Archive for February, 2009

Topsy Turvy Cake Tutorial

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

When I first starting baking and decorating cakes I was always amazed at Topsy Turvy Cakes.  There was a mystery about them and I could never quite figure out what technique they used to make them stable enough. To tell the truth, one of my worst cake experiences was when I tried to make my niece her first birthday cake and attempted this style of cake for the first time, but unfortunately everything went wrong. I sadly ended up taking the top two tiers off and just presenting the bottom tier…definitely not one of my finer moments in my cake career.  But thankfully those days are in the past and now the fears and anxiety of making topsy turvy cakes is over.  Since I had always found myself scouring the internet to get helpful hints about these styles of cakes and never found a tutorial that I loved I thought I would post one for all of you, so that you didn’t have to go through the same trouble I did.  I hope that you find this tutorial helpful and get the courage up to try one of these cakes too!

I don’t remember exactly, but I think my tiers were 5″, 7″, and 9″.  Each cake tier has three layers of cake and two layers of filling.  This particular cake was coconut buttermilk cake with lemon cream and coconut cream cheese frosting.  Once you fill and stack your cake you need to cut the top layer of the cake at an angle and then flip it over to create the sharp curve at the top of the cake.  To get those layers to stick together add a little filling and frosting to them to adhere. Always use a serrated knife when cutting your cakes and make sure they are thoroughly chilled too.

Also always make sure and pipe a buttercream dam around the edge of each cake layer when assembling so that the filling doesn’t squish out onto the outside of the cake.  This also helps with the stability of the cake.  I also trimmed the sides of the cake slightly to help with the topsy turvy look, but make sure and don’t carve away too much at the bottom as it can make the cake not as stable.  Once your cake is filled, you can either wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it or you can keep working and frost the entire cake before letting it rest.  

Once frosted you need to refrigerate the cake until the frosting is hard.  Then take a piece of parchment paper and trace the size of the next tier that while be sitting on top of it.  Cut out the circle and place it on the center of the cake it will be sitting on.  Then using a serrated knife cute the shape out of the cake below.  You need to make sure you cut into the cake so that the area is level and flat.  You are basically creating the illusion of the cake sitting at an angle, when in reality it is level.

Then you need to frost the exposed area and cover the cake in fondant.

I also covered the cake board in the same color fondant so that they cake has a finished look to it.  Before stacking the cakes make sure and carve and cover all of your cakes in fondant. Then put your dowels (supports) in the cake.  Make sure and cut the dowels all the same height so the cake is level.  Then add a little buttercream to the base the cake will be sitting on and place the tiers onto each other…adjusting them until you like the position of the cake.

I then used my airbrush machine to color the fondant more of a pink color and added a pearl shimmer to it also.  The lighting in the kitchen is horrible so all the colors are a little off than what they really were…basically the cake was a shimmery pink color in really life.

Then I made fondant pearls to go around the cake tiers and sprayed them with silver lust dust spray.

I decorated the sides and top of the cake with fondant cut-outs.  I used stamps to get the impressions on them and then sprayed them silver too.  For the topper I added fondant to silver wire and bent it to make the design.  

I actually ended up adding a couple star cut-outs to the fondant base board of the cake which I think made it look better.  I also wrapped the edge of the cake base board in silver ribbon to pull it all together. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful and inspiring!  Happy Cake Baking!



Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Well, looking at some of my recent posts I realized that I hadn’t posted a really good recipe lately, so I thought I would pass this one your way…since we all need to pack on a couple more pounds before summer…right?!?  Well, even if packing on a couple pounds doesn’t sound appetizing to you, once you see these cupcakes you won’t care what the results are…you’ll just want to eat one…or two or three!

These photos are from a recent class I taught at Prep Kitchen Essentials in Seal Beach, CA.  The class was of course all about cupcakes and this time we focused on really decadent, yummy cupcakes and not so much on the decorating aspect of it.  Here was the menu…

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Samoas Cupcakes (Courtesy of Chockylit)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Filling & Chocolate Ganache Frosting

I would have to say that the Samoas Cupcakes were the biggest winner of the day.  Everyone in the class agreed that they were definitely worth the extra effort and couldn’t stop talking about how yummy they were. If you haven’t visited Chockylit’s blog,, then you have to!  You will get lost in the delicious looking photos and the yummy flavor concepts.  Well, without further ado here are the photos and the recipe for the Samoas Cupcakes!

Samoas Cupcakes

Brown Sugar Butter Cupcakes

24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds after each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and vanilla together.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to three-quarters full.
10. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Toasted Coconut Topping

2 eggs

10 ounces evaporated milk

1-1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3 cups shredded, sweet coconut

1. Spread the coconut onto a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until the coconut is an even brown color, about 10 minutes.
2. Crack the eggs into a small saucepan and beat lightly to break up.
3. Add milk, sugar, and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until thick, bubbly, and golden, about 15 minutes.
4. Press mixture through a metal sieve and into a bowl to remove any lumps.
5. Add 2 cups of the coconut, reserving the remainder for assembly, stir to combine.
6. Let the mixture cool.


