Friday, December 31, 2010

Snowflake Cookies

A few months ago, I was honored to be asked by a local chef/cafe owner to help her decorate holiday cookies.

I first got to help out with some of the Halloween cookies (sorry, I didn't have time to post pictures of those and it just seems silly to post them now).

More recently, I went to the cafe to help with Christmas cookies. I only had time to get the snowflake cookies done that day. Since Colorado finally got some snow, it seemed fitting to share the pictures with you today.

My favorites are the chocolate sugar cookie snowflakes with the white frosting and sanding sugar; I think they are so striking!

I love decorating cookies at the cafĂ©! It provides me a creative outlet that I often don’t have in my day job and it’s so much fun. Plus, when I decorate cookies there, I obviously have to leave them there, so I don’t wind up eating way too many cookies like I do when I make them at home :)

By the way, these are some of the best sugar cookies I've ever had! If you want to know where to find them, send me an e-mail at: and I'll send you the address for the cafe.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Five is One!

Exactly one year ago today, I posted my very first blog post.

That means that today is my blog’s 1st birthday!

Thank you so much to all of you that have stopped by my blog to read my posts. A special thank you to those that have left comments and encouraged me in this fun little journey.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Every year at work, our division has a ‘Holiday Goodie Table’ the week before break. They divide up the alphabet and folks are welcome to bring in treats to share on their assigned day.

I decided to use up some peppermint chips that I had in the freezer, but I didn’t really like the recipe suggested on the back. I decided the best pairing for peppermint chips would be chocolate. So I adapted the recipe from the back of the Reese’s peanut butter chips bag (a recipe that I have used before).

They turned out great! Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Adapted from Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies
(recipe on back of Reese’s peanut butter chips bag)

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
¾ cup (I used generous measurements, not leveled off) cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips

Heat oven to 350 F.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peppermint chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Party Post: Jungle Baby Shower

As I mentioned in the previous post; one of my friends hosted an amazing Jungle Baby Shower for one of our other friends. You saw the invitations and cupcakes yesterday, so I'll just show you all of the other adorable details today. It’s such a cute theme and perfect for moms that have decided to wait to find out what they are having.

Take a look at all these details.

Matching plates and napkins with matching stuffed animals helped complete the cupcake table.

Clothesline #1

Clothesline #2 (Sorry about the picture quality on this one.)

Hanging decorations helped carry the theme throughout the entire room.

Fun presents

Adorable centerpieces made out of little baby washcloths – such a creative idea!

Cute favors for everyone to take home.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Jungle Cupcakes

I’m lucky enough to have some amazing friends in my life that I’ve known since I was very young. Some people find that weird; perhaps because it’s so rare these days that relationships would last so long with so many people constantly on the go and moving around. But it’s not weird to us; in fact I think it’s one of the greatest blessings. It’s nice having people that not only know who you are now, but know who you were, where you came from and how you’ve grown. It’s also so much fun going through various life stages with all of them.

For example, one of these friends is expecting her first baby and another friend hosted an adorable baby shower for her! (There will be a Party Post tomorrow with all of the amazing and thoughtful details that went into the shower.) The hostess thought cupcakes would be perfect for a baby shower since they are essentially ‘baby’ cakes. So, she asked me to make them, I was so excited!

We met over coffee so I could find out all the pertinent details: shower theme, style, flavors, quantity, etc.

She had found the most adorable invitations that were the primary inspiration for the cupcakes and the shower.

We searched stores and online for coordinating cupcake liners and/or wrappers and found the perfect set from Wilton (found at Michael’s).

The cupcakes were white cake with white ‘Extra Special Buttercream’. Since the paper liners, wrappers and picks were fairly colorful I decided to keep the frosting color and design simple, just a simple swirl with a large star tip.

I think they turned out very cute; but wait until you see the rest of the shower details tomorrow!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cake Balls

What do you do when a cake falls apart like this one did?

(This post is about a month late which you probably noticed based on the date of the crumbled cake post - sorry!)

You can either use it as an excuse to eat it as is, or make cake balls! Since I had to have something to take to a party anyway and I already had the broken cake and leftover frosting from a few cakes I had done recently; I opted to give cake balls another try.

This time I was going to try and make a few cake pops from Bakerella's new book to go with some cupcakes I was making for a baby shower that weekend (post to come soon) and use the rest as plain cake balls for the party we were going to; but I was having some issues and running low on time, so I turned them all into cake balls.

You can find detailed instructions, and much prettier versions of cake balls and cake pops, on Bakerella's web site or you can view my first attempt here.

Here's a quick overview:
Basically, you crumble up a baked cake and mix in frosting. This time I used leftover 'Extra Special Buttercream' instead of the canned frosting. Then form the cake/icing mixture into balls and refrigerate or freeze for the required amount of time. Melt your chocolate and/or candy coating according to package directions. This time I used milk chocolate, white chocolate and peanut butter candy coating. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate/coating and let set. Then refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you don't care what they look like, which obviously I didn't this time, it's a pretty easy and fast solution to a crumbled cake. If you do want to make them look better or try any of Bakerella's cake pops, you'll need a lot more time and attention to detail.

These were pretty popular at the party, which was great because I didn't want to have to bring any home!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post today to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

I know I've gotten behind on posting again; with work, wedding planning and the holidays, the last month has definitely escaped me. I promise I haven't forgotten you or my little blog; I hope to have some great posts for you right after Christmas. In the meantime, take some time to enjoy family and friends during the holidays.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Butterfly & Flower Cakes

A very sweet little girl had her first birthday last weekend and I had the privilege of making her special cake. Her mom found adorable paper plates that were the inspiration for the party and the cakes.

