Monday, May 13, 2013

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Layer Cake

I made my mom this cake Sunday afternoon. A Hummingbird Cake and it was so good.

Ingredients

This cake is basically healthy. At least in my mind it is.

I mean bananas, pineapple and nuts.

It’s like dieting.

Frosting

Okay, maybe not so much. Especially with the generous amount of cream cheese frosting I slathered all over it.

When I was a kid I would have skipped cake like this rather than putting something non-chocolate in my mouth.

Yeah, would not have touched it. Or I would have picked out all the nuts. Pecans and pineapple were not on the list of approved foods.

But my mom loves them. So I thought this would be a great cake to make for her.

Chopped Pecans

Chopped and toasted pecans. Yum. I’m glad I can say that now.

Cake Making

The cake is super easy to throw together, too. You don’t even need to break out your mixer for the batter. A spoon will do the trick.

Cake

The recipe makes a giant cake. Three 9-inch layers.

Level the cakes with a serrated knife to remove the mounded tops and make for a more even cake and easier to frost.

Potter Wheel Cake Stand

Here’s something else I use that makes frosting cakes a bit easier for me.

I bought this pottery wheel thing to place my cakes on. It’s awesome. And heavy and spins fast and smooth.

Cake Stand

And the nice part is you can easily lift the plate right off the base.

Amaco No. 5 Pottery Decorating Wheel The metal isn’t polished, so some areas could have a sharp or rough spot.

Cake Layer

The removable base makes it easy to hold up in the air and see things at eye level.

I had a plastic turntable meant for cake decorating, but I didn’t like that one so much. This one just feels better in my hands. But that’s probably because it’s on the smaller side. The plate is just 7 inches in diameter, but still worked out perfectly for this 9-inch cake.

Frosting

Spin and spread.

Hummingbird Cake

I tried to go for that whole my cake is so messy that it’s beautiful look.

I think I need to practice more.

Hummingbird Cake

But that’s okay. It’s what’s on the inside that counts… And my mom loved it.

Hope you do too.

Hummingbird Cake

Servings: 1 9-inch three layer cake

Ingredients

  • CAKE
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, liquid included
  • 2 cups chopped ripe bananas
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped and toasted
  • FROSTING
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 32 oz. confectioner's sugar

Instructions

  1. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 3 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Prepare toasted pecans. Chop pecans in small pieces and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes and keeping your eye on them so they don't burn. Set aside and let cool.
  3. Whisk together flour, soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  4. Add lightly beaten eggs, oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Add crushed pineapple and cut up bananas and stir until combined. Finally stir in 1 cup of chopped toasted pecans. Reserve the rest to sprinkle on top of the cake if desired.
  6. Spread batter evenly among cake pans and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and let cool.
  7. For the frosting: In a mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low, slowly add confectioner's sugar a little at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl often.
  8. To assemble: Gently level cakes using a large serrated knife to remove any mounded tops. Place first layer cut side down and spread frosting on top with an offset spatula. Continue with the remaining two layers and then frost the sides. Store in fridge.
Source: Adapted from Southern Living.com
Monday, May 6, 2013

So Cal So Sweet

Sweet and Saucy Shop

…… and Saucy.

I was in Southern California a week ago and finally got to visit Melody of My Sweet and Saucy. Well, that was her blog name back before she became a superstar cake decorating, bakery owning machine. Now she has two Sweet and Saucy Shops and she’s in the construction stage of a third.

Melody of Sweet and Saucy

Hi Melody. You are a doll.

I first “met” Melody when she would leave sweet comments here on the blog way back in the beginning and it’s been a blast watching all of her success.

IMG_6361

She’s super-talented and so is her staff… including her sweet little helper Blake.

And their wedding cake designs are just gorgeous, modern and sing Melody.

Sweet and Saucy Shop Mini Desserts

But what I love most is her love for mini desserts. Little pies and mini tarts, macarons, cupcakes and cake pops, too.

