- I will be on maternity leave until at the least the end of March
- I won't be taking any bookings until then (since I won't really know the temperament of my new child so I won't be able to anticipate how much I can handle with her addition). As big of an inconvenience as it may be, this includes weddings.
- I will post on the blog and on facebook as soon as I am open to booking again.
- Even though I won't be making bookings, I am happy to respond to emails and phone calls providing you with all the information you may need in order to make a decision.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- ¾ cups Butter
- 1 cup White Sugar
- 2 whole Eggs
- 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoons Salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine room temperature butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla and combine.
In a separate bowl, blend together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Slowly add dry ingredients into wet batter until fully incorporated.
Drop dough onto a large piece (or two) of saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to roll out the cookies, generously flour a flat surface and roll out the dough to desired thickness (I like mine on the thicker side). You can use as much flour as you need! Side note: with other recipes I used powdered sugar to roll out on, but with this one I find the flour works best.
For best results, bake on silpat or parchment paper or well oiled cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes. You want to remove from the oven before the edges brown at all. Let sit about a minute or two before taking up from the cookie sheet, if they start to break, let them sit longer. I recommend using a metal spatula.
After I roll out the cookie dough and cut it out into the shapes I want I place them in a tupperware container lined with parchment or waxed paper and stack them in the container and refrigerate as long as I need to, usually over night. When ready to bake I simply place on the cookie sheet. If you're producing lots of cookies, or doing it with kids this usually make life much more simple.
After the cookies have cooled and you've gotten the flour off your shirt, apron, pants, floor, cabinets and sink you are ready to make the frosting. What, am I the only one that cooks messy?
I'll be straight with y'all, if you're going for taste (and most baking with kids is usually more about that) I would stay away from the royal icing and go with buttercream. One of the tastiest and easiest Christmas cookies I'll make is to make small sugar cookie circles, take buttercream and place it in the middle of two, slightly squeeze together and roll the edges of icing peeking out in Christmas sprinkles (sometimes I just mix red and green sanding sugar together for this). These will transport fairly well.
The other option is to just spread buttercream on top and cover with sprinkles. These will get messed up if touched so they are a bit more precarious for travel.
If you are interested here is a very general vanilla buttercream recipe (general because I can't give away my exact secrets!): 2 sticks room temperature butter, powdered sugar (2-4 cups depending on how sweet you like it), vanilla and salt. Blend butter and sugar first and then add other ingredients.
Now that I've given you the tasty easy way let's move on to the more involved but oh so pretty method:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites (also called meringue powder, can be found at places like Hobby Lobby and Michael's, but take you 40% off coupon as the smaller containers will run you about $8 before hand. While it may be an upfront investment it lasts forever and really is the secret to safe, well made royal icing)
- 3 tablespoons warm water (guesstimate, may need more or less depending on humidity)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
- Don't forget royal icing dries VERY quickly! Always keep it covered (even your frosting tips, a damp paper towel works well for this). I even rinse my beaters off right after I'm done making it so I don't have cement on my hands later. If you forget, a long soak in hot water usually does the trick.
- This requires a steady hand which is typically learned over time. While you are in the learning process a damp (not wet or it will mess up the icing) finger tip can smooth out quite a bit.
- Keep your tip clean. This helps to make those clean lines.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Cinnamon cupcake with bits of fresh apple in it topped with a dulche de leche frosting
A pumpkin spice cupcake topped with your choice of cinnamon buttercream or cinnamon cream cheese frosting
I classify my snickerdoodle cupcake as more of a fall flavor, but it's available year round so not quite as special.
These as well as mini pies, and regular sized pies are available. The pumpkin, pecan and apple crisp pies get pretty popular around Thanksgiving. Warning though, I have a wedding the weekend before Thanksgiving so I will have very limited availability.
While speaking of availability I have a few openings available the end of September and the last few weekends in October.
The fall flavor cupcakes are great to take to class parties and fall festivals that are starting up in a few weeks. I admit I already have a few debuts planned for them along such lines.
One more announcement, and it's more of a personal one so you may not be all that interested (but I have awesome clients, so I think you may). As most of you know, and have heard me talk about I have two wonderful, handsome boys. And while we love our boys we both admittedly were really hoping for a girl this time. Well we were very excited to find out a few weeks ago that is what we have been blessed with!
