Category Archives: adorability

Strawberry Cone Cakes

Last weekend I was invited to a Pink and Purple Potluck for my friend Elise’s 21st birthday (yes we have  the same name, and yes, it’s very confusing). Now, pink and purple foods weren’t mandatory, but you know how much I love themes. And when I think pink, I think adorable…and when I think adorable, I think foods that look like other foods. Hence the cone cakes. Now what is a cone cake, you ask? Why a cupcake inside an ice cream cone, of course!  I decided to make them extra authentic by incorporating real strawberries into the icing. It was crazy how much they looked like strawberry frozen yogurt. If you want to give them a try, you’ll need:

  • 18 flat-bottomed ice cream cones
  • 1 package vanilla cake mix
  • pink gel food colouring
  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • sprinkles
Start off by preparing your cake mix according to the package directions, and preheat the oven. If you’re cute, you’ll add a little pink food colouring so the inside of the cone matches the outside (the more realistic the better).
Stand your cupcakes on a baking sheet, and fill them up half-way. This part is crucial. You may be tempted to add more batter, but DON’T! If your cones overflow, you will have to pick bits of cake off the outside, and that is just icky. Trust me, I know from experience.
Bake them according to the package, and get started on your icing. Pulverize your freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor. It is very important that they be freeze-dried, and not just regular dried. You can find these at most bulk stores.
In a large bowl, cream your butter until it’s soft and smooth. Using a wooden spoon, add the icing sugar one cup at a time, and finally add your strawberry powder. The strawberries should make the icing nice and pink, but if you want you can add some more food colouring.
When your cone cakes have cooled, fill a piping bag with icing and a star shaped tip. Pipe liberal amounts of icing onto your cone cakes, and sprinkle with a few decorations.
These babies can be tricky to transport. I suggest covering a rectangular cake pan with foil, and nestling the cones into holes in the foil.
Give these a try for your next Pink and Purple Potluck. Or I guess you could make them for a regular party too. Happy baking!
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Filed under a party, adorability, cake, cupcakes

Itty Bitty Figgy Pudding

I have always had a thing for miniatures. I started collecting tiny trinkets when I was a little girl, and when I see an opportunity to shrink something down to dollhouse size, I just can’t help myself. These Itty Bitty Figgy Puddings make adorable table favours, and couldn’t be easier to create.

 

 

Take a dome shaped chocolate, drizzle a bit of royal icing on top, and decorate it with teeny tiny holly sprinkles. I was lucky enough to happen upon these Wilton Holly Mix Sprinkles at HomeSense last year. You can find them at some bulk or craft stores, but if you can’t track them down, design your own topper out of candies or fondant.

For the icing, mix together 1/4 cup of icing sugar, a pinch of cream of tartar, and about a teaspoon of water. Adjust the proportions of water and sugar until you have a nice thick consistency. Dollop a little on top of each chocolate, and press in a pair of holly leaves before the icing sets.

Now, these may not be the most delicious item on your dessert tray (royal icing and chocolate isn’t exactly a winning combo), but it’s what’s on the outside that counts, right? If you want something a little more gourmet, you can experiment with different icings, but I found that for an authentic look, royal icing worked best.

Can’t you just picture your beautiful holiday table with a little figgy pudding waiting for  each of your guests at their seat? And to give you an idea of just how teeny these are, here’s one more photo.

 

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Filed under a party, adorability, candy, holidays, super simple

DIY Cupcake Kits

Here we go with day 3 of Luvcrumbs’ 12 Days of Christmas.

This one is an easy half-handmade gift to make you seem like the world’s most thoughtful friend. Just throw together a few supplies in an adorable little caddy, and you have a perfect present for all the “creative types” on your list.

This project is much more cost effective in bulk, so make as many as you can. For each kit, you’ll need:

Some sprinkles, and decorations…and tiny adorable containers to put them in. I chose 3 different kinds for each of my kits, but it’s up to you.

Fun and colourful cupcake liners (24 for each kit).

Toothpicks and decorations to top the cupcakes. I made little glittery flags out of sticky-backed glitter paper (dollar store whaaat?), and picked up a few little felt cupcakes from Walmart. Do some hunting to find deals, or chose a theme that suits your giftee.

