LIFE HACK: How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Over Easter, I created (with the help of Rachel of MyDIY.life) a beautiful brunch for my family using a lot of fresh flowers.    We had at least a dozen vases to display the flowers in, but we also had two inexpensive lavender baskets that we wanted to use.  Rachel came up with the genius idea to fill these baskets with the stems of the flowers she had cut for the other vases along with an Iris bloom and some of the greens she brought (btw – I have no idea what those green pom looking flowers are called!)

After the brunch was over, I wanted the flowers to stay fresh and last, but I couldn’t just pour water into the wicker basket… it would spill everywhere!  So, I came up with this genius life hack.  Here’s how to keep flowers fresh in a basket vase!

Step One: Supplies

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Gather the supplies you’ll need to keep your flowers fresh for days! You will need…

  • Fresh Flowers
  • Inexpensive basket (I found mine at the Euro Store)
  • Resealable sandwich bag
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Water

Step Two: Line the Basket

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Flip the edge of the sandwich bag over until it’s about the size of your basket and place it inside.  This bag will create a lining for the basket.  You don’t want any of the bag to show over the top of the basket.

Step Three: Add the Paper Towel

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Since I don’t want the water to leak out of any hole in the bag, I place a paper towel in the bottom of the basket.  This will help absorb the water, prevent it from leaking and still allow the flowers to “drink” and stay fresh.

Step Four: Trim the Stems

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

With all fresh cut flowers, you want to trim the stems so that they can absorb the water.

Step Five: Arrange the Flowers

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Arrange the flowers in the basket however you like.  When Rachel first put together these baskets, she placed the beautiful Iris in the front, used the green blooms as fillers and the stems added height in the back.   Beautiful!

Step Six: Add Water

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Finally, add water to your basket.  You won’t need more than about a 1/4 cup of water, probably even less depending on the size of your basket.  Just enough to moisten the towel and give your flowers enough water to stay fresh.  Add a tablespoon or two more water every day.  Your flowers should stay fresh for 3-5 days!

LIFE HACK:  How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Basket Vase | JavaCupcake.com - A Baking, Life & DIY Blog

Osterlamm – German Easter Lamb Cake

Simple, buttery cake topped with powdered sugar baked in a lamb shaped pan makes the utterly delicious and traditional German Osterlamm or Easter Lamb Cake!Osterlamm - German Easter Lamb Cake | JavaCupcake.com

 

I wasn’t going to post this cake.  I mean, Easter is over and it’s not really something just anyone can make.  You have to have the special Osterlamm pan to make and those are hard to get unless you live in Germany.  But, when I got asked a dozen times for the recipe, I decided that it was probably a good idea to put it up!Osterlamm - German Easter Lamb Cake | JavaCupcake.com

My German friend Mareile remembers her Oma (Grandma) making Osterlamm when she was a child and today Mareile makes it for her two children.  Our babies, Matty & Lena, were born 2 weeks apart from each other and are baby BFFs now!   This picture was from their first Easter together in 2012.

Osterlamm - German Easter Lamb Cake | JavaCupcake.com

For most of the world, the Osterlamm is just a delicious treat, but here in Bavaria, Germany it has a more important meaning for those who believe the Catholic faith. The symbolism of the lamb goes back to the Passover lamb, which is sacrificed in Judaism for Passover. Because Jesus was Jewish, the Last Supper took place on the evening of Passover and he was crucified on the day (sacrificed) was, this symbolism has arisen. In Germany, a lamb is sacrificed at Easter, but baked in commemoration of the resurrection, a cake in the shape of an Easter lamb.

Osterlamm - German Easter Lamb Cake | JavaCupcake.com

In the weeks preceding Easter, each bakery bakes and sells hundreds of these cakes.  Some are covered in powdered sugar, some a lemon glaze and some even cover them in chocolate and candies.  My favorite is with the powdered sugar and then dunked in my coffee! So delish!

You can get your own Lamm-backform (cake pan) here or here!

I’m definitely making this a new Easter tradition for my family!

Enjoy!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Osterlamm
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: German
Serves: 1 lamb
Ingredients
  • 120g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (or 1 packet of vanilla sugar)
  • 160g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp whole milk
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • Osterbackform "Lamm" (Easter Lamb Pan) - 27.5cm x 15cm x 6.5cm
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F or 180C degrees. Butter and flour the inside of the lamb pan and clip the sides back together. Place the lamb pan on a baking sheet UPSIDE DOWN.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes.
  3. One at a time, add the eggs and mix well after each egg. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add this to the butter/sugar and mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the milk and mix until smooth - no more than about a minute. You don't want to overwork the batter.
  5. Pour all the batter into the prepared lamb pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Allow the lamb to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Trim off any excess cake from the seams. If the lamb does not sit upright, trim a little off the bottom to make it level.
  8. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
  9. Optionally, you can melt a bit of chocolate and pipe on ears and eyes. Also, you can tie a ribbon around the lambs neck.
  10. Serve immediately!

 

DIY Stipple Easter Eggs

I’ve gone a little stipple crazy here lately.  I stippled coffee mugs last week and this week I’m making DIY Stipple Easter Eggs!

DIY Stipple Easter Eggs | JavaCupcake.com

It only took me about 45 minutes to make these four eggs and the process was really simple!  You could easily give these as gifts to your guests at Easter Brunch, hang them from a tree in your yard, use them as place settings.  So may options!  I hung these in my office on my tassel garland.  I think they’re adorable!

I got a 6 pack of plastic eggs for €1 at the Nuremberg Easter Market, but I’m certain you can get them at any craft store in the US.  If you don’t have paint markets, use Sharpies.  If you don’t have a template, freehand it!  The great thing about these eggs is that they don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful!

Different colors, different patters… the possibilities are endless!

DIY Stipple Easter Eggs
Supplies:

  • Plastic eggs
  • Patterns or masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Washable glue stick
  • Paint markers in gold and black – size 1-2mm
  • Rubbing alcohol & q-tips/cotton balls
  • A sharp knife or blade
  • String or elastic

PRINTABLE PATTERN: http://javacupcake.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/DIYStippleEggTemplatesJavaCupcake.pdf

DIY Stipple Easter Eggs on a Tassel Garland | JavaCupcake.com

Directions:

  • Clean the egg off with a cotton ball wet with rubbing alcohol.  Allow to dry.
  • FOR THE EGGS with PATTERNS: Print the pattern and cut it out.
  • Apply the glue to the back of the pattern and place it on the egg where you like it.
  • Stipple around the pattern.  Apple more dots closer and denser near the pattern.
  • FOR THE EGGS with STRIPES:  Place masking tape around the entire egg.  Using your knife or blade, score the tape in strips and peel off the tape.
  • Stipple with the paint markers between the tape strips.  Make sure to stipple in a uniform manner making sure to fill in any blank spaces.
  • FOR ALL PATTERNS:  Allow the paint to dry before removing the pattern/tape.  About 2 minutes.
  • Once the pattern has been removed, use the knife to get an excess glue or paper off the egg.  Dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and clean off any excess glue or tape.  You can also rub off any unwanted paint… gently making sure not to smear what you do want.
  • Attach a piece of string or elastic to the hook and tie a knot to secure a loop.
  • I hung these eggs on a DIY tassel garland that I made for my office. But you could hang yours anywhere! The possibilities are endless!

TISSUE PAPER GARLAND TUTORIAL: http://www.tomfo.com/how-to-make-your-own-tissue-paper-tassel-garland

 

Happy Easter!

DIY Stipple Easter Eggs on a Tassel Garland | JavaCupcake.com

Explore the Nuremberg Easter Market

Every Spring, cities and towns both big and small in Germany celebrate the Easter season with a festive market.  The Ostermarkt (Easter Market) in Nuremberg is packed with vendors selling everything from flowers to jewelry, kitchen wares and food.  This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with two fellow Army Wife bloggers in Nuremberg for a Bavarian Blogger Meetup!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Melissa of Milligfunk (a Healthy Lifestyle, Travel & DIY blog) and Jamie of North of Something (a Family Travel blog) met up with me and my husband, Dave, for a fun day of shopping and exploring at the Nuremberg Ostermarkt.   We began at Starbucks for a coffee and snacks where we spent some time chatting and getting to know each other.  I really enjoyed being able to share my blogging experiences with other bloggers who really “get it”.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

The Nuremberg Easter Market is nestled between a cathedral and restaurants in the heart of the shopping district of the city.  Rows upon rows of little stands line the Main Market Square in front of the Frauenkirsche Cathedral.

