Doubling up with reports of two batches of donated goodies to help me catch up on posting. Both were for Bake A Wish Austin, a group that connects volunteer bakers to those in need of baked goods. They began by bringing birthday cakes to kids in shelters and have since branched out to include senior centres and other facilities.
In May, I donated cookies to an event launching the new affiliation with senior groups. The theme was “Game On” all about television game shows. I was supposed to donate four dozen cookies but, being tired, accidentally did four groups of two dozen, so they got eight dozen cookies out of me. Hopefully they were enjoyed nonetheless!
I used Ann Clark’s Lemon Cookie Recipe including the lemon icing. That icing is very tasty but doesn’t hold edges as well as royal icing, nor does it spread as evenly, so the cookies didn’t turn out quite as pretty as I hoped. Still, I think they capture the game show spirit.
Here’s the first layer going into the box, an assortment of prize boxes, question panels, and game show logos:
The second layer was meant to look like Jeopardy’s answer board:
I also made some round ones meant to look sort of like the Wheel of Fortune, although I had trouble writing the dollar amounts so small and all of the green centres spread unevenly:
Not bad, but far from top-notch. Still, hopefully appreciated because they definitely tasted good!
I just finished another donated set this evening, to be driven to the location tomorrow. This time the request was for at least two dozen cupcakes for a multi-child birthday party with a summer theme. I asked Peo what sort of things meant “summer” to her and since we’d just been to Target, she declared, “Beach balls are the most summery thing!” That’s because Target had beach ball coloured cloths over their big cement red balls in front of the store and for some reason Peo thought that was incredibly funny.
Thus I ensured there were some beach balls, and Googled around for other inspiration from summer-themed icon and graphic sets. I then used squeeze bottles to make royal icing shapes on waxed paper, let them dry overnight, and put them on the cupcakes this evening. I tried making extra little flowers but was tired and rushed it, so they blobbed together too much.
The sunglasses turned out well because I did the arms first, then the lenses (with immediate white highlight), letting those get fairly firm, then did the outer frames, so that left a nice separation between the elements to give the illusion of depth. Similarly, doing the beachballs in sections with drying time in between gave them more of a three-dimensional feel even in a flat design:
The flip-flop straps gave me some trouble because I used the thinned flow icing on a couple. I need more practice at knowing when I can get away with what level of thickness with the royal.
I baked some chocolate, vanilla, and combo-swirled cupcakes and then put them in the box until it was full. I bought the biggest box Hobby Lobby had in stock, unsure how many it would hold but relatively certain it’d hold the minimum 24. It turns out 35 fit perfectly in a 19x14x14 box.
Peo said the buttercream on the cupcakes had to be blue for summer, so I made my regular chocolate buttercream and then added many squirts of Americolor royal blue to tint it. The main reason I accepted this request was so she could help me bake, decorate, and deliver, in part so we could have some mum-daughter craft time and in part to help remind her that not everybody gets the perks she takes for granted. She did help me bake for a short time, but unfortunately by the time the cupcakes were cool enough for icing, she’d had a fatigue-based minor meltdown and ended up having to go to bed while I finished them up. She will get to help deliver them, though, and there are some leftovers for us to eat (I am noming one right now as I post…yum!).
Here are the finished cupcakes:
That last photo shows the results of my experiments in piping out little suns. In both cases, I started by piping a round border and then filling it in. For the one I left to be a sun, in the bottom left corner, I immediately piped out triangles for the rays, then much later came back and piped on a second circle. For the one in the upper right, I let the first circle firm up and then did the triangles, which resulted in them looking more like petals. Once I realized it looked better as a flower, I added some tiny red dots to the middle.
So if you’re going to make a sun, it works best to pipe a circle, fill it in, pipe out the triangles, let that whole thing firm up, and then do a second circle on top.
Much was learned, practice was had, and the bulk of it will get eaten by kids in need of some birthday cheer. Win-wins all around!