1/2 cup water

2 cup sugar

4 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoon butter

1. Combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat.
2. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated.
3. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
4. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
5. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.
6. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
7. *** This is the dangerous part *** Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Wear oven mitts, stand away from the pan, and be careful. The mixture will bubble up significantly.
8. Stir the mixture, again being careful. Add the butter and stir until combined.
9. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Note: You will have leftover caramel, it stores well refrigerated in an airtight container for about a month.

Chocolate Ganache

16 ounces bittersweet chocolate like Valrhona 61% cocao

2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Chop chocolate and transfer into a heat proof bowl.
2. Heat cream until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, pour cream over the chocolate.
3. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
4. Add vanilla and stir until combined.
5. Let cool to room temperature.


1. Using a small pairing knife, cut off the top of the cupcake in the shape of a cone. Flip the top over and cut off the cone.
2. Fill the cavity with a teaspoon of caramel.
3. Replace the top of the cone.
4. Smooth on a light coating of chocolate ganache.
5. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to harden the ganache.
6. With your hands, press out a disk of the coconut topping and place on top of the cupcake. Press to shape the mixture into a dome.
7. Press in some more plain toasted coconut on top of that.
8. Drizzle the top with lines of ganache. Note that you may have to warm the ganache over a water bath to get it to drizzling consistency.

Hope you try them out and enjoy them as much as I did!







Cookies & Cakes Galore!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!  My hubby was very sweet and did all of my dishes, cleaned the house, and took me to a wonderful lunch.  He also took me shopping and then we topped off the night celebrating with friends eating sushi and bowling the night away!  

As I was thinking of what to blog about next I looked through all of my photos and realized that I had tons of random photos that I wanted to share with all of you.  So here is a random assortment of goodies that I have done recently…some from Valentine’s Day and other from recent weddings and birthdays.  Hope you enjoy them!

Here are the rest of the Valentine’s Cookies:

Here is a recent castle birthday cake that I did for a little girl’s 4th birthday party!

These are some photos of recent wedding cakes…

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I really appreciate all of your kind words!





Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Well, as promised I am here to deliver a bunch of frosted yummy cookies for you to enjoy!  My sister and I had a great time decorating them together and we had an even better time sneaking a couple to eat!  Hope they encourage you to break out the cookie dough and royal icing and have a blast…your loved ones will be pleasantly surprised!  If you have a chance definitely let me know which one you like the best!

Hope you enjoyed the photos!  Check back tomorrow for part two of Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies!




Valentine’s Cupcake Tutorial

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Sorry for all of you who were waiting for the cupcake tutorial…I know I have been slow to post lately, but I really am going to try to get a couple good posts in this week.  Definitely check back in soon to see the post on all of my Valentine’s cookies that my sister and I made.  Anyways, down to business…

To make cupcakes that have impressions on the fondant you need to either purchase impression mats/molds or scrapbooking stamps.  You can find the impression mats/molds at Caljava International or Global Sugar Art.  I purchase most of my scrapbooking stamps from the company Autumn Leaves which you can find at Target or Martha Stewart just came out with some good stamps which you can find at Michaels Craft Store.

So you need to roll your fondant or sugarpaste out to your desired thickness (1/8″-1/4″), rubbing a little Crisco on the fondant if it gets sticky or dry and then press it either into the mat or press the stamp onto the fondant.  Once you have the pattern on the fondant, you can do many things with it…you can cut out individual shapes, cover your whole cupcakes with it, or use it as patterned ribbon on your cupcake.  There is no limit to your creativity!

Just a hint: if you are making individual fondant cutouts to sit on top of your frosting don’t use cream cheese frosting since it has a property in it that makes the fondant melt.  Also let your fondant accent dry a little before you put it on your frosting so it holds its shape and doesn’t bend.  And lastly, if you are covering the whole cupcake with the fondant use it immediately after cutting out the circle shape since it will dry quickly and cause cracking.

To cover the whole cupcake, but still get a lot of good frosting in the cupcake, cut a hole in the center of the cupcake with either a pairing knife or apple corer and then fill it with the frosting.  Then cover the top of the cupcake with a round layer of frosting, but making sure not to get too close to the edges since the fondant will squeeze it out of the sides once applied. When picking your circle cutter find one that is slightly large than the top of the cupcake so there is enough to completely cover the sides.  

I also used another impression mold to make the buttons for the cupcakes.  I got this at Caljava International too. 

Here are some of the combined elements on the cupcakes.

To make the cupcake with the “XOX” I used letter cutters from Nicholas Lodge’s.  For these particular cutters you have to roll the fondant or sugarpaste extremely thin, preferably through a pasta machine first before cutting out.  

Then I just used some of the previous techniques to finish off the cupcake.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and now feel more inspired to decorate some cupcakes of your own…remember to check back for the cookie post! 





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