Simple 17th Birthday Cake

Baking date: February 20, 2019

My oldest turned 17 in February and his request was super simple. He wanted a chocolate cake with white frosting. That was a good thing, because his birthday fell on a weekday – and on a particular day that I had an all day event for work, followed by an exhibit set up and overnight stay at a hotel in D.C., for another event.

I made him a one-bowl chocolate cake and cheated by buying canned white frosting, because homemade butter cream never turns out white.  Baker’s note: this recipe is great for cake.  I have tried it twice to make cupcakes, and each time it was a huge fail. Cakes only!


While it looks like a charred mess, it’s actually goopy and slimey — both times I tried to make cupcakes with this recipe.

I melted some chocolate chips in heavy cream to make a chocolate icing to pipe on the number 17.


Happy Birthday, Big Al!


Photo with Big Al in December 2018, when I purposefully wore antlers on my head during a special event supporting the high school athletic boosters at a local tavern.

Get Well Soon Red Velvet Cake with Basketball “Court” Frosting

Baking date: October 21, 2018

The head coach of our high school girls basketball team — who is also head of the rec basketball league for ages 5 – 19 — recently had bypass surgery.  While I know that dessert is not necessarily what the doctor ordered for post-op recovery…well, I just can’t help myself.

I reached out to his wife to find out his favorite kind of cake. Turns out his (and maybe his wife and daughters) favorite is red velvet. So a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting was in order.

I started by making Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for red velvet cake. For the frosting, I used canned cream cheese frosting.  When it comes to canned frosting, I do not have a favorite, though I will gravitate to anything that is on sale.

I wanted to do something special with the cake and decided to decorate the top like a basketball court. I tried to think of something unique that would make it look like a court and I immediately thought of sugar wafer cookies. So I iced the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting and pressed in the full cookies in an alternating pattern to represent the hardwood of a basketball court. I cut some with a really sharp knife for the areas where a partial wafer was needed.

Here’s the top of the cake. I used cream cheese frosting colored royal blue to spell out the message, and some colored black to draw the lines on the court.


I piped on star bursts around the top and bottom edges. I made a Lion (the youth league and high school mascot) paw in yellow and royal blue candy melts. I added yellow and royal blue candy melt hearts around all four edges.

Turns out the coach’s birthday was just two days after I delivered the get well cake. Happy Birthday, Troy. We can’t wait to see you back on the court!

Troy and Cake


Hot Chocolate Cake with Chocolate and Marshmallow Creme Frosting

Baking date: October 7, 2018

There have been a number of times when athletes my kids are on teams with have experienced season-ending injuries. And while I know that sugar doesn’t take the sting out of not being able to finish out a season or the pain from the injury, having something sugary certainly doesn’t hurt, right?

One of the JV football players that my younger son Nick used to play with (Nick has given up football) chipped a bone in his heal and is out for the season. Of course, that meant I needed  wanted to get him a cake.

After asking his mom about favorite flavors, I settled on a hot chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and marshmallow buttercream frosting. The recipe makes a three layer cake, but I went with two thick layers.


Cake with the chocolate buttercream. I tried a new side decorating technique I plan to use on a cake for a bride and groom I’ve been asked to make in 2019.


Finished cake with the marshmallow buttercream.  It’s a little more runny than the chocolate buttercream.

I hope the cake helps with the healing, Rhett. Looking forward to seeing you join the varsity team next Fall.


Rhett (#55) making one of many tackles this season before his injury.

P.S. athletes, please stop with the injuries to get a sweet treat. Just ask, I’ll make it.

Rosette Smash Cake

Baking date: September 1, 2018

I was asked to make a 1st birthday smash cake. I had made the bridal shower cupcakes for the mom in 2015 and the baby shower cupcakes and cake the Summer of 2017. Now that Hannah was turning 1, her mom reached out to me and requested vanilla cake with raspberry buttercream frosting for a smash cake. She also asked for Minnie Mouse themed cupcakes, that I also made.

She sent me a picture of this inspiration cake from Pinterest:

Inspiration Smash Cake

I immediately went to YouTube to find a video for making a rosette smash cake. This is what I watched (over and over and over!).

