Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to Decorate Cupcakes like a Pro

If you’ve never decorated your own cupcakes before, it can be somewhat daunting. Afterall, you don’t want your cupcakes to look like they were made by an amateur. With a few simple tools and decorating ideas, anyone can create unique and fancy cupcakes. Whether it is for a child's birthday or adult luncheon, here are a few tips that will help decorate the tiny desserts like a pro:

Tools Needed:


  1.  After mixing the cupcake batter, place decorative liners in the pan. This will set the tone for the finished product. Make sure to fill each cupcake liner three-quarters of the way to the top. Adding more will result in a sloppy cupcake.
  2.  After the cupcakes have completely cooked, it is possible to begin the decorating process. To start, it is essential to form the perfect base. This will smooth out the crumbs. A small amount of icing and a spatula will create a great foundation for further decoration.
  3.  It is important to choose an icing. Most people select a fondant or buttercream frosting. Rolled fondant provides the neatest appearance. It is possible to purchase fondant sheets at a specialty or craft store.
  4. To top a cupcake with fondant, simply roll it out, and cut it to size. Gently lift it with a rolling pin, and place it into position. If preferred, further decorations may be applied.
  5.  Decorating with buttercream frosting is popular and easier than it looks. Before filling the piping bag, select a tip. Star tips are the most popular. A closed star tip will add increased definition to the swirl topping. A round tip will provide a plain and smoother swirl. An open star will create a less defined swirl but will work better with a soft frosting. To fill the bag, roll it down, and spoon in the frosting. Make sure to gently pack the frosting, so air bubbles are eliminated. After it is filled, twist the top closed. Never overfill the bag, or it will be difficult to control. To frost the dessert, hold the bag perpendicular to the cupcake. With constant pressure, move in a fluid motion from the edges to the center. Grow the icing to the top, then release the pressure on the bag before lifting up. To create a rosette look, begin in the center, and work to the edges.
  6. Finish the cupcakes with sprinkles, cookie pieces or other decorative candies to create a flavor or look that fits the occasion.
What are your best tips for creating professional-looking cupcakes? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Delicious Desserts for the Fourth of July

Everyone enjoys a great picnic around the Fourth of July. Of course, no outdoor barbecue is complete without a delicious dessert to finish it off. Since no one wants to slave in a hot kitchen while everyone else is in the pool, here are some quick, simple, and festive dessert recipes that will become a holiday tradition.

Candy Bar Flags

A great and easy Fourth of July treat is a chocolate candy bar flag. Prep time is minimal and the results will be ultra-gratifying.



12 oz Mercken’s Marquis Milk Chocolate

2/3 cups rice crispy cereal

Red, white, and blue candy pieces


  1. Prepare chocolate by melting it in the microwave at 30-second intervals, until it is smooth.
  2. Add the crunchy cereal, and pour the mixture onto a covered baking sheet. Spread mixture to 10x8 inch dimensions and one-quarter inch thick.
  3. With a knife, mark four equal rectangles. The mixture will be too soft to cut completely.
  4. In the top one-quarter of each rectangle, place blue candy pieces where the stars of a flag would go. The rest of each rectangle is lined with white and red stripes. Work quickly before the chocolate hardens.
  5. Refrigerate and cut. Nothing is cuter or easier.

Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Strawberries are the perfect summer fruit, and there is no better or easier dessert than a strawberry ice cream cake.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes


2 pints vanilla ice cream

2 1/2 cups strawberries (sliced into pieces)

1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Use foil to line the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  2. Scoop ice cream into the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until soft.
  3. Add strawberries. Beat one minute longer.
  4. Transfer mix to pan.
  5. Freeze until firm. (2+ hours)
  6. When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream, and spread it over the cake. Slice into wedges and serve for a refreshing end to any meal.

Red, White, and Blue Strawberry Shortcake

Another spectacular summer holiday dessert is a strawberry shortcake. In less than one hour, the family will be enjoying a simple and tasty dessert.


1 package premium yellow cake mix

1 pint blueberries (sliced)

2 pints strawberries (sliced)

8 oz frozen whipped topping


  1. Prepare cake mix and bake in a 9x13 inch pan according to the package directions.
  2. Cool cake, then apply the whipped topping.
  3. Place blueberries in the top left corner, and arrange the strawberries into stripes like the American flag.
  4. Slice and enjoy!

What’s your favorite dessert to make for Independence Day cookouts? Let us know in the comments below!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Non-Traditional Wedding Desserts for Your Big Day

Nothing can compare to a gorgeous wedding cake at a traditional wedding reception. However, why not consider offering a few non-traditional wedding desserts for your guests as well? More and more today, couples are choosing to steer away from the traditional path a bit and add various non-traditional treats to their dessert tables.

