Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An impression of impressionism

My birthday was this week, and it's funny the number of Facebook messages I get that say something to the effect of, "Happy birthday! I hope someone else is making you a cake!" Since I can remember, I have always made my own cake - why wouldn't I?! I get to decide on the flavor combination, the design, the size, etc.

This year, I wanted to try something different and, admittedly, went a bit overboard. As soon as I saw this post on the Craftsy blog, I knew I wanted to recreate a Monet-inspired water lily cake. I have always loved Monet, and the design seemed simple enough to execute, but fancy enough for a birthday party. 

I decided to go with Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Butter Cake because it pairs well with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which is the best option for decorating. It is also DELICIOUS.

I loved the look of the hand painting on a 6" tier, but I was worried a 6" cake wouldn't be big enough. So instead of making an 8" cake instead, which would have been the best choice, I made a TWO TIERED cake, with 8" and 6" tiers (I really wanted that 6" tier!). The water swirl and painting were easy to execute, and I made two "water lilies" (really, they are succulents, but I think the color really helped the look), one for each tier. 
Full cake

Close up of water lily

All in all, I was really happy with how this cake turned out. I will definitely be trying this technique again!

And, spoiler alert, I did go overboard with the size. We actually only ate the top 6"! The beauty of that, though, was that I was able to re-ice the bottom tier and gift it to the kitchen at my favorite restaurant in Chicago, and it looked like a completely new cake that had been made just for them!


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Warming the house

My boss and his wife recently bought a new (and adorable) house out in the suburbs, and very kindly invited me to their housewarming party last weekend. To celebrate the occasion, I made some adorable housewarming cookies:

I can't decide which shape is my favorite. Sometimes, I think it is the keys, but I also LOVE the front door cookies so much. And the blue door and yellow marigolds on the house cookies are the best. The snails (in honor of moving to the suburbs) are adorable, too, but are my least favorite.

My boss and his wife loved them, and were very surprised, so that was fun!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A partnership with Yoga+ Chicago

Learn the basics of tinting icing
and preparing and filling bags!
This July, I'll be working with the lovely Pavela sisters of Yoga+ Chicago, teaching you fun and easy decorating techniques to step up your cupcake game.

You'll start the evening working up your appetite as Andrea leads you through an invigorating 60-minute Vinyasa inspired yoga class. Then move from sweat to sweet as I teach you the basics of decorating with buttercream icing, including the various styles of buttercream, how to color your icing and prepare and fill a decorating bag, and simple decorating techniques that you can use on cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more!

You'll decorate 6 of your own cupcakes to take home! 
Learn fun and simple ways to top your cupcakes

You will learn all these techniques and more - plus
get to nosh on some sweets and socialize with your friends!
Get your tickets here - I can't wait to see you!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Anybunny want some treats?

What's Easter without a little dessert?! As usual, I went overboard for this holiday, but wanted a variety of spring treats to bring to my friend's Easter celebration. I made Momofuku's crack pie, Smitten Kitchen's whole lemon tart (which I would recommend to EVERYONE - it's as easy and approachable as it is delicious), and Bon Appetit's lavender shortbread with flowers.

Enjoy this beautiful Sunday!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love is in the air

Happy Valentine's Day to all you lovelies! I'll keep this short and sweet with some decorated sugar cookies.

Decorated sugar cookies are one of my favorite things to do - there are so many ways you can personalize your treats, and you can do so with only making a few colors of icing.

Have a happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A very special first birthday

I had the opportunity this week to do another Icing Smiles cake. These cakes continue to be some of my favorites to do, because I get to bring a smile to someone's face, who is otherwise facing very, very challenging days. It is such a small effort on my part, and it's an honor to have an impact on someone else's day.

This cake was for a first birthday celebration for a little boy who has been in medical care since birth. It was such an important celebration for the family, who has dealt with so many ups and downs over the past year, and I'm lucky to have been a part of it. I was even able to meet the little boy when I dropped the cake off!

No specific theme was requested, so I thought a general transportation theme would be adorable for a little boy.

Final cake! 
Mark's family LOVED the cake, and I'm so happy to have been a part of their special day.


Monday, February 2, 2015

A Lovely Cake for a Lovely Couple

My wonderful friends Emily and Stephen shared a joint 30th birthday party this weekend. Emily's birthday is in December, and Stephen's birthday is in March, so they decided to co-celebrate at the end of January!

They are a fun, sophisticated, and lovely couple, so they needed a fun, sophisticated, and lovely cake. The colors were black, white, and metallic, so we obviously went with that in a gender-neutral theme. To support the celebration, we of course went with a 2-tiered champagne cake with champagne Swiss Meringue buttercream icing. This gave me the opportunity to try a new recipe, as well as a new decorating technique. I was also able to test out the timelapse function in my iPhone camera! Super fun.

If you don't know about damming your filling, you should - adding an icing dam
around the edge of your cake is critical to ensuring that your filling doesn't leak
out when you stack your layers!
Such a fun and sophisticated theme!
I was worried there wouldn't be enough cake, so I made
cake pops dusted with gold and silver stars as well.
Spoiler alert: there was definitely enough cake!
Check out this spread!
And check out this gorgeous couple!
If you are interested, here's my timelapse. I definitely need to figure out a better setup/location for my phone, but this app is pretty impressive (even with this horrible angle!):

Thank you to Emily and Stephen for inviting me to be a part of their celebration!