Stamped Winter Sugar Cookies

Take your sugar cookies to the next level by using these super cute cookie stamps by Core Kitchen!  With a little effort, time and the right tools, you can create these Stamped Winter Sugar Cookies that are not only delicious, but almost too cute to eat!

StampedWinterSugarCookies-21

Over the holidays, Core Home surprised me with a gift of cookie stamps from their Core  Kitchen line.  I have been making sugar cookies for years with cookie cutters, but I’d never thought to use cookie stamps.  Maybe it’s because I’d never seen stamps as cute as these from Core!

StampedWinterSugarCookies-68

I was immediately inspired to bake up a batch of cookies and get to decorating!  It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out exactly how to use these stamps.  I chose to use the winter themed pack first.  The set included a bamboo stamp with three silicone templates including a snowman, snowflake and winter hat.  So adorbs, right!? And those snowflakes…. can we say FROZEN cookies!? Seriously… how perfect would those be for a Frozen themed party?!  The instructions on the packaging were a little ambiguous so I wasn’t quite sure how to start.  But, after some practice I mastered it and my turned out so cute!

StampedWinterSugarCookies-16

The biggest take-away I got from my practice was to stamp the dough before cutting out the shapes.  At first, I was cutting the dough with the round cutter then stamping, but I found that pressing the stamp into the dough after cutting created a distorted shape because of the pressure from the stamp.  Then, I decided to press the stamp into the dough just after I rolled it out to 1/8″ or so.  The dough had less space to move and distort because it was still in one big piece. Cutting the circles after stamping created perfectly round cookies every time!

I had no plan when it came to decorating these cookies.  I basically took each stamp shape, the supplies I had in my baking closet and went with it.  I did decide that the less colors I need to make would be easier, so I stuck to the white and blue theme for all of them.  And, instead of having to pipe eyes, nose and buttons on the snowman, I used the sprinkles I had in my baking cabinet.

StampedWinterSugarCookies-41

When you use these stamps to make your cookies, I’d suggest doing the same as far as your approach to decorating is concerned.  You don’t have to make yours exactly like mine… yet use your imagination and the tools you have at your disposal guide you to the perfect design.

At the end of this process, I just stared at the cookies.  I could not believe I had made them.  The process was simple, not as difficult as I expected and so much fun!  I was truly impressed with how easy the Core Kitchen Cookie Stamps made creating stunning cookies!

StampedWinterSugarCookies-42

Needless to say, I asked Core to send me more stamps.  So you can count on seeing more of these types of cookies over the next year!  I can’t wait to get them and start using them!

As of today, writing this post, these cookie stamps can be found only at JoAnn Fabric & Craft Stores.  JoAnn does have three of eight collections available online for sale, so you can get started with those!  But check out all the designs below… aren’t they awesome!?!?

cookiestampsbycoreCore Kitchen has set up a website for their Cookie Stamps, but have not yet made them available for sale online.  I have been in contact with them and they hope to get an online store up and running soon!

Happy Baking!

