Thursday, August 9, 2018

Strawberry Brown Butter Cookies and Plum Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Brown Butter Cookies, Strawberry CookiesBefore I used those freeze-dried strawberries in my Strawberry Birthday Cake, I baked them into these cookies.  I had never had a strawberry cookie before, and I'm betting you probably haven't either, so let me tell you, these are simply delicious.

A cookie (or two or three) with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee is one of the ultimate comfort foods, and I only just recently bought a cookie jar to keep cookies, since until now, I just stored them in tupperware.  But I swear that cookies taste even better when they're kept in a pretty white hobnail jar on the counter.  My toddler absolutely loved these cookies, and would reach up towards the jar and ask in a hopeful voice, "cookie?"

Monday, August 6, 2018

Princess Cake

Princess Cake, Swedish Princess Cake, Princess Birthday Party, Carriage Cake TopperAfter watching all four seasons of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix a few months ago, one thing that I knew I wanted to try was a Swedish Princess Cake.  I loved everything about the show - the beautiful English gardens, that tent, their accents, Paul Hollywood, and all those inspiring creations to challenge my own baking...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Strawberry Birthday Cake

Strawberry Cake, Rosette Cake, Pink Birthday Party Cake, Rainbow CandlesBirthdays aren't just for kids, and should always be celebrated as something special.  And, of course, there should always be cake.  I've experimented with many variations of strawberry cakes over the years, from using fresh strawberries, to making a strawberry reduction, and now, with freeze-dried strawberries, which I absolutely love.

I've never cared for how fresh strawberries turn out when baked into batters - they not only contribute too much moisture, but they lose their color and look sort of unappealing after baking.  Making a reduction or puree with the berries to stir into the batter works a bit better, but the result still wasn't quite what I wanted, and the color of the cake ended up looking more brown than pink.

What I love about the freeze-dried strawberries, though, is their beautiful bright color and intense strawberry flavor, which makes them really perfect for flavoring a cake.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dark Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Desserts, Chocolate Custard, Desserts in JarsWe are, or rather, my husband is, in the process of building a pergola on our back patio.  We have a huge maple tree that shades the grass for the majority of the day, but the patio ends up unusable except for the early morning and evening, as it sits in full southern sun and becomes unbearably hot during the day.

The pergola is nearly done, and just needs some additional cross beams on the top, and it's looking so beautiful already...

Monday, July 9, 2018

Pies, etc.

Strawberry Blueberry Pie, Pie, Four Seasons Pie, Holiday BakingIt's been a summer of pie.  Not enough pie, if you ask my husband, but there have been berry pies, creamy tarts, and and some very pretty pie crust designs.  And with my current posting schedule of one recipe each week, I knew I'd never be able to share all these pies with you unless I combined them into one post, so today, you get four pies to inspire you to bake up something lovely yourself...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Red, White and Blue Sprinkles Cake

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July BakingAbout five or six years ago when I started baking more and more cakes, I took a basic cake decorating class at a local bakery in Denver.  The advantage to taking a cake decorating class at an actual bakery instead of attending the classes offered at Michaels craft stores, is that the bakery provided all of the tools, cake and frosting, and all I had to do was to show up there after work in the evenings, without having to buy any decorating kits or take the time to bake and bring in my own cake to decorate.  Although it was more expensive than the Michaels classes, I think the cost ends up about the same in the end, since the more expensive class was all-inclusive, and completely worth it if you're not sure you want or need all those tools until after you take the class, not to mention, having to prepare your own cake in the middle of a busy week.  These days, of course, pretty much anything you want to learn, you can do so by watching free video tutorials on YouTube, although I really enjoyed the classroom environment, seeing how others were decorating their cakes, and being able to ask questions of the teacher.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cookies and Cream Cake

Cookies and Cream Cake, Cake, Birthday Cake, White Velvet Cake, Oreo Cake, Cookies and MilkUpon seeing this cake sitting prettily under its glass dome on the kitchen counter, my toddler learned to say cake.  Now he loves sitting with me and looking at all the pictures of cakes and pies and other sweet treats whenever I scroll through my Pinterest or Instagram feeds, and exclaiming cake! and pie! over and over.  How adorable is that?

