Monday, September 28, 2009

Passion Flower

Hi Sweet Readers!

Well, as you can see, this is not a sweet, but wouldn't it be a lovely sugar flower? I'd like to see someone try it, anyway.

This is an amazing passion flower in my front yard. I am constantly in awe of the wonders God gives us in our every day lives. We miss so many of them, don't we? Like this flower. Look at the detail..the intricacies, the color. And they smell heavenly, too. My prayer is that I would see one of these every single day. Not just in a flower, but in the many blessings that I receive each and every day from the One who loves me more than I can imagine.

What is your passion flower today?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Homemade Bread

Hi Sweet Readers!

Did you know that I love bread too? Surprise, surprise. Here's a couple homemade loaves...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Tea Party Cupcakes

Hello Sweet Readers!
I hope you had a great weekend and are having a happy start to your week. I know many friends going through some very tough times right now, so know my heart goes out to you. My prayer is that you will be blessed in some very real and wonderful ways.

I hope that these bright cuppies can cheer you all up and give you a smile. I made these for a little girl's 4th birthday. Her mom gave me creative license to decorate them to match the invitation.
Here are the cuppies with the invitation. The colors were interesting to pair together, but mom was very pleased with the result. And that always makes my day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Abbie's Butterflies

Hi Sweet Readers!
Happy Friday!
Here is a cake I made for a little girl's 2nd Birthday. She wanted a butterfly theme.
I made the butterflies, flowers and leaves out of fondant and painted them with luster dust. I used edible pearls to decorate the flowers and the letters.

It's a little hard to see, but I spelled her name, Abbie, in the flowers on the cake plate. Her mom made some really cute cupcakes and cookies for the kiddos at the party. The cake was for the adults. :)

The cake is a wonderful lemon cake that I made from the book "Cakelove" by Warren Brown. It was somewhat time consuming, but well worth it! I filled the cake with orange mousse and vanilla buttercream and topped it with IMBC. I also drenched the bottom of the cake in chocolate ganache.

I received the cutest thank you from Abbie and her mom, along with an adorable photo of her with the cake. It made my day!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Martha Stewart Cupcake Club # 2: Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

Hi Sweet Readers!

Well, it's the 15th and that means it is time for the next recipe for the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club! Yeah! The choice this month is from Tracey over at Tracey's Culinary Adventures. Being the sweet purist that I am, I was wondering what these would be like. Would they be more like zucchini bread or truly like a sweet cupcake. In the end, they really are like both.Here are all the ingredients, minus the eggs and flour. The recipe was pretty simple and I didn't even use my KitchenAide.
The yummy mixture! It smelled like fall in my house..and I'm not quite ready for all yet. Give me my one last week of summer! But it did smell good...
And even better when they came out of the oven! BTW, check out my very cute oven mitt given to me by a good friend. She got it at Anthropologie. Love that store! But I digress...
Here's the finished product, with just enough of the cream cheese frosting.

It was very moist and extremely flavorful. The crumb was just like that of good zucchini bread.

The taste? It was very good, but not like your typical cupcake. Just saying this so you don't expect something you may not be getting. With the cream cheese frosting, it did make it a little sweeter, but to me, it was like a very sweet bread. Again, yummy, but not your go-to cupcake if you are needing a fix. You know what I mean.

Check out for the list of other bakers who are doing this same challenge!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Very Sweet and Saucy!

Hello Sweet Readers..have you been here yet?
Oh, I have. Here is happy me with my yummy loot! I finally got to go to Sweet and Saucy Shop. I have been following Melody online for some time now and very much admire her work. (My Sweet and Saucy) She is an amazing artist. And she seemed so very nice online, always willing to answer questions and give sources for great stores and goodies.

I have been making several trips to Southern California this year and I was excited to get to visit her beautiful new store she just opened.

So the above photo is obviously in front of her store. It's in Long Beach in a pretty unassuming strip mall. But it's right off the freeway, which means...easy access! Yeah!
Can you tell how happy I am? I am posing with my box of yummies (actually, this particular box of yummy cupcakes was for my MIL and SIL, for their concert picnic that night). I love Melody's arrangement of photos on the wall. They are pictures of her sweets individually and as published in various publications. This is a rising star, people!
Here is a long shot of one side of her shop. I love the counter she had specially made and how she displays her glorious treats on beautiful and unique cake pedestals. It looks so appetizing and beautiful. She also hand-made the lampshades. My hubby thought they looked like frosting! So pretty.
She sells regular sized cupcakes of awesome flavors and minis of the same. She also sells cake pops, cookies and very unique and amazing custom cakes.
Oh, yeah. Tell me it wasn't hard to choose! It was! Fortunately, my sweet hubby was with me and I was able to get some decisions out of him. He's always good at helping me with that :)
One of her custom cakes. Beautiful!
And a couple more..displayed in her front window.
And here is Melody, the owner. I told you that she seemed so sweet online...well she is a very welcoming and wonderful person. She was genuine and heartfelt and though I caught her on one of her busiest days yet, she came out to meet me and spent a few moments. Beautiful both inside and out!
I love it! The sign that she was working hard and enjoying it...a shirt covered in flour and a big smile on her face!

Here is what I got ..times two. Some for us, some for our family.

