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Official Business News — Hiatus

Kate and Co. is taking an unofficial hiatus for the time being, and I’d like to sincerely apologize to those I’ve had to cancel events with. For more information please contact me directly or leave a comment below and I will reply to your inquiries. I’ve sincerely appreciated and loved your business and support — thank you all for everything.

 

Love —

Katie

The Cake! — 30th Zebra Birthday Cake

 

 

 

The official cake photos! This was a 30th Birthday celebration cake — a white cake with fresh strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream, decorated with fondant and black ribbon (the ribbon being the only inedible part). The stars were made with a combination of fondant and gumpaste (to hold their shape) and then covered in disco dust for the sparkle. At the last minute we wanted to make the black sparkle, but I couldn’t get any black disco-dust in time — but I could find hot pink! Lucky. 

The inspiration for the middle tier was a corset, using two different widths of black satin ribbon to “squeeze” together the pink ruffle layers. The zebra look was a favorite of the birthday girl’s, and so I made that the focus of the other two layers.

Each tier was secured with dowels, placed on a plastic plate cut just smaller than the layer, to keep the layers stable and secure.  I used floral wire (22 gauge) for the stars. Each cake was covered in a crumb-coat of buttercream and chilled slightly before applying the fondant. The plaque was already created out of a mixture of gumpaste and fondant, and allowed to set 24 hrs to harden.

(2 8-inch round, 2 6-inch round, and 2 4-inch round tiers; serves 1″ portions for 42 people).

The Zebra Cake — Detail Photos!

Introducing the latest cake, sneak-peak…

… more to come later in the week… stay tuned.

Teal & Purple Cake Pop Sparkles!

And as promised — purple and teal cake pops! And actually, these were glitter purple and teal cake pops — yes, fancy, I know! I like using sanding sugar best when trying to give some sparkle to my cake pops, but nothing sparkles like disco-dust glitter (and yes, it’s edible). I’ve done the super-sparkle pops before (entirely covered in disco dust) but to me the mouth-full of glitter (although edible) is distracting. But just adding the sparkle to the detail like with these, worked great! A great compromise, the sparkle look without too much glitter damage (yes, you will be covered in sparkles).

The sparkle in person is just stunning (and my photography skills are not quite).

So for now you’ll just have to trust me. Stunning, and delicious.

Funfetti Birthday Cake!

Here’s the mini-cake I promised I’d share — this was a 4-inch, 3 layered round white cake, with funfetti sprinkles and vanilla buttercream. We decorated in the same colors to match the purple and teal cake pops (which will come next!). The photos don’t do this cake any justice, in showing exactly how tiny a 4-inch cake looks like — and especially when you have a 5-inch cake box for your cake to fit in. It was super adorable. (In fact, the birthday girl, who was turning 6, said it was “fricken’ awesome!” — about 20 times. It was probably the coolest reaction I’ve had to a cake yet.)

And if you’re wondering how to make your own at-home funfetti cake:

  1. Take your favorite white cake recipe,
  2. Add sprinkles! Ta-da! 

I used confetti-style sprinkles, but jimmies would work great too. And that’s it! The bright color of the confetti sprinkles didn’t fade during baking at all, which is what gave it that great color. I used those same sprinkles to decorate the outside of the cake, giving it that birthday-confetti look. The cake was in addition to the other birthday party treats, so the birthday girl would have something to blow out the candles (not really enough cake to share, maybe just a bite for Mom and Dad!). It’s a little hard to put candles on a cake pop — so adding a tiny cake was perfect!

And just in case you were curious — yes, funfetti always makes everything taste better. It’s Fun-fetti!

Tiramisu-Style Banana Bourbon Trifle

And the official reason we had too much (err– no such thing, but you know what I mean) mascarpone cream for the last post — this dessert. This was for a great dinner party my fantastic chef-friend threw a couple weekends ago, and this was our contribution. Our contribution, let me clarify, but his creation; specifically requested. And I will keep this in mind, for any other desserts that need to be designed. Because the combinations of flavors and textures worked perfectly.

Officially, this is a Tiramisu-style banana trifle — 4 layers of mascarpone cream, fresh banana bread brushed with a bourbon simple syrup, and flambéed bananas in a brown-sugar-butter bourbon and walnut sauce. Just like with traditional Tiramisu, it’s best to make this dish with plenty of time to spare, and let the flavors soak into one another before serving.

