Custom wedding and party cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies, and French macarons.
All my products are made to be the most delicious you've ever eaten! Painstakingly tested recipes, innovative baking techniques, and the very best ingredients set them apart. Premium chocolates, Madagascar vanilla beans, real butter, fresh fruit, and premium toasted nuts.
Everything I make is from scratch, including my fondant, sugar paste and modeling chocolate.
My oldest nephew is going on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and he is having a mission farewell party, and I offered to bring the cake! He requested a raspberry cake. Missionaries in the LDS church have to wear a white dress shirt and tie at all times, and a black name tag which identifies them as a missionary. My nephew's invitation to his party was fashioned as a dress shirt and tie, so I thought it would be fun to create a sugar paste version to decorate his cake with! The cake is raspberry cake filled with white chocolate raspberry mousse, and frosted with raspberry cream cheese frosting. It is a raspberry lover's dream!
Here's the invitation with the sugar paste version.
I added a nametag, which the invitation did not have.
I had leftover homemade cranberry sauce from the Christmas Eve dinner, and I thought it would be yummy in a frosting on chocolate cake. So, I tested it out:
I used American (powdered sugar) buttercream for these, because cranberries are so tart, I thought they could use a sweeter background than Swiss buttercream provides. They were extremely delicious. I loved the tart pop of the berry bits in the frosting! I topped each with a glazed berry.
Every year my husband's family has a Christmas Eve party. This is a big deal, because there are 16 adults and 35 children in his family! I almost always host it, because I am nuts that way, and actually enjoy making food and entertaining large amounts of people, but since I had just had surgery, my sister in law said she would do it this year. I still made the cake, though, and a turkey as well! For the cake, I polled some of the family members and they requested a coconut cake. I made the cake in two sheet pans and then cut squares of 1 inch decreasing size. I coated the outside in shredded coconut mixed with some festive holiday sprinkles, and topped it with some stars I made out of sugar paste. It was very Christmas-y and delicious too!
I ended up with extra cake, frosting, and coconut/sprinkles, so I made cake balls for the first time. "Bakerella," the original inventor of cake balls, makes hers by mixing cake scraps with frosting until it makes a sort of dough. Then you form it into balls, dip it into dipping chocolate, and decorate it however you want. I dipped mine into guittard premium white chocolate, and then rolled them into the coconut/sprinkles. After the chocolate set up, they were just like an amazing coconut truffle! The texture of the center was unbelievable, and the flavor was so good - I have to admit, I think these may be even better than the cake itself!
My sister and her husband were married a couple of years ago, but they never did have a reception, and a lot of the family was unable to attend their ceremony. So, since my sister and her husband had flown out to help me with my surgery recovery, I decided to throw her a reception and make them a cake! Our grandfather is a retired minister, so he agreed to perform a vow renewal ceremony for them. I made the wedding cake, and all the hors d'oeuvres for the reception - I baked and cooked from 7 am to 7 pm the day of the reception! And then, I attended the reception, danced, and cleaned up afterward! It was really fun, and my sister and her husband and all their guests had a wonderful time!
A few days before the ceremony, I made the flowers. I did wild roses, calla lilies, little white "filler" flowers, leaves, and black twisties. I also made a monogrammed topper for their cake. The cake had alternating layers of chocolate cake and vanilla bean cake with chocolate Swiss buttercream between layers and vanilla bean buttercream outside. My sister did not want fondant, as she does not like the taste of it. It is trickier to do a buttercream finish, as you can't touch the sides at all when stacking the tiers as you can if you cover it with fondant. In any case, it turned out beautiful and was extremely delicious!
Every year, I love to make treat plates and take them around to my neighbors! This year I did 20 treat plates of two different kinds.
The first plate contains vanilla French macarons filled with dark chocolate ganache, milk chocolate almond toffee and a decorated sugar cookie.
The second plate contains homemade mint hot cocoa mix, homemade marshmallows, and vanilla French macarons filled with vanilla bean Swiss buttercream.
The marshmallows were fun to make - I had never made them before, but I've been seeing them a lot on other baking blogs. They end up with a really amazing texture and flavor, and they melt in the hot cocoa really nicely! Merry Christmas, neighbors!
I went to see my surgeon for a follow up scope to see how my trachea is healing. It is looking really good, right on track, and I'm feeling great. I made my surgeon a thank-you cake: a trachea complete with scalpel and blood! It's a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream and raspberry sauce with a sugar paste scalpel. The surgeon loved it, and got a picture of me and him with the cake. Everyone in the office was excited about it!
