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My Simple Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

strawberry shortcake recipe by kim vallee

This is the ideal dessert for time-crunched parents. In less than 10 minutes, without rushing, I had this good-looking dessert ready-to-serve yesterday. Even if you have to make a trip to the store, you will be able to put it on the table in less 30 minutes. It is that simple!

The ingredients are an Angel food cake, whipping cream, fruit sugar, pure vanilla extract, and lots of fresh strawberries. I save time by buying the cake. For purists who prefer to make the cake from scratch, I suggest to have a look at the Angel Food cake recipe by David Lebovitz. Although you can taste the difference, I prefer to spend more time with my family than in my kitchen. This is why I go store-bought for the cake.

The kitchen tools that you will need are a tall bowl to whip the cream, a hand blender with a whisk attachment, a soft spatula and a cake plate or cake stand. Continue Reading

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK

Cream Cheese Frosting: Not Too Sweet

cream cheese frosting

Earlier this week, I was looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe that was not too sweet. Thanks to Martha, I found the perfect balance. I cut her recipe since I needed only one cup. The ratio of 4 onces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of unsalted butter and half a cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar works for me. Then, add half of teaspoon of the best vanilla extract for the ultimate taste.

For the right texture, don’t use bar cream cheese at room temperature. Continue Reading


Four Ramekins with a Dash of Color

modernize your ramekins

modernize your ramekins

Lately, I have been tired of my classic white ramekins. They work well but the style feels a little bit dated. Therefore, I start a search for more modern options. So far, I found four colourful ramekins that caught my attention. My short list reads like this:

No. 1 – My favorite is a part of the House by John Lewis collection. I love the steel color of this uncluttered ceramic ramekin. Safe up to 200°C (392°F) £3 each

No. 2 – The Rachael Ray Round Ramekins are top rated at I like that they are oven safe to 500°F. They are available in many colours: orange, indigo blue, green, yellow, chocolate brown. $24.95 USD /$25.30 CAD for 4 at

No. 3 – Another popular model are the Bakeware Ramekins by Chantal. It looks great in lime. It also comes in apple red, indigo blue, vanilla (beige) and plain white. $19.95 USD / $20.15 CAD for 4 at

No. 4 – My last choice might not be as modern but it earns its place for convenience. Like the ramekins by Rachel Ray, the two-tone stoneware ramekins by Trudeau are oven safe to 500°F. $4.95 CAD at Linen Chest

I am still undecided. Therefore, I welcome your input.


My Fourth of July Stylish Dessert Round-Up

fourth of july desserts

You will hear Wow! and see smile in your guests’ face if you serve any of these at your Fourth of July celebrations this year.

fourth of july desserts

  • Get the fresh fruit flag recipe at Family Fun. The idea is so simple that you can do it with your kids. All that you need are blackberries, strawberries, bananas and lemon juice to to keep the bananas from browning.
  • Martha Stewart did these flag cupcakes a while ago. What I like about them is that they are easy to decorate for anyone.
  • The tricolor parfaits are from Martha Stewart. Simply alternate a red fruit gelatin and a panna cotta layer to make your own.
  • Although the look like ice cream, these are frosted cakes that are topped with sugar crystals. Get the snow cone cupcake recipeat Bakerella



Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar

molten chocolate cake in a mason jar

hot cakes in a mason jar

I am surprised that it took me so long to discover this fabulous ready to bake cake by chocolatier Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes. She started making them in 2008. Since then, the dessert served in a Mason jar has exploded. If a molten chocolate cake is not a novelty, why do I write about it? In a word: convenience!

molten chocolate cake in a mason jar

What I like most about her product is that you buy it ready to bake. Others will appreciate that it is organic. Personally, I simply imagine the smell in my house before serving dessert to my guests. Many people prefer to buy desserts when they have friends for dinner. I do! The reason that I buy the dessert is to have more time to cook the rest of the meal. Once in a while, I will make my own dessert.

Until now,  Hot Cakes did not have a brick and mortar shop.  They sold at farmers’ markets, at their online store and through indie shops in the state of Washington. Last weekend, they opened their first brick and mortar shop called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery with a partial funding round on Kickstarter.

Since I doubt that Hot Cakes are shipping to Montreal, I will have to experience with my own molten chocolate recipe. Did you ever bake your own molten chocolate cake in a Mason jar? Do you have any advice for beginner bakers?

Dark Decadence Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar $8 USD at Hot Cakes



Winter White Dessert Party in Gatherings Magazine

gatherings magazine white dessert table

gatherings magazine white dessert table

If spring is all about colour, winter is a study in white. Or at least it should be. Thanks to mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine, for many of us this winter has been anything a white wonderland.

Looking for a little frosty inspiration? Check out the Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings magazine – the “white” issue. Gatherings is a newish digital magazine created by interior designer and blogger Heather Spriggs.

We fell for the Snowy Sweet Sensations white dessert party – with its refined palette of white, cream and cocoa-coloured neutrals, and pretty vintage touches, it’s sophisticated enough for a winter bridal shower or an evening with your most stylish girlfriends, and yet homey and kid-friendly enough for a relaxed Sunday afternoon gathering with family.

gatherings magazine hot chocolate marshmallow stir sticks

The creamy white serving pieces look glamorous next to glass-domed cake stands, and we love how simple mugs of hot chocolate get dressed up with the addition of beribboned marshmallow stir sticks. The display could have fallen flat with such a limited palette, but contributor and food stylist Jessie Senese smartly used dark chocolate brown for contrast and tone-on-tone textured food items – a cake with white chocolate shavings, powdered sugar donuts, white-chocolate dipped pretzels – to add visual interest to the display.

gatherings magazine white dessert table

Other must-read sections in this issue include tips on how to pick the perfect white paint (it can be more challenging than you think) and a collection of yummy white winter side dishes.

