Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Holidays To All

I am a bit tardy on wishing you all a fabulous holiday season. We are still celebrating in our home, and will continue throughout the New Year. I am browsing online today looking for an amazing New Year's recipe to bring to my sister's party. I decided to pop over to see what Matthew Mead had been up to lately, only to find his recent post on my favorite kitchen accessory, The Cake Stand. He sums up how I feel precisely about my personal cake stand collection.

Please stay tuned, I am finding the perfect recipe for all of us cake devotees. Here is a hint: Champagne + Butter=Celebration!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Little Uplifting For a Wintry Sunday

"As long as we can breathe, or eyes can see. So long lives cake, and cake gives life to thee."


So little posting here, but I had to share a Chocolate Rose Tutorial I found on a favorite blog of mine, Cake On The Brain. Enjoy! Another very pretty chocolate rose cake can be found at the blog, Jenny Bakes Cakes. Check out this picture.

Happy Fall!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Amazing Wedding Cakes Show

Where have I been? Well, apparently not watching television. I have heard for a few weeks now about the Amazing Wedding Cakes Show. How could I not want to watch this? We, however, did not get the We(T.V., that is). Rumor had it my not-too-far-away cake designer favorites, The Cakegirls, were on the show (please check out their fabulously updated site). That was enough to get me an upgrade. I now have 250 channels so that I can watch one hour of television per week. Really, I have four kids and work full time outside the home. I don't watch t.v.

Why are the Cakegirls my favorite? When searching for modern cake inspiration over two years ago, I looked for cake and Chicago and their site appeared. I told my daughters, "these girls should be on Food Network". Well, now they have been there, done that. Another swell reason I love the Cakegirls? Michiganders. Detroit-area Michiganders. They look like family, or some friends I would see at the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Detroit. I hope the show gives me some hints....we will see! I am off to watch!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's a Blogger's Life

Image Source

Phew! Summer has come and gone and not much blogging going on here! Our family just ran a three month long race of weekend trips to the farm, and almost nil time on the computer (gasp!).

Amid my quick trips to my favorite store, I was able to pick up some cake stands for a steal. What baker cannot use more stands for their goodies? If you are looking for a great buy on cake or dessert stands, online give ABC Distributing a try. Very reasonable for stands!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lazy Swell Days of Summer

Why am I so out of commission these days? I can't even answer that one. I miss my blogging desperately, however, summer has been more than busy. My days are filled with working and nights are filled with beach time, laundry and cleaning. Thoughts of turning on the oven fade quickly when my air conditioning is already cranking. The baking bug bites me though at night when the sun has faded and our house is cooling. I realize I can't wait to get back at it....
That being said, I am taking the second Wilton class finally. Time goes by so quickly here at our Swell House and before I know it another month of no cake learning is happening. I finally have an excellent teacher who really wants us to learn the ancient art of piping.
I am still seeking knowledge from other places, and I found a great clay tutorial on Martha that is really appropriate to use for gumpaste. Check out her link on how to make a hydrangea. Just substitute gumpaste for the clay and you are all set--the best part is virtually no supplies are needed to make her hydrangeas. That is really a bonus because most cake ventures require a purchase of some sort. For a full-bloom tutorial on the buttercream hydrangea, check out Whimsical Bakehouse's tutorial on their Blooming Hydrangea Cake.

Monday, August 4, 2008

More Swell Stuff

I am having big problems uploading my favorite apron pictures, but I will send you to her website anyways. Just get an eyeful of Callie Mick's aprons and I think even the most defiant baker will agree that the apron should never go away. The logic of the apron defied my sensical ways until recently when I realized I was the only modern baker still wiping my hands on kitchen towels. Tired of looking for the towel, I realized the "always on another counter" towel could easily be replaced by the good old fashioned apron! Oh, and when you are looking around for cute aprons, you also need to try Sommer Designs. Carrie Sommers and her apron's could not be any cuter and may just make your husband want to pull out his pipe while reading the newspaper.

