Starbucks is one of them!

I’ve already decided that once a week I’m going to take an hour for myself at Starbucks.  Grab my laptop, get a coffee and just sit and enjoy being in my favorite coffee house.  Dave calls that being a Seattle snob.  I call it being happy.

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening | JavaCupcake.comAnd just because it’s what we do… everytime we’re at a Starbucks… Chasity snapped this picture of Rachel and I taking a selfie for Instagram.  We’ve done this together so many times.  We’re dorks.  I know.  :)

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

And finally here’s my favorite selfie of the day!

Starbucks Grafenwoehr Grand Opening |

Espresso Truffles

Espresso Truffles made from richly flavored espresso ganache covered in dark chocolate and crushed espresso flakes make for an indulgent dessert!

Espresso Truffles: Espresso ganache covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with ground espresso beans!  |

Every once in a while I surprise myself with the things I come up with.  These espresso truffles are one of those surprises.  See, I wasn’t planning on making these for you.  They were a bi-product of the mini mocha macarons I made a few weeks back.  I had extra filling from the macarons, perfectly good ganache and I couldn’t’ for the life of me throw away.  I asked on Facebook for suggestions of what to make with the extra chocolate and I got a lot of great ideas, but…

I decided to make truffles.

Decadent, rich, espresso truffles.

Espresso Truffles: Espresso ganache covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with ground espresso beans!  |

Making these truffles was really quite simple.  I simple rolled chilled ganache into balls, covered them in melted chocolate and then topped them with ground espresso beans.  The process couldn’t have been quicker or easier.

And the result… decadence with every bite.

Espresso Truffles: Espresso ganache covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with ground espresso beans!  |

If you’ve never seen an espresso grinder before… well, you’re not the only one.  I found the grinder in a Lindt store in Berlin.  There were two kinds actually, one espresso and one sugar and chocolate.  Of course, I brought home both.  You may have seen them in the Berlin giveaway I just hosted with Erin of Texanerin Baking.

There are dozens of ways you could use this espresso grinder, I mean the possibilities are endless.   On top of cookies before baking, garnishing cupcakes and cakes, in your coffee for a little extra kick.  Anywhere you’d want that bite of coffee flavor, use this grinder!

Everyone needs one in their kitchen.

Espresso Truffles: Espresso ganache covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with ground espresso beans!  |

One bite of these melt-in-your-mouth espresso truffles will leave you wanting more… and more…. and more.  They have a dark chocolate taste, a creamy texture, and a rich coffee flavor that is so incredibly delicious and indulgent.


Espresso Truffles
Prep time
Serves: 2-3 dozen truffles
  • 120g semi-sweet chocolate - I used Lindt 70% schokolade
  • 120ml or ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • ½ T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ T vanilla extract
  • 80g semi-sweet chocolate - Again, used Lindt 70% schokolade
  • Lindt chocolate/espresso grinder (optional)
  1. Chop up the 120g chocolate and place in a glass bowl.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the espresso powder and cream with a whisk. Heat the cream and espresso together over high heat until it comes to a rolling simmer.
  3. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. DO NOT STIR!
  4. Add the vanilla extract and butter and stir with a rubber spatula SLOWLY until all the chocolate has melted. NOTE: Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times to ensure everything has been incorporated.
  5. Pound the bowl on the counter 3-4 times to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Allow the chocolate to cool, uncovered, until it reaches room temperature and begins to solidify. This should take 3-4 hours.
  7. Line a flat baking sheet with wax paper.
  8. Once the chocolate is solid, roll 1in balls of chocolate in your hands and place on the wax paper.
  9. Freeze the balls for 2-3 hours or until completely firm and very cold.
  10. Melt 80g chocolate over a double boiler.
  11. One at a time, drop the cold balls into the melted chocolate. Move around with a fork to cover completely. Lift the chocolate with the fork and tap any excess.
  12. Place the covered chocolate on the wax paper and immediately grind the chocolate/espresso over the top of the truffle. NOTE: If you don't have a chocolate/espresso grinder, you can top the truffles with anything else you'd like. Chocolate jimmies, a coffee bean, sea salt. The melted chocolate will harden very quickly - if you're going to top the truffles with something, be quick about it!
  13. Allow the melted chocolate to set completely before serving the truffles. If not serving immediately, store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Remove 30 minutes prior to serving.

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes

Red velvet cinnamon and chili cupcakes infused with Red Hots syrup topped with Red Hots buttercream make these Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes a spicy, sweet treat perfect for Valentine’s Day… or any day!

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

I haven’t made a cupcake in a while… so I wanted to make something that I had never done before! And since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought why not make it a themed cupcake… Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes!

Red Hots or Cinnamon Imperials candies are the prefect little spicy red candy to decorate cupcakes or cookies with but often times are used only at Christmas.  I know I’ve used them for years to decorate our holiday cookies with.  But since they’re red in color, I knew they’d be a great addition to any Valentine dessert!

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

I didn’t just want to toss the candies into the batter and call it good… I wanted really get the spicy flavor of the candies into the cake.  So, I made a simple syrup out of the cinnamon candies and drizzled it over the cupcakes.  This way the spicy flavor would soak into the cupcake and would be a prominent flavor! I also used that same syrup in the buttercream frosting and added a bit of chili powder for more of a spicy kick!

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

These are some seriously unique cupcakes.  And they definitely aren’t for the faint of heart… they’ve got a kick with all the chili powder and cinnamon red hots in them!

