Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tinkerbell Party - DIY Tink Cake, Cupcakes, & Star Wand Cookies

Tinkerbell Cake


I wanted to make a special cake for my daughter's third birthday.  I looked around for ideas and really liked a cake that was similar to the one that I created in the picture above.  This cake was actually not hard to make.  I had to educate myself about cake making, because I am not much of a baker!  So if I can make it, so can you! 

Here's how I did it...


Step 1: Get a Wilton Wonder Mold Cake Pan 


I purchased the Wilton Wonder Mold Pan Set on Amazon for about $15.  You can also purchase it at most craft stores.


Step 2: Prepare Fondant Cake Decorations

About 1-2 weeks before the party, prepare the details that will go on the cake.  I purchased a box of Wilton Rolled Fondant at Michael's.  I used the rolled fondant to create the flowers, leaves, letters, and rope around the base of the cake.  Everything that I read mentioned that fondant is not the best tasting icing to use on a cake.  I opted to use a buttercream frosting and fondant only for the decorations, which were easy to remove before eating.

In order to create the fondant decorations you will first need to dye the fondant.  I separated the fondant into three sections because I wanted to create three different colors.  After the fondant is separated, place a few drops (1 or 2 - a little goes a long way) of gel onto the fondant and knead until the color is evenly distributed.  I purchased Buff Color Gels (shown in the picture below) at Michael's.

Next, roll out the fondant.  Cut the fondant into desired shapes using cookie cutters.  Place the cut-out shapes on a tray and allow to harden in a cool, dry place for 1-2 weeks.

Note 1 - In order to create the leaves, which have a bend to them, you will need to lay the fondant over the edge of the Wilton Wonder Mold Pan.  This will ensure that the fondant leaves dry exactly how you want them to look when you place them on the cake.

Note 2 - I placed a tiny edible pearl in the middle of each of the tiny purple flowers.

Note 3 - I created a rope to place around the bottom edge of the cake.  I allowed it to dry for about a week, but it cracked when I moved it to place around the cake.  I would recommend rolling the rope on the day of the party.  It does not matter that the rope has not hardened.


Step 3: Make the Cake

Make your favorite cake mix in the Wilton Wonder Mold Pan.  Follow Wilton's directions in order to prepare the cake.  I used a box of  Betty Crocker's Chocolate Cake mix - nothing special!


Step 4: Prepare the Frosting

I used the recipe for the Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life.  This frosting is delicious!  The link provided also has a lot of great information about preparing the frosting and other cake decorating techniques. 


Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Recipe type: Dessert

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2.5 cups

Classic American Buttercream frosting. This recipe uses powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. This is a great recipe for decorating and piping on cupcakes and cake.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or ½ pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream



  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time. 

Note 1 - add a few drops of food dye to make the frosting your desired color.
Note 2 - make 1 extra batch of icing to use on Tinkerbell Cupcakes (described below)


Step 5: Frost the Cake & Smooth

In order to smooth the icing, I followed the directions that I found in an article on eHow - How to Smooth Icing on Wedding Cakes.


1. Cool the cake completely and then use a serrated knife to even out the cake. Cut carefully and with a light touch. Transfer the cake to a rotating lazy susan. You can make the cake stick by spreading some frosting on the surface of the turn table. Brush off any excess crumbs with a basting or pastry brush.

2. Use a frosting spatula or an offset spatula to frost a first layer of icing. Start at the top leaving some icing to overlap to the edges. Now frost the sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

3. Add a second layer of frosting with a larger spatula. Remove any excess frosting from the top of the cake and scrape on the side of a bowl. Rotate the lazy susan and lightly scrape around the cake while it spins. Refrigerate to set.

4. Use a paper towel after the cake is completely dry. You can test this by touching the cake and if no frosting comes off on your fingers the cake is ready. Place the paper towel on the top of the cake and rub over it with your hand lightly. Move the paper towel to the sides and repeat the rubbing. This technique will work best with royal icing.


This technique works really well!  Make sure that you buy VIVA brand paper towels to use for the smoothing process.


Step 6: Apply Decorations

After the frosting on Tinkerbell Cake is smooth, you are ready to apply the decorations.  Carefully place the leaves on the top of the cake.  Scatter the small purple flowers around the cake.  Place the rope around the base of the cake, making sure that the ends are toward the back of the cake.  Lay the letters against the rope at the base of the cake. 

I purchased a Tinkerbell cake topper at Amazon to place on top of the cake.  Place a small amount of frosting under the cake topper and then sit it on top of the leaves.  The frosting will act like glue and hold the cake topper in place. 

Tinkerbell Cupcakes

In order to make the Tinkerbell Cupcakes you will need the following ingredients/supplies...
  • Cupcake liners (purchased on Amazon)
  • Tinkerbell Candle (for the birthday girl)
  • Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe can be found above)
  • Tinkerbell Cupcake Ring Toppers (purchased on Amazon)
  • Cake decorating bag and tip

I made a box of Betty Crocker's Yellow Cake mix.  I then piped the Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting onto the cupcakes using a 1M decorating tip.  Click here for directions from Wilton on how to make 1M Swirls.

After decorating the cupcakes, I placed a Tinkerbell candle on the cupcake for the birthday girl.  I placed one Tinkerbell Ring Cupcake Topper on each of the other cupcakes.  I arranged the cupcakes on a serving tray and set them out at the party.

Star Wand Cookies

In order to make the Star Wand Cookies, you must first make Butter Cookies.  In order to make the Butter Cookies, follow the recipe below.  This recipe came from my husband's great aunt Kate.  The cookies are delicious when covered with icing!