And yes — it is fun to flambé.

 

 

Mini Tiramisu!

Single-serving Tiramisu! Also known as “we-have-extra-mascarpone” and “what-can-I-do-with-these-ladyfingers-in-the-cupboard” — yeah. Super dangerous.

Also, the photos are of the worst quality because 1) it was late at night, and therefore dark, and 2) I wasn’t willing to mess around long enough to take a decent photo. My husband was actually lurking in the background waiting for the perfect moment to strike. And he did. He swiped up his dish about two seconds after this photo.

And oh — we didn’t have any rum (I know — right?!) so I used Frangelico instead. It was a fantastic substitution. The only downside was that with all the espresso, I had a hard time falling asleep that night.. a consequence I’m more than happy to take, any day. Or night.

Hello Monday!

First let me say quickly — I have many more photos than I have time to write posts, and much less time to write here than I would like! But when it’s a nice day out, and you have a real-world job to perform, you can’t always do everything you want to do. And what I want to do most is go outside. So — just a quick hello, and you can just keep in mind that I promise I have more to share, I promise!

Things like mini-Tiramisu, Swedish pancakes, cream scones, more cake pops, a mini-birthday cake, and grand 30th Birthday Zebra cake, homemade confetti cake, gumpaste sparkly stars, and a Banana Bourbon Tiramisu-style trifle dish. And yes I don’t like bananas, but this was actually delish.

So since I can’t decide what to post next, and I have three events this week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night events) — and Father’s day next weekend — there will be even more to choose from soon! Yikes. So I better get to it.

In the meantime — an update of the non-baked-goods type: dogs! And look at how big the little girl is now! We’re all hoping to take a walk here in a few minutes, so you’ll have to excuse us for now. Hope everyone is having a great week!

Katie

Pirates & Pirate Ships — Ahoy Cake Pops!

“Arrgh, matey!”

I love when I get to make things like this — cute!!

These were part of a “Sparkles and Fairies” birthday party, with the pirates being a cute addition for the little boys who would be at the party too. The pirate ships were just an extra thought, I decided we’d try and see how they would look with my pirates — and they couldn’t have been any cuter! I was so pleased with how they turned out. I designed how I wanted the pirate ship flags to look, and Lee put them all together! He’s really my favorite part of the “co.”  — the dogs, really are zero help.

These were a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream cake pop, with pink funfetti sprinkle inside. We made the birthday girl a tiny birthday cake too, which was also funfetti (something to blow out the candles, which you can’t exactly do with cake pops!). Funfetti looks so much cooler when it’s done from scratch; you wouldn’t believe how bright the colors turn out. Luckily with these cake pops, the pink funfetti didn’t make the pirates look too girly.

The sparkle cake pops from this party will be up soon — and I got the word directly from the birthday girl herself that she loved them! So hope you like too!  Until next time,  — “Ahoy Mateys”!

Birthday Portrait Cupcakes!


Oh yes. This could be you.

Your face, on a cupcake.

It’s.. the future of cupcakes! Hehe. Ok maybe we aren’t that far evolved quite yet.

While yes, this might seem just a little um, bizarre.. you could surprise that special someone by requesting literally any image on a cupcake (or even a cake, or a cookie) — and give them something very sincere, and original! And trust me, you’ll always get a fantastic reaction. Even if that reaction is shock, when seeing a dozen cupcakes with your face on them.

Now, let me tell you about these cupcakes (which have earned a place on my top-favorite-flavors-ever list) — these were a white cake, filled with passion fruit buttercream, with a macadamia-nut buttercream frosting. Both of which were new flavors for me (special request), but whoa — if you have not tried macadamia-nut butter before, first let me recommend that experience, which is pretty amazing in itself. Dry-roasted macadamias, Vitamix for 60 seconds, that’s it. A heavy-duty food processor could also probably do the job. From there, add the macadamia-nut butter to your buttercream (I used a lot, I love the flavor), blend to perfection.. yes, I ate this with a spoon. The entire flavor combination was just perfect. Very tropical, Hawaiian themed. Which reminds me.. need to think up some names for our cupcake flavors, but for now I’m happy calling it “White Cake with Passionfruit and Macadamia-nut Buttercream” — simple! You don’t have to get fancy with the name when the cupcakes themselves are fancy. This is a fact.

