A Tale of Two Loves

Of a dessert revolution and the inspiration that we find all around us. More »

Inspiration Found

This is our gallery of current dessert projects. Everything from spiced dark rum pumpkin to drunken Irish car bombs. More »

Printables

Our collection of cupcake wrappers, shopping lists and other free printables. Check back often for more updates. More »

 

Cakes to Sip & Celebrate

Sip and Celebrate Lemonade On the Rocks

I recently had a friend ask me for help in designing an evite for a baby shower she was throwing. The only catch was that it wasn’t quite traditional, it was more of a non-baby-shower baby shower. So the theme was a lemonade party that celebrated the entire family, not just the new baby since they have another daughter that’s a little over 2 now. So we created a summer-y lemonade invite that had her baby room colors and designs (thank you Pinterest) included in the design.

Interestingly enough, it gave us a thought for a new cupcake – a lemonade cupcake. Conveniently, Sydney’s Dad makes the most amazingly delicious blueberry lemonade, which was the only thing I could envision when thinking blue and yellow lemonade party. So we combined a few different recipe ideas and came up with this little beauty of a cupcake: Lemonade On The Rocks.

We made up a batch of the lemonade, well a couple of batches so we had plenty of “leftovers,” and started incorporating it into our vanilla cupcake recipe. Then threw in a bit of Blue Curaçao, because what’s an ‘Upcake without the alcohol and what pairs better with lemonade than Blue Curaçao. Next added a heaping cup of blueberries and put them in the oven. We encountered a slight twist when they cooked because apparently, cooking blue cupcakes without QUITE enough blue food coloring makes for a blueish-green cooked cupcake. Still tasted delicious, just a mental note for next time.

Then got to work on the frosting: cream cheese frosting with standard lemonade and lemon drops (again, how could we resist?). To finish it off we added a splash of fresh blueberry juice and voila, the Lemonade On The Rocks was alive and well. Got to love the serendipity of one project inspiring another. It’s time to sip and celebrate with 21 & ‘Upcakes.





 

May The Odds Be Ever In Your *Cupcake* Favor

photo 3-4

Last night was the LA premier of The Hunger Games and it marked only 12 days until the opening of the movie next Friday. The Hunger Games phenomenon has seemingly sweeped the nation off it’s feet. Now whether your love for the series is real or not real, ours here at 21 & ‘Upcakes is quite real and no illusion of the tracker jackers.So in honor of the upcoming release, we’ve come up with a printable and step-by-step instructions for creating your own mockingjay pin cupcake topper. Perfect for you and your fellow tributes for the start of the 74th Annual Hunger Games.

First you’ll need the following:
- Yellow or White rolled fondant (available at your local Joanne’s or Michaels)
- Black food write marker (normally comes in a variety pack)
- Red and Yellow food spray paint
- X-acto knife or similar tool

Open the fondant roll out according to box directions. Once it’s rolled out to desired thickness (about an 1/8″), spray with yellow spray paint with an even coat. Then using the red spray paint about 5″ above the fondant, spray a light dusting level over the yellow fondant. Set aside to let the paint dry.

 

 

In the meantime, printout the PDF from here onto preferably thicker printer paper (thinner paper doesn’t tend to hold up as well). There are two options on the sheet, a simplified edges version and a detailed wing version. Either will work, it just depends on your level of determination at the time. Using an X-acto knife, very carefully cut along the solid lines of the printout.

Once the paint is dry on the fondant, place the stencil cutout onto the fondant. Using the dull end of a pen or paintbrush, lightly follow along the dotted lines making a slight impression onto the fondant. This will give the fondant some depth with shadows and highlights.

Then, using the food marker, fill in the blank spaces around the stencil. Be careful not to let the stencil move as you color in the blank space. Once everything is drawn on, remove the stencil and fill in any missed spots. If the paint wasn’t completely dry before putting the stencil dawn, there could be some water spots on the fondant. If this happens, you can spray some more of the yellow paint on top and smudge it with your fingers if needed.

 

Cut around the stencil to the desired size. We used a glass from Ikea that worked perfectly. Let the fondant dry completely (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) before placing as topper on your cupcakes. And there you have it, a mockingjay fitted for Panem’s favorite baker, Peeta Mellark. Be sure to check out our Flaming Dr. Pepper cupcake, pairs well as the cupcake on fire. And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can try carving the same design out of fondant using the template for the 3D look to.