Since I had been to this market several times before, this trip I wanted to focus on all the food and kitchen related stands to share on JavaCupcake.  I could have spent many more hours browsing the isles and dreaming about stocking my kitchen with all the fabulous tools, pots and pans and pottery I found in the market.  If only I were made of money!

My favorite kitchen stand is this one.  It’s right on the corner of the first row at the market and I stop her first every time I come.  There are at least two other stands just like this one at  the market, but for some reason this is my favorite.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

As you can see, this stand is packed full of kitchen goodies.  Let’s take a closer look…

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Whisks, cutting boards, bottle cleaners, pizza boards, spoons… and that’s just in this tiny little section of the stand!  I think I stare at the whisks and pick up every single size each time I visit.  I want one of each please!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And then there’s the bakeware.   Muffin pans (they don’t really make too many cupcakes in Germany) and mini cake pans… and see that bunny and sheep pan in the back left?  I wish I would have taken a better picture of that, but those are traditional cakes that are made every Easter here in the shape of a bunny or a lamb!  I am going to have to buy a pan before I leave Germany!

BavariaBloggerMeetUp-17

Germans love cakes and tortes and anything they can bake in a springform pan.  Seriously.  This was just one small section of these types of cake pans.  I really wish I could go home with one of everything.  (Yes, I’m probably going to say this after every photo!)

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Cookie cutters for days!!  I really wish I knew how to flood cookies using royal icing because I would want to make a cookie in every one of these shapes.  There were probably half a dozen stands with cookie cutter displays with at least this many, if not more to choose from.  Some of the stands even had cookie cutters that looked like cathedrals from neighboring cities!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

There’s one stand that sells silicone everything.  Mats, toppers for your pots, candy molds, cake molds, ice molds.  Anything you can imagine that could be made into a mold, they sell it.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And then there’s this. Oh. Em. Gee.  I like die and go to Heaven every time I come to this stand.  The colors alone are enough to bring me joy for days!  If I could buy the blue, lime green and orange… one of each in those colors…. well, let’s just say I’d NEVER LEAVE MY KITCHEN.  I’d just stand there staring at all the beautiful tools!

BavariaBloggerMeetUp-43

I mean really, have you ever seen anything like this before?  So many pots!  And they’re all different!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And these ladles.  I mean, they have holes in them so it’s not like I could use it for soup… but I mean COME ON!  I’d just want to get one in each color to hang on my wall because they are so pretty!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

So besides kitchen gadgets and tools… this market is full of dishes, pottery, tea pots and any serving dish, plate or platter imaginable!  In the picture above you can just see one small sample of the rows and rows and rows of dishes to choose from.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I almost came home with one of these tiered stands too.  Unfortunately, I was kidless and strollerless on this trip to the market and had no where to put something this big while I shopped.  But oh aren’t they pretty!!??

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Some of my favorite pieces were the brightly colored Easter egg plates.  Wouldn’t one of these be so cute on an Easter brunch table?

Can we talk food now?  Seriously… there was so much good food at this Easter Market.  I could have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner there… plus a few snacks between!

BavariaBloggerMeetUp-79

Is is the best bread stand at the market.  Behind the front counter they are baking bread fresh all through the day! Piles of freshly baked bread line the windows of the front counter area.  They have two choices of bread sizes… big or bigger!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

This bread isn’t a white bread… it’s a darker, richer, denser bread full of flavor.  My favorite is the mini loaves filled with raisins.  So good! Every time we come to this market, my husband and I go home with at least €20 in bread!  We’d be crazy not to!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Behind the counter is a German man who I’m sure has been making bread his entire adult life.  He stands at the same spot most of the day, pulling giant balls of dough out of a tub and hand cutting them into pieces to bake.  I probably could have watched him do this for hours.  It was fascinating!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

If you’ve been reading JavaCupcake since I’ve moved to Germany, you may remember me mentioning a few times how much I love potatoes since being here.  My snack of choice at any market or fest is always the potatoes.  The Nuremberg Easter Market is no exception.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

There’s nothing new or special about these hard candies.  You can buy them at any local grocery store here in Germany.  But, there is something about seeing a long row of these big glass jars full of candy with piles of little bags behind them.  It’s massive and I get sucked in every time I see it and go home with at least three flavors!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

These are freshly fried and seasoned thinly cut potato chips.  And yes, they taste as good as they look.  Crisp, salty and so addicting!   I love these so much, I made my husband take a picture of me with them!  Ha!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

For lunch, Dave had a beer battered fish sandwich…  made to order.  He said it was probably the best fish sandwich he’d ever had.  He had no idea what that white sauce on top was, but he said it was delicious!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

The market also had lots of German favorites like these baguettes topped with cheese and veggies.  This type of open-faced baguette topped with things is pretty typical.  My favorite are the ones topped with garlic butter and cheese… mmmm yeah.  Cheese!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Both Jamie and Melissa enjoyed roasted corn on the cob and needed 10 napkins each to clean up the deliciousness!  I’ve never seen a mountain of corn before though, have you?

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

And we can’t forget about the pretzels the size of your head!  Oh… and covered in CHEESE!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

These pretzel shaped donuts were something I’d never seen before.  They weren’t at the market, but they were at a little shop that lined the market.  I’ve seen pretzels and I’ve seen donuts but not pretzel donuts! YUM!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

One of my husband’s favorite places to shop at the market is this salami stand!  Dozens of flavors of salami freshly made and ready to be taken home!  It’s hard to pick just one, but I think Dave decided on the chili salami… the spicier the better for him!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I spotted this sweet little old Germany lady getting down on her fish sandwich.  I couldn’t help but want to capture this moment… fur coat and perfect hair and all.  This is seriously how the Germans get down when it’s time to eat.   Good food, amazing traditions and no apologies.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I know these next few pictures aren’t of food… but they are my second favorite part about the market (besides the food!).   Spring is my favorite time of the year.  The winter chill is making it’s away out and the flowers begin to bloom.  I can’t help but be in awe of their beauty.

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I really had so much fun exploring with Melissa and Jamie!  It was a pleasure to meet both of them!  I commented at the end of the day that I don’t know if I would ever agree to meet up with a stranger in the middle of Europe unless it was another blogger!  Especially an Army Wife blogger!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

By the end of our fun afternoon, we were all exhausted but happy with our bags full of market goodies!

Nuremberg Easter Market | JavaCupcake.com

I am really looking forward to chatting more with both these wonderful ladies about Army life, blogging and friendship!  Make sure to head over to Melissa and Jamie’s blogs (links below!) to read their take on the Nuremberg Easter Market and our meet up!

Milligfunk – a Healthy Lifestyle, Travel & DIY blog

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North of Something  – a Family Travel blog

northofsomething

Explore the Nuremberg Easter Market with JavaCupcake.com

 

 

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch and Tablescape on a Budget

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch and Tablescape on a Budget shouldn’t be difficult… it should be fun! This DIY tutorial includes both food & decor ideas to host a glamorous yet thrifty brunch your guests will be impressed with!Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

I’m so excited to be presenting you this two part series on how to create a Glam Easter Brunch and Tablescape with Rachel of MyDIY.life.  Rachel and I have done several blogging collaborations in the past, but this one is by far my favorite!  In this series, we’ll show you how we planned, shopped for, baked and set up our Easter Brunch.   And the best part… it was all done on a budget!

If you’re starting here on my blog I’ll be going over everything food related.   I’ll show you how I planned my menu, what’s on the menu to and how I made it and how I styled the food on the tablescape.  On MyDIY.life, Rachel will go over all the details of the tablescape.  She’ll cover the place settings, the printables, the centerpiece and flower arrangements and everything in between.

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Menu Planning

Before I could bake anything for brunch, I had to decide what I wanted to make.  For our Easter Brunch, I knew I wanted to serve food that could be easy to plate and served buffet style and made ahead of time.  I didn’t want to be rushing around Easter morning trying to cook and bake after getting home from church.

Main Dish – Quiche

For the main dish, I chose to make a quiche.  A quiche is a great choice for a brunch because it can be made ahead of time and served cold or room temperature.  This Southwestern Fajita Quiche is a take on one of my families favorite flavors… Mexican.  I seriously think we eat something with bell peppers and onions it at least twice a week so making a fajita quiche was too easy of a decision to make.

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

My Southwestern Fajita Quiche is made using a premade pie crust then filled with whipped eggs and cream, bell peppers, onions, steak and the perfect mix of seasonings.  I served it with a sides of sour cream and salsa, but you could serve chives, cilantro, diced tomatoes too.  Just put out whatever your family likes.

This quiche is filling, flavorful and so incredibly delicious.  It truly is the best main dish for a brunch!