I particularly love the angry-face cupcakes. Because really, if someone is about to eat your face, that’s the kind of reaction you should have — “grr, don’t eat me.” Pretty fierce.

An “Inside Joke” — Birthday Cake Surprise!


This cake was a request as a birthday surprise for a co-worker’s boyfriend. She and him have an inside joke — they have these miniature cardboard cut-outs of one another, that a friend made for them both when they went on separate vacations recently — and she wanted her “Flat Jesse” on his cake (a take on “Flat Stanley“) — to surprise him in front of his friends at dinner later that night.

The only requests: a “Flat Jesse” cake, holding a Corona Light (his beverage of choice), and that the cake be a sky blue (to make it more beachy). We choose a rich, moist chocolate cake, my favorite vanilla buttercream and a new flavor for the filling — banana cream. I’m definitely not a banana fan, but Lee is, and he loved it — and ok, even I tasted it (and it wasn’t awful, like bananas are). It was actually a great filling for the chocolate cake.

This was my first delivery that I drove out on my own, without assistance — also my first cake order that wasn’t a multi-tiered cake, which actually made it very easy to deliver — single layer cakes don’t threaten to topple over, and they fit securely in a box! We had no incidences, thankfully. As this was my first order for a single-layer cake, I wasn’t as happy with the design as I wanted be. I felt like it was missing something; height, mostly. I added the lettering (Happy Birthday) and felt a little better (this was at 1:00 am); left it alone for the night (at the insistance of my hubby), to later  come back and decide in the morning that I was much happier with the cake after a night of sleep. When I delivered the cake later that morning, she jumped up and down, squealed, and gave me a big hug. Which is exactly the type of reaction I love getting over a cake! She reported back the next day what a big hit the cake had been, and how much her boyfriend loved it.

Perfect ending! I love surprises.

 

(2 10-inch round, 4-layer fondant covered filled cake; serves 1″ portions for 38-40 people. Chocolate cake, banana cream filled, vanilla buttercream crumb-coated with fondant icing and fondant decorations. The Corona Light label is a printed edible image).

 

 

Happy Memorial Day! — with S’mores Cupcakes

 

First, a belated Happy Memorial Day Weekend to you! As you might have noticed, I fully took the weekend off, paying very little attention to anything baking, internet, or computer related — yes it was magnificent, and now I’m refreshed and ready again for anything. We took the weekend down in Oregon in Cannon Beach, had a fantastic time, I took some great photos which I might share (not food or baking related but gorgeous nonetheless!) ..

.. but speaking about gorgeous..

These cupcakes.

Let me present… S’mores cupcakes! A rich, super-moist chocolate cake, with a graham cracker crust, topped with melted chocolate pieces and more graham cracker crumbs, with toasted meringue to complete it all — ahhhh. Can you imagine these as minis — too perfect.

I can see these cupcakes in my future.. any BBQs coming up? 🙂

 

 

Cake Pop Blues

Birthday blue cake pops, another surprise birthday! The photos really don’t show how beautiful the shades of blue were. They were dipped in a baby-blue coating, then swirled with a Carribean-blue shade. For an adult twist, we used the Bailey’s frosting again in these cake pops, which really gave them a very indulgent, unique taste!

Loving using bright colors on cake pops. We’re looking at only two more events for May (taking off most of memorial day weekend!) — and a very busy June, so we might see some more bright colors coming soon!

On the calendar:

  • A 30th Birthday Cake
  • My Little Pony party
  • A Faries and Pirates Birthday Party
  • A Dinner Party Event
  • A BBQ theme party
  • A Corporate Event
  • Father’s Day
  • And, my dad’s and brother’s birthdays too!

Ah, June — summertime.. it’s almost here!

Birthday Sprinkles

Ahh.. yum.

The full sized-versions from this post.

I love birthday sprinkles.. especially on beer-flavored cupcakes. Adds a bit of childhood joy to an adult treat.

Cupcake Minis — Chocolate Stout Edition

I will call these — “extras.” Or no, wait — “trials.” No, “testers.”

Yes. Yes. (Insert evil laugh here.)

