Monday, June 24, 2019

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake, Drip Cake, Cake with Flowers, Chocolate Ganache, Cake Decorating IdeasOne of the first cake recipes I shared on this blog about six years ago was for Mint Chocolate Chip Cake.  It's been on my mind to update my recipe - not to mention those awful early photos of mine - and so a few weeks ago, I was finally able to get around to making this beauty.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Pistachio Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Pistachio Coconut Cake, Coconut Cake, Pistachio Cake, Cake Decorating Ideas, Gold Cake Stand, Vintage SilverFor my husband's birthday recently, I decided to try a new cake recipe.  Risky, yes, to experiment with cake for a special day, without doing any test bakes ahead of time, but I was pretty confident that the cake would be great.  He's usually a chocolate and caramel kind of guy, but we have chocolate cake often, and I'd been wanting to do a pistachio cake for a while.  I thought the pistachio would be delicious paired with coconut.

The cake has a really tender crumb and a beautiful flavor, with cream cheese substituted for most of the butter, beaten with sugar until light and fluffy.  Both vanilla and coconut extracts.  I used cake flour, but I think all-purpose flour would work just fine as well.  Canned coconut milk provides more coconut flavor, of course, and the richness of it enhances the softness of the cake.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Mr. Darcy Pies

Pie, Pie Decorating Ideas, Mr. Darcy Quotes, Pride and Prejudice, Romantic QuotesI've had a love affair with classic fiction for as long as I can remember.  I grew up reading the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie books and ran free with Heidi across the Swiss alps.  I wanted to be one of the March sisters in Little Women, and cried when Polly and Tom finally fell in love in An Old Fashioned Girl.  I dreamed and imagined and played along with Anne of Green Gables.  I had a pretty serious crush on Teddy in the Emily of New Moon series.

In junior high and high school, I watched every movie version there was of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.  And in college, with a Creative Writing degree and a minor in English Lit, I finally read through all of Jane Austen's novels, along with classic English books by so many other authors...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Buttermilk Birthday Cake

Buttermilk Birthday Cake, Buttermilk Cake Recipe, White Cake, White Velvet Cake, Sprinkle CakeThis buttermilk cake is the result of months of re-testing my White Velvet Cake recipe that I created last year.  That original recipe was really good already, but after a few changes, I made it so much better, and have since adjusted the recipe in that blog post, as well.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Game of Thrones Cake

Game of Thrones Cake, Westeros Map, Map Cake, Travel Cake, Crown Cake Topper, Wafer Paper Cake, Cake Decorating Ideas, Game of Thrones Party, Dire WolfWe're big fans of Game of Thrones in our house, and, yes, I even have one of those "Mother of Dragons" shirts.  As I write this, it's the night before the airing of the final episode, and we've been speculating all week over how the series is going to end.

Just for fun, I made a cake for the event...

Monday, May 13, 2019

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart, Strawberry Pie, Strawberry Dessert Recipes, Summer Dessert RecipesThere are so many things to love about spring, not the least of which being the abundance of fresh berries available, and it's always so exciting bringing home that first container of beautiful red strawberries after a cold winter of satisfying my fruit cravings with mostly apples, oranges and pears.

This fresh strawberry tart is a lovely way to celebrate the start of strawberry season.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Lemon Curd and Mini Tartlets

Lemon Curd, Lemon Dessert Recipes, Tartlet Recipe, Lemon Tart, Lemon PieOne of my first-ever blog posts, eight years ago, was for waffles topped with homemade lemon curd.  Looking back at that post, I can appreciate how much my photography skills have developed and improved since then, and I've been meaning to update my lemon curd recipe with new photos that are more appealing than the ones I shot in the window-less kitchen of the condo where my husband and I first lived together, and where this baking blog of mine began.

Lemon curd is a staple for bakers, and having a great homemade lemon-curd recipe on hand is essential.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Griffin's First Birthday

First Birthday, Rainbow Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Rainbow Party, Boy Birthday Ideas, Boy Smash CakeIt was a busier Easter weekend than usual for us, because it was our baby boy's first birthday!  I wanted his party to be colorful, fun and whimsical, so I went with a rainbows and sprinkles theme for the cakes and decorations, and I just love how everything looked when it all came together.

