Friday, April 30, 2010

Cupacke a Week: Tiffany Blue

Does this cupcake remind you of something? Perhaps a little blue box with a white ribbon tied around it containing something fancy inside?

Well the inspiration behind these cupcakes definitely had Tiffany & Co. in mind. Last night I was part of a great event for Team in Training (TNT) and had so much fun creating these mini cakes for such a special occasion. As most of you know I am one of the coach's for TNT which is an organization that trains participants to run/walk a marathon or half marathon while at the same time fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help find a CURE for blood cancers!

Last night we had a fun-filled evening with our annual Nike Preview Party. This is an event where women in the community who are interested in TNT and training for a marathon come and learn about one of the most popular marathons in the country the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. Let me just say, if you have ever considered running a marathon but for some reason have always come up with excuses to talk yourself out of it...then stop making excuses, this is the one you should definitely sign up about glitz and glam and being pampered in an awesome city!

I completed the Nike Women's Marathon in October 2008 as my very first marathon and also my first TNT event and have been hooked on marathons ever since. It was an awesome experience and one that really can't even be put into words. So if you are wondering what the blue & white cupcake has to do with this event...well here it is...are you's a BIG deal...I mean HUGE!

Would you run a marathon (26.2 miles) or half marathon (13.1 miles) if you knew you were going to get a Tiffany & Co. necklace at the end of the race when you crossed the finish line? Who doesn't love a Tiffany & Co. necklace right? Well it gets even better...what if I told you there would be handsome firemen dressed in tuxedos with the Tiffany blue boxes on silver platters handing you your necklace? Does this sound like too much of a good thing, well ladies you are in for a treat because a race like this truly does exist, and I have the necklace to prove it!

Would you run a marathon if you knew you were going to be SAVING LIVES?

Would you run a marathon if you knew you would get a piece of Ghiradelli chocolate at mile 23? Did someone say chocolate? Count me in!

Would you run a marathon if you knew you were going to be racing with 20,o00 other women for a great cause? Talk about women being empowered and feeling confident with who they are and what they can accomplish!

Would you run a marathon in memory of a loved one who lost their battle with a blood cancer, or in honor of a loved one fighting for their life and to raise awareness about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society? I ran my first marathon in honor of my grandfather who was undergoing treatments for non-hodgkins lymphoma...he thankfully has beat his cancer and is in remission. Sadly though, there are so many others that I know that were not as lucky and unfortunately lost their battle with such a terrible disease, many of them way too young to die.

Would you run a marathon if you knew you were going to have the support of a TEAM cheering you on every step of the way?

So let's get real now...if you answered YES to even just ONE of the questions above I think you should definitely consider joining the Team in Training group in your city and signing up for the Nike Women's Marathon this year that will take place on October 17, 2010 in San Francisco! It's not too see that lady in the purple, she is filling out her paper work and is ready to make the commitment to join the team, run in the ridiculous summer heat & humidity in Mobile, endure mile after mile of training, raise over $3000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and do it all for such a great cause.

Here's some of our current and past Mobile TNT team. Everyone in this photo has completed at least one or multiple marathons. So if you think that running 26.2 miles isn't possible...just look at everyone here and get inspired! All of these women and men were dedicated and motivated to join the team for one reason or another and came together to help us get one step closer to finding a cure!

But until there is a cure for blood cancers, the members of Team in Training will continue training, fundraising and bringing awareness to the community about how awful this disease is! If you want to help make a difference I encourage you to JOIN THE TEAM TODAY! Trust me you won't regret this decision and it will be a life changing experience for sure!

And I'll leave you with one final thought, one that always helps our team put things into perspective on the days we just don't feel like getting out there to train...."If you think running is tough...try chemotheraphy".


Monday, April 26, 2010

Sailboat Cake

Here's a picture of a surprise birthday cake I made this weekend for my friend's boyfriend on his big "30" birthday! He loves to sail and has a "finn" sailboat so she asked me if I would create a sailboat cake for him! I had never heard of this type of boat before so she sent me some website links as well as a picture of his boat...they are tiny, made only for 1 person to fit, I had never heard of this type of boat before. I told her I would love to give this sailboat cake a try but wasn't too confident in my sculpting skills to create the actual sailboat shape! All week long I went back and forth on how I was going to create the sailboat...should I try to sculpt it, make it out of royal icing and place it ontop of the cake, or just use fondant to create the shape...well as you can see from the picture above, fondant turned out to be the route I took.