 


Pin It

An Improvisation on Chocolate Butterflies

photo_crop

Sometimes we here at 21 & ‘Upcakes have a habit of getting ourselves into situations that need a little creative handling. Thankfully it pretty much works out in the end. For instance, a while back we had a woman come to us asking if we can do a special order for her baby shower, the theme was butterflies. We immediately said yes, because who wouldn’t love the chance to experiment with gum paste or fondant to capture the beauty of a butterfly. Well then she sends us a picture of the butterflies that she wanted on the cupcakes. They were beautiful, adorable and not made out of gum paste as we were thinking.

“Ok, we can handle this,” we told ourselves not really knowing what we were going to do. Cue the creative licensing. We combed the web trying to find a mold similar to her perfect little beauties, but nothing even came close. Now while there are a number of different chocolate molds out there for butterflies, they are mostly more realistic than we were going for. So we sat back and tried to think of a plan b, since there are always at least 2 ways to solve a problem. We started looking at the base shapes of the butterfly chocolate she had requested and couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance to two gradual hearts combined together. That was it! We figured we could find a heart mold and “tweak” it to look how we needed it to.

The heart search was on. We yet again combed the web searching for the perfect heart mold that could give birth to our little chocolate treats, and thanks to Amazon, we found the perfect one. Even better was that it was at a perfect price: $1.99! BITE SIZE HEARTS Valentine Candy Mold chocolate You can’t beat that, so we ordered it and within a week we were in the kitchen and experimenting.

We filled the little molds and then went to work cutting them in half, placing them on each cupcake, filling in the body section and adding the little details to make them look more like wings. In addition to cutting the hearts, we also took a warmed knife down the center (where the heart crease is) so that it looked like it went in more and looked like actual wings instead of a heart cut in half.

In the end they turned out both delicious and delightful to look at. The Mommy-to-Be loved the Raspberry Crush cupcake (sans the alcohol) topped with bright baby pink and the butterflies she had been expecting the whole time. As did all of her friends. So the moral of this one? Remember there are always two ways to solve a problem, you just have to look at it from another angle. You may be surprised what you can come up with.




Pin It

Funny Things Are Everywhere

6900412809

In honor of the release of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in theatres, which conveniently falls on the same day as his 108th birthday, we’re going to undergo an adventure in cake pops. Inspiration courtesy of Bakerella, we’re going to try and make Truffula Trees. We’ll be sure to post how it goes and of course, we’ll try to add our own twist to the flavoring.

We’ve also written our own poem for all those out there who say, “I can’t bake.” A baker’s a baker, no matter how small.

Baking is an art,
in which all can take part.
Whether you’re taller than a wall
or smaller than a doll,
we can all make a mess
and relieve some stress,
just start with the flour
and in under an hour
you may just have a cake
and a crowd in your wake
rushing with great haste
just to get a small taste.

And while we’re cake popping, enjoy 30 quotes by the Dr himself that are sure to brighten your day, no matter how gray.

[Via: 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes to Live By]

What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss quote?



Pin It

Just Monkeyin’ Around

376092_147405765366049_120470128059613_171335_215663657_n

When all else fails, just have fun with it. Awhile back I had a request for 5 dozen chocolate cupcakes for a monkey-themed baby shower, but it was no monkey-business. Let me tell you, baking 5 dozen cupcakes after working all day, it can get rather tiring. You’re feet start to hurt, your back aches, you’re so tired you start grabbing pans out of the oven without the oven mitts. You start asking yourself, “what am I doing with my life?” Then you remember that there is a light at the end of that tunnel and at the end of the day, it’s still something you love. And the best way to remind yourself is to just try and have fun with it.

Thankfully, I had seen this design awhile back for Monkey Cupcakes in one of those magazines that are so carefully placed right at the checkout counter. These goofy little monkeys were just real enough to look like the real thing, but cute enough for a baby shower. It also helped lighten my mood as the midnight hour approached, how can you be mad when staring at these little things, right? So I began the process of breaking the Nutter Butter® (having to do the only rational thing and eat the ‘casualties’ that didn’t break quite right), placing the M&M® eyes ever so carefully, then drawing on some fanciful faces to bring them to life. In the end, the baby shower went great, the cupcakes were a hit, and I learned a valuable lesson to just sit back, relax and remember it’s not always a bad thing to have a monkey in the kitchen.