For a couple of months, I've been collecting a few decorations here and there as I found them, like the rainbow felt ball garland and happy birthday banner, which I found at Target, and those cute little wooden candy scoops I found on Amazon.  And we were able to reuse a few things from Phoenix's birthday party a year and a half ago.  But lots of items I already had on hand, such as the glass jars that I filled with candy, the vintage wooden blocks, and of course, my many, many cake stands.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Strawberry Malted Milk Ice Cream

Strawberry Malted Milk Ice Cream, Homemade Ice Cream, Ice Cream Recipe, Strawberry MaltWe're enjoying lots of play time outdoors these days, and with the warmer weather, I've already made a few batches of ice cream.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Buttercream Flowers Cake

Piping Buttercream Flowers, Flower Cake, Cake Decorating Ideas, Chocolate Buttercream, Buttercream Roses, Buttercream RanunculusOn my quest over the last few months to perfect my buttermilk birthday cake recipe (which has since been perfected, I'm excited to say, and I'll be sharing it very soon...), I've had a few variations of the cake which I used to practice some decorating techniques.  Piping buttercream flowers is something I'm always trying to get better at, and if you have extra buttercream after frosting a cake, you can just pipe a few flowers and freeze them to use later.

Friday, April 5, 2019

The Making of a Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Cake, From Scratch Strawberry Cake, Cake Decorating Ideas, Fondant Rose Cake, Pink Cake, Girl's Birthday Cake, Cake with FlowersCake is my thing.  It's what I love to bake and decorate the most, although when it comes to eating cake, I won't go back for more unless I think the flavor and texture is absolutely perfect.  And I set my standards high, which is why I'm always re-testing my recipes, even ones that I previously thought were just right.  My husband tells me I'm too hard on myself, but it seems to be a matter of personal pride with me, to be the best maker of cakes that I can be.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Rainbow Cheesecake

Rainbow Cheesecake, No-Bake Cheesecake, Rainbow Party, Easter Desserts, Cheesecake, Summer DessertsIt's the last day of March, although almost certainly not the last we'll see of snow here in Colorado, and I'm so excited for April.  With April comes warmer weather, everything turning a welcome green, flowers blooming, our baby's first birthday, Easter, and hopefully, a few rainy days here and there.  With the brown of winter fading away and the promise of days spent in the sun, it feels like the perfect time to share my Rainbow Cheesecake.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Peach Upside Down Cake

Peach Cake, Peach Upside Down Cake, Cake, Rhubarb Cake, Summer DessertsUpside down cake is one of those retro desserts that everyone I know grew up with and loved, the most common, of course, being a pineapple upside down cake.  Since we grow our own peaches and rhubarb in our back yard, last summer I made a few of these cakes to highlight our home-grown fruit...

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake, Lemon Poppyseed Cake, Cake Decorating Ideas, Buttercream Flowers, Wedding CakeA few months ago, I started reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.  I was intrigued by the title, but for whatever reason, I couldn't quite get into the book.  I used to love reading, but haven't had much time for it since my little boys joined our family.  Actually, I think the last time I committed to any serious reading was three years ago, the summer before our first son was born, when I read through all of Harry Potter.  Since then, I just haven't had the time, and I do miss reading something other than the same Curious George story that our toddler loves to read night after night.

But, back to lemon cake...

Monday, March 4, 2019

Polkadots and Roses Cake

Cake Decorating Ideas, Red and White Cake, Cake with Flowers, Valentine's Cake, Polkadot Cake, Wedding CakeI've been testing and re-testing cake recipes lately.  Adjusting this and that, studying the science of cake baking, playing with different ingredients and striving for perfection.  Like paintings, most recipes are never truly finished, and I will probably always continue to add more touches to mine as the years go by.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Soft-Baked Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Homemade Oreos

Homemade Oreos, Chocolate Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Cookie Recipes, Milk and CookiesA few days before Valentine's Day, I stumbled across this recipe for cutout chocolate sugar cookies.  I usually use my own shortbread cookie recipe when I want to make cutout cookies, but I've been wanting to try some new sugar cookie recipes, too, and this one was fantastic.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Harry Potter Cake

Harry Potter Cake, Golden Snitch Cake Topper, Quidditch Cake, Gryffindor, Harry Potter, 9 3/4 Cake, Baby Boy Birthday, Harry Potter Party, Mischief ManagedI love that Harry Potter has become a classic series, and there are so many fantastic decor items and party ideas on Etsy and Pinterest.  Have you seen Pottery Barn Kids' line of Harry Potter products?  It's amazing... and so expensive.

