Home-made birthday party decorations are not only more affordable that store-bought supplies, but they are a great way to make a custom event that matches the style of your little birthday boy or girl!
What are macarons, you might ask? If you’ve never had one, stop reading this post. Head immediately for the closest French Patisserie and try one right now. When done correctly, they are the most delicate cookie combining the crunch of light fluffy meringue with a chewy almond flour texture and sweetened by soft creamy buttercream [...]
To celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday and the advent of Spring, I went to the light and healthy tastes of angel food cake and dressed it up with a very simple whipped cream frosting. A few delicate gum paste flowers created some interest with punchy colors and delicate textures.
The design: It took a while to [...]
Valentine’s Day is something I get more excited about every year. Our family has established a tradition of celebrating the day as a family, staying in for a fancy home-cooked meal of pizza and white chocolate fondue. The kids love it! This year I thought I would add some extra anticipation and excitement around [...]
This awesome appetizer may look like sushi, but it’s the farthest thing from it. If you can believe it, or if you’ve seen the recipe on TV from Food Network Chef Guy Fieri, these rolls are stuffed with an assortment of your favorite bar food fare. We made a big batch of these for a [...]
To celebrate the birthday of a dear friend, I combined all of my most favorite chocolate and raspberry cake recipes and layered them all together in this over-sized and decadent dessert. It was a most satisfying combination! The structure of the cake is four layers of a dense milk chocolate cake with semi-sweet chocolate ganache, [...]
A quick and easy cake design made the perfect whimsical touch for my 3-year old’s birthday party earlier this spring. Rather than spend days before the event buried in fondant and intensive cake preparations, I kept things really easy and did this cake out of a cherry-chip box mix and vanilla buttercream frosting. A few [...]
This birthday cake was a true celebration of all things held dear by my son. Not being the biggest fan of cake, I decided to decorate it with all of his favorite candies and lay on an extra thick coat of frosting underneath, which his his favorite part. He’s also really into his electronics set [...]
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to host a shower for my niece last month. She is having twins, one boy and one girl. I grew weary and disappointed after looking and looking online for cute twins-themed invitations. So, I decided to take things into my own hands and develop something of my own. [...]
The Valentine’s mood has arrived a little early in our house this year. I found myself wanting to try something new and festive in the kitchen, and voila! I stumbled across a great article at Delectable Deliciousness about these Red Velvet Macaroons. If you’ve been intimidated by macaroons, I hope this gives you encouragement to [...]
What better way to start off the new year than with a healthy and comforting boost of energy. These low fat bran muffins are my “healthified” version of a long-time family favorite recipe. Despite the removal of nearly all oils and fats, they have a super dense and moist consistency, much like a brownie, and [...]
My sister is engaged! I wanted to do something really special to celebrate the upcoming year with her and make every month of planning and preparation something to be treasured. Inspired by a Christmas advent wreath by Martha Stewart, I put together a wedding advent wreath that counts down to her big day. She gets [...]
Now that my kids are growing old enough to get excited about the holidays, we’ve done a few things around the house to get ready for Thanksgiving. These turkeys are made from construction paper, glue, and an empty toilet paper ring that acts as a stand to hold them upright. They double as great [...]
I took a big leap and and did my most challenging cake project yet – a wedding cake for a dear family friend. I discovered many new things about cake decorating with this one. The biggest lesson is that the simpler the design, the more exacting the decoration needs to be.
The design process was really [...]
Every year we like to decorate our house for the autumn. My son’s favorite project is building a tree in his room. I started doing this a few years ago when we wanted the house to be festive without having a lot of money to spend. This tree is made from nothing more than [...]
Today I met one of my baking superheroes, Bakerella. I caught wind of a book signing happening at a local Williams-Sonoma store and wrangled the family to spend the afternoon waiting with me, in much anticipation, for the glorious moment we got to meet this very talented and inspired baker. For those of you who [...]
What’s this? No sweet stuff? I thought I’d try to write about the food that I cook the other 6 days a week. After all, a girl’s got to keep things in balance you know. People are always asking me how I stay healthy and fit while I cook the sweet treats on this blog. [...]
