Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Here's a quick and easy idea for a cookout dessert.  I can also attest to them being kid approved!  Watermelon cupcakes - in looks only, not taste!  Start with a quick trip to the grocery store for some vanilla or white boxed cake mix and its required ingredients, and pick up some cans of vanilla or cream cheese frosting if  you don't feel like making your own buttercream. Make the cake batter as directed, add some mini chocolate chips, and color with Americolor Gel Colors in Deep Pink (#414 ) and Fuschia (#127 ).  While baking, color the frosting with Americolor Electric Green (#162).  Assemble the cupcakes and you're done.  When you bite into them, you will see the mini chocolate chips standing in as the "watermelon seeds."  Cute, right?

Posted on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by Julie

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

It may come as a surprise, but this Memorial Day weekend I decided not to travel anywhere but make a fun "staycation," instead, here in Washington D.C.  First on the weekend's agenda was to finally visit Glen Echo Park in Maryland.  I've been intrigued by this place for a couple years now, ever since I heard they have weekly swing dance Saturday night gatherings in an early 20th century ballroom - because I've always wanted to learn how to swing dance.  It wasn't until I looked it up as a potential wedding reception spot for a friend, however, that I knew I had to one day go explore the park and do a photography safari.

Glen Echo Park was once Washington D.C.'s local amusement park, before today's Six Flags/Kings Dominion/Hershey Park could even be conceptualized.  Opened in 1918 to guests, the park remained the premier destination for roller coaster riding, bumper car driving, carousel spinning, pool going, and arcade game playing until 1968, accessed by the convenient trolley car system that used to run up the river from downtown D.C.  Today, the park is part of the National Park Service program and retains the original 1921 Denzel Carousel and the bumper car pavilion, now used as an outdoor party space. Other remnants of the amusement park include the entrance for the Crystal Pool, once a large swimming pool and sand beach area that is now a playground, and the exterior of the old arcade, that once included a shooting gallery and skee ball palace.  A children's theater and art showrooms occupy these spaces now.  The park is an interesting place for photography both during the day and at night, when all the neon signs are lit.  I was inspired enough to make both trips in one day, coming back right around dusk.  One tidbit I learned was that on the last day the carousel operates for the season, the park plans a special day when they bring back original games and turn the bumper car pavilion back into its original state, so you know where I will be on that day!!

One of the neat things we discovered in the Candy Corner, now a very small building filled with amusement park artifacts run by the National Park Service, was a then-and-now photo challenge.  There are four laminated copies of old photographs of the park, and your task is to find the location and take a then-and-now photo, holding the black and white photo up in front of the lens to be perfectly aligned with where it once was.  I was able to capture two of the four photos pretty well - using my phone's camera because I couldn't hold the photo and steady my other camera.  The other two were near impossible because of the lens used in the original photograph, and the fact that the original entrance sign was smaller in the photograph than the one currently on display didn't help either.  Here are my successful photos of the bumper car pavilion and the trolley tracks by the entrance.  You should definitely try this challenge - at Glen Echo or in your hometown - because it was fun!

Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2013 by Julie

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Sometimes you get invited to dinner and offer to bring dessert.  And sometimes the day of the event arrives and you don't feel like baking.  And sometimes you need to think of something healthy because everyone is watching what they are eating. In all of these cases, can I suggest an extremely simple, yet delicious option? Individual low-calorie strawberry shortcakes!

Three reasons to make these as your dessert:

1. Everything is pre-made:  fresh strawberries (thanks to Mother Nature), Sara Lee Pound Cake from the freezer section, and Fat Free Cool Whip also from the freezer section

2. They take less than an hour to make: cut the strawberries into small, quartered slices and sweeten with your preferred low calorie sweetener (I like Truvia).  Slice the pound cake, then use a circle shaped cookie cutter to punch out shapes (you need 3 per jar).  Put the cool whip and the cut strawberries into disposable piping bags to keep the mess to a minimum - no tips needed, just snip the ends with scissors, giving a larger opening for the strawberries.  Layer in this order in a small jelly jar, using an assembly line technique: pound cake, whipped cream, strawberries - repeat to make 3 layers.

3. Low in calories: because of fat free cool whip and the artificial sweetener. I like a buttery pound cake, so I didn't scrimp there, but after all the cutting, you're really only eating about 1-1.5 slices of the cake.  It's all about portion control, and this glass jar presentation seems like you're getting a lot when you're really not.

To make 4 strawberry shortcakes, I needed almost one tub of whipped cream, almost one quart of strawberries, and the family-sized pound cake because I sliced the cake thick and you end up losing a lot to excess from the cookie cutter.  Think about cubing the pound cake if you don't like excess cake.  ENJOY!

