Archive for the ‘baked art’ Category


This cake was seriously so rich that I can’t do it true justice with words or pictures.  But I’ll try.  The cake was three layers.  The top and bottom layer were butter pecan.  That cake by itself is so good.  But I sandwiched between it a layer of butter yellow cake.  And the filling, oh it was unreal.  I made a caramel mousse that was so so good.  And the outside of this cake was chocolate buttercream.  I actually just followed the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box for the first time ever.  And I found myself wondering why I’d never made this recipe before.  If fact, I wondered why I had ever bothered to purchase chocolate frosting when this recipe was so good and so so easy.  I coated the outside of the cake with milk chocolate chips, because why not and because moarchocolate!  Yep, this cake was rich.  Moist, buttery, chocolatey, beautiful.  And oh so rich.





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A couple weeks ago I was hired to make cupcakes for a wedding.  The bride was open to what flavors she got, but she did request a batch of gluten free.  I had given her some of the cupcakes as a taste test from Harry’s Birthday party.  She loved the Almond Joy cupcakes and the Lemon Delight.  But wanted something different than the blue suede.

We settled on Lemon Delight which was lemon cake with homemade lemon curd filling and light whipped frosting (I love my Bettercream!).  I garnished them with white sugar crystals, yellow nonpareils and lemon gumdrops cut into wedges.

The next flavor was the Amond Joy I’d made before.  The cake was chocolate almond cake with coconut cream filling and topped with rich vanilla almond buttercream.  I garnished these with coconut shavings and raw almonds.

The next flavor was Raspberry white chocolate.  This was a white cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate mousse on top.  It is a very simple and classic wedding flavor.

Finally was the gluten-free.  I made a a gluten-free chocolate cake and filled it with a rich chocolate buttercream.  I topped it off with caramel mousse and light brown and dark brown sprinkles.  Long gone are the days of gluten-free being synonymous with tastes bad.  These ones were really rich and a huge hit.











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Monsters Inc has somewhat fallen to the wayside now that Monsters U has come out.  It’s still a cute movie, but difficult to find many decorations that don’t have the updated university imagery.  But my friend wanted to do a Monsters Inc party, nonetheless.  And she recruited me to make the cake and smash cake.

We decided on a Mike themed smash cake and Sully themed big cake.  The size difference was a great fit.  I thought maybe I’d put fur on the whole large cake, but it turns out that frosting fur is much harder on my hands than I had thought.  So, I decided to stop after covering the sides and then do some piping on the top.

The small cake is vanilla cake with vanilla Bettercream frosting.  The large cake is two layers of yellow cake and a layer of chocolate cake with white chocolate and caramel mousse fillings.  I frosted the cake with chocolate buttercream before decorating.  It was really yummy.


Monsters Inc Cakes







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A friend of mine was in need of a smash cake for her little girl but she was on a tight timeline.  She was in the middle of moving and hadn’t planned a party, but wanted to do something special anyway.  So, I was happy to be able to help her out.  She sent me a picture of the outfit her little girl would be wearing and I knew immediately that I wanted to make her a pink ruffle cake.

This is the outfit that inspired the cake.

This is the outfit that inspired the cake.


I did a pink strawberry cake with pink vanilla buttercream frosting.  It was a small cake, only six inches in diameter, but it was also six inches tall.






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A couple weeks ago I made these awesome hostess copycat cupcakes. They’re chocolate cake with cream filling, chocolate ganache, and cute little loops on top. I used my good ol’ faithful pastry pride for the filling. I made the ganache with Nestle Tollhouse milk chocolate chips and cream. When making the ganache, I recommend finding a chocolate that you really like because that’s what the flavor will come from. Put it all in a sauce pan over low heat and add a little bit of cream. I know, lack of measurements is probably not very helpful, so here’s a rough guess of what I used – 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup cream. You can use more or less cream, but the whole point is to have the chocolate soft and pliable even when it cools back down.

The key to these cupcakes is the tall paper liners. I found some tall liners at Hobby Lobby, but I’ve also seen them at my local cake and candy supply store. The tall liners keeps the cake from spilling out and allows you to add the ganache once you’ve added the cream filling. Speaking of adding the ganache, I just spooned some onto the cupcakes once they were baked, cooled and filled with cream filling. While the ganache was still warm, I put a little white buttercream frosting into a ziplock bag and cut the corner off and piped the loops right on top. By doing this step before the ganache set, it allowed the cream to sink in a bit and set with the chocolate.

I had been wanting to try these for a while, so when my mom asked me to bring cupcakes for my dad’s birthday dinner, I was happy for an excuse to make them.



