It's a rare occasion that I'll watch a movie from beginning to end without having to prop my eyelids open, but recently I did just that! I watched Amadeus again. It's been years since I first watched it, and I've loved it since. There's Salieri, shaking his fist at God and cursing his own mediocrity. Young, impetuous Mozart overflowing with musical genius and that maniacal laugh.  And Stanze. Sweet Constanze Mozart, a devoted wife and voice of reason, though she was inclined to ignore her own advise and follow her beloved into dark places.

She was my muse for this cake.

The Hollywood version of Stanze looks too young for enormous powdered wigs and the other garb from that time period. She reminds me of a doll, or a little girl all dressed up in adult clothing. And even though some of her dresses are rather revealing, she has an innocence that is undeniable. That's what made me want to capture her sweetness in cake form.

I'd just made some macarons the day before I planned to make this cake, and I decided they'd look pretty on her dress. Stanze was German, but she was fluent in French so I don't think she'd take issue with wearing them as an accessory.

The only thing I can think of that's better than an ice cream sandwich, is a great big ice cream sandwich. I loved this treat as a kid, and never outgrew a fondness for melty ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies.

This super-sized version is stuffed with banana split ice cream and the soft chocolate cookie tastes exactly like the original sandwich. I think it would make a fun birthday cake because it can hold as many candles as you'd like, and it can be easily sliced into smaller sandwiches.

I looked high and low for banana ice cream at my local markets but found none.  I improvised and made my own by mixing vanilla ice cream and instant banana pudding together, then  folded in all my usual banana split toppings - maraschino cherries, pineapple and swirls of hot fudge sauce.  It's heaven, I tell ya!

I loved serving slices in these little ice cream sandwich bags - they're so cute! 

Sprinkles for dipping!

Three years ago I developed a quirky little recipe called chocolate soup. It's a chocoholic's velvety dream come true and one of my favorite recipes to make on this blog. It's been published in a few magazines and in the Foodista Cookbook. Who knew a dessert SOUP would be so well received? It remains one of my most popular posts to date!

I recently found a completely different kind of dessert soup recipe, and I love it just as much as chocolate soup. It's cold, creamy, and chock-full of fresh strawberry flavor. Its lightness is perfect for springy weather and just the thing for Mother's Day this year.

Just for fun, I made some dessert "caviar" with grenadine and Grand Marnier. It makes a pretty topping and compliments the slight amount of orange liqueur in the bisque. I'd also just made a vanilla pound cake so I cut two slices into cubes for "croutons".  I think they look pretty adorable as an accompaniment.

I first saw marshmallow ropes a few years ago at a local specialty market and loved them instantly. They looked so colorful and fun sitting there on the shelf, I felt compelled to try making a homemade version, but back then the task was too daunting. I was ill-equipped. My previous marshmallow attempts seemed promising at first but I always ended up with a pan of weepy mallows. I blamed the humidity. I blamed the egg whites. I never really figured out what I was doing wrong.

These days my confidence in marshmallow-making has grown (largely due to this book) and I felt sure that I could make homemade marshmallow ropes happen. And boy, did they happen. Miles of them!

This recipe uses no egg whites, and I've never had a problem with the mallows weeping. The marshmallow coating keeps everything powder fresh and non-sticky, so be sure to dust your work surface liberally before you begin piping ropes.

I've been making more how-to videos lately -maybe you've noticed? I do my best to articulate the instructions in my recipes, but sometimes it's easier to show you a technique - and, I'll admit - I can get overly wordy in text. I feel this video will be especially helpful alongside the recipe provided.

Cookie or cake?  If I had to choose, I'd call it a cookie. It's a great big fluffy chocolate and peanut butter chip cookie that's baked in a 10-inch pan, piled with marshmallows, caramel and peanut butter cups, then sliced up like cake. It's so good that when I woke this morning, I stumbled downstairs half asleep and ate a piece while standing at the dining room table.

I got the idea for this cookie cake from a catalogue I received in the mail. Maybe you get them too. It was from a mail-order bakery that sells delicious looking (though mass-produced) cakes at $50 and upward. I'll admit, I've ordered one of these cakes before when I was short on time and wanted something extra special for a get-together. And, don't get me wrong, I truly believe bakers should be paid well for their craft and product - if it's top-notch and memorable in a good way.

I'll just say this. Next time I'll save my dollars for something from Lauren or my local Panache girls.

But if you have time to take matters into your own hands, I recommend this recipe. And if you don't have time to fuss with the frosting and toppings, then just make the cookie part. It's easy and utterly delicious.  Just promise me you'll serve it warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Today I have a fun little giveaway with my favorite party supply shop - Hey YoYo!  Whenever I need a jolt of inspiration, I just hop on over to the online store to get a fix of kitsch and color.  Amanda is the shopkeep, and she has an eye for the cutest cupcake papers, treat bags and partyware of all kinds!

I recently received some squee!-worthy items from the shop, like these party hats. They're reversible! And how cute are those confetti napkins? The pattern reminds me of sprinkles, so I was in for those immediately! Honestly, I fell in love with the entire Toot Sweet line of paper napkins, cupcake liners, pinwheel toppers and etcetera. Gimme, gimme, gimme!

My good friend Christen was having a birthday, so she was the perfect person to help model party hats. She also came up with the idea for ginger ale cupcakes (which look extra cute in these liners). They really turned out delicious and quite apropos for party fare.

Love those Pinwheel Toppers!
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