Not that I don't already own one. A picture of my female cousins and I was taken ten years ago at Christmas when one of the Aunt's gave each of us an apron from our beloved Grandmother's collection. It was in those apron's she made her Irish Mashed Potatoes, of which I could not stomach, onions and all. Thank goodness she usually made the onion-free, or American version, for my carb loving self. I refuse though to wear the apron from my Grandmother. Yet. First, I feel it may just be too special to wear. She died in 1988, after living since the turn of the century-last century. Second, it is in the Valley of the Unknown, a.k.a., My Hope Chest. I just don't know if I could bear to open a box full of so many momentos from years past. I fear the afternoon would be gone before me.

Thus a minuscule history on how we came to love the apron again. I will happily wear the new ones making cakes. Maybe Grandma's should be brought out on special occasions. Please pass the ba-tatas.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Glam Cake

O.K., I am really loving the glam look and love even more that it has transcended into the cake world. This gorgeous cake is from I Dream Of Cake and couldn't express the glam trend any better. I am trying to imagine how in the world Shinmin Li made this one, but if I learn, I will let you all in on the secret. True artistry!
In fun family news, we returned from a visit to my husband's hometown for the Fourth of July weekend. Oh, the fun we had. I had a chance to go out with my crazy sister in law and we all have children similar ages, so it is one non-stop funtime for the whole fam. The twins even ran a booth with my niece doing hair wraps and friendship bracelets at the nearby Farmer's Market. They were so cute and so excited to earn money! My hubby's family also has a farm so next weekend they are going to sell some raspberries from it. I am so happy they are able to create such fun memories of summer. Off to bake for now.....and to enjoy these beautiful summer sunsets.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Into The Oven!

My sentiments exactly! I think I can eat cake daily, although, I do not! I could manage a cupcake a day, but if I make them, they are pretty much gone within a day. My husband is getting annoyed having so much cake around. Annoyed almost as much as when I had to have Dairy Queen blizzards every night during the loooong nine months of pregnancy with the twins. I think he gained fifteen pounds that pregnancy and it never really left him. Sorry Honey!!! I will begin giving these cakes away soon!

On to my original thoughts with this post. The picture above is just a portion of the logo from the website, Into The Oven. Not only do I love the simplicity of the site, their product lines are the ones I am looking for. They also have excellent shipping rates and ship very fast for those of us who delay. Xia, your baking mistress at Into The Oven, brings a nice variety of newer unknown products while keeping the mainstays in stock. You can find everything from great looking cupcake liners to fishing lure chocolate molds. Xia also stocks India Tree's vegetable colored sugar crystals for anyone who wants to keep their cake as natural as possible. So much variety, it is hard to choose where to begin.

P.S. She also has a super cute logo!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Damask Stencil Cake Supplies

As I have been wondering where do all of these cake designers get the amazing stencils and script letters for use on cakes. I knew they were not doing these intricate stencils freehand. Ahhh, Designer Cake Stencils to the rescue! They have the stencil as featured on Martha's cake above. In addition, they have cookie stencils, really cool stencils for cake tops and full size cake stencils. I had seen their site a few months ago when I first saw the above cake, but they did not have the stencil set for sale yet. This cake has to be time consuming, but sooo worth the effort.

In unrelated news, I have been a bad blogger. The woes of mommyhood. I now find myself working full time in an uninspiring position whilst my kiddies spend their summer with an amazing nanny. And just recently the job of a lifetime came across my lap. No, not cake related. But one that would give my undergrad degree meaning, one mile from my home, and extremely prestigious and allow me to pay for my children's college. Will I get it? Who knows. It may dash my cake dreams in the short term, but may also fuel a kitchen addition. Hence, the lack of posting. No worries, though. Cake does not leave this swell kitchen. Oh no, it will carry on. If not with me, the next generation. I can't wait to post what my two twinnies have recently made.

