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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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As mentioned in our One Year Photos, I didn’t want to pay a ton to get some really great pics of my little guy on his birthday.  So, I decided to do a smash cake session in the back yard.  We bought some balloons and I baked a cake and we let our little man loose!  He wasn’t super crazy about getting the cake on his hands.  He doesn’t always like to be messy.  But I think we got a few good pictures nonetheless.

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Only in  California could I take these pictures on New Year’s Eve!

 

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We decided to have a library themed party for Harry’s first birthday.  We chose this theme because we want to promote reading, of course, and because Harry loves his books.  We also go to a weekly library that Harry really enjoys.  I started the party with the invitations.  I had a great idea of how I wanted it to look, so I got it done a couple MONTHS in advance.  But once I had the invitation done, I needed to start planning the actual party and I realized my idea wasn’t quite as broad as I had thought.  But, I was very happy with the way it all came together and I believe both Harry and our guests had a good time.

I mimicked the old libabry check-out cards for the invite.  I bought some old books at a thrift store to create a pocket that the card would slip into.

I mimicked the old libabry check-out cards for the invite. I bought some old books at a thrift store to create a pocket that the card would slip into.

I made this shirt for Harry.  I used some iron on bonding to adhere the ribbon suspenders and the one.  The bow tie I glued on with a hot glue gun.

I made this shirt for Harry. I used some iron on bonding to adhere the ribbon suspenders and the one. The bow tie I glued on with a hot glue gun.

While most of the party was outside, I did put up some decorations inside as well.  I found some cute 4x6 card packs on sale in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby.  I punched holes and threaded them with yarn to make the banner.  Harry liked them.

While most of the party was outside, I did put up some decorations inside as well. I found some cute 4×6 card packs on sale in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby. I punched holes and threaded them with yarn to make the banner. Harry liked them.

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I made banners out of old children's books.

I made banners out of old children’s books.

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We put clusters of balloons nailed into the grass to add color to an area where we couldn't otherwise hang anything.  It looked great.

We put clusters of balloons nailed into the grass to add color to an area where we couldn’t otherwise hang anything. It looked great.

Along the side of the house that has a wooded fence, we put up library sections and posters with books related quotes that I made on my computer then had printed at Staples.  I decided to go with a chalkboard look so that I could print in black and white without losing any of the effect I was going for.

Along the side of the house that has a wooded fence, we put up library sections and posters with books related quotes that I made on my computer then had printed at Staples. I decided to go with a chalkboard look so that I could print in black and white without losing any of the effect I was going for.

We put library section sings all around the yard, wherever we could find a way to make them stick.  This were hung on the balcony that over looks the backyard.

We put library section sings all around the yard, wherever we could find a way to make them stick. This were hung on the balcony that over looks the backyard.

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We hired a taco man for the main food, but wanted to make sure there were baby friendly foods as well.  I do think many of our guest (not just the little ones) enjoyed the option of Peanut Butter and Marshmallow or Cream Cheese and Jelly sandwiches.

We hired a taco man for the main food, but wanted to make sure there were baby friendly foods as well. I do think many of our guest (not just the little ones) enjoyed the option of Peanut Butter and Marshmallow or Cream Cheese and Jelly sandwiches.

I wanted to make sure there was something for the kids to actually do at the party besides just sit around, so I had an arts and crafts station and we gave out books as the party favor.  At the arts and crafts station, they could decorate party hats, decorate a bag to take home their goodies in, mold something out of play dogh and color.

I wanted to make sure there was something for the kids to actually do at the party besides just sit around, so I had an arts and crafts station and we gave out books as the party favor. At the arts and crafts station, they could decorate party hats, decorate a bag to take home their goodies in, mold something out of play dogh and color.

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I local thrift store sells children's books for 25 cents, so I was able to get enough that each child could pick one to take home as a favor.

I local thrift store sells children’s books for 25 cents, so I was able to get enough that each child could pick one to take home as a favor.

I made three types of cupcakes, Almond Joy, Lemon Delight, and Blue Suede.  They were all pretty good, but my favorites were the Blue Suede and Lemon Delight.

I made three types of cupcakes, Almond Joy, Lemon Delight, and Blue Suede. They were all pretty good, but my favorites were the Blue Suede and Lemon Delight.

I bought two packs of the candles that spell out Happy Birthday and swapped out the p's for r's and spray painted them so the candles would spell Harry's name.

