What I've been up to...

It seems like every week 'blog' is on my to-do list, and it never seems to get done!  So I thought I'd just picture dump in one blog post and be done with it :)  Here we go:

Pretty springtime cupcakes for a wedding shower.  Double chocolate cupcakes with a raspberry filling...one of my favorite combos!  Topped with a dainty chocolate flower.  

Canucks hockey puck cake...fairly simple, but so fun and vibrant!
I love getting orders for boy cakes...seems like I do a lot of girly cakes, so it's fun to go out of the box sometimes :)  

Vanilla latte cupcakes for my little sis' birthday...um, yum. Recipe here. I used my regular vanilla buttercream and added some super strong coffee to it.

Mother's Day 'high heeled shoe' cupcakes to honor my wonderful mothers.  So blessed to have them in my life.  Lovely Pinterest inspiration for this idea...a cupcake with a Milano cookie inserted in as the 'sole' of the shoe and a Pirouette cookie as the 'heel'.  Not only are they cute, but the cookies are delicious too :)  Cupcakes and cookies...doesn't get much better than that.

Beesting cake.  Recipe from our church cookbook from one talented lady :)  I didn't use to be a huge coconut fan, but this cake has converted me.  It's my best.

Monster cake pops for 2 cute little boys' birthdays!  Love their little characters.  The eyes were ones you can get in a little package at Michaels or Safeway and made my life so much easier...no fiddling with chocolate or edible pens needed! 

And a cake for a mother-in-law's 60th? birthday!  2 tiered and decorated with royal icing flowers in blue and purple.  Vanilla cake with strawberry preserves and devil's food cake with a pastry cream filling, topped with a vanilla buttercream.  

Thanks for looking!  Have you been creating anything fun in the kitchen lately?
PS...check back soon for a post with my girl's birthday party--lots of girly fun!


Rainbow 'round me

As my sweet niece Lucy's 2nd birthday approached, my sister and I started talking cake ideas.  When she mentioned 'maybe something with rainbows?', I jumped on it.  I've been wanting to do a rainbow cake for a while now, and was excited to have the chance to finally do it!  Since the birthday girl had 2 birthday parties, we went for some fun rainbow cupcakes for the family party.  I just loved how it all turned out--I think it was one of my favorite cakes to date.  Bright, cheerful and happy... just like the birthday girl!  

All photos courtesy of my sister of Alyssa Brown Photography
Vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, topped with a rainbow of Starburst jellybeans 
with marshmallow clouds!

Love this picture...rainbow themes are the best--so many options for bright, colorful candy and decorations! We found some cute colorful napkins, plates, and striped straws at Target that were perfect.

And my favorite part...the rainbow reveal inside!  Love the bright rainbow layers. 

Rainbow cupcakes...vanilla buttercream with candy tape rainbows and marshmallow clouds.

The sweet birthday girl!

Tie-dye rainbow colors inside the cupcakes!

Thanks for reading!  Have a sweet week,


Sugar, spice, and everything nice

Baby girl cake pops!  
Pink, pink, and more pink!  Last week we attended a baby shower for my beautiful sister-in-law and her little baby girl, who is due in April.  Needless to say, let's hope that baby girl likes pink and playing dress-up :)  It was so great to have Krissy home from Hawaii for a quick visit-it was a perfect chance to catch up over coffee, see that cute pregnant belly, and spoil her at the shower :)   

I of course had the perfect opportunity to try some new cake pops...pink, girly, what more can you ask for? :)  So, baby girl cake pops complete with soothers, bibs and hair bows...and pink baby rattles to round it out.  

The gorgeous mommy-to-be!
Photos courtesy of the talented Alyssa Brown Photography
Loving the little soothers, bibs, and hair bows.
and fun baby rattles!
We loved having you here, Krissy, and pray that the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly....and quickly!! :)  

Thanks for reading!


Jace is 1!

Seriously, how can you resist that little grin?!
Picture courtesy of talented Auntie Julia :)
My sweet little dude is 1.  How one year has passed already is beyond me...there should definitely be a pause button in life.  Jace has brought such joy into our lives...he has us all wrapped around his little finger with his giggles, easy-going personality and love for life.  He loves to play crazy with his daddy, be carted around by his big sister, and enjoy the (occasional) cuddle with Mommy.

Party table! 
His first birthday was a perfect excuse to bake and play in the kitchen :)    I went off some guitar fabric he has in his room and decorated with teal and black with guitars and music notes made with royal icing.

The cake, topped with a chocolate cupcake for the birthday boy! 

I've been wanting to do an ombre cake for a while, so I made a layered cake--one blue ombre, vanilla cake, and the bottom my favorite chocolate cake.

Since it's been forever that I decorated sugar cookies, I made some for everyone to take home as party favors.  

