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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cake Gallery

June has been a busy month for me and cake making.  Here are the cakes I've made in the past few months, not to mention the loads of cupcakes and cake pops...I'm loving every minute of it!!  

Surf's Up Cake

Volcano/Pool Cake

Ninja Cake

Root Beer Float Cake

Princess Graduation Cake

Gerbera Daisy Wedding Cake

'bushel of crabs' cake with crab cookies

Stay tuned for more cakes I have scheduled for July!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cactus Cupcakes

Last night was another one of our Chase Ladies Nights.  My neighbor Danielle hosted with a Mexican theme, complete with not one, but 2 pinatas!  It was a first at one of our monthly functions and it was a huge hit!  Danielle filled the pinatas with lots of fun grown up chocolates and she added some special 'bling'.  I was one of the lucky ones that got an adorable Jessica Simpson bracelet that happened to match my dress perfectly. Thanks Danielle!

Each person was to bring an appetizer or dessert to share (I wish I had taken a picture of  the margarita cookies that my neighbor Shannon made, beautiful and yummy).  So I thought I would get creative and make cupcakes made to look like cacti. Well, I have to be honest...they look much cuter than they tasted!  I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe but added some cinnamon to try to create a Mexican chocolate.  Bad idea, for some reason the cinnamon made it really bitter, but I still wanted to share the pics with you. 

Mexican chocolate cupcakes with Swiss meringue buttercream frosting

This was my first attempt at decorating the cactus. After using tweezers to apply each sprinkle to resemble a cactus needle, I quickly decided that the others would be needle less...

Back to the drawing board on the 'Mexican chocolate'

Anyone have a good recipe for 'Mexican' cupcakes?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

{Tutorial} Cake Pop Stand

Okay, so I wanted to make sure to post this so that I didn't end up forgetting about it like I did with the onesie tutorial.

My dad always says that 'necessity is the mother of invention' and that was definitely the case here.  If  you've ever made cake pops that you intend to serve or give lollipop style, you've probably run into the issue of how to display them.  Well that's the position I was in when I headed to the craft store.  I'm telling you the staff at the store probably had a close eye on me because there I was in the wood section just setting things up on shelves, eyeing them, readjusting them, over and over until I came up with this easy cake pop stand. 

 I still love the idea of using cake pop bouquets as centerpieces, but if you ever want to display all the pops on a dessert table, this is definitely the way to go

What you'll need:
  • Varying sizes of wood cutouts (you'll need at least an inch and a half size difference between each tier)
  • a drill and bit set
  • a compass
  • glue gun
  • sand paper
  • paint in desired color
  • a lollipop stick to determine the size of the holes
First, set your compass at 1 1/2".  Pencil your first mark and then use the compass to insure that each hole with be at least 1 1/2" apart.  Continue to mark all the holes on each tier.  Using the lollipop stick, determine the best bit to use and drill each hole 3/4 of the way through the wood.  I do this so that the cake pops don't end up going through the stand over time

If your lucky like I am, you have a neighbor with a drill press and he can hammer it out within a matter of minutes (thanks Derek and Ellen)!!
Once all the tiers have been marked and drilled, take some sand paper and smooth over all the holes.  (I opted to put a dowel in the center of the top tier so that I can add a sign but it's not necessary) Then glue the tiers together using your glue gun and spray paint it in your choice of color and you're ready to display your cake pops!

This stand holds 56 cake pops but you can make yours as large or as small as you like.  I'm really pleased with the way this stand turned out. 

Now you can make a stand to match any theme.  It's also great to use as a drying stand during the cake pop making process.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gerbera Daisy Wedding Cake

I recently had the pleasure of making a wedding cake for some friends of ours.  I have to admit it was my first cake of that size.  I enjoyed making it but boy was I nervous!!  In the end, the bride was very happy with it and I guess that's all that matters!

Congratulations Curtis and Anna Joachim-
Thank you for allowing me to take part in your special day!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cake Pops

It seems that cake pops are still a big trend.  I love them for so many different reasons...maybe it's the perfect ratio of cake to frosting with that nice little chocolate crunch... or maybe because they can be made to match any theme imaginable... or maybe it's because they look so cute displayed on a dessert table...

I made these for a friend of mine for her daughter's graduation party. 
Her school colors happen to be purple and black so I decided on a chocolate coating and a purple fondant flower

For the theme, Kiara knew she wanted to incorporate the phrase Live, Laugh, Love (which I thought was a really refreshing theme) so I made up these favor tags for each of the cake pops

I've been making cake pops for quite a few events and every time I make them, the issue of how to display them always comes up so I came up with this stand. I LOVE how it turned out and I can't wait to use it for future events

Stay tuned for a cake pop stand tutorial!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

{Recipe} Roasted Corn Salad

I want to share the roasted corn salad recipe from the mason jar post.  It's a great salad for a picnic or as a side dish at a BBQ, oh, and it's healthy too!

