Alice In Wonderland Cake

Topsy Turvy Alice in Wonderland Cake

I love getting requests for theme cakes I have never done.  When I first started making cakes many years ago, topsy turvy cakes were all the rage.  They were so trendy that I started hating them.  Now they are requested, but a lot less often.  I haven’t actually made one in so long that I don’t even have a post about it!  I’m not even sure I have a photo! When I got an order for an Alice in Wonderland cake, you better believe this was going to be a topsy turvy cake.  Abby’s sister asked for a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake for her 2nd birthday, and a Frozen cake for her 3rd.  I love that the two sisters have such different interests and personalities!

Checkered Cake Board

I started making this cake by decorating the cake board.  I cut squares of black and white fondant and glued them to a cake board in a checkered pattern.  I love how the black and white graphic makes the whole cake pop out of the cake board.

Fondant Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Cat was a really important part of the cake.  I cut all the pieces out of fondant and pieced them together.  I used a black food coloring marker to add the outlines and black details.  Once I added the face to the cake, something was missing, so I added some paws and immediately, the cat was done!

Harlequin Pattern Cake

For the top tier I used a mint green fondant and then lightened it up to create the harlequin pattern.  I cut all the diamonds by hand and placed them one by one on the cake. Then I attached heart shaped candies to all the corners. Edible Fondant Tea Cup

No Alice in Wonderland cake would be complete without a tea cup!  I took one of my own tea cups and shaped a piece of fondant inside.  I let it dry for a few days so it would hold the shape.  I formed the handle, base, and saucer separately and assembled after each piece was dry.  I painted the tea cup details with gold luster dust mixed with vodka and a fine paintbrush.  Since Abby is celebrating her 2nd birthday, I put a number 2 on a playing card with hearts, reminiscent of the Queen of Hearts.  The cake was still missing some whimsy so I added these ribbon roses and hearts on swirled cloth covered wire.  Happy Birthday Abby!  Hope it was wonderful!

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Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cookies {recipe}

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cookies

It’s pumpkin season!  I love pumpkin desserts, as you can probably tell from these recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodles, pumpkin doughnuts with marshmallow and graham cracker glaze, pumpkin doughnut holes, and pumpkin cinnamon buns with maple glaze.  When I spotted pumpkin spice pudding mix at the supermarket, I scooped it up with a few ideas in mind.

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix

If you see this pudding mix, pick some up! It’s a seasonal release and won’t be around for long!  I have no intentions of actually using this as pudding because after the success I’ve had using pudding mix in my favorite chocolate chip cookies, I knew I needed to make a pumpkin spice version.  I wanted to keep these cookies simple, I didn’t want to add chocolate chips to the mix because I think it would be too many competing flavors.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

After mixing up a sugar cookie dough, I rolled the cookie dough into 2 tsp. sized balls and then rolled them in cinnamon sugar.  I tried using pumpkin pie spice mixed with sugar, but the flavor was too subtle after baking.  This recipe is so easy and bakes up perfectly. The cookies puff in the oven and then slightly settle after cooling.  They are soft, spiced, and perfectly orange in color.  These cookies have all the flavor you expect in a pumpkin treat without actually using any pumpkin; kinda cool.  Here’s the dairy free, margarine free recipe!  They freeze well too!

Pumpkin Spice Pudding Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 pkg. pumpkin spice pudding mix
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup sugar+1 Tbs. cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the oil and sugar until combined.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Add in the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt and mix slowly until combined.
  5. In a small bowl mix the ¼ cup sugar with 1 Tbs. cinnamon.
  6. Scoop the cookie dough using a 2 tsp. sized cookie scoop and roll into a ball.
  7. Roll the ball in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are puffed and slightly cracked.
  9. Cool on wire rack.
  10. Cookies freeze well!
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Upsherin Birthday Cake

Upsherin Cake

Some families have the custom of waiting to cut a little boy’s hair until he is 3 years old. When my nephew turned 3, we celebrated his birthday with a party and a hair cutting ceremony.  He needed the perfect cake for the celebration!  I love this new look of making a shorter bottom tier, then a super tall center tier, and a small top tier.  I have been doing it a lot lately, and I’m not sick of it yet!

Fondant Tzitzit

On the bottom tier I draped some fondant tzitzit, traditional garb for a boy starting at 3 years old.  To make the strings I used my clay extruder and some white fondant.  It’s definitely one of my favorite non cake tools!

Fish Scale Pattern

For the center tier I used a fish scale pattern cutter and placed these fondant cutouts in a randomized pattern.  Then I added a pair of gum paste hair scissors.  One of the kids at the party thought they were real!  That was a huge compliment.

Fondant Candles and Yarmulke

The cake was topped off with a fondant yarmulke and 3 fondant candles.  Happy 3rd Birthday Aryeh!