Want to know we made these? They’re not that hard. Start with your favorite chocolate icing, doesn’t have to be fancy, just smooth as you can. Then the ears were made out of Nutter Butter® cookies that were Oreo®-style split then cut down the middle. The mouth is a Nilla Wafer® with a crew cut, then the eyes are just M&Ms. I used red and black gel frosting pens to add the pupils, nose, hair curl, and mouth details. That was it! Feel free to add your own expressions to help give them some spunk.



Pin It

Why Cupcakes Are The Best

Cupcakes Are the Best-01

We’ve compiled our list of the top reasons why we think cupcakes are the best:

1) They Make You Smile
Although the exact number is still yet to be determined, the average consensus is that it takes between 13 and 17 muscles to smile. So if eating a cupcake makes you smile and smiling takes muscle work, then eating cupcakes is kind of like a work out, right? And that’s not even including if your friend gets covered in frosting and you of course laugh. Laughing can potentially use up to 80 muscles. So go ahead, work out with a cupcake and share with a friend.

2) The Messier the Better
They always say the messier a food is, normally the better it is. Well cupcakes provide just the right amount of messiness that you can still eat with your hands, or a fork, or nothing at all if you feel so inclined. Between the moist crumbs and smooth buttery frosting, you’re sure to get a treat no matter how you eat.

3) Portion Control
Or at least their portion control. No more “I just want a bite,” since with cupcakes each person can have their own and you don’t have to worry about the dessert hog anymore. As for your own portion, well only you can decide just how many cupcakes you enjoy.

4) Versatility
Between cake flavors and and the variety of frosting colors available, there’s no end to the combinations you can come up with. Plus you’re sure to find one that fits any event you may be having: baby shower, bachelorette party, even a wedding. The possibilities are up to you.

5) Togetherness
Cupcakes bring people together. Well most desserts do really. There’s a sense of camaraderie and joy that takes over a room when everyone is enjoying a delicious dessert. Unfortunately that joy fades as one-by-one the pieces are cut and you begin to do cake-math in your head. Thankfully math gets easier with cupcakes.

6) Love At First Bite
Last, but not least, they’re delicious. How can you stare at an amazing cupcake and not take a bite? The answer: you can’t. Especially when you make them a booz’ert with that little extra shot of Amaretto, Frangelico or something along those lines. Either way, you can never go wrong with a cupcake.

We know that there are more reasons out there, these are just our top 6. So you tell us, why do you think cupcakes are so great?




Pin It

Inspiration Finds You

Serenity_Cupcakes

Sometimes inspiration is  thrust upon you. I recently attended a “Geek Girl Extravaganza” and, as had been the recent norm, I was asked to bring a dessert. Now how could I let pass an opportunity to try out a new recipe idea and support one of my favorite shows of all time? A show that needs all the support it can get since it was cut down in its prime? Well I just couldn’t let that happen.

Enter Serenity Cupcakes stage left. These delicious little delights were chocolate cupcakes filled with a strawberry champaign cream cheese custard, topped with a strawberry champaign buttercream, colored in true Firefly colors thanks to edible spray paint, and topped with sinfully delicious chocolate-covered strawberries. Not sure how many of you out there are familiar with the show, but strawberries were a rare delicacy and personal favorite of the character Kaylee on the show. As an added touch, we stenciled on the Chinese character for Serenity, just like on the ship. Sure enough they were a hit.

So this lesson: never miss an opportunity to try something new. And why not aim for over-the-top, you might be surprised by what you come up with.





Pin It

An Introduction

Welcome to the world of 21 & ‘Upcakes. It’s a world for those with a love of baking, entertaining, and the times when they cross over each other. This blog is meant to be a hub for my fellow dessert revolutionaries. Don’t know what the revolution is? Jump on over to the About section to read all about it.

We started this endeavor with just a simple goal, making people happy, specifically through baked deliciousness. It has since grown beyond a simple smile to a near-obsession with all things delicious and creative. So we wanted to share. We are here to provide you tips and tricks in the art, well rather science, of baking and a few insights into the creative process of coming up with new tastes and combinations. As well as the occasional printable to help keep things neat and organized.

We invite you to share your experiences too, what have you found that works or falls shorter than a depressed souffle. Have a favorite recipe that works and you want to share it with the world, or maybe just an idea that you’d like us to give a go at? Tell us, we’re all ears. And who knows, if it works, you may just find it and yourself mentioned in the upcoming cookbook.