Thanks to a most inspirational blogger and French Culinary School student in London at Foodbeam, I was inspired to try my very first French pastry made from scratch. I have a secret and deep-rooted desire to attend pastry school and spend my days making indulgent baked treasures for friends and family. Until life allows me [...]
If you like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as much as I do, you’ll definitely want to try this irresistable cupcake combination. It uses the same rich chocolate fudge cake recipe as I used for the Oreo Cookie Cupcakes. Get the recipe here. I topped these with a light creamy peanut butter buttercream frosting, and piped [...]
These mini cupcakes were the result of my passionate love affair with Oreo cookies and for baking delicious cakes from scratch. Having thought about them for months on end, a summer family camping trip was finally the perfect excuse to indulge! These not only have Oreos blended into the frosting, they also imitate the cookie [...]
It’s been a long and busy month of baking! This is the first of several cupcake posts that will be posted in the next few days. This recipe is from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, an inspirational and absolutely fabulous source for recipes and cake baking technique. I highly recommend it! These are a coconut chiffon cake [...]
Here is the latest cake made for an 8th Grade graduation party and a dear friend. This cake pushed my boundaries in layering, coloring, fondant work, and cake trimming. Many new lessons were learned.
Lesson #1: Cake consistency matters for stability
So far, I’ve been searching for the ultimate moist soft cake recipes for my decorating [...]
This year, we added a new dessert to our 4th of July festivities: cake pops! Having attempted these once before, I invited a group of friends over to learn more about making cake pops together. Many lessons were learned. Of course I must pay homage to THE cake pop original, Bakerella. Her work is inspirational [...]
After spending a couple of weeks searching for the perfect Father’s Day gift, I decided that the best one could be made at home. Rather than shop for an affordable sentimental token of our appreciation that would probably find itself in a storage box next week, we put together a book that captured the kids [...]
I am the biggest fan of Bakerella! This is my first attempt at making her cake pops. These were for a spring baby shower, and I was quite happy with the results!
What are cake pops some of you might ask?
Cake pops are made from crumbled cake and frosting mixed into a dough that you shape [...]
This sweater started as an over-sized, out-dated cropped top that I had laying around the closet. I almost tossed it in the trash, but got to thinking that it wouldn’t hurt to play around with it a bit and see if it couldn’t be updated. The true inspiration for this project comes from a true [...]
This cake was for the daughter of a dear friend celebrating her 4th birthday. It was a wonderful excuse to try lots of new cake decorating techniques.
It’s All in the Details
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in trying to advance my cake decorating skills is that it comes down to detail work. The more time I [...]
In celebration of spring time, I added these colorful paper flowers to my little girl’s room. It really brought the room to life and it cost next to nothing. These flowers are really easy to to create. Here’s how mine came together.
The first step is choosing your materials. I began using a variety [...]
This birthday cake was an experiment all around. I researched several rainbow cakes that were carved, trimmed and decorated to look like rainbows or were covered in rainbow colors. I wanted something different. This was my best attempt to capture a rainbow in its most classic form and incorporate it with cake.
The layers of [...]
This year for Easter, I could not find that perfect dress for my little girl. This cute little sun dress from Old Navy was very friendly on the budget, but it lacked some flare. With just a few tweaks, I was able to make a custom design akin to the ever-so-desirable styles from J-Crew from [...]
I recently undertook the task of framing some of our favorite family photos and adding them to a display in our hallway. Wanting to avoid my tendency to put everything in a straight line, I consulted the pros for this project.
My dear friend and talented designer Ivette Newport, gave me the idea to cluster the [...]
This is my latest experiment making a whimsical cake. This cake was inspired by the original topsy-turvy cake designer, who also did my wedding cake years ago, Polly Schoomaker in Portland, Oregon. Although she is no longer in business, her cakes leave behind a legacy and a source of inspiration for all cake decorating fanatics.
For Valentine’s Day this year, I made a twist on a long-standing family favorite. A few drops of food coloring and some heart-shaped tools like cookie-cutters and cake pans gave these ordinary treats something special.
I used a heart-shaped cake pan handed down to me from my father-in-law. He started a family tradition of making a [...]