If you’re looking for something unique and different, then these are the cupcakes for you.  Flavor wise, they truly are one of the most different cupcakes I’ve ever made.  They aren’t really chocolate… they aren’t really red velvet… they pack a punch of spice and there’s this syrup glaze on top that leaves your mouth going WOOOAAAAAH!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes |

Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 18 cupcakes
Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz liquid red food coloring
  • 1 cup milk + 2 tsp vinegar (let sit for 5 minutes before using)
Red Hot Syrup
  • 1 cup cinnamon imperials or Red Hots candies
  • ½ cup water
Red Hot Buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2lbs powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup Red Hots syrup
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup - ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • pinch of salt
Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, chili powder and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and vegetable oil.
  4. One at a time, add the eggs and whisk together until smooth.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla extract, red food coloring and cocoa powder until it makes a paste. Add this to the batter and whisk until completely combined.
  6. Mix in the milk and whisk until incorporated.
  7. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet. Using a spoon or rubber spatula, fold/stir gently until no more flour is visible, but not completely mixed. Do not overmix!
  8. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full with batter.
  9. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Red Hot Syrup
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the water and candies to a boil, stirring constantly until all the candies have dissolved.
  2. Reduce to low-medium heat and simmer until the syrup has reduced and is thick.
Red Hot Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter until smooth.
  2. Add half the powdered sugar and mix on high until smooth.
  3. Add the chili powder, salt, and Red Hots syrup and beat until incorporated.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix on high until smooth.
  5. Start with ¼ cup of heavy cream and mix until combined. Add up to ¼ cup (or more) until you reach your desired consistency.
  6. Beat buttercream on high for 2 minutes.
  1. After cupcakes have cooled, pokes several holes in the top of each cupcake with a toothpick.
  2. Spoon over a few teaspoons of Red Hots syrup on the top of each cupcake allowing the syrup to soak into the cake and holes.
  3. Pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.
  4. Top with a Red Hots candy.

{Deployment Care Package Program} Not Just a Mommy

This “Punny” care package from my friend Dawn at Not Just a Mommy is the final package of the Deployment Care Package Program.


During my husbands deployment several of my blogging friends have joined me in creating care packages for my husband’s platoon.  Today’s care package is the last in the series… but for a good reason!

They’ll be home soon!

Dawn from Not Just a Mommy has put together a Valentine’s Day box that’s not too lovey dovey, yet perfectly themed for the holiday of pink and red.

So head on over to Not Just a Mommy to see what Dawn has put together for these soldiers.  I really think they’re gonna love it!

And a big THANK YOU to Dawn and all the other participants in this program.  It really means a lot to know that you all support our troops, especially mine!

To see all the care packages sent so far,

visit the Deployment Care Package Program main page!

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

…Well it’s my birthday too!  Yes, today is my 36th 29th birthday! Horray!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake |

Before my day even began, my 14 year old daughter, Emily, woke me before she left for school to sing me Happy Birthday.  It’s a tradition in my family that everyone gets sung to on their birthday.  Near or far, we make it happen.  So, this morning, Emily was the first to sing Happy Birthday to me!  Such a sweet gift from my baby girl.

My day officially started an hour later when I rolled out of bed with the sun shining through my window and a blanket of snow covering my neighborhood.  Just when I thought all the snow had melted, Mother Nature brought us more!  It was a beautiful sight from my window this morning! (I posted a pic of the snow on Instagram!)

My baby boy, Matty, woke up in a super good mood full of snuggle and love.  I love it when he’s in a happy mood in the mornings! He brings such joy and happiness to my day when he’s happy!  Great way to start my birthday!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake |

And then the best thing happened.  My husband called me from Afghanistan to with me a Happy Birthday and to tell me he loves me.  He told me that today, he had  an American flag flown over the Forward Operating Base he’s stationed at in my honor.  It’ll fly over the FOB for 24 hours and tomorrow he’ll take a few pictures of the flag and of him taking it down.  When he comes home, the flag will come with him and will have an official certificate saying where and when it was on the flagpole in Afghanistan.  What a an amazingly special birthday gift!   I am such a lucky woman to have a thoughtful, loving and brave Husband!

UPDATE:  Here are a few of the pictures! Aren’t they great?  I’m so proud to be married to such an amazing American soldier!


On the agenda for my birthday… do a little laundry, take a hot bath and spend the evening with good friends over dinner and cake!

Cake! Yes, of course there will be cake!

I absolutely LOVE my chocolate cake recipe. I know I’ve said it a million times before, but it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had.  Moist, rich, and full of chocolate flavor.  It holds up perfectly to any frosting and is just so YUM!

So, for my birthday cake this year I made three layers of my favorite chocolate cake.  I used my Double Chocolate Layer Cake recipe and divided the cake in three 8in cake pans to bake.    I filled the cake with my Perfect Peanut Butter Buttercream… both layers inside.  To frost and decorate the outside of the cake, I made a double batch of my Mom’s chocolate fudge frosting recipe.    I had extra peanut butter and fudge frosting, but no worries… it won’t go to waste!  Finally, I decorated the edges with a simple piped scallop edge and topped the cake with chopped Reese’s!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake |

It’s a peanut butter and chocolate lovers dream cake.

And I’m not gonna lie.  I’ve made this cake before… well maybe not exactly this cake.  But the chocolate peanut butter combo I’ve made before.  But this one… it’s pretty darn amazing with both the peanut butter buttercream and fudge frosting.

Recipes to make my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:

So, besides my hubby not being here… it’s been a pretty darn good birthday!  Here’s to another great year of life!

Oh… and because I just learned how to make them… here’s a fun GIF of me serving a piece of this cake!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake |