Hello, Cupcake! News and Fun from the Hello Cupcake Candy Lab
Sweet ideas by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Check_out_our_website_www.hellocupcakebook.com
Hello, Cupcake! BLOG

Jelly Bean Holiday



Happy Bean Day!!




Besides Earth Day, this week's jam-packed calendar also brings us NATIONAL JELLY BEAN DAY!!

We couldn't let that go without a BIG SHOUT-OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!







Jelly Beans are one of our fave candies. Not only are they squishy and delicious. They're one of the most useful candies in cupcake decorating.

So all hail the jelly bean. We don't know what we'd do without you.


Your BFFs,

Alan and Karen




Compost Redux




Earth Day Special!




Since this Tuesday is EARTH DAY, we thought we'd replay our earthiest project ever--COMPOST CUPCAKES!!!

We had a great time making these for the kids at the BECZAK ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER in Yonkers, NY a while back. The kids really loved them--and it inspired them to explore both cupcaking AND composting!!







Don't be fooled by the look. Everything on these cupcakes is edible--sweet and delicious.

These cupcakes were also featured in PARENTS magazine a few months ago. And that link still functions. There you'll find the soil-rich recipe. We think you'll dig it.

Here's the link: http://www.parents.com/fun/birthdays/ideas/compost-cupcakes/



Happy Earth Day,

Alan and Karen




Whoopie Pies



Makin' Whoopie!!




Of all the CLASSIC AMERICAN DESSERTS, one of our favorites is the WHOOPIE PIE!!!

We've even travelled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Lewiston, Maine to eat them. Both towns claim to have invented the delicious dessert. (New Hampshire also stakes its claim.)

We thought we'd pay homage to the wonderful Whoopie--in true HELLO CUPCAKE style.







Start with two store-bought meringues which you'll use for the Whoopie cake ends.

Fill the center with chocolate or vanilla frosting.

Be sure to use a big dollop. (We always think more is more.)

Squeeze the meringue ends together until the frosting bulges out in the center.

Then GENTLY roll the frosting edge in a shallow curved bowl full of your favorite small candies (pearls, non-pareils, confetti candy, sprinkles, etc.).

And there you have it: a super fancy result from not much work.

(Besides, we love making one type of confection look like another.)



Happy Whoopie-making,

Alan and Karen



Easter Eggs


Egg-citing Easter Cupcakes




It's no YOKE--Easter is just around the corner.

But don't SCRAMBLE. We've got a project for you that's OVER EASY.

Let the Easter Egg Hunt end in your kitchen--with these colorful cupcakes!!






On the left side of the photo, you can see a few graham crackers cut into an egg shape. They're the key to the recipe here.

For the complete recipe, link to our Duncan Hines page at:  http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/cupcakes/hellocupcake/easter-egg-cupcakes/


For a sparkling variation on this project, turn to pages 145-147 of our original HELLO, CUPCAKE!


Hope they turn out eggs-actly as you'd like.



Have a Happy Holiday,

Alan and Karen



Easter Rabbits



It's Bunny Time!!



Easter is almost here. And you know what that means. Time for that HELLO CUPCAKE classic: CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BUNNY CUPCAKES!!!!

Creating these rascally rabbits may look a little challenging. But we know you're up to it. And, as they say on our Duncan Hines page, the result is well worth the effort.

It's guaranteed to get the whole family hoppin'.





To concoct these beautiful bunnies, you'll need to gather a few special ingredients: vanilla frosting, green and yellow food coloring, peanut butter sandwich cookies, dark cocoa candy melting wafers, chocolate chips, gummies and jelly beans.

Then click to our Duncan Hines page, where you'll find the complete decorating and baking instructions.

Just hop on over to:  http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/cupcakes/hellocupcake/chocolate-peanut-butter-bunnies/


Here's to some truly hare-raising results!!


Happy Easter,

Alan and Karen


Your Artist's Palette



How To Get Organized!



We had a new visitor to the Candy Lab the other day.

She watched us work--and commented on the way we sometimes lay out the candies we plan on using.

She thought it was cool and said it reminded her of an ARTIST'S PALETTE.

So we thought we'd share a quick pic with you.





This is our version of a chef's preparation technique called "Mise en Place" (which means "putting in place").

Maybe it'll give you some fresh ideas on how to organize your decorating approach--or organize a cupcake decorating party!!


Happy Cupcaking,

Alan and Karen



Chicken Pot Pies



April Fools!!!!!



Here's a project guaranteed to fool the eye. It's the Cupcake CHICKEN POT PIE from our last book.

No chicken involved--but plenty of candy corn, Candy Clay, jelly beans and butterscotch chips.





You can find the complete recipe on pages 37-39 of CUPCAKES, COOKIES & PIE, OH, MY!


Happy April Fool's Day,

Alan and Karen

Round Three: Flowers



A Garden Circle!!



We've reached ROUND THREE in our self-imposed, fast-and-simple round cake challenge.

This time, we found ourselves in a somewhat flowery mood. Clearly, we're missing our backyard gardens.





We started with a simple round cake baked in a ten-inch Springform pan. We covered the cake in white vanilla frosting.

We decorated the sides with Sixlets, pressing a ruler against each vertical row of color in order to keep it straight.

Every sixth vertical row should be green, which gives you the beginnings of a creeping vine.

Starting from the top of each green vertical row, we extended our creeping vines (using green Sixlets) across the top of the cake.

We used Baby Tears to make the pastel-colored flowers entwined in the vines. And we placed a contrasting Sixlet at the center of each flower.

For the leaves, we simply flipped the green Baby Tears, leaving the pointy end sticking out.

And there you have it: vines and blossoms galore! Of course, feel free to improvise with the vines and create your own floral patterns!!


Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen



Round Two: Circles



Color Bright!!



It's Round Two in our quest for FUN AND SIMPLE cake designs--all based on basic round cakes.

This time, we were inspired by a Lite-Brite toy Alan had as a kid. "I think every young artist wannabe had one of those toys," he says.





We started with a store-bought, nine-inch, unfrosted layer cake.

We frosted it in chocolate first, so that the colorful candies pop off the background, like they might in a Lite-Brite.

We added Sixlets in rows of two,
beginning at the center, working our way out to the perimeter.

IMPORTANT TIP ONE: When decorating the top of a cake, it's always a good idea to begin at the center.


IMPORTANT TIP TWO: Be sure to keep your candies tight up against each other to make sure the design works.

As a final touch, we edged the side of the cake with rows of Sixlets in alternating colors.

And there you have it: a sweet abstract design that might be a round rainbow, or a multi-colored dart board--or whatever association you and your family make.

Watch this space for ROUND THREE.


Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen


Smile



Round One!!



We feel like we've been going in circles lately.

Maybe that's because we've given ourselves a challenge to see what we could come up with using a SIMPLE ROUND CAKE.

No special shapes. No complicated techniques. The whole idea was: FAST AND EASY!!!






For our first round project, we began with a ten-inch tart shell straight from the grocery store. We filled the shell with lemon pudding

Then we built our candy surface, creating the SMILE FIRST, using black Sixlets.

Then we added yellow Sixlets in rows above and below--except for the eyes, where again we used black Sixlets.

Finally we put yellow gumballs all around the perimeter.

Hopefully, those super-easy directions--and the final result--will bring a big smile to your face!


We'll have a few more round cakes for you later this week. Until then--


Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen




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