With my love for the Harry Potter books and movies, I had to make a themed cake for Griffin, since he is 9 3/4 months old this month.  How did that happen so fast?  I can't believe he's almost one already.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Coffee and Walnut Muffins

Coffee and Walnut Muffins, Breakfast Recipes, Muffins, CoffeecakeAfter having virtually no snow for Christmas, it's been a snowy January and February in Colorado.  As I write this, snow is quietly falling on this 17-degree day, and we're staying warm beside the fire while a ham bone is simmering on the stove for soup tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Baby Boy Birthday Cakes

Bunny Cake, Woodland Cake, Boy Birthday Cake, Fondant Woodland Cake Topper, Baby Boy Birthday PartyLast October, we celebrated Phoenix's 2nd birthday, and Griffin's half birthday of 6 months.  Of course, Griffin had no clue what was going on, and didn't get to taste his cake, but Phoenix was so excited about his special pancake breakfast, visits from both sets of grandparents, the party decorations, opening presents and eating cake.

I've really been wanting to try making some little fondant animal cake toppers, and what better opportunity to practice than for my boys' cakes?  I'm not including recipes today, so these photos are purely for inspiration, perhaps to give you ideas for decorating your own kids' cakes...

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Lemon Bars, Lemonies and Lemon Pie

Lemonies, Lemon Bars, Lemon Pie, Lemon Dessert, Lemon Recipes, Lemon Brownies, Lemon Cookie Bars
Over the past few months, I've been testing a few lemon recipes, and now seems the perfect time to share them, since citrus fruit is so plentiful and beautiful in January.

To start, I have a recipe for lemon bars.  I've made many variations of lemon bars over the years, including a version with a thick cookie crust and a crumble topping sprinkled over the filling, but today's recipe is classic.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Nutty for Nuts Cookies

Toasted Nut Cookies, Nut Cookies, Christmas Cookies, Holiday Baking Ideas, Cookie RecipesDuring the holiday season, I always make sure to stop at the grocery store and fill a bag with assorted nuts in their shells to keep at home for snacking.  Phoenix was especially intrigued by the nut bowl and the cracking-of-nuts process, and asked for tastes of little pieces of nuts every time we cracked a few.

After Christmas was over, our company gone, the decorations put away and the carpet vacuumed clean of all the stray glitter and tree needles, I really wanted use of that bowl again, so I spent some time and shelled what was left of the nuts.  Several hours (and several blisters) later, I had three cups of shelled walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts, and I thought about cookies, rich, buttery, and absolutely loaded with toasted nuts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Eggnog Cheesecake

Eggnog Cheesecake, Christmas, Christmas Dessert Ideas, No-Bake Cheesecake, Christmas Baking, Eggnog Recipes
Hello, 2019!  Where did the past year go?  It seems that when you have a baby and a two-year old, time slips by much, much more quickly.  I can hardly believe that at this time a year ago, we were still getting ready to welcome our second son into the world, and now we have two little boys who are sweeter, sillier, and more adorable with each other than I ever could have imagined.

Somehow, we ended up with more eggnog than we could drink this Christmas.  Really, it's because we made a batch of this homemade aged eggnog that we've been slowly savoring for the past week, and a carton of store-bought eggnog has been sitting untouched in the refrigerator.

There are so many delicious ways to use up leftover eggnog if you don't want to drink all of it.  Besides adding a splash to my coffee instead of cream, a couple of my favorite uses are eggnog layer cake, eggnog streusel coffee cake and overnight eggnog French toast.  If you have an ice cream maker, you can even churn it up into a creamy ice cream.  Yum, yum.

Or, this cheesecake...