I wanted to see how much batter was best for minis (for this recipe specifically — my chocolate stout cupcakes), but I didn’t actually have enough left to make any more normal sized cupcakes (a surprise order for the birthday boy) — and ok, I needed an excuse to take a photo of my new cake plate (nice, huh). I just love miniature-sized desserts. So sweet.

Hurrah for tiny sweets! (Yes, I ate two of these.)

Mother’s Day Flower Pot Cake

I made this cake for my mom’s birthday, which we celebrated early, because her birthday is actually today — yes, on Mother’s Day this year! So, since doing twice the cake would have been a terrible idea (well… ok yes, still a bad idea) — we went with this cake instead. Weeks ago I showed my mom the cakes I liked and had saved on Pinterest, and the William Sonoma version of this cake was her favorite.

So naturally, I thought — well, I can do that.

And this is my version of that cake.

This is a rich hand-mixed chocolate cake, with chocolate salted-caramel filling and espresso buttercream frosting. The African Violets and leaves were made from fondant. And a last minute decision to add a little Oreo “dirt” for a little better contrast between the frostings.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

(And happy birthday too).

I love you.

(2 4-inch rounds, 1 6-inch round, 6-layer sculpted cake; serves 1″ portions for 12 people).

S’mores Whoopie Pies

Dreamy. Indulgent. Use melted swiss chocolate. Graham crackers in your cookie batter. Buttercream marshmallow frosting filling. Serve while still warm and gooey. Yes. Dreamy.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Cake Business — What’s In A Serving?

This is a topic I’ve put much thought and research into, because it’s something that is varied throughout business to business — cost per serving, and serving sizes. But when you assess your prices based on serving sizes, how do you determine your serving size?

Now let me disclose — I’m a closet math geek. So I wanted to do this as mathematically sound as possible, to get results that would be constant and certain, no matter the variable. So if you are wondering how prices are calculated, this is how I determine cake pricing in regards to serving size — by volume. Easy! Well — you’ll see what I mean by “easy” — at least mathematically speaking.

First — what is the volume of your serving? Industry wide, this depends on if you want wedding cake servings, or party dessert servings. Party dessert servings are larger; it’s not an inflation of cost for ordering a cake for a wedding, but an smaller serving size for a generally more technically difficult cake to make. When you are asking for how much per serving, make sure to ask the serving size so you know what to expect.

Wedding cake servings = 1 inch Length x 2 inch Width x 4 inch Height.

For your cake servings, the length is the cut along the perimeter of the cake, the width is your depth of each slice, and the height is how tall your cake layers are based (so, a shorter cake would affect your serving amounts). For unusually tall tiers, which is a very pleasing look — the serving size will be based off 4 inches, and your servings will increase if your cake height per serving is greater than 4 inches (i.e. — if your desired cake height is 6 inches, you will multiply the servings by 1.5 — if your desired cake height is 8 inches, multiply by 2, etc).

This makes each wedding-serving size to be at 8 cubic inches — 1 in x 2 in x 4 in.

For party dessert sized servings, you base your serving size on a desired larger portion of cake for your guests. So when determining your guest list and event, make sure to take into account how much cake your party will actually want (for example — my family eats large portions, and showing up with a cake that only allowed for wedding-size portions, well — this would cause mass chaos).

Party cake servings = 1.5 inch Length x 2 inch Width x 4 inch Height.

This makes each dessert-serving size to be at 12 cubic inches — 1.5 in x 2 in x 4 in.

What this means to you, is that one 8-inch round cake will have different servings, depending on how much cake you want to provide for your guests at your next event. This also means that a wedding cake meant to serve 50, and a party cake meant to serve 30, could cost the same. More important than servings, the price will depend on the level of skill and detail required for the cake specifically. An 8-inch wedding cake, decorated with buttercream, would require a lower level of skill and time than an equal-sized cake with fondant figurines, flowers, or other details, even if that cake was intended for a baby shower. And in this scenario, it would be very likely the baby shower cake would be the higher costing cake.

This is why it is incredibly difficult to quote a cake.

So back to volume  — knowing the volume of the serving sizes dramatically simplifies the process of determining how many servings are in what size of cake, since now it’s just a matter of finding out the volume of your cake, and dividing by your wedding size cake volume (8 cubic inches) and your party dessert size cake volume (12 cubic inches).

