Hoo’s turning 1?


As always, I’m a little behind on my posts. I get really motivated in spurts and then life catches up with me. Anyways- I wanted to post these owl themed cupcakes and smash cake that I baked for my little niece Ceci.

Above are the cupcakes, below is the smash cake. The cupcakes are a either chocolate or lemon with cream cheese frosting.

Her smash cake is lemon with cream cheese frosting. Luckily, her birthday being around Easter (this is a way late post) , I was able to find some brightly colored white chocolate m&ms to round out the decorations.


Here is the little cutie digging in! Happy first birthday Ceci!!!


Red Egg and Ginger Party!

I had the pleasure of making sugar cookies for a Red Egg and Ginger party for the little Miss Selah, Aletheia and Josiah’s beautiful daughter. A Red Egg and Ginger party is a Chinese tradition for newborns, typically occurring one month after they are born to celebrate and welcome them. Eggs are a symbol of fertility and red is a color of good luck, so hard boiled eggs are typically dyed red and present as a symbol at the party.

Aletheia wanted to send all of her guests home with a lucky red egg favor, so asked me to make red egg cookies with a little “S” and heart on them, in gold. IMG_2914I outlined and flooded the egg shaped sugar cookies with red royal icing.

IMG_2917After drying, I added a little “s” and heart.

DSCN0277A tin of cookies!

IMG_2923 All packaged and ready for the favors.

Welcome, little Selah! 🙂

Steph! We are so sad you are Mooo-ving!

Good-byes are never fun, but are still an occasion for cake. Our dear friend Steph got an amazing job opportunity in Switzerland, and of course we wanted to send her off in style. What’s a better theme for her going-away party than good ol’ America! (‘Murica will miss you, Steph) We started off with some red, white, and blue cupcakes- frosted in buttercream and dusted with red and blue sanding sugar.

IMG_2638I actually never have “official” colored sanding sugar on hand- I guess I don’t use it too much- so usually end up making my own version. It’s not as shiny and the crystals aren’t as large as store-bought sanding sugar, but it works! I usually just add a dab of gel food coloring to a zip lock baggie with normal sugar and massage it around a bit.

The second half of our going-away cake… took a little bit of brainstorming. Lauren, Meg, and I were trying to think of something somewhat Swiss (before we knew the theme of America, because otherwise we could’ve done a hot dog or something)… and came up with a cow. Yep, a Swiss cow- kind of like the type you’d see on a Milka wrapper.

2.2.1_milka_cowExcept, not purple. Anyways… having decided this, we dove straight in and made a cow cake:


It’s a layered 9×13 funfetti cake with buttercream and fondant. I had to carve the cake a bit to make the curvy shape, but I’m happy we made it work with just the 9×13.

So post cake making, we’re proud of our cow but don’t really understand how we are going to present it… the theme just didn’t make sense. Then, a light bulb moment. Meg rolls in and says, “We are so sad you’re Mooooo-ving!”

Have you ever had a moment of realization like that? As soon as she said that, we were completely dumbfounded at how obvious and fun that was, but how none of us saw it earlier. Nevertheless, we were happy that our cow now made more sense. 🙂


Here’s our little bovine friend at the party, with a Milka eyepatch and a Swiss Flag in the cupcake by his left ear. We’re having cake steak!

We miss you, Steph! Come visit soon 🙂

Christmas Cookies!

I know it’s only 4 months past Christmas 2013…. but never too late to revisit some Christmas cookie making. As you can see, I’m catching up on my post backlog 🙂

I had the girls over for a Christmas cookie decorating party and wanted to post the fruits of our labor. We had an assortment of sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies. I love the basic sugar cookie recipe by Sweet Sugar Belle, found here. There really is minimal spreading during baking, hence less cookie shape distortion. As far as the gingerbread, I just used the Pillsbury ready-made cookie dough- which surprisingly holds it’s shape well and also tastes delicious!

Steph's Iphone 1893The cookie spread!

Steph's Iphone 1885We had a few standard Christmas cookies- candy canes, Santas, reindeer… and then some unique ones- ninja bread men, Hawaiian gingerbread men…a Spartan mitten!