Sweet and Saucy Shop

The desserts are all displayed on beautiful cake stands like these. So cute. And so are the cupcakes. ; )

If you stop by, make sure you get a mini pie… Oh my. Get any flavor and have them warm it up for you. You won’t regret it.

The S’mores cupcake shouldn’t be missed either. Heck, just get a whole plate of petite treats.

We did. Thank you Melody.

Sweet and Saucy

Yeah, I didn’t eat this all myself. I had help. Jenny of Picky Palate, Amanda of Kevin and Amanda and I went on a quick sweets tour to a few places in Jenny’s neck of the woods before we headed out to a food blogging conference. Prep work.

Cake Stands at Sweet and Saucy

Oh yeah, you can also rent or buy these beautiful cake stands from Melody’s shop. I wanted the whole table.

Okay, the whole bakery.

Sweet & Saucy Website

Sweet & Saucy Stands

Newport Beach, CA

'lette macarons

Not far from Melody is ‘lette.

Macarons. Macarons. Macarons.

'lette macarons

Okay. Will do.

'lette macarons

Here’s the sampler pack I picked up for a next day treat. I say sampler pack because it sounds less like I’m eating so many.

They didn’t make it that long though before I had to dive in.

'lette macarons

I’m always drawn to these little bites of perfection and their beautiful colors, but I haven’t found a flavor that beats out chocolate for me. Always my favorite.

‘lette Macarons Website

Fashion Island, Newport Beach

Wonderland

Jenny also took us to a little place called Wonderland. Such a perfect name for this sweet shop. So much eye candy.

Cupcake Stuff\

And tons of cupcake gifts. Ornaments, mugs, and yes bandaids.

Wonderland Cupcakes

And what a cute curved cupcake case set atop a sparkling glittery floor. Magical.

We didn’t pick up any cupcakes here though. Instead we had a couple of cookies.

Just two. Sandwiched between a tiny bit of buttercream… Ummm… that they will warm up for you!

Wonderland Cookie Sandwich

And just for reference, I asked Amanda to hold it up for you.

See … tiny. Like Big Mac tiny. Help.

P.S. You can mix and match the cookies. We had Peanut Butter Chunk and Raspberry Dream. Yum!

Wonderland Bakery Website

Newport Beach, CA

 

Truly Madly Sweetly Cupcakes

Truly Madly Sweetly. We stumbled on this cupcake shop by accident when we arrived for the conference.

Truly Madly Sweetly Cupcakes

It was at a mall that we were “accidentally” shopping at with Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod ; ) and it was a sweet surprise.

Great cupcakes. Great frosting. We decided the chocolate cupcakes were our faves. Go figure.

Food Photos

That’s once we finally finished photographing them. And when I finished photographing them photographing them. We have a problem. A big sweet problem.

Truly Madly Sweetly 

Temecula, CA

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Oh and next time I’m in Jenny’s area I want to try Sprinkles Ice Cream in Newport Beach or even the one in Beverly Hills. They have red velvet waffle cones. Oh yes they do! The Newport Beach location just opened, but the line was Ridiculous!!! Even for me. I’m also told I need to check out B. Candy and Confexion Cupcakes. Any other recommendations?

 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Bake

I’ve been in spring break mode lately. You might have noticed since I didn’t bake last weekend. I think it’s because I recently went on a vacation which I haven’t done in a couple of years and it felt awesome to just relax and do nothing. And now being back home I can’t stop enjoying the warmth that’s finally taking over. Spring is probably my favorite time of the year. Unfortunately, in the south, you only have about seven minutes to enjoy the season before the hot and humid heat of summer takes over. Okay, okay – I’m exaggerating a little. It probably lasts eleven minutes. ; ) So you’ve got to enjoy all of them while they last. And I’m trying.