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Simple Batman Cake

Simple Batman Cake

Sometimes simple cakes are harder than more detailed designs.  This cake was really fun to design.  It was made for a small celebration, so the family didn’t want anything too big. Just because the cake needed to be small; this is a 6″ round cake that measures 6″ tall as well; doesn’t mean it needs to be boring!  I covered the cake and the cake board in gray fondant.  I had to do a good job of covering the cake since there were not many decorations to cover mistakes!  I really wanted to wrap the cake in a NYC skyline so I designed a really cool fondant cutter for my husband to print for me.  We ran into all sorts of problems, it would have been quicker for me to cut it by hand, but we were determined to get it right! After applying the black skyline, it looked a little flat and dark, so I added some yellow squares for windows.  I also added some silver stars in the sky.

Fondant Batman Symbol

I made the cake topper a few days in advance to allow it to dry and harden.  I hand cut the batman symbol out of black fondant and attached it to a thin yellow piece of gum paste. Once it was dry, I attached it to a lollipop stick using stiff royal icing and placed it into the cake.  I added another tapered piece of yellow gum paste down the top and side of the cake to make it look like it was shining into the sky.  Happy 3rd Birthday Alex!

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Sports Themed Cake

Sports Cake

Okay, first of all, I can’t believe it has been a year since I made Harry his Pirate Birthday Cake.  These days, I guess I measure my time in cake.  This years sports themed cake was really fun to make!  Lately, I am obsessed with cake toppers. Since they didn’t request any specific sports teams to be represented, I was a little unsure what I was going to create.  I thought, maybe I would make a baseball hat, but then I would have to choose colors, and that would get complicated.  Then the idea hit me, and I created a gum paste trophy!

Gum Paste Trophy

I colored my gum paste a bright shade of yellow and used a tutorial to create this fun topper.  I handmade all of  the pieces a few days in advance and allowed them to dry.  I made sure to poke a hole in the center of each piece so I could use a skewer to keep the whole thing standing for delivery.  My greatest fear is creating an amazing cake only to have it collapse during travel.  So I always make sure to construct my cakes with lots of support.  When it was time to assemble, I glued all the pieces together using sugar glue and royal icing (for the handles) and then airbrushed the trophy in shiny gold.Sky and Hand Painted Clouds

I covered the top tier in sky blue fondant and hand painted fluffy white clouds using white gel food coloring.  My white gel color is very thin to begin with so I didn’t need to thin it out with vodka or lemon extract.

Football Field Cake Tier

The bottom tier was covered in a really pretty shade of green and made to look like a football field.  I love the grass on this cake, it’s one of my favorite features to add to cakes.  The grass was  rolled out of two different shades of green fondant using a textured rolling pin and then hand cut.  I only glued the bottom of the strips of grass and bent the tops of the blades out and down to create movement.

Star Cake Board

I covered the cake board in white fondant and then used different sized star cutters to create this fun look.  I really love that extra touch on this cake!  Happy Birthday Harry!

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Mosaic Chevron Cake

Mosaic Chevron Cake

I love trying new techniques and I love using patterns on my cakes.  I have seen this mosaic tile look on cakes and I was ready to try it out.  And since I’m obsessed with chevron right now (check out this and this cake) I knew this cake was going to incorporate that pattern.  Lucky for me, the friends that I made the cake for are also loving chevron right now.  It’s probably a Pinterest thing.  The party was to celebrate birth of their daughter, Julia and I was given the freedom to make a cake in any style I wanted.

Gum Paste Peony

I had purchased a peony cutter set a while ago and finally got the chance to make gum paste peonies!  Nobody at the party believed they were made of sugar until the kids started eating them.

Pink Gum Paste PeoniesThis was a really fun and elegant cake for a newborn!  I loved playing with the mosaic fondant tile look and cant wait to use this technique again!

Posted in Celebration Cakes | 3 Comments

Smoked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Smoked Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a confession to make.  I don’t challenge myself enough in the kitchen.  I love experimenting, but with two young kids around, I just don’t want my kitchen adventures to fail.  I don’t have a lot of time to waste!  and while I love participating in the Kosher Connection link-up (a group of bloggers that share a recipe each month with the same theme), I often find myself skipping them.  Sometimes I run out of time, but mostly, the theme is too hard!  This month’s theme is smoked or smoky food.  I was determined to share a smoked or smoky dessert!

Smoky Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have never come across a smoked dessert before.  The first thing that came to mind was smoked salt.  I could make chocolate chip cookies with smoked sea salt.  My problem was, I don’t have any smoked salt.  I did a little research and discovered that it’s actually quite pricey, but I could make my own with some wood chips on the grill.  Perfect, except I don’t have any wood chips handy either.  It would be so much fun for me to experiment with smoking salt, but again, I don’t have time to run around searching for ingredients and other supplies.  I needed a more accessible recipe, with easy to find ingredients.  After lots of internet browsing I came across a comment somewhere that recommended adding liquid smoke to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I knew I had to try it!  Liquid smoke is easy to find; I have seen it countless times and was always tempted to buy it, but never knew what I would do with it.  This was my chance!