Onward with the week-have a great one!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

(photo source)

So I was browsing my favorite blog of late....and could not resist sharing this dress with you! What is up with the Australian scene? I can't get over how much I love everything they are doing these days! Not just cakes....check out Wedding Style Guide's post about Rose & Ruby. Their clothing designs are total Breakfast At Tiffany's meets modern extravagance. Give their website a browse...their Winter 08 (remember we are talking Australia here) collection was/is superb. Visions of cake designs with draped and marbled fondant danced in my head....oh, sorry, cake on the brain-always!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Swell Recipe: Chocolate Buttaahcream

I am sharing my chocolate buttercream recipe with you. Honestly, I think I got it from Martha, but it has been so long that I cannot be sure. This buttercream is the perfect blend of sweet, chocolatey and salty all at once. You can use unsalted butter, but I (and the family) really love the salty side of this icing when I use the salted butter. Sounds funny, doesn't it? Well, it really works and you will know what I mean when you try this. I am sure Martha would have you use an unsalted butter and then add in the salt later. It is up to you, but if you try it my way, I don't think you will be disappointed. For some reason I wrote on the recipe that you can halve the recipe for a regular cake. Better not do that, as you may have too thin of a layer of icing. I made a half recipe for these cupcakes and it was not enough when I did the big swirls on top.
My husband wrote his love note on the recipe one night when I was up late baking. He enjoys that I love baking-and the end results! I really need to go through all of my abused recipes and get organized. This one is starting to worry me. At least I have it here if I lose my post-it. As far as mixing up the icing, just beat the butter for a minute then add in the vanilla. I also tend to add extra vanilla. Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa slowly. Sooo delish!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

These cookies were for fun. I thought my kids would appreciate their initials on some cookies. The colors turned out better than I thought they would. I love the royal icing recipe that I found on Cake Central. It has a lemony flavor from meringue powder that is super tasty!

I have seen these cookies on Martha forever, but was not too excited about trying a cookie with hard icing. These are fast becoming my favorite cookie though, mostly because they do not become a gooey mess in the hot and humid weather we are having here in West Michigan.

School is out and my kids are celebrating with parties and picnics and last soccer games. Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lemon Cordial Make a simple sugar syrup by bringing equal quantities of water and white sugar to a gentle simmer until all sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool. Mix 750ml of sugar syrup with 250ml of fresh lemon juice and pour into clean, dry bottles and seal. When ready to serve, fill each chilled glass with 1/3 cordial and 2/3 mineral water, together with plenty of ice and a hint of fresh mint.

(recipe and image source)
Jane from Wedding Style Guide sent me a copy of their super luxe magazine a couple of weeks ago. It arrived in a beautifully wrapped package, just waiting for me to delve into Aussie style. I cannot get over the amazing work that Australians are doing related to weddings. What I really love most about their magazine though, besides the amazing photography and classic style, was the size. Wedding Style Guide is perfect to carry in your purse, and is just large enough to give great seasonal wedding ideas while not overburdening the consumer with advertisements.

While I am on the subject of this gorgeous magazine from Down Under, I will tell you I have recently found many amazing cake designers from Australia. I have known about Planet Cake for a long time. They have great videos on YouTube, for the beginning cake designer.

BabyCakes is another great Australian vendor. These three sisters don't just provide cake services. They also do event styling and stationary. A one stop event shop! Also check out Polka Dot Cookies & Cakes. I love their retro website!

Thanks again, Jane! I only wish Wedding Style Guide would publish here in the States!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

We Ran A 5K!

Today was the big 5K. It was awesome! Over 600 girls participated from across our county. This event reminds me every year why we chose to live in West Michigan. We have a beautiful city, with people who really care about our overall well-being and the future of our children. I have never lived in such a family-friendly place, and am proud of the effort that every person in this city puts forth to keep it so family-oriented.
If you have never heard of this awesome program, please check it out! I can't even tell you how happy my girls were when they finished this race! A couple of years ago, the program founder, Molly Barker, came to speak at our annual event. She is awesome and very inspiring!
Sorry...I had to brag on my town. I love this place and the beauty that I am surrounded with living here. The people are great, too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cute Cuppie Papers!

How cute are these cuppies? They are from Etsy seller, Yummy Cuppy Crafts. Really reasonably priced at $6.00 per dozen, I think they give a great presentation to the plain cuppy! Where else can you find such cool cupcake designs, you ask?

