Thursday, June 21, 2012

Easy Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

My son graduated today! *sniffle...sniffle...(wipe tears now)*  Yes, he is growing up far too fast.  This year was blurr...seems like it was yesterday I was sending him off to kindergarten... WAIT! I did send him to kindergarten yesterday!  That's right, he finished kindergarten. Gone are the days of "Do I have school today Mom?" Next year it will be all day, every day...who's going to keep me company?

Regardless, we had to celebrate this wonderful occassion and what better way than with a party amongst kindergarten friends and thier families.  So, I decided I better bake...I am known at school for baking up yummy stuff, so I couldn't not deliver today.

I must admit, I did procrastinate on this one but figured great doesn't have to be overkill either. Save the stress and keep it simple.  Next, what do kids like to eat? What usually accompanies cake at a party?  ICE CREAM! {Minus the "ice" part, add a little cake...a little cone...some frosting and sprinkles = Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes}.

FYI - this is not a new concept...I made these for my girl three years ago when she too finished kindergarten and they were all the rage.  Note to self...this is a good idea.  I am totally cupcake girl material, I mean seriously? It's not rocket hard is it to bake in something other than a non-edible cupcake wrapper that you have to peel off, and throw away. Think of these as eco-friendly cupcakes. Okay, I won't go as far as that,  but really? Who needs a wrapper to worry about when all you want to do is just eat the frosting?  These were a win-win for such an occassion, totally kid friendly and 100% edible, yeah that's right...even the "wrapper".

Now there is no shame in straight up vanilla cake (from a box), as we had a little person in the class with a nut allergy. This way I knew there was no chance of cross contamination (sanity for me and her mom too), a major time saver also (5 minutes to prep, tops).

So here we go, you can do this too and be the envy of the party (or neighbourhood kids).  Prepare the cake mix as per box instructions.  Then make'em in F-O-U-R easy steps. Yes, four, count your fingers kids...I do not lie.


Line your cookie sheet with cones don't fill them too early, (be sure your oven has preheated) otherwise they might go soggy. Obviously, this won't happen immediately...they are meant to hold ice cream...that melts...and gets smooshy.

Don't forget to check for CONE INTEGRITY...that's right, toss the ones with holes because they are counter-productive. What goes in...will come out. Enough said.

CAREFULLY put them into your oven and bake (my lucky number was 18 minutes) BUT your oven may will be different so, start out with a little less time, and add on afterwards. Do a toothpick test to see how things are progressing.

Once baked, remove them from the oven and let'em cool. We wouldn't want our frosting to melt. Now that would just be silly and totally not the purpose of these "cool" treats.

You can ice them any way you want, I chose to go with swirl icing in four colour combos: traditional swirl (chocolate & vanilla), creamsicle (orange & vanilla), strawberry swirl & blue swirl.  I used some disposible icing bags and basic buttercream icing (in a pinch you could buy premade icing and do the same thing).  To make the swirls I bought a 1M icing tip (found at the local bulk barn).

Call me slow, I realized it only after I had painfully filled the icing bags the "old" way, to simplify things I could should have done the following:  filled 1 icing bag with vanilla, and 1 with colour of choice.  Smoshed them together into a larger 18" icing bag loaded with the 1M tip and then I would have had equal parts white: colour {and a lot less grief}.  I saw this concept somewhere...with a good "how to" so when I find it, I will share it with you.

After they were all iced, I put some sprinkles on some and left some naked {not everyone is crazy for sprinkles).  And then we ate, and enjoyed.  Honestly, I thought they would be less messy than a traditional cone...but some kids showed me that they were just as good as the real deal.  Nothing says summer (and schools out) like children with "ice cream" faces :)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ladybird Love

I have returned from the abyss...spring the past three years has been filled with loss and I this year was full of reflection and tears remembering those that have gone before me.  * Sigh*  In amidst these feelings I truly felt lost and was not in the mood to bake anything...not cookies...not cake...not clay.

Then, out of the blue I got a message from a gal that requested a custom cake topper for her wedding (like two years ago).  Her good friend was getting married, and she too was looking for someone to bring to life her darling sketch of ladybugs in love.  I figured, why not.  Time to turn my slump around.

Lots of emails back and forth, a Bride's vision...and a little creative flare.  Seven hours later of sculpting and baking, her loving ladybirds were the real deal.  After photographing her blushing couple, I got butterflies in my stomach when getting ready to do the reveal.  I was so nervous that my hard work would back fire.

Luckily, to my pleasure she L-O-V-E-D them, ah......breath relief here.  Her kind comments gave me fresh breath and life, reassurance that what I used to love doing  was and is indeed for all the right reasons. Bringing simple pleasure to total strangers, some smiles and memories for years to come.

Thank-you Elyse for reinstilling in me my faith for my craft,
 that there is a place and a purpose for what I do.