Got Spring Fever, too? Take a break with me and enter this sweet Spring Bake Giveaway for a chance to win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer… in one of the following pastel colors. Plus a white and silver choice in case springy isn’t your speed. Me? I have the pink one, but man, that aqua sky is calling my name. And the ice and crystal blue. too. I’m glad I don’t have to choose.

Enter the Spring Bake Giveaway for a chance to win a KitchenAid 5-quart Artisan Series Stand Mixer

  • To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering the following question.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do or place to go on vacation? Oh and pick your pastel, too.
  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, April 24th, at 7:00 pm ET. Time’s Up. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Wednesday evening on this post.

Good luck!

 

Okay, we have a winner. And the winner picked pink. I thought for sure ice or aqua sky would win. So many of you guys love that color. And me too.

The winner is …… Comment # 6625. Yay Veronica! You are getting a pink mixer! And now I totally want to go on vacation again. You guys have fun ideas.

Giveaway sponsored by me.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Brown Butter & Biscoff Crispy Treat Bars

Brown Butter Biscoff Crispy Bars

Confession. I don’t think I’ve made Rice Krispie Treats before. What?!?! And if I have, it was so long ago, I can’t remember. Weird, right? I mean, I enjoy them and all their crispy marshmallowy goodness, whenever I do eat one. I just never make them. Maybe it’s because growing up, Rice Krispies didn’t spend that much time in our house. I was a Fruit Loops girl. Die hard. Fruit. Loops. Rice Krispies just got soggy too quick for my taste. It was however, one of the few I’d eat in a lack of Fruit Loops emergency at someone else’s house. I’m just now giving in to Frosted Flakes … I guess I consider that one my grown up cereal. I’m sure I’d enjoy others, but I don’t really eat cereal that often and I just can’t commit to a whole big box of a new cereal. Anyway… that’s a long way of saying I haven’t made Rice Krispy Treats.

Ingredients

But lately I’ve been wanting to …… recently my friend and Wookiee Pies author, Lara was raving about some Brown Butter and Biscoff treats she made inspired by this Smitten Kitchen recipe … but she added a little something to them.

Biscoff Spread

Biscoff spread! Also Speculoos Cookie Butter from Trader Joes. If you’ve tried this stuff before, you know why these have been stuck in my head. It’s ridiculously good. It never makes it spread onto anything though because if I dare open a jar… it doesn’t have a chance against me with a spoon in my hand.

But, I bought some special to make these treats with.

Browning Butter

Rice Krispies Treats start with mixing marshmallows into melted butter. But these are made more special by browning the butter first. It enhances the flavor and adds a wonderful nutty aroma. Just use a stainless steel pot when you make it so you can see the butter change color as it’s heated. It was difficult to see the colors change in this dark pot I was using and the butter can burn easily if you aren’t paying attention.

Check out this How-to if you’ve never made brown butter before.

Melted Marshmallow

Now you can just use this brown buttery marshmallowy goodness and stir in your cereal if you want.

Mixing in Biscoff

But what fun would that be without a bunch of Biscoff. Heat it a few seconds in the microwave first and it will incorporate easily into the warm marshmallow mixture.

In Lara’s version, she didn’t mix it into the marshmallow. She divided the brown butter marshmallow mixture and spread a thin layer between the two before she pressed it all together. So you can try it that way, too.

But I wanted to marry the two.

Marshmallowy

Stir the melted marshmallow and Biscoff until combined.

Crispy Treats

Add a little salt and six cups of cereal.

Beautiful Mess

And mix it into a beautiful mess.

Crispy Treats

Press it into a greased dish and cut into bars.

Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Like these rectangular ones. Yum.

Drizzle a little melted chocolate on top if you want, too. But they don’t really need it. They just looked lonely all by themselves so I thought they needed a hug of chocolate.

Brown Butter Biscoff Bars

And you know what, the best part about long rectangle bars like this is they make a great dipping stick too for any leftover Biscoff Spread. I mean, not that I would know anything about that first hand.