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

RECIPE: http://javacupcake.com/2015/03/southwestern-fajita-quiche

Side Dish – Fruit Salad

I love fruit salad, but I’m picky about the fruit that I include it.  Berries and bananas are my go-to favorite fruits for salads.  But, since this dish is for our Easter Brunch, I knew that it couldn’t be boring.

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

To amp things up for this fruit salad, I added the juice of a lemon, honey, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.  All those flavors together really brings a simple fruit salad to the next level!

Fruit Salad
Ingredients:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries, cleaned and quartered
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Banana, sliced
  • Lemon, juiced
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, gently toss together the berries and banana together.
  • Pour the juice of 1 lemon over the fruit and toss.
  • Drizzle a generous amount of honey over the top of the fruit then sprinkle cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg to taste.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Side Dish – Blueberry Muffins

To accompany the quiche and fruit salad, I decided I want to add a bread element to the menu.  I decided on my Jumbo Blueberry Muffins and added a simple strudel topping.  The juicy blueberries pop out of this muffin making this the perfect side to the quiche! And, you can make them ahead too!

I baked these muffins in grease proof liners from Sweets & Treats Boutique.  STB is an awesome party supply company because they offer several products in matching colors and patterns!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

RECIPE: http://javacupcake.com/2013/03/jumbo-blueberry-muffins

Side Dish – Rice Krispie Treat Dipped Bunny Pops

Because Easter wouldn’t be complete with out a bunch of kids running around, I created a little something extra to make our little ones happy!  Hand dipped Rice Krispie Treat Bunny Pops!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

These bunnies are so incredibly easy to make!  I used the same technique to make them that I did when making the krispie pops for Matty’s Minion party.

Rice Krispie Treat Bunny Pops
Supplies:

  • Double batch of Rice Krispie Treats (make as directed on cereal box)
  • Bunny shaped cookie cutter
  • White candy melts
  • Purple sugar sprinkles
  • Purple food gel coloring
  • Purple paper straws
  • Parchment or Wax paper

Directions:

  • Cut out Rice Krispy Treats using the bunny cookie cutter.  Using leftover scraps make small balls for the bunny tails. Press the bunny onto the table so it stands up straight.  Do this before you dip.
  • Melt the candy melts as directed on the packaging.  Add a drop or two of coloring and mix until uniform in color.
  • Dip the ears of the bunny in the melted candy, tap the bunny on the edge of the bowl so the excess drips off.  Immediately cover in purple sugar crystals.  Set it standing up on a piece of wax paper.
  • Dip a straw into the melted candy about an inch then press it into the top of the bunny between the ears.
  • Allow them to dry completely before moving.

Tablescape and Food Display

Creating the tablescape for the dining table along with the displays for the sideboards was a lot of fun!  Rachel and I had ideas in our minds of how we wanted things to look, but it was a matter of finding everything we needed at the stores here in Germany without spending a fortune.

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Tablescape – place settings

Each place setting included a plate and glass, both of which were gold rimmed that Rachel already had.  We purchased lavender napkins and coasters at the Euro store along with egg cups and purple easter egg candles.  On top of each plate is a DIY name card which which you can find a full tutorial for on MyDIY.life!

You’re going to love how Rachel created the name cards & used elastic to tie it all together!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

PRINTABLE & TUTORIAL: http://www.mydiy.life/2015/03/creating-a-glam-easter-brunch-and-tablescape-on-a-budget.html

Tablescape – Centerpiece

Fresh flowers are the main focal point for our entire tablescape for both the main dining table and the sideboards.  Rachel went to the local market and picked out all the lavender colored flowers along with a few accents she thought would go well together.  Rachel goes into all the details of the floral arrangements on MyDIY.life.

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

On trend right now are DIY tissue paper tassel garlands.  Rachel and I both have one hanging in our office which we made ourselves.  You can see Rachel’s HERE and mine HERE on our Instagrams!

Rachel had the genius idea of creating a tissue paper tassel garland to use instead of a table runner and as a focal point on our Easter table.  Being able to bring texture, color and height into the table really created a dramatic WOW factor for the table and the entire look of our brunch! Rachel has all the details on how you can recreate this look on MyDIY.life!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Bunnies.  Bunnies.   And more Bunnies!  Since this was an Easter Brunch, we wanted to incorporate some kind of “cute factor” that could be carried out throughout the entire decor of the brunch.  Everywhere we went, we found cute, inexpensive ceramic bunnies.   Rachel painted the ones that were off color to our theme and instantly we have the cutest bunnies ever!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Sideboard – Food Display

I wanted to create height and depth when displaying the food for our Easter Brunch.  To do this, I used a variety of bowls in size and display stands in height.  I kept them in the same texture of either glass, crystal or ceramic to create continuity.

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Adding the tall flowers in the skinny vases along with baskets of flowers on the candle sconces continued the floral theme to the sideboard.  You don’t have to put sconces up on your wall, but I already had them there and it was a perfect fit for the little purple baskets we found at the Euro store.

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

You may remember from my home office makeover that I had three mason jars made to match my office.  This white and gold dot jar made a perfect place to display the forks for the brunch.   On the dining table and the sideboard, we were able to add another kick of lavender by using the coasters we found at the Euro store.

Sideboard – For the Kids

Like with the Rice Krispie Bunny Pops, I wanted to create a special area of the display that was just for the kids!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Instead of paying for brand new glass milk jars (which can be super expensive), I simply saved the Starbucks Frappuccino jars every time I bought one.  Before I knew it, I had a dozen!  In each jar are STB paper straws that perfectly match the liners I used on the blueberry muffins and are the same straws I used for the Krispie Bunny Pops!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

For only a few Euro, I purchased two jars with gold lids then hot glued white ceramic bunnies to the top and filled the jars with gold & lavender foil wrapped candies.  I love these so much, that I think I’ll keep them out all year round with seasonal candies in them!

Creating a Glam Easter Brunch & Tablescape on a Budget | JavaCupcake.com

Here’s where you can get some of the things I used or very similar…
Cupcake Liners – Sweets & Treats Boutique
Paper Straws – Sweets & Treats Boutique
Glass Jars (similar) – Hobby Lobby
White Ceramic Cake Plate (similar) – Martha Stewart
Ceramic Bunnies (similar) – Hobby Lobby
Glass Milk Jar (similar) – Michael’s
Painted Mason Jars – Just Add Glitter by Marla
Two Tier Serving Rack (similar) – Hand Crafted & American Made

but wait, there’s more!

Make sure you head over to Rachel’s blog MyDIY.life for the second part in this Creating a Glam Easter Brunch and Tablescape on a Budget series!  Rachel will have free printables, DIY tutorials and lots more pictures of the tablescape!

>>>>>>>>>>> Click here to go to MyDIY.life <<<<<<<<<<

Southwestern Fajita Quiche

With Easter just a few days away, I prepared for you a delicious Southwestern Fajita Quiche that is perfect for Sunday brunch!

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert quiche maker.  In fact,  this is the first I’ve ever made.  Typically for breakfast, my family makes an egg scramble where we just throw everything into one pan and mix it all up until it’s cooked… fast, easy and delicious! But for Easter, I want to serve something a bit nicer, but still just as easy!

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

This is a Southwestern Fajita Quiche because it’s like your favorite fajita baked into a crust surrounded by delicious eggs.  To make things simple, I used a package of stir fry steak from the grocery store so I didn’t have to trim and cut a big hunk of steak.  If you didn’t want to dice up your veggies, you could just as easily use a bag of frozen stir fry veggies… but I like fresh, so that’s what I used! I also used already shredded cheese on top and only added the seasonings I had in my cabinet.

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

Not only do I love this quiche because it tastes amazing, but because it can be either served hot out of the oven, cold or at room temperature!  Which makes it so versatile!  When my family ate this quiche, it had been sitting at room temperature for several hours and was so good!  The next day we warmed it up and was perfection!  I honestly don’t know which way I prefer it more!

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

Oh a side note… aren’t my nails adorable?  They are Jamberry nails and I am absolutely in love with them!  The set I am wearing in this photo is from their new Spring line and is called Desert at Dusk.  If you’re interested in getting them for yourself, contact my friend and consultant, Kristine Rego!  She’ll help you out!

I served my Southwestern Fajita Quiche with sour cream and salsa for condiments and a simple fruit salad as a side.  You really don’t need much more than that to complete this meal, but if you wanted to the possibilities are endless.  Crème fraîche, chives, scallions, hot sauce.  Yum!  One slice of this full-flavor quiche and you’ll be full and happy for hours!

Southwestern Fajita Quiche | JavaCupcake.com

For more about my Easter Brunch, check back tomorrow for an amazing collaboration with MyDIY.life!