When I was a kid, and my mom asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, I remember asking for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  My sister once asked for a pumpkin pie instead of cake.  And my little brother always wanted a cookies and cream cake...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Overnight French Toast

Overnight French Toast, Baked French Toast, French Toast, Easy Breakfast RecipeLast Christmas, I made an eggnog version of this recipe, and it was so fantastic, that I'm sure it will be a yearly holiday breakfast tradition going forward.  But there's no reason to not make it any time of year, even without eggnog, so for Father's Day, I'll be making this overnight French toast for my husband.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Apple Spice Muffins on a Rainy Spring Day

Apple Spice Muffins, Breakfast, Cinnamon and Sugar, Apple MuffinsUnless you live in the mountains, or near a lot of evergreens, Colorado winters here in the foothills of Denver tend to be rather brown and blah when there's no snow on the ground, and the nondescript scenery in our neighborhood has me longing for the end of winter. It's very much summer now, but when I made these muffins a few weeks ago, it was cool and drizzly, and everything in our small back yard turned a dark, saturated green from the much-needed moisture.

The wet weather kept my husband inside that Saturday, instead of working in the yard, so I baked muffins and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with our coffee.  On the weekends, our toddler tends to get a "second breakfast" with us, since we feed him his usual banana, yogurt and oatmeal with cinnamon first before making our own, and he always manages to find room in his tummy, whether we're having scrambled eggs with cheese, or something sweet like these muffins...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Blueberry Coconut Cake

Blueberry Coconut Cake, Fondant Pansies, Edible Flowers, Flower Cake, White Cake, Mother's Day CakeOn Mother's Day, I made my own cake, which I didn't mind at all, since I always have far more cake ideas than I will ever have the time or money to test.  It won't be too long before my boys will be wanting to stand at the counter to "help", and then someday, to bake something all on their own.  I might let my husband handle the kitchen cleanup when that day comes...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mini Pink Poppy Cakes

Mini Cakes, Almond Poppyseed Cake with Strawberry Buttercream, Buttercream Poppies, Mini Pink CakesThere's just something about a mini cake that feels so special and elegant.  Each one so perfectly individually-sized and so carefully decorated with sweet buttercream flowers...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti, Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Italian Cookies, Espresso, CoffeeI like my cookies soft, to the point of being under-baked, and will rarely eat a crunchy cookie if offered one.  Biscotti is different though, and its crunchiness is what makes it so perfect for dipping into a cup of hot coffee...

Monday, April 30, 2018

No Churn Ice Cream

No Churn Ice Cream, Mocha Chip Ice Cream, Cake and Cream Ice Cream, Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, Ice Cream Party, Easy Ice Cream RecipeWith the warmer days and still-cold nights, Spring hasn't officially arrived yet in Colorado, but soon...  Our rhubarb has emerged and the lilac trees are beginning to bloom, as are the wildflowers I planted last year and our peach tree, which we've been trying to protect from late spring frost so as not to lose any potential fruit buds.

As ice cream weather approaches, I've also been experimenting with a few no-churn recipes, and I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised at just how smooth and creamy they were...

Monday, April 23, 2018

Introducing Griffin David

Birth Announcement, Maternity Photos, Baby Boy, Baby Boy Photos, Woodland Nursery, Boy Maternity Photos, Blue and Grey Maternity PhotosLast Tuesday, we welcomed our second baby boy into our hearts, and we couldn't be happier...  or more tired.  Griffin weighed in at just 7 pounds and 4 ounces when he was born, and was a little under 7 pounds when we left the hospital on Thursday to come home.  He's such a teeny tiny baby, and I can hardly remember Phoenix ever being so little.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Passionfruit Tea Cake

Passionfruit Tea Cake, Raspberry Buttercream, Swirled Buttercream Cake, Silver Carriage Cake Topper, Curly Girl KitchenWe're just one week away from the due date for our second baby boy, and I can hardly believe it.  I keep thinking of things I need to clean, make, buy and organize, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something important.  And then there's the feeling that I need to give Phoenix extra love and attention this week before his entire world is disrupted when we bring home his newborn baby brother and he never gets me all to himself again.

