DIY Cake Topper

Originally posted April 5, 2012 (This is an Easter themed post, but the same idea would apply for any cake topper you wanted to make)

Happy Easter! With Easter looming on the horizon, I needed a cake for the big family dinner – and no ordinary cake, mind you. Something special. After seeing a video on Youtube, I knew just what my cake needed – a white chocolate Easter bunny topper.

Not only did this cake topper look great, it was so simple to make! Much simpler than your friends and family will care to believe, trust me! In fact, I’m going to tell you exactly how you can do it yourself (or any other topper you wish, really).  The steps are as easy as can be:

1. The first thing you’ll need to do for this bunny cake topper is find a relatively simple bunny image (Google Images works wonders for this) and print it.
2. Tape the image to a cookie sheet, making sure that it is laying perfectly flat and will not be moving around on you.
3. Tape a layer of waxed paper over the image (this is going to be your working surface, so make sure it’s secure). You’ll want to use waxed paper because you can see through it to see the outline of your image.
4. Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl.
5. Let the chocolate cool just slightly – you want it to still be liquid, but you don’t want to burn yourself if it’s too hot.
6. Prepare a decorating bag with a small round tip, and then fill the icing bag with the white chocolate.
7. Follow the outline of your bunny, tracing it with the white chocolate.
8. Fill in the remainder of the bunny (once I’d done this, I also used a spoon to smooth out the chocolate a bit. I still wanted some texture, but not quite as much as filling in the bunny left)
9. Decorate if desired – I added some mini marshmallows for a fluffy tail, and a butterscotch chip for an eye
10. Allow to cool and harden (I put it in the freezer – it doesn’t take long, and will keep overnight for use later if desired)
11. Position on the cake, and voila (I stood it up in icing and found that it remained quite stable).

Easy as can be, right? And it looks pretty nice on that cake! (Which I’ll be telling you about in a couple of days, once I have photos of the inside, because there is quite a surprise in there awaiting you! You can subscribe to the RSS feed to find out about that post ASAP) This can be done in smaller versions for cupcakes, and of course you can use any image for any time of year. This process can also be done with buttercream icing to make an icing transfer by simply allowing each colour and layer of buttercream to freeze entirely before moving on to the next layer of colour.

Try out your own cake toppers and leave a comment about how it works!

Maple Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Originally posted March 13, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year – the sun is shining, the temperature is rising, cupcakes in the oven, and spring is on its way. In my family this means one thing – syrup season. As I have cousins who have a sugar bush, I’ve grown up knowing that this time of year means fresh,  pure maple syrup. In honour of this marvelous time of year, I decided to make maple cupcakes.I’d never made (or even tried) maple cupcakes before this experience, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Don’t get me wrong, I do love maple syrup but thus far I’d only had it with pancakes, waffles and so on, but never in cake. I found a recipe in The Cupcake Diaries, however, and it seemed fitting for a first attempt. The recipe was for maple chocolate chip cupcakes, which is posted below. It also suggested a chocolate ganache frosting, however I didn’t have any heavy cream and opted for the maple cream cheese icing instead.

I knew while they were baking that the cupcakes were going to be good, as there was an incredible scent filling the kitchen as they were nearing the end of their baking time (which I found to be a little longer than the recipe indicated – about 21 minutes rather than 18-20). Wanting to get the full experience of the cupcakes, I tried on before they were iced just to experience the cake on its own. The maple syrup ensured that the cupcakes stayed extremely moist while baking, and provided a delicious flavour.

Next was the icing. It was a basic cream cheese recipe, but had an added 1/4 cup of maple syrup. While it was a nice icing, it was extremely sweet. And when I say extremely, I mean it. It was basically a sugar coma in the making, but tasty nonetheless. And cake is cake, so who am I to complain? I do think I’ll make sure to have heavy cream on hand next time though to try them with the ganache frosting instead.

Recipe:

The book says that this recipe yields 12 cupcakes, however I found that it made 24.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla been (or an additional 1-2 tsp vanilla extract)
1 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two cupcake pans with baking cups, or grease and prepare pans. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set the dry ingredients aside. Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
Combine vanilla, vanilla seeds (if using), and milk in a large liquid measuring cup. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, scraping the bowl as needed. Mix until just combined. Add in the maple syrup and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin pans and bake 18-20 minutes.

 

Enjoy!