Happy Easter!

Southwestern Fajita Quiche
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 28cm round fluted baking dish
  • 1 premade pie crust
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1lb stir fry steak (or steak cut into small strips)
  • Oregano
  • Chili powder
  • Chili peppers
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees.
  2. Bring the premade pie crust to room temperature then roll it out in a 28cm fluted, round baking dish. Gently press the crust into the pan making sure it's up against both the side and bottom of the pan. Trim any extra crust from the sides. Poke holes in the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is firm and browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a frying pan, brown the steak over high heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the pan into a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain off any extra grease. Dice the steak into smaller, bite size pieces and place back in large bowl minus the paper towel.
  4. In the same pan, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add the diced peppers and onion then salt and pepper to taste. Cook the peppers and onions over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes or until they become tender. Add the cooked veggies to the bowl with the steak and toss together.
  5. Drain the can of tomatoes and add it to the steak and veggies and toss again.
  6. Sprinkle the meat and veggies with chili powder and chili peppers to taste.
  7. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, milk and cream. Turn the mixer to medium-high and whisk for 6-7 minutes. You want this egg mixture to be light and fluffy. Add salt/pepper and chili powder to taste and whisk again for 1 minute.
  8. To the bottom of the prepared pie crust, add a even layer of the meat & veggie mixture. You may have some left over from this, but you want one single layer across the bottom.
  9. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the crust until it's about 80% full. Sprinkle an even layer of the cheese on top. Pour remaining egg mixture into the center of the quiche until it just reaches the top of the crust and a small edge can still be seen. NOTE: The quiche will collapse and shrink after baking so you want to fill it up as far as possible and still be able to move it.
  10. Sprinkle Oreagno over the top.
  11. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. NOTE: You may need to create a foil shield for the sides, rim of the quiche to prevent it from burning.

 

DIY Stipple Mugs

DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.comLast year, I saw pictures on Instagram of a blogging convention where they had mugs on the table and permanent markers for people to decorate them with.  I thought this idea was genius and started searching Pinterest for more ideas.  Who knew that DIY Stipple Mugs were actually a thing!  A big thing!

Seems like most DIY bloggers have a stipple mug tutorial on their blog and they all pretty much read the same.  Scrapbooking stickers, sharpies, etc etc etc.  Well, I don’t really have access to a lot of scrapbooking supplies and I knew I didn’t want to use a shaprie… so hey, I’ll figure it out on my own and blog my way!

DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com

 

In Photoshop, I made a template for the word “love” in a font I adore.  I printed and cut it out but because it wasn’t a sticker, I had to figure out a non permanent way to attach it to the mug long enough for me to stipple around.  A glue stick! YES!  I have kids, so naturally I had some around the house and what’s even better, it’s the washable kind.  The washable glue sticks are made to be washed away when not wanted anymore which means I’d be able to clean it off the mug easily!

So, with the technique down I got to stippling!  Turns out… I’m kind of addicted to it.  Since I started, I’ve made three mugs with a fourth in the works!

DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com

Templates

Here are the templates I used for these mugs.  Click on them to download then print.

Supplies

  • White, cream or light colored mugs
  • Patterns
  • Scissors
  • Paint markers 1-2 mm made for glass, metal, plastic & paper (I purchased my paint markers at the Müller in Weiden, Germany. I am certain you can pick them up at any craft store.)
  • Washable glue sticks
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tips and cotton balls
  • Sharp knife or or blade
  • Oven

Directions

  1. Cut out your pattern then position it on the mug how you want it.
  2. Lightly spread the glue over the edge only of the back of the pattern then gently place it into position on the mug.  Gently press along the edges to position the pattern into place.
    DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com
  3. Using the gold paint marker,  gently press dots of paint along the outside edge of the pattern.  Working around the edge, create about a 1 cm border of stippling that is close together.  As you work further away from the pattern, the dots will increase in distance from one another.  Continue working out from the original 1 cm border until the front of the mug is covered in dots.  The further from the pattern you go, the further apart the dots will be.
    DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com
  4. Once you have a look you like with the gold paint, you can either finish or add an accent color.  With the “love” mug, I used black.  With the black paint marker, start closest to the pattern and apply a few dots, closer together to begin and further apart as you reach the edges of the mug.  Allow the paint to sit for 2-3 minutes before you move on to the next step.
    DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com
  5. Using the knife, gently lift the pattern from the mug.  Using the sharp edge of the knife, scrap away any paper or glue that is remaining.  Dip a q-tip in the alcohol and gently rub where the pattern was to remove any unwanted residue from the pattern.  Wipe dry with the cotton ball.  Repeat as necessary until the mug is clean.
    DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com
  6. Go back with the gold, then accent paint markers and fill in any holes along the edge where the pattern was.
  7. Take a few steps back from your mug and see how it looks from a distance.  Fill in any places you think need a few more stipples.  Don’t over do it…. less is more with this project!
  8. Allow the paint to dry for 21 days before using.  Hand wash only.
  9. Alternately, you can oven cure the paint.  Place the mugs on a baking sheet and put them in the oven.  Turn the oven on to 350F degrees and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the oven off and leave the mugs in the oven until they cool completely.  Hand wash only.

DIY Stipple Mugs | JavaCupcake.com

Isn’t this just an awesome project?  The possibilities are endless! Any color, any pattern for any occasion!  Just use your imagination and create!

Happy Crafting!

How to Host a Slime Party

This post is sponsored by Acorn: An Influence Company #ReadySetSlime
how-to-host-a-slime-party600

Imagine being asked by Nickelodeon and Walmart to create a Slime Moment with your kids to get excited for the upcoming Kids’ Choice Awards on March 28!   Now also imagine that you’re a blogger who can’t do anything small.  And then imagine that you live in Germany where you don’t have access to amazing stores like Walmart to buy your supplies.  In my world, that’s a challenge worth accepting! You can imagine how excited I was when I was chosen as one of 5 bloggers to participate in this project with Nickelodeon and Walmart and my wheels started turning with all kinds of awesome plans, recipes and decorating ideas!

Follow #ReadySetSlime on Twitter and Instagram for more fun!

How to Host a Slime Party | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

Instead of creating a slime moment for just my two kids, I invited two of my friends who have six school age children between them to join us.  Three moms, one dad and eight kids make for a fun afternoon of slime!

For this Slime Party, we made slime-filled cupcakes then got messy with some easy DIY slime and finally we finished the afternoon with a goodie bag of homemade slime-filled chocolates!  Loads of fun for all ages!

First, watch this video and then read below for all the details to Host a Slime Party! Enjoy!

Set the Scene!

How to Host a Slime Party | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

Before the party even began, I had to Set the Scene!  This was super fun to plan!  Lime green everything!  Here’s what I gathered for the party:

  • Lime green vinyl table cover, napkins and cups – I got this at my local drug store, but you can find them at Walmart too!
  • Glass milk jars –  I drink a lot of those bottled coffee drinks from that one super popular coffee joint… so I saved a bunch of those jars, took off the labels and cleaned them out.  Instant milk jars!
  • Lime green polka dot paper straws & treat bags – I ordered these online from Sweets  & Treats Boutique, but I’m certain you could find similar at Walmart!
  • Cake stand – I’ve had this white cake stand for a while, but you could use a glass stand or lime green if you had one!  I think it adds a fun focal point to the table and makes a display for the finished product!

How to Host a Slime Party | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

You don’t have to gather everything I did, just use what you have at home!  If you go to Walmart and you don’t see exactly what I found, no worries… just pick out from the selection they do have.  Get your creative juices flowing!

Slime Filled Cupcakes

Filling and decorating cupcakes is fun for kids of all ages!  At my Slime party, kids from ages 3 to 15 got in on the fun… Moms too!  Before the party, I made a few dozen cupcakes and frosting ahead of time and prepared the slime filling.

How to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

Oh, you’ll never guess what I used for the slime filling either!  LIME CURD!  Seriously.  I’ve seen other cupcakes before that have used frosting or gel for the slime, but I wanted something more delicious and less full of chemicals.  Seriously genius if I do say so myself!

Supplies:

  • Cupcakes & buttercreamI used this recipe and tinted the frosting green with leaf green gel coloring.  Bake the cupcakes in green liners.  I got these polka dot liners from Sweets & Treats Boutique, but you can find similar at Walmart.
  • Lime Curd – see recipe below
  • Disposable piping bags and round piping tips in both small and large sizes.

Directions:

  1. Core the center of each cupcake and fill with lime curd.
  2. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with frosting.  Fill another piping bag fitted with a small round tip with lime curd.
  3. Fill each cupcake using a spoon with lime curd.  Top the cupcake with a swirl of frosting then garnish with lime curd that oozes down the side of the cupcake.