Winter Sugar Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Core Bamboo Cookie Stamps
  • 3⅛" round cutter
Buttercream
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt
For Decorating
  • blue & black gel food coloring
  • Disposable piping bags
  • Wilton piping tips #2/3/4 and #16/17
  • Orange jimmies
  • Blue nonpareils
  • Blue and white sugar crystals
  • Large black sugar pearls
Instructions
Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening. Add the sugar and mix on high 2 minutes until combined.
  3. One at a time add the eggs and mix until combined. Turn mixer to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the almond extract.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In two parts, add the flour to the wet mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure you've incorporated everything and mix again if necessary.
  5. Chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.
  6. On a floured surface, turn out the dough, sprinkle flour over the top and knead a few times until the dough is smooth.
  7. Roll the dough to ⅛" thickness. Press the cookie stamp into the dough to make an impression. Use the round cutter to cut a circle around the impression. Place the cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been used. You may want to keep the dough chilled between batches to keep it from getting too soft.
  8. Bake cookies for 5-7 minutes or until the edges and bottoms just being to brown. Do not over bake! Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet 2-3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer cream together the butter and shortening.
  2. Add the sugar and mix until combined. The mixture will be thick at this point.
  3. Add ½ cup of the heavy cream, the extract and salt and beat until completely combined for about 2 minutes. You'll want a consistency that's thin enough to pipe through a very small piping tip. Add up to ¼ cup more heavy cream to get this consistency.
  4. Remove ¼ cup of frosting and tint it black. Divide the remaining frosting in half and tint one half blue. Leave the remaining frosting white.
To Decorate
  1. Fill piping bags attached with the #2, #3 or #4 small round Wilton piping tip (I used all three, but what you're comfortable with will be what you should use) with the black and blue buttercream. Reserve a small amount of white and put the remaining in a bag with the small round tip. Put the reserved white in a bag fitted with the #16/17 small star/flower tip.
  2. SNOWFLAKES: Fill in the main snowflake with blue buttercream using the small round tip. Sprinkle the blue with blue sugar crystals. Using the white buttercream and the small star tip, pipe the outter edge impressions with a star. Sprinkle the white with white sugar crystals.
  3. SNOWMEN: Using the white frosting, fill in the head and body of the snowman. Be careful not to pipe over the eyes and nose or where the hat will be. Sprinkle white sugar crystals over the white. Use the black and pipe on the hat. Finally, use the blue and pipe the scarf then sprinkle blue sugar crystals on the scarf. Use the blue nonparallels as eyes, orange jimmies as the nose and large black sugar pearls as the buttons. You may need to "glue" these pieces on with a bit of frosting.
  4. BUNDLE UP: Fill in the winter hat with blue frosting. Sprinkle with blue sugar crystals. Using the white frosting with the star tip, pipe on the three balls on the base of the hat and the large ball on top. Sprinkle the white with white sugar crystals. Using the white frosting and the smallest tip you have, pipe frosting into the "Bundle Up" and sprinkle with white sugar crystals.
  5. Allow the cookies to sit for at least 8 hours (preferably overnight) before stacking for storage. Store in a plastic bakery box with a lid for up to 3 days.

 

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

 

Toy Story Alien Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
 
Serves: 2 dozen cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes
Frosting
Alien Head
  • Green gummy rope
  • Green flat gummy squares
  • Black decorating gel (in a tube)
  • Candy eyes (I used Wilton brand)
Instructions
Cupcakes
  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.
Frosting
  1. Prepare the frosting as directed in the link above.
  2. Tint the frosting green using the gel food coloring.
Assembly
  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.
Notes
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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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 | JavaCupcake.com

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!

Enjoy!

Toy Story Cookies – Sheriff Woody
 
Cook time
 
Serves: 5-6 dozen cookies
Ingredients
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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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 | JavaCupcake.com

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies

In need of an inexpensive, fun, delicious treat for Valentine’s Day?  Make these white chocolate dipped valentine fortune cookies… they will make your sweetheart want to kiss you!

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

This year I’ve decided that I wanted to create simple treats for Valentine’s Day.  I didn’t want to make anything too super elaborate, yet I wanted to show how easy it is to make delicious, fun treats without a lot of money, effort or skill.

These white chocolate dipped valentine fortune cookies accomplish just that!  With just a few ingredients, these cookies are incredibly easy to make!  You cookies don’t have to look like mine either… just use whatever Valentine sprinkles you already have in your pantry! You could even use milk or dark chocolate instead of white chocolate if you preferred!

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

I also found out something great about these cookies!  Matty loves them.  Yup, my toddler can’t get enough of the fortune cookies!  We don’t eat out Asian food that often and I don’t think I’ve ever bought them… so when we were given them at a restaurant in Berlin over Christmas, I was surprised to see how much Matty loved them.  He probably would have eaten 10 of them if I let him.  He loves them that much!

When I made these fortune cookie today, he ate two… okay, he had three.  And he loved every moment!

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to package these white chocolate dipped valentine fortune cookies in cellophane bags, tie them with curling ribbon and attach a love-themed fortune to them.  They should be pretty cute.  If I’m on top of things, I’ll take pictures and put together a tutorial for you.

But that’s only if I’m on top of things.  Haha

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

Have you started thinking about Valentine’s Day yet?

