Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Superman's looks like this:

Mine looks like this:

In case you can't tell, those are cocoa beans. Not coffee beans.

Anyway, as you all know, if you expose the caped wonder to a hunk of kryptonite, this happens:

Well, expose me to this:

...and you get a similar reaction. I lose all my power,, willpower, that is.

This is chocolate in what, I would argue, is one of its best forms: chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream.


And it gets better; check out the middle: White chocolate mousse and fresh strawberries--just enough lightness to balance the intense chocolate flavor.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Cheery Cherry Kind of Birthday

Sometimes my cupcakes are a backward sort of affair, inspiration-wise. These little guys were the result of two things: (1) my friend Diana's birthday and (2) a set of Mary Englebreit cupcake boxes I bought forever ago and haven't had a chance to use.

I decided to make cherry-themed cupcake toppers to match the box, and then I went with white chocolate cupcakes with cherry preserves filling to keep with that theme. Designing the toppers actually was relatively quick, and I was pretty pleased with the end result.

Fun, huh?

Here are the toppers themselves:
Boxed up and ready to go!

Mary E., you inspire me. (Now could your boxes just be cheaper, hm?)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cupcake Towers and Tiny Italians -- when friends get married

What could possibly be better than a spring wedding involving people you love? Not much. April 1 my dear friends Hans and Julia were married, and they're now chilling in Hawaii for their honeymoon. (Where it's warm. And there are beaches. And palm trees. And drinks with little umbrellas. And, yes, I'm jealous.)

Julia was arguably the chillest, most NON-bridezilla bride I've ever known, both in the weeks leading up the wedding and even during wedding week and wedding day. Seriously. The wedding was beautiful. And I had SO much fun working on cupcakes for one of her bridal showers and the groom's cake for the wedding.

The shower (a couple of weeks before the wedding) was a fun time for the ladies at church to hang out"shower" Julia with love. And kitchen appliances. Here she is with her new food processor:

Here's the cupcake tower. There were two kinds of cupcakes: key lime with blackberry filling and key lime frosting, and banana with Nutella filling (heck, yeah!) and cream cheese frosting (yum!). There were regular-sized and minis.

Here's a wider shot of the table: cupcake tower, chocolate fountain (yes, I said chocolate fountain), and a plethora of items waiting to be dipped in the chocolate...I'm getting hungry just thinking about it again.

THEN there was the groom's cake, which I had an absolute blast working on! Hans requested an old-school Mario Brothers cake, and I was more than happy to take on the challenge. This was crazy-good nostalgia for me (ah, the days of original Nintendo...Mario Brothers...Duck Hunt...good times).

The cake was a two-tier round, butter-rum flavor, with butter-rum buttercream. I also tried my hand at making my own homemade fondant for the first time...and discovered that it is SO much better than the store-bought Wilton stuff. Much better to work with, much cheaper, and much tastier. (Thanks for the recipe, Brianna!)

I colored all the fondant and hand-cut every individual piece of decor. Yes, it took forever. But it was a blast. How cute is this?

Okay, so I didn't make EVERY piece. Mario and Peach I ordered...though I did make Peach's bridal veil. And the castle came from Michael's--all I had to do was paint it (with nontoxic paint!).
Here's the final product:
Pictures from the wedding (and these are WONDERFUL pictures; the photographer did an excellent job!) are here. There's even a shot of my cake (a much better shot than I took!).

Congratulations, Hans and Julia! Love you guys!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Donuts. 'Nuff Said.

Getting up early on Saturday mornings was fairly normal when I was a little girl. I seriously hated vacating my warm bed (still do), but Saturday meant Dad was home and we could have some "us" time, just the two of us. We'd get up before the sun and take his gray F-150 into town, first stopping to pick up a newspaper at the gas station and then heading over to the old donut shop.

For the record, this was decidedly not Krispy Kreme. No gleaming conveyer belts and white counters and whatnot. Think smaller. More dilapidated. Er...dirtier. But it was wonderful.

There was something overwhelmingly comfortable about the shop. It was always warm inside. The tables were cracked and rickety, perpetually manned by retirees smoking cigarettes (yeah, this was before public smoking bans) and drinking coffee, and the air was always sweet and heady from the mix of donut glaze and cigarette smoke. The lady behind the counter (I don't know what her name was, but in my memory she definitely has the look of a Thelma or Mable) always smiled and chatted with Dad while I read the cartoon taped to the cash register--a newspaper cutout with a little naked cupid spouting pithy observations about life and love.
Dad would buy me strawberry-glazed donuts (SO good), and we'd take our breakfast and the Saturday newspaper out to the truck, where we sat circling garage sale ads with the stub of a pencil from the glove box.

All this to say that: (a) donuts hold a special place in my heart, and (b) I miss eating them. Ah, for the days of being 5 years old and not thinking for a second about the calorie content and artery-clogging effects of all the grease. (Sigh.)

Now, these donuts...

...made with my handy-dandy new donut pans (for which I paid a mere $5; thank you very much, Cost Plus World Market), are a much healthier (baked, not fried), more grownup version. And while they may not be exactly the same thing, they're pretty durned good...and bring back some good memories.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So We Don't Stagnate...

One would assume, from the not-updated-in-forever state of this blog, that I haven't been doing much baking lately. Incorrect, folks. Apperances and deception and all that. I've been doing quite a lot of baking lately...just not so much taking PICTURES of said baking. And that's regrettable; I had some great items from over the holidays.

Ah, well. It's not like there won't be more. Besides, there's always the archives to pull from, right? Right.

So...for the sake of not letting this blog get too much more stagnant...into the vault we go.

This is a cake I made back at the end of the summer. Maybe the bright colors, baseball theme, and whatnot will make us all feel a bit more summery in this cold, cold weather.