King Cupcakes for Mardi Gras Graduation Party–Part 3-The Frosting

Decorating–the fun part right? Not usually for me, because my frosting is usually buttercream-made with all butter, which tastes great, but is a greasy, slimy mess. This time, I was not going to deal with that. My aunt, the master baker of the family is very patient answering my questions like “Do I use unsalted or salted butter?” She found me a killer recipe for decorator buttercream. It was actually fun to ice my King Cupcakes.

2 sticks salted butter (at room temp)

1 white crisco stick –don’t try to use just butter flavored and skip the butter-flavored Crisco–trust me

cream butter first and then and crisco and blend together till smooth and fluffy.

Add 1 T of vanilla (I used regular and my frosting was still very white–use clear vanilla for a whiter look)

Blend well

Add 2 lbs of powdered sugar slowly while blending–then add milk to desired consistency a teaspoon at a time

Whip it for 5 minutes until it gets light and fluffy

Put a damp paper towel over the icing that you are not using–I guess this can be made and sealed in fridge up to 2 days before–I didn’t try that trick.

 

I doubled the recipe and mixed all at once--I should have probably done 2 batches--a little hard on the Kitchen Aide.
I doubled the recipe and mixed all at once–I should have probably done 2 batches–a little hard on the Kitchen Aide.

The doubled recipe iced 95 cupcakes using a start tip with abut a tablespoon of frosting left over.

I finally got a wilton bag and used it the right way--just used a bigger start tip. Put the bag in a glass to fill it. I had to remember to cover up any plastic babies......
I finally got a Wilton bag and used it the right way–just used a bigger start tip. Put the bag in a glass to fill it. I had to remember to cover up any plastic babies……
Cover your babies
Cover your babies

 

I like the colored sugars I got. Both brands were great. The Black and Gold are The Baker's Kitchen-the coarse sugars. The Royal Blue is CK Products Sanding Sugar. The CK Product was sparkly and shimmered more like glitter, which is great for a Mardi Gras party. Both are great for different looks.
I like the colored sugars I got. Both brands were great. The black and gold are The Baker’s Kitchen-the coarse sugars. The royal blue is CK Products Sanding Sugar. The CK Product was sparkly and shimmered more like glitter, which is great for a Mardi Gras party. Both are great for different looks.
Fondant topper mask placement. We added toppers to about 70% of the cupcakes.
Fondant topper mask placement. We added toppers to about 70% of the cupcakes.

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Congratulations ladies! Have fun in the deep south!
Congratulations ladies! Have fun in the deep south!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Cupcakes for Mardi Gras Graduation Party–Part 2–The King Cupcakes

Now for the cake. This can be done ahead of time (up to one month and frozen. My secret to making cakes taste homemade is use a box mix, with the following substitutions: replace the water with milk, replace the oil with coconut oil or melted butter. Some people add an extra egg, I have found this not to work as well at higher altitude. (We are at 6,600 ft). I also add a teaspoon of vanilla–even to chocolate cake. For the King Cupcakes, I added 2 t of cinnamon per cake mix (dry) and 2 T of lemon juice to the mix.

I added 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon to the dry cake mix and sifted it--I'm sure you can skip sifting-I was having a thorough day. Add 1 teas. of vanilla, and mix the cake as directed replacing the water with milk and the vegetable oil with coconut oil if you have it. Beat it for a long time until it's lighter than normal.
I added 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon to the dry cake mix and sifted it–I’m sure you can skip sifting-I was having a thorough day. Add 1 teas. of vanilla, and mix the cake as directed replacing the water with milk and the vegetable oil with coconut oil if you have it. Beat it for a long time until it’s lighter than normal.
After baking as directed (I used white liners to bake in), I let them cool for a couple of minutes and then inserted a plastic baby in a few. DO NOT bake the baby in the batter--it will melt. That might seem obvious, but I had to ask my friend from NOLA......I bought the little plastic babies from Windy City Novelties online.
After baking as directed (I used white liners to bake in), I let them cool for a couple of minutes and then inserted a plastic baby in a few. DO NOT bake the baby in the batter–it will melt. That might seem obvious, but I had to ask my friend from NOLA……I bought the little plastic babies from Windy City Novelties online.
This is the point at which I sealed in tins and froze. I did get gold, black and blue liners to place under the white liners.
This is the point at which I sealed in tins and froze. I did get gold, black and blue liners to place under the white liners.