Definitely try Fancy Flours. They have some really cool cuppies, as well as regular cupcake liners. And check out the price on some of their liners! Very reasonable!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Flowers....

This is my latest creation...just for spring. I am trying out buttercream recipes and this was a tester. Also more practice with fondant. I just cannot bring myself to do a whole cake in fondant as my family and I do not enjoy eating fondant. I am really on the fence about fondant. The look is awesome, but eating it is a whole other issue for us. It was tough to make the scrolls I wanted here, but I believe it is because I make my own fondant. All in all, a great practice cake that my kids can't wait to get their hands on!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Silhouette Love

Are we all loving silhouettes, or what? I know I am and was inspired from My Sweet and Saucy to make some silhouette cookies. When I think of silhouettes, I think of the old days in school when our parents were provided with a silhouette of us kids. I have always wanted a silhouette of my own children, and even found an artist at a local art show that makes them. Instead of paying $75 per child, you could make them at home using these directions from Brooklyn Bride.
I did not have a cutter for these, so I made a template from Sweet and Saucy's picture and hand cut the dough. Whew! That was a long process and just writing about it I am reminded to never do that again. They are my first royal icing decorated cookies, and I had a great time making them, minus the cookie cutter. I am now on the hunt for a cute silhouette cookie cutter. If I find one, I will let you all know!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It was Friday, with Dorie

While I figure out my &*$#! camera problems, I have to let you know I just scored this baking handbook for $7.99 at T.J.Maxx. Searching and searching their book section I knew there would be a dessert book that I was dying for. T.J.'s did not fail me, as usual!

I have been wanting this book for a long time but being the mother of four children, I do not pay full price for much of anything. Retail would have been $40.00, and Amazon would have been $26.40 plus shipping. Gotta love T.J.'s!

I am not a member of Tuesday's With Dorie....yet. I am just finally getting ready to beg for membership to the Daring Bakers. I think a once a month baking commitment is about all I could handle right now.

I devoured the "baking book" immediately. Beautiful photography, recipes that all seem to die for. Highly recommended, but see if you can snag the deal I did at T.J.'s!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tiny Stuff Rocks!

I love these fruit shaped cutters from Sur La Table. I love the fact that the tiny little fruit shapes are separate from the cookie cutter. I can imagine so many adorable uses for those little guys! Fondant cupcake decorations would be tops on the list! They have been placed on my "to buy" list for sure! Maybe we should do a giveaway for these soon....keep checking back...these are just to die for imho!
I am still working on my camera....I have been downloading pics like crazy and just need to get rid of some saved stuff. Boy all this administrative stuff sure takes time! Needless to say, I have several spring produce baked goods pictures and recipes coming soon!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Flowers for My Blogging Friends

Gorgeous Flower Picture From Wedding Style Guide

So sorry for my absence, blogger friends. This is directly due to my side business, taxi service. I have never driven so much and the only reason I am not on the road right at this moment is because my husband so kindly volunteered to take ALL children so that I could have some moments at the home front. Instead, I was relegated Webkinz duty, ensuring that timed prizes are won by all. Oh, I am also still in my pajamas at 5:20 in the afternoon. This being the result of a lovely day had cleaning and scouring our own personal trash basin, the basement.

Beyond all of this family business, I am passionately baking. Well, not cakes, but using the ingredient in my freezer. I recently made rhubarb crunch and was fascinated by this lovely vegetable. Ohhh, so delicious it was that I had to make it twice in the same week. I am off to the store soon to replace the camera batteries, because when you have children, somehow the camera is turned on and off constantly when taking pictures of backyard turtles and snakes. Those lovely pics of the rhubarb crunch are coming forthright. Where did I get my rhubarb you ask? My lovely mother-in-law keeps us in full stock of rhubarb and raspberries and jams fresh from the family farm in the thumb of Michigan. After tasting my rhubarb crunch I am going to beg her for more this summer. I think she will be pleased that I used it. My husband buckled at the knees after tasting it, giving me the confirmation that the recipe is a keeper. For a full run-down on rhubarb, click here.