White Chocolate Dipped Valentine Fortune Cookies
 
Prep time
 
Serves: 3 dozen decorated cookies
Ingredients
  • 36 fortune cookies
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips (I used Hershey's)
  • Assorted Valentine sprinkles
  • Pink gel food coloring
  • Wilton piping tip #4 (or very small round)
  • Disposable piping bag
  • Wax paper
Instructions
  1. Set out a large piece of wax paper on your counter.
  2. In a microwave safe glass bowl, melt the white chocolate. TIP: Microwave chocolate for 1 minute at 70% heat, stir and repeat. Then switch to microwaving for 30 seconds at 70% heat, stir and repeat until smooth.
  3. Dip ⅓-1/2 of one fortune cookie into the melted white chocolate. With the cookie in one hand, use the other hand to tap the cookie holding hand gently... this will help the extra chocolate drip off the cookie without breaking the cookie.
  4. Once the extra chocolate has fallen off, sprinkle the chocolate with Valentine sprinkles. Set on the wax paper until the chocolate has hardened. Repeat this with 2 dozen fortune cookies. NOTE: You may need to reheat the chocolate if it has become too firm to dip in.
  5. With the last dozen cookies, dunk each in chocolate then set aside to dry.
  6. Once the last dozen has hardened, reheat the remaining chocolate until smooth. Add pink gel coloring to the chocolate and mix until uniform in color.
  7. Spoon the melted chocolate into a disposable piping bag fitted with the very small round tip.
  8. Pipe mini hearts onto the white chocolate and allow to harden.
  9. Once all the chocolate has hardened, the fortune cookies are ready to eat!
  10. Store them in an air tight container or package them as gifts!

Happy Halloween! {Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes}

Happy Halloween! With a few simple steps, you can create two different cakes decorated as a ghost or pumpkin for your next Halloween party!

Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween | JavaCupcake.com

Today is the spookiest day of the year!!  Are you dressing up?  My 12 year old daughter is so indecisive… she has yet to pick out a costume or even attempt to put anything together.  I told her to wear her football jersey and be a football player – but of course she can’t find it in the jungle of a bedroom.  Ahhhh teenagers.  My almost 8 month old baby boy, however, he’s going as Link from The Legend of Zelda!  Last week before the snow came, we were able to take a few pictures of him in his costume.  This one is my favorite.  Isn’t he the cutest lil thing you ever did see?

Baby Link from Legend of Zelda Costume | JavaCupcake.com

Middle School – it’s not the most fun place for a pre-teen or teenager to be.  So, as a Mom I try to make Emily the “cool girl” by baking awesome stuff and bringing it to school for holidays and special occasions.  This time, I made cakes for her Halloween Dance & Party.  During the party, they were to have a cake walk and I wanted one of Emily’s friends to go home with the coolest Halloween cake ever!

I found the inspiration for this first cake from Lemon Sugar.  She made an 8in round chocolate cake topped with ghosts a few weeks ago and I fell in love.  I used the ghosts as inspiration for one of the cupcakes I taught during my Spooktacular Treats Workshop.  Since I didn’t need a huge cake, I used 6in cake pans and made smaller cakes for the cake walk.  I think it turned out pretty awesome.  I wish I could have sliced it open for you because on the inside there was white cake and orange buttercream in the the middle!

Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween | JavaCupcake.com

I used a basic vanilla cake recipe, filled the cupcake with colored vanilla buttercream and the outside is covered in dark chocolate buttercream.

The second cake is made with the same vanilla cake but this time the cake was tinted orange and I used a bright blue tinted buttercream for the filling.  The same dark chocolate buttercream is on the outside.  The orange pumpkin and dots are buttercream tinted orange.

To make the dots, I used a small round tip on my piping bag and just squeezed them onto the outside of the cake.  Using the same round tip, I drew the pumpkin onto the top.  The stem is made out of some extra meringue from the ghosts tinted green.  Pretty darn easy if you ask me… and such a great effect!

Easy Tutorial: Ghost & Pumpkin Cakes for Halloween | JavaCupcake.com

I found out later that the cakes didn’t get used during the cake walk… the teacher who put the event together said they were put aside and the adults who volunteered ate them as a “thank you” from the school for helping.  I was disappointed that none of the kids got to see it and Emily didn’t get to be the “cool girl” at the dance.  I wanted the kids fighting over it during the cake walk.  All that work wasted.  I hope the adults enjoyed the cakes.  Emily didn’t even get a chance to see them completed.  Oh well.

