Beach Wedding Cookies

Earlier this week, I shared the collection of desserts I prepared for a beautiful ocean side wedding.  Today I’m back with a few more details on just the cookies.  I decorated three styles of cookies for the wedding… some very simple, yet pretty shells, small square monograms, and some extra detailed starfish.

I have already posted a tutorial on How to Decorate Shell Cookies.

The monograms are pretty self-explanatory.

And today I’ll share the directions for the starfish cookies.

I started with my favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe, and a batch of Royal Icing.

I prepared the royal icing in a nice medium brown color, in both a thick (outline) consistency, and also a thinner (flood) consistency.  I also prepared a bag of thick white icing.  For this design I also used some ivory colored sugar pearls.

~ How to decorate starfish cookies ~

1.  Outline and flood the starfish in brown.  While the icing is still wet, add sugar pearls (as shown).

2.  When the brown icing has set (at least 1 hour), use thick white icing (I used a #1.5 PME tip) and pipe rows of small dots, starting from the sugar pearls, and getting slightly smaller (if possible) toward the outer points of the “star”

3.  Begin piping lots of dots (of thick brown icing) all over the starfish (I used a #1.5 PME tip).  I prefer to star from the outside and work in.

4.  Continue filling the starfish with brown dots for texture all over.

*Please do not send me any hate mail if you try these… they are very time consuming!  I would not suggest attempting a platter of 100, but a few mixed in with other shapes makes a really beautiful display.

Happy Decorating!

Beach Wedding Cake and Dessert Table

I spent this past weekend at the beach… not sun bathing or collecting shells, but baking, frosting and decorating!  Of course sun bathing is nice, but when you love baking as much as I do, then having a fun reason to do what you love is pretty great too!  I was honored to have an extra “sweet” part in a friend’s ocean side wedding.  I’ve been asked to make wedding cakes for friends in the past, but have always said no!  I really have very little experience with “big” cakes, and making (and transporting!) someones wedding cake sounds way to stressful for my taste!  But when a friend mentioned that she wanted just a small cake to cut, and then a dessert buffet for the guests… I thought I was up for the task!  So last week I baked, and baked, then packed up my car and drove 5 hours to Pacific Grove (near Montery, California) to set up a beautiful beach themed dessert table, and my very first (even if it’s small) wedding cake!

I had contacted the reception location  (Gatherings) ahead of time to get the exact dimensions of the table I would be able to set up the desserts on.  So I was able to chose the dishes I would need, and do a mock set up at home ahead of time.  I was so happy that it came together exactly as I had planned!

The wedding cake was a simple, rustic cake made of vanilla cake, with vanilla-almond buttercream, decorated with blue fondant flowers and white chocolate shells and starfish.

~ Dessert Table Menu ~

Decorated sugar cookies (in shell, starfish and monogram designs)

Fudge Mint Brownies

Lemon Squares (from Trader Joe’s)

Chocolate Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes

Custom designed chocolate dipped oreos (from Sweeties by Kim)

You may (or may not) have noticed that all of the photos of the table were taken from an angle… well, since there was a big mirror above the dessert table the only way to get a shot from the front was this…

Hi!  =)

So, this is a photo of me, my work, and my love.

Prop notes…

All the dishes are from my personal cake stand (and platter) collection.  The candle holders on top of the cake stand, and beside the wedding cake are from glassybaby.

Pink Ombre Swirl Cake

I’ve recently been fixated on the beauty of graduated layers of color, also called ombre.  From ribbon, to curtains, fashion, and of course cakes I’ve been seeing gorgeous ombre colors all over the place!  Several months ago I saw a beautiful cake from Call Me Cupcake, and shortly after saw a gorgeous ruffled cake by Fondant Flinger.  I wanted to merge the ideas a bit, and wanted a way to include some great texture on the outside of the cake, without creating time consuming fondant ruffles.  I remembered I am baker’s gorgeous rose cake, and thought a smaller version of the rose-like swirls could be the perfect finishing touch!

Here is my pretty pink, swirly cake!

How to create this Pink Ombre Swirl Cake ~

For the cake, I doubled my Perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe.
The cake above is a 6″ cake,  and I reserved a little batter for a few vanilla cupcakes.  You could certainly do this cake as an 8″ cake.  For an 8″ cake I would suggest multiplying the recipe by 3 (if using my recipe linked above) if you want a nice tall cake.  Of course you are welcome to use any other vanilla cake recipe, or a box mix.

I divided the batter as evenly as possible between 5 bowls, coloring the darkest layer first, and working from that color as a guide.  I used Americolor gels in soft pink, electric pink, and a bit of electric purple (in just the darkest layer).  Add the batter to prepared cake pans (greased and floured, and lined on the bottom with parchment paper).  Also, you probably don’t have 5 matching cake pans (nor do I), so you’ll have to bake the layers separately (hopefully you have at least 2 matching pans).  Bake and fully cool the cakes.

