One year seems to have flown by, and in another sense it feels as if I've been blogging about sweet confections for... well, forever!  One might say that it's easy to savor life when you measure your year in desserts.

I knew that the Sprinkle Bakes birthday cake could be no less than sprinkle encrusted.  It's even sprinkled on the inside!  For several years I've requested a Funfetti cake for my birthday, but now I've worked out a recipe for a scratch made version.  It is made with buttermilk, so it's extra moist and not overly sweet - but you couldn't tell from looking at it.  It's a visual sugar rush!

What would a birthday party be without gifts?  One lucky reader will receive a beautiful LeCreuset cast iron casserole.  Because I heart you.

 "A casserole made for special occasions or year round use. The perfect size for baking potatoes or soufflés. Enameled cast iron heats quickly and retains heat beautifully. Limited lifetime warranty."

* Can be used in the oven or on the stovetop

*Enameled cast iron efficiently conducts and  retains heat  

*Heavy, tight-fitting lid; knob on lid is ovenproof to 450 degrees F 

*Holds 2 quarts

Also, 12 of you will get a special baked treat delivered to your doorstep!  I wish I could tell you exactly what it is, but I will say that the recipe comes from my baking book that is due out next fall.  So, consider it a sneak peek at things to come!

(Contest entry form is at the bottom of this post.)

Apple season is here, and I love to see local harvests displayed at the market.  This small variety caught my eye, and I knew right away that they were destined for a candy coating.

Candied apples have a special place in my heart.  They bring back childhood memories of state fairs and playful times.  They are also incredibly beautiful and have an almost fairy tale magic with their glass-encased appearance.  Today I went foraging for twigs under the big oak tree on our property and came away with an interesting bunch of knobby stems.  I think they make a charming replacement for the standard Popsicle stick.

After covering the entire batch of apples, I had a good amount of candy coating left over.  To my delight, it spun easily into wispy angel hair-like nests.

I panicked a little when I realized these mild September days are almost over. Where did July and August go?  I think I had a birthday this year, I just don't remember what transpired.  In truth, the mid summer months were too hot to enjoy.  September has been temperate, and it makes me sorry that I didn't emerge from my air-conditioned cave to see the ocean this year. 

Though fall baking is in my heart (and kitchen),  I feel that summer deserves one last hurrah, and these little barnacled Madeleines are the perfect way to soothe a land-locked soul.

It seems I have made it my personal mission to create cohesive marriages between foods that are separate entities, but are commonly eaten together.

Coffee, do you take Donuts to be your lawfully wedded wife(s)?  Of course you do.  You were made for each other!

The idea for this cake first came to me when I found this recipe, originally from Gourmet magazine. I figure 1389 reviewers can't be wrong.  If a whopping 91% would make it again, then I should at least try it once.  I'm happy to report I'll be adding my 4-fork review very soon!  The cake batter gets a good dose of brewed coffee, so I began searching for a complimentary coffee buttercream icing.  Amongst the searching I found a new baked donut recipe I was eager to try.  I decided to combine everything together in one big over-the-top cake - and what better pairing than coffee and donuts (...and chocolate cake and buttercream icing)?

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