Monday, December 30, 2019

Key Lime Sour Cream Pie

Key Lime Pie, Key Lime Sour Cream Pie, Citrus Pie, Citrus Recipes, Winter Baking Ideas, Key Lime Recipes
Key Lime Pie is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat, and if you aren't making key lime pies in the winter, you really should be.  Wintertime is the best season for citrus, although this is also a wonderful pie to make in the summer as well, with its light, creamy texture, quick bake time and cool, refreshing lime flavor.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake, Painted Buttercream Cake, Christmas Cake Decorating, Vintage Christmas Car, Christmas Decorations, Gift Wrapping, Christmas Tree CakeI hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  We spent the holiday at home, and it was a quiet week for us (at least, as quiet as things can be when you have 1 and 3 year old boys who are so excited to wake up and discover that Santa brought presents the night before).  We played outside, did a little more baking, watched Christmas movies, ate cookies, and just enjoyed time with our boys.  We had a simple Christmas dinner of prime rib with cabbage rolls and kale salad, and chocolate cream pie for dessert.  And, this Christmas Cake.

I just love everything about this cake design.  To me, this says "home for the holidays", with the vintage car piled with presents and a Christmas tree, traveling along snowy, tree-lined country roads, heading home to see family and friends, drinking hot chocolate by a warm fire while the snow drifts outside, and eating too much apple pie and ginger molasses cookies.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Our Christmas Cookie Box and a Gingerbread House Cake

Shortbread Cookies, Shortbread Recipes, Mini Gingerbread House, Gingerbread House, Gingerbread Cookies, Christmas Cookies, Christmas Cookie Box, Christmas Baking, Chocolate and Peppermint Cookies, Chocolate Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Shortbread Cookies, Almond Shortbread Cookies, Maple Shortbread Cookies, Maple Cookies, Almond Cookies, Christmas Cake, Gingerbread House Cake, Peppermint Buttercream, Royal Icing, English Toffee Recipe, Cakes with Macarons, Christmas Cookies with Royal IcingIt's been such a busy week of cookie baking.  I wanted so much to create a really beautiful cookie box with a variety of tempting sweets, and my goal of making and decorating this many different cookies in just a few days was maybe a little overly ambitious.  But I'm not one to back down from a baking project once I've begun, so on the first day, I made all the dough, one batch right after the other, so I would only have to wash my food processor once when all the dough was done, wrapped, labeled and chilling in the fridge.

I love shortbread, so I decided to do a variety of shortbread flavors, in addition to a few other cookies and treats.  There was vanilla bean shortbread, which I made into tiny little houses.  I'm so in love with those.  Then there was almond shortbread, with almond icing and crushed almonds on top - this was probably my favorite to eat, because I love almond extract in baked goods.  Maple pecan shortbread with maple icing, crushed pecans and toffee bits - my husband's favorite.  Chocolate shortbread trees, with snickerdoodle buttercream tinted a deep woodsy green.  Some of the chocolate trees just got a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cardamom Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake RecipesThis cake has been on my mind for quite a while, but with my weekly pie project the last few weeks, I haven't been baking as many cakes lately.  But I really wanted to post this recipe in plenty of time before Christmas, and I had bought eggnog specifically for using in the buttercream (and to drink, too, of course), so I dropped my other baking projects and set about mixing up cake batter and buttercream.

Cardamom is a spice that I think is a bit overlooked this time of year, with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, and sometimes allspice, taking center stage in our fall and winter baking.  But it's a really wonderful, warm fragrant spice that is so good in both sweet and savory dishes.  It's used in curry dishes, Chai tea spices and in Scandinavian breads and pastries.  In fact, one of the countries that uses the most cardamom is Sweden, where they use the spice to season everything from meatloaf to baked goods.  The next time I make meatloaf, I'm going to try adding a pinch of cardamom.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Gingerbread Pancakes, and Gingerbread Cutout Cookies with Lemon Royal Icing

Gingerbread Cookies, Christmas Cookies, Royal Icing, Ginger Lemon Cookies, Gingerbread Cutout Cookies, Christmas Cookie Box
Our house is looking very Christmasy all of a sudden, and I just love it.  On Saturday, we put up the tree and hung the ornaments and garlands and stockings, with our little boys' help, of course.  They love rearranging the ornaments on the tree, and I'm trying to be okay with it and not worry about everything being perfectly arranged.

