Friday, February 20, 2009


For the past week, we've had a visitor. Most of Jay's family went to Florida to sort out Grandad's things, and little Gizmo needed a place to stay. So he came to our house.

Taking care of Gizmo confirmed that I am indeed a cat person. The dog drove me a little cuckoo. He's the best dog ever, too, so I can only conclude that it's the presence of a dog and not the particular dog that bothered me. The cat was also extremely annoyed by the whole thing. We started calling her Puffy Slow-Mo, because those seemed to be her two operating procedures when Gizmo was around: all puffed up and spitting, or in extreme slow-motion like a ninja. The one thing I enjoyed, though, was taking the dog on runs around the block. Not only did I get my exercise, but it tired Gizmo out and reduced his whining:
Jay, on the other hand, loved having the dog around. Their interactions made it all worthwhile:

Jay drove Gizmo home this morning and apparently Gizmo was sad to see him go. The cat isn't quite as upset about Gizmo's departure.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Butterfly in the sky

I can fly twice as high!

I had the Reading Rainbow theme song in my head all day yesterday as I made these. My mother chose these cupcakes out of the book at Christmastime, and didn't think I'd actually do them. Well, Mom underestimated me! Mom's birthday is on Wednesday, so the J crew (that's Jay, Josh, and Joanna) and I went up to mis padres for dinner last night, and the butterflies came along.

These are my favorite cupcakes so far. Not only are they completely vegetarian, but they turned out the closest to the book design. They were also very tasty--the last two designs were extremely sugary, but these, with dark chocolate cake and dark chocolate in the wings, were just right.

The wings are made of two different colors of candy melting wafers. The wafers are melted in ziplock bags and then dripped onto wax paper. This was certainly the hardest part. First of all, the book insists that it's easy to use ziplock bags for decorating (both for the wafers and for frosting designs). That is a load of horse hockey. The bags are far too flimsy and no matter how much tape I use to reinforce the seams, they constantly break apart. I've ended up covered in chocolate every time. So from now on, it's official cake decorating bags only for me.

The wings set really fast. Once I didn't even have time to sprinkle the nonpareils on before it had set. So that is one plus--the process moves fairly fast. 24 sets of wings took me about an hour, and probably would take half the time now that I've gotten the hang of it. The rest of the decorating is fairly simple. The wings are held up by M&Ms underneath:

Jay deserves an honorable mention for his involvement in the Butterfly Cupcakes. First of all, I sent him to the store twice: once for eggs, and once because I'd accidentally made the wrong kind of cake (it had pudding in it and the cupcakes blew up like muffins, impossible to frost). Then, as we were leaving the house with cupcakes in hand, he took a bad step and twisted his ankle horribly, but managed to save the cupcakes from certain death and dismemberment. His ankle blew up to the size of a baseball and he is hobbling around like an old man today.

I have no more cupcake plans for at least a month from now; so, if you are having a party, invite me, because I'm bringing cupcakes.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Little Effing Penguins

After a pretty crappy January, I've finally gotten around to making Cupcake Project Round Two. This time I picked penguins, since there's only a month left of winter (wahoo!), and I was making them for my friends Dylan and Mandy, who were having a party. For some reason, I felt Mandy would appreciate penguins.

Here is how they came out:

These were much easier than the dogs, mostly because I could assembly-line them. The most time-consuming part was creating the shape: they are made with a donut hole on top of half a mini donut on top of the cupcake. The whole thing is slathered with frosting to hold it together, then dipped in more frosting, which allows them the ability to give you diabetes immediately.

I made two versions. This is the vegetarian version, with gumdrops and Mamba candies:
And this is the original recipe, with marshmallows and Starburst:
The Mambas were a great replacement for the gelatin-laden Starburst, but the gumdrops didn't look as good as the marshmallow, since they're not as stark white. I'm still looking for some veggie marshmallows--our Whole Foods didn't have them. Also, the penguins were supposed to have Starburst feet, but I was too lazy, so I skipped that part. I'm also starting to hate those chocolate cookies--I ruined a bunch of flippers, and then they softened as the evening went on and fell off the penguins. However, they were much appreciated by the partygoers. Mandy kept saying, "they're little effing penguins!" Only she didn't really say effing, but you know.

Next installment of the Cupcake project coming soon!