Marble Leaf Sugar Cookies

Why wait until Christmas to make sugar cookies? LET’S DO IT NOW! I love the marble technique in royal icing and it’s so much easier than it looks. This is another one where the messier it gets, THE BETTER IT LOOKS!

The recipes I used are from Baking With Josh & Ange. It’s Angela Kinsey from the Office and her husband and they are so cute and funny and have great recipes. Her husband, Josh, is my favorite kind of food blogger. He makes things so easy! Check out their YouTube channel for great tutorials and the best part- OFFICE CAMEOS!

Recipes Links: Sugar Cookies & Royal Icing

I’ve found that a half batch of icing is plenty for one batch of cookies. The best part about sugar cookies is that they BAKE IN 6 MINUTES. They’ll literally be done before you even finish cleaning up your counter.

I used leaf pie crust cutters because that’s all I had lying around. These work fine for cookies you just don’t use the stamp part to leave leaf indents on the top. I got these a few years ago in a set from William Sonoma but they still have a similar set. They’re great to have on hand for pie crust accents on your fall pies as well! If you want actual cookie cutters, here’s a cute, affordable set from Amazon.

I was inspired by Chelsweets Marbled Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies from a couple years ago. I always thought these were so cute!

I split the royal icing into a couple of batches to do this. The colors eventually start running together so you’ll want a fresh batch and you go along through the cookies. Add water in small bits, about 1/2 tsp at a time, until you get the consistency you want. I think for our purposes you’ll want it to be like a shampoo-like consistency.

Add in about 4 drops of a few different colors of food coloring. I used red, orange and yellow. Use a toothpick to swirl the coloring into the icing and help get that marbled look. Then you just dip the cookies in! It takes a few to get used to it. You want to lean the edges all down in a rotation to get the icing completely to each edge. Then when you pull up, let the excess fall off before you tilt the cookie back and set aside.

I do have a little bad news. These take FOREVER to fully dry and harden. Like, several hours. I usually leave them to dry overnight. I know, it’s annoying. But, then the icing ends up being super firm and you can pack them up on top of each other and there’s no mess or worrying about ruining any of them. So, you win some, you lose some!

To give my batch of cookies a little variety, I did the second half with just standard white royal icing and this cute fall sprinkle blend from Joann. I only used one of the two styles because my dogs ate a full tube of sprinkles while I was out to dinner. #rude

You can easily do this year round with any shape/color combo that comes to mind. Happy baking!

Slightly, Samantha

SPOOKY UNICORN CAKE

Halloween is upon us and I am pumped! I made this “spooky unicorn cake” for a friend’s daughter’s birthday party and I’m so happy with how it turned out. She wanted a witch/unicorn hybrid and this was born! I created a two-tier cake with a funfetti/chocolate spider web bottom and a chocolate/vanilla frosting witch/unicorn top! Here’s how I did it-

Prepping The Cake & Frosting-

  • Bottom tier: Three 8″ Funfetti layers dyed neon purple
  • Top tier: Three 6″ Chocolate cake layers dyed black. It’s important to do Chelsweets’ small batch recipe if you’re doing a 6″ 3-layer top tier. A full recipe would have a lot of wasted batter.
  • Frosting: Make two full batches of American buttercream.

Assembling The Cake-

You want to put a generous layer of buttercream between each cake layer. Then you do a really thin coat over the three layers. This is called a “crumb coat” and basically just holds all of the crumbs in so nothing gets into the outer layer when you’re smoothing it out. You want to let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or freezer for about 10 minutes) to set.

While the layers set, you want to dye a small bowl of buttercream electric green. Dye a larger bowl of frosting with the same black you used for the cake. I added about 1/8 cup of cocoa powder as well. This helps darken the buttercream and who doesn’t love chocolate?! Smoothing out the top layer of buttercream takes PATIENCE. You won’t just smooth it out in one swipe. It takes me about 3-4 times around while filling in spots along the way. Then you smooth out the top after the sides are done. If you have a bench scraper like this laying around your kitchen, it will work just fine for these 3-layer tiers. If you ever do a taller cake, I’d suggest getting the Wilton smoother I have pictured above. I learned how to do smooth frosting from this Chelsweets video. She gives a lot of really good tips!

After you have the bottom layer smooth- you need to add support for the top layer. I use either plastic straws or wooden skewers typically. Just cut them to the height of the cake and press 3-4 in the bottom layer.

I didn’t catch a good photo of the final spiderwebs on the bottom tier but watch my time lapse video @SlightlySamantha on Instagram to see it in action. It is SO EASY. I’m serious. Just take a cup of mini marshmallows and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir them around until they cool a bit and get “stringy”. This gets messy…. pick up a clump with your hands and just start stretching bits around the cake. Keep going until you get the amount you want around the cake. I thought this part was going to be a lot easer said than done. But it was the easiest part of the whole cake! For real.

Unicorn Horn & Ears-

So I’m not going to lie, these were a little more tricky. This was my first time working with fondant. I had to have my husband roll it out because I bought way too much (to be safe) and it was a huge hard brick. I’d suggest getting two of these small packs of black fondant. It’ll be much easier to roll out and you won’t waste any. I meant to get purple fondant for the ears and hat accent but the white fondant packaging is deceiving and I clearly didn’t feel like reading. Wilton does make other colors in those small packs so that would probably be better for you! I just made a tapered “rope” out of the fondant to wrap around a wooden skewer. This helped it secure into the cake as well. Then I just cut a basic oval shape for the ears in black then a smaller one in white. I put the ears in the fridge to harden up a bit while I secured the horn and decorated the cake with frosting. You’ll want to wait and put the ears in after you frost so you can nuzzle them in and then they’ll be secured with frosting. I did a couple little dallops with my frosting bag behind the ears then as well to really make sure they were secured.

OR if you don’t want to mess with fondant at all (and save a lot of time), I found this really cute cake topper set on Etsy that I think would look great!

Unicorn Mane & Final Details-

Now you’ll take your remaining buttercream and dye it. I used the orange that was in the same neon pack the purple came in. You could probably use the green too. I just happened to have that Americolor green I linked above and it is extra bright. I used a Wilton 1M (purple), 2A (green) and 4B (orange) for decorating the mane. I got them in this decorating set. Honestly, any 3 tips will work. I’d suggest that they are at least all different tips so they all “pop”. I use these piping bags that come in bulk but you can get smaller packs at any craft store or online as well. Lastly, I added a few handfuls of this Halloween sprinkle mix. The little eyeballs give it any extra spooky touch!

That’s it! If you have any questions, please let me know. As a self-taught baker, I know it can be frustrating trying new techniques. But practicing is half the fun 🙂

-Slightly, Samantha