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Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Robbie!

Hi Everyone!

I didn’t post yesterday so let me start out by wishing Su and other readers from Canada a belated Happy Canada Day!

It’s going to be a busy day. Today is my son Robbie’s 25th birthday. Rob and Marie are at work and I am home prepping for a family party we’ll be having at dinnertime. Instead of posting card ideas and photographs today I am going to share some cupcake ideas. Be sure to click on each photograph so you can see a close up of the veggies on them.

Now that both of my kids are older and none of us are big cake eaters, I’ve switched from baking cakes to baking cupcakes. I think cupcakes are great to have on hand. Sometimes when we’re celebrating a birthday we only decorate half of the batch and freeze the others.

I have about 6 cupcake books in my cookbook collection. My favorite is Hello, Cupcake! by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. If you aren’t familiar with this book you really should take a look at it the next time you are in a bookstore. It’s packed with awesome photographs of incredible ways you can decorate a cupcake using candy, cereal, and other easy to find foods.

Karen and Alan have recently published a second book, What’s New Cupcake?, which is packed with even more cupcake ideas. I’ve already added that book to my collection and Marie and her friends have already used it. Tuesday was Marie’s friend Beth’s birthday and Marie, Allison, Lisa, and Michelle created flamingo cupcakes for Beth. Their necks are thin pretzel sticks that were dipped in melted candy wafers. Lisa had the great idea of using a "jimmie" for their eyes.

Last night Marie and I decided to make the vegetable garden cupcakes from Hello, Cupcake! Marie used our food processor to crush a package of oreos to create the "soil" for our garden. We frosted the cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting and then dipped them in the crushed oreos to coat the tops of them. Some of the cupcakes had puffed up while they were baking so I trimmed them down to create a flat surface. The book shows ideas for making carrots, peas, radishes, and lettuce. We didn’t have any soft white candy to use for the radish tips so we didn’t make any radishes.

Marie looked through another favorite book of mine, Field Guide to Produce by Aliza Green to see photographs of other vegetables we could make. We decided that in addition to the vegetables shown in Hello, Cupcake! we would make corn, tomatoes, squash, potatoes, pumpkins, and peppers. Although additional candies are suggested we used Starburst and Jolly Ranchers to create all of our vegetables. I was surprised at how easily the candies softened as we molded them with our hands. I was even more surprised that they didn’t get sticky, just pliable, so they were very easy to use.

The book suggested that m&m’s be used for the peas, but we decided we liked the look of rolled green Starburst better. The book suggests rolling the edges of the carrots in cinnamon to give them a just picked look. We thought that was a great idea and used that on most of our veggies. The book suggested melting some green frosting, pouring it over cornflakes, letting the frosting harden, and then using the cornflakes for lettuce leaves. Mine didn’t come out looking as good as the ones in the book, so we used softened green Starburst to create our "Boston" lettuce leaves. I just sort of scrunched up the Starburst after I had softened it.

The book suggested scoring the carrots with a knife and that definitely helps them look even more realistic. We also used that idea on our corn on the cob and potatoes.

Robbie arrived home from work while we were still creating so he has already seen his cupcakes. He was amazed and delighted with our creations.
Be sure to check out both of Karen’s and Alan’s books and visit their web site,

By the way I think you could make some great cards that look like our cupcakes. I haven’t made them, but I think if you used the Hero Arts cupcake cling stamp you’d have a big cupcake to use. I’d use Nut Brown Flower-soft for the "soil" and would use a crimper to create the muffin wrapper. One of these days I’ll give that a try, but meanwhile you might want to try that idea on your own.

Have a great weekend and a Happy 4th of July!


ahobbs said...

Are you KIDDING me??? You do cupcakes too! Carol, you need your own tv show. By the way, my birthday is on the 23rd...hint...hint...hahaha! I hope you and your family have an awesome 4th!

Carol Hartery said...

Thanks Anne! I know that YOU would LOVE both of those cupcake books. Miss you! Carol

sucor said...

WOW! Beautiful, Such incredibly fine details! Yes, this would be awesome to do on cards.