So amidst cupcake baking I will be painting and decorating a baby girl nursery! The boys are pretty excited over having a baby sister and already ooh and ahh over all the little girls they come in contact with. They're going to be great (maybe to her dismay at times) big brothers!
Hope y'all are not going too crazy being knee deep into the school year schedule yet!
Friday, August 27, 2010
I love that more and more people are relying less on tradition (lackluster vanilla cake with buttercream) and finding a dessert option that reflects them as a couple.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm a traditional girl. I don't think you can go wrong with a classic. I searched for literally 3 months for a person/place that could do my wedding cake but make one that didn't well, suck. I mean really, apparently making really good cake is a lost art. You can put all the pretty fondant on it you want, but if it doesn't taste good, what's the point?
I ended up finding someone who coincidentally enough, ran an out of home bakery. To this day that is some of the best cake that I have ever eaten. We had quite a bit leftover that we got to freeze (we had a cake and punch reception for the masses, and then at the smaller dinner reception had 6 other kinds of cakes besides our wedding and grooms cake). We got to eat some through out the year leading up to our one year anniversary and that cake was just as good a year later as it was on our wedding day.
All that to say, if you're going with tradition, do it well. If you don't mind breaking out of the box a little bit, not only are cupcakes all the rage right now but I have been getting several requests for these little guys:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
So as I've mentioned, I love cooking just as much as I love baking. Admittedly, sometimes even more...I just produce more creative, consistently good baked goods. That said, I am no chef nor proclaim to be one. So view this post as notes from a well trained, self educated home cook.
I got to go to a fun new place today. I love exploring cities. A friend of mine and native Atlantan took me to a place she knew I would enjoy called Star Provisions. It's a restaurant and a market. They sell things like meats, seafood, cheese, bread and pastries (as well as ridiculously cute service ware, linens and other such fun things for all your entertaining needs and wants). They also have a gourmet cafe menu with breakfasts with luscious looking large quiches and lunch with sandwiches and other such things served on wonderful vessels like tomato parmesan focacia.
It's in an area with lots of other great restaurants and fun little shops, all within a block. A fun place to go, but very tempting on your wallet (unless of course spending $50 for a kids shirt isn't even comprehensible and then not so tempting, like it was for me.)
Now the food however...good ingredients are expensive. They just are, as much as it pains me to say, but they really do make a big difference. If you are only putting 5 ingredients in a dish it will taste infinitely better if you get the best quality of those ingredients you can find. As much as I would love to have an unlimited grocery budget to play with fun high end ingredients reality and practicality reign me in. Whole Foods and I used to be frequent friends, now we settle for quarterly or so minglings.
I knew I wanted to sample some of the glorious ingredients (like the $60 a pound Foie Gras!), but reality and practicality again needed to balance me out. So I thought about dinner. Local slab bacon, parmigiana reggiano and freshly made baguettes all were reasonable (the parmesan in small amounts) and looked great. Spaghetti Carbonara was now on the dinner menu (with bread and a salad with a honey balsamic dressing) with plenty of leftovers for lunch and enough baguette to make a breakfast bread pudding or french toast with. One of the nice things about these small specialty markets is you can buy however much you want or need, not a packaged quantity that will probably go bad before you get to it.
I walked out for $8 and change. $2.50 for the baguette (which was bigger and better than comparable at Kroger or Publix and theirs are $2), $4 or so for the parmigiana reggiano (1/8 of a pound which was enough for dinner and probably another 2 dinners) and about $1.50 for the bacon (1/4 pound).
I was happy. My gourmet lunch cost more than the main ingredients for at least 3 meals. They even had cupcakes to try. Which looked delicious and I probably would have been tempted by if I weren't full, in a bit of a rush and knew I had homemade chocolate chip cookies at home.
All this to say, if you have the least bit of foodie tendencies or just enjoy a fun place to eat really good food you should take a trip down to Star Provisions. I'm not really very familiar with all the areas of Atlanta, but I think it was considered more in the west side. It wasn't that far from downtown in my opinion. The bacon alone made it worth the drive!
If I intrigued you with my spaghetti carbonara, here is my favorite recipe. I use bacon instead of pancetta, more like half an onion, a little extra white wine (1/3 cup instead of 1/4) and just Parmesan, no pecorino. Also since I'm pregnant I went ahead and added the eggs while the pan was still on and cooked it a little bit to make sure the eggs were cooked. No longer than 2 minutes. The best part is this can easily be made in less than a half an hour. I sometimes make the sauce an hour or so before hand and just reheat it while I'm boiling the water for the pasta. Quick easy, and gourmet looking. Can't beat that!
