Halloween Graveyard Cupcakes

These Halloween Graveyard Cupcakes were a hit with my third grader, who especially enjoyed helping me name each poor soul we laid to rest. The tutorial below is for the tombstones (gum paste) and the skeleton/zombie hands (royal icing). Before you begin, I should mention that it’s best to make the decorations several days ahead of when you need your cupcakes. Gum paste and royal icing both need time to dry!

To make the tombstones you’ll need:

  1. gum paste, tinted grey
  2. powdered sugar for dusting
  3. tombstone-shaped cookie cutter (I used my candy corn cookie cutter)
  4. tiny letter stamps (I used these, which I found at my local Joann Fabrics)

On a clean surface lightly dusted with powdered sugar, roll out the gum paste to about 1/4″ thickness and cut the tombstone with your cutter. Then, just press each letter stamp into the dough. Be sure to make one tombstone at a time, because gum paste begins to dry quickly, which could hinder your stamping success! Let them dry for a few days on parchment paper, turning after two days (or so) to allow both sides to dry fully.

To make the skeleton/zombie hands you’ll need:

  1. white royal icing
  2. a decorating bag, coupler and small round tip (I used Wilton tip #2)
  3. parchment paper

First, grease your parchment paper just a bit by spreading an ultra-thin layer of vegetable shortening with a paper towel. This should help the hands not to stick and will reduce the possibility of breaking the tiny fingers when you’re ready to use them.

Pipe a wrist bone by piping a dot and gently moving downward to form a line, followed by another dot. Pipe another wrist bone next to it, making sure they touch each other at the points. Then pipe a half-circle-ish shape on top of those, again making sure they touch. To pipe each finger, I started where the knuckle would be, piped two dots without fully letting go of the pressure (to keep them connected), and then piped a fingernail by piping a third dot on top and pulling upward slightly as I released the pressure. It’s a good idea to make more than you think you’ll need, because they will be fragile and some may break. Don’t forget to make some with thumbs on the other side too. Then, let them dry for at least two days.

I used the Wilton grass tip (#233) to pipe the grey grass and a leaf tip with black royal icing to make leaves on the final cupcakes. I love how they turned out! In fact, I’m going to make them again next week for my son’s class party. He’s already coming up with more names. Happy Halloween!

Chocolate Leaves

Did I mention I have three boys?  And a husband.  And a male cat.  And two hermit crabs and four frogs who have all been dubbed male by those who care.  Yes, around here it’s all boy, all the time.  No tea with petit fours, no pretty dresses.  You can cut the testosterone with a knife.  And while we’re cutting (watch this segue) just imagine the “manly” cakes I’ve made . . . Thomas, John Deere, Mario and Darth Vader, to name a few.

So it was my delight to make a birthday cake for my friend Kristin recently.  As tempting as it was to go with a full floral theme (and make use of my dusty Wilton instruction booklets), I decided to focus on fall.  It was a small celebration, so I used my Pyrex measuring cup to bake a small spice cake and topped it with white chocolate buttercream frosting:

1/2 C butter, softened

1 C white chocolate chips, melted over a double boiler

1 tsp vanilla

3 C powdered sugar

Then came the fun part!  I printed out a sheet of leaf line drawings.  Then I used melting chocolates in different color combinations and piped them onto wax paper over the leaf templates:

Using a toothpick, I spread and swirled the chocolate to the edges of the templates to create textured leaves:

After letting the chocolates harden in the refrigerator, I covered the cake with the delicious (and might I say girlie?) foliage:

 

Kristin loved it (and so did the boys)!

i heart soup

As you get to know me, you’ll see that I’m a holiday junkie, sold out to the lovely flow of seasons and opportunities for change. And so, of course, this is reflected in my noodles (what?). Ok, people who know me in real life probably think I’m a little nuts to be making homemade noodles at all when I could just nuke some easy mac and call it dinner (and sometimes I do), but the truth is, many homies find this sort of activity relaxing and enjoyable. And so, as Valentine’s Day approaches, we have hearts:

Here’s the noodle recipe I always use:

1 cup flour

1 egg

1/2 eggshell of milk

secret ingredient: love. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Combine ingredients and form into a ball. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch and cut with teeny, tiny cookie cutters like these. Easy, right? See, I’m not crazy. And hey, my kids are more willing to eat a healthy meal when there’s an element of fun.

Let me know if you try it!