Finish off by popping all of your tidbits into a giftable vessel (perhaps a mini paint can?), and decorate it if you wish. Now your lucky recipients can follow in your crafty footsteps and get their bake on.

Check back tomorrow for an impressive holiday cake.

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Filed under adorability, cupcakes, inedible, super simple

Spare Noses

It’s the 12 Days of Christmas here at Luvcrumbs!

After a major blogging hiatus during exam period, I am in full-on holiday mode. Leading up to Christmas, I will be posting a new gifting/baking/celebrating idea each day to make your season a little brighter.

While touring Dundurn Castle in Hamilton yesterday (one of my favourite Christmas activities), I learned that the 12 days of Christmas traditionally began on Christmas eve, and continued until the Epiphany on January 6th. Now, I’m all for tradition, but the idea of santa cookies after Christmas just seems ridiculous. Therefore, I will be bringing you a new project everyday from now until December 24th. Think of it as my gift to you.

First stop: Spare Noses. For Rudolph. From Santa. Get it?

These miniature cookies are perfect for the reindeer in your life who needs a little extra help guiding his/her sleigh. Be sure to make lots: we wouldn’t want Santa (and all of those glorious presents) to be held up by a red nose shortage.

This recipe will make about 6 small jars worth. You’ll need:

  • 6 smallish jars (recycled or new) mine are about 3″x3″ at the base, and about 5″ tall (thank you Dollarama!)
  • 6 labels to fit your jars
  • ribbon or raffia for adornment
  • about 3 tbsp red gel food colouring
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • plastic wrap
  • 1 cup red sanding sugar
  • small round cookie cutter (roughly 1″ diameter)
Cream together your butter and sugar until fluffy. Add your food colouring, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the salt, and stir in your flour cup by cup, kneading with your hands if necessary. If it doesn’t look red enough, throw in a little more colour. When it’s all combined, turn your dough out onto some plastic wrap, and flatten it out into a disc. Wrap it up and throw it into the fridge for about 1/2 an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When your dough is chilled, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. You may have to work it out a little before it softens up. When your dough is about 1/4″ thick, cut out as many tiny red circles as you can with your cookie cutter. Keep re-rolling your dough until you can’t cut any more circles. (Here’s a tip: if you can’t find a small cookie cutter, use the large end of a medium sized piping tip. If the dough gets stuck in the tip, just blow on the other side and it will pop right out. This may not be the best choice if you’re a germaphobe…just saying’.)
Now you have a choice. If you have time on your hands, and want some wow factor, go with style 1. Otherwise, use style 2.
1. Fill a shallow plate with some water, and another with a few spoonfuls of sanding sugar. Dip one side of each cookie into the water, then into the sanding sugar before placing it on a non-stick baking sheet. Keep the cookies about 1/2″ apart from one another.
2. Place your cookies on a non-stick baking sheet spaced about 1/2″ apart. Take a pastry brush, dip it in water, and brush it over the cookies. Sprinkle copious amounts of sanding sugar onto the cookies until you are satisfied with the amount that has stuck. Warning: the sugar that ends up on the baking sheet will likely melt, and may burn in the oven.
Bake the cookies for 5-6 minutes. It is essential that the edges do not brown (it’s not “Rudolph the Brown-Nosed Reindeer” people). Let your cookies cool, and divide them evenly among your jars.
Now you can get creative. I am technologically challenged, so printing labels was a stretch for me. I ended up printing basic labels with the lettering typed on them, and then found some cute stickers to jazz them up. Feel free to draw your own labels, or design them with a program. I tied on a little bit of twine for rustic appeal, and may I suggest adding a gift tag that reads: To: Rudolph, From: Santa?
These cookies will keep for 3-4 days at optimal levels of freshness, so don’t bake them too far in advance. You can, however, freeze your dough and thaw it out when you’re ready to bake.
These festive treats make great gifts for kittens (I mean children), teachers, and anyone on your list who likes a little whimsy. And if you have people on your shopping list who aren’t into whimsy, let’s be real, you should probably just give them a lump of coal.
Happy baking everyone! Stay tuned for day 2 of The Twelve Days of Christmas here at Luvcrumbs. I’ll be making a dime store version of one of your favourite coffee shop beverages.