  Steph's Iphone 1887Lauren brought an ugly sweater cookie cutter and decorated these amazing little gems! So stylish.

Steph's Iphone 1888Another fun assortment by the crew- Steph, Nancy, Meg, Karen & Lauren!

Only 8 more months till our next round 😉




Doughnuts, anyone?

Occasionally, I like the shake it up a bit. And this time, instead of turning on the oven, I opted for a deep fryer. Well, a ghetto version of a deep fryer, that is. What was that delicious fried pastry that captured my interest? Glad you asked. Apple Cider Doughnuts. So heavenly! I had them for the first time at an apple orchard in the fall and I really wanted to try to replicate them. I didn’t really get close, as mine were more dense and cakey with a crisp exterior than soft, lighter and slightly chewy, but it was a good exercise in frying something (for the first time!). It got me on a doughnut kick and believe me, I’m working on becoming a connoisseur. (Of eating them, not making them.) I had to clarify.

Steph's Iphone 1651

I’m also trying to keep the recipes that I use on here for anyone who wishes to try them! So here’s a copy of the one I used. I found this recipe on the Food 52 blog via a Yahoo article. It seemed straightforward… Find the original blog with pictures here.

Apple Cider Donuts (originally from Food52 blog)

Makes 10 to 12 donuts, plus donut holes

1 cup apple cider
2 3/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated shortening (or lard, if you have it)
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1/3 cup buttermilk

2 1/4-inch and 1 1/4-inch round cookie cutters

Canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup sugar, for topping
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, for topping

First, boil and reduce your apple cider until it reduces to 1/3 cup, and then set it aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Sift your dry ingredients, and cream your shortening and sugar together. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix on high (with a handheld mixer or stand mixer) until light and thickened, about 5 minutes.

Combine the reduced apple cider and buttermilk. Then alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to your stand (or handheld) mixer, until just combined. The dough will be soft and sticky, much like cookie dough.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour or overnight.

When you are ready to roll and fry the donuts, heat a large pot or dutch oven with at least 2 inches of oil over medium heat until the oil reaches 370° F on a candy thermometer. (Note: I used an electric skillet with a temperature control unit… see pictures below… ). On a generously floured board or piece of parchment paper, gently roll the chilled dough into a circle about 1/2-inch thick and about 8 inches wide.

Steph's Iphone 1663Fry the doughnuts until they are deep golden brown on each side, (I timed it for 1 min each side) remove them from the oil, gently blot off excess oil, and toss immediately in the cinnamon sugar.imageI found that chopsticks and tongs helped a lot in this process.Steph's Iphone 1666Doughnuts!

Steph's Iphone 1669Crispy on the outside, dense on the inside.

Steph's Iphone 1670My doughnut “holes” didn’t exactly stay round, but that didn’t change their flavor (which, surprisingly, isn’t like apple cider, but more just cinnamon sugar).

I noticed that at the apple orchard, the doughnut batter was more like cake batter and less like a dough that you can roll out. Perhaps achieving this will be my next doughnut endeavor! Till then, Happy Frying 🙂

Off to the beach!

One more cupcake post! Megan’s birthday was within the last two weeks. We were able to celebrate this week with some beach themed cupcakes! Since… well, she loves the beach!


You’ll see an assortment of beach accessories- flip flops, beach towel, life saver, sun, pails! And of course, Ghiya’s signature dog with frisbee up at the top left corner. To complete the theme, we had funfetti type cake (I threw some sprinkles in the batter) and vanilla buttercream frosting tinted an ocean blue.

Happy Birthday Meg!

Panda-monium…. and Bernard

Here’s a short post. I’m playing catch-up! But Bri’s birthday was at the end of September, and I wanted to give her some fun cupcakes.

My inspiration came from our Costco field trips together. She’s my #1 Costco buddy! And what’s the best part about Costco? The giant teddy bears. Of course!

Anyway- she gave me a giant (48″ tall, I’m not joking when I say giant) teddy bear for my birthday one year. Recently, we went back to Costco and I saw giant Pandas!!! So I joked that perhaps Bernard (my teddy bear’s name) would get a friend soon.