Brown Butter & Biscoff Crispy Treat Bars

Servings: 12 - 16 treats

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff Spread or Speculoos Cookie Butter
  • 6 cups Rice Crispies Cereal
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Melted chocolate, optional

Instructions

  1. Butter an 8 X 8 inch pan.
  2. Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-low to medium heat, whisking often. It will foam, then turn from a golden color to a darker brown. Watch closely so it doesn't burn.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the marshmallows until completely melted and smooth.
  4. Heat the Biscoff spread in the microwave for about 20 seconds and stir it into the melted marshmallow until combined.
  5. Stir in the salt and cereal. Mix until incorporated and press into bottom of prepared pan. I placed a piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and used a glass to roll on top of the wax paper to help flatten the mixture down. Or you can press the top down with your fingers and leave it a little more freeform.
  6. Cool for a couple of minutes. Cut into 16 squares or 12 rectangular bars and you're ready to treat yourself or drizzle on a little melted chocolate and enjoy that way, too.
Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Enjoy!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Humpty Dumpty Eggstravaganza

Humpty Dumpty Cake Pops

Remember these little guys I showed you how to make last week? Pretty cute, huh? They were for a baby shower my friend Cupcake Julie threw and now I have some of the pictures pulled together to show you all the fun. Julie has been throwing baby showers and creating dessert tables for some time now, but the last few years, she has been building on a Humpty Dumpty theme and creating party props for it. It’s a perfectly cute and cheery theme that works for baby boys and girls. She gets these fantastic ideas in her head and just has to create them and bring them to life. This was the third year she’s made something new for the theme. It’s been a work in progress, but I think she’s definitely perfected the Humpty party props.

Okay, prepare yourself for some amazingness.

It’s kind of mind blowing.

Humpty Dumpty Baby Shower

Obviously a Humpty Dumpty Baby Shower has to start with the main attraction.

Humpty! Yay!

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty is huge. And handmade. With custom tailored clothing. Elaborate custom tailored clothing.

Humpty is really just a giant plastic egg. Yep, a giant version of the little ones you might have had an Easter egg hunts with yesterday. Julie found it at Hobby Lobby and just spray painted it white. But first she filled it with rice and hot glued it together so he would be weighted down and could sit in different positions easily. You know… without falling.

Humpty Dumpty

But let’s talk about his outfit. Intense. Elaborate. Detailed. Gorgeous.

So, she can definitely sew. Me, not sew much.

Humpty Dumpty

Look at these glittered up shoes with pink painted soles and sweet sequined adorned socks. They’re baby shoes from Target made sparkly. Adorbs.

Humpty Dumpty

His turquoise top hat is constructed with wool felt. Definitely dapper.

And even though he’s Humpty, he makes a fantastic Easter egg with such a fun, frilly spring outfit, don’t you think.

Yay Pennants

And he makes me want to scream, YAY!

These are easy pennants she made with fabric fused together and iron-on, hand-cut letters. Topped off with little pom poms, too.

This is much more my speed. She makes me want to learn how to sew, though. Kinda.

Tassel Garland

Okay, I am in love with these tassels. It’s cotton fabric she cut using a rotary cutter.

The colors are so pretty together.

All the King's Horses

You can see them hanging in the background here.

That’s if you can get past the cuteness from these horses.

All the King’s horses are pretty freaking adorable!

Horses

Last year she sewed these stuffed animals using happy colored fabrics and yarn. They’re attached to a wooden rod so you can ride.

Not that I tried. ; )

Giddy up!

But you can’t have all the King’s horses, without all the King’s men.

Right?

All the King's Men

Right!

Julie’s had these sweet soldiers for a while. A Wal-Mart find from several years ago. They were originally red, green and royal blue.

Not so springy. So this year, she finally repainted them, added glitter and covered up the strong Christmas colors to go with the baby shower.

All the King's Men

These aren’t quite as tall as her homemade house-sized nutcrackers, but they’re definitely as cute. And I’m sure they’ll get double duty and make an appearance as part of her holiday decorations this year, too.

