Heroes in a Half Shell

I am a child of the 80′s and with that comes a certain love for any “franchise” that debuted during that era…One in particular that comes to mind ♫ ♪ ♫”TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!”♫ ♪ ♫ (is the song stuck in your head now? I know I cant stop singing it…)

This cake was made for one of my amazing clients that has been getting her husband’s birthday cake from me for [I believe] the past four years (my mind is mush lately…lol) This couple is awesome…no strike that…AWESOME! They are gamers and geeks just like moi, and seriously, they are just so sweet and did I mention awesome?

My task this year was to create a “TMNT” cake…but you know me, I always need to make something different…so instead of modeling them after their original “turtley” selves….or their “newer” look…I decided I wanted to “pitch” an idea that was more Fun….enter “Funko“…have you heard of them? If not…take a minute to bask in the awesomeness (yes I’m fully aware of my “awesome” usage…) I am infatuated with their “POP!” Vinyl figures…like its pretty scarey how much I love these things.So anywho, extremely long story short, I asked my client, she said “Yes!” (turns out her hubby collects them too…squee!!) and I set forth on making the cake .

Honestly, I’m sure every cake decorator can attest to this, but there are things that we hate to make in the world of sugar and things we LOOOOVVVEEE to make…my “love” is character modeling…(on a side note my “hate” is bows…just throwing that out there) I had such a blast making these little guys and seriously if you know me well enough, you know I was sitting here making them talk to each other like they were action figures and singing that darn theme song into the wee hours of the morning.

So without further ado…I give you…”Heroes in a half shell”!Heroes in a half shellAs you can see they are enjoying their favorite pastime…having a pizza party…

We have…DonatelloDonatello &

LeonardoLeonardo, enjoying a slice.

Then there’s…MichelangeloMichelangelo…Not sure if he needs help getting up…

and finally my personal favorite…RaphaelRaphael. And if you notice he is holding something…I know I didn’t include an actual “Splinter” but I wanted him to be represented ;]

(kinda like the “Yoda” doll on my “baby Star Wars” cake)

Well if you excuse me, I’m going to go fight some crime and eat some pizza…or at least sing a certain theme song about 4 billion more times…TURTLE POWER!!

(special thanks to YouTube user EKhan33 for posting this video so I can get it stuck in everyone’s head)

A short time ago, in a kitchen not so far away…

I dont know how many of you know this but…

“Hi my name is Sara, and Im a nerd”

There! its out! my dirty little secret has finally seen the light of day!…

Ok, who am I kidding?! I let my nerd flag fly every hour of every day. I’m not ashamed that I know more about Marvel superheroes than coach purses, or that I’m more impressed with my boyfriend’s battleground armor than my friend’s new cashmere sweater. I have tattoos written in Quenya & Khuzdul (after studying both languages and writing them myself, might I add) and my house is chock full of sci-fi novels and action figures.  Most of all I cry like a baby every time I watch the end of “The Fellowship of the Ring” (why Boromir!? why!?) and feel elated when the rebels destroy “Death Star” number two.

So with all that being said, any time I am approached with a cake order that lets my nerdy side shine, I am SO in!

About a month ago my friend Amanda (yes, of the amazingly awesome Amanda Rose Photography) decided she wanted to have a “Star Wars” party for her son’s first birthday. On a coolness level of 1 to 10…this is about a billion. So naturally I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this theme.

Ladies and Jedi, I give you…

Baby “Star Wars” Episode 1: The Playground Menace!!

Baby Star Wars cake

Speechless? yea..I know…its really that awesome. I mean I dont mean to be all “hey look at me! I made a cake fit for a Sith’ari” but I’m just a tad bit in love with this one and I’m not afraid to say it ;]

The setting of the cake is a playground on the “Forest moon of Endor” complete with a “Death Star” play-house. Oh and before you even say it, yes, I know TECHNICALLY if they were all babies, “Darth Vader” would indeed be “Anakin Sywalker” but just let me have this darn it!

