Thanks to the media, you will be painfully aware – unless you have been hiding under a rock -- that May 13 is Mother’s Day. You have been bombarded for weeks with ads for perfume, jewelry, flowers, breakfast in bed, dinner out.
Even so, because you are not sure what gift YOUR Mother would like – you are procrastinating.
My favorite Mother’s Day gifts were the ones made by my children. I still treasure the strange looking [OK… Ugly!] paperweight my son made when he was 10. The carefully scripted and decorated "certificates" for `help around the house’ from my daughter remain ‘uncashed’ … and stored in my memory box.
So if there are those of you who would rather give your Mom something handmade from the heart – here is a suggestion for ‘Sweet Flowers ‘ [see picture]
The instructions are step by step with no special equipment required, so ANYONE should be able to produce a masterpiece.
1 sturdy cardboard base about [9x12], covered with foil
1 box cake mix – any flavor
1 pkg. paper cases – either large or small
1-2 containers frosting
1 box cake food coloring tubes
1 box cake icing writing tubes
Decorations of your choice [lots to choose from at Michaels]
Mixing bowls, knife or spatula, heavy duty [freezer weight] zip lock bags
If you are going to use a photograph for the center – cut it to fit the center hole and laminate the photo so it does not get soiled.
Other choices: Cookies, or discs made from candy melts [Michaels], or candy
Set paper cases in muffin pans. Preheat oven according to package instructions.
Prepare the cake according to package instructions and fill muffin/cupcake cases ¾ full.
Bake according to package directions. Cool. [You can bake the cupcakes ahead and wrap and freeze if desired.]
Color 2/3 of the frosting with color of choice and color 1/3 green for the stems and leaves.
Spread frosting on seven cupcakes, covering completely.
To form a flower, arrange 6 cupcakes in a circle on the board and place another cupcake in the center. [Place a dab of icing underneath the cupcakes so they will not shift.]
Spread the frosting to cover the ‘joins‘ so as to resemble a flower.
Set the photograph or decoration of choice on top of the center cupcake.
Using a color from the cake writing tube collection, carefully pipe around each ‘petal’.
Finish the flowers with sprinkles – glitter or whatever you have chosen.
Fill a zip-lock bag with the green frosting and cut off ½” at one of the ends away from the opening.
Push the frosting towards the opening. Fold up the bag and pipe a green stem from the flower down the board. Add more ‘stems’ on each side.
Stand back and admire your handiwork. Present to Mother with graceful speech.
And NO your astounded and grateful Mom can NOT keep it forever. It is intended for consumption on Mother’s Day!
Note: Since a box of cake mix will make about 18 cupcakes - you can of course make a display of 2-3 flowers [perhaps of different colors. You will just need a much larger board.
I would love to see what masterpieces you create. If you will send in your ‘flowers’, we will show them in the food column the week after Mothers Day.
About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for TownSquareBuzz.com's "Food" section. She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the "Food" section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking. She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.
Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions. What would you like to have for dinner?