Today, I’ll be making one final Candy Corn Cake for Halloween.  I have 3 bags of candy corn that need to get used so I’ll be making an ombre style candy corn cake!  I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Hope everyone has an amazing Halloween!  Bake lots of goodies for your kids and remember to stay safe while Trick or Treating!

 

Blue Ombre Cake Tutorial

One of my closest friends celebrated her husbands birthday this past weekend and asked me to make his birthday cake and cupcakes.  Jody didn’t want anything special, “just something simple… vanilla is good!” he told me.  Hmmm… I don’t do simple .  Ha!  But… I do make a killer vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream!  And a blue ombre cake would be even better!  This is an easy ombre cake tutorial that anyone can follow!

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So, simple cake it is… but definitely not simple decorating! I decided that I’d use this cake as another opportunity to make an Ombre style cake.  This cake, however, couldn’t be like my last cake… pink and girly.  This cake had to be fit for a soldier and a man!  Blue ombre cake layers covered in blue ombre buttercream.  PERFECT!

I found the process to make this cake pretty easy.  Only a few extra steps were needed to color the cake layers and the buttercream frosting.  Having a cake turntable and the right supplies really helped the process too!

 How to Blue Make Ombre Cake Layers

Supplies:
Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes & Buttercream (I used a double batch)
Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
Toothpics
4 bowls & spatulas

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Use 4 8in cake pans and grease, flour and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Step 2: Prepare batter as recipe described.  Divide batter evenly into 4 bowls.  Set one bowl aside, it will not be colored.

Step 3:  Dip a toothpick into the food coloring gel and transfer a very small amount of food color gel into one bowl of batter.  Use spatula to incorporate until uniform in color.  Set aside.

Step 4: Dip another toothpick into the food color gel and transfer a slightly larger amount of gel into a second bowl of batter.  Use spatula to incorporate until uniform in color.  Set aside.

Step 5: Finally, dip one last toothpick into the food color gel and transfer a large amount of gel into the last bowl of batter.  Use a spatula to incorporate until uniform in color.

Step 6: Spread batters evenly in the 4 pans.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Step 7:  Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


How to Frost a Blue Ombre Cake

Supplies:
4 Cake layers (double batch of the recipe above)
Buttercream (triple batch of the recipe above)
Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue
Toothpicks
4 bowls & spatulas
Small offset spatula
Cake turn table

Step 1: Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap & freeze for about 30 minutes or until ready to use.  Spread a generous layer of buttercream between each layer of cake and apply a crumb coat of buttercream to the outside.  Freeze for another 30 minutes.  Remove from freezer and place cake on a cake turntable.

Step 2:  To prepare buttercream into Ombre colors (light to dark), separate the buttercream into 4 parts (reserve a little extra for the white) and place in 4 bowls.  Set aside the white buttercream.  Using Wilton Food Color Gel in Sky Blue, dip a toothpick into the food gel getting a VERY SMALL amount of color onto the pic.  Smear the pic into one bowl of the buttercream and use a spatula to incorporate until uniform.  Set aside.  Repeat this process for the rest of the buttercream, but use a little bit more gel color on the tooth pic each time.  In the end, you should have three shades of blue and white buttercream.

Step 3: Begin with the darkest shade of blue.  Using a small spatula (I used an offset spatula), spread an even 1/2 inch thick layer of buttercream around the bottom 1/3 of the cake.  Using the edge, hold the spatula flush against the dark layer to smooth out  any massive bumps of buttercream.  Wipe the spatula clean before moving on to the next color.

Step 4 & 5: Repeat Step 3 using first the next lightest shade of  blue buttercream to spread on second 1/3 of the cake.  Overlap just slightly the two colors where they meet.  Finally, use the lightest shade of blue buttercream to spread on final 1/3 of the cake.  Remember to smooth the sides with the edge of the spatula.

NOTE: Leave a 1/4 border of non-frosted cake at the top.  You’ll need room for the white to come down from the top in the next step.

Step 6: Using the white buttercream, spread 1/2 inch layer of bc on the top of the cake making sure to cover all the way to the edges. It’s okay if the buttercream goes over the edge, you want to fill in that 1/4 inch of cake that you left unfrosted in Step 5.  Using the edge of the spatula, smooth side and top of the white buttercream.

