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Nothing screams PARTY like a giant pink cookie cup!

Lately I've had cake on the brain, so I wanted to switch gears and do something fresh and fun. I've always loved baking with color, so I began this project with the first thing in the pantry that caught my eye - pink candy and lots of it!

Fruit pizza is great for hot summer days because it's chilly and refreshing. You can use your favorite combination of sliced fruit or the season's best berries for toppings. I've tried a few different versions, and this one is my favorite yet with its slightly chewy and buttery brown sugar crust. It provides a sturdy foundation for mounds of whipped cream and all the colorful sliced fruit you care to pile on top.



Everyone needs a good blueberry pound cake in their recipe collection. This one is mine, and I love it because it's not too sweet and it molds beautifully in a fancy bundt pan. It's fortified with cream cheese in the batter, and a healthy dose of yogurt makes for a soft crumb.


If you're planning a wedding then you may want to bookmark this recipe! It's an easy favor that has an extra ounce of magic. I find that fragrant teas often trigger sensory memories. Recently I had a conversation with my friends about it, and most of them had a fragrance or flavor memory to share. For example, each time I drink a certain brand of green tea I'm transported back to my old downtown apartment building where artists lived and worked. I like to drink it and reminisce. By making your own tea blends, you can transport guests back to your special day long after you say 'I do'.


Hello, sweet people!

I hope everyone is having a great summer. It's hard to believe that next Tuesday we'll welcome August. August! How did that happen so quickly? Someone recently said to me that 2016 felt like it lasted 50 years and 2017 feels like it's lasted 3 days so far. That sentiment rang true with me. Even though this year is passing at lightening speed, I'm happy to welcome the coming months. August winds down to the most inspiration-filled part of the year - baking season! I've already been filling my notebooks to the brim with cozy holiday recipes.

Last weekend I had a birthday, which was celebrated low-key style with my husband and our puppers. My family and friends always do a great job of showering me with love and confetti around my birthday, but on my actual birthday I like to to do my own thing. This year, I wanted to finish up the work I'd been doing on a French vanilla layer cake recipe (I know - working on your birthday Heather, so weird!) That's how this cake came to be, and how it became this year's birthday cake.

I'm so excited to tell you about this cake because it tastes like a tropical vacation. It's a nice indulgence, especially if you're like me and you're not sure a beach getaway is going to happen this summer (I'm still crossing my fingers!). Blue Hawaiian cocktails are fruity and delicious with cream of coconut, pineapple juice, rum and citrusy blue curacao. It's probably my favorite summertime cocktail ever, and it translates so well to cake!

Happy Friday, friends! Today I'm partnering with Go Bold with Butter to bring you a recipe that celebrates the goodness of dairy in many forms. This is my favorite version of banana cream pie because it offers a flaky, buttery pie crust and silky vanilla filling made with milk and just a touch of cream cheese.

Grits are much like the southerners who make them, which means it's hard to pigeonhole them into any particular category. Some folks like to serve them sweetened with brown sugar, others prefer them savory with sharp cheddar. Our neighbors further south in Louisiana serve them with shrimp on top. I appreciate all of these variants.

I usually serve grits plain with mix-ins on the side so you can choose your own adventure, but my new favorite way to serve them is waffled!

So, here's something different!

The idea for this cake came to me one morning before I was even awake. I had a dream about making a peas and carrots cake - and before you ask, I hadn't watched Forrest Gump before bed that night (haha!). I guess I've had romantic love and weddings on my mind lately because I'm making two wedding cakes this year for relatives. I think this cake would be a super cute engagement party cake, or even an anniversary cake.

I've been on a real rosé wine kick lately (okay,  perhaps since last July!) so I decided to give my favorite white chocolate mousse recipe a new twist! There's nothing better in hot summer months than a cold refreshing treat, right? These toast-worthy pink cakes are served chilled, just like your favorite rosé wine! 