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2013 by Julie

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

I felt like doing a little cookie decorating this weekend, and I was inspired a photo of some citrus cookies my mom made awhile ago.  Keeping it simple, I opted to just stick with lemon slices because it reminds me of summer and a tall glass of lemonade or that garnish on the side of my margarita glass.  So with a late May weekend as gloomy, cold, and wet as this one in Washington D.C., it was nice to be creating my own little piece of sunshine in my house.

I'm not sure if I've ever posted the two recipes that are staples for any of my cookie decorating, so I'll do it here and forever reference this post in future decorating adventures.  Keep reading for a little hint on how to make the white accents on the cookies.

 Butter Cookies for Cut Shapes


  • 2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
1. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add a little at a time to the wet mixture, mixing it until everything is incorporated.
4. Divide dough into a softball or handball sized sphere.  Place between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and roll it out until it is about 1/8-1/4 inch thick - I prefer thicker.  Repeat until all dough is rolled out.
5. Place all rolled dough stacked on a baking sheet.  Cover the baking sheet in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours.
6. Remove dough from the refrigerator, peel off the paper and cut shapes.  Combine and roll out excess dough after cutting to make even more shapes (though it may need to chill for a bit depending on how warm the dough got).
7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
8. Place cut shapes on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, ensuring the bottoms don't get too brown.
9. Cool on a rack until completely cool, then frost.

Royal Icing (Decorators Frosting)

  • 1 box (1 lb) confectioner's sugar
  • 3 oz egg whites, room temperature (approx. 3 eggs, but use the boxed egg whites to make it easier)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
1. Mix together in a stand mixer until powdered/confectioner's sugar is incorporated into the wet ingredients.
2. Beat on high for 7 minutes.
3. Separate into bowls, the quantity depending on what colors you want to use.
4. Add water to the icing in the bowls only one spoonful at a time until you get the consistency you want.
5. Pipe on the cookies as desired.

To make the lemon wedges, I used a round cookie cutter and sliced the shape in half.  I kept a few whole just for fun. I did not pipe an outline for the yellow, rather kept the icing a little thicker and did the edges and flooding all with one squeeze bottle.  Immediately after piping the yellow fill color, I took a squeeze bottle of white icing and did a border just inside the edge and a dot in the center.  Using a toothpick, I dragged the outside edge of yellow frosting through the white line and up to the center dot to create the interior triangles.  I then spread out the center dot to create a more realistic look.  I gently tapped the cookie to make the frosting settled, then used the toothpick to eliminate the air bubbles (not all were successfully popped!).

Posted on Sunday, May 19, 2013 by Julie

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

I wanted to bake some cookies for my friend's birthday party this weekend, and what screams birthday more than multi-colored sprinkles?  In this case, I'm experimenting with some Wilton Jumbo Nonpareils I found at my local Target.  I originally saw a recipe for these swirl cookies on Sprinklebakes, but if you search on the internet, there are many variations, and I actually decided to use this one from Pip and Ebby, making some modifications of my own.  I liked that her recipe called for all purpose flour, and not cake flour.  The key to this recipe is to use a food processor because the butter is cold butter, and it blends with the dry ingredients a lot better when it gets finely chopped by the food processor.

Sprinkle Swirl Cookies


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter - cold and cubed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon peel powder or lemon zest
  • Gel food coloring, color of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup jumbo nonpareils
  • 1/2 cup regular-sized nonpareils
1. In a food processor, combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugars) and process until combined
2. Add in butter and process until the dough looks like cornmeal
3. Add the vanilla and process until the dough almost forms a ball
4. Remove half of the dough and set aside
5. To the remaining dough, add lemon extract and powder or zest, gel food coloring (start small, like 1/4 tsp), and 2 Tbsp flour and process until just combined and color is evenly distributed
6. Roll out each ball of dough between two sheets of wax paper, trying for a rectangle the size of a standard sheet of paper about 1/4 inch thick
7. Place both sheets of dough on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours
8. Pour nonpareil mixture into a rectangular dish
9. Remove dough from the refrigerator and peel off on side of the wax paper
10. Flip the exposed side of one dough over onto the other dough
11. Gently roll the combined dough over the wax paper to ensure they are stuck together, then add a little pressure on the ends to taper the dough to make it easier to roll
12. Remove the top sheet of wax paper, take a knife, and cut the dough into a rectangle
13. When the dough has become pliable, roll the dough into a log shape
14. Place the log in the dish with the nonpareils and roll to affix the sprinkles, using your hands to  press the sprinkles into the bare spots
15. Place the roll back into the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours
16. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
17. Slice the dough roll into 1/4 inch slices and place on a parchment or silpat covered baking sheet
18. Bake 15-17 minutes or until the cookies aren't shiny and the vanilla dough is lightly brown on the bottom

Look at the Sprinklebakes version for additional hints on preparing the cookies.  Remember, her ingredients are slightly different.  I actually was not happy with the baking outcome from this recipe.  My cookies flattened out too much, so I'm not quite confident Pip and Eddy's modifications were for the better.  Maybe next time I'll try Sprinklebakes' version.  The flavor ended up coming primarily from the fruity flavors of the jumbo nonpareils.