 

This is the story that will be displayed with the cupcakes. Coloradans aren't used to finding babies in their food. I don't want to break someone's tooth.
This is the story that will be displayed with the cupcakes. Coloradans aren’t used to finding babies in their food. I don’t want to break someone’s tooth.

King Cupcakes for Mardi Gras Graduation Party–Part 1 The Toppers

This is the first of a 3 part series. I’m pretty proud of myself–it was an intense project for the DIY who doesn’t like to do it herself. Here is the back story: My daughter will be attending college at McNeese State in Louisiana. Her graduation party partner in crime will be attending University of Southern Mississippi. We are from Colorado–I repeat–we are not southern and do not celebrate Mardi Gras. So what do we decide for a graduation party? Mardi Gras…….I’m in charge of the cupcakes. I’m gunna slay these bad boys. The first step (what you will see in this post) is to make the fondant masks for the toppers. These can be made 2 months in advance and frozen. I’m a big time person who plans ahead, so here it is. By the way, instead of the traditional Mardi Gras green, gold and purple, we are going with the college colors combined: royal blue, gold and black.

Silicone Fondant Mask--Bought off E-bay-like 2 bucks
Silicone Fondant Mask–Bought off E-bay-like 2 bucks
Fat Daddio's Pro Series Fondant in Yellow-8 oz. This stuff is from England--got off ebay--it's awesome--you can get any and every color and you don't have to buy a big tub. It was under 10 bucks.
Fat Daddio’s Pro Series Fondant in Yellow-8 oz. This stuff is from England–got off ebay–it’s awesome–you can get any and every color and you don’t have to buy a big tub. It was under 10 bucks.

 

 

Wash your hands and start working the fondant like playdough. Mash a chunk into your mold and scrape the excess. You might even push in the corners for a cleaner look
Wash your hands and start working the fondant like playdough. Mash a chunk into your mold and scrape the excess. You might even push in the corners for a cleaner look
Pop the masks out and lay on parchment paper or foil.
Pop the masks out and lay on parchment paper or foil.
We tried to make edible paint, but ended up using the edible metallic black and blue markers I purchased online. Way easier that using small paint brushes and mixing edible paint. Have some Q-tips and toothpicks handy to correct mistakes.
We tried to make edible paint, but ended up using the edible metallic black and blue markers I purchased online. Way easier than using small paint brushes and mixing edible paint. Have some Q-tips and toothpicks handy to correct mistakes.
This is pretty creative for us. We actually had fun with this.
This is pretty creative for us. We actually had fun with this.
After letting them dry a bit, we layered in Tupperware with parchment paper between layers. They are currently in the freezer waiting for the big bash. Stay tuned for part 2--making and freezing the King Cupcakes!
After letting them dry a bit, we layered in Tupperware with parchment paper between layers. They are currently in the freezer waiting for the big bash. Stay tuned for part 2–making and freezing the King Cupcakes!

Colorado Snow Ice-Cream Recipe

4 C of FRESH fallen snow (use dry ingredient measuring cup)

2/3 C powered sugar

1 t vanilla

2% or whole milk start with 2 T but you may need to add as needed

 

Mix all ingredients quickly and eat right away or freeze.  Can be frozen for a couple of days.

Some tips:

**My definition of “fresh snow” is about 1/2 to 1 foot that has fallen and has landed on a base of snow already there.  Of course this is up to you.  Kids will for sure eat dirty snow.:)

**Colorado snow is very dry, light and powdery.  If you live in the Midwest or in the East, you might need more sugar, and leave out milk.  If you just can’t get it right try granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar if you are dealing with dense, wet snow.