Hello, friends! You may have noticed that I've been absent from the blog for a few weeks, which was longer than expected. May was a busy month full of baking and photographing things for clients and working on a special passion project. I also threw my parents an anniversary party, which was really great and I got to see a bunch of my family and friends all at once. It was nice to spend time with them, but now I'm ready to get back in the swing of all things blog related!

Tartufo may be the fanciest-to-eat but unfanciest-to-make dessert you should know about. It's an ice cream dessert that originated in Italy, and the name tartufo means 'truffle'. I first tried a chocolate mousse version of this dessert years ago at a local Italian restaurant. I always order it when we dine there, and digging for the amaretto-soaked cherry in the center is like a treasure hunt! This version is my own, but it doesn't depart too much from the original. It only takes about 5 ingredients to make and I think it's an elegant ending for a dinner party!

I have two special treats to share today! The first is this golden chai cake, which is richly spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. It's covered in honey-cream cheese frosting and together that makes  the cake reminiscent of my favorite cup of tea. The second treat is a fun giveaway sponsored by Fair Trade brands. One lucky reader will receive a big box of Fair Trade products and ingredients in honor of Mother's Day!

Each year at Mother's Day I partner with Fair Trade USA to help raise awareness about the important work they do to empower women. Did you know that women produce half of the world's food yet only own 2% of land? (Wow!) Fair Trade provides women with resources to start businesses and helps provide maternity leave and childcare. This helps increase educational opportunities and better medical care for their families. All we have to do to help this effort is to buy Fair Trade brands! It's so easy - it's a no-brainer!



Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, and I have some zesty little cookies that are guaranteed to make your fiesta 100% cuter!

These citrus slice lookalikes are delicious butter cookies loaded with aromatic lime zest. I like to make the dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, that way I can slice and bake the cookies at my convenience. There are a few steps to shaping the dough but it's not difficult - I promise! And to ensure your complete success with this recipe I've made a video tutorial for you to follow.

If you're like me and like a little coffee with your coffee, then I have a great recipe for you!

These tiramisu cupcakes belong next to your java and newspaper for an afternoon pick-me-up (but I can tell you from experience they make a tasty breakfast, too). The yellow cakes get dipped in a mixture of strong coffee, espresso and coffee liqueur - much like the ladyfingers in the original dessert. The frosting is a tall swirl of whipped mascarpone cream which is so silky and light, I'd use it to cover just about any sweet thing.

The big flower pot of mint I planted last year on the back patio made a surprise comback. I'm so happy because I love using it as a fresh garnish on spring pies and tarts. Like most things in our back yard it's growing at rapid pace. Flowers are budding (weeds are too) and all of a sudden I remember that we're almost at the end of April. Next month brings us all kinds of happy celebrations.

I made these cupcakes with two May events in mind. The first is Mother's Day (May 14th), and the second is the Kentucky Derby (May 6th). Both are worthy of pretty buttercream roses and toasts with mint julep cupcakes.

It's been a busy spring so far and I don't think I've ever had so many wedding showers to attend. If you're in the same boat (and I suspect many of you are) then I have some tabletop gift suggestions that are not only practical but beautiful as well. And if you're a soon-to-be-bride, then you may want to add some of these useful items to your registry!

I'm so excited to tell you about these super-sized Arnold Palmer cookies because I feel like they may become your new favorite cookie. They are dual flavored like the beverage of their namesake, with one half mellow sweet tea and the other half zesty lemonade. As a sweet tea enthusiast, the recipe spoke to my southern soul when I saw it in Irvin's new baking book which is called Marbled, Swirled and Layered. Isn't that just the best name for a baking book? Yes!

Say hello to my new favorite midnight snack!

I can't help but feel that these bars should have been in my salty-sweet baking book. But that's how it goes - some recipes are simply a result of a strong craving and that's exactly how this recipe came to be. A few nights ago I was craving salty-sweet, crunchy and chewy.

There's so much to love about this time of year but my favorite thing may be the seasonal candy aisle at the grocery store. It's decked out in all shades of pink, yellow, and green. You'll find blue malted milk robin's eggs tucked between edible Easter grass and noble-looking chocolate bunnies that stand upright. I'll take one of each, please.