I.E. — for an 8 inch round cake:

Volume

So for our 8-inch cake, r = 4 (half of the diameter, which is 8 since we have an 8-inch round) — and the height is also 4, since we are basing our serving sizes on a cake with a 4 inch height (so h = 4 will be the constant for all cakes).  So if we plug in our numbers for r and h, we get this —

V = 3.14 (4) x (4)

This gives us a volume equaling 200.96 cubic inches for an 8 inch round cake.

Divide by 8 cubic inches for wedding servings = 25.12 servings.
Divide by 12 cubic inches for party dessert servings = 16.75 servings.

Here is what you get, when you run this same formula for different sized cakes:

Cake Size    Wedding    Party

3 inch          3.5                 2
4 inch          6                    4
5 inch          10                  6.5
6 inch          12-14             8-9
7 inch          20                  13
8 inch          24-25             16-17
9 inch          32                  21
10 inch        38-40             26
11 inch        47                  31-32
12 inch        56                  38

Now that you have the information — here’s how I want you to use it:

Decide how much cake you want your guests to have.
Then you can decide how much cake you need.

Don’t worry about what the portion sizes above mean, or which to choose — you are not going to be charged different amounts based on upon the size portion you need. You are going to be charged based on the total amount of cake you need, and the level of detail, skill, and time required to make that cake.

An 8 inch cake, whether it’s for a wedding or for a birthday party, is the same amount of cake. It’s just a matter of how far that cake will get you — that’s the purpose for having serving sizes available in different measurements. The price is then determined by if that cake will take your decorator 4 hours to make, or 100 hours. When you decide on a cake with intricate details, with multiple tiers, with fondant icing and hand-sculpted adornments — this will increase the time required, which is why the price increases. Telling your cake designer how many servings just gives them the base at which to start, your bottom line — how much cake you require.

Kate & Co. desserts + party prices our cakes starting at $4.00 per serving; this price is based upon wedding-sized servings. This would mean a basic six-inch, 1 tiered buttercream cake with basic flavors and fillings, would be a starting price of $50.00, with the cost increasing as you add custom design and detail. If that cake takes 4 hours start to finish to prepare and deliver to you, that’s $12.00/hour. If you take into account the tools required to make your cake — and then, the actual supplies and ingredients required to prepare the cake; well, you can see how difficult the pricing can be, to make sure not to fall below cost, to take into account the cost of your time. This would also mean that an basic six-inch cake you order for your birthday party would also start at $50.00, but could possibly only serve 8 people, with standard dessert sized servings (while if a wedding cake, could serve up to 14).

I hope this information has been helpful — if you have any questions on other items such as how other desserts are priced, requesting or giving discounts, how to price for family and friends — please list them below and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. Also if you have any feedback or suggestions, please share!

(image source via etsy)

Fox Cake Pops — The Tutorial!

Ok — I said earlier that I would, and here it is!

We’re gonna keep it simple, and jump right in with the pictures (and a few quick tips). And you’ll let me know if you have any questions. If you need help on how to start making the cake pops, check out some of the tutorials by Bakerella (I’ve never made these with a mix, but you can). Don’t be afraid to get creative with the flavors — different flavor cake, frosting, mix-ins, even try adding flavored extracts to your chocolate or candy melt coating — delicious. Ok, here we go!

1. Take a medium-sized scoop (I used my Oxo 40, which is 1½ TBSP).

2. Scoop out your cake pops so that all of your pops are uniform in size. My dough was chilled before this step, so that I didn’t have to work too fast, since I knew it would take me some time to get each step photographed (you don’t want your dough to get too soft, or it’s hard to form your shapes in the next steps).

3. Find your inspiration — I found this tiny ceramic fox at Etsy. (You won’t much on fox cake pops well.. anywhere online. So get creative).

4. Take your cake ball and form into your shape. At this point, it’s best to make one cake pop from start to finish, so that you make sure you like your shape (then you can copy for the rest).

5. Take your candy melts and cut into quarters. These will be used for the fox ears.

6. Take your ear, and dip one side into your melted chocolate candy melts.

7. Like this! It doesn’t matter which side — dipping different sides will give your foxes more character (floppy ears make for adorable foxes).