Baby R2-D2 & C-3POAt the base of the cake you can find Baby “R2D2″ and Baby “C-3PO” hanging out with the little “Ewoks”.

Baby VaderBaby “Vader” has conquered the “Death Star” play-house.

Baby SoloBaby “Han” is shooting Baby “Vader” with his bubble gun

Baby Chewyand lastly we have Baby “Chewy”…who is not the least bit pleased that Mama “Wookiee” stuck a pink bow in his fur ;] (And his little doll who looks awfully familiar dont forget.)

All in all, This is at least in the “top 5″ for my favorite cakes that I have made (if not number one, for at least the moment) I had WAY too much fun making it and I hope you all enjoy!

Oh and…May the Force be with you ;]

xoxo ~Sara

TA-DA!

In my household we dont agree on many things, especially when it comes to entertainment and music…but there is one rising starlet who holds a special place in our hearts around here.

Her name is Miranda, and you can call her Miranda.

I was first introduced to this mystical siren by my brother James (we will talk more about him later) when he showed me her cover of “Starships“, and have been hooked ever since. She is quite the entertainer. The words eccentric, unique, and “special” come to mind. I mean, to captivate such a huge audience of people with such raw and unbalanced talent, she is a unicorn in a field of horses.

Last year I failed to make James a birthday cake..instead he got a good ole cake in a box from the grocery store…Im not naming any names but it starts with an “e” and ends with “ntenmann’s”. Now where one of these cakes is well suited for a late night stress eating session (not that Im speaking from experience) it is in no way how the brother of a freakin’ cake maker should be celebrating his birthday. I knew this year needed to be over-the-top, memorable, “EPIC” if you will. And well, James, my mother, and I are such huge fans that when it came time to decide on what to make my brother for a cake this year…there was no question.

I give you the “Miranda Cake”

Image

Image

TA-DA!!!

James had no idea it was coming. Seriously.

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He even decided to “dress” the part and pose with his cake in style…

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In my opinion, he’s never looked better.

But he just wanted everyone to know hes usually not THAT beautiful, so we took a less extravagant picture.

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All in all I had a blast making this cake, even more fun singing at the top of my lungs in an off-key fashion to the cake, while frosting it. The only thing that would have made it better is if we had Miranda actually singing “Happy Birthday” to him ;]

xoxo

-Sara

P.S. you can see more videos of Miranda’s epicness here

 

I wonder if Zombies eat cupcakes….

It seems like its been months since I have posted here…oh wait…it has. Well darn. To be honest I’ve wanted to, I really have, Ive missed you all so much. Its just that its so gosh darn hard to sit down and type anything worth reading, in between baking, frosting, and running around the kitchen like a crazy person screaming about “fondant this” and “more chocolate chips that”. But I just needed to share one of my favorite cakes that I have made so far this year.

                                                                                Zombie Party

For those of you who know me (and for those that dont, you’re probably better off…I’m a little weird.) you can attest to the following statement. I am a scaredy cat. Yes, I admit, while I can be fearless in some ways, I am a big ball of terrified nerves in others. Point being…Scary/Gory Movies. Whether it be ghost, zombies, aliens, or some psychopathic creep with a ridiculous agenda, I watch a movie with the least bit of fright, I wont sleep for a week. This is a huge problem in my household though, because my loving boyfriend insists on making me watch these horrible movies…well he did for a while until I almost passed out at the movie theater…he kind of back off a bit.