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When Harry was born, I joined a new mom support group. At the time there were about a dozen moms and we all had babies about the same time. I stayed in touch with a good handful of them, and now since it’s been a year, it’s birthday party season. So I’ve got about five birthday parties to attend within about a month. And that’s not counting Harry’s party which is coming up in two weeks.

Since we have lots of birthday parties to attend, I wanted to do something special for each one. But of course buying gifts isn’t always the most special thing to do. And I know Harry got a lot of Christmas gifts, so I don’t necessarily think that toys are with my friends need. So I offered to make the smash cakes. And a couple of our friends took us up on it.

For the party we went to yesterday, they were having a Safari themed birthday. It wasn’t an all out traditional Safari, it was more like a “first birthday girly colors with giraffes and elephants Safari.”

For the cake, I decided to use sprinkles. I made the cake with vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream because it’s the safest most mild cake flavors for a one-year-old to eat. I cut out some shapes using my Cricut and wax paper. I borrowed a cartridge from a friend of mine that has some really cute Safari birthday animals. Once the cake was frosted, I put the cut out shapes onto the frosting. And then the fun part! I put handfuls of sprinkles and just pressed them into the side of the cake. I used different colors around the sides, and then used a lot of the sprinkles that had fallen off on the top.

Once the cake was covered in sprinkles, I put it into the fridge to let the frosting set. Buttercream frosting can get really firm in the fridge, just like butter does. So I wanted the cake in the coldness of the fridge to get nice and firm before removing the wax paper. Once the frosting was firm, I simply peeled off the wax paper cutouts. And I was left with a beautiful white smooth spot where the wax paper had been. I took a knife to carve out the shape of an ear on the elephant and the eyes on the giraffe. I even added a little reflection in the balloon that’s tied to the dress tail.

I was very pleased with the way the cake turned out, and I know that little Evey liked it too.





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A few years ago, I experienced a maple bacon donut. DH and I were at the LA County fair, and it was the featured food. And it was amazing! First of all, it was as big as your face. The enormity of it alone made it fun, but really it was the crispy warm freshness that made it especially good. It was the perfect balance of fried, sweet, and salty. It is the epitome of fair food.

There's my hot hubby showing off that wonderful donut!  I wasn't exaggerating when I said it's as big as you're face.

There’s my hot hubby showing off that wonderful donut! I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it’s as big as you’re face.

Since then, I have started to see maple bacon desserts in various forms all over the place.  They all look so fun, so a couple years ago, I tried a maple bacon cupcake recipe myself.  But that recipe was too involved and I haven’t done it again since. Recently, however, I happened to have about six pieces of cooked bacon that we didn’t have a specific plan for, so DH suggested I make maple bacon cupcakes again.  I decided to go for it, but instead of following the old complicated recipe I used before, I wanted to keep it simple and experiment.  Here’s what I did.


Cupcake Ingredients

  • One Box White or Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Vanilla or Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Maple Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Real Maple Syrup
  • 6 Pieces of Cooked Bacon

Cupcake Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Mix first five ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until incorporated (careful not to over mix).  Batter will be thick.  Crush up the bacon and add to batter.  Mix briefly.
  • Spoon batter into cupcake pan to be two thirds full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until tops are dry.  When finished, allow to cool completely before frosting.

*Recipe makes 12 cupcakes

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Butter, softened
  • 6 0z. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Maple Extract
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 lb Powdered Sugar
  • 1-4 Tbs. Milk, as needed

Frosting Directions

  • In stand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and fully incorporated. Add extracts and salt and continue mixing.
  • With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar.  Once sugar is added, frosting may be crumbly and pasty.  Continue mixing and add milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency it reached.
  • Spoon frosting into a ziplock back and seal.  Cut a corner off the bag, and pipe onto cupcakes as desired.



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About two or so years ago, I made a Minnie Mouse cake for a friend’s daughter’s first birthday.  And about two months ago, someone saw that cake and asked if I would make one for her daughter’s first birthday.  She requested that I make the same smash cake, but with darker pink frosting.  It’s a three tiered cake, six inches on bottom, four in the middle, and three inch mouse hat tier on top.  I used a vanilla cake and vanilla butter cream frosting.  The white dots are just frosting piped on and flattened out a bit.  For the ears of this cake, I decided to make some chocolate wafer cookies. I rolled out the dough and cut it into the shape of Mickey ears with a “tail” sticking down so I could easily stick them into the cake.  Let me tell you, this method was infinitely easier than trying to use oreo cookies!  And, we got to enjoy the extra cookies, so it was a bonus for us.  I used black fondant for the hat to give it that truly smooth finish and to make it look more like a real mouse ears hat.

I made a few extra ears just in case.  I ended up not needing them though because the process worked much smoother than I anticipated.