Posted on Saturday, May 18, 2013 by Julie

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm always on the lookout to find alternatives for exercise that aren't confined to your stereotypical gym setting - something that makes you excited about working out because, really, if you break the word down, it's still basically work, right?  It should be no surprise to people who read my blog or know me that the two alternative fitness classes I engaged in this month were both deals I found on LivingSocial, one of my many sources for inspiration when it comes to local, fun activities.

The first class was an intro class into the street fitness trend: parkour.  This kinetic, plyometric, dynamic activity was popularized by David Belle, who is considered its founder, but its origins are found with the French Army and its early 20th century obstacle course training methods.  Most people have that "oh yeah" moment, though, when I tell them it's like the opening scene from Casino Royale with James Bond chasing after a man with a backpack.
Here in Washington D.C., a place to learn the basics of parkour is at one of Urban Evolution's two locations, in Alexandria or Manassas.  They offer both adult and kid classes.  My deal was for the intro class.  We started with a warmup that included two laps around the building where we had to run on the balls of our feet and jump over all asphalt cracks and paint stripes, then two sets each of crouch push-ups, high bar swing-leaps, and burpees with a pushup.  The first lesson of the class was in safety and balance, talking through the core idea of parkour - efficient energy usage.  We got on the balls of our feet, bent our knees and squatted to the ground to test our balance and to physically recognize the strength (or lack of) in our ankles, which is key to reducing injury risk.  Continuing with only using the balls of our feet, we started jumping as quietly as possible, controlling our landings, then moved on to precision jumping.  Using 2x4 wood cuts screwed into a 2-inch wood base on each side, we jumped with accuracy to land and balance on the wood cut, gradually moving our starting line out until we reached failure.   Once we felt comfortable with the movement, our instructor added PVC pipe hurdles to a course of these 2x4 wood steps to emphasize the importance of high knees.  I failed at this exercise, and have the bruised butt to prove it from missing the step by a fraction of an inch and falling backwards onto the hurdle.

The next phase was to teach you safe dropping and landing techniques.  Here we identified the impact of moving your center of gravity lower to reduce the impact of the drop and landing on the balls of your feet to absorb some of the downward force.  The somersaults were not my forte, I can tell you that!  I can't even tell you the last time I did tumbling of any sort!  Add to that the mental challenge of twisting yourself to do a shoulder roll, then finish the move straight, get to your feet and run...my brain and body were just not connecting! Finally, we learned about mounting tall objects and vaulting over them.  The focus here was on maximizing your movement to get up efficiently and to position yourself to land quickly and accurately.  That James Bond clip has great examples of effective body positions/landings that allow you to maintain momentum.  This is also called freerunning.  The class ended with a "graduation" obstacle course that incorporated all the techniques we learned.

Later that day, nursing my bruised butt and tight/slightly injured shoulder muscles, I was thinking about what I learned from the class.  First, much of what was demonstrated is very applicable to everyday life and any sport one may play: economizing movement and energy while not breaking momentum.  Just think about the last time you tripped over something and fell.  The second takeaway was that, in my opinion, parkour is for the young and very limber!  I think a lot of my issues with the obstacles were mental, thinking about potential injury and how that would impact and disrupt my ability to work, drive, walk my dog, etc.  The final lesson was observed two days later:  I was more sore from this two hour class than I was running in a half marathon last month.  Crazy, right?
The day after the parkour class, I went to Sportrock Climbing Center in Alexandria to take a class to refresh some of my indoor rock climbing skills.  Probably not the best idea considering my sore muscles! I actually learned to climb several years ago, but haven't been to the climbing gym in awhile because I don't have a belay partner.  I thought I could benefit from a class in movement skills, continuing on the theme of efficient energy use, as a refresher and as a way to get me on the wall.  The class is called Intro to Climbing, but it really should be taken after the Basic Skills class.  There is no belaying involved in this class, just moving along the wall close to the ground and doing a little bit of bouldering.  In the first part of the class we focused on walking the base grips with no hands to demonstrate the effectiveness of transferring your energy and weight the right way.  Next we talked about ways to conserve arm strength, which boils down to keeping them as straight as possible.  Finally, we got on the bouldering wall to climb a little higher.  I can tell you now, I will never be interested in bouldering because I don't like the idea of climbing 15-20 feet with nothing securing you and only a padded mat to cushion your fall.  I much prefer top-roping with a belay partner!  And now, I just need to convince some friends to get belay certified so I can go back and climb again...