I bought two packs of the candles that spell out Happy Birthday and swapped out the p’s for r’s and spray painted them so the candles would spell Harry’s name.

This shot cracks me up!  Harry didn't want to touch his cake at first, but once I finally got him to taste it, he realized he liked it after all.  He wanted to give it a big hug!

This shot cracks me up! Harry didn’t want to touch his cake at first, but once I finally got him to taste it, he realized he liked it after all. He wanted to give it a big hug!

This is Harry with one of his Aunties who he doesn't get to see too often, Paul's sister Kristi.

This is Harry with one of his Aunties who he doesn’t get to see too often, Paul’s sister Kristi.

Harry with Grandpa.

Harry with Grandpa.

This is Harry's cousin Gia.

This is Harry’s cousin Gia.

One of my dearest friends Tiffiny was able to make it!

One of my dearest friends Tiffiny was able to make it!

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Harry enjoyed some time with Grandma Katie before the party got started.

Randi and I met last year in our new mom's group right after our babies were born.  Her little guy, Charlie, is one of Harry's first friends.

Randi and I met last year in our new mom’s group right after our babies were born. Her little guy, Charlie, is one of Harry’s first friends.

Dan is one of Paul's oldest friends.  They went to high school together and Dan one even one of Paul's best men in our wedding.  It was great to see Dan and Sarah as they live pretty far and we don't the opportunity too often.

Dan is one of Paul’s oldest friends. They went to high school together and Dan one even one of Paul’s best men in our wedding. It was great to see Dan and Sarah as they live pretty far and we don’t the opportunity too often.

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This is Grandma Katie with Harry's youngest cousin, Luka, who is only a month old!

This is Grandma Katie with Harry’s youngest cousin, Luka, who is only a month old!

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These are my parents, Dan and Mary. Harry loves his grandma and grandpa!

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This is my Grandpa, so Harry’s Great Grandpa, with one of my younger cousins Tommy. We were so glad they were all able to come.

There was a great turn out for the part!  We were so glad to see everyone and it was fun to gather all the kids for a picture.

There was a great turn out for the part! We were so glad to see everyone and it was fun to gather all the kids for a picture.

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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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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.

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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 brilliant. Not that I didn’t already know this interesting factoid, it’s why I married him after all. But he showed his brilliance once again recently when he was cleaning out the garage.

I had put an old spice-rack in a yard sale pile thinking I had no need for it. It was full of spices I didn’t use and, as much as I liked how cool it looked on my countertop (it made me feel like a better cook than I actually am), I figured I could get a little cash for it since I honestly didn’t use it. But DH saw it when he was cleaning and organizing our junk and thought of a great idea for it.

You see, when we had our house tented for termites this last summer, we had to bag everything. It was a horribly tedious project that happened to highlight how many sprinkles I have acquired over the last few years. I have a couple dozen little cups of sprinkles in all the colors of the rainbow. And when DH was cleaning the garage he saw the old spice-rack and for some reason thought of the sprinkles.

And that’s how my brilliant husband came up with the brilliant idea to use the old spice rack to store my colorful sprinkles beautifully displayed instead of hidden away to be forgotten about. .

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Don’t they look pretty?

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As I mentioned, I’m WAY behind, so here is a cake from about 10 weeks ago…  A Drum Cake, or at least, that’s what I’m calling it.  A friend contacted me because she was having her son and daughter dedicated at the same time, and wanted a cake to represent and celebrate both of them. She had found a picture of something similar and requested a few personalizations.

Generally, I’m hesitant to make a cake based on a picture.  I’m always afraid that in copying another picture, the cake will fall short from the client’s expectations.  If they have a clear idea or expectation in their mind about what they want, it’s sometimes hard to live up to that in reality.  Plus, if things don’t go as planned, then I don’t have as much flexibility in the process to change the plans.  But, this concept seemed simple enough, and with the personalizations, I agreed to make the cake based on the provided photo.

Each tier was three layers of vanilla cake with raspberry filling in between.  I did a six inch and an eight inch.  I used a basic vanilla buttercream under the fondant.  And the pink fondant, (as with the first communion cake) was made from strawberry marshmallows.

I was so flattered the next morning when Wendy called me to thank me again and let me know how much they enjoyed the cake.  They were not only pleased with the look, which is important, of course, but they also thought it tasted delicious!  And that is the most important part!

 

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