8. Attach your ears with the melted chocolate. Especially if your pops are still somewhat cool, the ears will adhere to the body almost instantly. Even if not, they will solidify quickly and stay attached as you placed them.

9. Here we got a few going at once. Starting to look more like foxes!

10. Stick your fox in the freezer for just a few minutes, to get solid again. I have mine sitting on parchment paper — you don’t want the fox to stick to your freezer. You also don’t want these to freeze at this step — don’t forget about them! Just a few minutes is enough time.

Now — important — I missed a step taking my photos! You want to follow the normal cake pop directions at this point: take your cake pop stick, dip the tip into your melted chocolate candies, and stick it into the base of your fox. Do this before your pop gets too solid, then place back in the freezer for a few minutes longer.

11. When your cake pop is solid again, dip the entire front side of your fox into the white melted chocolate candies. You want to make sure you’ve gotten the belly and lower face covered. You don’t need to be too careful at this stage — anything more you cover will get recovered when we dip the orange (next step).

12. Side view.

13. Ok — we’re moving quickly in our photos now, hope you’re still following along! This might be your scariest step, but don’t worry. Take your melted orange chocolate candies (we mixed parts yellow, red, and white candies until we got the color orange we liked). Dip your fox, back first, into the orange. You want to dip far enough to reach past your white chocolate. Think of it as if you are giving your fox a bath, as if you were baptizing him (but not in a blasphemous way).

14. Here’s the back view. You might get chocolate dripped down the stick a bit — that’s ok, you can clean that up later once the chocolate has dried, with a sharp knife. If you don’t get the tip of the tail covered in orange that’s also ok — just try your best to get all of the cake covered in this part. Any little spots you miss, go back and cover — I used a toothpick, dipped in the chocolate, to paint the melted candy back on to cover any bare spots. If you don’t get it covered completely, you can run into some stability problems later, so give it a good double check.

15. Front view again (sorry for the bad lighting).

16. See — floppy ears. Super cute.

17. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat until you have a tiny fox cake pop army. I have mine drying in floral green foam — works the best, and can be found at any craft store (I found this large one at Hobby Lobby). If you’ve never made cake pops before, make sure to poke your holes in advance — otherwise the pressure of trying to press your still-wet foxes into the foam can be too disruptive and you can actually damage the pop.

18. We’re almost done! Now for the details. Dip just the fox tails into your white melted chocolate candies again. I dipped all of mine once, then went back again to dip again twice. By the time I was done with the first round, they were dry enough to dip a second time. This gets the best, brightest white for your tails (since you are dipping white over the orange color).

19. Your next step — take an edible food pen, or black food gel, and draw on three small black dots for the eyes, and nose. If you want to draw on other expressions, you can do that here too.

20. And your last step — take a tiny food-safe paint brush, and some pink food gel, and paint on little pink cheeks onto the foxes. I thought it gave them such a cute final touch — loved the final look!

The front..

And the back. (I love this photo — the fox is so pensive, looking over at the front yard).

Display them in groups, in small canning jars.

And you’re done! Fox cake pops!

Gender Reveal Cupcakes!

So one of my best friends is expecting her second child, and although none of us were patient enough to throw an actual gender reveal party (having to withhold that information from their friends, the grandparents, maybe even themselves — impossible!), we did want to do something a little special to announce the news!

We made two batches of cupcakes — one with a pink, raspberry cream cheese filling, and another with blue, blackberry cream cheese filling. Both of the batches were a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting, a clean crisp white to hide the reveal! This way the new parents-to-be would have both colors available, and could share the news as quickly as they could get to the grandparents house! Brilliant!

So.. the big question — did they get to find out what they’re expecting??

Yes — it’s a…

Boy!!! We’re so excited to meet you, baby Nieman!

 

(Sorry, pink! Maybe next time! Hehe.) —

Congrats you two!

 

Happy Cinco De Mayo! — With Margarita Cupcakes

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Let me introduce Margarita cupcakes — a lime & tequila cake, with more tequila brushed on top, topped with a tequila lime buttercream and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt — now, this is heaven! Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, so you can make some for your weekend celebrations too. Killer recipe, you must go try it. It’ll make your entire house smell like tequila.. and this is a good thing, trust me.

Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 TBSP Patron Silver tequila
¼ tsp pure vanilla
½ cup buttermilk

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 TBSP lime juice (about ½ lime)
2 TBSP Patron tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F; line a standard cupcake tin with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed with the paddle attachment, until pale, light, and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium, add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed low, adding the dry ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. Mix only until just incorporated.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling just more than 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, rotating pans after 15 minutes. Cupcakes will be lightly browned and will bounce back when touched lightly in the center. Once done, allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. Generously brush the tops of the cupcakes with extra tequila — this will add a kick of that great tequila flavor! Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium-high speed using the paddle attachment until light and pale (approx 3-5 minutes). Reduce the speed to low, gradually adding your powdered sugar, until incorporated. Scape the sides, mix again on medium for about 1 minute. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt on low speed; mix on medium-high speed until fluffy. Frost cupcakes, adding a sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

Tips and tricks:

  • Do not open the oven until after 15 minutes, allowing the cupcakes time to set (otherwise can fall and become flat, dense cakes).
  • Use a star tip to get the frosting in the above design, swirling from the center immediately outwards, and then back inwards and up.
  • Use the best tequila you have, the best butter and vanilla, fresh squeezed limes for this recipe; makes a tremendous difference.
  • Make a family friendly cupcake — just omit the tequila. These will still taste much like Key Lime Pie cupcakes, amazing!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Fox Cake Pops!

Why.

Hello, fox.

Oh, hello to you too, fox.

I know. I say this a lot. But these fox cake pops — these are the cutest things I’ve ever made.

And I bet you believe me this time.

What you can’t see (and you’ll have to trust me, this was even cuter) — 30 fox cake pops. A tiny fox cakepop army. Of adorable foxes. And making them one by one, by hand? — made them cuter. Each with their own tiny expressions. Their own floppy ears. Their own bushy tails. Their tiny faces looking this way and that. It was the coolest thing I’ve had in my kitchen all week. And I just made that awesome cake. These were cooler.

But I did even one thing cooler on these little guys. I made a tutorial.

You’re going to love it.

Bridal Shower Black & White Cake

I love this cake. Swoon.

This was a Red Velvet, 3-tiered buttercream cake for a bridal shower (yes, buttercream — no fondant). The bride’s colors were black and white, with just a touch of gold. The request for this cake was a simple, 2-3 tiered cake for a mixed-party bridal shower (so nothing too girly); the flavor was the only specific request, and maybe a hint that they’d be using black satin ribbon in the rest of the decor. The creative license was mine, and the design was original (see the cake design sketches here, here, and here — I ended up using the 2nd one). I’d had a few cakes I had wanted to recreate, but wasn’t excited about any black & white buttercream cakes I’d found, and ended up being happier with my own ideas (and end result).

I’ve wanted to see how smooth buttercream can get, and this was my opportunity. I had a few tricks up my sleeve, with lots of research.. but mostly, it was just patience. I kept smoothing and reapplying until I was happy with the smoothness; then chilled; then smoothed again. This went on a few times more. (Can you believe — this smooth with cream cheese frosting?). Always makes me a bit nervous to have full creative design — but it’s always my favorite, too. And I couldn’t be more pleased with how this cake turned out.

(2 7-inch round, 2 6-inch round, and 2 4-inch round tiers; serves 1″ portions for 40 people).

Super Why Cupcakes!

 Super Why! Cupcakes — our grand finale of the week!

These were so much fun to make — as someone who had never heard of Super Why before this party, I couldn’t have been happier with the end result! I made these cupcake toppers two nights before the big party, to give the fondant time to dry so that they would be stable enough to place on the cupcakes the day of the event. I dedicated an entire night to these guys — making 24 toppers in total, 6 of each of the main characters:

  1. Super Why
  2. Alpha Pig
  3. Princess Presto
  4. Wonder Red

I actually had the best luck figuring out the designs — I found a coloring book at a Half-Priced Books (by accident) — and right inside was a growth chart with the characters images in color; this is what I used to base my images. This was my first try at detailed fondant toppers, the first time (at all) being for the Elephant Baby Shower (and those were just simple cut outs, with the mini-elephant cutter already available — punch and go).