I had a cupcake order this week; my first order since the surgery. I made gingerbread cupcakes filled with spiced apple filling and topped with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. I made some gingerbread cookie trees frosted with royal icing to go on top. I had some leftover gingerbread cookie dough, too, so my kids and I decorated some gingerbread men!
It was my friend, Sandi's birthday this week, so I made her a mini chocolate cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting! It's a delicious combination with the rich, moist dark chocolate cake and the tangy cream cheese frosting, full of lovely little vanilla bean specks! I am recovering from my surgery nicely, so it was easier to make this cake than the last one!
It was my stepdad's birthday this week, so I made him a sweet potato cake with toasted marshmallow filling and brown sugar cinnamon buttercream. The cake had bits of crystallized ginger folded into the batter, and the filling was vanilla buttercream with real toasted marshmallows (toasted under the broiler) folded in, so you got crispy toasted marshmallow bits in every bite. The cake was moist and spicy, the filling sweet, and the brown sugar cinnamon buttercream was just the right touch to finish it off! I made royal icing pansies to go on top. I was still very tired from my hospital stay, so the decorating job was not my best, as it wore me out to do it, but I was happy to be able to bake again!
My sister came out to stay with me while I recovered from my surgery. She's been helping with the kids and housework, which is great! She did the grocery shopping too, and bought a box of moon pies. They are two cookies with marshmallow in the middle, dipped in "chocolate flavored coating." I knew I could make a homemade version that would blow them out of the water! I made round sugar cookies and melted marshmallows between them when the cookies were still hot from the oven. When they were cooled and set, I dipped the cookies in melted chocolate. They were extremely delicious!
My daughter's kindergarten class was having a Thanksgiving party, with each child tasked to bring a small treat to share with their class. So we made mini pumpkin pies! Mini pies are fun and easy. Simply use a single filling recipe and a double amount of crust recipe for a 9-inch pie, and you can make 24 mini pies in standard muffin tins. I used a 4 inch diameter round scalloped cookie cutter to cut rounds in pie dough, rolled out to 1/16 inch thick, and then gently pressed each round into muffin tins. Then, I filled them with my homemade pumpkin pie filling, which has a secret: it's really half pumpkin, half sweet potato, with real maple syrup and fresh grated ginger! Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, and cool 1 hour before removing from the muffin tin. I topped mine with brown sugar whipped cream - just whip your cream with brown sugar instead of white for an added flavor bonus that works really well with fall-themed or spiced desserts.
Peanut butter cookies have a problem. Go ahead and bake up a batch of your usual recipe. Growing up, mine was the recipe on the crisco shortening can. Vegetable shortening makes baked goods very soft and light, but it has no flavor at all, and now we also know it has unhealthy trans-fats. So, switch to a butter recipe. Now the cookies are nice and soft out of the oven, but they cool to a crisp, tough texture. Also, neither of the recipes actually has a lot of peanut flavor! So, some recipes call for adding in chopped peanuts, and yes, this does give the cookies bursts of nutty flavor, but it also makes the cookie have a crunchy texture. My ideal peanut butter cookie is soft and tender, with nice crisp edges, and a lot of peanut flavor. To make this happen, I use ground peanut flour in my cookies for part of the regular flour. When you mix flour with water, you get gluten, a tough, chewy protein. This is desirable in crusty French breads, which is why we knead and knead them, to develop lots of gluten, but in baked goods you want as little gluten as possible. The nut flour does two things for the cookies: no gluten formation with water, resulting in a tender texture, and a huge boost of nutty flavor without the crunchy texture found in chopped nuts. And so, a perfect peanut butter cookie, made with real butter, peanut butter, and home-ground peanut flour! Also, they are huge - only six to a baking sheet!
Today was my oldest daughter's sixth birthday! She was very specific about what she wanted her cake to be: a rectangular cake with piped grass and a path, with six horses. I added in some flowers in the grass and a picket fence as well. It is her favorite flavor, which she requests every year: red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting! She was thrilled with her cake!
I got an order this week for birthday cupcakes for a little boy... and he wanted dinosaurs! These are chocolate cupcakes with three kinds of Swiss meringue buttercream: peanut butter for mud, green peppermint for grass, and coconut for nests, with whopper candies as the dinosaur eggs! I drew a triceratops, a T-rex, and a brachiosaur on paper, cut them out, and then used them as a template on my homemade sugar paste to cut out all the dinos in green, blue, and red. Then, I stuck a white pearl sprinkle on, and used a toothpick dipped in some black food dye to draw on the pupil. They came out so cute, and I was especially pleased, because my 5 year old daughter came into the kitchen and correctly identified each type of dinosaur!