Step 7:  Create the ribbon effect by holding the tip your spatula sideways against the darkest color & bottom edge of the cake.  Pressing gently,  slowly & smoothly spin the cake turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula up the side of the cake.   You may need to stop and wipe any excess frosting after each revolution if you are pressing too hard.  Continue turning the cake and dragging the spatula up until you reach the top of the cake.

Step 8:  Wipe the spatula clean.  Gently press the tip of the spatula into the middle of the top of the cake and spin the turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula towards the outside of the cake.  You may have some excess frosting along the edges, simply press your spatula on the edge where the top and side meet and spin the turn table until it is smooth.

NOTE: Imperfections are very easy to cover up with with style of decorating.  Don’t be afraid to go over the ribbon of swirls until the colors have smoothed together how you want them.

Step 9:  Place cake back in freezer for about 20 minutes so that the buttercream sets up.  Transfer cake to your cake stand or plate for serving.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions about any of these steps… please do not hesitate to ask me!

Also, I love seeing your pictures of ombre cakes using this tutorial!! Please, send them to betsy at javacupcake dot com!

Chocolate Raspberry Ombre Petal Cake

Since I’ve been on a cake kick lately, I’ve been daydreaming non stop about what flavor to make next.   I’ve been craving my favorite chocolate cake recipe and my fridge is fully stocked with raspberries so I knew I had to incorporate them into this cake.  Next week I’m baking a cake for a birthday and thought today’s cake would be the perfect opportunity to practice a new decorating technique before I have to make the birthday cake!

I really took my time putting this cake together.  I started it about 11am and finished it around dinner time.  The most time consuming part was the frosting, not making the frosting, but decorating with the frosting. The cake itself only requires 2 bowls and a small pot, no mixer required.

Ombre is a style of decorating where you use several shades of the same color to frost your cake, beginning with the darkest and continue with lighter and lighter shades of your color until it becomes white.  This cake being raspberry, I figured pink would be the best choice.  I used Wilton Gel color pink, separated my frosting into four parts, thentinted my frosting three shades of pink and left one white.

The Petal Technique uses a round tip on your piping bag and a small spatula to create the effect.  It’s a simple process, just very time consuming.

Since I’d never made a cake like this before, I did my homework and read several blogs about how to successfully create these looks on a cake.  My favorite was from The Hungry Housewife.  She posted a tutorial on her blog that demonstrated both the ombre and petal effect to decorate a cake.  So, I watched this video, prepped my frosting and got to work!

I’m not going to include my step by step on how I decorated the cake, I’m going to let you read what The Hungry Housewife wrote… why reinvent the wheel.  But, I will give you the recipe for the cake I made and the raspberry filling.

Let’s talk about the cake for a second…

Dark chocolate, rich, dense and moist.  This is my FAVORITE chocolate cake recipe OF ALL TIME.  Yah, it’s that good.  And like I said before, no mixer required to make this cake… which makes it even better.  I’ve used this recipe for cupcakes before, but I’d never transitioned it into a cake, but it preformed wonderfully in cake pans!

Raspberry filling… nothing better next to chocolate than this raspberry filling.  Can I tell you a secret?  Last night, after the cake was finished, I spooned this raspberry filling onto extra pieces of chocolate cake and shoveled it into my mouth.  Actually, I made raspberry sandwiches with it… two pieces of cake filled with raspberry.  Decadent.  Heavenly.

A few things I realized during this cake that will make your cake making process a lot easier…

  1. PLAN AHEAD!  Decide what colors you want to use, what cake flavors you want to use and go over all your recipes and tutorials before you begin.  Be thorough so there are no surprises.
  2. Make sure you have all your tools ready.  You really want to have enough bags with the same tip prepared and ready to go when you start piping.  It will make this process 100x easier.
  3. Go slow.  Take your time.  Don’t rush it.  I know I get excited making new things and sometimes rush… but really, take your time.  Breathe and enjoy the process!