There are minor exceptions to this rule, certain movies for the love of me just haven’t scared me. For example “The Grudge” I slept like a baby after that one, “Saw 2″…I was fine (not the other Saw movies though. screw that, I couldn’t sleep let alone eat for a while), & “1408″ I thought it was great, especially when my boyfriend nearly jumped out of his seat 90 times (he he he sweet revenge). But other than those 3 movies I’m pretty much the biggest baby when it comes to horror/gore that you’ll ever meet. Perfect example, I saw “Signs” in the movie theater when it came out, and right now you’re saying to yourself “please tell me she isn’t going to say she was afraid of that craptastic movie…” well I was! I cant help it! I slept with glasses of water around my bed for a week after…only until I kept spilling said glasses of water everywhere did I finally decide maybe the aliens were not coming to take me after all.

But I digress, basically the point I was trying to make is I’m afraid of these things when they are on the big screen or my tv…but when customers ask me to make them anything remotely gross/scarey for a cake, I am THRILLED! Like my first ever gross cake here. Its odd, I swear, if you want blood, guts,  ZOMBIES, or aliens ..I am all over that, but dont expect me to watch them on my tv…at least without a bat, mace, and maybe a tinfoil helmet.

So the story behind this cake is one of my awesome customers contacted me in hopes of getting a “Zombie Party” themed cake for her husband’s birthday. I was so up for the challenge. My favorite out of the three top characters would have to be “Clarice” (yes I named them)…I have this crazy habit of conversing with these characters (thankfully none have started talking back yet) and Clarice just seemed like a good name.

Clarice

The other two characters are “Ed Who lost his head”

Ed

and “One eyed Bob”

Bob

Along with some other details, I have to say I was pretty darn happy with how this cake turned out and I hope you like it too.

Tombstone/gifts

xoxo

-Sara the Scaredy Cat ;]

The Abominable Cookie

I am entering my “Yeti Cookies” in the Creative Holiday Recipe Contest hosted by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and Cookies and Cups!

Hey everyone! So I know its been a very long time since my last post (ok a very very long time) but one of my favorite blogs Confessions of a Cookbook Queen and the equally awesome blog  that I just found out about due to this contest Cookies and Cups is hosting a Holiday Recipe Contest and I just couldn’t resist! This is my first time making a recipe blog and tutorial so please bear with me!

The mission is to make a fun recipe that anyone can make…mission accepted. This recipe can be made by ANYONE even if you’re just starting out with baking, this is a fun way to get into it. My goal was to come up with a recipe that was more “wintery” rather than something that represented a specific holiday, because I want everyone to be able to join in on the fun! I also chose to make a cookie recipe versus my good ole’ standby of cake because I wanted to show you how fun cookies can be too!

May I introduce the “Yeti Cookie”

Yeti Cookies!

Yeti Cookies!

Aren’t they cute!? Don’t you want some of your very own?! Well guess what?!
I’m going to teach you how to make them.

The two recipes you are going to use are very basic. The cookies I used are my favorite Shortbread Cookie recipe that  have been “tweeking” over the years and I think Ive finally found that perfect blend of “melt on your mouth” cookie consistency. If you are not a fan of Shortbread, feel free to use your favorite cookie recipe instead. I can’t really give an accurate time frame that you will need because less experienced bakers/decorators may need a little extra time versus someone who really “knows their way around a kitchen”, but I would say set aside a few hours at least (the dough needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour so count that in too) and have your favorite cookie Elf help you (my helper was my mom). All in all they may take some time to make, but they are fun and everyone can achieve the same adorable tasty results!

Now on to the recipes!

Yeti Cookies

Makes approx 70 cookies (or if you like to eat 50% of the cookies like I do, 35 cookies)

Tools you will need:

  • A mini muffin/cupcake pan (I used 3-24 space pans, the more you bake at one time, the more time you have left to prep the other ingredients)
  • Stand or hand mixer
  • Large mixing spoon
  • Melon Baller, or as I like to call it, an “Elf sized Ice cream scoop”
  • Cooking Spray
  • 3 pastry bags
  • small “round” cake tip (I used a wilton #3)
  • small “Open Star” tip (I used Wilton #21)
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Wax Paper
  • Saranwrap