And if they don’t, I’m bringing them to my house.

Okay, so we have Humpty…

And all the King’s horses…

And all the King’s men…

Now, I guess we need a King…

Humpty Dumpty King

Bam. King. Check.

Sometimes I think she has a real easy button. But like I said, she gets these ideas and makes them happen.

The King is cool. His body is totally a tomato cage and the arms are just 2X4s with fence post finials for hands.

Humpty Dumpty King

But the robe and clothes cover all that hard work up. Mr. Cupcake Julie actually constructed the body. He’s a good guy. Especially for getting all this stuff from storage and putting it back each time she throws a Humpty shower.

Humpty Dumpty King

A Santa wig and beard were both used to create the King’s long beard and eyebrows. She cut bangs from the wig to make the mustache because of the great curls it had.

The crown is made from poster board and adorned with jewels and handmade tissue flowers that she hot glued on.

His face and hair? Can you guess?

It’s totally a Burger King Halloween Mask. Repainted.

Humpty Dumpty King

Hear Ye … announcing Baby Taylor … yippee!

A custom welcome sign she sewed and hand painted with the help of an overhead projector.

Humpty Dumpty

Okay, so I may have had a little fun moving Humpty around.

But I want to show you these baby blocks. Underneath? Graduated cardboard boxes turned upside down.

They were hidden by pretty linen slip covers that she sewed and decorated with iron on numbers and animals cut out of fabric.

Baby Shower Games

Cute nursery rhyme games she found on clearance from Target. They look extra special with individual mini clipboards and colorful pencils.

Pom Poms

And look at these giant poms. These were made using cut fabric circles ruffled together and hot glued to an outdoor lantern.

I love how the guts of some of these decorations are reused from unexpected items.

Wait, what about the Humpty Dumpty cake pops.

Humpty Cake Pops

Yeah, those guys.

Humpty Dumpty Dessert Table

Did I mention there was a dessert table, too?

Desserts

With butterscotch puddings, mini doughnuts, cupcakes, and individual banana pudding trifles. Yum!!!!

Dessert table

Don’t worry, the desserts were guarded.

Humpty Dumpty

Oh … and check out these vintage lamps from the 70s she found on etsy. She removed the tops and turned them into cake stands. Creative!

And I think these were the inspiration for this whole Humpty Dumpty theme. I can’t remember though … she’s been doing these so long.

Brunch Table Setting

The dining room table was set beautifully for brunch. Yeah, there was food, too.

Humpty Dumpty Embroidered Napkins

There were even hand-stitched napkins at each place setting. Julie drew the designs on the napkins with a disappearing ink marker, then stitched on top. When you wash the napkins, the ink disappears. Magic.

Humpty Dumpty Party Favors

She even made party favors for all the guests. Pin cushion topped mason jars filled with colorful candy buttons.

She used this button mold and this one too and filled them with melted candy coating.

The jars were topped with paper maché eggs that she painted to match the invitations.

Humpty Dumpty Baby Shower Invite

Okay, we’re coming to the end. It’s like a crafting marathon.

The invites. The Humpty is an old Meri Meri Accents scrapbook design that she had but isn’t available anymore. So she used it as a guide for the invitations and embellished them with glitter and ribbon for each guest.  A happy, fun beginning to the baby shower.

 

Humpty Dumpty

And, that’s all folks.

So, I guess it doesn’t take all the King’s horses and all the King’s men to put a Humpty Dumpty Shower together. It just takes one Cupcake Julie. It does make me feel better that she did all of these elements over a few years and more than one shower, but still… it’s all crazy incredible!!!

I tell her over and over to start a blog and share tutorials for some of this stuff. But right now… she just does it free for friends that she throws parties for and for herself because she loves it. And I love that about her.

I just had to share it with you guys, too.

And now … I think she wants to start working on a new party theme. And I can’t wait to see what’s up her sleeve.

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