How to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

After the kids all decorated one cupcake just like this, I let them go crazy with the frosting, curd and sprinkles!  They came up with some pretty creative cupcakes!  I’m certain that they could have decorated cupcakes for hours if I had more frosting and cupcakes!

How to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlimeHow to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

How to Host a Slime Party: Lime Curd
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 lb granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • 3 large limes (or 4 smaller ones)
Instructions
  1. Zest & squeeze the limes and set aside.
  2. Using a double boiler, melt the butter on medium heat.
  3. Add the sugar, lime juice and zest, whisking until smooth.
  4. Bring to a soft, slow simmer (but NOT a boil) and add eggs and whisk thoroughly. Stir constantly until thickened. Make sure not to boil or bring the heat too high, you don’t want to cook the eggs.
  5. Cook until the curd sticks to the back of a wooden spoon and is nice and thick (approx 10 mins).
  6. Transfer to an air tight container and cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  7. Stores for up to a week in the refrigerator.

How to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlimeSlime Time

After the fun of decorating cupcakes, it was time to get messy!  Since I have a young child, I wanted to make a slime that was non-toxic in case Matty wanted to put it in his mouth.  So, I found a recipe for slime that included only corn starch, water and a little food coloring.

How to Host a Slime Party | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

This recipe makes enough for one child to play with, double, triple or quadruple to make more! At our party, each child shared a double batch!

Supplies:

  • 1 cup of corn starch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 sealable sandwich bag
  • green liquid coloring
  • small bowls

Directions:

  1. In the sealable bag, mix the corn starch, coloring and water together until it forms a paste.
  2. Pour the paste into a small bowl.
  3. Have fun!  The faster you move, the harder it is to work with the slime, slower movements and the slime moves!

How to Host a Slime Party | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

So you know how I said I made this non-toxic for my little one… well, he only played with the slime for about 2 minutes.  Apparently, he doesn’t like getting messy.  hehe

How to Host a Slime Party | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

Slime Filled Chocolates

As a treat for everyone to go home with, I made slime-filled chocolates ahead of time.  Don’t worry, they aren’t really filled with slime, it’s white chocolate!

How to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Chocolates | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlimeSupplies:

  • Candy molds
  • Semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted – enough to make the chocolates according to the specifications on the candy mold package.
  • White chocolate ganache filling – see recipe below
  • Green sugar crystals

Directions:

  1. Fill each mold with a tablespoon of melted chocolate.  Tip and turn the mold to move the chocolate around the inside of the mold being careful not to get any chocolate above the top edge.  Flip the mold upside down and let any extra chocolate drip out.  Place the mold in the freezer until the chocolate has set, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Fill each mold with the ganache filling until just full leaving a small edge on the top.  Place back in the freezer until the ganache is firm, about 20 minutes.
  3. Reheat chocolate if necessary then use a spoon to cover the tops of the chocolates.  Press the back of the spoon on the top and pull up in the center,  this will create a finished look to your chocolate.  Sprinkle with green sugar crystals.  Chill for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

How to Host a Slime Party: Slime-filled Chocolates | JavaCupcake.com #ReadySetSlime

 

How to Host a Slime Party: Green White Chocolate Ganache Filling
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 9 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • green gel food coloring
Instructions
  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium glass bowl.
  2. In a small, heavy sauce pan heat the heavy cream until just boiling/simmering.
  3. Pour hot cream slowly over the white chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes without touching. With a rubber spatula, stir the ganache until all the chocolate has melted and is smooth.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract and the green gel food coloring.
  5. Chill until set or about 2-3 hours.

Doesn’t all this look like loads of fun? I know it got me excited to tune into the Kids’ Choice Awards 2015 on Nickelodeon! Follow #KCA on Twitter for all the fun this Saturday, March 28!!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, these chewy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies are a twist on my original chocolate chip cookie with a fresh minty taste!  You’re going to love them!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

I’m not one to go crazy for St. Patrick’s Day.  Why you may ask?  Well, because…

  1. I don’t believe in Leprechauns.  There are enough Easter bunnies, tooth fairies and Santa’s to worry about.
  2. It’s another holiday that I feel I don’t need to celebrate just because Target wants me to and
  3. I’m not even Irish.  Well, okay I might be like a 1/16 Irish, but that doesn’t count.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

I do, however, believe that chocolate chip cookies are good idea all the time.  Especially when they’re this delicious and so simple to make!

For these cookies, I took my Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe and tweaked it just enough to make something new and even tastier.  I switched up the sugar ratios, used semi-sweet chocolate chips, mint extract and of course, added green food coloring!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

So, if you’re like me and you don’t want to jump on the St. Patrick’s Day bandwagon but still want a delish treat for the holiday… make these Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy Baking!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chewy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2+ dozen
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, large
  • 1 Tbsp mint extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + extra for garnish
  • Green gel food coloring
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars until no more clumps remain. Add the melted butter and continue whisking until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, mint extract and green gel coloring and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and fold together.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 1-2 hours or until firm.
  7. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 F degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Roll 8 balls of dough, press down flat and place evenly on the prepared cookie sheet. Press 3-4 extra chocolate onto each ball for garnish
  9. Bake 11-13 minutes or until the tops are a light golden color. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Remove immediately.
  10. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Repeat process with all the cookie dough.
  12. Eat warm! Store cookies in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

 

Tips for Taking Beautiful Cupcake Photos

Katherine Moore is a friend I met through the power of Twitter and social media. We realized quickly that we lived only a few miles from each other and had a lot in common… our husbands are both deployed and we both have a love for cupcakes!  So, Katherine and I met in person by complete chance at the Cold Stone Creamery in our neighborhood and then got to spend time with her again at Cupcake Camp Seattle in 2011. I feel truly blessed to have become friends with such a talented baker and photographer.  I’ve asked Katherine to share with you some of her favorite tips for taking beautiful cupcake photos.  
 
You can find Katherine on Instagram or her Webiste.  All the photos in this article were taken by Katherine using her Canon 30D.

Tips for Taking Beautiful Cupcake Photos

First of all, I must say I am completely overjoyed by the oh-so-wonderful Betsy, or Java Cupcake, as she recently asked me to be a guest blogger and write a brief photography piece for her fantastically delicious blog! Cupcakes and photography? Both are individually delightful and together they are enough to provoke an over the top happy dance. I‘m not even kidding. Seriously, baking yummy cupcake treats, photographing those little lovelies and then of course the taste testing, can it get any better?

I think not!

Tips for taking Beautiful Cupcake Photos | JavaCupcake.com

Although I must admit, I’m quite new to the world of photography. So new that I just recently celebrated the first anniversary with my lovely little Canon 30D. I genuinely do not consider myself a real photographer and I’m primarily blaming this on my unwillingness to read instruction manuals or directions. I’ve always been the type to figure things out on my own and in my own way. My creativity is continuously improving and I’m finding myself more inspired each and everyday with the incredible people who do photography professionally. I’d like to think every picture I take is a new adventure – So, let me share my top three favorite pieces of advice with you.

Tips for taking Beautiful Cupcake Photos | JavaCupcake.com

First, the two most common techniques I absolutely believe in, is to utilize natural lighting and to style your subject attractively. Yep. That’s it. Very simple and extremely effective.

Although, in this wonderful State of Washington, utilizing natural light can be quite tricky. At least that’s my primary complaint during those forever long, dark and rainy winter months. I often found myself rushing to finish decorating the cupcakes to simply run outside and take a picture before the sun disappeared. In most cases, I would end up saving my cupcake creations until the next afternoon simply to take a better picture. So, if possible, take advantage of any natural lighting when it is actually available.

Tips for taking Beautiful Cupcake Photos | JavaCupcake.com

Second, most of my food and cupcake pictures are taken right in my own dining room – Hurrah for a sturdy window sill! Not only do I have ample amounts natural light but the presentation is also clean in appearance. I’m personally drawn to the simplicity and minimalism as it directs your focus to what really matters, your subject. Props and backgrounds are fun and can certainly add nostalgia to your photograph; however, using items or backgrounds that are too busy can often distract from the fabulousness of your subject. I like to think a bit of simplicity is often enough to make a photograph ‘pop’ on its own.

Tips for taking Beautiful Cupcake Photos | JavaCupcake.com

Finally, my absolute favorite piece of advice is to photograph absolutely everything you see. Yes, continue to photograph everything even if your significant other looks over to find you attempting to balance a cupcake on top of your pet Chihuahua’s head. Just ignore those judgmental stares and continue on with the silliness! You can read an instruction manual all day but the real lessons will come once you pick up the camera and begin shooting.