Shortbread Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 lb butter *ROOM TEMP*(In my experience it’s the butter that makes or breaks the Shortbread goodness, so use the best butter possible. Please make sure you are using softened room temp butter)
  • 1 tbsp Shortening
  • 1 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 Pkgs of “Jello” Candy Cane flavored instant pudding (if that is not available use 2 pkgs of “white chocolate” instant pudding mix and 2 tsp of peppermint extract *if you use vanilla pudding instead of white chocolate, your “yeti fur” will look yellowish)
  • 3 cups of heavy whipping cream

For Decorating:

  • Light Blue Fondant (you end up using a very small amount, I would suggest coloring only about a chunk of fondant roughly the size of a small apple)*If you dont have/like fondant any blue chewy candy will do, like “Starburst” or Laffy Taffy”
  • Black Melting Chocolate
  • White Melting Chocolate

Baking the Cookies:

cookie ingridientsButter mixtureButter mixture with flour, cornstarch, & saltfinished dough

  1. In your mixing Bowl add your butter and shortening and mix on medium speed for approx 2 minutes
  2. add powdered sugar and mix on low until combined (you may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times)
  3. Beat on High speed for approx 10 min. Your butter/sugar mixture should be white and fluffy looking when finished
  4. In a separate  bowl, lightly whisk the Flour, Cornstarch, & Salt for a few minutes until fully combined
  5. When butter mixture is ready, add half of the flour mixture and mix on the lowest setting (be very careful not to get the flour everywhere) until almost fully incorporated
  6. Clean “dough” of of the mixing attachment, add dough to mixing bowl, and add remaining flour mixture. Using your large spoon stir very slowly until almost fully incorporated and then continue to mix at a regular pace. Dough should be light and fluffy when ready.
  7. Cover bowl with saranwrap and put in your refrigerator for an hour (now is the perfect time to make the decorations-see below)

getting ready to bake the cookiesscoop of cookie doughball of cookie doughlightly golden, just of out the ovenbroken cookie

  1. When dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350°
  2. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray (make sure to use enough to coat each space)
  3. Take your melon baller (aka Elf sized Ice cream scoop) and scoop out some cookie dough and pack it in and place your cookie “ball” in the mini muffin pan.
  4. Repeat until all spaces are filled
  5. Bake cookies for approx. 11 minutes. Cookies should have a light golden color when ready.
  6. Let cookies cool completely before removing from pan (I waited about 15-20 minutes)
  7. If you have broken cookies…eat immediately

Making the “Fur” Frosting

making the frostingstep by step frosting

*the peppermint pudding tends to have a slight pink hue, I added a VERY small amount of blue food coloring to make it look a little “icy”

  1. Take your mixing bowl and whisk attachment and place in your refrigerator for 10 minutes so it gets nice and cold (the yetis prefer cold fur)
  2. Take 3 cups of heavy cream and both packages of pudding and whisk on low until a loose pudding begins to form
  3. Turn mixer to high setting until stiff peaks are formed (watch carefully and do not over mix)
  4. Cover bowl with Saranwrap and place in fridge until ready to decorate

Yeti faces & feet

making the decorationsyeti faceadding the eyesyeti feetyeti hornsyeti hornsyeti faces/feet/horns

*See pictures above for more help

  1. Take a small amount of fondant and roll into a ball
  2. flatten ball with your thumb until you form a small flat oval. These are their faces
  3. Repeat this process depending on the amount of cookies you are making
  4. Take the same sized ball of fondant and split in two
  5. make two small ovals (2 per yeti) and use knife to cut “toes”. These are their feet
  6. Take pastry bag with “round” cake tip and add melted black chocolate
  7. make 2 eyes on each “face” (or 1 if your yeti lost an each in the great blizzard war of 2012) *Be careful as melted chocolate comes out of the bag quickly
  8. take a small piece of Saranwrap (about 12″ piece) and lay on a cookie sheet
  9. Take pastry bag with no tip (snip the end off the bag, not too much just enough for the chocolate to come out) and add the melted white chocolate
  10. squeeze chocolate onto Saranwrap to make little “horns”. I made my horns about .5″ long, you dont have to go crazy measuring them though, different sizes give these little guys character.
  11. put all decorations aside, clean up a bit to get ready for the best part (putting them together!) and eat some more broken cookies

 

Time to make the Yetis!

