Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This reminds me of those times when the ice cream man came into our neighborhood when I was a kid. I remember the feeling I had while running to the truck clutching a quarter in my hot little hand. The rush, the excitement, the anticipation...."What should I get? What should I get?". Although I always got the same orange popsicle or a Hoodsie. That way there was always 10 cents left over for 5 pieces of Bazooka Bubble Gum and 5 jawbreaking Fireballs. (I was always thinking) The ice cream truck in our neighborhood was an old white pickup truck with an cab insert into the truck bed....very similiar to this one.......

It was just a large freezer of sorts, but unlike this photo, the one that I remember had three on each side and one in the back. Like this truck. This belongs to the Sundae of my favorite places to go on Cape Cod.

I always marveled how the ice cream man always knew where each particular ice cream was located in the back of the truck. Hoodsies on the left.....fudgicles and popsicles on the right, bubble gum and fireballs down back. Now, it truly amazes me how I can remember useless information like this, and not remember where I put my sunglasses from ten minutes ago. I know, I know...short term memory, it's fading fast. Now where was I again??? Notice how the ice cream man was wearing white? In the 60's (or so I'm told....wink, wink) the ice cream man wore a uniform. Not a skull and crossbones T-shirt. AND, notice that he's happily waving goodbye to the kids......not flipping them the bird and yelling for them to eat the ice cream away from the truck. Sigh. Those were the days.

I admired this fancy ice cream holder in Martha Stewart's Cupcake of course I had to have it. It makes decorating and display a breeze, although I wish they would make one that holds a dozen instead of just four. Martha, use your connections to get on that please.

Oh....did I mention that these are cupcakes and frosting and not really ice cream?? I was invited to a cook-out and thought these might be fun for the kids.

Of course baking the cones was challenging so I covered the top of a fluted cake pan with heavy duty aluminum foil...

....and poked small evenly spaced holes to insert each cone.

The trick is to get them placed well enough to stand up securely. Of course it would have been a lot easier if I had used the flat bottomed cones....but that's no fun, is it? Besides, I'm all about the presentation. My grandmother used to call them "horns". She'd say, "Let's go to Howard Johnson's and get a couple of horns". Translation? Let's go to HoJo's for ice cream! You could always depend on Nana to get you a horn when you really needed one.

Then you can fill them with cupcake batter, taking care to only fill them about 1/2 full.

They only took about 25 minutes to bake at 350 degrees. Then I took them out of the pan and placed them in a cardboard insert to completely cool. I put them in the fridge to be sure. Don't even think about making these in humid weather, otherwise that crisp little waffle cone will turn into a flabby pancake in about ten minutes. If this happens, your only hope is to lay them out on a cookie sheet and put them in a warm oven for about 20-30 minutes to "dry" out and crisp back up again.

Once they were cooled, I frosted them with a rich, dark buttercream and finished them off with brightly colored sprinkles.

The cupcake "cones" were a hit at the cook-out! who's up for a horn at HoJo's??

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's Time To Be Fourteen!

My nephew Cameron is fourteen years old today.

Fourteen?? Impossible. It seems like only yesterday when he was born. I was there you know. In the room. Watching. Wide-eyed. Heart pounding. Shallow breathing. Sweating, Crying. Shaking. Sobbing. Please keep in mind that all of the above pertained only to me....the bystander.....the first-time Aunt, and not my sister Kathy who was actually the person giving birth. Aside from the occasional profanity grimace, she was in complete control. On the other hand, I was an emotional mess. In fact after the birth, the nurses offered me a cup of herbal tea to help calm me down. After being passed from the doctor to new mommy Kathy, then to new daddy John, at 2:23 a.m., that little chubby baby was finally handed to me. It was love at first sight and I immediately burst into tears again. See my red rimmed eyes? Good Lord, I am such a wussy!

I knew that Cam and I had a chocolate connection at his very first birthday party. Kathy and John let him loose with the cake and ice cream.....and this was the result. A chubby little baby covered head to toe in chocolate cake and frosting? Hmmmm, nothing wrong with that as far as I can see.....

Now look at him. Fourteen??? Seriously??? What year is it again? How long have I been asleep??

Like his dad, Cam's a natural athlete..........

...with a wicked sense of humor (just like his aunt). He is a "most excellent" big brother to Cody and Brenna and is generally lots of fun to be around. Oh......and before I forget....there's just one more thing about Cameron that you should know......





Are you seeing any similarities yet?

When I asked my sister Kathy what kind of cake to make for Cam's birthday, she only hesitated for about an eighth of a second. "Make him a big bed" she said laughing. "That's what he loves to do".

So.....I did.

I started with a rich Devil's Food cake and baked it in a 9 x 11 pan. Then I whipped up a positively evil peanut butter frosting.

After putting on a light crumb-coat, I popped it into the fridge for about an hour so the frosting could properly set up. Then, my imagination completely took over ...............

The bedframe and posts should have been made a couple of days in advance so the fondant could dry.....BUT, I was a complete slacker and waited until the last gun was fired to do it. I'll remember my aggravation and annoyance AT MYSELF next time. It won't happen again. What's that saying, "Never put off shaping fondant until tomorrow if you can do it today". Trust me, when it comes to fondant, don't wait until tomorrow. Do it now. Right now. Just do it.

So this is definitely a first for me. My first official Bed-cake. Or is it a Cake-bed? It actually looks comfy enough to jump into, doesn't it??

The nightstand and pillows are all constructed from Rice Krispy Treats, then covered with fondant. The entire thing is edible....