Enjoy the endless creativity!

Minion Birthday Party

We celebrated Matty’s 3rd birthday with a Minion Birthday Party!  It was so much fun to plan and put together that I decided to share some of the details with you!  I decided last year that his 3rd birthday would be a Minion theme.  So, I started collecting Minion everything and pinning ideas to my Minion Party Pinterest Board.

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

I seriously could have stared at this table all day.  I am in love with how it all turned out.  I just kinda winged it when setting up, but really love how it all came together.

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

Decorations

I went home to Seattle in February and stopped at Party City while I was there to pick up a few decorations.  I didn’t want all the decorations to be store bought with Minion prints all over them, so I picked out a table cover, balloons plus plates and napkins with minions on them.  The rest of the decor was in yellow and blue.Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

I used yellow, blue white or glass plates and bowls for serving… just the things I already had in my kitchen.  They didn’t all match in style, but their colors did, which was good enough for me.

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

I hand made this yellow & blue tissue paper garland to go over the main table.  It brought height to this display and really made a dramatic impact.

For his birthday, Matty got a few Mega Blocks sets of Minions, so we put them together and used them on the display table as well.

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

In Photoshop, I made a “Keep Calm and Bee-Do Bee-Do” sign, printed it and put it in a 5x7in frame I already had in my house.  After the party, I put it in my sons room as a decoration along with the tassel garland.

FREE PRINTABLE: Click here to print the “Keep Calm & Bee-Do Bee-Do” sign

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

The balloons I bought at party city I had blown up by local balloon artist Balloon Beauty.  I loved how they kept the Minion theme going in that party of the room!

The Box of Shame was super easy to make and a big hit with the kids!  It’s basically just a cardboard box with one side of the lid flaps taped open, a hole cut out and the words “Box of Shame” in Sharpie.  Free and fun!

Minion Birthday Party - Box of Shame | JavaCupcake.com

Snacks & Drinks

The first big decision I made was that I wanted the party to be in the afternoon so I wouldn’t have to provide a big meal for anyone.  Finger foods, snacks and of course the cake and cupcakes would be all the food I would serve.  This made things a lot easier the day of because there was less food to prep.

Minion Birthday Party - Food & Drink Ideas | JavaCupcake.com

In front of all the food, were these cute table top signs.  I printed and cut them out then glued them to yellow card stock to make tent signs.  Everyone at the party thought this little detail was pretty cute!  I loved how it subtly brought more Minions to the party!  Below I’ve included a link to a free printable.  It doesn’t have the text, but you can print them to make your own table top signs and write in the food!

El Machos Salsa

FREE PRINTABLE: Minion Table Top Signs

As you can see in the pictures above, I had a mix of finger foods that were very easy to prep and prepare but for the most part were all on the Minion theme.  Chips & salsa, pineapple, bananas and blueberries were a big hit.  I also found HARIBO Minion gummies, Minion cheese and graham crackers and made Minion Munch (which was simply muddy buddies with yellow and blue M&Ms).  Slow cooker meatballs in sauce added a savory element and pineapple juice mixed with 7-up served as the beverage.

And aren’t those Minion buckets adorable?  I got them at Party City too and they were great for holding utensils and the Minion crackers!

Minion Birthday Party - Cookie Robots | JavaCupcake.com

One of my most favorite parts of the food for the party were the cookie robots!  I made my perfect chocolate chip cookies and turned 3 of the larger cookies into Cookie Robots!

TO MAKE COOKIE ROBOTS:

  1. Mold thick, sturdy wire into a “U” shape.  Make 4 of these legs for each robot.  I made 3 robots, so you’ll need to make 12.  Press four legs into each cookie.
  2. Warm 9-10 soft, chocolate candies (I used Tootsie Rolls) in the microwave about 15 seconds until pliable.  Roll the candies into a log and cut them about 2in long.
  3. Dip each roll into corn syrup and then roll in silver candy crystals.  Attach a small red sugar ball for the laser.
  4. Once the corn syrup has dried (about 10 minutes) place a toothpic in the bottom of the candy roll, leaving 1cm exposed.  Press that into the top/center of the cookie.

Minion Birthday Party - Cookie Robots | JavaCupcake.com

Mnion Cake & Cupcakes

You know, I’m obsessed with cupcakes.  I mean… if you’re a reader of JavaCupcake, then you shoud know this already.  This year though, I wasn’t sure if I could pull off Minion cupcakes.  I do not know anything about working with fondant and my buttercream piping skills are good, but not good enough to make Minions.

Minion Birthday Party - Minion cake & cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

So I decided to make a Minion Cake and blue and yellow cupcakes to go with it.  I found the idea for this Minion Cake on Betty Crocker.  It’s really so easy to make.  Like super easy.  But, you know me… I can’t ever do anything simple… so I put the JavaCupcake spin on the cake.

TO MAKE A MINION CAKE

Supplies:

  • Chocolate Cake – I baked this recipe in two 9x13in cake pans.
  • Buttercream – I made a triple batch of this buttercream for the outside and the filling
  • Banana Filling – I used just less than 2 cups of buttercream and added 1 Tbsp banana extract and two small mashed bananas and whisked together until smooth for the filling.
  • Blue & Yellow food coloring gel
  • 3 Hershey Kisses
  • Black licorice rope
  • Black decorating icing (I used store bought in the tube)
  • White fondant
  • Tootsie rolls (about 15)
  • Silver sugar crystals
  • Corn syrup

JavaCupcake

Directions:

  1. Prepare the cake and buttercream as directed in the recipe above.
  2. Once the cake has baked, allow the cake to cool completely then trim the tops to level.  Place one layer of the cake on your cake plate and spread a thin layer of banana filling over the top.  Place the second layer of cake, cut side down on top and gently press.  Freeze the cake until firm or about 30-45 minutes.
  3. Once the cake is firm, trim the corners of the cake to make the an oblong shape of a Minion.
  4. Reserve about 1/3 of the prepared frosting and set aside.  Color the remaining frosting yellow.  Place a thin, crumb coat of yellow frosting around the entire cake.  Freeze cake for 30 minutes or until the frosting and cake is firm.  Spread an even layer of the remaining yellow frosting around the entire cake.  Freeze the cake again for at least 30 minutes or until the frosting is firm.
  5. While the cake is freezing prepare the goggles.   Roll out a piece of fondant about 1in thick.  Using a large round cookie cutter, cut out a circle.  Press a Kiss upside down to create the pupil of the eye.
  6. Using the same technique as with the Cookie Robots, you’ll make the goggles.  Warm the unwrapped Tootsie rolls in the microwave about 20 seconds until pliable.  Roll into a snake until it’s the same size as the outside of the cookie cutter you used to make the eye.  Press the ends together.  Dip the ring in corn syrup and cover in silver sugar crystals.  Set aside to dry.
  7. Once the yellow frosting is firm, color the remaining frosting blue.  Fill a piping bag with a small tip with the blue frosting.  Pipe the outline of the pants onto the cake then fill in with the blue frosting.  Using a small metal spatula, gently spread the blue until smooth.  Piping the blue on is a lot easier than trying to spread it on.
  8. Line the outside area of the top of the cake with the black licorice rope. Press two Kisses into the blue making the buttons of the Minions pants.
  9. Make a light impression into the yellow frosting with the cookie cutter as a place holder for where you’ll want the eye.  Squeeze the black frosting into a piping bag with a small round tip.  Pipe two lines, 1in apart off each side of the eye down the side of the cake to create the strap for the goggle.  Fill it in with black frosting.
  10. Place the eye onto the cake.  Gently place the goggles over the eye.  Remove any sugar crystals that may have fallen onto the cake.
  11. Cut 6 2in pieces of black licorice rope for the hair and place on the top of the cake.  Cut one more pice of rope abut 3-4in long and place under the eye for the mouth.
  12. Chill cake until ready to serve if you’ve made the cake ahead of time.  Allow to come to room temperature about 2 hours before serving.

Minion Birthday Party - Minion Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting | JavaCupcake.com

HOW TO MAKE MINION CUPCAKES

Supplies:

  • Vanilla Cupcakes & Vanilla Buttercream – I used this recipe
  • Raspberry jam – I used store bought
  • Yellow cupcake liners
  • Blue & yellow gel food coloring
  • Blue & yellow sugar sprinkles
  • Blue cupcake stand

Directions:

  1. Prepare cupcakes as directed in the recipe above in the yellow cupcake liners.  Make sure to add yellow gel food coloring to the batter before baking.  Once cool, core the center of each cupcake and fill with raspberry jam.
  2. Prepare the buttercream as directed in the recipe above.  Add blue gel food coloring to tint the frosting.  Fill a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip with frosting and pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.  Decorate with blue and yellow sugar crystals.
  3. Display cupcakes on blue cake stand.