The flower picture above was from a new favorite website of mine, Wedding Style Guide. It is a gorgeous site based on the Australian wedding magazine by the same name. They have very beautiful pictures and plenty of information for those of you planning a wedding. To die for cake pictures as well!

Rhubarb Crunch Bars,


1 1/2 Cups Oats

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 Cup Butter

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda


3 Cups Chopped Rhubarb

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

2 Tbsp. Corn Starch

1/4 Cup Water

1 tsp. Vanilla

Combine all ingredients for crust, mixing until crumbly, as for a pie crust. Pat half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan.

For the filling, combine the rhubarb, corn starch and water in a medium saucepan. The mixture will be a white color. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook on low until the mixture is a pink color but clear. Take off heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour filling over crust and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing into bars.

Sooo delicious!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cakespy....great goods!

More pretty macarons, Courtesy of the MadBaker

Having recently discovered the blogger Cakespy and her Etsy shop, I found her post today quite appropriate to my interest in macaroons/macarons. For an education on the origins of the American macaroon check out her blog! I love both the American and French macaroon/macaron, but find the French version much more difficult to perfect.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Macaroon Madness On The Run

Photo From Serious Eats

My lastest interest is little desserts. Naturally the French macaroon came to mind, with them being such a worldwide craze right now. I am not over the cupcake craze, but am very interested in learning the exquisite intricacies of The Macaron (notice French spelling). Way too many bloggers have posts on them to list here. For fun's sake though I will list some of my favorites: Mad Baker, Chubby Hubby, Cake On The Brain and etc.

Why do I love The Macaroon, you ask? What is not to love? A petite cookie that makes you feel like a french lady in her designer clothes sitting by the Seine? The cookie itself is Beautiful and the thought that comes to mind just looking at their gorgeousness brings me back....back to a time when I was young(er), but that is too much story for today.

One of our activities right now is Girl's On The Run. Apparently my oldest daughters cannot run enough. Besides playing soccer they are also running on their days off. They are identical twins and I do wonder if they do it because deep down they just can't stand not to be competitive all of the time. This year they also wanted me to coach for them so one day a week I am right there with them. Unfortunately my running passion left me when I was up eight times a night with two baby girls. It never came back after eleven years. Thanks to my blogger friends I have discovered the Couch To 5K program and I am on my way to completing that 5K with my daughters. Due to our chaotic schedule I am forced to adjust it on my own, but it is very realistic for getting up to the 5K mark.

With all the running there is virtually no baking going on. I finally used up all of the cream from my previous whoopie lasts a long time refrigerated! Yes I still need to post pics and just when I found time and energy to get online my camera battery was dead. Funny, making a short stop into Walgreen's for a battery is low on priority when I have to tow in my four year old son to get it.

I have found a great website to share with you though. Vanilla Bake Shop has a beautiful web site and Hollywood-worthy cakes and cupcakes. Amy Berman left her day job on Will & Grace (yes, the show) and went to pastry school. But she says she is finally happy...even after being so successful in La La land. How inspiring!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

World's Largest Bake Sale

Tempt your sweet-tooth and join us for a Mall of America sized version of Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale. Over 40, 000 mouth-watering treats baked from Food Network celebrity recipes by students from the Arts Institute International Minnesota will be available to tempt your palate. Sandra Lee star of Food Network's "Semi-Homemade" will be signing copies of her latest books. Duff Goldman from "Ace of Cakes" will be attempting to achieve a world's record for building the largest cupcake. A special cookie jar sale will round out the day's events. Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale is a national campaign that mobilizes Americans to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their communities.
Since 2003, more than 1 million people have participated in Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale, raising nearly $4 million to ensure that no child in America grows up hungry.Sunday, March 30, 200811 a.m Rotunda

If you are in Minneapolis this weekend, check it out! This reminds me that I have not uploaded my picks from the kids' bake sale. I am happy to report the whoopie pies went fabulously quickly. Amazingly I was quickly e-mailed with requests for the recipe which made me feel like I must be doing something right.

