Hershey’s Kiss Cake

Baking date: December 24, 2017

I found the recipe for this cake on PinterestInspiration Cake

I have made the cake a few times the past few months, the most recent for my family’s Christmas dinner. It’s a super easy recipe. Instead of making the frosting from scratch, I used canned cream cheese frosting. I also added a few extra pops of icing around the cake (no one ever complains about extra icing, am I right?)

If you’re looking for a tasty, easy homemade cake, this is a great option. I have noticed that the Kisses you place on top of the cake batter do not melt away completely when baking, but that means a yummy chocolate chunk surprise when you are eating it.




2017 Ladies Luncheon Cake and Cupcakes

Baking date: December 21 (and, unfortunately, 22), 2017

Each year, the women in my husband’s family gather to celebrate the holidays on one Saturday in December. It is a lovely afternoon of lunch and laughter, followed by desserts. I always offer to bring the host a dessert.

This year I planned on making a tri-colored (red velvet and white cake, halved, with one half dyed moss green) Christmas bundt cake. The recipe is super easy – with the cake coming from two box mixes and the frosting from one can that you separate and color. You also get 6 cupcakes out of the deal since you can’t include all the batter in the bundt pan. In fact, I’ve made this cake in white, light blue and royal blue (winter-themed), black, orange and purple (Halloween), and pastel pink, yellow and purple (Easter).

I had made the cake on Thursday evening. My husband and I were going Christmas shopping Friday morning, and when we returned in the evening I was going to add the frosting and turn the cupcakes into Santa hats.

And then our son Nick called us while we were out and said “so…um…that cake you had on the island? Well, Jake took a bite out of it. A big bite.” He texted us this picture:


So, on our way home, we stopped and picked up two more boxes of cake mix so I could start all over again. To make it easier on myself, I also picked up some pre-dyed red icing.

Here is how I “saved” the canine-sampled cake … and fed it to my husband and boys. The offending section was cut out and thrown away:


Here the two cakes are side by side:


Here’s the party-worthy, non-canine sampled version. On top, I sprinkled holiday pearls.


And the Santa hat cupcakes turned out just fine. I piped on the red hat portion first, and added ruby red pearlized sugar sprinkles. Once that had set, I piped on the base of the hat and the pom on top in white, and added white sparkling sugar sprinkles on that.


Even though it was double the effort, the time spent with family was worth it!

All the Ladies

50th Birthday White Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Baking date: November 24, 2017

One of my dear sports mom friends turned 50 in November. Her good friend Erin pulled together a lovely brunch for a number of her friends at The Main Cup.

While many of the gifts bestowed upon our friend where of the alcoholish variety, mine was dessert, of course. I had asked her family for the type of cake (white) and frosting (chocolate) she would like, along with her favorite color (red).

I made a white cake recipe I found on Pinterest, in 9″ round cake pans. The frosting is an easy chocolate ganache, another Pinterest recipe that I have made multiple times. The frosting recipe makes a ton, so you will have extra leftover (I rewarmed it and dipped shortbread cookies in it).

I used candy melts to decorate the cake, some red hearts with white stripes and some white hearts with red stripes. I mounted some of the white hearts onto red square candy melts using the ganache. I used the numbers and alphabet candy molds to spell out her name and 5-0, on top of white circle candy melts. Finally, I piped ganache bursts along the base of the cake and added white sugar pearls in the center of each burst.


Happy Birthday, sweet Lou!


Left to right: Lauren, Emily, me, Lou and Michelle


All the gals celebrating Lou!



French Vanilla 50th Birthday Cake

Baking date: November 17, 2017

My dear friend Rebecca celebrated her 50th birthday this year. We met more than 10 years ago when her now ex-husband was coaching a t-ball team my boys were on with her kids.

Her fiance Gary planned a surprise party and asked me to make her a cake. He didn’t have any specific instructions other than vanilla cake, and sharing the party favors/decoration theme he was using, which was pink and sparkly.

So I made a two-tier French vanilla cake with the square 12″ and 8″ pans. For the frosting, I used white canned frosting. I sprinkled pink and silver sugar sprinkles all around the cake.

I decorated using bursts of frosting in rose, white and black along the corners. Around the top base border and lower base border, I made rose bursts with smaller white bursts inside.

Using heart candy molds, I made tri-colored hearts in bright pink, bright white and black. Finally, I used a “5” and “0” cookie cutter pressed into the top and then followed the outline of the numbers with the black icing.


I used a star candy mold on a pink stick to make black stars with rose icing to pipe a letter of her name on each star. The final star I piped on ‘& FAB’.


My intent was that the final product would read REBECCA 50 & FAB.


Here’s to the next 50, my good friend!


