Sweet Disasters: The Time I Made Cupcakes (and they looked like poop)

Not so long ago I read an article regarding the merits of showing oneself as is. Meaning, not just the good and awesome, but the not so good and awesome as well. The point of this particular blog post was to illustrate how far bloggers go these days to make everything look perfect. We here at Hello My Sweet are guilty of this.

Jason and I try really hard to make our photos look perfect for when they hit the blog. So hard in fact, that when I realized that something has gone very wrong recently, I procrastinated the photo editing process for a long time, just so I didn’t have to be smacked in the face with my error. Putting this party off for as long as possible, was a subconcious effort however, and only after Jason asked me, “Are you unhappy with the way the party turned out? Why haven’t you edited the photos for it yet? You usually do not wait so long”  did I realize what I was doing. The poor man was feeling like he had messed up, because I hadn’t yet done my job. The part where I stare at the photos I have taken (over exposed, underexposed, blurry, you name it) and try to make them perfect in photoshop and ready for our blog.

You see folks, my error came in the cupcake decorating process this time. We made Milky Way cupcakes for a Retro Rockets & Rayguns space themed dessert table. Milky Way cupcakes consist of chocolate cake, with a milky way candy baked inside and topped with whipped chocolate buttercream and caramel drizzle. Sounds good right? Well leave it to me to make the delicious into the opposite. I baked the cupcakes, let them cool and commenced to decorating them with the buttercream. Everything was going according to plan, we were right on schedule. Only it wasn’t going well at all and I didn’t even realize it. I had chosen a wide round piping tip for the buttercream frosting process. I chose this because I wanted to keep it simple. This of course resulted in a fat swirl of chocolate buttercream. See where I’m going with this? Well I didn’t see it.

We placed them on the table and away I went taking photos. Fast forward 2 hours while I’m reveiwing the shoot on the computer monitor and BAM! It smacks me in the face. The cupcakes look like poop. And not poop in the metaphorical slang term sense, they are ugly. Oh no, no, no. Actual poop. A perfect brown swirl of chocolate buttercream “poop” on each and every one. I tried to tell myself it would be ok. But the more I looked at them, the more I saw just “poop.”

So this is just my little confessional today. I know I am not perfect. And most of you probably know it too. But in case you were in the mindset today of, “does this kind of stuff only happen to me?” I’m here to tell you, “Heck NO!” It happens to me too. And Jason. And everyone else. I bet even Amy Atlas has had her fair share of uh-oh moments.

But if you take nothing else away from this little decorating lesson today, just remember this:

Never use a round tip to pipe chocolate frosting onto a cupcake. EVER.

So tell us, what was your funniest baking or decorating disaster? We’d love to hear it; leave us a comment up top!

Holiday Baking Recipes & Our Cardinal and Birch Dessert Party Table

Good morning holiday bakers! As promised we are posting the three recipes from our Cardinal Red & Birch Bark Holiday Dessert Table this morning for you all bake to your hearts content. Today is Saturday and there is no time like the present to whip up a few tasty treats!

Each of these recipes are simple to do and would make a wonderful gift for someone on your holiday shopping list! The Hot Chocolate Sticks in particular keep for quite a while and would be perfect for your co-workers, neighbors and friends!

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

recipe via Whipperberry Blog

Chocolate Ganache Squares

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla {or any other flavoring that you would like}


  1. Using a double boiler, (use a heat-safe bowl on top of a sauce pan) place 2-3 inches of water in the sauce pan.  Bring to a low boil and then turn down to low. Place bowl on top of sauce pan.
  2. Heat the cream and the sweetened condensed milk in the bowl of the double boiler. Once warm add the chocolate and gently melt.
  3. After about 10 minutes, whisk mixture until thick and smooth.  
  4. Add vanilla or the flavoring of your choice. Whisk in the flavoring and pour into a parchment or foil lined 8x8 in. dish. Let sit overnight to slowly set up.  
  5. Once set, turn out onto a clean surface and cut into 1 inch cubes or use a small circle cookie cutter to cut into rounds. {Note: it’s best to heat knife in hot water and wipe clean with each cut.} This is wonderful as is, but pair it will a fluffy homemade marshmallow and melt it into 4-8 ounces of warm milk…it’s divine!!