This DIY bunny bark celebrates Easter candy with eye-popping color. It's not difficult to manage the entire recipe in less than one hour, and it is guaranteed to brighten any Easter basket.

Happy First Day of Spring, friends! I made something sweet and colorful to celebrate.

One of my all-time favorite desserts to make is a cake roll (as evidenced here, here and here). I hadn't made one in months so I made up for it big time by rolling up three (!) for this swirly-twirly dome cake.

Two mornings ago I pulled a coat over my pajamas and quickly jumped into galoshes. Snow was falling and I was dumbfounded because we'd had 70 degree weather the week before. I grabbed the garden clippers to cut the dozen daffodils that had just bloomed in the front bed. At least I could enjoy them a bit longer inside, and it's been nice having them on my kitchen counter. It's almost been a substitute for sunshine.

Speaking of alternatives to sunshine, I'm still reveling in all kinds of bright, citrusy desserts. It's been ages since I've made a baked pudding, and even longer since I've posted one to this blog (gosh, since my Daring Bakers' days!). This lemon-lime version may be my favorite of all time, and I'm embarrassed to admit how much of it I've eaten!

It's 3.14, otherwise known as Pi Day! Even though I'm not exactly a math whiz, I do know how to whip up a good pie and that's as good a reason to celebrate as any!

St. Patrick's day is coming up in a few days, so I thought it might be nice to make a pie that could also serve as dessert for the feast. This is an easy pie to make because the layered fillings are made with few ingredients and it's no-bake!

If you ask me, the element that makes a really great lavender cake is restraint. Most of the time it's okay to double the amount of flavorings such as vanilla extract or citrus zests in batter recipes, but this is is not something you want to try with dried lavender buds. They are highly perfumed and require a judicious hand when it comes to adding them to recipes.

This batter formula uses a very specific method of beating the butter and dried buds together until the fragrance is dispersed into the fat. This removes any soapy taste from the lavender and what remains is lightly floral flavor, almost reminiscent of Earl Grey tea.

Has the food world gone unicorn crazy? Yes, and count me in! I love seeing everyone's culinary interpretation of what qualifies as 'unicorn'. So far the criteria seems to be any food that is rainbow swirled, piled with colorful candy and maybe has some kind of edible horn attached.

This unicorn dessert is a bit more subtle (and more literal). I had plans for wild rainbow pony hair and glittering hooves, but none of that felt right. These gals were determined to be more dainty. I really love how they turned out because they remind me of storybook illustrations.


How funny is this eggy little cake? I was inspired to make it after doing some fabric shopping last week. My mom is an excellent seamstress and she's promised to make each of my two pugs a bath robe. (Ha - I know. I can explain in the comments if anyone is interested.). While shopping for terry cloth I spotted the cutest egg print fabric. The sunny yolks made my heart do a little cartwheel.

Considering tomorrow is the first day of March, I thought it would be good to dive into some St. Patrick's Day baking. Not that you should wait for March 17th to make these beer bread muffins - oh, no - make them now!

If you're new to bread making, then I'd like to suggest beer bread as your first effort. It's an easy fix with big payoff. I developed this cheesy version to dip into my favorite Irish stew. I baked the dough in a muffin tin because my favorite part of beer bread is the golden slightly chewy exterior, and you get more of that in muffin form.

These sunny days have me in a lemony state of mind, and that is evident from all the zesty treats coming out of my kitchen. This cheesecake is a recent favorite. It's mild and creamy without a sharp note to be found. The citrus flavor shines through without a hint of bitterness. Even better? This cheesecake is no-bake which means no fussy water bath-baking.

It is unseasonably warm here in the southern US, and my yard which is normally brown at this time of year looks like a green spring meadow. There are all kinds of beautiful little buds sprouting up, and clover is everywhere. Just seeing those emerald patches carpeting the ground inspired me, and made me remember that St. Patrick's Day is less than a month away.