IMG_1850Which one of these does not belong?! For most of their faces, I just used giant chocolate chips- these cupcakes are chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting.


Another closeup. 🙂 Happy Bear-day? Bri!

Bear Down!!!

I’m not quite sure where to begin with this one… I’ll try to explain the best I can.

Cake project: Bri asked me to help her make a birthday cake for her friend.

Design: A man kayaking on a river; a “menacing” bear at the river bank watching him.

This cake project was definitely an exercise in random idea generation :). Bri’s friend loves kayaking and he absolutely hates bears because of a little “run-in” he had with one on his adventures. She loves this story, so we went with this as the theme.

photo 4

Coincidentally, the U of A was also his alma mater. Bear Down!!!! (yes, I know their mascot isn’t a bear) Here is our lovely fondant kayak, man, paddle, and bear (he’s kind of dark and blends in with my counter).

photo 1

Hey there, Mr. Bear. Yeah, not quite menacing… kinda cute?

cake cropHere is the cake- a sandy brown shore with a blue river.

photo 5Here is the assembled cake. It’s a little simple- we looked at it and considered adding foliage, but then we ran out of time. haha!

Backstreet’s Back… Again!

Everybodyyyy…  (yeahhhh)… rock your bodyyyy… (yeahhhh)…..

Yep. It’s true…. I went to the Backstreet Boys concert this year. Not only that, but this was my second BSB concert in the last 3 years. However, this year’s concert was partially a birthday celebration event for my friend Ghiya. Not making excuses or anything, but what is more fun than a group of late 20-something ladies reliving the thrill of watching their teenage heart throbs belt out the “oldies but goodies”? Gosh. I can’t believe they are considered “oldies” now.

Nevertheless…. what could be more fitting than some Backstreet Boys themed cupcakes for the birthday girl? That’s what I thought. Nothing.

I don’t have many process pictures but here are a few of the toppers we came up with. I had lots of help from Meg and Matt.

fondant toppers

Ever since making the Bee cupcakes (see prior post)… I’ve come to love the versatility of fondant cupcake toppers! Cupcakes are so much easier to bake and transport, and usually at these types of events, we’ll go straight from work. So I can hide cupcakes in a box at my desk instead of awkwardly trying to stagger through a turnstile with a 3 tier cake.

photo 2

Here they are on top of chocolate cupcakes and in a box.

Anyways we have a standard “Happy Birthday” topper, a few with either a CD cover or a play on words with famous BSB song titles, a music topper, and… yes… who is that in the middle with a fierce yellow hat and a chiseled jawline? Purdue Pete.


It may be a little out of theme but we had to include a shout-out to Ghiya’s alma mater. Besides, Matt “only does sports stuff” when he helps with cakes.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Ghiya! Hopefully this one was Larger than life! 😉

What will it Bee?!

I’m back to blogging again after that almost half a year hiatus. I find that my baking projects tend to come to a halt during the summer! It’s too hot to turn on my oven! And all anyone ever wants is frozen yogurt. Yum. 🙂

Anyway- this was my first “reveal party” baking project. If you don’t know what a reveal party is, then you are in the same boat I was in prior to this project. Basically, my friend Aletheia is having a baby (Congrats!!) and she wanted to have a party to reveal the gender. So I was to make cupcakes with a colored filling (either pink or blue) that would hold the secret! And no one would know until dessert time. 🙂 Hence the theme: What will it Bee?

Here goes!


Here I’ve made many little fondant bees with heart shaped wings.

photo 1

The fondant topper comes together here with a round yellow platform and the path of the bee flight!

photo 3Multiply x12!

photo 4All boxed up and ready for transport. The bee cupcakes were white cake with lemon cream cheese filling and frosting. The plain cupcakes were lemon cake with the same filling and frosting.

bee cupcakesAll set out on a pretty cupcake stand.

photo 5What will it bee?!

The coolest part about this is that even Aletheia didn’t know! She and her husband would find out at the same time as everyone else. I was the very first person to know! The perks of being a baker, right?


I know you are dying to know…. It’s a girl!!!! Congrats Aletheia!!