Handcrafted Marshmallows

  • 3 packages of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup of ice cold water (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • non-stick spray


  1. Place gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment close by.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover, and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Once the mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat.
  5. Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high.
  6. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla (or other flavoring or coloring) during the last minute of whipping.

While the mixture is whipping prepare the pan as follows:

  1. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan.
  2. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
  3. When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly.
  4. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later.
  5. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners’ sugar mixture.


  1. Once your ganache and marshmallows are set and cut into squares, place a ganache block on the bottom, a marshmallow on top, then skewer with a stick.
  2. Wrap the sticks up with cellophane and store them in an air-tight container until ready to use.
  3. If you plan to give them as gifts, you can use cellophane treat bags to wrap, then secure them with a ribbon or bakers twine and a festive holiday gift tag.
  4. Our sticks lasted almost two weeks sealed in a container.


To make your hot chocolate, heat your milk in a mug until it reaches a steaming temperature. Place a stick into the milk and let it sit for approx. 5 minutes. Stir with the stick until the marshmallow is frothy and the chocolate is completely mixed. Drink and enjoy :)

Raspberry Linzer Cookies

You will need:

  1. One recipe Sugar Cookies, baked.
  2. One jar Raspberry Preserves
  3. Sifting Sugar
  4. Round biscuit/cookie cutter and a smaller shaped cookie cutter for the hole in the center.

Sugar Cookies

recipe via Martha Stewart

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar; mix until light and fluffy.
  3. With mixer running, add egg, brandy, and vanilla; mix until well combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add reserved flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Transfer dough to a work surface. Shape into 2 discs, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness.Cut into desired shapes.
  8. For the linzer cookies you will need both top and bottom cookies to sandwich together, your top cookie should also have a small shape cut out of the center. It is easier to do this step once you have transferred your cookies to the baking sheet.
  9. Transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch in between. Leftover dough can be rolled and cut once more. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 minutes; do not allow to brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Cookie Assembly:

  1. Once the cookies are cool, take a bottom cookie and flip it so that the rough side is facing upwards. Spread the raspberry jam onto this side of the cookie and set aside. Do this for all the bottom halves.
  2. Place all of the top cookie halves onto a baking sheet by themselves. Dust with powdered sugar until the tops are lightly coated and white.
  3. Carefully place a top half cookie onto a bottom half cookie, being careful not to smudge your sugar dusting, and twist slightly to secure them together.
  4. Due to the moist jam inside the cookie, these should be eaten within two days. Otherwise they may become a bit soft and fall apart.


Snowflake (Coconut) Cake

You will need:

Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake Mix, baked.
Duncan Hines Homestyle Vanilla Frosting (x2)
Coconut Cream Filling, prepared.
Angel Flake Sweetened Coconut

Recipe for Coconut Cream Filling

recipe via Martha Stewart

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) sweetened angel-flake coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Unsalted butter, for wrap

Directions for Coconut Cream Filling:

  1. Place egg yolks in a large bowl; whisk to combine; set bowl aside.
  2. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into the reserved egg yolks to temper. Slowly pour warm yolks into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat, until mixture begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla.
  4. Transfer filling to a medium mixing bowl. Lightly butter a piece of plastic wrap, and lay it directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Recipe for Cake & Assembly

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange two racks in the center of the oven. Line the bottom of three 6-by-2-inch buttered round cake pans with parchment paper. Dust the bottom and the sides of the cake pans with flour, and tap out any excess.
  2. Prepare Duncan Hines Butter Recipe cake mix as directed.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, rotating the pans in the oven, if needed, for even browning. Transfer cake pans to wire racks to cool, about 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and let cool completely on racks, tops up.
  4. To assemble, remove parchment paper from the bottoms of cakes. Split each layer in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Set aside the prettiest dome; it will be used for the final layer. Place another domed layer, dome side down, on the serving platter. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaked coconut over the cake. Spread a generous 1/2 cup coconut-cream filling over coconut flakes. Repeat sprinkling and spreading process on the remaining layers until all but the reserved domed layer are used. Top cake with the reserved domed layer. Transfer cake to the refrigerator to firm for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator, and frost the outside of cake with frosting. Sprinkle remaining coconut flakes all over cake while frosting is soft; do not refrigerate. Cake can be left out at room temperature for several days.