HBday Rebecca

Cheer Cupcakes

Baking date: October 20, 2017

This year, my son Alex was moved up to the varsity high school football team. He is one of only 4 sophomores and 1 freshman to be invited up. It’s exciting for him, but we know that he won’t see much playing time unless the team has a lead securely in hand.

It’s quite an accomplishment to be that close to the older kids, who made it to the state championship game in 2015 (lost 21-20), and in 2016, when they went 14-0 for the season and brought home the championship. This year, it was #NewTeamSameDream of heading back to the state championship game for a repeat.

I’ll spare you the suspense..our boys lost in the Regional Championship game. It was a close-fought game, against two powerhouses in the region.

But back to those cheer cupcakes…the cheerleaders had made yard signs for all the varsity players this year at the beginning of the season:


I thought that was a very nice gesture and wanted to do something for the cheer team. I asked for the team roster and set out making chocolate cupcakes with white frosting. But to amp up the offering a bit, I dipped the frosted cupcakes in blue sugar sprinkles, piped on the cheer names in golden yellow tinted frosting, and added candy melt hearts in royal blue and yellow. I made extra cupcakes with yellow frosting and added the blue sugar sprinkles. Some had the extra candy hearts (the mold makes 20) with some of the blue sugar sprinkles.

Here’s a look at the cheer cupcakes (coaches included!):


And here are all the cupcakes:


Thanks WHS Cheer!


And thanks to my friend Michelle, for capturing photos during my son’s Sophomore year on the varsity squad. I   and I ❤️ #54


Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Baking date: September 3, 2017

I love that Pinterest is filled with “the best”, “the most amazing”, and “the best ever” recipes for anything your baking heart desires. Most of the recipes I have tried have been delicious. But a recent attempt at new recipes found on Pinterest didn’t turn out quite the way I envisioned.

My husband called me from the store and asked the question “do you have the stuff you need to make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting?”  I responded with “sure, but could you get me some extra powdered/confectioners sugar.” What I really was thinking was “holy Hell man, how long have you known me? I can’t believe you even have to ask that question.”

I searched Pinterest and found this old-fashioned yellow cake recipe. Then I looked for a chocolate buttercream recipe.

Long story short — my husband thought the cake itself was a bit dry. And he said the frosting tasted like “what they use on Tastykakes.” Hmmm…I guess everything on Pinterest isn’t the best or to to be fair, to everyone’s unique liking.

It did give me the opportunity to use Viva paper towels and a fondant smoother to try a buttercream frosting smoothing technique I found on YouTube.

Here’s the cake, after using the smoothing technique (I should have snapped a before picture – next time, I promise):


I’m sure these recipes will work for others, but for my husband, his advice was “why do you go to all the trouble of homemade cake and frosting? Just buy a box of cake mix and a can of frosting and I’ll be good to go.”


Shirley Temple Cake

Baking date: August 18, August 19 and August 27, 2017

They say the third time’s the charm, right? Well, after my attempts at a Shirley Temple bundt cake, I’d have to say I agree. What it really comes down to is I’ve always avoided sprinkling the pan with flour after I use baking spray. But after trying this cake three times (and finally getting it almost perfect!), I know that’s an important step in the baking process.

Attempt #1: The first time I made the cake, it was for a friend who moved into a new house. There were big chunks out of the side and I only reserved 4 cherries, which didn’t cover all the holes I made to pour the reserved maraschino cherry juice into. I also drizzled the glaze while it was on the cake plate and that was a huge mess to wipe up.IMG_0598


Not very pretty, but evidently very tasty because her daughters and niece enjoyed it:



I decided to try again for a family gathering we were having that Sunday. This time, I iced it on a rack with wax paper underneath. Clean up was much easier, but I still had the issue with parts of the cake sticking to the pan. And it is so much batter that it climbed over the top too far, so the base was a mess when it was turned out of the pan:


Determined to make this an attractive cake, I tried a third time. This cake was going to a family that had made one of the dinners after my Achilles surgery. I had the pan they delivered the calzones on for two months. I felt so guilty about returning the pan after so long, that I couldn’t return it empty. Plus, their son who plays on my oldest son’s baseball team loves Shirley Temples.

For this third attempt, I got a larger jar of cherries. I cut the cherries that would be stirred into the batter in half, and drained them. I poked 8 holes in the top and rather than putting a full cherry on top of it, I halved 4 of the best looking cherries and put them over the holes. I also didn’t pour all of the batter into the bundt pan — only filled it about 2/3 full. I put the remainder of the batter into a rectangular cake pan.

And most importantly, I floured the bundt pan after I sprayed it.  This time, there was only one small spot that didn’t release:

And one very small spot on the inner part of the cake:


Here’s the cake with the glaze drizzled and the cherries on top:




Here are both cakes on the sheet pan I was returning:


Of course, a full returned dish is always appreciated:

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And the third time did turn out to be the charm.