These paper tissue flowers are a nice change from using artificial flowers from the craft store. They can be bundled into bouquets as shown above, or used to dress up a gift instead of using a bow. They are very simple to make and only take a few minutes a piece. Here’s how.
Start by rumpling [...]
Three new recipes go head to head in my latest tasting. Try these combinations at home. They all tasted scrumptious!
The Chocolate Guiness Cake
The cake recipe came from Cooks Illustrated. Mayonnaise added soft texture and coffee gave an amazing flavor that complimented the beer flavor very nicely. Once the cakes are baked, whip up a batch [...]
What an honor to attend New York’s first ever cake convention! These are just a sampling of the incredible artistic talents that were gathered for this event. Cake competitions varied in theme from Martie Antoinette to Winter Wedding and Christmas Holiday cakes. There were live competitions between guest celebrity chefs, demonstrations, classes from renowned pastry [...]
Little guys can wear holes through his jeans faster than they can outgrow them. Before resorting to the store-bought iron-on patches, I thought I’d give this idea a try. The patches are made from another old pair of jeans. The stitching was a bit tricky on the leg holes were too small to fit around [...]
If your kitchen is like ours, your favorite family recipes are always the first ones to get destroyed from frequent use. They wear the signs of our love with spills, tears and smudges. Most of them are tattooed with the remains of their ingredients. This is an easy way to organize and protect those recipes [...]
I’m almost speechless. The Autumn Cake has won the competition hosted by The Daring Kitchen. My husband and I get to enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to New York to attend the first annual cake convention in January!
This cake was my biggest challenge yet. It was inspired by and made for a decorating competition hosted by The Daring Kitchen in October, 2009. I couldn’t resist the autumn theme, my very favorite time of year, and the grand prize trip to New York to attend the New York Cake Convention.
Here’s how the cake [...]
These invitations were inspired by a couple of samples that the bride showed me. She wanted something simple that reflected the groom’s Hawaiian roots and gave their guests a glimpse of their personality as a couple. The prototype was designed a few days ahead of time, and the assembly of all 100 invitations was done [...]
What do you do for a bride and groom who don’t like cake? Donuts! I take no credit for this cake other than assembly. The bride found photos and inspired the concept. This was quick, easy, and completely fun to put together. The support structure is made of cardboard cake rounders separated by styrofoam cake [...]
Do you ever get stuck doing the same house chore over and over again and still have the feeling like it is NEVER done? I do. Then an idea came to me while making the bed one day. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
I thought of two people who each make their bed once a day. With [...]
This custom-designed birthday cake was for the boyfriend of a good friend. We had a blast coming up with a design that paid homage to his love of hunting. Everything is made of fondant. The bullets are flying on thin wire inserts. The antlers were formed around wood dowels, textured with a toothpick, and painted [...]
We originally discussed making the whole cake in the shape of a duck, but I thought it might look more interesting if a duck was featured swimming in a tub on top of a cake. The cake itself is very simple – two round cakes separated with pillars that were covered in fondant to [...]
My dear brother got to be the recipient of this experiment in building a whimsical cake. This cake is finished in fondant and buttercream piping. I started with standard round cakes and trimmed the sides to give each layer a unique shape. The over-sized candles made a perfect topper.
Here you can see some of [...]
There are no frills about this cake. The goal was to create the absolutely best tasting piece of chocolate cake. I used Toba Garrett’s chocolate fudge cake recipe, which bakes up really dense and flavorful, much like a brownie. It has become a family favorite. The frosting is basic buttercream enhanced with lots and lots [...]
What a fun theme to work with! I actually sat down and watched an episode or two to get ideas for decorating this theme birthday cake. These little stars were my favorite element. I used the color scheme from some Dora themed party plates I found online.
This cake was designed for Mom’s birthday celebration that happened to fall on Easter Sunday. I couldn’t think of any better suited theme than spring chicks!
The chicks on top were the the focal point. The simplicity of the design didn’t call for too many details. They are made of rolled fondant.
This cake was for my cousin’s wedding in March. She wanted something small and simple to share just with the groom. I took the opportunity to do more work with gum paste making flowers. The roses on top turned out very life-like. My singular source for gum paste work is a fabulous book by Toba [...]