I really hope you try this cake for your next special occasion.  Your friends will be super impressed.  I’m even impressed with myself.  :)

Chocolate Raspberry Cake
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1½ cups brewed coffee
  • 1 Tbsp espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
Raspberry Filling
  • 4 cups fresh raspberries
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • juice of a lime
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • pinch of salt
Vanilla Buttercream for filling
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-2 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1lb powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • vanilla bean - split the bean and scrape seeds from one half of bean
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
Vanilla Buttercream for icing
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2½ lbs powdered sugar (about 10 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla
  • seeds of 1½ vanilla beans
  • ¼-1/2 cup milk
  • Wilton Food Coloring Gel - Pink
Instructions
Dark Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease and flour 4 8in cake pans.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the coffee, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the eggs. SLOWLY add a few tablespoons of the chocolate mixture to the sour cream and eggs. Whisk to combine. In a slow stream, whisk in the remaining chocolate mixture until combined completely.
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in wet. Using a whisk, stir until no more lumps remain.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the 4 prepared pans. Each pan should get about 1½ heaping cups of batter.
  7. Bake 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Once the cakes have cooled, but are still warm, using a cake leveler to cut off the round mound on the top of the cake. Make sure all four layers are the same size.
Raspberry Filling
  1. In a large pan, melt the butter.
  2. Add the raspberries, sugar and lime and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir continuously so that the raspberries begin to break down.
  3. Add the corn starch and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the raspberries thicken, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salt.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before filling cake.
Buttercream (you'll use the same method to make both buttercreams)
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese (shortening too if you're making the bc for the outside of the cake).
  2. One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and salt.
  4. Add enough milk until you reach your desired consistency. Mix on high for about 5 minutes.
To color the frosting:
  1. Divide frosting into four bowls. Set one aside that will remain white. Using a toothpick, dab a VERY SMALL amount of the pink dye into one bowl and mix until uniform in color. Use a little bit more color in the next bowl and even more color in the final bowl. The colors should get gradually darker.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Place the first layer of cake on a cake board/cake stand. Using the first batch of buttercream, make a border of frosting on the top of the cake along the edge. This will create a space for the raspberry filling and keep it from oozing out the sides.
  2. Fill the top open space with ½ cup of raspberry filling, spreading evenly.
  3. Place the second layer of cake gently on top. Spread a ½ inch thick layer of buttercream evenly on top.
  4. Place the third layer of cake on top of the frosting and repeat the process used for the first raspberry layer.
  5. Finally, place the last cake layer on top. Using the remaining frosting to crumb coat the cake.
  6. Freeze cake for 20 minutes before frosting.
Petal Cake Frosting Technique
  1. Visit The Hungry Housewife for a complete petal cake frosting tutorial.

 

 

Rainbow Pom Pom Cake

Last week I had my first adventure in making a real cake.  Not just slapping on frosting and calling it a day… but really putting time, thought and effort into creating something beautiful.  I researched and read about how to make i am baker‘s vertical layer cake and frosted it using her rose buttercream tutorial.  It turned out beautifully (click here for the whole blog post on that cake)!  It also left me with a half a cake that needed frosting since I only used half for the rose cake.

My neighbors daughter, Katie, celebrated her 4th birthday this weekend and I offered to frost my extra cake for her party.  Katie’s party theme was rainbow and I had a pretty good idea of how to decorate it.  Immediately, I turned to i am baker again and searched for a cake she made that looked like it had little pom poms of frosting in a rainbow of colors all over the cake.  The cake used a Wilton grass tip to create the little pom poms that completely covered the came.  Seemed simple enough.

So, I took my extra cake and made a batch of buttercream frosting.  I separated the frosting into 6 bowls and used Wilton Gel Coloring in every color of the rainbow… red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple… then put that frosting into disposable bags fitted with a coupler to fit Wilton tip #233, the grass tip.

And… off to frosting I went!  This cake took about an hour to completely cover, but it was well worth it.  It came out beautifully and the birthday girl LOVED it!

The cake was so cute, but it didn’t have much height so I decided to add a banner to the cake.  I’d never made one before, but I figured it couldn’t be too difficult. I turned to Joy the Baker for her tutorial on how to make cake banners.  I cut triangles out of card stock, wrote the birthday girl’s name on them and attached to string.  I used two paper straws to anchor them to then placed them on top of the cake. Super cute, easy and added the height I wanted to the cake!

Here’s the breakdown on how I made this cake…

Vertical Layer Cake Tutorial

Using Wilton tip #233 (grass tip) Tutorial to frost a cake

Cake Banner Tutorial