Butter Cookies

1 c butter
1 c sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk or cream
paper straws

Cream butter, add sugar, and stir together.  Add unbeaten egg yolks and vanilla.  Mix well.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternating with milk.  Mix thoroughly.  Chill dough.  After dough is chilled, roll out and cut-out using a star shaped cookie cutter.

Place a paper straw about half-way up one of the star cookies.  Lay a second star cookie on top of the straw.  Gently press the two cookies together.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until edges are light brown.  All the cookies to cool for 5 minutes then carefully move to a cooling rack.

Colorful Cookie Glaze



After the cookies are cool, apply the Colorful Cookie Glaze in any desired color.  The Colorful Cookie Glaze recipe is available from McCormick.  It is really easy to make and dries to a hard, glossy finish with beautiful, bright colors!

Click to access the Recipe for the Colorful Cookie Glaze.

For the glaze I used the McCormick Neon Food Color & Egg Dye, shown in the picture below.

The Dessert Table

Friday, January 24, 2014

DIY: Refinished Antique Closet Storage Unit

My grandma had this great storage unit in her walk-in closet.  My mom could see great potential in it, so my grandma gave it to her to refinish.  The pictures below will take you through the process of freshening up the tired piece of furniture!  This technique can be used to refinish any piece of wood furniture.

Step 1: Prep the Piece of Furniture 

Remove Knobs


Sand all parts of the piece of furniture.  Sanding is very easy if you use an orbital sander as shown in the picture below.  Some parts may need to be sanded by hand with sand paper.  In the pictures below, you can see that the piece of furniture has angled shoe shelves.  There is not enough space between the shelves to use the power sander, so those were sanded by hand.

Wipe Down

In order to remove all of the dust from sanding, wipe the piece of furniture clean using a damp cloth.  After it dries, wipe again using a dry cloth to remove any leftover dust particles. 

Step 2: Repair Damaged Areas

In the pictures below, you can see that there was some minor damage to the closet storage unit.  The damage was not extensive, only a few minor holes.  In order to repair the holes place a small amount of vinyl spackling in the hole.  Wipe over the spackling with a damp cloth to make sure that it is smooth and level. 

Before                                                    After



Step 3: Apply Primer & Paint Base Coat

Apply a coat of a good primer, like Kilz or Zinnser.  This will cover any spackling used to repair damaged and any knots that might be in the wood.  After the primer has completely dried, paint the storage unit with the base coat that you would like to use for the piece of furniture.

Step 4: Distress

Using an orbital sander distress the edges of the piece of furniture.  You can distress to your desired liking.  The more distressing you do, the more rustic the finished piece will look.  The most important thing to remember about distressing is that the paint must cure (fully dry) before you can use a sander on it.  If you try to distress the paint too soon, it will gum up. 

Step 5: Apply Decorative Paint & Reattach Knobs

Using painter's tape, tape off a pattern that you would like to paint on the piece of furniture.  This could be stripes, a chevron pattern, or other stylistic design.  On the piece below plain masking tape was used.  I would suggest using painter's tape, like FrogTape.  If you are concerned about the paint bleeding under the tape (which it shouldn't if you use FrogTape) then you should paint the edge of the tape with a clear paint coat.  This will seal the edge.  Remove the tape immediately after painting the decorative coat. 

The decorative effects created on the closet storage unit shown below were done using two very similar green colors (one lighter than the other).  Several widths of stripes were painted and several sizes of circles were painted using the two different colors.

Friday, January 10, 2014

How to Make a Candy Cake

My brother does not like chocolate, cake, ice cream, or cookies, but he does love candy!  When we thought about getting him a birthday cake for his 30th birthday, I came up with the great idea of creating a Candy Cake.  Sure enough, lots of other people had already come up with this idea too.  :)  I will show you step-by-step how to make a candy cake for the non-cake lover in your family.  It's really easy to do!

Step 1: Get a Box

I chose to use one of my brother's lunch boxes from when he was a kid. (My mom has been into cleaning out her attic!)  You could use any type of box.  Keep in mind that you will need to place one more smaller box on top of the bottom one. Place the box on a cake serving tray to start the project.

Step 2: Wrap the Box

Using a piece of sturdy paper, like poster board, wrap the outside edge of the box. 


Step 3: Attach Candy

I chose to use Starburst, but you could use Hersey's Bars, Peanut Butter Cups, or any of the birthday boy/girl's favorites.  Place double stick tape on the back of each of the candy bars.  Carefully attach the candy bars to the paper on the outside of the box.  (They may be a little floppy and insecure.  Don't worry, you will be securing them during a later step.)

Step 4: Get a Second, Smaller Box

I found a small round tin to use for the second layer of the cake.  You could use a tin or a box.  Make sure that it is small enough to fit inside of the first layer of the cake, as shown in the picture below.  Wrap the box with double stick tape, as shown in the picture above.

Step 5: Attach Candy to Second Layer

I placed two layers of AirHeads around the tin.  Once again, you could use any type of candy.  After the second layer is complete, carefully sit it on top of the first layer of the cake, as shown below.

Step 6: Tie with Licorice

Using several pieces of rope licorice, tie a knot around the first level of the cake.  This not only looks great, but it also helps to hold the candy in place.

Step 7: Fill the Empty Spaces

I filled in the empty space on the first and second layer with bubble gum.

Step 8: Add a Candle

Add a tall candle by carefully sticking it into the bubble gum on the top layer.  Voila!  You have a great looking Candy Cake!