Well actually I did trace the shape of the boat in royal icing first, but when I went to pick it up, the icing hadn't quite dried all the way and the boat cracked in about 4 pieces. Plan A...destroyed, it was back to the drawing board. I am fairly new to using royal icing and according to my Wilton cake class teacher she says whenever you make pieces out of royal icing you should always make at least 2 or 3 because there is a chance they could crack...ooops...I only made 1 boat since it was a rather large shape and what's my cracked! Honestly though, I like the look of the fondant boat better, the lines look much cleaner.

I used white fondant and tinted it with some blue coloring to create a sort of swirled effect to resemble water.

Around the edge of the cake I created wave shapes and then piped white royal icing around the edges to give it the look of the white tops you see in the ocean when the waves form. (This was my husband's idea...pretty creative huh!...he also created the shape of the wave as a template for me too so I could create the fondant pieces...he's better at drawing than I am!)

Here's a picture of Derek, the birthday boy and his sweet girlfriend Katie who arranged for this secret cake for him!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cupcake a Week: Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcake

If you follow my blog regularly you know that this year I am posting a different cupcake recipe or idea each week! Well let's just say last weeks cupcake turned out to be a flop. Lesson learned: an ooey gooey peanut butter center and a jumbo cupcake do not go well together. I was left with a collapsed cupcake that looked like a mound of buttercream icing!

But this is a new week so I was determined to take my two favorite ingredients and create round 2 of my chocolate and peanut butter cupcake! This recipe is it requires no baking at all, but will be chilled instead and still includes some peanut butter goodness!

First of all you need to buy a bag of the snack size Reese's Cups.

Take off the wrappers and place them inside a cupcake tin with paper liners. The Reese's cup will serve as the base of your cupcake.

Next you will whip up a fabulous chocolate no bake cheesecake type mousse and dollop on top of the Reese's Cups! Place in the fridge until firm about 1 hour.

And if you so desire you can add a little peanut butter cream cheese icing on top for another layer of peanut butter! I had some of this butter cream left from last weeks cupcake so I figured what the heck...the more peanut butter the better! This is a simple and easy recipe you can whip up with just a few ingredients and doesn't even require turning on your oven.

Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcake

-2 oz Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate squares, melted
-8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
-2 cups Cool Whip topping, thawed
-12 Reese's Cup (snack size)

  • Line 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Unwrap Reese's Cups and place 1 in each of the cupcake liners.
  • Melt chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals until melted. Set aside to cool.
  • Combine cream cheese, sugar and butter into bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy.
  • Add in melted chocolate and blend until combined.
  • Fold in Cool Whip until incorporated.
  • Spoon chocolate cheesecake mixture into paper lined cupcake tin.
  • Refrigerate cheesecake cupcakes until firm, about 1 hour.
  • If desired, add a dollop of peanut butter cream cheese frosting from this recipe.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The BIG Reveal!

I have been concealing a super fun secret, well actually TWO secrets since Tuesday and today they were finally revealed. Wanna know the secret? I'll give you hint, the answers are concealed within these TWO cakes! Any thoughts popping in your head yet? Well keep on reading....

On February 13th I was driving to Birmingham for the Mercedes Marathon with my friend and Team in Training co-coach Kelly! We were heading up to coach our TNT runners for the half marathon that weekend. Well about 30 minutes into our drive she looks at me and says "so I've got something tell you and also something to ask you". She continues to say "first of all I'm pregnant"....I let out a huge scream and was super excited for her as this was going to be her first baby! She is going to make such an awesome mom...she's always in a good mood, is overflowing with loads of energy, extremely involved with numerous organizations in the community and is one of the most kind, caring and generous people I know...she is truly and inspiration to all! Then she goes on to ask me if I would make a cake for her so she could have a "gender reveal" party for her friends and family. Her idea was to have the inside of the cake to be dyed either red for a girl or blue for a boy! So immediately being the cake lover that I am I said YES, I would love to bake the cake for her!

But there's an even bigger twist...Kelly said that only her husband was going to find out the sex of the baby during their ultrasound and he would text me the gender so that I could make the cake for the party! WOW...I felt so honored that she was willing to let me know the sex of her own child before her so I could make the cake, and then she would be totally surprised as she cut the cake at the party!

