Beauty and the Beast Belle Cupcakes

belle (22 of 24)Michelle and I are beyond excited for Disney’s new live action Beauty and the Beast. The costumes look stunning and I adore Emma Watson, she is the perfect embodiment of Belle, on screen and in real life. Belle was always the Disney princess I associated myself with as a kid… but looking back that’s probably just because she looked the most like me.

There’s nothing quite like a themed cupcake to get me even more excited for something. Michelle and I made these two-tiered Belle cupcakes for the occasion. They brought me right back to my 6th birthday party when I had a Barbie cake. Did anyone else have one of those, with the real Barbie inside the cake “dress”? This whole week has been filled with a whole lot of Disney/Barbie/princess nostalgia!

On another note, Michelle and I have officially finished college as of yesterday and we are off to Thailand for two weeks! I have no idea how four years flew by that fast. We can barely contain our excitement for this trip and can’t wait to see what adventures await us. We have some fun content lined up while we’re gone and hopefully upon our return we’ll have some Thai-inspired crafts to share with you all.


Materials:

  • Cupcakes (not shame in using a boxed mix – the college budget is real)
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Yellow food coloring (we used golden yellow and bright yellow to create two separate shades)
  • A printed Belle template (here’s our Belle Template)
  • Toothpicks
  • Super glue or hot glue
  • A knife
  • Plastic ziplock bags or piping bags

Bake your cupcakes and allow them to cool completely. We used red cupcake liners to symbolize the red rose from the film.

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These cupcakes are actually created by stacking one cupcake on top of another in order to get the correct dress shape. Start by unwrapping the paper from a cupcake. Flip it over so that the bottom is on top. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away slivers of the cake to make the cupcake a more conical shape. Grab another cupcake and spread frosting on top of it. Finally, place your upside down carved cupcake onto the iced cupcake. Repeat these steps with all of the other cupcakes.

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Separate a small amount of your icing and use your dyes to mix a deep golden yellow color. Spoon it into a zip lock bag or piping bag and cut a small hole in the corner. With the remaining icing, use your dyes to mix a lighter shade of yellow for the main part of the dress. Spoon that into a different baggie and cut a larger hole in the corner, about a centimeter wide.

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Starting at the top of the cupcake, carefully create vertical stripes using the yellow frosting. The key is to move faster at the top and slow down towards the bottom so that the stripes are wide at the base. They should be tall narrow triangles, and they don’t have to be perfect – in fact, the lumpiness makes the frosting look more like fabric.

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Continue making stripes until the entire cupcake is covered and none of the cake part is exposed. If there is cake exposed at the very top, just use a little bit of frosting to cover it up.

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Using your darker shade of yellow frosting, carefully pipe the ribbon around the dress, following the wave pattern of the stripes.

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Next, print your Belle template and cut out only the top half of her body.

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Use super glue or hot glue to attach toothpicks to the backs of the cutouts and allow them to dry.

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Once they have dried, insert them into the top of the cake, and you are finished. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and enjoy the movie!

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Happy baking!

-Kirby

 

Autumn Leaf Sugar Cookies

glu-logo-copyApparently we are 54 days into Fall, but here in L.A. it has been above 90 degrees for more days than we can count. Instead of cozy sweaters, knit hats, and hot lattes in hand, we’ve been trekking to class in shorts and t-shirts, wiping the sweat from our brows before downing iced drinks. While we try not to ever take the endless sunshine for granted, we do miss the seasonal changes that really help transition into the holiday spirit.

In an effort to fix this, we made these autumn leaf cookies for the apartment, a simple reminder that it is indeed Fall. They are a nice break from the meticulous detail that we tend to lean towards when decorating cookies.


Ingredients & Materials:

  • Sugar cookies (you can find our recipe here)
  • Royal icing (you can find our recipe here)
  • Food coloring of your choice (we used copper, red, orange, yellow, and green)
  • A cooling rack
  • Paper towels or newspaper (anything you don’t mind ruining with icing)
  • A spoon

_mg_6569Roll your sugar cookie dough 1/4 inch thick and use a maple leaf cookie cutter to cut your shapes. Bake them for 6-8 minutes at 400 ºF and then set aside to cool.

While the cookies bake, make your royal icing. Be sure to add a little bit of water. These cookies don’t have any detail in them and rely on the icing being able to run off the cookie. However, it should still be very thick and goopy. Divide the icing into as many colors as you want to use, and mix in the dye. Try to look at leaves for inspiration; you want the colors to be more natural looking and less neon, otherwise the cookies will look more like rainbows than leaves.

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Evenly distribute the cookies on a cooling rack with a thick layer of paper towels underneath. Using a spoon, pour the green icing over the cookies until they are covered.

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Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then pour the next shade (in this case a greenish yellow) over most of the cookie, leaving one end the initial green color.

