Browsing Tag

cake decorations

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Mini Sandwich Cake Ideas

victoria sponge cakes and mini sandwich cakes

For the hostess, serving individual cakes reduces the amount of work during a party. Plus, I feel that there is an elegance to miniature cakes that is hard to beat. Apparently, there is a tin that can help you with these creations. The key factor are the straight edges of a loose base mini sandwich cake tin. It is designed to create perfectly-formed miniature Victoria sponge cakes.

A baker shared a simple trick to avoid the mushroom effect. She suggests that you make a slight dent in the centre of each mixture with a teaspoon. I’m curious to see it in action.

miniature victoria sponge cakes

Whether it is for a tea party or for your holiday baking, you will find many miniature sandwich cake recipes at Lakeland.co.uk.

photo credits: Lakeland

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Holiday Baking: From Snowflake Donuts to Snowman Cake Pops

snowflake donuts

Holiday baking is as much as decorating than the actual baking. These three desserts have the look and taste to impress your guests or your kids this holiday season.

Let’s start with my favorite one. Turning the regular round donuts into a snowflake is not complicated at all. To create the pattern, make 6 shallow cuts from the edge to the center of each round with a sharp paring knife.

candy-cane marshmallows
photo credits: Lisa Hubbard for Martha Stewart

An old recipe from Martha Stewart won my heart. Her Candy-Cane Marshmallows are peppermint marshmallows that get their red swirl from a quick marbleizing technique. People who tried the recipes reported excellent results.

snowman cake pops
photo credits: Lucia Puiggros via Amy Atlas blog

Lastly, if you are still into cake pops, you may to bake these cute snowman cake pops made by Laura and Maia from All You Need is Cupcake.

+ photo credits: Chris Court for Living etc. December 2012

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Gross and Realistic Brain Cakes for Halloween

zombie brain cake details

zombie brain cake details
photo credits: Blog d’inspiration of Canal Vie

Beware that these Halloween cakes ideas are not for the squeamish type. Since being scare is part of the appeal of Halloween, maybe you should dare a peek. If you are up for it, these Halloween brain cakes will be the talk of the night.

Brain Cakes for Adults

zombie brain cake
photo credits: Blog d’inspiration of Canal Vie

The first cake gave me chills. It looks so amazing that I had to share it even though the recipe is only in French. I give a big applaud to Madame Carrée who shaped the brain with marshmallows, icing sugar, raspberry coulis and a few more ingredients for Blogue d’inspiration.

brain cupcakes
photo credits: Not Quite Nigella

Lorraine Elliott, a cake and food enthusiast who writes Not Quite Nigella, shared how to make her Blood Clot and Brain Cupcakes for an Happy Friday the 13th party. She made it more grotesque by hiding a blood clot inside her cupcakes. The blood effects on the knife adds to the scene.

Halloween Brain Cakes for Kids

brain in a jar cupcake

For kids that are old enough to not have nightmares about it, you can creep them out with these Brain cupcakes in a jar made by Kristan of Confessions of a Cookbook Queen for Living Locurto. Kristan gave good tips that make the brain frosting simple. To reduce the amount of frosting, she placed a piece of cake in the middle.

To complete the look, make sure to download the free Halloween Brains in Jar Labels & Tags available at Living Locurto or to design your own.

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Duo Colour Icing Kits

two tone cake icing with Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit

two tone cake icing with Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit
photo: Duo Colour Icing Kit £4.99 at Lakeland

Decorating your cakes and cupcakes with two tone icing is made easy with this kit. Double pastry bags are attached to a specially designed coupler to deliver a control flow of two tone icing. The set comes with 6 nozzles. When you are selecting your flavours, simply remember that both icings should have the same consistency. At first, I advice that you fill the bag by alternating between the two sides to get a feel of how much icing can go into each compartment.

reusable double pastry bag set
photo: Reusable double pastry bag set $14 USD at Bakedeco.com

This would be a great cake decorating tool to have around Halloween and Christmas. Since the Lakeland Duo Colour Icing Kit is only available in UK, I  found an option in the United States. You will only need to add more piping tips to the double pastry bag set at Kerekes Bakery & Restaurant Equipment in Brooklyn, which also operates bakedeco.com. Their set only comes with a star pastry tube.

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Angry Birds Sweet Table

angry birds birthday boy sweet table

Angry Birds continue to be a popular theme with grade school kids. Elena and Sandy from Style Me Sweet styled a beautiful sweet table for a 6 years old birthday boy.

Kids were presented with an assortment of Angry Birds lollipop cookies, cupcakes and a stunning birthday cake. See more pictures at Amy Butler’s blog.

FAMILY KIDS party

My Son’s First Birthday Jungle Party (Part 2): The Food, the Cakes and the Party Favors

1st birthday snack food :: jungle theme

Click here to read part 1 of my son’s jungle theme birthday party.