Prepare a batch of American Buttercream Frosting.  Again, I made a 6″ cake, so for an 8″ cake, I would suggest multiplying the recipe by 1.5.  I divided the frosting between four bowls, one bowl with a bit more than the others (the one that will be the lightest color, because it’s used for the top as well as one row of swirls).  I colored the frosting with Americolor soft pink and a little electric pink (for just the darkest color). Also, reserve a small amount of frosting (maybe 1 cup) in the mixing bowl, to use between the layers, and to very thinly frost the outside (crumb coat).

Assembly ~
Layer the cakes, darkest on the bottom, frost with a very thin layer of icing between each layer.  Because I didn’t want too much frosting between the layers (to detract from the colors of the cake), I brushed each layer of cake with warmed cherry jam (most any flavor you like could be used).  You could also use a simple syrup, orange juice, or omit this step.  Frost the outside of the cake with a thin layer of frosting.  Smooth as well as you can (I use an offset spatula), but it doesn’t need to be perfect.  Place the entire cake in the freezer about 10 minutes for the icing to set, and the whole cake will firm up (making it much easier to decorate).

Prepare a piping bag with a #21 Wilton tip (a moderate sized open star).  This is the tip I used, but other open star tips could also work.  Fill piping bag with the darkest color icing.  Remove cake from freezer, and start along the bottom of the cake, creating rows of swirls.  For each swirl, start in the center of the ”rose” shape and pipe in a spiral around the center, about 1 1/2 rotations.  Continue along the bottom of the cake, creating rose-like swirls.  Repeat with remaining colors of icing.  You may find that there will be some areas in each row that don’t get fully covered, to fill in the little empty spaces just squeeze in some icing, in a curved shape (like a ”C”) to mimic the rest of the swirls a bit.  For the top of the cake (shown below) I used a combination of swirls and some “C” curves for a looser, wavy effect.

Once fully frosted, store the in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Serve with milk, or coffee to accompany the pure sweetness of this cake.

I would love to see some of you try this in other colors… yellows to orange, shades of lavender, or light turquoise to teal… oh I made need to make another one soon!  What colors will you try?

Happy baking!

The most beautiful cake ever!  Includes recipe and step-by-step instructions to re-create this gorgeous cake.

Linens and Lingerie {Wedding Shower}

Last weekend I had the pleasure of helping my sister (Joy) host a bridal shower.  The shower was for a lifelong friend of my sister’s (and our family’s).  The theme that my sister and the bride came up with was “Linens and Lingerie“, and it was a fun day to just enjoy being girly!  The party was decorated with framed images of 1940′s and 50′s housewives, and also vintage pin-up girls, to tie in with the Linens and Lingerie theme.

We (myself, my sister, and several friends of the bride) prepared a beautiful and delicious lunch that was enjoyed by all!

 ~ Menu ~

Chicken Salad Sandwiches on Croissants (made by the host, similar to my delicious recipe here)

Spinach Salad

Tomato Bruschetta

Fresh Fruit Salad

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (frosting technique shown here)

Petite heart shaped sugar cookies (made by me, recipe here)

I brought lots of my favorite serving dishes and stands and enjoyed setting up all of the pretty food.

 (Above)

 Beverages were served out on the patio (where we enjoyed the lunch and party).  Drinks included water (with fresh lemon and orange slices), iced tea, and a delicious cocktail (recipe soon)

(Below)

The large patio was adorned with potted flowers and more framed images to pull in the theme.

An extra fun and girly element of the party involved lots of pretty panties!!  Each guest was asked to bring a (new) pair of panties (in the bride’s size) that represented them.  The panties were displayed on ribbon, with mini clothes pins (available at Wal-Mart and other craft stores).  They made a really fun display!  During the party, the bride was asked to guess which guest brought which pair of panties.  Party guests also got to participate, by guessing (ahead of time) how many panties the bride would be able to correctly match.  In this case, the lovely bride got 3 out of 20!  =)

(Above)  The beautiful bride along with the corset cookies I made as favors.  Several hours of decorating cookies was well worth the fun ooh and ahhs by the bride (and guests!).  More images of the cookies are in my previous post, Wedding Shower Lingerie Cookies.

The Linens and Lingerie party was a beautiful success (thanks to lots of great planning by my sister Joy, some pretty details I enjoyed adding, and help from several friends).  It was a beautiful day to just enjoy being in the company of friends, enjoy delicious food, and shower the bride with lots of love and beautiful gifts!

Wedding Shower Lingerie Cookies

This past weekend I helped add some “sweet” details to a wedding shower my sister was hosting.  The fun theme my sister (Joy) came up with was “Linens and Lingerie“.  As soon as she mentioned the theme, I knew exactly what I wanted to make as special favors, lingerie cookies!  I’ve been eyeing this cute corset shaped cutter (from Copper Gifts) for quite a while, and was excited to have a reason to order it.  I thoroughly enjoyed adding slightly different details to each cookie (27 total) and I’m quite happy with how they turned out.  A slight note… these are large cookies (about 4.5″ tall), and require quite a bit of time to decorate.  Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy the decorating process if you plan to give these a try.

Here are some helpful links to get you started…

Sugar Cookie Recipe

Royal Icing Recipe (and decorating tutorial)

Basic Decorating Tips

I’ll have some more pretty photos from the “Linens and Lingerie” shower later this week.

Happy Baking!