The big birthday cake used a Wilton daisy shape pan and the personal cake for the birthday girl was just a single layer 6-inch round cake.

This was my first time baking a shaped cake and I was so excited. Perhaps a little too excited because I became impatient and did not let the cake cool as long as I should have…I’m pretty sure that’s why the first cake ended up like this:

I thought about trying to salvage it, but decided it was easier to bake a new cake. Don’t worry, this cake didn’t go to waste, you’ll see what it turned into in an upcoming post.

The second cake turned out much better.

Since this was my first time making a shaped cake, I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t stick to the pan, so I tried the Wilton Bake Easy Spray. I loved it, it worked perfectly (even on the first cake), and it’s so much easier than using shortening and flour!

For decorating the shaped cake I just used butter cream icing (you can see the recipe I use here).

For the birthday girl’s cake, though, I used a bit more to make sure it really matched the plates and was fun and girly. Obviously, I used butter cream icing as the base in the same color as the flower cake. For the white daisies I used royal icing flowers I had made previously. To really match the plate though, I needed to have butterflies. I decided to make the butterflies and the name out of colored chocolates. I have done names in chocolate before (here and here). However, I haven’t tried any detail shapes in chocolate until this; down below I show how I made the butterflies. I didn't use all the exact same colors because, well, the chocolates get a little pricey, but the patterns match pretty closely. I think they turned out very well.

I traced the butterflies on the plate onto plain paper. I then placed that paper on a cookie sheet and covered it with wax paper (I did tape down the paper and the wax paper so it wouldn’t move).

I melted the different colored chocolates in squeeze bottles and then used the traced outlines as guides. I would do one color, let it set for a bit and then switch to another color and let it set for a bit, and so on. Once I completed all the details that I wanted to do with the chocolate I placed the cookie sheet in the fridge to set completely.

When it came time to decorate the cake, I just carefully peeled the chocolate pieces (butterflies and letters) away from the wax paper and then attached them to the cake with butter cream.

Despite the first cake setback, overall this project was a success. I hope the sweet birthday girl enjoyed it!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Party Post: Mickey Mouse

My very creative and talented friend and her sister-in-law put together an adorable Mickey Mouse birthday party for their little boys. Without the party there would have been no need for the cake or the cupcakes.

Everything matched so perfectly.

Take a look at all the cute details they put together for this party; most of which were handmade!

Homemade Pinata!

Not only did my friend make a pinata cuter than anything I've ever seen in the store, she also made matching treat bags for each of the kids to put their pinata candy in. Great idea and very cute.

Each child got their own treat bag to stuff with pinata candy!

A pinata is a great activity for a children's birthday party, but so are party games. My friend did a twist on the classic "pin the tail on the donkey" with a "put Mickey together" game. It was darling.

Each child was handed a different piece of Mickey and then blindfolded and had to put their piece up on the wall.

My friend's sister-in-law made the screen printed window decal and the matching screen printed shirts for the birthday boys (the number on the front was how old they turned). There was also something on the back of the shirts, but I didn't get a picture of the back and I can't remember what it was, but I remember it was cute.

I love the idea of a special shirt/outfit for the birthday child.

My friend's sister-in-law also made super cute Oreo Mickey Mouse treats, but I couldn't find a good picture of them in the shots I took at the party :( You can kind of see them in the first picture of this post on the left side of the table.

This was too cute not to share.



Although I will note that the Mint Patty ear was not as popular as the frosting and cupcake. And apparently there was plenty of frosting on the cake!

These ladies did such a great job on this party theme. I hope you enjoy the pictures and ideas as much as I did!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mickey Mouse Cupcakes

Along with the Mickey Mouse cake, I was asked to make Mickey Mouse cupcakes. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post the idea for the cupcakes was one of my first sketches after I got the request to bake for the Mickey Mouse party. I wanted to play off the look of a Mickey Mouse ear hat, but I knew I’d have to do something with the bottom of the cupcake and I thought making the liner his shorts would be perfect!

I went out to the grocery store to find just the right size ears. I decided Oreos were a tad too big, chocolate wafers were also too big. Even the York Peppermint Patties didn’t seem quite right, but then I found something similar – Pearson’s Mint Patties. Next, I had to find buttons for his shorts. I knew the jumbo sprinkles I used for the cake would be too large. I originally thought I would use yellow M&M’s, so I stopped by Party City to pick up a bag of yellow M&M’s; yes, they sell bags of individual colors. I was a little worried that the M&M’s might still be too big and/or too heavy to stay attached to the liners. So I checked out the rest of the wonderful candy section at Party City and found the perfect solution – yellow chocolate covered sunflower seeds. They were also MUCH cheaper than the bag of yellow M&M’s, yay!

I baked the cupcakes in plain bright red liners. I used chocolate buttercream icing for the tops; although I didn’t get as good as a color as I got on the cake and I couldn’t get the color quite dark enough to match the dark chocolate of the Pearson Mint Patties. I was a little bummed about that, but eventually I figured it was close enough and when it all came together it was so cute that it didn’t bother me that much.

I very generously iced the cupcakes to get as much of a dome shape as I could; I then stuck in two Mint Patties for the ears and used the icing on the back of the ears to help secure them in place. The icing is a great glue; especially if you put it in the fridge to set-up some.

Mickey took over my fridge.

I then used some red icing (leftover from the cake border) to attach the yellow chocolate covered sunflower seeds to the cupcake liners for the buttons on his shorts.

These weren’t very complicated cupcakes, but they were SUPER cute!

They get cuter when you see them with everything else at the party that my very creative friend and her sister-in-law planned. You won’t want to miss tomorrow’s party post!