Yes, I said everything! The bed, dustruffle, nightstand, sheets....... everything!

Even the alarm clock!

It must be nice to be able to sleep like that. Not a care in the world.

The only way I will ever relax enough to sleep that soundly will be when I'm dead.

On that work here is done.

So Happy Birthday to Cam!

The only kid I know who will always get to have his cake.......

.......and eat it too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meet the Cupcake Girls!

My friend Angela opened her new salon this week and after recently visiting her new "digs", I wanted to make something cute for her Grand Opening. As always, my creativity "chip" kicks into high gear while I'm laying in bed trying to fall asleep. I actually keep a notepad on my nightstand. Am I a freak or what? Anyway, this idea has been rolling around in my head for a just wouldn't go away! So I finally gave in to it, not only because it's a cute idea....but so I could finally get some sleep!

Of course it involves cakeballs.

Peanut Butter Cakeballs.

(all together now........Oooooooooooh!)

And actually, I was going to put the "girls" on sticks instead of top of cupcakes......but then, it sort of freaked me out. What the heck was I going to call them anyway....PopHeads?....PopGirls?.......or worse, (horrors) HairPops? Yuck, yuck and double yuck. I'll save that freakshow for another chapter.

This is the most decadent and obscenely delicious chocolate frosting you will ever eat in your life. Please make it as soon as possible. I assure you that it can make a grown man cry.

Decadent Chocolate Death

1 1/2 sticks softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup half & half

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch Process (dark) chocolate powder

Blend butter, sugar and chocolate until just combined. Slowly add half & half to desired consistency. Add vanilla and beat on high speed for one minute. When it's done, please try NOT to spread it all over your body......or you won't have any left for the cupcakes.

I just couldn't shake the feeling that dozens of little eyes were on me all night. Did you ever have that feeling?

"Yes Virginia, this WILL give you nightmares". It actually looks mutant, doesn't it?? I don't know about you but I just hate it when my food stares back at me.

I got this little multi-holed decorating tip that I was just dying to try out. It's official name is Tip #233, but I believe that you can also refer to it as "that little holey thing". I figured it would be great for re-creating grass.....or pasta......or HAIR.

The successful marriage of a cakeball to a cupcake is a beautiful thing.

And now, without further adieu............

This is Veronica Valrhona (you the chocolate). She's a naturally curly redhead who loves to read, and is usually seen with her nose buried in the latest issue of Martha Stewart magazine. Veronica is sweet, timid and shy...unless she starts sipping on the vanilla extract, then watch out! We've heard stories of late night out-of-the-bakery-box escapades but she remains coy and tight-lipped. Although I do know of a gingerbread man who once crumbled at her feet. She desperately wants everyone to think that she is just a sweet little Cupcake Girl, but we all know that deep down.....she's really a tart.

Meet Sharla Sugarbloom. She's the most entitled Cupcake Girl we know. She will only travel on the highest and most expensive rack in the pastry truck and spends the winter sunning herself in an upscale bakery window in Florida. Then every October, she and her husband Beauregard, fly back north to spend time with their three little grand-cakes, also known as "the mini's". Sharla is always draped in white chocolate and sugar pearls, and although she may deny that she has a rich fudgey filling, everyone knows that she is full of it.

Nancy Nutfree is a cute but middle-aged double-processed wanna-be. Because of her love for the spotlight she has been known to stray from her Cupcake Girl friends to hang with a mysterious lone cookie named Chip and occasionally, the Pillsbury Doughboy. It's fame she's after and will stop at nothing until she has it. Unfortunately, she has had the same hairstyle since the 1992 revision of Betty Crocker, yet continues to refuse an update. She desperately wants to be the blond bombshell Cupcake Girl, but in reality we know she's just bombed. Period.

And that brings us to Florence Flourless, who is under the ridiculous impression that her bangs will not only make her look younger, but more attractive too. ("Flo, I'm a beautician not a magician!") Most of the time though, she is distracted by a lawsuit she is pursuing against her plastic surgeon for a botched nose job claiming it destroyed her chances on Broadway. She feels she was robbed. You remember "A Chorus Cupcake"?

So there you have it, my Cupcake Girls in all their glory. And like some of the girls you might know, they're not perfect either. So now that every one's been introduced, let's pack up and head out. The girls are headlining (pardon the pun) at the Grand Opening of a salon today!

The Girls were not prepared to meet the masses of people in attendance.

This is just an example of random cupcake annihilation. The girls shifted nervously on the tray knowing that anyone of them could be next.

Cupcake carnage and a natural blond is down! In no way did they expect this, just look at the terrified looks on their faces!

Thinking quickly, Cupcake Girls Sharla and Marlene removed themselves from the temptation of the serving tray by casually sauntering across the room to hold up the Grand Opening greeting card to the arriving guests. Hey, I don't bake stupid cupcakes.

And of course what Grand Opening wouldn't be complete without the annoying click of those pesky paparazzi cameras..............oh's only me.

Coincidentally, Cupcake Girls Blanche Bakewell and Molly Macaroon didn't attend the Grand Opening due to the fact that they each ripped their paper liners in what they termed as a "freak accident" during their overnight stay in the refrigerator. It sure looked like a cat fight to me, but after questioning the surrounding leftovers, I found that no one wanted to talk about "the accident"...including the Girls.

So ends the first adventure of the Cupcake Girls. I hope you enjoyed reading about them as much as I enjoyed making them. Hmmmm. I wonder where they'll turn up next?