Fun & Games

Although food is awesome at parties, I did not want the kids to be running around crazy the entire time.  So, I planned some fun & games for the kids!

First up was cookie decorating! I set out a big plastic table cover on my floor for easy clean up, prepared sugar cookies & buttercream in advance and set out the supplies for the kids.  I showed them a Purple Minion and a Yellow Minion I had made in advance and let the kids at it!  They loved this!

Minion Birthday Party - Minion Cookie Decorating | JavaCupcake.com

 HOW TO MAKE MINION COOKIES

Supplies:

  • Sugar cookies – I used this recipe and used a pumpkin cookie cutter and trimmed the stems off the sides to make the Minion shape.
  • Buttercream – I used this recipe and colored the frosting yellow and purple.
  • Candy eyes
  • Wilton grass tip and piping bag filled with purple frosting
  • Black licorice rope cut into 1-2in pieces
  • Blue, yellow and purple sugar crystals
  • Butter knives, spoons, spatulas, spreaders

Minion Birthday Party - Minion Cookie Decorating | JavaCupcake.com

Directions:

  1. Set out all the supplies in small bowls with several tools to spread the frosting.
  2. YELLOW MINION: Spread a layer of yellow frosting over the entire cookie.  Place eyes on the cookie.  The press the licorice into place to make the eyes and band for the goggle, hair and mouth.  Sprinkle blue sugar crystals over the bottom third of the cookie to create the pants.
  3. PURPLE MINION:  Spread a layer of purple frosting over the entire cookie.  Pipe purple frosting onto the top of the cookie to create the crazy purple hair.  Press in licorice to create the eyes, band for the goggles and crazy mouth.
  4. Set aside for 1 hour to dry.

We also played “Pin the Goggles on the Minion!”  This game was short and sweet, but the kids liked it!  Matty wanted to pin his goggles over and over and over!

Minion Birthday Party - Pin the Goggles on the Minion Game | JavaCupcake.com

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN “Pin the Goggles on the Minion” GAME

Supplies:

Directions:

  1. Draw a giant Minion on the poster board.   Leave off the goggles.
  2. Print enough of the goggles so each child has at least one.  Cut them out.
  3. When it’s time to play, blind fold each child and hand them goggles with tape on the back.  Spin the child around 3-5 times depending on age then direct them to put the goggles on the Minion! It’s fun to see where the end up putting the goggles!

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

Overall, I was really proud of myself for this party.  It was by far the most elaborate party to date that I’ve put together!  It was fun, the kids had fun and the parents thought the decor was awesome.  My daughter told me 10 times how impressed she was and how much fun she had.

My favorite parts were the Cookie Robots, the Minion Cake and watching the kids have fun decorating Minion cookies!  So fun!

Happy Birthday Matty!

Minion Birthday Party | JavaCupcake.com

Home Office Makeover

Moving every few years makes setting up a work space a home difficult.  For the last 7 years, I have been working in a cramped, lifeless space.  Not because I wanted to work in a space like this, but because I really didn’t know how to create a space I loved.So, I decided to create a home office that was flexible in space, but beautiful, inspiring and ultimately a place I wanted to be!

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

Before I can tell you how I got to this great space… I should really show you where I started.  My desk area was so sad.  I have been working off of this tiny IKEA computer desk for at least a decade.  It was usually more cluttered than this, but I snapped the picture below just before we tore the desk down to make space for the new office.

There was no storage for photography equipment or props.  There was no space to make anything pretty.  I mean, it’s kinda difficult to make this old computer desk pretty.  Yuck.  I tried by freshening up a cork board by painting it and I made a few cute jars to put my pens in, but really I really just needed to start fresh.

Oh and did I mention that all of this is happening in my bedroom?  So yah… my before desk was pinned into a corner next to the closet.

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

I began collecting ideas and pinning them on my Pinterest Home Office Board.  As I looked at all the pictures as a whole… I noticed a trend.  I like white, clean lines and teal/aqua as an accent color.

I also realized that I wanted a large work space.  One that I could do DIY projects on, help my daughter with homework on and one that I could use during my photo sessions for the blog.  I also knew I wanted lots of storage and shelving.  I wanted my desk to sit in front of that storage/shelving and not be pressed up against the wall.

So with all these things in mind, my husband and I went to IKEA in Nuremberg with an open mine and a budget of €400.

My new furniture also had to fit into the space in my bedroom that I created by removing everything but my bed, dresser and one shelf for the TV.

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

The desk I purchased was the MALM desk with pull-out panel and the ERIK three drawer unit with wheels.  The pull out panel is my favorite.  It allows me a space for the drawer unit right next to me, but out of the way and it pulls out whenever I need more space to work.  I love having the drawers on wheels because I can easily move it creating a space my daughter and I can both sit at together to do homework!

The surface of this desk is huge.  It allows me to lay out my computer, place for all my glass jars that hold my tools, note books, a pretty vase with flowers (also from IKEA) and even a photo of my family.

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

My notebooks are custom made from May Designs.  I use them for EVERYTHING!   The glass jars are a DIY project I did a few months ago.  They are super simple to make.  I just collected jam jars, cleaned them out, put a little tape around the middle then spray painted them gold.  Once the paint was dry, I took the tap off, added a cute yarn tassel to one and  now I’ve got cute jars for my desk to hold pens, scissors, etc! Super easy and super cute!

The wood tray I found at a local drug store for just a few Euro.  It holds my chapstick and a few bobby pins.  Keeps those things contained, accessible and out of the way.

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

Behind my desk is the KALLAX shelving unit, also from IKEA.  I added two sets of drawers and two teal storage boxes to the unit to add space for storage.  I like that I can display things in the empty space and store things in the drawers.  Clean and cute with no clutter.

I had the small wood drawers already, so it made a perfect space for my printer under my bulletin board.  The frame of the board has been painted gold and teal accent tassels in yarn added for a punch of color.

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

On top of the shelving I am not able to display my favorite baking books.  Besides the Baking Bible, I am friends with all of the authors of these books.  I like looking back and being inspired.  Someday… maybe someday, I’ll write a book and add it to that pile.

The Monogram Sequein Letter “B” was made for me by my blogging bestie, Rachel of MyDIY.life.  You can get one of your own in her shop HERE!

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

On the other side of my desk is my photography prop storage.  Inside this KALLAX shelving unit with wheels, I have two additional storage boxes.  Inside, I keep my two DSLR cameras and 4 lenses along with all the additional equipment I need for them.

On top of this storage unit, I have two mini pieces of art from CakeSpy and custom made mason jars from Just Add Glutter by Marla.  I found the jars when browsing Instagram and contacted Marla to make me a custom set for my office!  Aren’t they gorgeous?

During this makeover process, I also wanted to incorporate some art into my design.  But, being on a limited budget, I knew I had to get creative.

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

So, I came up with several printables & other wall hangings that really brought character to my office.  Like the Washington state silhouette above!

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

These three printables were the first ones I made and I’m in love.  Rachel inspired me to hang them on these hangers, which were also DIY!  I used wood pant hangers and spray painted them gold then hot glued a strip of gold sequins on an elastic band to the front, tied a teal yarn tassel to it and done!  Perfect place to hang my printables!

You can find all these of these printables in my ETSY shop if you’d like them for your home or office too!

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

I had just enough sequins left to add a bit of flair to an old black picture frame.  I think it perfectly matches the love-heart printable I made on top of this storage dresser.

And finally… probably one of my favorite parts of my entire office… the tissue paper tassel garland!

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

Again, Rachel was my inspiration for this!  She has the cutest tassel hanging in her office and even supplied me with the grey and gold paper to make my own.

There are several tutorials online you can watch to see how to make them… but I’ve decided to make a tutorial of my own on how I made them and post that later!  Stay tuned!

Home Office Makeover | JavaCupcake.com

So basically… with a little inspiration, a vision and a relatively small budget… I was able to transform the extra space in my bedroom into a home office!  I seriously spend most of my time here now and my family is not allowed in this space!

I love how the light from the windows hits the white furniture and brightens everything.  The gold and teal accent colors make me happy every time I look at it!

Seriously… if I can create this space… so can you!

Wanna Cupcake? Bakery Review

Nestled between the bustling city of Tacoma, Washington and the majestic Mount Rainier, Wanna Cupcake? is a sweet dessert & cupcake shop in the Puyallup Valley that bakes delicious treats for every occasion.