Fresh fallen snow: excuse the green light–it’s my porch light                                                               
Colorado Snow Ice-Cream
Colorado Snow Ice-Cream

 

 

 

Get Lit Gifts

These are great for teachers, the trash guy, your hair stylist–anyone who is over 21. You need:

Mason Jar Libation

(1) wide-mouth mason jar

(1) can of pop (Coke or 7up)

(1) cool looking straw

(1) little bottle of vodka (or your choice liquor–whiskey would be great with these)

some twine or thin cord

ribbon, jar wire and fabric square optional

 

 

start with your jar and a can of pop

place your can into your jar–you will have to eyeball the size–I got mine a little tall

place your can into your jar--you will have to eyeball the size--I got mine a little tall

I filled in with tissue paper

I filled in with tissue paper

this is the point where the string needs tied around your jar–leave the string ends long

this is the point where the string needs tied around your jar

place your fabric square over the lid seal and screw the lid on tight

place your fabric square over the lid seal and screw the lid on tight

 

with your string tight the straw tight with a knot

with you string tight the straw tight with a knot

tie the liquor bottle on

tie the liquor bottle on

add some ribbon and a jar wire:)

add some ribbon and a jar wire:)

 

Chug It Drink

(1) quart milk type jug (I purchased at Hobby Lobby)–If you cannot find use a mason jar–but the jugs are sooooo cute!

(1) quart of juice–I used cranberry–but really pineapple–or anything would be great

(1) little bottle of liquor–I used rum

(1) cool looking straw

twine, thin cord or ribbon

 

fill your quart jug with a juice (might want to use a funnel) and screw the lid on TIGHT

fill your quart jug with a juice (might want to use a funnel) and screw the lid on TIGHT

tie your cord/ribbon around the neck and make a knot

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tie straw on tight with a knot (may want to use some clear tape to keep in place)

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tie on the liquor bottle with a knot then a bow

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ready to give!

 

Coconut Oil “Buttercream” Frosting

frosting1frosting2frosting3

Coconut Oil (preferably Nutiva Organic). I found a big one at Costco.

vanilla

Powered sugar

milk

half and half or milk

 

I’m not listing amounts, because you really need to just eyeball this.  Coconut oil is solid, not liquid.  It needs to be solid when you start (put in fridge for awhile if you need to).  Whip the coconut oil with an electric mixer like you would butter.  Start adding powered sugar.  In the first picture, you’ll see it is crumbly.  In the second picture, the crumbs become bigger.  The process is pretty much like when you do this frosting with butter. Then add about 1 t of vanilla (you can also add other flavored extracts).  Mix until desired consistency (you may want to add some milk or half and half at this point).  Tips below you need to know:

*This will have a coconut flavor.  If you don’t want that flavor, add extracts.

*You’ll notice this frosting is much more of a snow white than buttercream, you will get a much brighter white, especially if you use clear vanilla extract.

 

Enhanced Playdough

1 C water

2 T vegetable oil

liquid or paste food coloring (paste will give you vivid colors)

2 t cream of tartar

1/3 cup table salt (Good ole Morton works for me) http://www.mortonsalt.com/

1 flour flour

scented oil

 

chunky, big glitter (optional)

 

Whisk together the water, oil and coloring (you can add more coloring later, but it’s easiest at this point). Then add the cream of tartar, salt and flour. Whisk together well.

Microwave at 30 seconds to 1-minute intervals, stirring and scraping in between intervals. Total time can be anywhere from 3 minutes to 6 minutes depending on location and microwave. It’s done when it looks like bread dough that you have to knead. That means it should be coming together but still a little wet. Let is sit for at least 4 to 5 minutes to cool and set. Turn it out and start kneading (little ones can help with this).  When it looks smooth and feels like playdough, add a few drops of scented oil and again knead away. Add oil till the scent is the strength you like.  Store in an airtight container for 4 to 6 months. The salt keeps it from spoiling.

If you would like to a grainy glitter (not fine)-it will make the sensory experience more layered. The scent is a wonderful sensory addition for kids and adults! You can theme your scents to seasons, or a eucalyptus or peppermint scent is always a sure bet. If you’re into essential oils, you will know what healing properties they may have.

Here are my resources for fabulous, true to smell scents:

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/fragrance-oils

http://rusticescentuals.com/Fragrance-Oils/