+ Winter 2012 issue of Gatherings Magazine


Cool Tools | Layer Cake Slicing Kit

cake slicing tools layer dessert

cake slicing tools layer dessert

Ever aspired to create a beautiful, multi-layered cake that rivals your favourite pastry shop – only to end up with a lopsided dessert resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Well hold on to your cake stand!

This 3-piece layer slicing kit comes with an adjustable slicing mold to fit cakes with a 10″ or 11″ diameter. Use the serrated baker’s knife to slice up to 8 layers and the accompanying cake lifter to move and stack layers while you add filling.

If you’re on dessert duty for an upcoming spring event, such as a bridal/baby shower or a Mother’s Day brunch, make this cool kitchen tool your next must-have baking essential. Wowing guests will be (dare we say it?) a piece of cake.

+ Cake Slicing Kit from Kitchen Krafts, $59.95 USD
+ Photos: 14 Layer Cake by Bakerella


Sweet Treat Chalkboard Decals

sweet chalkboard decals

sweet chalkboard decals

WallCandy added to their range an Ice Cream cone chalkboard and a cupcake chalkboard. Both come with a decorating kit that will be fun to assemble.

It will add a special and entertaining touch to a little girl birthday, a baby shower, or a school sale stand. But decorating these wall treats may wake up your sweet tooth. These are reusable stickers so you do not have to worry about your walls (at least, in theory). After the party, you could reuse them in the playroom, the kids bedrooms or the kitchen.

The giant ice cream cone lamp by WallCandy could complete the look.

+ Soft Ice Cream Cone Chalkboard Decal $56 USD
Cupcake Chalkboard Decal $56 USD
+ Giant Ice Cream Lamp $30 USD


Easter Decorating Kits from Eggs to Cupcakes

easter cupcake decorating williams sonoma

easter cupcake decorating williams sonoma

Easter is spring’s first opportunity to indulge in a little holiday decorating. These all-in-one kits are a wonderful way to wrap up the season’s colors and charms without wasting time in multiple kitchen or craft shops collecting supplies.

With brightly colored cupcake liners and adorable animal picks, Williams-Sonoma’s Easter Fun Cupcake Decorating Set would also work well for spring baby shower, or little girl’s birthday party.

easter egg decorating williams sonoma

If you’ll have at kid’s table at your Easter gathering, be sure to stock up on Williams-Sonoma’s egg decorating kit. Packed with egg dyes, stickers, markers and other craft supplies, it will keep little hands busy before and after the meal.

Easter party Invites and Decorations

easter cupcake decorating printable tomkat studio

Etsy is always a wonderful source for well-designed complete printable party kits. This cheery collection – just $10 USD – comes with party circles that can be used as gift tags, cupcake toppers, place cards, napkin rings and more. The set also comes with a blank invitation design, treat bag fold-over labels and striped flags for a coordinated look.
+ Easter Cupcake Decorating Kit $12 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Easter Egg Decorating Kit $19.95 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Bunny Love Easter Printable Collection $10 USD from TomKat Studio on Etsy


Choco-Matcha Truffle Recipe

choco-matcha truffle recipe

choco-matcha truffle recipe

Wow! A recipe that unites two of my favorite flavors: chocolate and Matcha tea. I am pleased that Kusmi Tea has accepted that I shared the recipe on my blog. I was surprise to see that it is not complicated to make your own choco-matcha truffles. You could serve them as mignardises at the end of a dinner party or bring those as the perfect hostess gift.

Choco-Matcha Truffle Recipe
Recipe by Kusmi Tea, which operates a boutique on Saint-Denis Street in Montreal.


  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 5/8 cups 35% cream
  • 3/4 – 1 lb 70% Guanaja chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. Matcha powder tea (powder for cooking)


  1. Boil cream and honey.
  2. Finely chop the chocolate and put the pieces in a bowl.
  3. Pass the sweeten cream through a sieve, pouring over chocolate.
  4. Whisk thoroughly until you get a smooth texture.
  5. Refrigerate until the mixture hardens.
  6. Make small balls with mixture. Aim for 2 cm (3/4 in) in diameter.
  7. Roll the balls in the Matcha powder and completely cover each truffle.

You could eat that with one of the delicious teas from Kusmi Tea. Click here for their online boutique that serves Canada and the United States.


Real Simple Unexpected Ways to Serve Cupcakes and Ice Cream

real simple food serving ideas for cupcakes and ice cream

real simple food serving ideas for cupcakes and ice cream

A simple trick to make the ordinary looks out of the ordinary is with an original food presentation. For an office birthday party, nothing can be easier than serving bite-size cupcakes inside a glass. Light some candles on top and you get a twist on the birthday cake. I like this idea since you do not have to flatware or to cut the cake.  You could also put mini-cupcakes inside short Mason jars. Then, either tie a cute tag or apply a custom made sticker to each jar.

The second suggestion lets you prepare in advance ice cream scoops when you are having many guests. Place individual scoops in a cupcake tin lined with paper baking cups. The tray can be kept in the freezer for several hours. After the cake or the pie is cut, remove the scoops from the paper baking cups and serve. For a kid party, you could leave the scoops on a baking cup and serve it on a plate. Add a cute label on a toothpick to achieve a true festive look.

+ Scooping the Ice Cream – photo by Mark Lund for Real Simple
+ Bite-size cupcakes make for an unexpected birthday cake – photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo for Real Simple