Yes, I have been too busy carting the kids to and fro to pay any attention to my sugar friends. As I drive I really do think about all of the lovely posts I could provide you all with once the spring sports rush dies down. For all of you soccer moms out there, I bow down to you!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Win Your Favorite Cake at

Jan Kish-La Petite FleurColumbus, OH Kish based her stately mossgreen cake on an English boxwood garden. Fondant gold-edged cake with piped royal icing Fiji mums and fondant leaves and stems. $13.50 per slice, serves 155;

Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone! I had to find a green cake for us all to drool over and Brides delivered for me! The above cake is a Jan Kish cake and I have been a fan of her since I saw her interesting website early last year.

And if you really love this cake, vote for it over at Brides in their Vote For-And Win-Your Favorite Cake. How exciting is that? The top wedding cake designers in this country have their gorgeous creations in this step your little leprechaun fingers over to Brides and vote for your favorite!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bake Sale....Coming Soon To A School Near You

Photo Courtesy Martha Stewart

Phew! It sure has been too long since my last post. I have the winter blues because the snow just won't stop piling up here in West Michigan. We are looking at record snowfall this year which makes life tough just getting out to the store. I am seriously lacking on my baking. However, I did bake some homemade brownies last week. Somewhat boring but I switched up my regular Hershey's cocoa for a mix of Dutch cocoa and American cocoa.

What's the diff you ask? The Dutch version has alkali added to neutralize it's acids. I don't know all the science behind it, but it is much more bitter tasting than the American cocoa powder. So beware! My hot cocoa recipe that I posted earlier was waaaay stronger with the Dutch cocoa powder.

I am coming up with some ideas for a bake sale that I am participating in next week. While browsing for ideas, Martha's year of cakes popped up. I love that idea, and I have had a goal of creating one really fabulous (decorated) cake each month. Check out
Martha's list of cakes to make for the year!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adult Hot Cocoa

As a follow-up to the kids hot cocoa I made yesterday, I found this recipe for a Spiked Jones at Martha. It combines the best flavors of coffee, Kahlua and chocolate for those of you interested in a Triple Shot of Love!

Here is her recipe:

1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole coffee beans
2 ounces semisweet chocolate (61% Valrhona), chopped
2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 teaspoon confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, chopped
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, 1/2 cup cream, and whole coffee beans. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat, cover, and steep beans for 1 hour. Strain liquid and return to saucepan; discard beans. Bring the milk-and-cream mixture back to a simmer, add chocolate, and whisk until incorporated. Remove from heat; whisk in Kahlua. Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream and the confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Divide the hot chocolate between two cups and garnish each portion with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chopped chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Mini Oatmeal Creme Pies

I am very into the Mini's these days. Mini cupcakes, mini pastries, and even mini whoopie pies. Yesterday I had some extra buttercream and decided to make some Mini Oatmeal Cream Pies. I used a teaspoon scoop for the cookies and a swirl of my tasty buttercream in the middle. They were absolutely de-lish! I had a hard time staying away from them....

I have to comment on my other pic here. The Domino sugar was wonderful! I have complained for years about sugar and flour coming in bags. I am going to have to figure out a storage system as I buy more in bulk, but for the average home baker who does not use that much flour or sugar, really, can some far thinking packaging designer come up with a better method than the bag? Am I really the only baker who loathes The Bag?? Bags are just so awkward and so when I finally opened this Domino Sugar container a heavenly chorus went off in my head. I do believe the sugar container is recyclable which was my reasoning as to why our dear sugar and flour manufacturers had not come up with something besides The Bag. Onto another tangent.

I love miniatures. So many people are loving mini-desserts these days. I love Tartelette, as you can see from my favorite things, and just realized late last night that she and Karen of Hot Potato are on a Mini Pie Revolution. They have a contest going for best Mini Pie that was due today. Uggh! Guess I missed this second contest for Mini Pies, but I will be on the lookout for the next contest. My husband has fond memories of his grandmother's Mini Lemon Tarts and Pecan Tassies, which has motivated me to re-create some Mini's of my own.

Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes

Just in time for V-Day, I found this video from Magnolia Bakery, and thought others might like to check it out. I have never personally made red velvet but hope to try soon. This is a great tutorial on how the pro's do it!

Beat The Cold

So, I whipped up a batch of hot cocoa for the kids today. My husband was taking them sledding so that I could study when we realized we were out of the mix stuff. We had a little cocoa powder left, so I jumped online and found this recipe.
Call me crazy but I didn't think of ever making homemade cocoa. I knew I had a winner when, unprompted, my six year old told me the cocoa was the "best ever". It's official, I am done buying the pre-mixed version.
I think the next logical step would be to add some lovely adult filler. Any ideas would be appreciated!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jennifer Lanne Originals

Isn't her work amazing? I was throwing out old magazines (they are very hard to part with for me) and came across an article about her in Country Living Magazine. Jennifer and her husband live on a farm in upstate New York where she has a studio and creates her beautiful artwork. She is very organic in her work and life, and that all spills over into her art. I especially enjoy the greens and reds she uses in her work.

Never fear friends, I am going to be busy baking today and will share my outcomes with you very soon. What else is there to do when it won't stop snowing? I have not seen this much snow in West Michigan since my college days.....

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Little Cupcake

Honestly I never thought I would want an apron. I have one somewhere stashed away in my hope chest that was worn by my grandmother on the memorable holidays of my youth. All this baking I do makes me want to wipe my hands constantly and my dishtowels are quickly wearing thin. Etsy to the rescue! I really loved this apron especially though, because it is for the younger set. The above apron was posted by Boojiboo and there is also one available for us bigger bakers.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ode to Olivia

These are some pics from my daughter's recent birthday party. The cake at the top is not my original version. My ten year old twins and their friend decided to jazz it up a bit. The bottom cake is my cake, although (can you believe it) my ten year old daughter did those two roses. The birthday girl originally wanted a Bratz birthday party, and I had an edible image of Bratz to put on the cake, but she and her brother could not keep from touching it and it broke apart. We decided to make the party a "pink princess, pinkalish (her words)" party because she is a pink princess. She wants everything in her life to be pink. She wants a pink house when she grows up and a pink car. It is so funny because my older daughters have always hated pink. So she is very enjoyable, diva girlieness and all.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


These were some cinnamon rolls that I made on one of the numerous snow days my kids have had recently. The kids loved them even though I totally messed the recipe while talking with my husband. This is a super simple recipe, and is not the yeast using variety. One day, I will get my nerve up and make these beauties over at La Mia Cucina. My jaw about dropped when I saw the cinnamon rolls made by Foodbeam. They are both Daring Bakers, of which cool blogger club I am vying to be a part of.
Here is the recipe for anyone interested:
2 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
8 Tbsp. Butter, softened
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
Grease your preferred baking sheet, these can really be baked on anything, I prefer a pie plate as above to hold the rolls together.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl (I have also been known to use 2 cups of a pre-made biscuit mix, i. e. Bisquick). Stir in vegetable oil, then add buttermilk and stir until blended.
Knead out the dough on a floured surface and smooth into an approximately 15x8 rectangle.
Spread the softened butter over the dough. Then combing sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the butter. I also at this step make almost a paste out of the butter/cinnamon sugar.
Roll up the rectangle as in a jelly roll. Cut the roll into 1 1/2 inch slices and arrange cut side up in your greased pan. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes.
While the rolls are baking I also whip up a quick version of cream cheese icing, usually halved for the amount of cinnamon rolls I need to cover. I also add milk to the icing until I get a nice spreading consistency, and then the icing melts on the rolls when they are warm.
*Yes, these are "quick" cinnamon rolls, but they still take a good 45 minutes and make a mess in the kitchen. Definitely a weekend or snow day type of breakfast. I always get the kids to chow these for two reasons:
1. They have a big appetite by the time they are done baking!
2. They are delicious!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cool Mom Stuff

Yes, more cool stuff. This time it is more of a mom thing, but it goes right along with parties. These are homemade birthday party hats for kids. I found them at Cool Mom Picks. There are lots of homemade goodies on the Cool Mom Picks site. The hats were picked from Notes, Inc., which is a cool site to check out too!