Of course, I thought I should also bake and decorate one more cake before the baby comes, since I'll have far less free time in the next few months.  While sipping a cup of passionfruit tea (because, sadly, even half a cup of coffee has been giving me a headache lately) and revisiting some old blog posts, I saw a recipe for a Black Tea Spice Cake I made a few years ago, and I immediately began working on a new recipe to test using passionfruit tea....

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sweet Almond Paste Fudge Brownies

As much as I love baking, decorating and sampling cake, I have an almost equal love for a dark, chocolatey fudgey brownie.  Brownies are anything but simple, in my opinion, because there's something magical about how that combination of just a few basic ingredients can so quickly transform into a pan of chewy, chocolate comfort.  Gratification is almost immediate, since you don't have to wait long to dig into the pan of still-warm brownies and eat them while they're all soft and gooey, with a scoop of ice cream melting over the top, if you're not feeling so inclined to let them cool first...

Monday, April 2, 2018

Twelve-Yolk Chocolate Ice Cream

Twelve-Yolk Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Frozen Custard, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter CookiesAfter a weekend of testing white cake recipes, each of which required six egg whites, I was left with eighteen egg yolks to use up, which is a lot of egg yolks when you don't have a specific purpose for them.  I could have made lemon curd with the yolks, but didn't have an immediate need for a batch of lemon curd, or a bowl of vanilla bean custard which is always nice for dessert with fresh fruit or berries or cake.  Or, I could have simply made a few different batches of ice cream, which need 5-6 egg yolks per batch, but as a recipe developer, I love to try new things, so I thought I'd see if twelve yolks made a difference in flavor or texture.  I honestly can't remember what I used six of them for, but the other twelve went into this batch of chocolate ice cream.

Monday, March 26, 2018

White Velvet Cake

White Cake, White Velvet Cake, Wedding Cake, Silver Candle Holders, Silver Cake Topper, Candle Cake TopperAs it's the week before Easter, I thought a beautiful, snowy white cake would be just the thing to inspire your holiday baking and decorating for next week.  Last year, I decorated a cake with coconut, paper bunny ear toppers, and a pink chocolate bow, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) its simplicity, it's probably my favorite Easter cake I've done.  This white velvet cake would be the perfect canvas for a festive Easter cake to complete your table next Sunday...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie, Lemon Pie, Lemon Cream PieOver the years, I've made quite a few lemon pies and tarts, trying to make the perfect lemon pie, but none have made it onto this blog, except for a lemon cream cheese tart in a shortbread crust.  The tart was wonderful, but still a little more complicated than what I was aiming for in an "everyday" lemon pie...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Salted Pecan Brown Butter Blondies

Salted Pecan Brown Butter Blondies, Cookies, Cookie BarsWhen you're pregnant, the cookie cravings are real.  Cookies and dark chocolate - that's what I've wanted the most the last eight months, and I could have eaten this entire pan of blondies if it weren't for the inevitable weigh-in at my doctor's office every two weeks that keeps me in check.  I mean, if you can't have all the cookies you want while you're pregnant, when can you?

Years ago, there was a dessert I used to love getting after dinner at a local restaurant - a blondie topped with ice cream and some sort of amazingly decadent buttery sauce.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Banana Pecan Cream Cheese Muffins with Maple Glaze

Banana Muffins, Banana Pecan Muffins, Banana Cream Cheese Muffins, Salted Maple Glaze, Breakfast, PancakesEveryone needs a good banana muffin in their recipe box, but it's a recipe I haven't posted on my blog before, due to not being completely happy with either the texture of the banana muffins I've baked or the quality of my photos.  These, though, these banana muffins are keepers, and I'll be baking them again and again over the years.