But wait, this story gets even better...on March 2nd she sends me a text saying "TWINS!! September 13th!" WHAT....I couldn't believe what I had just read! I was so excited I couldn't even contain myself. I couldn't wait to talk to Kelly and hear all about how her appointment went. She had gone to the appointment without her husband that day because she thought it was just going to be a routine checkup and nothing new was going to happen since she already knew she was pregnant and it was too early to tell the sex was she in for a big surprise when she found out there were two babies!

So now you know the reason behind the TWO cakes...each baby definitely deserves a cake of their own right???? Apparently when you are having multiple babies the doctor refers to them as baby "A" and baby "B". I found some white wooden letters at Michael's and thought it would be super cute to paint the letters red & blue as a monogram for each of the babies' cakes.

Once we knew the babies were TWINS we started planning the color scheme for the party. Kelly's mom had found some super cute polka dot napkins and plates that she had planned to use for the party so I thought it would be fun to carry that theme through in the cakes. I had started looking around for color inspiration through some of the blogs I follow and found a super cute red/blue theme at One Charming Party. I forwarded this idea to Kelly and she liked the colors so that's what we went with! Red & Blue could work for both a girl/boy, boy/boy or girl/girl outcome...I just love this color combo!

So Tuesday, April 13th was the day I received the text from Kelly's husband with the genders for the babies..."baby A..... You really think I was going to tell you the secret just yet...keep reading

For the "big reveal" we thought it would be fun if everyone cast their vote for the sex of each baby. Kelly and her mom came up with the theme of "what color are your booties" for the party so I created a ballot to go with this slogan.

And it's not a party without some cake lollipops right?

As I was looking for party decorations in the red/blue scheme I came across these super cute monogram note cards at Michael's that just so happened to have the letters "A" and "B" on them and be in red & blue, this couldn't have been any more perfect for the party. So I punched holes in the top and strung some blue ribbon through to create some garland for draping by the cakes.

I set up a trial run of the party sweets and decorations at my house to see how everything fit together.

Kelly also wanted to incorporate the sayings "sugar and spice and all that's nice" and

"snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails" into the party food. I created these labels for her to set on the food table...she made a cinnamon & sugar mixture to dip fruit in for the "sugar & spice" and then a snack mix of pretzels, Cheese-its and gummy worms for the "snips, snails & puppy dogs' tails".

And to go with the cake lollipops some cake balls!

More cake lollipops! I love the rainbow sprinkles!

One more fun label...PEANUT & PLAIN M&Ms...get it??? Peanut = Boy, Plain = Girl

So that wraps up the behind the scenes planning at my house...let's head on over to the big reveal party for some more pictures!

The party was this afternoon at Kelly's moms' house and in the entry way she had the cutest pink and blue booties and bibs displayed!

I set up the cake display on the kitchen bar so everyone would be able to gather around when it was time to "cut the cakes"

Are you ready to know what colors are in these cakes yet....I bet the anticipation is killing you...

My guess before I knew the ultrasound results was A = girl

and B = you think I was right?

Kelly's mom had found these adorable little wind up babies that we put by the baby voting.

The first vote being cast...

The votes are in, let the cake slicing begin!

Here's a picture of Kelly with her brother Andrew, sister-in-law Jessica and nephew Evan.

The cake lollipops were dyed blue

and pink! Everyone was allowed to indulge in the cake pops prior to the cake cutting knowing that even though the pops were colored blue and pink, the true secret colors was hidden beneath the layers of fondant and icing on the cakes.

Proud parents to be...Kelly & Rob! Rob knows the secret and Kelly's about to find out! I don't know how he was able to keep such a huge secret from her for the past 6 days.

Kelly's vote: Baby A = Boy, Baby B = Girl

Here come's Baby A...'s a BOY! Yeah, Kelly was right!

Here's the happy crowd excited for Baby A being a Boy and awaiting the reveal of Baby B.

Here comes Baby B...

Another BOY!

Kelly and her mom sharing a hug! They were both hoping for at least one little girl since there are already 3 little boys nephews/grandsons in the family but looks like they're about to get 2 more. Kelly said "well at least I'll still be the princess!"

So happy for you both! You are going to make terrific twin's parents!

Here's a pic of me and Kelly.

And finally the inside of the cakes...Cake B on the left was a "blue velvet" (traditional red velvet dyed with blue food coloring) and Cake A on the right was a yellow butter cake dyed blue.

And the sonogram that confirms everything: Baby A is a Boy! and Baby B is a Boy!

So there you have it, the big secret and probably one of the most fun baking projects I have ever done are revealed! Thanks Kelly for asking me to be part of your special day!
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