Photo: Jonathan Hill Photography
Roasted Corn Salad
    • 4 ears of corn roasted on the grill until slightly browned, & cut off the cob
    • 1 medium sized jicama, diced into small cubes
    • 1- 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
    • 1/3 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
    • 1/3 cup chopped, fresh parsley
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 T fresh lime juice
    • 2 T fresh orange juice
    • 1/4 t cumin
    • salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl combine the roasted corn, jicama, black beans, jalapeno, cilantro and parsley.  In a separate bowl combine the lime and orange juices and the cumin then gently whisk in the olive oil.  Pour dressing over salad and toss lightly. Serve at room temp or chill for up to 4 hours (allowing to stand at room temp and hour before serving).

Enjoy, I hope you like it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

{Tutorial} Pie in a Jar

I'm not really a pie person but, because I think they're so cute, I adore the pie in a jar!! Another thing I love about the pie in a jar is that it freezes well, so it's a great go to dessert when you have last minute guests stop by or if an impromptu picnic should arise.  But, when your stash runs low and you don't have time to whip up homemade pie crust and filling, the ease of this tutorial can save time without sacrificing aesthetics. Plus, most of us already have the necessary ingredients in the pantry.

Photo: Jonathan Hill Photography

Here is a 'semi-homemade' way of making pies in a jar:

What you'll need
    • 4oz canning jars with lids
    • rolled ready made pie crusts (in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)
    • pie filling in your choice of flavor
    • a rolling pin
    •  a 5" diameter cutter (this can be free handed. I used the lid to an empty hot cocoa can)
    • mini cookie cutter (optional, this is just to make a vent hole. I used an icing tip)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the pie crust just slightly to smooth it out.  Using the 5" cutter or free hand, cut the crusts that will be the bottom of the pie.

Next, place the crusts in the jars, and gently smooth out the sides allowing a slight overhang of the crust at the lip of the jar.

Place about a 1/4 cup of filling in each pie shell or fill to 3/4 of the way full.

Using the canning jar, cut out the tops for each pie. Cut out desired shapes as vent holes, also a vent hole can be created by simply cutting slits in the top crust.

Place each top onto the pies.  Fold over the excess crust inward.

Using a fork, crimp the edges around the lip of the jar to create a seal.

If you have a silicone baking sheet, I would highly recommend using it under the jars for a couple of reasons, one, it prevents the jars from sliding around and two, it makes clean up a whole lot easier.  If desired, at this time, each pie can be brushed with an egg wash or cream and sprinkled with sugar. (omit this step if you are planning on freezing the pies at this stage)

Place in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. 


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Picnic: Mason Jars

Mason jars seem to be all the rage right now in the party planning world.  I've seen them used in so many different and creative ways.  For some reason when I think of mason jars, picnics come to mind.  I have no idea why but it seems when I'm planning a picnic, I always try to incorporate them in one way or another. Here are some of my favorite uses of mason jars:

Photo: Jonathan Hill Photography
I know the pie in a jar 'thing' has been floating around for a while but I still love it.  A mason jar is a perfect vessel for transporting and serving...I mean really, can you get any cuter than this!?!  These were gone in an instant!  I'm sure was all due to presentation...

Photo: Jonathan Hill Photography
Whether served out of a large jar or in mini mason jars this salad screams 'try me'!  This one was a big hit with my vegetarian dad!

Photo: Hugs from home
Ahhh  my favorite picnic beverage... homemade lemonade, but somehow it tastes better served out of a mason jar.

Photo:  Martha Stewart
I love this idea, I think I'll try it with a few citronella candles thrown into the mix to fight off all the pesky bugs!

Photo: Jonathan Hill Photography

This herb bouquet is straight out of my mom and dad's garden. The first time my dad brought a bouquet like this to a picnic, I thought, this is gorgeous!  Why didn't I think of that?  This is made up of basil, rosemary, lavender, dill, sage, mint, thyme and oregano, all from their garden! The best part is your guests can just tear off some of the fresh herbs to use to their liking.

Photo:  Southern Living
I found this use of a mason jar in this month's Southern Living and thought it would be a cute activity for the little ones.  Just tie on an inexpensive bug net and it's an instant activity. (of course I would be sure to let the fireflies go after the picnic)

Photo: Style Me Pretty
This last use of a mason jar is my absolute favorite!  It's a 'make your own ice cream in a jar' favor.  I think this would make a fun favor for a picnic or any summer event.  See the full tutorial on Style me pretty.

What's your favorite way to use a mason jar?

For the ant picnic printables click here for a FREE download!