They don't have a cream cheese filling in the center, as you might think from the name, but rather, cream cheese is whipped into the sugar and bananas before being mixed into the batter, so the whole muffin has a lovely tang and creaminess from the cream cheese.  The cream cheese (which replaces the butter or oil in the batter) creates a really beautiful crumb, light and fluffy, soft and moist for days.  I always add cream cheese to my pound cakes, as well, and, like sour cream, it really does wonderful things for baked goods.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Orange Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Orange Coffee Cake, Orange Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Orange Streusel Coffee Cake, Coffee Cake, Breakfast, Cake for BreakfastIn just seven more weeks, we will grow from a family of three to four!  It's all kind of surreal, how much life can change in such a short amount of time.  In the last four years, we got married, bought and partially renovated a house, had a baby boy, and are about to have another.  It's been so amazing to watch our first baby grow into an inquisitive and funny little boy, and I'm so excited to give him a best friend.  Who would ever have thought that I'd be the mom of two little boys?

On Saturday morning, I made this orange sour cream coffee cake, adapted from the eggnog coffee cake I made for Christmas, and this one might be even better.  The cake is beautifully light, soft and tender, infused with orange juice and tangy sour cream, moist and buttery, topped with crumbly streusel lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and drizzled with a sweet orange glaze...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Valentine's Shortbread Cookies

Valentine's Day, Valentines Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, Royal Icing, Heart Cookies, Love Letter CookiesThere are generally just two occasions for which I will decorate cookies - Christmas and Valentine's Day.  This time, instead of the usual sugar cookie base, though, I baked a batch of buttery chocolate chip shortbread cookies, which are far tastier, in my opinion, than plain sugar cookies.

The cookies are wonderful on their own, with a cup of strong hot coffee, or dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed nuts, toffee, or a bit of coarse sea salt...

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Valentines Berry Pie

Pie, Cherry Pie, Berry Pie, Valentine's Day, Valentine's Baking, Heart Cutout Pie, Rose Pie
It snowed over the weekend, a quiet, lazy-day type of snow that made everything so beautiful.  And when it snows, I love to bake, so I made a little pre-Valentine's Day pie in one of my mini pie pans.  I had originally planned on this being just a cherry pie, but with it being February, I couldn't find any frozen cherries, so I chose a mixed bag of frozen cherries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

A splash of lemon juice in the filling keeps it from being too sweet, and the simple, warm spices of cinnamon and cloves really enhance the flavor of the fruit.  The pie filling reminded me of a red Danish fruit sauce my mom makes at Christmas - sweet, tart, and complex with five or six different berries and red fruits - which my family would always spoon over ice cream or pound cake...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tiered Cake with Silhouette Dog Toppers

Cake, Wedding Cake, Dog Cake, Dog Cake Topper, Dog Silhouette, Naked CakeBefore leaving my paying job to be home full-time with my son, I was working for a company that makes toys and things for dogs and cats.  We've stayed in touch over the past year, and last week, they asked me to make a cake for a big company party of theirs...

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hey, Girl

Red Velvet Cake, Hey Girl, New Year's Day, Hey Girl Cake TopperExcept for the outside lights on the house and the wreath on the door, Christmas is put away, the needles from the tree and ornament glitter all vacuumed up, and everything is back to routine.  After having my husband home during the week over the holiday, it's been hard to have him go back to work, and Phoenix has missed him, too, but baby boy and I are finding our own routine again, as well as both recovering from a little cold.

Our New Year's Eve was quiet; we spent the evening with some friends, then came home early to put Phoenix to bed, then watch movies in our pajamas, eat popcorn and wait for midnight.  And there was red velvet cake to welcome in the New Year as well...