Do you have a favorite place you go to satisfy your inner foodie?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Brace yourself for girliness:
I also layered some of the cupcake wrappers for a fun look
Feathers, you may ask? Feathers! Maybe one of the most fun cupcake accessory I've gotten to work with! These are double chocolate cupcakes with hot pink sprinkles accessorized with pink feathers.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Really it can all be explained in two words: morning sickness. Now I know there are some women that are incredible graceful and glowing during their first trimester. Let me clarify: I am not one of those women. I consider survival alone through that period a blessing, forget functionality.
So while I did not shut down making cupcakes, some days making cupcakes occurred by the grace of God alone. Dealing with two active boys on top of that was about all I could handle. So for nearly two months there has been no blogging.
But I'm back, and ready to make up for lost time. Before I fully transition into cupcakes though I will say that while I have not taken a leave of absence for morning sickness, I will be doing so for the baby. While I won't set hard and fast dates (because having done this twice before I know it all depends on how I'm feeling and how fast I recover) but I'm thinking from mid January to the end of February I will for sure be out of commission. I'm due at the beginning of February.
On to cupcakes.
So one of me new favorite things are cupcake favors. Mainly because they are adorable.
These were for a baby shower for a little girl. The colors were mainly pink and brown, so I made color co-ordinating cupcakes (raspberry almond with chocolate frosting) and put it all together with matching tags and ribbon as well. These would also be fun for other types of showers (I'm going to do some for a bridal shower...), birthdays, and weddings!
Friday, June 11, 2010
I realize not every one views cooking and baking as therapeutic and fun like I do. I even realize that there are some people that have the exact opposite view on cooking and baking as I do. Which is good, it keeps me employed : )
I have no judgement against cake mixes (other than my hydrogenated oil phobia). It was all my mom used growing up and my first experiences in cake making. You can make a decent cake using the box mixes and following the directions. But really...who wants just a decent cake? Obviously I think you can get a superior cake from scratch (and if y'all just knew how easy it was you wouldn't be the least intimidated!), but there are also some things you can do to cake mixes to get a pretty good cake out of them too. I'm going to share my wisdom with you so you never have to eat lackluster cake again (made by you any how).
Don't follow the directions. All the oil and water, eh. There are only two cakes I make using oil and neither of them are any thing vanilla based or chocolate based. You can find the cake mixes that call for butter. GET THEM. Butter makes every thing better. Seriously. Once equipped with the right kind of cake mix, continue to ignore the directions. You are going to be asked to add water. DON'T DO IT. You could pretty much add any thing else in your refrigerator and it will taste better than adding water. Here are some suggestions:
Any type of citrus juice (obviously it will flavor your cake)
Just add the substituted ingredient in the amount that the cake calls for and you can follow the directions from there.
If there is one area that I promise will take your cake to the next level it's making your own frosting. Again, for some reason people find it super intimidating, but I promise it's ridiculously easy. If the thought of butter cream intimidates you, you could start off a bit easier with something like a ganache or just using homemade whipping cream. A frosting 101 post may be coming soon.
However if you think you may be up for trying a cake from scratch that takes about the same amount of effort as a box mix, you MUST try this cake! It's ridiculously easy and super tasty. It's perfect for summer as well because it's light and fruity. Plus, if you make it right...almost healthy.
I'd been hearing people rave about yogurt cakes and hadn't ever tried one, so I wanted to give it a go. It being a different cake base than I was used to I used a trusted recipe as a starting place. However I wanted to do some thing differently. So here is the recipe I ended up using:
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (normally I would recommend just regular olive oil but I didn't have any, I like the extra depth it added to the cake)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup lime juice
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
I don't have an exact recipe, these are guesstimates, if you like less sugar add less, more add more.
20 strawberries sliced and hulled (or 1 bag frozen strawberries)
1/3 cup sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
Place strawberries in a container with sugar and lemon juice (I may be known to occasionally add a drop of Grand Marnier as well) stir slightly and refrigerate over night. Puree with blender, or food processor. To obtain a thicker sauce, boil for a few minutes on the stove, adjust sweetness to taste.