The cake was from a box mix and I used two 6″ round pans for thick layers. The recipe for the frosting makes quite a lot, so I did a crumb coat layer, and then piped on the rosettes using a 1M star tip.

Here’s my cake, in the frig after all the rosettes were piped on.IMG_1918

I’m pretty sure it was a hit with Hannah.


Happy 1st birthday, sweet girl!

State Championship Celebration Cake – Unified Track Team

Baking date: June 17, 2018

For the 2017-2018 school year, our high school swept the state championships for Unified Sports. We participate in Unified Tennis, Unified Bocce and Unified Track. I had made a celebration cake for the Unified Bocce team’s banquet and decided to make one for the Unified Track team as well. Clearly, Unified Tennis needs to win again so I can fete them appropriately!

I made a three tier white cake, using the Wilton square pan set. I used a white frosting for the cake. I piped on the team name in white icing, dyed royal blue and golden yellow.


I added royal blue and gold Sixlets candies around the edge of each tier, and used them to spelled out 2018 STATE CHAMPSIMG_1576

I decorated the cake with personalized candy sneakers.

I used royal blue and gold rhinestone bling cake pop sticks with a sneaker lollipop candy mold I found. I used bright white candy melts, put a yellow royal icing stripe on the sneaker and added each athletes name in blue icing. Baker’s note: These lollipops are very heavy given how much candy melt is needed. Keep that in mind for the stability of your final product!


Here is the final cake – my husband helped with the 360 degree view. But an important note —  the sneaker candies were so heavy, they actually fell through the cake while being transported to the school. I was terribly bummed about this and learned my lesson — add the heavy embellishments after the cake has arrived at its destination! Then take the picture/video.

I posted the video on the Facebook group page for our school’s Unified teams, so that those that follow could see the cake. Here are the comments:


In addition, I made a cake to thank the coach, who retired after this season. It was all the same ingredients and embellishments, with the exception of a large Lion paw candy melt mold in royal blue and yellow:


It’s always a pleasure to make treats for the amazing kids in our community.

State Championship Celebration Cake – Bocce Team

Baking date: February 27, 2018

This past winter sports season, our high school Unified Bocce team won the state championship — for the second time in a row! This comes on the heels of our Unified Tennis team winning the state championship in the Fall of 2017. And later in 2018, our Unified Track team would also win the state championship. It was a sweep for our Unified team athletes in the 2017 – 2018 school year!

To celebrate, I made a cake for the Bocce team’s end of season banquet. It was a yellow cake box mix. I always add a tablespoon of vanilla to make box mixes taste more homemade.  The cake pans are from the I used the performance square pan set – the 12″ and 16″ sizes. The cake was frosted using white canned frosting.

I created “Bocce balls” using candy mold circles in dark blue (no longer available) and yellow candy melts. I piped on the names of all the athletes in the white frosting with a #1 tip. These were placed all around the cake.BocceNames

I spelled out 2018 STATE CHAMPS WHS UNIFIED BOCCE in dark blue alphabet candy molds. (I no longer remember exactly who the maker of the alphabet candy molds is). BocceCakeTop

On the side of the top tier, I made candy molds that spelled out “#BACK2BACK”:


In each corner of the top tier, I made Lion paw candy melt pop molds in dark blue and yellow. I added royal blue and gold Sixlet candies between the top and bottom tier.

The 360 degree view is courtesy of my son Nick (with moral support from our dog Jake).

The cake was a big hit. I was honored to make the kids, coaches and their families a special treat to celebrate a great season!



Chocolate Cake with Brownie Batter Frosting

Baking date: May 13, 2018

My youngest turned 15 in May. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he immediately replied chocolate-chocolate.

I have a chocolate cake recipe I like. On the page for the cake recipe, I saw a recipe for brownie batter frosting.  I used a milk chocolate brownie box mix, because my son loves milk chocolate.

The frosting is not super smooth, but it definitely tasted like brownies. I added some rainbow nonparelis on top.

My son’s smile says it all:


Happy Birthday, Nicholas!