1st birthday jungle themed snack table

I do not think that kids party are about food. For one thing, kids birthday parties are often scheduled in the middle of the afternoon and set to end before supper time. This is why I chose to serve healthy snacks for my son’s first birthday party. I went for food that the kids and their parents would equally enjoy.

1st birthday snack food :: jungle party

I also want to devise a menu that shared my party color palette. After contemplating several options, I opted for a fast and easy to make crowd-pleasing menu. I served crudités with a succulent dip, caprese salad on skewers, old cheddar grilled cheese, and as a testimony to my son’s play habit at the time, a tower of marbled cheese cubes.

Two DIY Decorating Projects for my Savoury & Sweet Table

The first project can hardly be called a project since it took two minutes from start to finish. But the raised platters is an important design element of my table. I made the raised platters by simply taping PAPAJA plant pots from IKEA to my collection of Thomas Paul Sea Life melamine plates. Double-sided tape works perfectly for this type of job. Make sure to check that the base of the pots is straight and that the plates sits well on them. I paired the dishes with some IKEA melamine bowls that I bought 2 summers ago — sadly for you, the bowls are no longer available. I was not lying when I told you that I used many items that I already owned for this party.

paint dripped utensils

My main DIY project are the paint-dipped utensils. I did it before dinner the night before. Although it works out, I should have started earlier. I will share what I learned by paint-dipping wood utensils in a future post. For now, let’s talk about two Montreal-based bakers that did an incredible job.

The Cake and Cupcakes

zack 1st birthday cake :: jungle theme

It was important to me to have the right cake for the occasion. I am glad that I bought the cakes at Les Glaceurs. I did not consider Les Glaceurs a contender until I saw the jungle animal cupcakes they did for a kids birthday party. Their style fits with mine. But I also want a cake, not just cupcakes. I inquired and they showed me their portfolio of nicely decorated 6 inches round, 3-layer cakes. I was sold!

The design of my son’s first birthday cake was a collaborative effort. I sent a photo of my party hats to their cake decorator in order for them to match the colors. I told her that I want an elephant on the top and circles on the side. I let them do their magic for the rest. I like the green grass at the bottom of the cake. The character of his first cake turned out to be cheerfully modern and playful, which was exactly what I was looking for. I also want to point out that working with Les Glaceurs was a breeze.

jungle theme cake and cupcakes

I imagined that it would be easier for my son to eat a cupcake. So I ordered one with a giraffe. Plus, I ordered vanilla cupcakes for the kids. It turned out that many moms ask for a cupcake instead of a piece of a cake. I bought cupcake toppers but I did not used them. At the end, I felt that it would have deter the attention from the cakes. I found another good reason to have a supply of cupcakes when a family had to leave before we blow the candle. They went home with two cupcakes for the kids.

The Party Favors

1st birthday crocodile cookie favors

A week before my son’s birthday party I received an email from Isabelle Quinn, the founder and head chef at Sweet Isabelle. I had planned to make goodies bag for the kids. Instead, I took this opportunity and asked her if she would supply me with her cute animal lollipop cookies. Isabelle said yes! I received (for free) an assortment of crocodile, monkey and elephant cookies that the kids were pleased to take home. They all love it!

Isabelle delivered it to me with a batch of mini cupcakes the night before. I got an extra cookie in order to taste it. Sweet Isabelle’s cupcakes are simply delicious. They were the first cake that my son ever ate — I wanted him to have a test run before the big day. Sweet Isabelle’s vanilla shortbread lollipop cookies are as delicious as they look.  The animal collection is always growing. I counted 37 animals at the moment.

If you live in Montreal, take note that she organize cookie decorating party at her shop. Isabelle told me that I should wait until my son is at least 3 years old to plan one.

SUPPLIERS:
+ Cake and cupcakes: Les Glaceurs
+ Animal cookies on a stick: Sweet Isabelle

 

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Duff Goldman and an Easter Cake

duff easter cake

duff easter cake

Time flies. Easter is one month away. Looking at this cute Easter Cake made by Tina, a baker at Mara-Mi Store + Cafe + Studio made me in the mood. I look forward to Spring and warmer weather.

duff easter cake details

The cake looks cheerful, juvenile and sophisticated at the same time. I like how it was decorated from the egg nest to the adorable chick, up to the interesting mix of rounds and flowers.

While I researched this story, I found out that there is a link between this cake and Duff Goldman of Charms City Cakes. I recalled the pleasures I had when I watched Duff and his baking team on Food Network’s Ace of Cakes. In fact, talking about Ace of Cakes was the third post I published in At Home with Kim Vallee.

wedding cake pops :: duff goldman for gartner studios

Duff partnered with Gartner Studios to bring to the consumer market awesome cake mixes and cake decorating products under the label Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. It turned out that Gartner Studios acquired Mara Mi. Finally, another brand that I love, russell + hazel is part of the Gartner family of brands. I guess that Gartner Studios and I have similar taste.

