Hey sprinkle-shakers! I'm so excited to share this new project with you. I love sprinkles of all kinds, but my favorite sprinkles of all are those teeny-tiny edible stars that look like confetti and come with a not so teeny-tiny price tag. I just adore them, and I will probably always keep at least one bottle in my stash, but I've always wanted to try to make my own at home.

I've been pleased to see all the attention matcha tea is getting lately from big-name food magazines and their online counterparts, but as someone who has been using it in sweets since 2010, I take issue when they call it a trend. Why can't we call it the new must-have pantry staple, instead? I can't imagine it ever falling out of favor. I always keep a little container of it in my cupboard right next to the espresso powder.

Here's a friendly little recipe to get your weekend started. It's easy, no-fuss and has been in regular rotation at my house for quite some time now. I can't believe it's taken me this long to tell you about it!

My good friend Christen had a birthday recently so I made her some extra special cupcakes. They were inspired by a name given to her by her sister Stephanie (during a Skype call, involving glasses of wine, I'm told) - vanilla sunset- because Christen is the only blonde sister in the family. I thought that was just the cutest thing, and when I heard those words I immediately thought - vanilla sunset needs to be a cake!

These were so much fun to make. The cake portion is flavored with pineapple juice, and in addition to that, the colorful layers are flavored with pineapple, orange and coconut extracts. See that little pipette sticking out from the side? That's where the magic happens. It's filled with a mixture of coconut rum and grenadine. Just give it a squeeze before you take a bite - yum! Such an easy way to spike a cupcake, and it adds some interactive novelty for parties and special occasions.

The trees outside my window are covered in pink blossoms. Soon the petals will release and float on the air like snowflakes, and then the show will be over. This spring spectacle is too brief, so I decided to try to capture it in a confection - and what could be more "springy" than a pink marshmallow?

Preserved sakura (cherry blossom) is a Japanese ingredient that is sparsely available at international markets here in the states. I searched for it locally and came up empty-handed, but luckily it is procurable online. Two of the ingredients - the blossoms and leaves - arrived within a week of ordering (you can find those for purchase here and here), but the tiny bottle of sakura essence took close to a month to arrive. It was well worth the wait. It has crisp, citrusy top notes, floral heart notes, and a faint lingering base note that reminds me of Thai lime leaf.

Today's post is extra special because I have some exciting news. My friend and fellow baker Rosie Alyea of Sweetapolita is releasing her first cookbook - The Sweetapolita Bakebook! I recieved an advance copy a few weeks ago and I've been paging through it ever since. It is utterly gorgeous! I feel so honored to be one of the first people to get to bake from it.

One of my favorite cakes in the book is the Watercolor Graffiti Cake. The aesthetic struck me immediately, and the painting-on-fondant technique is something I'm comfortable with. I just had to make it.
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