Up here in Wisconsin, where the temps are currently -12 (-35 with the windchill), we’re stuck inside with nothing to do but bake! So I made homemade chicken soup and my favorite kind of cupcakes: Salted chocolate caramel pretzel cupcakes.
These are easy to throw together and look nice for parties or events. The recipe is below:
Salted Caramel Pretzel Cupcakes/ Caramel Buttercream Frosting
- 2 sticks UNSALTED butter softened (but not melted!) The ideal texture should feel like ice cream. I can’t stress this enough: perfect frosting is almost 100% the right consistency of the butter. I microwave mine on 1/2 power and watch it very carefully for about a minute.
- 3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup caramel topping from Starbucks. I bought a whole bottle (they sell it seasonally) but if that’s not available, order a drink and ask for the caramel syrup on the side (any excuse to run to Starbucks!)
- Snyder’s or any brand square-shaped pretzels
- Beat the butter for a few minutes with a mixer 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 is incorporated with the butter.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium again and add vanilla extract, salt, and 4 tablespoons of cream and beat for 3 minutes.
- Add the Starbucks caramel (note: if you don’t want the caramel to be strong, I recommend adding a small amount at a time and taste testing!)
- Pipe on the frosting and top with a pretzel and crushed pretzel pieces (I do this by putting them in a baggy and letting my son “smash” them)
In addition to the blog, I also make cakes in my spare time. I’ve been busy making cakes all weekend, and have been away from the blog for a little bit. These were definitely the most challenging cakes I’ve done to date, but I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!
Here’s the princess cake:
and the Woody/Toy Story themed cake:
What do you guys think? I’d love some feedback!
Aud’s 4th Birthday bash was so much fun. He wanted Monster’s Inc AND golf, so that’s what we tried to give him. I was happy and terrified that I had such a creative theme to work with this year.
I think my hubby did a beautiful job on the invites, and really kicked off the combined theme with them!
Gosh I just really can’t believe he’s going to be 4. He’s such a little man now. Do you like his goofy face? This is his new smile. (This week anyway!)
As for the cake, I was crazy and decided to just go ahead and make his cake this year. I was sick of spending so much and I
knew thought I could do it a lot cheaper (I even made the butter cream frosting and cake myself!) and I knew I’d have to make it myself to get the theme we wanted. With that said, I have a couple words of advice:
1. It is NOT cheaper, thanks to the initial investment of supplies.
2. Don’t ever decide to make a 3-tier birthday cake yourself the night before the party, you’ll be up til 3AM.
3. Experiment BEFORE hand.
4. Have a back up plan. I had a very few, sad, Monsters Inc/golf themed cupcakes I made from the left-over batter.
All of this seems like common sense. But I guess I was pretty confident it would hopefully turn out okay.
Luckily I have some fondant experience and I’ve always been into art. In fact, when I was little, my best friend Laura and I went to a summer art camp to create miniature things (like for dollhouses, I guess). Also I played with a ton of play-doh growing up. So I guess I was somewhat prepared 😉
But for my first 3-tier cake, I was really happy with it. What do you guys think? Do you think I could sell cakes from my house? I think that’s probably my dream job someday.
We kept the decorations pretty simple. We were lucky to be in such a beautiful space that it didn’t need too much. We mostly used what we already had- some borrowed birthday banners, Aud’s Sulley Doll, and his golf cart toy.
Look at this happy, goofy kid. And isn’t his outfit cute? It’s from Gymboree.
We managed to get a family pic in!
“Club” sandwiches from Sam’s Club
Auden’s Aunt got him a butterfly habitat, where he can watch his own caterpillars turn into butterflies. This is him checking out his caterpillars.
So there you have it. My handsome little man’s 4th birthday party, complete with golf, Monster’s Inc, a 6-hour cake, but most importantly, family, friends, food, fun, and a boy hugging his first set of golf clubs.