I also baked and decorated a batch of gingerbread cookies with my three-year-old son while his little brother was napping, and, having only three hours to get the cookies done from start to finish, I don't think I've ever decorated cookies that quickly.  Royal icing isn't one of my strong points, but I can do an acceptable job of outlining and flooding a cookie, and I've decided that I'm perfectly fine with being mediocre at cookie decorating.  My son had so much fun rolling out his own portion of dough and playing with all the cookie cutters, but didn't want to part with any of his dough to actually bake it into cookies.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Classic Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie, Thanksgiving Dessert, Pie Decorating, Pecan Pie Recipe, Brown Butter PecanIt's been a delicious month of pie.  I had a goal of making one pie each week through November and December, and so far, I'm right on schedule.  We started off November with apple pie, then there was Pumpkin Bourbon Crumble Pie, and then the Maple Tart.  And for Thanksgiving Day, I made this Pecan Pie.  Last year, I updated my classic pecan pie recipe, but this year I made a few more changes, and it was, without a doubt, the best pecan pie I've ever made/eaten.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Brown Butter Chocolate Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Cookies, Christmas CookiesBesides all the pie baking lately, I've been trying to keep the cookie jar better stocked for my boys.  Chocolate cookies are something that I haven't made that frequently over the years until recently, when I realized how much my three-year-old loves a fresh batch of dark, chocolatey chewy cookies.  And while a classic chocolate chip cookie will always be my favorite, these chocolate cookies are pretty addictive.

Almond Coffee Cake

Almond Coffee Cake, Almond Pastry, Almond Desserts, Winter Baking, Christmas Baking, Christmas Breakfast, Coffee Cake Recipes
Baking trends and popular flavor combinations will come and go, but almond pastries are here forever, and will always be a favorite of mine.  I recently had the opportunity to try Nielsen-Massey's pure almond extract from their holiday flavors bundle, and the first thing I decided to bake with it was this Almond Coffee Cake to start our Thanksgiving week.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Maple Tart

Maple Tart, Maple Pie, Thanksgiving Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Pie Decorating, Thanksgiving Pie, Powdered Sugar StencilIn September, my husband and I took a little trip to New England for our 5th wedding anniversary.  Neither of us had ever been that far northeast, and we were hoping to catch the leaves turning at just the right time, drive along the coast enjoying the views and the salty air, eat lots of fresh seafood and catching up on sleep.  And we were able to do everything except for much leaf-peeping; with the late hot summer weather, we ended up timing our trip a few weeks too early to see much of the leaves' changing colors, but even so, it was really beautiful there.  I especially loved driving around the gorgeous wooded neighborhoods with charming homes surrounded by old, towering trees.

We picked apples in New Hampshire, ate lobster rolls in Maine and, of course, tasted pure maple syrup at a sugar shack in Vermont.  We brought home a big bottle of our favorite syrup, and it's been absolutely delicious on pancakes and waffles.  Our boys already have a taste for the good stuff, since we never use anything but pure maple syrup in our house.

With it being almost Thanksgiving, I've been baking one pie each week this month, trying to spread out the sweets a bit so that we get all of our favorites throughout the holiday season, but don't feel overwhelmed with too much pie all at once.  Last week's pie was this delicious Maple Tart, made with some of our Vermont maple syrup.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pumpkin Bourbon Crumble Pie

Pumpkin Pie, Bourbon Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Crumb Pie, Pumpkin Pie with Crumb Topping, Thanksgiving Recipes, Pumpkin RecipesPumpkin pie has never really been my thing.  It's not that I dislike it, it's just that I've always thought it's kind of boring, and when there is apple pie, or pecan pie, or chocolate cream pie to be had, pumpkin pie has always fallen into last place for me.  But I do love pumpkin desserts (especially cake), and fall spices go so well with pumpkin, so I felt compelled to make a pumpkin pie for people who don't like pumpkin pie.  A pumpkin pie just for me.  And, I'd dare to say, for a lot of other people out there who also don't think that pumpkin pie is worthy of all the attention that it gets this time of year.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Harry Potter Dessert Table

Harry Potter Cake, Harry Potter Party, Marauders Map Cake, Treacle Tart, Hogsmeade, Stag Patronus, Harry Potter DessertsA friend of mine is having a baby in December, so a few of my girlfriends and I have been planning her baby shower.  She's a huge fan of Harry Potter, even decorating her baby boy's nursery with a Harry Potter theme, and as a fellow "Potterhead", I suggested the theme for her baby shower, too.  It was so much fun to plan, and really amazing to see all the little details finally come together...