Party favors
I'd say he loved his first taste of cake...just maybe? ;)


'Tis the season!

Oh how I love this time of year.  Family and friends getting together, yummy food, cuddles on the couch under a blanket with my sweet kiddos, singing along to Christmas music, hot chocolate by the fire...such good memories are made at this time of year!
Christmas also usually brings out the baking side of me.  I see so many cute ideas floating around on blogs, Facebook and Pinterest and just want to make them all!  This year I've tamed it down a bit since I've realized if I make it, I will eat it :)  I have a few recipes pulled out, though, and am excited to get going on them next week!

Last week I had a cake pop order for a past high school teacher of mine...she was one of my favorite English teachers so I was very excited when she contacted me for an order!  She had a birthday party, and then a Christmas work party the night following.  So 150 cake pops later, this was the result!
75 cake pops decorated in her colors of green and white for the birthday party, and 75 Christmas cake pops individually wrapped as party favors for the work party.  The flavors were chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet...I personally LOVE the red velvet--it's so fun to bite into one and see that bright red color...especially in a green coating :)

Also, check out my new cake pop display courtesy of my amazingly handy husband!  It's exactly what I've been dreaming of...he took my ramblings and turned it into a plan, then crafted this display!  Each layer can be used individually or stacked. With all tiers, it holds about 150 cake pops!  It would be perfect for a wedding--a cake pop display instead of a wedding cake, maybe?!  Spread the word :)  It was also the perfect transport system--no cake pops falling over or moving around.  Love.

Thanks for reading!  And don't forget...cake pops make a perfect addition to your holiday party!  They are great as centerpieces (I have cute vases they can be displayed in), as party favors (wrapped up in little treat bags), or just as a fun addition to dessert/snacks!  $1/piece.


Fluffy Vanilla Cake

I can't tell you how many recipes I've tried (and have been less than happy with) in my search for the perfect, from-scratch, vanilla cake.  Most recipes turned out to be ultra-dense, dry, and definitely not consumable the second day.  But finally...I've found it!!  When I saw this recipe, I was skeptical (think: many failed attempts), but thought I'd give it a try.  And it lived up to its name...it was light, fluffy, and deliciously vanilla-y!  Plus it used ingredients right from pantry, which is always a win (other than cake flour, which some people may not have on hand).  Paired with my favorite buttercream, it was a definite keeper!

Photo courtesy of Sweetapolita

Here is the receipe, courtesy of Sweetapolita.  

Fluffy Vanilla Cake
makes one 2-layer, 8-inch round cake

5 large egg whites at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk at room temp
2 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract (pure definitely tastes better than imitation in this recipe!)
2 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 T plus 1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
12 T unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease, line with parchment, and flour 2 round 8-inch pans
2. In a medium bowl, combine and stir egg whites, 1/4 c. of milk and the vanilla. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed for 30 seconds.
4. Add the butter and remaining 1/2 c. of milk and mix on low speed until just moistened.  Increase to medium speed and mix for 1 1/2 minutes.
5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition.
6. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared pans, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife.  
7. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Be very careful not to over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, and once you feel it's almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals.  Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks.  Getly turn cakes back up so tops are up and cool completely.
8. Wrap tightly and store at room temp for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months...but it's definitely best eaten the same day as baked :)

*Note--I've found that this recipe does not work great for cupcakes because of the use of only egg whites.*

Enjoy! This is a great recipe to have in your repertoire...I know it's become a go-to recipe in my files!  if you try it, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it.  



Little Miss Trouble is 3!

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Brown Photography

I know it's cliche, but where does time go?  How is this little girl 3 already?!  M brings such joy into our lives...our family would not be the same without her.   She is equal parts silly, mischievous, happy, and crazy!  She loves with her whole heart--Jesus, family, and friends.  M is always the one ready with a little grin and a huge bear hug.  While she definitely is going through some terrible two/threes ;), she'll look at you a minute later with those big blue eyes and beautiful smile and do something to make you laugh...my heart melts every time.  A big thank you to my sister Alyssa for these amazing pictures of Mya...totally capture her and her personality!  

                                                   Photo courtesy of Alyssa Brown Photography

Photo courtesy of Alyssa Brown Photography

And for the cake--Mya loves Strawberry Shortcake, so I decided to make a cake in the shape of Strawberry's hat.  

It was fairly simple to make, with 2 layers of strawberry and vanilla cake (I finally found a fluffy vanilla cake recipe that I'll share with you soon!) and decorated with buttercream and fondant strawberries and a fondant bow.  

Bakerella's cake pop book always inspires me, and I've been wanting to try these strawberry cake pops for a while...and what better time?  Although when there's cake pops around, the cake hardly ever gets eaten :)

Thank you for reading!  Hope you're enjoying this beautiful summer day!  We're off to the beach for some sun and sand!



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