SOURCING:
+  photos: Duff’s Easter Cake on Facebook

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Simple (and Not So Simple) Christmas Cookie Ideas

melting snowman cookies by the decorated cookie blog

melting snowman cookie by the decorated cookie blog

I love the tradition of making your own Christmas cookies and bring to as hostess gifts. With a little imagination, some practice and the right supplies, you could arrive with the best decorated cookies this Christmas. I visited The Decorated Cookie blog in search of tutorials and inspirations. What I found was several Wow! factors on the blog of Meaghan Mountford.

Melting Snowman cookies

melting snowman cookies by the decorated cookie blog

Look at her Melting Snowman cookies. Meaghan even depicted emotions when she drew the snowman’s faces. I love the various ways she decorated them.

If you are new to cookie decoration, you may wish to read Meaghan’s tutorial on how to write on food. Her preferred tools are edible markers, which are different from candy markers. The ones she uses the most are the Americolor Gourmet Writers. They deliver a fine line, which is what you would need most of the time. The FoodWriter collection by Wilton is a good option to write bold characters or to draw thicker lines.

Awesome, Yet Simple Christmas Cookies

christmas tree cookie by the decorated cookie blog

You can also find on her blog simpler cookie version. Have a look at her Christmas tree cookie pops or her simple Christmas wreath cookies. Both are super cute.

christmas wreath cookie by the decorated cookie blog

SOURCING:
+ Melting snowman cookies by The Decorated Cookies
+ More versions of the melting snowman cookies
+ Christmas tree cookie pops

 

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Cute Angry Birds Cake Pops from Montreal

angry birds cake pops

As an Angry Birds fan, I am doubly happy to feature these cute creations from La Popshop, a baker located in Montreal. I put her on my local watch list.

We are behind when it comes to creative bakers in Montreal. This fact troubled me even more since I became a mom. I would need access to talented suppliers with flair to celebrate in style my son’s birthdays. Plus, it does not help matters that many bakers lack a proper online presence. It is sad because all they need to do would be to start a blog and to keep a Facebook page plus a Twitter account.

If you are interested, her cake pops start at $30 for a dozen of classic cake pops and at $35 for a dozen deluxe cake pops. The Angry Birds are a deluxe version.

SOURCING:
+  La Popshop

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

5-Minute Martha: Halloween Haunted House Party Decor Ideas

no-bake halloween haunted house

halloween haunted house party decor

Being a 5-minute Martha starts by knowing where to spend your time for ultimate impact and where to use shortcuts.

Halloween Cakes: From hard to easy

haunted house cake by martha stewart

Martha Stewart proposed here an awesome Haunted House cake. But let’s face it, I do not have the time, nor the patience, nor the baking talents to make something as complex. To give you an idea of the number of steps involved, I included one of the cookie templates that you will need to bake. I applaud women you can do this, but I am not ashamed to say that I am not one of them.

no-bake halloween haunted house

Having said that, I looked for another way to impress guests at a Halloween Haunted House party. If you are time crunched or if you have minimal cake decoration skills, you will appreciate the ease of this no-bake haunted house kit available at Williams-Sonoma. You simply need to glue the prebaked, precut cookie pieces with sugar icing and affix the decorations. Everything is included in the box. Now, this is something I can fit into my agenda!

Decorating Ideas for a Haunted House Halloween Party

ragged looking spider webs

Since I did not spent too much time on my cake, I can concentrate on decorating the room for the occasion. A must have for an haunted house party are these ragged-looking spider webs made by pinning, snipping, and tearing cheesecloth.

creepy flower centerpiece

You can assemble, in advance, a spookycenterpiece by affixing a few vinyl bugs and a snake with basic craft supplies. Buy fresh roses a couple days before your party. I feel that the insect-infected bouquet would be more realistic if the flowers would show signs of aging. Finally, I would add artificial cobwebs to show that the bouquet has sit there for a while.

coffin treat boxes walmart

From there, it is easy to build on these craft projects and to complete the look of your party. To cut corners, head to a local department store to buy more props. Walmart carries plastic bat cutouts, Halloween cobwebs and coffin treat boxes.

SOURCING:
+ photo:  Haunted House Cake by Martha Stewart
+ No-Bake Halloween Haunted House Kit $19.95 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ How to make cheesecloth spider webs by Martha Stewart
+ How to make an insect-infected Halloween centerpiece by Martha Stewart

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

babycakes cake pop maker

babycakes cake pop maker

Cake pops seems more festive than cupcakes. And it allow you to eat less. This $25 gadget will make it easy to host a cake pop decorating party since it takes a matter of minutes to bake 12 cake pops. I think that it is handy if you wish to throw the party in your backyard or if you prefer to not use your stove. I read good reviews about the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker. The cake pop maker features power and ready lights, latching handle and it comes with a supply of cake pop sticks, a fork tool and a cake pop cooling and decorating stand.

For a cake decorating party, plan for a couple of stands or glasses to store the cake pops that are ready to decorate and give a display to each kid to put their decorated cake pops.

SOURCING:
Babycakes Cake Pop Maker $24.99 USD