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Goldie and Bear Cake

Goldie and Bear Cake, Goldilocks Cake, Boy Birthday Cake, Third Birthday Cake, Disney Cake, Cake Decorating IdeasLast month, our oldest son turned three.  I know everyone says, how do they grow up so quickly?  But I really do wonder that every day.  I can't believe how big and talkative and smart and sweet he is, and I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful little boy to love and care for.

One of his favorite cartoons to watch lately is Goldie and Bear, so I knew I had to make him a Goldie and Bear cake...

Monday, November 4, 2019

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Fall Baking, Fall Recipes, Pumpkin Recipes, High Altitude BakingIt wouldn't be fall without waking up on a weekend morning to the scent of freshly baked pumpkin muffins, full of fragrant spices, soft and tender and cakey, still warm from the oven.  Softened butter dripping over the hot crumbs.  Strong coffee, with a splash of cream for me and sugar for my husband, and cold milk for our little boys.

Chocolate goes so nicely with pumpkin, and since I made a few loaves of pumpkin bread recently, sans chocolate, I thought these muffins deserved a little chocolate.  I used semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, which give the muffins a nice sprinkling of chocolate all throughout, but larger chocolate chips or chunks can certainly be used as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Haunted House Cake

Haunted House Cake, Halloween Cake, Black and White Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake, Halloween DessertsWhen you love to bake and decorate cakes as much as I do, it's really difficult to narrow down a dozen or more ideas into just one design for a holiday.  I wish I could see all my ideas come to life, but with budget and time constraints, I'm left choosing just one, so for this year's Halloween cake, I decided to make an updated haunted house cake.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sweet Potato Crumb Muffins

Sweet Potato Crumb Muffins, Sweet Potato Muffins, Pumpkin Muffins, Streusel Topped Muffin Recipes, Sweet Potato Recipes, Fall Baking, Thanksgiving Recipes, ThanksgivingMy three-year-old has been very into muffins lately, and asks for them frequently, seeming to have forgotten his love of pancakes which we haven't had in a while now.  He may also have realized that muffins are about as close as he can get to eating cake for breakfast.  I've loved muffins since I was a kid, too, and what's not to love?  They're sweet, cakey, soft, warm and crumbly, perfectly portioned (if you can eat just one), as well as quick and easy to mix up.

Last Sunday, I had been planning on updating my recipe and photos for pumpkin muffins, but I had a couple of roasted sweet potatoes leftover from dinner a few nights before, so I impulsively decided to make sweet potato muffins instead.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cream Pies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cream Pies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Cookie Sandwiches, Oatmeal Cream Pies, Holiday Cookies
Cake will always be my favorite thing to bake, but sometimes, all I really want to eat in the afternoon is a plate of freshly baked cookies.  When I was in college, there was a cookie shop across the street from my dorm, and my friends and I would occasionally walk across the street for a treat.  When you walked in the shop, they would immediately hand you a free chocolate chip cookie, still warm from the oven, to eat while you looked around.  And I would always buy the chocolate chip cookie sandwich, filled with vanilla frosting.  Those soft, chunky cookies, just salty enough and filled with sweet frosting, were the best thing ever to take to the library later for a night of studying.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Snickerdoodle Cake

Snickerdoodle Cake, Fall Cake Recipes, Thanksgiving Desserts, Snickerdoodles, Polkadot Cake, White and Gold CakeLast weekend, I made my Snickerdoodle Cake, a recipe I created over five years ago, that became beloved with friends.  It's a cake that deserves to be made over and over, especially in the fall.

This recipe begins with a buttermilk cake that's a little dense like pound cake, but still soft, tender and fluffy.  It's rich and moist from both butter and cream cheese creamed together with white and brown sugars, and flavored with vanilla and a pinch of nutmeg.  The buttermilk cake has a slight tang that tastes just like a snickerdoodle cookie, and it's good enough to eat on its own, but even more spectacular layered with fluffy buttercream.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Appledoodles (Apple Cider Cookies)

Appledoodles, Apple Cider Cookies, Fall Cookie Recipes, Boiled Cider Recipes, Baking with Boiled CiderLast fall, I was so intrigued by King Arthur Flour's recipe for Boiled Cider, that I immediately bought a gallon of cider to boil my own.  The concept is simple - apple cider is boiled down for hours and hours until it becomes a thick, sweet, amber-colored syrup that's only about 1/8 of its original volume, and the result is an intensely flavored apple syrup.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies, High Altitude Cookie Recipes, Chocolate Chip Cookies, High Altitude Chocolate Chip Cookies
Now that it's October, we're finally starting to enjoy some cooler days, and there are hints of fall everywhere.  The flowers in our garden are still blooming, but starting to fade, and there's a hint of red on our maple tree.  Before long, our back yard will be blanketed in crispy, crunchy leaves in all shades of red, burgundy and purple for our boys to jump in and stomp through.  The nights are getting colder, and by this weekend, we'll need to pull up our fresh basil and dry it for winter.  The thyme and rosemary are hardier in the cold temperatures, and there's no rush to get those dried, other than my wanting to get these tasks completed and to be finished with all the yard work until next spring.

