I kill everything...green that is. Great with animals. Horrible with plants. That's me. Right now I am desperately trying to keep my husband's ficus and palm trees alive while he is in Iraq. I don't know where I got this brown thumb. My mother back in the States and everyone I live with here in the German countryside are all fantastic with plants and gardening. My mother in law, Fine is no exception. At 83 she's still out in the garden in all kinds of weather. When she isn't working in the garden she is shelling nuts, bottling preserves or making apple sauce out of the bounty.
Today is Fine's Name Day, a celebration of the St. she was named after, Josephine. For her this is a bigger event than her birthday.
I surprised her this morning with this garden. I figured if can't make a real one, I can sure make one out of sugar. Fina was in the middle of baking her own cherry almond tarts to share with her girlfriends who are coming over this afternoon for a little party. I thought these cupcakes would add something special to their gathering, a conversation piece at least. However, Fine was so in love with her sugar garden, she won't let anyone eat them!
The recipe and how to is from this fantastic book, Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson.
The book has many outstanding adorable and fun ideas for cupcake decorating. I had to make a few changes because the book is American and many of the decorations are made with candy available in the USA, not Germany.
To make the soil, the book recommends crushed Oreos which are only available here in some specialty stores. I improvised and made this recipe for Chocolate Graham Crackers.
I also was not able to get similar candy chews in the right colors to make the veggies so I made mine out of marzipan. All except the carrots. I had a package of sugar carrots for cake decorating. I cheated and used those.
For all you Americans, the cupcakes in the book are super easy to make with the suggested candy decorating items. They have a second book out now called What's New, Cupcake? I can't wait to get it. You can find their website and blog here.
The signs could have been more neatly done but I just don't have a steady enough hand.
Truth is, I suck with a pastry bag. I need more practice.
Happy Name Day to my sweet Mother in law!