This week I made a baby shower cake as a present for my friend, Mary. Mary and I have known each other since high school, where we played in the orchestra together, and had way too much fun! She is expecting her very first, a baby girl, and so I made her a delicious cake: alternating layers of white and strawberry cake with strawberry filling and strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream. I decorated it with homemade vanilla fondant and hand-sculpted sugar paste baby booties and a bow!
Because it was a gift, I decided to experiment and try an inlaid stripe design with a hat-box lid on the bottom layer... it was harder to do than I thought, and it didn't turn out as well as I had envisioned! Still, it was cute, and delicious, which is the most important part, in my opinion!
Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between, until melted. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Once the chocolate has cooled, place the butter on the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium high for 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, malted milk powder, and salt. Beat on low until combined, and then pn medium high for 3 more minutes. Add the cooled chocolate and beat on medium until fully incorporated. Use to frost your cake immediately.
This week, I was inspired by Halloween candy to make a special treat! I made chocolate cupcakes and topped them with a rich malted chocolate frosting, and then a whopper candy to decorate and to give a flavor hint! They were extremely delicious... I believe the chocolate malt frosting is my new favorite chocolate frosting!
In other news, I have a non-cancerous tumor in my trachea, which was diagnosed in 2008, and I have had it cut out with lasers several times in the last few years, but it has proven unresponsive to that less-invasive treatment, and so, on November 20, I will be going in to the hospital for a much more invasive surgery, where the surgeon will remove the entire section of effected trachea. I will be in the hospital for 7-10 days, and then recovering at home for 6-8 weeks. Therefore, I will be unable to do any orders, or post any posts until I am recovered, some time around February! It is very sad to miss out on holiday baking - the best time of the whole year! But, my health is more important! I have one last baby shower cake that I'll be posting later this week, and that will be my last order until February! Thanks for reading, everyone!
I made homemade almond toffee topped with milk chocolate for a treat for the members of the choir which I direct. I had a bit leftover, and I had company coming for dinner, so I made up a chocolate cake with caramel buttercream, and topped it with the leftover toffee, crushed up. It was a fantastic combination of delicious flavors and textures, with the moist, rich, chocolate cake, the creamy caramel buttercream, and the crunchy, lightly salty-sweet toffee!
I made monster cupcakes for Halloween! Vanilla cupcakes with green vanilla buttercream "fur" and green vanilla pastry cream "goo" injected inside, and then some fun candy eyeballs on top. I think they look sort of like sesame street monsters! They were a huge hit with the kids.
It was my sister-in-law's baby blessing this Sunday, and so I brought 4 dozen "hostess" style cupcakes! I made chocolate cupcakes and injected them with homemade French vanilla bean pastry cream, and then dipped each in dark chocolate ganache. I made a bit of decorating icing and, mimicking the signature swirled loops on the top of the hostess variety, I wrote "baby" on top of each one. They came out adorable and delicious too!
My next door neighbor loves to garden, and has beautiful flowers, which she works hard to cultivate. My naughty daughters came in after playing outside one day with a bouquet of these flowers! So, I made her a vanilla cake with hand painted dogwood flowers and had my girls apologize to her. She was very nice about it all! Sorry Teri!
It was my grandfather's 73rd birthday this week, and he requested a spiced carrot cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting! I decided to go with a fall theme and made marbled fall leaves to decorate it with. It was delicious and beautiful!