I made a few extra ears just in case. I ended up not needing them though because the process worked much smoother than I anticipated.


Aubrie’s mom asked if I could put her name on the hat like they do as Disneyland. Because the hat was so small (only a 3 inch diameter) I couldn’t do that. But instead, I put it on the board in royal icing.


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My husband is a teacher and had back to school night this week.  When he asked me to provide some sort of baked good that he could offer to his parents, my mind started spinning.  I see SO MANY recipes on Pinterest that I am always dying to try that I jumped at the chance to make something new and special.  I decided on some cute Allsorts inspired cookies because they were so cute and colorful.  And because I thought they would be easy for parents and students to grab as they come into and out of DH’s classroom.

So, before I give you the link to the recipe that I used, let me tell you what I changed and what I will change for next time.

  • First off, I am not super familiar with Allsorts candies because I’m not super crazy about licorice.  Therefore, I had to check back a couple times to remember what colors to use and how to stack and slice them.  I also took liberties and some of the cookies I ended up with (while still really pretty) didn’t resemble the the candies AT. ALL.  Oh well!
  • I did not have any white food coloring, but I would love to get some and use it in the future.
  • For the chocolate section of the dough, I would half the amount of coco powder she called for in her recipe.  She called for 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of coco powder, next time, I will use 2 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup coco powder.  The flavor was too strong for me.  I will add a little black food coloring to make sure it’s nice and dark still.
  • I added almond extract and coconut extract to the colored doughs.  I like those flavors and I think it gave them a nice touch.
  • Be sure to freeze the dough after forming/cutting your cookies before baking.  It kept them from changing shape in the oven.  And, for that matter, freezing between rolling out and cutting really helped keep the dough workable.

And that’s it.  I loved these cookies and look forward to making them again. Here’s the recipe I used.  Aren’t her cookies and pictures absolutely gorgeous!  Her photography is amazing and you can see why I was inspired to make some of these little guys.

Don't the red round ones with chocolate centers look like dog treats, lol?

Don’t the red round ones with chocolate centers look like dog treats, lol?

The cube ones with three colors are about 1/4 x 1/4 inch and the round one with sprinkles is about 1 inch round.  Cute and tiny.
The cube ones with three colors are about 1/4 x 1/4 inch and the round one with sprinkles is about 1 inch round. Cute and tiny.


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I almost called this post “Nightmare Mickey Mouse Chocolate Wafer Cookies,” but once I got the ball really rolling on these puppies, they weren’t too bad after all.

My friend Kristin was having a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party for her little man‘s second birthday and I offered to make some cookies to go along with the theme.  I had in mind to find a black cookie, cut them out with a cute cookie cutter I found at a local cake and candy supply store, dip them in red chocolate and then add some white chocolate chips for buttons.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey, right?  Well, not right.

It turned out that finding a recipe for black cookies wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  I started by searching on Pinterest for homemade Oreos.  That didn’t really yield any recipes that I would be able to use a cookie cutter with.  So, I tried “black cookie dough recipe” and by doing that, I got enough results (although no actual recipes) to know that I should be searching for a “chocolate wafer cookie” recipe.  And that’s how I eventually found the recipe I ended up using.

It was a wonderful recipe that does not contain egg, and therefore I had no qualms about eating the dough {Hurray!}.  I would like to mention that I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  For one, I used coco powder that WinCo sells in the bulk section.  I honestly don’t even know what brand it is, but it’s what I could wanted to pay for.  Also, I don’t buy unsalted butter.  Ever.  I think it has no place in my kitchen, what’s the point of butter if you can’t even taste it.  So, I used what I have on hand and that is full on, salted sweet cream butter.  And finally, I used sea salt instead of kosher salt.  I don’t know the difference and Winco didn’t have kosher salt in their bulk section, so I used what I had.

I made the dough one night and let it sit in the fridge over night.  The next day, I spent over three hours working on these cookie and only had about seven cookies to show for it.  Haha!  It was in these moments that I considered tossing the lot and begging Kristin’s forgiveness.  But, then it started coming together.


I reread the directions and realized there was something in there about rolling out the dough between wax paper and parchment paper.  So, I tried that, and ta-da!  It Worked!  From that point on, it was smooth sailing.  I cranked out a couple dozen cookies in no time after that.

I waited another day before dipping them in chocolate and placing the white buttons.  They turned out great.  They were really crunchy and really rich.  The sweetness of the chocolate was a great balance.


I look forward to making these cookies again and sandwiching a rich butter cream or even some homemade ice cream between them.  I have so many ideas now!

Unrelated to cookies, but totally related to Mickey, here’s a bonus pic of me and my little Mickey Mouse at the end of a long day at Disneyland.


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