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 by Julie


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Once again, I've been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers.  Honestly, it wasn't the recipe that attracted me but Sprinklebakes' gorgeous photographs.  I loved the jimmies in the graham cracker crust and the nonpareils for decoration on the top.  This is what a funfetti cheesecake would look like, and who doesn't love funfetti anything?

Making this strawberry milk cheesecake couldn't be easier.  First, no baking is involved.  While I enjoyed the simplicity of this no-bake concept, I have to say that I much prefer my cheesecake to be of the baked variety over no-bake.  Second, the ingredient list is small.  All you need is butter, sugar, cream cheese, heavy cream, salt, graham crackers, strawberry milk mix, and the jimmies/sprinkles.

Overall, it's not a bad little cake.  I think the sweetness makes it a great candidate for kids birthday parties, or perhaps a Mother's Day dessert.  Personally, I'm not a huge fan of powdered milk flavorings, and the smell when I cracked open that container of strawberry powder was "whoa"!  The whipped cream and cheese toned the flavor down a bit, but it still left me yearning real strawberries, or at least something a little less fake.  Don't get me wrong, it was totally edible, and I have witnessed that it is kid approved.  Anyway, here's the recipe from Sprinklebakes:

No Bake Strawberry Milk Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Sprinkle Crust:
2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup jimmies sprinkles
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

  1. Use a food processor to crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs, then combine with jimmies, salt, and sugar - stirring well make sure the ingredients and jimmies are evenly distributed.
  2. Make a hole in the middle of the graham cracker mixture and pour in the melted butter.  Mix together using a rubber spatula until all the crumbs are moistened.
  3. Pour into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan and press the crust mixture into the pan - on the bottom and up the sides
Strawberry Milk Cheesecake Filling
2 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup strawberry milk drink mix powder (if you purchase the reduced sugar variety, add 2 tbsp granulated sugar)
  1. Beat heavy cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks stage
  2. Add cream cheese and beat again until combined.  
  3. Sift strawberry milk powder over the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture.  I used the electric mixer on low to incorporate.  Add sugar if needed.
  4. Scoop mixture into the prepared graham cracker crust and push to fill in the crust.  Smooth top.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
  1. Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. 
  2. Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star decorator tip.  Pipe whipped cream stars around the outside edge of the cheesecake, and in the center.  Sprinkle with multicolor nonpareils. 
  3. Cover springform pan in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 4-6 hours, or overnight.  To unmold, remove from freezer and place a dishcloth soaked with hot water and wrung dry around the outside of the pan. This will warmth will help loosen the frozen crust from the pan. Let cheesecake partially thaw in the refrigerator before serving.  Slice cheesecake while still partially frozen and serve.
Thanks SPRINKLEBAKES!!  Keep posting yummy recipes!

Posted on Saturday, May 11, 2013 by Julie

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

This is my last Cinco de Mayo themed baked good for this year...I think.  I saw a post by one of my favorite baking bloggers, Sprinklebakes, on how to make a "healthier" baked, not fried, churro.  I knew I had to try my hand at making some because I love anything sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

I didn't make any modifications to the recipe, so I'll just paste it in here.  I did opt for the unsalted butter and not margarine, and I made mini churros instead of long sticks. By the way, if you haven't bought the Sprinklebakes book yet, I highly recommend it.   It was one of my favorite book purchases last year!!  And if you don't already follow her blog, again, I highly recommend that as well.  Not only is she extremely talented in the kitchen, but her food photography is inspiring and drool-worthy.

From Sprinklebakes:

Baked Churros 
Yield: eight 10-inch churros, about 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes; Total: 45-50 minutes
Source: Adapted from Latina.com

These are made as normal churros are - from choux paste. I've found that they are best when piped in long thin sticks. I use earth balance margarine in the batch pictured, but I also made a batch with unsalted butter that was successful - they just puffed up slightly larger than the margarine version. Overall, the baked version is less crisp than the usual fried churros, so it's important to toast them well under the broiler so they're as crisp as possible. You can store leftovers (if there are any) in an air-tight container but they will become rubbery.  You can remedy this by placing them under the broiler for a few minutes (watch carefully) and they will regain their former crispiness.  Serve with prepared dulce de leche, chocolate sauce, marshmallow fluff - they're good with everything!