This was a test recipe - really more of a technique test than a recipe test. You see, if you look up just about any cake recipe on the planet, it is as follows: 4-3-2-1 batter: 4 eggs, 3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup each butter and milk... plus of course leavening (baking powder) and vanilla. The method is always the same, too: cream the butter and sugar together until good and fluffy, then add the eggs and vanilla, and then alternate adding 1/3 at a time of dry ingredients and milk. It's kind of fussy, and if the butter and sugar aren't creamed well enough, aren't at a good room temperature, and if you overmix, the cake can turn out dense much too easily. This is why I often have people tell me they don't like homemade cake - box mix is better because of its nice, fluffy texture. And on this point, I happen to agree with them, however the flavor (chemical and fake, and not at all eggy, butter, or vanilla-y) is lacking. Chocolate homemade cakes (made with real melted chocolate, and not just cocoa powder) always turn out nice and fluffy, and have much better flavor than box chocolate cake, because chocolate contains cocoa butter and some acid, which have a tenderizing and fluffing effect. However, vanilla, yellow, and white cakes are a different matter. I have tried dozens of recipes, from many sources, and have been consistently disappointed with the results. There are some recipes that even suggest you follow the usual mixing method, but leave the egg whites out, and then you separately whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold that into the remaining batter. The result gives the cake a cottony, dry mouth feel in my opinion - much like angel food cake - which is fine if you want angel food cake, but not fine if you want a moist, velvety vanilla birthday cake. I wondered, how can these be so finicky and yet box yellow cake can be perfectly fluffy all the time? Then I came across a recipe that called for a completely different mixing method. You throw all the dry ingredients into the mixer - flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and then you mix in softened butter until it's cut in like cutting the butter into biscuit or pie dough, and then you pour in all the liquid stuff together (milk, eggs, vanilla) and mix it just until it's smooth. Suddenly, my vanilla cakes were light, fluffy, velvety, moist... perfect! Like a box mix in light fluffiness, but with the incredibly delicious buttery flavor of homemade! And so, as an experiment, I wanted to know if the success of the recipe had anything to do with the amounts of ingredients, because those were also vastly different from the traditional 4-3-2-1 batters. So, I tried a traditional 4-3-2-1 recipe except with the new mixing method and... it came out amazing! In a way, this makes sense to me. When you make a box mix, all the dry ingredients are together in a bag, and you put them all in the mixer together, and then blend in the wet ingredients. You don't have to do the cutting in the butter part because you use vegetable oil in box mixes, but I bet if you used a cake mix and substituted soft butter for the oil, and cut it in, and then added the eggs and water, it would be better than the usual, because butter is much more delicious than vegetable oil. Anyway, for my test I made a vanilla cake with pink vanilla frosting. It happened to be my step-sister's birthday, but she was out of town, so I took this picture of it and sent it to her, and we all ate it in her honor! :) So here is a pink party cake... if you have ever been afraid to make a homemade cake, or had disappointing results when you tried, give the new method a try. It's very easy. The recipe I used was from www.joyofbaking.com Just don't follow her mixing directions.
A friend of mine had a baby this week (her 7th, Heaven help her!) and so I brought her over a little cake. This is a white cake frosted with my own invention: whipped chocolate caramel ganache, and topped with chopped pecans. Caramel, nuts, and chocolate were just meant to be together! I use white cake for this application, because the chocolate caramel ganache and pecans are so intense in their flavors that having the cake be chocolate as well would be an overload... although some might argue that it is impossible to have too much chocolate. In any case, it is undeniably delicious.
I had two orders for red velvet cupcakes this week. Red velvet is a flavor not everyone has tried. Its red color comes from a bit of cocoa powder in the batter as well as red food dye. Traditional recipes call for 1 to 2 TABLESPOONS of red food dye. I use professional concentrated gel food coloring, so I only have to put in 1/4 teaspoon! Red velvet cake also uses buttermilk and vinegar in the batter, so the result is a smooth, velvety cupcake with a tangy hint of cocoa sweetness. It is topped off traditionally with cream cheese frosting, and sometimes, coconut. Mine are topped with some sweet sugar paste hearts and flowers.
My father-in-law had his birthday this week, so we brought him a cake. My husband's parents love chocolate cake. Jason's mom gets a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting every year. Her husband's birthday isn't long after hers, and so I still made him a chocolate cake, but I covered it in delicious peanut butter frosting and topped it with reese's peanut butter cups! My daughters wouldn't let me put any flowers on his cake, because he is a man, and flowers aren't "manly." Gender roles are very important to them. Anyway, the cake was extremely delicious. The rich, moist chocolate cake and the light, fluffy, not-too-sweet peanut butter frosting are a perfect combination!
Making Danishes is so fun, and they are 100 times better than store bought - at least! Flaky, crispy puff pastry outside, with spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling inside, and a delicious lemony glaze drizzled on top! Danish - because it's not socially acceptable to eat pie for breakfast.
Pastry: 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature 1/3 cup sugar 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature 1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin purée 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tsp. allspice or pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 recipe puff pastry 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Glaze: 1 cup confectioners sugar 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, pumpkin, vanilla, salt, and spices and mix until just combined. Do not over beat! Divide puff pastry dough into three pieces. Roll out one piece at a time on a lightly floured board to make three 10 by 10-inch squares. Cut each square into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of pumpkin-cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining sheets of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, until puffed and brown.