I think these pops would make an excellent treat for the holiday, or a nice gift to let someone know how lucky you are to have them in your life.

I hadn't planned a blog post for today but this smart little recipe convinced me to go ahead and share. I've been on a major smoothie kick for the last few months. My steadfast favorite is bright green because I load it with leafy greens that I don't get enough of with regular eating. Even though I love my green smoothie I sometimes need a break from it and that's how I discovered this drink. It's from one of my favorite out-of-print books called The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook. It's light and healthful with flavor reminiscent of orange Creamsicle ice cream.

Have you ever heard of walking tacos? They have all the ingredients you'd imagine a taco would have like ground beef, cheese, lettuce (et cetera) but instead of being layered in a taco shell they are stuffed in mini bags of Fritos. Their portability makes them perfect for camping, picnics, or just for eating in front of the TV.

Well, this recipe is a lot like that except with banana pudding!

These circuit board lollipops make cute edible gifts for the tech-savvy people in your life. Circuit boards have tracks that conduct electricity, so I thought it would be neat for these treats to fizz and crackle when you eat them. What makes this possible? You might have guessed Pop Rocks, which is mostly correct. I used plain carbonated candy, which is essentially the same thing except that it's not fruit flavored and it seems to have an extra ounce of popping power.

Here's something totally retro for your valentine this year- mixtape cookies!

Back  in the day mixtapes were the easiest way to communicate your feelings to your beloved without having to say a word. I mean, why even try to articulate your affection when David Bowie or Duran Duran could do it so much better? These homemade music compilations have since been replaced with playlists on Spotify and iTunes, but nothing can replace the experience of recording a mixtape. The time and effort it took to orchestrate the perfect audio love letter is what gave it so much value, and makes it so nostalgic for people who still love the 80's and 90's (like me!).

Is there anything left for me to say about these cupcakes that the pictures don't already communicate? Maybe not, so I'll let them do most of the talking in this blog post. I'll just add that they are delightfully rich with hot fudge-drizzled dark chocolate buttercream. All of that richness sits atop lightly sweet black devil's food cake. I'd venture to say they are better than any bakery-made chocolate cupcake I've ever tried.


Ah, Fruity Pebbles. My childhood in a bowl.

I'm still fond of this cereal. My favorite part is the purplish-grey milk that's left behind after all of the pebbles have been eaten. It's a last sip of super-sweet concentrated cereal flavor, which is delicious despite how weird it looks.

This was my first time making Fruity Pebbles Treats, which I should have been making all along. They are just as crave-worthy as their Krispie Treat cousins, but more colorful and bright-tasting. They look like a celebration, so of course I had to make a Fruity Pebbles Treat party cake!

Winter citrus holds a kind of magic that is the antidote to dismal days. It doesn't take much, sometimes just a wheel of Meyer lemon floating in my Earl Grey is a fine pick-me-up. Blood oranges are my favorite of all the winter citrus. They tend to be extra-aromatic and their gorgeous ruddy peels hint at a deep crimson interior. Their flavor is more pungent than regular oranges and they tend to be less acidic. I'm prone to peel and eat one while standing over the sink (so juicy!) but lately I've been adding them to my morning smoothie. The flavor seems to give me an extra ounce of zip and I'm sure the vitamin C doesn't hurt, either.

I've never used blood oranges in my baking so I figure now is the perfect time to remedy that oversight.

My vegan baking repertoire is practically nonexistent and I'm not sure why. Maybe because I had some preconceived ideas about how the end result would taste. Maybe I'm just too into butter! I took a chance on this eggless, and all-around dairy-less cake. My hopes weren't very high, but I have to say it has quickly become one of my favorite cakes to make and eat!

I'm really excited to share a brand new feature we're adding to the blog this year, it's called Bake This, Wear That! It's all about pairing cute desserts with something cute to wear. My daily uniform over the past few years has become a t-shirt, yoga pants and messy ponytail, so I definitely needed some help with this project. I decided to enlist the help of my good friend who is a personal stylist.