The one on the left is a candy bar cupcake. It's a vanilla buttermilk cupcake cake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with peanut butter cream cheese frosting drizzled with salted caramel. It was very good! The cake was moist with a perfect crumb and the caramel was so delicious and perfectly sweet. The ganache was delicious...making me want more!

The one on the right is a chocolate espresso cupcake. It's a dark chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with espresso Kahlua cream cheese frosting and Valhrona chocolate crunchy pearls. Loved it! I especially loved the frosting. It was perfect and sweet but the cream cheese added a little tang that balanced the sweetness perfectly.

It was a bummer to leave without trying everything, but I guess I can just look forward to going back..soon, I hope! If you live nearby or are visiting the area, you must go! You won't be disappointed. You will find it hard to choose, though!

Sweet & Saucy Shop
6400 Stearns Street
Long Beach, CA 90815

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cupcake Princess

Hello Sweet Readers!

Thanks for all your sweet comments on my blogoversary! I am glad you are enjoying the blog. I do want to do a giveaway, so stay tuned for that!

Here is a jumbo cupcake I made for an order. A client had me make this for a special friend's birthday. It's an orange cake filled with orange curd and vanilla buttercream. I topped it with cream cheese frosting. These were all favorites of the birthday girl. I hope she liked it! She had a tiara on her invitation, so this is my homemade version handcrafted out of fondant. I didn't have a cutter, but I think it came out pretty nice. All the decorations are edible.

I hope you are having a great week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

Hello Sweet Readers!

Today is my "blogoversary"...which means that I have been blogging for one year today! This year has really flown by very fast. It has been so fun to share my sweets and creations with you all. I really appreciate all your support, comments and mutual love for all things sweet and wonderful! I hope you have enjoyed this year, too! I hope to continue on with this blog and would love for you to join me. So please keep your comments coming and check back often! I love getting to know you, even if it is through cyberspace!

The cake above is my second attempt at a three tiered cake. It's a mini one, with the bottom layer only being a six inch cake. I made it for a "bake-off" hosted by a sweet friend. What fun! There were cakes of all sorts and sizes and it was so fun to enjoy. I think I made need to host one of those myself :) Everyone put so much effort and time into it and it really showed. I was grateful to have been invited!

The cake I entered came out kinda crazy, but it is so hard to smooth buttercream, I had a hard time! I have watched videos, read books, etc. But it just doesn't happen for me. I'm thinking it's because I use butter in my buttercream (go figure!). Perhaps the all shortening cakes smooth better, but, honestly, I don't like the taste and don't really want to go there. Anyhow, the cake was tasty..two layers were a frecked mocha cake filled with coffee mousse and the other layer was a chocolate butter cake also filled with coffee mousse. I placed second in the bake -off! Yeah!

Thanks again for celebrating with me! I would love to have a giveaway, but I need to hear from you! I only got one comment regarding it on my last post!! Sooo, if you are interested in me having one, let me know!! I will think of something clever for you all but drop a comment and let me know you are there and thinking it might be a good idea!

Have a great week!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pistachio Almond French Macarons

Hello Sweet Readers!

I hope you are enjoying the start to a very enjoyable holiday weekend! May it be blessed!

After my last successful bake of the vanilla bean macarons, I have been dying to make more. They beckoned me, I'm telling you! So I gave this recipe a shot. I got it online has both pistachios and almonds that are ground fine for the cookie and the filling is a yummy pistachio buttercream.

The verdict? Well, the cookies didn't set up very well and spread out like the dickens (whatever that really means, I have no idea! :) They came out way to thin and and rather flat, without the famous "foot", but they tasted really great! The flavor was very bold. I think it was because I used roasted pistachios (and yes, I shelled every single one) instead of raw ones. The buttercream was rather thick, but fantastic.

I guess it is just hard to master perfect technique on these when you are trying different recipes. I think I may stick with the Bouchon recipe and then modify it. Why fix what isn't broken, after all.

Incidentally, I had one of these for breakfast before working out. I'm thinking that it was a great pre-workout breakfast since it has tons of protein from the egg whites and the nuts. So there is a "little" fat thrown in. Does it really harm me that much? What do you think?

I also have my "blogoversary" in a few days. What should I do? I can't believe it's already been a year since I've been blogging..Hmm..maybe a giveaway? We shall see...

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One Sweet Hummingbird

Hello Sweet Readers! I wanted to share some shots I captured of one of our "customers" as my kiddos call him. We have many hummingbird visitors and they are pretty used to us being around.
In fact, when they are out of water, they fly on over to the kitchen window and hover as if to say, "more, please". OK, maybe they aren't being so nice about it, but that is what I choose to believe.

Don't worry, we have tons of hummingbird-friendly plants, bushes and trees in our yard so they do patronize those as well, and often. We are not just in the business of getting them high on sugar water :)

Anyway, here's the little guy (or girl? I have no idea how to tell when their wings are going that fast :) I have no idea how to, really. He's enjoying his drink and an easy breezy Saturday morning. He's even letting me take some very close shots.
But, all good things must come to end and here he is either completely fed up with me shooting him while he was trying to drink or saying "thank you", but after one more sip, he flew away...for a short time anyway.

Have a sweet day!


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