Whisk to combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice until a smooth glaze forms. Generously drizzle the glaze over pastries. Best when served warm (Can re-heat for 10 seconds in microwave).
A friend of mine is co-hosting a charity event for a cancer patient Saturday, and so I made a chocolate cupcake assortment for her to sell as part of the bake-sale. I made chocolate cupcakes with three kinds of buttercream: pink coconut, salted caramel, and peanut butter. I can't decide which is my favorite. They are all amazing! I am always glad to be able to contribute to events like this, and even happier when I learn how much money people are able to raise with my products. Cake can make a difference!
When baking my cakes and making buttercream, I use a LOT of egg whites. Which means I end up with a lot of leftover yolks! This can be OK, since I use the yolks to make fruit curd fillings and custards to go inside the cakes, but sometimes I just have more yolks than I can use. Luckily, one of my husband's (and my) favorite desserts is creme brulee, which uses a dozen egg yolks in the recipe. (Hey, no one says this is health food!) And so, we have wonderful vanilla bean creme brulee... smooth, cool, creamy, and sweet, with its crisp burnt sugar crust. It is such a delicious combination of contrasting textures and flavors. There is really nothing like it.
I came up with a great idea for a new cake and frosting combination, and my oldest daughter's school also happened to be having parent-teacher conferences. In my pre-kid life, I was a teacher myself, and so I know the long hours put in by the hard-working teachers at parent teacher conference time. So, I made up a batch of these cupcakes and took them to the teachers to test for me. These are brown sugar and spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting and a bit of fresh nutmeg grated on top. They're sweet and just a bit spicy, with the tangy cream cheese and hint of maple flavor. It was definitely a good combination!
It is my darling husband's birthday, and he is actually not a cake man. He likes pie. Berry pie. So, I made him his favorite, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry pie! I decorated it, too! I also made some homemade vanilla bean ice cream to go with it. So delicious!
I got an order from my girls' piano teacher this week, for cookies to be handed out at a recital. I made sugar cookies and covered them in my homemade vanilla fondant, and then decorated them with black royal icing eighth notes! They were so fun to make, and it was amazing to see how talented the kids were as they all performed their pieces!
I had such a fun time this week making a baby shower cake! This was a coconut cake with key lime filling and coconut Swiss buttercream, covered in homemade vanilla fondant and hand made sugar paste baby booties and a bow! It was so fun to sculpt the little baby booties!
French Macarons are just so wonderful. They have a delicate, crisp crust on the outside that dissolves in your mouth when you bite it, leaving way to a soft, slightly chewy inside, and then the wonderful buttercream filling in the center, so creamy and wonderful! The macaron is an experience of amazing textures and flavors unlike any other cookie. I love making macarons! They are so fun, because they can be made in any flavor and color. They are just tiny, perfect little gems! I made chocolate, raspberry, and vanilla macarons for wedding favors for my mom's wedding back in May, and they came out so fun! Today I just did basic vanilla macarons. They are so wonderful!
When it comes to cake flavors, I'm always looking to try new things. One of the things I like is to take an established flavor profile from something that does the flavor artificially and make it using real ingredients. So today I experimented with making my own version of "cherry chip" cake mix. Cherry chip cake mix has a slightly almond flavored white cake base with little red bits of artificial cherry flavor mixed in - sort of like the "blueberries" in a lot of blueberry muffin mixes. Ew. I didn't want to just use maraschino cherries, because that flavor can be powerfully strong in a not-good way. So, I turned to cherry pie filling. I drained the cherries out of some cherry pie filling, rinsed and dried them, and then cut them into little bits. Then I stirred these into my favorite white cake recipe and baked it up! For the frosting, I used some of the cherry gel that I had drained off to flavor my Swiss meringue buttercream cherry. For fun, I added one maraschino cherry to the top. These are so pink and cheerful! I baked some cupcakes and a single 9-inch layer, to see how both would perform. They came out wonderfully moist and soft, with great cherry flavor, but definitely not artificial! Test successful!
I did my first wedding cake this week! It is a 10-inch, 8-inch, 6-inch cake with coconut cake and key lime filling in the bottom tier, white cake with chocolate caramel ganache and pecans in the middle tier, and chocolate cake with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting for the top tier. Then, I covered each tier in homemade vanilla rolled fondant, and decorated it with hand made sugar paste flowers. Each rose took me half an hour to sculpt! I am please with how well it came out!