Alright everyone, the hardest part is over, you mixed, baked, and prepared and now your efforts will be greatly rewarded.

*Use your last pastry bag and #21 star tip for your “yeti fur” frosting.

Check out the video and pictures below showing how to do the decorations, but let me just say, there is no wrong way to make these little guys. The crazier they look, the cuter they are.

putting the yetis together!

yetis!

my mom made the background out of scrapbook paper, how awesome is she?!

my mom made the background out of scrapbook paper, how awesome is she?!

happy holidays!

In the end you’re going to have the cutest cookies this side of EVER, and everyone will be asking “Oh my gosh! where did you get those?!” and you can proudly say, “I MADE THEM!” (enter trumpet sounds)…or in my case you’ll eat them all before anyone can see them, but hey, thats how the cookie crumbles….haha get it?…cookie….crumbles?! because we’re making cookies… *crickets* Anyways, I hope you all have a fantastic Holiday season and thank you for visiting my blog!!

xoxo

~Sara

Cookie Monster…Cookie?!

Cookie Monster…Cookie?!

Cookie Monster...Cookie?!

Just want to share this with you all.

Last night I was making my billionth “Cookie Monster” cake and had some extra chocolate chip cookies…soooooo I thought to myself “Self, why have you never made a “Cookie Monster COOKIE?!” thus little babies were created. :]

Continue reading

The name game…

You’d think that I must be allergic to blogging considering my constant lack of it, but actually its because I cant form full thoughts and sentences lately. I swear, my brain is muddled with “cupcakes this” and “fondant that”…its just plain amazing that I’m still able to walk and chew gum at the same time. With us being halfway through June its time to announce our July giveaway. This month’s giveaway is brought to you by Quilly Nilly. Tracey and I met through Nicki of Marchese Creations (yes, the same Marchese Creations from this months giveaway). Now it is an understatement to say that these items are adorable, and I am so excited to be able to share her work with you! For this month we will be giving away two prizes, one prize from Quilly Nilly, and one prize from myself…want to know the best part!? You dont have to live in Connecticut to win the Quilly Nilly prize! How cool is that!? Alright so here is what you have to do…this one is tricky…so pay attention….to enter to win the prize from Quilly Nilly, do you need to go to Quilly Nilly’s esty shop here and tell me your favorite item in a comment below(remember be specific), but I also need some help…now this brings me to the prizes…. When Tracey and I first talked she asked what colors I wanted her to use and it lead me to my “signature” colors of lime green, hot pink, and brown. And so these little beauties were “born”…

Aren’t they amazing!? the gosh darn cutest cupcake magnets ever! and in my favorite cupcake colors!! So that got me thinking that I want to have a signature cupcake that look like these! So this is where I need your help…I dont just want to name it the “signature” cupcake…too boring… I want you to give it a crazy cool name. Its going to be chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with lime green marshmallow frosting and hot pink sprinkles! So after you check out Quilly Nilly’s page and comment, throw out a name if you’d like(on the same comment), and I’ll pick one winner at random for the Quilly Nilly magnents and I’ll pick out my favorite name to win a 6pk of the soon to be named signature cupcakes (you must be willing/able to pick up the cupcakes from Sara J’s, they will not be shipped). Keep in mind that you do not have to suggest a name to still enter to win the prize from Quilly Nilly but you still need to follow the rules to be included in the random drawing! Now because of July 4th, I am pushing this back, the winners will be picked on July 12th! Good Luck everyone! I cant wait to see what you come up with!