At the grocery store, there are pots of brightly colored mums everywhere, piles of pumpkins, and so many varieties of apples and pears to choose from.  And the bins of nuts in their shells are out, too.  We always have a nut bowl sitting in the kitchen for the holidays, usually from November until after New Year's, and they make the best snack along with a cold crunchy apple.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake, White Cake, High Altitude Angel Food Cake, White Cake Recipe, Egg White Recipes, Fat Free Cake RecipesAngel food cake uses a heck of a lot of egg whites.  Twelve egg whites, to be exact.  Which is a lot, so it's not a cake that I bake that often, because when I do have extra egg whites, it's usually only 2-3 at a time.  I used to add those to scrambled eggs the next morning, but what I do now is freeze them in a labeled freezer bag, and then when I have enough, I make my favorite Buttermilk Birthday Cake, a white cake that calls for six egg whites.  But I'd accumulated enough for an angel food cake, and since I've never published an angel food cake on my blog, I thought it was about time.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Pumpkin Streusel Bread

Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Streusel Bread, Pumpkin Recipes, High Altitude Pumpkin BreadIt's officially fall, yay!.  The season for sweaters and boots, cool crisp air, cozy evenings spent cuddled under soft blankets, crunching around in the leaves with my boys, baking with all my favorite spices, pumpkin patches and pie making and honking geese and apples and hot soup.  And, of course, fall is just the beginning of the holiday season, which is my favorite time of year.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Brown Sugar Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

Naked Cake, Spice Cake, Brown Sugar Spice Cake, Cream Cheese Buttercream, Cake with Flowers, Cake Decorating, Fall Dessert RecipesYou would think that after years of baking cakes, decorating cakes, photographing cakes, thinking about cakes, and looking at the cakes everyone else is making, that I'd be tired of cake.  But, I'm not.  I honestly love the whole creative process of baking, decorating, and styling a photo shoot, especially when it's cake.  And it's been a matter of personal pride for me the last couple of years to listen to feedback on my recipes and work hard to make them even better.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Old-Fashioned Pound Cake for the Modern Baker

Pound Cake, Old-Fashioned Pound Cake, Pound Cake Recipe, High Altitude Pound CakeI've been doing quite a bit of thinking and reading and daydreaming about pound cake lately.  Pound cake is something I've always loved, and my mom used to make one or two around the holidays, served with a spiced red fruit sauce (with an impossible-to-pronounce Danish name) and whipped cream.  Those slices of cake were so tempting, and so easy to snack on, since you really don't need a fork for pound cake.

The making of pound cake takes patience - all that time spent beating air into the butter, sugar and eggs - but it's all worth it when you take that first delicious bite.  The family recipe that my mom used - "Uncle Andy's Pound Cake" - was rich, decadent, dense and buttery, as every good pound cake should be. Just writing this paragraph makes my mouth water as I contemplate that buttery cake crumb, that deep, amber-hued golden crust, that rich pure flavor of simple ingredients that are in perfect harmony.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Four Recipes for No-Churn Ice Cream

Blackberry Pie Ice Cream, Blackberry Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, No-churn Strawberry Ice Cream, No-churn Ice Cream Recipe
I've been on a bit of a no-churn ice cream kick lately, because, as much as I love a rich, egg-yolk-based frozen custard, sometimes I just don't want to have to cook a custard, and then wait for it to cool before churning ice cream.  And the no-churn recipes I've been making lately are so delicious, so creamy, so smooth, that I don't miss the egg yolks at all.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Our Fifth Anniversary Cake

Anniversary Cake, Wedding Cake, Wedding Cake Topper, Chocolate Cake, Black and White Cake, French Macarons, Macarons, Chocolate and Vanilla Cake, Vanilla ButtercreamMy husband and I were married five years ago, and we really had the most beautiful wedding I ever could have imagined.  Since then, we bought and renovated a house and had two babies, so our post-wedding years have gone by so fast.  Sometimes those five years together before the wedding, when we'd travel around the country, spend weekends wine-tasting, go out to fancy dinners or cook leisurely, elaborate meals together at home, relax when we wanted to, nap when we wanted to or take off for the weekend when we wanted to seems so long ago...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Pink Sprinkle Cake with Macarons

