Saturday, March 26, 2016

Ribbon Topper for an Easter Sprinkle Cake

When I was a kid, I always had a new spring dress to wear for Easter.  It was South Carolina, after all, and the days were already warm, lush and humid with early spring rain.  Colorado, on the other hand, just welcomed the first day of spring with a blizzard that blanketed our city with more than a foot and a half of heavy, wet snow.

My husband and I drove home together from work early in the afternoon on Wednesday, along with the rest of Denver, and he and a few other men had to push a few stranded cars up an icy hill just to clear traffic and move us all safely along towards home.  The snow was too deep to pull into our driveway, and when I stepped out of the car, my legs sank in up to my knees, snow spilling over the top of my boots.

Once inside, shivering and wet, we turned on the fire, put on cozy pajamas, and made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  Wine for him, and hot tea for me.  It was a perfect afternoon.

It's snowing again as I write this, but in spite of the cold, it is still Easter weekend, and spring, so I have a pretty cake to share that I think is perfect to celebrate the warm days to come.  The sky blue buttercream on top is speckled with a generous handful of sprinkles, and a colorful ribbon topper is cheerful and festive.

The gold paper straws, and all the ribbon, are from Michaels, and easy to put together by just tying a ribbon onto the straws, and then tying on pieces of ribbon that flutter so prettily above the cake, like the tails of a hundred kites sailing across a sunny blue sky.

All the colors on this cake have me dreaming of hot summer days ahead, days of popsicles and strawberry lemonade and sundresses.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Blueberry Streusel Muffins with Lemon Curd

Our spring weather has gone back and forth lately, from warm blue skies, to snow, to sun again, and this week will be more of the same unpredictability, but something that never seems to change is how tired I feel all the time.  I've passed the first trimester now, and this little baby inside me is apparently now the size of a peach, even though I don't yet have a baby bump.  I feel fortunate that I haven't experienced a bit of nausea or morning sickness, just a state of exhaustion that has me climbing the stairs to get into bed earlier than usual, and thinking of nothing other than how good a nap would feel at 10:30 in the morning instead of sitting at my desk at work.

I don't seem to have much interest in writing on this blog lately, but I'm not sure why.  I guess it's just that I'm tired, although I'm still baking regularly, and working on my photography, but the actual writing of a post feels like a chore that is not unlike how I feel when I've finished the laundry and everything still needs to be put away.

We've finished our floors at last, and after a few more trim pieces are installed and finishing touches are done, I will have to photograph our main floor and do another before and after post.  It amazes me every time I come downstairs how different it looks from when we moved in just over a year ago.

These blueberry streusel muffins are one of my favorite muffin recipes, and this is actually a re-post from a recipe a few years back, but they're worth making over and over again.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Painted Buttercream Cake

Last night, my girlfriends came over to my house for a cake decorating party.  There were 8 of us, and I baked 6-inch cake layers in four flavors, with endless bowls of buttercream, so that everyone could decorate their own cake.  It was a lot of prep work (and clean up), but so much fun to see everyone's creations, and just to spend some time together.

With a few girls not able to make it, I had a couple cakes leftover, so this morning I stacked and frosted the cakes so I could try something I've never done before - painting on buttercream with food coloring.

A drop of gel food coloring goes a long way for this project, but it's important to start with a well-chilled cake, as the buttercream needs to be firm to paint on.  For the lighter shading, I thinned the color with vodka, and lightly dabbed the color onto the cake with a small paintbrush.  And for the detailed work, I just dipped the brush straight into the color for bolder strokes.

I used Americolor brand of gel food coloring, in "Sky Blue", and I kind of love the watercolor effect of these flowers.  I kind of want to paint on all my cakes now...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunshine Birthday Cakes

I've made quite a few first birthday cakes, but this one might be one of my favorites.  The theme was "You Are My Sunshine" with summery pinks, oranges and yellows for the decorations, very fitting for these sunshiny spring days we've been enjoying.

Just days before I was asked if I would be able to make the cakes for the party, I'd been daydreaming about the design of The Cake Blog's pink grapefruit cake.  The colors were perfect, and I immediately suggested their design for the baby's smash cake, which, thankfully, my friend loved as much as I did.  The smash cake was a fluffy banana cake, filled with strawberry jam, and frosted with vanilla buttercream, with a banana cupcake for the baby to stuff her face with at the party, since they were planning on using the smash cake for a styled photo shoot a week later.

For the adults, I baked the same almond chocolate chip pound cake with vanilla bean buttercream that I made for my own wedding, with the bottom tier covered in cheerful yellow buttercream rosettes, and the top tier with pretty pink swags around the sides.  A fondant sunshine topper completed the cake trio.  I wish every cake could be as happy as these are.

I purchased the tiny cake stand for the cupcake and the candle from Shop Sweet Lulu.

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