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup margarine or unsalted butter (I used tub-style Earth Balance Whipped Buttery Spread)
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur unbleached)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup water, brown sugar and salt. Add butter and place over medium-high heat.  Heat until butter is melted and mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Mixture will clump and pull away from the sides of the pan.  Mix/mash with wooden spoon until no streaks of flour can be seen.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs and vanilla. Scramble mixture with a fork and then add to the dough-ball in the saucepan.  Stir and mash, breaking up the dough until loosened. Stir well until eggs are incorporated and mixture has the appearance of mashed potatoes.
  4. Pipe dough into long thin lengths on the parchment covered pans. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the end of the dough from the piping tip. Leave about 2-inches of space between the churros. Transfer  dough to a piping bag fitted with Ateco decorator tip #867.  You could also pipe the dough in a zip-top bag with the corner snipped, but the churros will be ridge-less (delicious, nonetheless).
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly puffed.  Turn oven to broiler setting and watch carefully as churros toast and turn deep golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. If you're baking the churros one pan at a time, be sure to return the oven setting to 425°F before putting in the next pan. 
  6. Combine sugar and cinnamon and pour onto a long dish. Roll churros in mixture.  Serve.

  • Piping tip 867 made by Ateco (also known as French Star Size 7) is just about the most perfect tip for piping these churros. It has a 9/16 diameter opening. I experimented with a few and this made them just thick enough and produced the most prominent ridges.
  • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Brings little heat and adds a faint smokiness.
  • I had no problems with the cinnamon-sugar sticking to the hot churros, but if you let them cool to room temp they might resist the sugar.  Brush churros with a tiny amount of olive oil using a pastry brush, then roll in the sugar mixture.
  • As I said in the description, these will become soft and rubbery if stored in an air-tight container.  Put them under the broiler (even if they've been rolled in cinnamon-sugar, this works!) they'll come back to life and crisp up under a watchful eye. Re-roll in cinnamon-sugar.

Posted on Thursday, May 02, 2013 by Julie

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Using the lemon tequila cupcakes and lime buttercream I made for the margarita cupcakes I made yesterday, I decided that this months's cupcake design will also be Cinco de Mayo themed.  And what do I love to order the most when I go out to a Mexican restaurant, besides margaritas of course...taco salad!  There's something about edible serveware that is just so appealing.

I had seen variations of nachos cupcakes around, so it seemed like an easy leap from nachos to taco salad.  Here are the layers I did, in order:

(1) Bowl:  I had thought about getting waffle bowls and trying to bake the cupcakes in them, but I had read a lot about the difficulties in preventing the edges from burning.  I saw some Yellow Blossom baking cups from  Wilton at Michael's that I thought would work well, just drop the baked cupcake into them and use as a decorative bowl that will catch all of the "toppings."

(2) Meat and Beans: I dyed the lime buttercream and some shredded coconut with Wilton Brown icing color - shaking the coconut with the color in a ziploc bag and drying it on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.  I spread a light coat of buttercream on the cupcake, then rolled it in the brown coconut to make a ground beef-like appearance.

(3) Nacho Cheese: Again, I dyed the buttercream using a 1:2 ratio of Americolor Orange (113) and Lemon Yellow (107) color gels.  A little orange goes a long way, but I needed it to create that nasty looking nacho cheese color.

(4) Lettuce: Using the Americolor Electric Green (162) gel color, I repeated the steps for the meat, putting shredded coconut in a ziploc bag with a few drops of the color and shaking it until the color was relatively even.  In hindsight, I could have gone with one drop of color and been happy with a nice iceberg lettuce green. I used the "cheese" as my glue for the lettuce.

(5) Guacamole and Sour Cream: Buttercream dyed with Americolor Avocado (129) and Electric Green (162) for the guac and no dying at all for the sour cream.  Piped on with a disposable piping bag, no tip.

(6) Olives and Tomatoes: This is where I had to get creative in the candy aisle.  Also, I recommend removing these items before eating because they totally throw off the flavor combinations.  I was going to use black licorice for the olives, then I saw the brown-black chocolate flavored Twizzlers that seemed a little more realistic.  For the tomatoes, I had considered Hot Tamales candies or maraschino cherries, but ended up using cut up Swedish Fish.  Again, remove these before eating!

And that's the last layer!  A very cute sweet version of my favorite Mexican menu item! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!  And by the way, this is probably one of my favorite cupcakes I've made so far!

Posted on Wednesday, May 01, 2013 by Julie

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