Pink Sprinkles Cake, Macaron Cake, Pink Macarons, Macarons with Sprinkles, Ballerina Cake, Cake Decorating, Pink Birthday Cake, Sprinkles Cake, MacaronsToday's post is just for cake decorating inspiration, but no recipe.  I had made another batch of French macarons, this time pink and rolled in sprinkles, and was dying to put them on top of a cake, so I decided to just go all out with pretty details.  With the pink buttercream, sprinkles and ballerinas dancing on top of the macarons, how sweet would this be for a birthday party?  I just love how beautiful and fun it is.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Vanilla Bean French Macarons

Macarons, French Macarons, Vanilla Bean Macarons, Black and White Macarons, Vanilla Chocolate Macarons, Macaron Tips, Black and White CookiesI remember the first time I tasted a macaron.  My husband and I attended his company Christmas party at the Hyatt in downtown Denver, and it was a very fancy, catered affair with an unbelievable amount of food, drinks and gaming tables.

The dessert table was full of tiny, bite-sized treats, little cakes, tartlets and macarons in so many colors and flavors.  And after trying one or two, we had to go back for a couple more.  They were the most intriguing little cookie I'd ever tasted.  Crisp on the outside, soft, sweet and chewy inside, with creamy fillings in any flavor you could want.  And so pretty.  I love pretty treats.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Apricot Almond Cake

Apricot Almond Cake, Apricot Cake, Summer Dessert, Cake Decorating Ideas, Watercolor Cake, Watercolor ButtercreamI always think of the start of school as the beginning of fall, but it seems like school starts earlier now than it did when I was a kid, and yet it's still very much summer.  The hot, humid weather really doesn't agree with me, though, and I can't wait for cooler days.  Taking my boys outside to play mainly involves chasing my one-year-old around in the sun, fishing pea gravel and mulch out of his mouth, and trying to prevent him from picking all the flowers that I've worked so hard to grow.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Plum Crumb Pie

Plum Pie, Plum Crumb Pie, Plum Crisp, Summer Pie IdeasThe stone fruits are abundant this month, and I can't get enough of them.  Peaches sliced on cereal, or topped with yogurt and cinnamon for dessert, and cherries just for snacking.  I have plans for apricots and cake very soon.

A few weeks ago, I brought home a bag full of beautiful plums, and immediately set about making a crumble topped plum pie.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Peaches and Cream Cake

Peaches and Cream Cake, Peach Cake, White Velvet Cake, Buttermilk Birthday Cake, Cake Decorating IdeasFor my birthday last week, the best present was my husband taking two days off work to spend with us.  I was surprised to wake up Thursday morning to the smell of bacon, and after getting my boys up and dressed and downstairs, there were presents and blueberry pancakes waiting.

"It's a birthday party!" my two-and-a-half-year-old exclaimed, upon seeing the wrapped presents.  He eagerly ate his pancake, and couldn't wait to help me open presents, which included a new double waffle maker and a couple of baking books.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting

Cinnamon Rolls, Buttermilk Rolls, Overnight Cinnamon Rolls, Brown Butter Frosting, Best Cinnamon Roll RecipeCinnamon rolls are such a labor of love.  The mixing and kneading, the filling and rolling, the waiting and waiting for them to rise.  And there's nothing like that first taste, that perfect swirling bite of warm, soft yeasted bread, cinnamon and sugar, all slathered in sweet, creamy frosting.  That taste that says, someone loves you enough to get up early and make cinnamon rolls.

I bake cinnamon rolls maybe 2-3 times a year, reserving them for special holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but recently I made them for my husband on Father's Day.  A few days after the rolls were gone, I was fixing a bowl of yogurt and fruit for my toddler's breakfast, and I asked him if he wanted cinnamon on top.  He replied, "I'll have cinnamon rolls."

Friday, June 28, 2019

Strawberry Orange Cheesecake

Strawberry Orange Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake, No-bake Cheesecake Recipe, Strawberry Dessert Recipes, Summer Dessert, No-bake DessertWith the weather heating up, I'm less inclined to bake lately, although I still crave sweet things.  And anything with fresh berries and cream for dessert suits me just fine when it's hot out.

Cheesecake is a good compromise since I only bake the crust, and my cheesecake recipes usually have an egg-free, no-bake filling that's thickened with gelatin.  The result is a superbly creamy, light, almost mousse-like filling that makes a perfect summer dessert...

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...

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.