Liquid Smoke Chocolate Chip Cookies

I decided to use oil instead of margarine in this recipe because I know a lot of people prefer to bake with oil over margarine and I wanted to keep these cookies dairy free.  I bought a hickory flavored liquid smoke and replaced some of the vanilla extract with it. It’s extremely concentrated, a little bit goes a long way!  These cookies are a perfect dessert for a summer barbecue and that’s exciting because most desserts associated with barbecue are smores and fruit.  It’s fun to mix it up and offer something new.  The smokiness in these cookies really compliment the sweetness of the chocolate chips.  I love the intensity and rich background flavor the liquid smoke offers.  These are definitely not your average chocolate chip cookie!

Smoked Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. liquid smoke
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the oil with the sugar and brown sugar until combined.
  4. Add the eggs and mix to combine.
  5. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and liquid smoke and mix to form cookie dough.
  6. Add in the chocolate chips and stir to combine. The dough will seem greasy, and the chips may be difficult to incorporate, but that is ok!
  7. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour just to firm up the cookie dough.
  8. Scoop the dough using a large cookie scoop or a tablespoon into the parchment lined cookie sheets.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are slightly brown.
  10. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

Here are some more fun smoky recipes to try!

Posted in Cookies | 6 Comments

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love bananas, but I often find myself with overripe ones.  I usually peel them and stash them in a ziplock in the freezer for smoothies.  But how many frozen bananas do I need to keep on hand?!  So I am always on the hunt for desserts using bananas.  I’ve shared my recipe for strawberry banana crumb cake, banana muffin top cookies, and even a Passover banana muffin.  But I needed more!  So I’m sharing this recipe for peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies.

peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies

The original recipe from Mommy Matter was for a peanut butter banana cookies; adding chocolate chips just seemed obvious to me!  The cookies don’t spread all that much so I suggest pressing them down with the tines of a fork just like a classic peanut butter cookie before baking. My version freezes really well and is dairy free.

Sleeping Then Eating Cookies

I was able to make these cookies when my son Charlie took an unexpected nap.  When he woke up, Charlie got to snack on fresh cookies!  He was really happy with these cookies, he didn’t stop at just one!

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 dozen
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) margarine
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the margarine with the brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the peanut butter and banana and beat until smooth.
  5. Add in the egg and beat until smooth.
  6. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and mix on low until the dough forms.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until chips are incorporated.
  8. Scoop cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheet using a medium sized cookie scoop. Press the top of each cookie in two directions with a fork to slightly flatten.
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are slightly golden brown.
  10. Cool on wire rack and enjoy!

 

Posted in Cookies | 6 Comments

Gender Reveal Cake

Gender Reveal Cake

There is a growing trend with expectant moms and dads to find out the baby’s gender with a party.  The parents receive news of the baby’s gender in a sealed envelope and then use creative ways to share the surprise.  My favorite way is using cake of course!  But I haven’t had the chance to make a gender reveal cake until recently.

gender reveal cake In this case, the expectant dad couldn’t make it to the doctors appointment to find out the gender of his baby.  The mom wanted to share in the surprise so she had me bake a cake in the revealing color (pink or blue).  The family cut into the cake together and was able to share in the surprise…

pink gender reveal cake

It’s a girl!  I baked a vanilla cake and colored it pink.  Then I covered the entire cake in white buttercream roses.  I tried so hard to make sure no crumbs were peeking out, that would have ruined the surprise!  I added a pink and blue fondant bunting to the top of the cake to add to the suspense.  This was so much fun to be a part of, and I’m so glad I was sent this picture after the cake was cut!

Posted in Cakes, Celebration Cakes | 8 Comments

Minion Birthday Cake

Minion Birthday Cake

I had so much fun making this cake, it is just so darn cute!  I was asked to make Aroni a minion birthday cake.  He wanted the minion to be playing hockey.  His mom thought it might look a little silly since minions don’t really play hockey, but I made it totally work!  Since this was my first minion cake, I just had to wing it.  I stacked a bunch of 6 inch cakes (maybe 5) and one rounded cake for the top.  The rounded cake was baked in a small glass bowl that I greased and floured well.  The shape is very simple, all the details really bring the cake to life!

Minion Eye Goggle

I decided to go with the minion with one eye to give the cake more impact.  My set of round cutters really helped me out here.  I cut out the white part of the eyeball then cut two tiny rounded strips of yellow for the top and bottom edges for interest.  I cut out a little piece of brown for the iris, colored it with black lines using a food coloring marker.  I added a black dot of fondant in the center and a tiny white dot as the eye glimmer that bring all cartoon characters to life.  The goggle was made with gray fondant that I painted with silver luster dust.  I made the buttons on the overalls using a fondant button mold, and the stitches in the overalls using my stitching roller tool.

Minion Hair

To make the hair, I wrapped half of a toothpick in black fondant and curved the edge.  I made a bunch of strands of hair in different heights.  Then I let it dry to keep the proper shape.  Once the fondant was dry, I pushed the toothpicks into the cake wherever I thought they should be.  Happy Birthday Aroni!

Posted in Celebration Cakes | 2 Comments