Any day now I should have my daughter's sixth birthday party photos. Her birthday got mixed up because apparently some of the girls didn't open their invitations that were put in their backpacks. It was also lousy weather, which I have to feel for my daughter since I have a birthday coming up and always had pretty bad weather for anything super fun on my birthday.

I am still baking way too much for my family of six to devour, so will have posts coming on that too. Isn't that all there is to do when school is cancelled practically every day (school administrators please hear my cry!). Even my cake decorating class was cancelled for the second week in a row. At least my instructor is willing to let us come in when we can to learn. It seems almost easier to teach myself everything at this point. So far, I haven't learned too much. I guess it is worth the few tricks and tips I get though. Any comments on self teaching?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Love At It's Finest

I found this Wilton Cupcake Pan at Sur La Table. I have not seen it at my local crafts supply stores, and what is not to love? I am sure any kid or kid at heart (well, me for sure anyways) would love to have this baked up for them!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spring Pleasures-Coming Soon!

This cake is my inspiration for the day. I am sure this cake is pretty familiar for many of you. It is from Martha, of course. It reminds me of spring, and reminds me that fresh flowers would really breathe some life into my house. So far the week has been rough, and the weather here is not helping at all. We have almost four feet of snow now and are in the thick of winter. I am so craving some fresh air and flowers. I have to confess to keeping fake plants around all year. Green grasses and ivy just help me feel much better when I can't even see the grass in my yard. I don't have a greenthumb for indoor plants (as my husband will tell you)although I will try from time to time.

Not that I have not been in the kitchen though! Tuesday was a snow day for the kids, so we all naturally spent much of the day in the kitchen. If I ever get to sit at this computer for more than two minutes at a time, I will start posting my own stuff.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sweet, heavenly buttercream!

Ahhh, sweet, sweet buttercream! I found this picture at cafefernando. This picture represents peace, quiet and beauty in my very busy, don't-stop-til-their-all-in-bed day. For some reason making buttercream, to me, is very cathartic. I love watching the raw ingredients transform into a voluminous cloud of whipped beauty.

After a long day there is nothing more relaxing than whipping up a fresh batch of buttercream. What I really adore about making buttercream is the relatively quick gratification in taking sugar and butter, cooking it and then whipping to perfection juxtaposed with the lifetime process of raising four children. I exhale with pure contentment at the completion of a heavenly creation.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Rose Petals Cakery

Being newer to cake decorating since 2007, I searched the internet for help. CakeCentral to the
rescue! The members on this site are always ready to help with any questions you may have about cake making. I just saw the cookies and candies above today. They are from Rose Petals Cakery in Naperville, Illinois. All of her cakes and cookies are adorable!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fat Daddy's Cupcakes

How delicious do these look? I want one right now. Nicole, of Fat Daddy Bake Shop, came up with this ingenious packaging of a cupcake. Your very own special package of deliciousness! Her cupcakes-in-a-jar are here on Etsy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

THE Most Gorgeous Cake Stands

How could I not share these? These are the most adorable cake stands out there right now.

My birthday is right around the corner..... They are made by Potluck Studios and you can get them here, at Feather Your Nest.

What's This All About?

Well, cakefriends, my blog is all about cake and everything that goes with it. No, not just milk! I will be sharing great cake ideas, foodie products, inspiring cooks, and just neat stuff. I love to bake and am working on my recipes as we blog. So look forward to many more posts!

Friday, January 11, 2008


Here I am, finally! I decided to blog about my cake journey so everyone could share my joy! I love the beauty of cakes and how they can really change someone's day. Think about it: smooth buttercream icing melting in your mouth. Delicate moist cake to finish a meal. Cakes give an event a theme and say exactly what the event is about. From birthdays to weddings a cake takes an event to the next level. Yup, I love cake!