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

Wanna Cupcake? owned by Karie & Jim Romano has been around since 2009.  They began selling their cupcakes at local Farmers Markets but realized their passion would be greater served by opening their own store front!

Before I moved to Germany, I had tried to connect with Karie to sample her delicious cupcakes… but our timing never worked out.  So, when I had a last minute trip back to Washington State I reached out to Karie and scheduled a visit to her cupcake shop!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

Upon entering Wanna Cupcake? the first thing I noticed was the big chalk board with the daily flavors along with the beautiful display of cupcakes at the counter!  It’s like the cupcakes were calling out to me… PICK ME! PICK ME!  Bring pink cake stands and pink walls created a very welcoming, fun-loving vibe in the store.

Next, and my most favorite part of the shop is the open kitchen!  I have been in MANY cupcake stores (dozens and dozens!!!!), but Wanna Cupcake? was the first cupcake shop that had their kitchen and decorating stations in plain view!  I absolutely loved this!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

I remember when I was a kid leaning against the glass at the Cinnabon staring at them make the rolls and being in awe.  This open kitchen at Wanna Cupcake? gave me that feeling again!  I was giddy when I realized I could actually see the bakers baking and decorating the cupcakes that I was about to enjoy!  I was fascinated with the boxes and boxes of caking supplies and those giant stand mixers!! EEEEK!  I need all of it!  I probably could have sat at the counter watching those ladies bake for hours!

WannaCupcake-53

Meet Karie.  Hi Karie!!  Karie and her husband Jim began baking cupcakes for their kids birthdays back in 2009 and quickly realized they could do more with their baking passion!  So, they began selling their cupcakes at local farmers markets (which is how I first heard of them!) until they realized they wanted to do more!  In 2010, they moved to Puyallup and opened their Wanna Cupcake? store front, which is their home today! They have 8 employees and still sell their cupcakes at 3 local farmers markets! (Puyallup, Steilacoom and Tacoma for the locals!)  Karie hopes to participate in several local festivals this year too!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.comLet’s talk cupcakes.  All of their cupcakes are baked fresh daily from scratch using only the finest ingredients and their own special recipes.  Wanna Cupcake’s frostings are all fresh American Buttercream, Italian Meringue, Cream Cheese or Chocolate Gananche, depending upon the flavor, and each one is hand piped and decorated to exacting standards.

Every day, Wanna Cupcake? offers 13 different flavors consisting of daily standards plus a selection of specialty flavors of which they have more than 100!  I was in the shop on a Wednesday, which mean they had Moose Tracks, Chocolate Cherry Cordial, Coo-Coo Coconut  and Snickerdooodle as their special flavors!  In their case, Wanna Cupcake? also had a few extra mini cupcakes from a special order for sale.  They don’t typically stock mini cupcakes but if you catch them on a day where there’s extras… you’ll be lucky!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

Karie treated me to any cupcake I wanted to try.  I was with my Dad and son, Matty, we we picked out 5 to sample.  Coo-coo Coconut for Dad, Happy Birthday for Matty and Moose Tracks for me then Snickerdoodle and Lemonicious to share.

My favorite was the Moose Tracks.  There’s just something about that sweet, salty, chocolate and caramel that does it for me.  So darn delicious.  My Dad absolutely loved the coconut.  He raved about it for weeks after.  And Matty, he loved the sprinkles!

Every cupcake I tried from Wanna Cupcake? was moist, not too sweet and full of amazing flavor.  These cupcakes are what a cupcake should be.  Full size cupcake, generous dollop of frosting and quality ingredients made with pride and love.  I could not find one thing wrong with these cupcakes.

Karie said their #1 selling cupcake was their Salted Caramel made with their homemade caramel sauce.  I tried it.  It’s amazing.

In fact, we loved them so much that instead of making cupcakes for my son’s birthday party in Washington… I ordered from Karie! Aren’t these birthday cupcakes the cutest? My family couldn’t believe I bought them… they thought I made them! hehe Nope… Karie did!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

Since it was Valentine’s Day, Karie had her shop set up with super cute themed display and lots of extra goodies to eat.  Cake pops, rice krispie treats, chocolate pretzel rods and hand dipped cookies!

The hand dipped cookies… they’re dipped in CHOCOLATE!  Karie sent me home with one of those too.  I didn’t share.  It was so good!

Oh… don’t let me forget… but Wanna Cupcake? also does custom cakes for every occasion!!  Seriously, they do it all!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

Karie and Jim asked me not to give away all their big plans… but some awesome things are coming next for Wanna Cupcake?  One thing I can share with you though is parked out front of their shop.  A big cupcake van!  Karie and Jim hope to someday mobilize their cupcakes and bring them to a party or sporting event near you!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

I plan to be in Washington again late this summer and I can’t wait to see all of Karie and Jim’s plans come to life!  I really wish nothing but the best for these two hard working, cupcake loving folks!

So, if you’re in Washington you must make the time to visit Wanna Cupcake?! Not only are Karie and Jim the best… but their cupcakes are awesome!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

Their Puyallup bakery & store front is located at 2102 East Main in Puyallup, WA between downtown Puyallup and downtown Sumner.  Wanna Cupcake? is open every Tuesday-Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm but are available every day for weddings & special events.

You can also check them out on Facebook & Instagram where they post updates and lots of fun pictures!

Wanna Cupcake Bakery Review | JavaCupcake.com

A HUGE thank you to Karie and Jim for their hospitality while I was at their shop.  It was a thrill to meet you both and I thank you so much for the bakery tour!  I am looking forward to seeing you again in the Fall when I return!

Conversation Heart Cupcakes

I know, I know… Valentine’s Day is over.  But really, how many of us still have a box or two of conversation hearts in our house?  I know I do.  And really, I don’t know if I could stand to eat one more of them!  So, why not take inspiration from those little heart shaped candies and make some sweet Conversation Heart Cupcakes?

Conversation Heart Surprise-Inside Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

I’ve wanted to try a “surprise inside” cupcake ever since I got i am bakers book “Surprise Inside Cakes”.  The entire process seemed so simple that I thought I could surely create a heart surprise in a cupcake!

Conversation Heart Surprise-Inside Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

I used the basic white cake recipe from i am baker, which you can find in her book.   I tinted some of the frosting pink and baked it thing in a large pan.  Once it was cool, I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut heart cake shapes out to put inside of the cupcakes.

Conversation Heart Surprise-Inside Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

I wasn’t sure if these hearts would dry out when I baked them a second time, but I am happy to report that they were as moist as the white cake!  Each bite of these conversation heart cupcakes provides a surprise inside heart.  Fun, huh?

Conversation Heart Surprise-Inside Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

So if you’ve got some extra conversation hearts in your house, whip up a batch of these cupcakes.  They don’t have to be all pink and girlie either, they can be in any fun color you want… just like mine!

Conversation Heart Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1¼ tsp vanilla extract (clear is best)
  • ¼ tsp almond extract
  • 5 large egg whites, room temperature
  • pink gel food coloring
  • heart cookie cutter
Buttercream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • purple & green gel food coloring
  • Conversation hearts
  • purple & green sugar crystals
Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x13 cake pan with parchment paper, grease and flour.
  2. Sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. In a measuring cup combine the milk and extracts.
  5. Add about a third of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar and mix until just combined. Then, add half the liquid and mix in slowly. Repeat with the next third of the flour mixture and half of the liquid. Finally, add the remaining flour and mix until no more lumps of flour remain.
  6. Pour the batter into a large bowl and clean out your mixer bowl making sure it is completely clean and dry.
  7. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter and continue folding until combined. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites too much or to over mix the batter.
  8. Remove about ⅓ of the batter to another bowl and add the pink food coloring, mixing very gently until uniform in color.
  9. Spread the pink batter evenly into the prepared 9x13 pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once the pink cake has cooled, use a small heart cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes.
  11. Line your cupcake pans with liners. I used fun heart liners to continue the theme.
  12. Place about 1 Tbsp of white batter in the bottom of the liner then place a cake heart standing up into the batter. Spoon white batter around the heart until it's almost completely covered. Repeat until all the batter and hearts are gone.
  13. Bake each pan at 350F degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the white batter. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, salt, half the cream and extract and mix until combined.
  2. Add the remaining cream and beat on high for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Remove about ¼ of the buttercream and tint green. Color the remaining buttercream purple.
  4. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with the purple buttercream. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto each cupcake then sprinkle with purple sugar crystals.
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large open star, multi-pronged tip with the green buttercream. Squeeze a dollop of frosting onto the purple buttercream on each cupcake. Top with green sugar crystals and a conversation heart candy.
Notes
Cake recipe from i am baker.