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Meringuebows

Now what is a meringuebow you ask? Why a  hybrid between a meringue and a rainbow of course. Umm, duh…

These fluffy little creations were inspired by the cloud-like appearance of meringues. And every cloud deserves a rainbow, so I created these airy little treats that are almost too cute to eat. This recipe will make 12-16 meringues. You’ll need:

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • red, yellow and blue gel food colouring

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

Depending on the size of your mixing bowl, you may have to divide the recipe into two batches. Trust me, I have had meringue overflow in the past and it is a sticky, sticky mess. Beat your egg whites on high with the cream of tartar using a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar as you continue to whisk the mixture. Keep beating until VERY stiff peaks form.

Divide the meringue into two bowls. Now divide one of those bowls into 3 smaller bowls. Add a small amount of gel food colouring (I suppose you could use whatever colours you like, but I think that red, blue and yellow are the cutest), to each bowl and fold it in with a spatula until the colour is evenly distributed. Be careful not to deflate your meringue with “aggressive” folding.

Fill 3 piping bags (or zipper seal bags) with your coloured meringue, and pipe out six rainbows onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You can use a tip if you like, or just go naked. Start by piping a 3-4 inch curve of pink, followed by blue, followed by yellow. Once you’ve piped your rainbows, add a meringue cloud to each by overlapping a large dollop of white meringue with the edge of your coloured meringue. Feel free to be messy with your clouds. Clouds are meant to look a little wild.

Bake your meringuebows for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The rainbow meringue will cook faster because it is not as thick, so wait until your clouds are nice and crisp before removing them from the oven. There will be a nice textural difference between the white and coloured meringue.

I was so impressed by how well the meringue held its colour! Can’t you picture yourself serving these at a fairy princess birthday party? Now I just have to kidnap a toddler so I have an excuse to make them again.

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Filed under a party, adorability, candy, cookies

How To: Coping With Harry Potter Withdrawal

Those of you that have been following the Harry Potter series since its release in 1997 may be in for some major withdrawal this week as the final installment of the on-screen version makes its North American debut. As a muggle who has personally experienced the lonesome feeling of closing the back cover of book 7, I sympathize with you and offer condolences in the form of a recipe.

“A recipe?” you ask. Well, not quite a recipe. Project is a more appropriate term, and though it may seem a strange way to fill the impending void in your heart, I firmly believe that candy is the best medicine. This is why I ask you to believe in magic one more time, as we make a chocolate frog together.  You’ll need:

  • A plastic frog candy mold (mine is from Bulk Barn)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 12 gold foil wrappers (Bulk Barn again)
  • Royal blue bristol board
  • 12 chocolate frog cards, printed on cardstock
  • 12 gold labels
  • Gold pen
  • Glue gun

Slowly melt your chocolate in a double boiler, and pour a little bit into each frog mold until the chocolate is level with the top of the mold. Set these aside to chill (you can put them in your refrigerator to speed up the process). Repeat if necessary, until you have 12 frogs.

To print your chocolate frog cards, search online until you find a template that is to your liking, and print 12. If you are the fan that you say you are, you will already know that chocolate frog cards are pentagonal. No exceptions. Make sure that your print-outs are large enough to fit behind your chocolate frogs. This website has links to a few choices, of varying quality.

Trace the pentagon shape from your card onto the blue bristol board. Then trace triangles around your pentagon, so you have a star shape. Cut out 12 star shapes, and decorate the backside with gold pen. Decorate each of your gold stickers with a Honeyduke’s logo.

Wrap each of your chocolate frogs in a gold foil wrapper, and place it into a star package with a chocolate frog card underneath. Fold each of the first 4 triangles into the centre of the package, and squirt a dollop of hot glue on top, and squish down the 5th triangle. I realize that my terminology is quite complex, feel free to ask for clarification.

Stick a label onto each chocolate frog package to cover up the messy glue. Now, crawl into bed, and eat all 12 frogs as you watch Youtube montages of Ron and Hermione on your laptop.

If you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms after this exercise, experiment with Cockroach Clusters tomorrow.

Side note: my use of terms coined by J.K. Rowling is in no way intended to violate copyright, and is meant solely as an expression of my admiration for her creativity. A chocolate frog by any other name simply would not smell as sweet.

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Filed under adorability, candy, pop culture