Do-it-Yourself Sundaes

If your wedding is going to take place during the summer, why not consider adding a DIY sundae bar to your dessert table? There are dozens upon dozens of ice cream flavors you can choose from, and you can even add frozen sherbet or yogurt if you wish. Guests will love being able to pick their own toppings such as nuts, granola, candy sprinkles, fresh fruit, chocolate syrup or melted caramel. You can even save a little money by making some of your own toppings ahead of time.

DIY Fruit Salads

Another great non-traditional dessert that you can add to your dessert table is a DIY fruit salad bar. This is a terrific idea for guests who are health-conscious or watching their weight. Fruits you may choose to use for your salad bar include fresh blueberries, strawberries, other berries, grapes, apple and orange slices, diced pineapples, and sliced melons. You can also offer cool whip for a tasty salad topping.

Chocolate and Candy Treats

If you are expecting a lot of guests that enjoy chocolate and other candy treats, why not consider creating a chocolate and candy buffet? Start out by placing a five-tiered plastic or glass wedding tower in the center of your dessert table and fill it with delicious chocolates and candies that you’ve purchased or made yourself.

Next, place various crystal or other attractive bowls around your tower and fill each one with a different type of chocolate or candy. For a colorful and appealing candy buffet, you can add such popular treats as M&Ms, Gummy Bears, Sweet Tarts, Red Hots, chocolate-covered raisins and/or peanuts, and homemade lollipops in various colors and sizes. Consider making wedding-themed candies yourself to save some money. All you need is a few ingredients and a wedding themed candy or lollipop mold to make the most delicious candies for your special day.

Cookies and Wafers

An alternative to a chocolate and candy buffet is a tasty cookie and wafer buffet. You can set this up in much the same way as the candy buffet, except you will fill the tower with cookies and replace the bowls with platters. Some cookies and wafers that go well with champagne and wine are pecan tassies, vanilla wafers, biscotti, macaroons, cream-filled sandwich cookies and fruit-filled pinwheels.

If you are planning your wedding and would like to add a little twist to your dessert table, you should consider offering some non-traditional wedding desserts to your guests. However, when choosing desserts for your big day, make sure that you let your guests know about such ingredients as nuts or strawberries in case they have allergies.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top Five Benefits of Making Your Own Lollipops

Are you thinking about making your own lollipops, but you’re still on the fence? While it does seem easier to purchase store-bought lollipops, there are a number of reasons you should have some fun and try out the DIY method. We’ve listed just a few of them below.

1. You Have Control Over the Mold of the Lollipop

One of the biggest reasons that people make their own lollipops is because it yields one-of-a-kind, 100% customized candy. Throwing a themed baby shower? Find a mold that fits your theme and go to town. Celebrating a holiday? We can help you out with a large selection of molds for every major holiday, from Christmas to Saint Patrick’s Day. Feeling artistic? Go free-form!

2. You Also Have Control Over the Colors and Flavors

Of course, the size and shape of the lollipop isn’t the only thing you’ll get to customize. You’ll also have control over the flavor, which means never ending up with a hundred banana-flavored lollipops left behind. You can also play mixologist and make up your own flavor concoctions. The sky is the limit when it comes to colors too, so pick a combination that represents your favorite sports team or fits the theme of a party and have fun.

3. It’s an Easy, Fun Way to Impress

Let’s be honest: Most people don’t make their own lollipops. For them, it’s an unimaginable feat of gourmet prowess. You don’t have to tell them that it’s easier than it looks! Serving DIY lollipops at a party or setting a bowl of them out in the living room for house guests is a great way to show people you know how to take care of every detail.

4. You Can Give Yourself an Instant Chemistry Lesson

Sure, making lollipops is fairly easy. But you do have to know some fundamentals about how things work. This project will give you a quick refresher course on temperature or dissolving points. It’s a fun, delicious way to teach the basics of Chemistry in the kitchen to kids. Just remember to be safe!

5. It’s a Great Start Before Branching Out into Other Candy-Making

We have a hunch that once you start making your own lollipops, you’ll probably get the bug. Candy-making can become a full-blown hobby — one that rewards both your artistic and culinary skills. Fortunately, we have you covered should you choose to branch out. From tools and accessories to edible glitter, we have everything you need to see your confectionary visions through.

So grab some lollipop sticks and give a new recipe a try – a delicious new adventure awaits!