Ballerina Cake and Cupcakes [recipe]

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Oops I typed in the wrong date for the scheduler so this did not get posted on Thursday. Sorry for the delay, here it is!

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In continuation of yesterday’s post on the tutu cake stand, here is how I put together the cake and the cupcakes.

To go with the whole pink color theme, I decided to make strawberry the center of the flavor combo. It’s hard to find a good strawberry cake recipe made from scratch, but you know what, ain’t nothing wrong to use box mixes! I found a couple super easy recipes through online searches and they turned out to be top notch, and what a time-saver too! I wanted the 9″ cake to be pink mostly for the visual when cutting into the cake, and the addition of strawberry flavored jello mix made the cake a very pretty pink hue. The two dozens of cupcakes were for all the kiddos attending the parties so I tried to avoid using any sort of food coloring. The cupcake itself has chunks of real strawberries in it while the buttercream was made pink with dried-freezed strawberry powder.

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I always draw out sketches when I have to make cakes with designs. Here are four candidates and ultimately the bottom right made the cut, with the addition of tulle pom poms.

 

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Strawberry Cupcakes

Recipe from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients

1 (15.25 ounce) package French Vanilla cake mix *
1 small package (3.4 ounce)  instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup Greek strawberry yogurt **
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup diced fresh strawberries (about 10 medium berries)

*Betty Crocker – Pudding in the mix, yields very moist cakes that hold up very well.
**Chobani brand was used.
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, Greek yogurt, oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined. Fold in diced strawberries
  3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes. The cupcakes may develop a slight divot in the center as they cool, but no worries, you’ll cover that with delicious frosting.
  5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

Seriously, can this recipe be easier? I love the addition of yogurt and fresh strawberries. The cake was so moist and flavorful. I will be making this over and over again!

 

Ready for the delicious strawberry buttercream?

Here we go!

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Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Recipe from Cooking Classy

Note: This is my favorite recipe for strawberry buttercream. It tastes like strawberry ice cream, so smooth and creamy. I usually buy the freeze-dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s. You can probably find them in healthy snack aisles in finer supermarket as well.

Yields enough buttercream to frost two dozens of cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (15g) freeze dried strawberries
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, whip butter on medium-high speed until very pale and fluffy 6 – 8 minutes, frequently scraping down sides and bottom of bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, pulverize freeze dried strawberries in a food processor** until finely ground (wait about 10 second before opening food processor allowing the powder in the air to settle a bit. There should have 3 1/2 Tbsp of the strawberry powder).
  3. Transfer strawberry powder to whipped butter and blend mixture until combine. Stir in heavy cream followed by powdered sugar and whip mixture 4 – 5 minute longer on medium-high speed, until very pale and fluffy, frequently scraping down sides and bottom of bowl. For best results frost and serve within an hour. I used a Wilton 2D tip to pipe.

Note: if you don’t own a food processor, you can place the strawberries in a resealable bag, seal bag and crush to fine powder with a rolling pin. If you are planning to pipe out designs, make sure you crush the strawberries to very find powder, otherwise the chunks of strawberries will clog the piping tip.

These freeze-dried strawberries are great to snack on too.

Hands down the best tasting strawberry buttercream! Every kid at the party was busy licking on this delicious frosting, caught a few adults doing it too.

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White Chocolate Tiaras

I had this exact design pinned on my Pinterest board for quite some time and was so happy to try it out. It was a bit difficult to pipe out in the beginning but after a few practice, I was able to get it going.
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If you want to make this, here’s what I did:
  • Tape a piece of parchment to a big rolling pin (or a glass bottle), and position that on a cooling rack so the rolling pin would not move.
  • I used CandiQuik brand vanilla melts. They come in a tray that can be reheated unlimited times without seizing up. The melts themselves tasted pretty good, just like white chocolate and did not have an artificial vanilla taste. They dry and harden very quickly. I read that using plain white chocolate was very difficult to work with as they will break when removed from the parchment paper.
  • I used a fancy piping/writing pen to pipe out the tiaras but I had a problem with the melts cooling, hardening and clumping up the pen. It was a mess to try to clean those things. So in the end, it was much easier to just use a small piping bag, and no piping tip was needed, just snip a small opening and pipe away.
  • Pipe a long horizontal line first, then pipe out five pointy ovals starting from the middle, then one left, one right, and then one far left and one far right. Before the candy dries, add on sugar pearls with tweezer.
  • After 10-15 minutes or until the tiaras harden completely. Carefully remove the parchment from the rolling pin. With the tiaras facing down, gently peel off the parchment paper. Tape the parchment back onto the rolling pin and repeat the process. Be careful when you are handling the tiaras. Don’t hold them from the tip of the crown, it will snap! Gentle is the keyword here.
  • The tiaras will melt easily if you live in a warmer climate. Keep them in an airtight container and store in the fridge if you absolutely have to. I had no problem keeping them in an airtight container and in the cooler corner of the room.

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How cute are these tiaras? So happy to have found the I-Heart-Baking blog!

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Triple Decker Strawberry Cake

I only used the cake recipe, and paired it with my favorite buttercream, which is the white chocolate buttercream. It’s such a versatile buttercream, and it tastes so much better than vanilla buttercream.
Ingredients
  • (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix *
  • 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup vegetable oil **
  • 1/2 cup milk

*I  could not find any cake mix that is 18.25 oz, all of them are either 15.25 or 16.25. I used Betty Crocker white cake with pudding in the mix, which was 16.25 oz, turned out just fine.

**some reviews said there was way too much oil, but I had no problem with using 1 whole cup of oil.

Directions

  1. Beat the cake mix and next 7 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Scrape down the sides, and beat at medium speed 2 more minutes, stopping to scrape down sides, if needed. (Strawberries should be well blended into batter.)
  2. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cakepans.
  3. Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
  4. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

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White Chocolate Buttercream

As seen here and here on Cin Cin Let’s Eat!

From Food & Wine

  • 3 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 18 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1.5 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the melted white chocolate. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and beat at low speed, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Should yield ~3.5 cups.

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To Assemble Cake:

  1. Spread buttercream between layers and on top and sides of cake. Once the cake is frosted with buttercream, let it chill and harden in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Once the buttercream has hardened, roll out the fondant. I am a total newbie when it comes to fondant, but I have found this brand to be great to work with. I purchased the pink strawberry-flavored fondant. While a bit sweet, it tastes pretty great, almost like Laffy Taffy.
  3. Dust the fondant and working surface with powdered sugar, roll the fondant out to 1/8″ thickness. Drape it over the cake and cover it completely. I used the Easy-Glide Fondant Smoother to helped with smoothing out the top and the side creases. It was far from perfect but it looked okay from a far.
  4. Put the remaining buttercream into a small piping bag and pipe out the dots, they should be no bigger than the size of peas. Add a sugar pearl to each dot of buttercream.
  5. Attach a ribbon and bow to the base of the cake. (DON’T try to glue down satin ribbons with buttercream like I did, because the oil from the buttercream will seep through the ribbon and it will not be pretty.)
  6. Add on all the other decorations like the tiara, tulle pompoms, and the candle.

So much pink!

A great fondant for a beginner like me.

Oooh just ignore the unevenness. It’ll get covered up by that ribbon =P

Frost the cake as smooth as you can, or it’ll really show once the fondant goes on…I’m just happy the fondant didn’t crack.

I found the Hello Kitty tiara at Party City. It was perfect!

And the finished cake!

The cake tasted great! Nobody would’ve guessed the recipe calls for boxed cake mix and gelatin.

 

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