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Again, allow them to sit for 10 minutes, then pour the next color (in this case golden yellow) over the cookies, leaving the previous colors still exposed on one side. Keep repeating this process until all of the colors have been laid down.

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The cookies should gradually transition from green to yellow to orange to red. Don’t worry if the icing looks messy and is mixing together. The imperfections are what give it the marbled ombre look. You also may need to clean up with edges with your fingers or a toothpick since the multiple layers of icing is so thick and slightly deforms the leaf shape. Allow to cool completely and enjoy, whether you are in warm weather or cold!

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Happy decorating!

Michelle & Kirby

Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

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We love to bake, which might be obvious considering this blog. And by bake we mostly mean decorate. While our families might argue that eating our sweets is the best part, we love coming up with creative ways to decorate desserts for specific holidays, seasons, or celebrations.

Sugar cookies with royal icing are a staple in our lives. We make a batch at least once a month. Though simple in flavor, their decorating possibilities are endless. This cookie recipe holds its shape so well, unlike many recipes we’ve fiddled with in the past that turn into formless blobs once baked. Once we discovered this one, we haven’t gone back. Pair them with royal icing and your design possibilities are endless.


Sugar Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Once smooth, beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix until the dough is formed. Don’t be afraid to use your hands. If it feels too sticky, add a little more flour.

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Wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic and chill for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 400 ºF (204 ºC). Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Cut the shapes that you want and then using a spatula, carefully place the cut outs onto a greased cookie sheet, leaving an inch between the cookies.

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Now the next step may seem pointless, but it is THE #1 SECRET to perfect cut out cookies. Place your sheets in the fridge for a few minutes before baking. Once the sheet is cool and the cookie dough is cold to the touch, remove them and immediately place them in the oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the edges are barely brown. The extra few minutes of refrigeration is the key to keeping the shapes that you so carefully cut out.

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Cool your cookies on a cooling rack and then onto the fun part – decorating!


Royal Icing Ingredients 

  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Sift the powdered sugar and cream of tartar together, then set aside. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Pour them into the powdered sugar mixer and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the icing forms stiff peaks.

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Divide the icing in half. Leave one half as it is, the thick icing is what you want to use to make outlines and details.

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Add a tiny bit of water to the other half until it is smooth and slowly pours from a spoon. It is always better to add too little water than too much! The runny icing is what you will use to flood your cookies. From here you can mix the colors that you plan to use and distribute them into your piping bags.

 

Happy  baking!

Michelle & Kirby

Sorting Hat Cupcakes

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This week was Michelle’s 21st Birthday (woohoo!!) and we all celebrated like we were turning 21 again. We had some friends over for drinks and gifts before heading out to bars in Santa Monica.

As the biggest Harry Potter nerds you’ll meet, we used the occasion as an excuse to make a craft we’ve been excited about for ages. All of our guests bit into these sorting cupcakes to find out which Hogwarts house they belong to. As proud Hufflepuffs in our every day lives, we were reluctant to abandon our yellow for Slytherin, but it was fun to venture into the dark side for a night.

These cupcakes were so easy to make and were a huge hit amongst our friends. To make it even more fun we proceeded to play games throughout the night, scoring house points for our teams. It was a hilarious way to spend a night out with our girlfriends.

As busy college students on a budget, we have no shame admitting that we sometimes make our desserts from a box. These were done with Betty Crocker cake mix and vanilla frosting and were delicious. But, kudos to anyone who makes them from scratch! We’d love to see your versions.


Materials:

  • Cupcakes (1 box Betty Crocker vanilla cake)
  • Frosting (2 containers Betty Crocker vanilla frosting)
  • 5 large ziplock bags
  • A large star-shaped frosting tip
  • Scissors
  • Food coloring (red, yellow, blue, and green)
  • A sharp knife
  • Toothpicks
  • A printer & computer

Scoop 2/3 of the white icing into a piping bag (we use large ziplock bags and cut a small hole in the corner) with a star tip.

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Divide the remaining 1/3 of the icing into four separate bowls and dye them red, yellow, blue, and green. Red dye is particularly tricky to mix, and our secret is to dye it pink first before adding red. It requires less dye and is much faster. Then scoop the four colors into piping bags with normal round tips.

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Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a hole in the center of the cupcakes. Only cut 2/3 of the way into the cupcake, careful not to cut all the way through. Save the piece of cupcake that you remove. Divide the cupcakes into four groups for the four houses and pipe the icing into the holes, filling them half way. There should be an equal number of cupcakes for each house. Gently place the removed piece of cupcake back on top, concealing the icing beneath it.

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For decoration, create a template of Hogwarts crests (we used Microsoft Word), then print and cut them out. Glue them to toothpicks with a hot glue gun and set aside.

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Pipe the white icing onto the cupcakes. By now you should not be able to tell them apart. Insert the toothpick decorations into the cupcakes. Careful not to remove the toothpicks before taking a bite though, they will ruin the surprise!

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Happy sorting (and 21st birthday to Michelle)!