Sunday, March 18, 2018

basketball cupcakes

My youngest baby just turned FIVE!!! Where does the time go?!

Every year I make him birthday cupcakes. First there were these meatloaf cupcakes, as well as funfetti cupcakes. Next came Elmo cupcakes, and the next year Cookie Monster cupcakes because he was super into Sesame Street at that time. And now the thing that he is absolutely and completely obsessed with is BASKETBALL. He loves it. Can't get enough of it. We watch almost every Golden State Warriors game on TV. He plays basketball outside in our backyard when the weather is nice. Otherwise, he shoots hoops inside, because we have one of those small plastic basketball hoops that hangs over a door near the kitchen. He knows all the numbers of every Warriors player. He can even commentate while we are watching Warriors games, and does a pretty good job of it! So naturally, this year he asked for basketball cupcakes!

For the batter, I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (which you can find in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!), which also works great for cupcakes!

Once the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting (you can also find this recipe in my book). I tinted the majority of it with bright orange gel-based food coloring. And then I used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, and piped big round mounds of frosting on each cupcake.

Then I tinted the remaining portion with super black gel-based food coloring, and used a small round tip to pipe the details of each basketball.

And then they were done!

I finished decorating them just in time to bring them to his preschool class party, so I loaded them up in my cupcake courier (my favorite way to transport cupcakes!) and brought them to school.

I also made goody bags for him to pass out to his classmates - blue and gold (Warriors colors) paper bags filled with mini bouncy basketballs, basketball-shaped whistles, basketball pencils, basketball chocolate candies, and basketball pillow mints. And all tied with matching ribbon and a handmade DIY basketball favor tag that I (painstakingly) drew with a sharpie and cut out of orange construction paper.

We decided not to have a real party (sadly, he has never had a real birthday party! Poor kid, I guess that's what happens when you're the third kid!) Instead, we bought him the ultimate birthday gift for a kid who loves Warriors basketball. WE TOOK HIM TO A WARRIORS GAME!

Happy Birthday, my Micah! Hope you enjoyed your basketball birthday!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

braided crust custard pie

Pi Day is coming up, so I thought I'd share the pie that I made for Pi Day last year! In case you don't know what Pi Day is, it's celebrated on March 14th around the world because Pi (the Greek letter “π”), which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, is approximately 3.14159. Thus 3/14!

Anyway, back to my pie! I was craving custard pie, which I remember my mom making a lot when I was a kid, but nowadays the only time I have custard pie is when we're visiting my husband's family in Hawaii. (Liliha Bakery and Kaneohe Bakery both make a delicious custard pie, by the way!) So I decided to make my own.

After checking out several recipes, I decided to go with this one, minus the nutmeg (because the custard pies that my mom used to make didn't have it, and either do the ones in Hawaii!)

For the crust, most custard pie recipes that I found suggested using the frozen store-bought kind, but I decided to go with my my favorite all-butter recipe instead (which you can find in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!). Also, to make it pretty I braided a few strips pie crust and attached it to the rim of my pie using a bit of egg wash.

Then I poured in my filling (which tastes like melted ice cream, by the way). Mmmmm ...

And then I baked it at 400F until the crust was golden brown and the filling was just a bit jiggly.

Just so you know, if you make this pie, your entire house will smell like heaven.

Next time I'll be sure to take the time to skim off the extra bubbles in the filling before baking, just so the top has a smoother finish. But even despite the bubbles, this pie was delicious!

Happy Pi Day!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

tangled rapunzel birthday cake with buttercream flowers

I've baked a lot of fun goodies for my friend Monica over the past few years, including pool party piggy cookies and a piggy cake, a chevron gender reveal cake, graduation cap cookies, a Hello Kitty pom pom cake, a circus carnival baby shower cake, and teapot cookies, but this one has to be my favorite so far! Her daughter absolutely loves the movie Tangled, so she asked me to make her a Tangled Rapunzel cake for her birthday! After discussing a few options, we decided that we would use this adorable Funko Pop Rapunzel doll as the cake topper, and I would continue Rapunzel's long hair down and around the cake. 

As for the cake itself, she chose a vanilla cake with lemon whipped cream and fresh blueberries. So I baked up my favorite vanilla cake (recipe in my book, The Hello Kitty Baking Book!) in two 8-inch round cake pans, and baked them at 350F until golden brown. 

Once cooled, I sliced them in half horizontally, giving me four layers, and then topped each layer with fresh whipped cream (spiked with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice) and fresh blueberries.

Then I whipped up a batch of cream cheese buttercream, and covered the top and sides of the cake with it.

I usually do a quick crumb coat of frosting, let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, and then do a final coat of frosting, smoothing out the sides with a long metal spatula while using a long offset spatula for the top.

Then I piped a neat beaded border along the bottom, using a disposable pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip.

Next came the Rapunzel topper, which I attached with a bit of frosting on the bottom.

Then came buttercream flowers, which I had piped in advanced onto pieces of waxed paper, and then chilled in the freezer until they were hard and easy to handle.

For Rapunzel's hair, I tinted some frosting with golden yellow gel-based food coloring, and then used a star tip to pipe her long hair down and around the side of the cake.

I also used forest green tinted frosting and a leaf tip to pipe some leaves in between the buttercream flowers.

And then final step was to pipe long branches of ivy leaves down the sides of the cake as well.

Seriously, one of my favorite cakes to make so far!

Hope you enjoyed your cake and had a fantastic birthday, Viviana!