I came up with the idea for these Gold Star cakes on New Year's Day. I felt that we all needed gold stars for making it through the crazy year that was 2016, and that we should also celebrate our small victories in life. I like to celebrate with cake and I bet since you're here reading this, you do too!

Ready to see what we picked to wear with our gold stars?

I've made this bundt cake countless times, so it's hard to believe that I've never shared it with you before now! The batter molds beautifully in ornate bundt pans and the baked cake is cotton-soft in the middle. Brown sugar and mini chocolate chips sweeten the cake, so it tastes much like a chocolate chip cookie!

Months before I'm scheduled to make a wedding cake I go into research mode. My desk becomes piled high with cake magazines and I scour wedding websites to get an idea of what's new in cake design. This year I'm making two wedding cakes so I've been scouting double-time. (And imagine the imminent clutter!) One thing repeatedly caught my eye wasn't cake at all, it was a table centerpiece.

Strawberry towers (also called trees) aren't a new idea. It seems they've been around for a while, but the new-ish addition of fresh roses and greenery makes a very pretty centerpiece.


I once asked my friend what kind of cupcakes she wanted for her birthday and she replied "I'm boring, I like yellow cake with vanilla frosting." I think I may have scared her because I got really excited and maybe shouted "I'm boring too! We can be boring together!"

What I meant to say was "I like yellow cake with vanilla frosting also and I'm going to make us a batch right now."

It feels a little crazy to be talking about Valentine's Day already but here we are, less than a month away! I've always supported the idea that this holiday should be for all kinds of love and not just the romantic sort. It should be celebrated elementary school-style. That means you buy a box of Valentines (bonus if they are scratch-and-sniff) and give one to everyone you know.

All of this Valentine's business made me think about tokens of affection. Love letters in particular. Are they a thing of the past? Have they been replaced by heart emojis and text messaging? Maybe, but I'd wager that there are still a few romantics left with the talent and patience to hand-script a beautiful letter.

I'm the sort of person that buys a savarin pan with the aim to use it as intended, which is to make a French savarin cake, but somewhere along the way my brain goes on recess. It chalk-draws on pavement and plays hopscotch. Savarin suddenly seems sooooo boring (because holy cow - this pan totally looks like a giant donut!) and so the Savarin cake has to wait because the Triple Stack Donut Cake feels 900% more fun.

True to form, this has happened again. I had every intention to make cannelés when I bought a cannelé pan, but hey! Let's make cute cactus cakes instead.

January is an indoor kind of month. It's made of wet cement daytime skies and a cold that cuts. It smells like old books and candles, and makes me wear all my sweaters at once. Like clockwork it begs me to hibernate. But outside, on a cloudless night you'll find the brightest and twinkliest stars you'll ever see. A few constellations are easy to spot with the naked eye, and I can't resist stepping outside for a quick look.

Recently I've been reading about galaxies and animal constellations and the mythology attached to them. My favorite story is the Cherokee's description of how the Milky Way was created: an otherworldly spirit dog stole a ration of cornmeal and ran to the sky, spilling it as he traveled, creating stars. 

It seems odd to be thinking about wedding cakes at this time of year, but now is the time that spring brides are beginning to hustle. Even brides with the luxury of having a planner at their disposal are super busy during this time, so just imagine the plight of the DIY-er! I have first-hand experience being a DIY bride, and also being the helper of many. It's hard work but rewarding, especially if you are the creative control freak type. (Ahem. Not that I'd know anything about that!)

Well friends, we made it. Happy 2017!

Each first day of January I find myself thinking about goals I'd like to achieve. I have a few hopes and aspirations for the blog this year but when I get right down to it, my focus is pretty narrow. I just want to find little moments of happiness and celebrate them - both in my work life and personal life. I suppose that's why I'm beginning the year with a confetti cake shaped like a big bottle of sprinkles! It's no secret - sprinkles and cake are two of my very favorite things in life.
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