You put the lime in de coconut…

So we’re a little over halfway through May and its been a great month so far! This month we started our monthly “giveaways” and our winner was Kelly and the prize was a 6pk of “Flower pot” Cupcakes to celebrate May Flowers!..haha..get it?…ok well…Congratulations Kelly! For June we’ll be celebrating Summer! I have teamed up with the lovely Nicki from Marchese Creations to bring you a tropical prize pack! Not only will the lucky winner receive a 6pk of our new “Lime in de Coconut” cupcakes (Vanilla cake filled with Lime cream, topped with buttercream frosting and rolled in shredded coconut.) They will win a beautiful bracelet and pair of earrings handcrafted by Nicki herself!(pictures posted below) To enter, just check out Marchese Creations on Etsy here and have a look around, then come back to YBC’s blog and post a comment below telling us what your favorite item is! (and yes I will be checking the comments so no fair writing “I like the necklace”…be specific please!) For example, some of my favorites are the cupcake earrings seen here or the awesome Owl necklace here The winner will be picked at random on June 3rd! You will have to come to Sara J’s to pick up your prize so this is open to CT residents only…sorry other states I promise I’ll come up with a prize for out-of-staters soon!

Martini Earrings

Tropical bracelet

Tropical prize set

what do you mean they can’t see me on the radio?..

These past couple weeks have been a crazy blur. I’m starting to really feel content in my crazy world though, it amazes me. I’ve been doing so many fun things and meeting some awesome people, that it only makes me even more thrilled about being “the cupcake lady”. A couple Saturdays ago I had the privilege of hanging out with the crew of “the Whiskey and Beer show“. It was the show’s 1 year anniversary…so of course I made them a cake!…Luke and I were invited to hang out for their radio show…and little did I know we were actually allowed to talk too. I was under the impression we had to be mimes…come to find out I was wrong. Needless to say towards the beginning I was a bit shy…I ended up shaking my head at a lot of questions and thinking to myself “this is radio dummy…no one can see you shaking your head like an idiot”…but after a little while I snapped out of it. John, Blaine, Mark and Tracy (Tracy happens to be Luke’s sister) are so awesome to hang out with and very hilarious too! Check out the link above (and here’s their page on Facebook)and have yourself a listen (the show I’m on is #12…but you should listen to them all because theyre awesome)…just be advised due to some adult content, I (as well as they) suggest that you are 18+ to listen. Thank you guys and Tracy for letting us “crash” your party! I hope we can do it again!

The Whiskey and Beer Show Crew!

Happy Birthday to The Whiskey and Beer Show!

Lions and tigers and websites.. Oh my!!

For those of you that know me well, you know I’m “web-challenged”, for those of you who don’t…well you know now. Put a lump of fondant in front of me, and tell me to make it beautiful…I’ll create a masterpiece…put a computer in front of me, and tell me to make a website…my brain short circuits and I start drooling like I just had a lobotomy. So, needless to say, I have owned my very own domain name for 2 whole years and have never done a thing with it. Now most of you are about to state the obvious, “well why didn’t you pay someone to do it for you?”…good question…see that requires money, and I can’t ever seem to find enough to fork over…unfortunately electricity and gas win that war…without them I can’t bake, so yea then a website would be useless. Don’t worry though, I have good news. Yesterday I found myself with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and absolutely no one to distract me…yes very boring, but useful!…I sat myself in front of “Yoda”(aka my laptop…hes little and green…yes I’m weird…) and got to business… Viola! within a couple of hours of procrastinating on Facebook, I added an image to my home page!…but after that, the next couple hours were a little more productive and I didn’t let my A.D.D. take the reins. So far I have my home page, flavors page, and photo gallery all done! and I couldn’t be prouder of myself…at this speed I might actually have the whole thing done by next weekend…I hope…unless my attention span is cut short by…ooohh look! shiny!!!