For frozen strawberries, defrost and them place them in saucepan with sugar and lemon juice, bring to a boil, and let boil until desired thickness, tasting and adjusting sweetness to taste. Cool then puree in blender or food processor.
The sauce takes more time but I always make a lot of it and freeze it when fruit is fresh in season. I do the same thing with peaches and will use the fruit purees to make home made ice cream, and to add to cupcakes.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This was for a wedding at the Carl House, which is one my favorite venues here in the Atlanta area (the other being Trackside 550). It is gorgeous!!! Their colors were light blue and yellow. When I made a test run to give them some choices they couldn't choose between two so we did 100 of the blue background ones and 100 of the yellow background ones. The mainly blue ones have yellow ribbons on the bags and the mainly yellow have blue ribbons.
This next wedding was in St. Louis for my cousin. I also ended up helping co-ordinate the day of the wedding so I was wiped once I got home. I consider myself a fairly organized person, and secretly love event planning so I didn't mind one bit, but I am telling you- weddings are a complicated business! Wedding lingo is like a foreign language! I think one of the best things I did for my wedding day was hire someone who I knew would be just as anal and detailed as I was so I didn't have to worry about a thing the day of. It was such a blessing to have that peace of mind!
Now I got married in St. Louis, so you can't hire her, but I know someone down here just as fabulous. She has a meticulous eye, is creative, budget conscious, detailed and has amazing taste! If you want to check her out you can go to her website to learn more.
This is how I packaged the cookies for travel. However if you don't want to have them at every place setting this would be a fun display as people are walking out to take a favor.
This is what the cookies looked like on the table and how they had them displayed. My aunt also has a secret passion for event planning so the decorating was beautiful and fun!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Life has been a little crazy.
I'm looking forward to getting back into my routine which includes posting and cupcakes. It's been almost two weeks since I've made cupcakes y'all!
These sugar cookies are all well and good (I'm doing another wedding with them this weekend) but cupcakes are my thang. And I look forward to getting back to it.
So while I'm still unpacking, doing laundry and processing, here is some thing to give me a few days:
They were double vanilla cupcakes
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Then, I made these little cuties for Easter. They also happen to be two of my summer flavors: coconut cream, and sunshine (lemon cupcake with orange cream cheese frosting) cupcakes.
Bright and early at 5am the next day was my trip to Philly, which was wonderful. I came home and hit the ground running, making these for a fun networking event I got to go to. Red Velvet minis.
After that I had put the finishing touches on my husband's surprise 30th birthday party. I would like to say that it's really hard to plan things without your significant other knowing. It was a given that I was going to make cupcakes for his birthday, so it wasn't difficult to get a flavor request from him. Normally his request would be red velvets, but he had gotten spoiled with leftovers recently, so instead he requested (my favorite!) raspberry almond with chocolate frosting. If you don't order them though, you might not get to...because those are too good to give away, no matter how cupcaked out I am!
I have a few other things I've been doing in the last month, but I have to save some things to show you, or else I won't post for another month!
I have weddings almost every weekend in May, so my weekend availability is almost non-existent. I still have some week day openings if you want to try to get in on that. I'm already getting requests for August and September as well. All that to say, if you have a date in mind you think you might want something for, let me know! I will pencil you in for that date!
I have difficulties saying no, so it would just make my life easier if you book early so I don't have to tell you no : ) That's another thing that makes me feel guilty...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
These are half of another set that spelled out "Happy 28 Kate", the purple ones were flower inspired
This is a chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream decorated to look like a hydrangea
These are my Easter cupcakes. Admittedly, I'm not very into chicks or the Easter bunny, I don't want to distract from the focus of the holiday. That said, I don't mind eggs because they represent new life. So they are chocolate cupcakes with a mini Cadbury egg baked inside (and on top) frosted with vanilla buttercream and toasted coconut.
Good Friday brings the start of spring break here. My kids are not in school yet, so typically this wouldn't effect our family however I lead a small group of high school girls with the youth at our church. Every year they go on mission trips during spring break and this year I get to go with them. I'm super excited to go and serve in the inner city of Philadelphia, but that also means that I will be out of touch for a week.
So if you email me or call, I may not get back to you right away, and won't be able to do any orders for that week (April 5-10). I will have my email on auto reply with some information and my number for if there is something you need right away, but even that make take some time, so please be patient!
If you are interested in Easter orders though, I'm taking those until Thursday!