I should have taken some action photos — I apologize! But these are much more simple than you’d think, and really the only tools you need are some basic cookie cutters (or even tools available from your kitchen) — the fondant, and some parchment paper for drying.

I colored my fondant into the four background colors, using food gels (blue, pink and purple — red was purchased colored), rolled out the fondant (to about 1/8th inch), cut out all of my rounds (about 2 and 1/4 inch), and put those aside to start drying. Next I started with Super Why — deciding how detailed I wanted to get, and then jumped in! I made a list of all the colors I would need for the details; did all of the coloring at once (Lee helped with this step — strong hands!) — then cut my details, starting with the eyes (using a standard icing tip for perfect circles), and finally the surrounding details. I used cookie cutters I had available to make small cuts and adjustments, to transform into the shapes I wanted. And once I was happy with my first version — I would copy those steps for the remaining 5 rounds, and then move onto the next character.

I used the tiniest food-safe paintbrush to paint on the black and white details (using black and white food gel coloring — yes, white!), used disco dust to sparkle up the Princess’ crown, and used a little bit of water to attach the details (once the fondant started drying). I used Satin Ice fondant — which is my favorite to work with, and best tasting (like marshmallow). (Tip – I do have a gumpaste flower kit, which has many odd shapes and curves cutters, which I used for a lot of the cuts — just making adjustments with a sharp knife or another cutter to get the shape I wanted).

We ended up with 50 cupcakes, and 2 dozen Super-Gage themed cake pops! (Actually we ended up with much more cupcakes than that — at the end of the weekend, my math skills were failing — I took the extras over to my parents, who then took them to work — thank you mom).

P.S. — A fun (ok, hilarious) fact: By accident, each character had an “evil” version. Just look at the above pics — you can spot them, I’m sure. Wonder Red is the most obvious. I think it had to do with the eyebrow placement (I don’t have tweezers, so it was all by hand — sometimes things ended up where they were dropped, whether or not it looked.. evil). Here’s the cheat sheet, in case you didn’t believe me.. (and let’s just say, a few more might be working for the dark side).

Birthday Boy — Blue & Green Cupcakes!

Part I in our two-part series.. these really are just the sneak peek — the real fun is next! These were the cupcakes that went along with the Super Why cupcakes I made last weekend, for the cutest little boy’s 3rd birthday party! I loved how bright these colors turned out (and how cute — especially with the birthday party sprinkles) so I snapped a few pics, and wanted to show you these first!

Will be posting the next cupcake pics in just a few moments — just wait and see!

New Site Feature — Archives! .. and Some Other Stuff!

Hello readers!

We’ve done a little redesign here on the website, and now have Archives available (at the top right-hand corner of the screen) — yes I know, very exciting news! Since you can only see the past 5 posts on the home page, now you can go back and see all of the posts at once, through all of 2012!

Oooh: 

There’s also now a link to the Facebook page (juuust in case you’re lookin’ for it):

And finally, another way of sorting through archives: by month!

Look at my handsome hubby. Yeah, I cropped the image to make sure his face was right there. That was intentional.

So, any way you choose to check out the archives now, it’ll show you the posts in full; so if you’re hoping just to browse (past the 5 most recent posts on the home page) you can pretty much keep scrolling til the end of time. Same if you select any of the categories (cookies, cakes, etc) — then it’ll just show you the full posts under that specific category.

Neat!

Ok, that’s all for today’s upkeep update I suppose..

Oh, wait, you want to hear more?

Well, ok then! That’s very sweet of you. I’ll try to keep this quick (but I do have a lot of things to talk about so please excuse me if I start to ramble!).

First — I don’t know if you saw all of the posts I’ve put out since last week, but I just want to say that

  1. yes, those were all one weekend’s worth of baking,
  2. no, I’m not even done posting (1 more event to go),
  3. no, I didn’t see my friends or family the entire time,
  4. yes, my dogs felt very excluded from all of the fun and tasty activities, and
  5. yes, I might have gained a few lbs in just a matter of 48 hrs.

I mean, I feel personally responsible for trying out the product I’m putting out there.. selfless, I know. So — no baking since Sunday.. going through a bit of withdrawal. I think I put in about 30 hrs, the Thursday-Saturday nights I prepped and baked. More, if you count Wednesday night (another late one), and Sunday (although by then, most of the hard work was done — phew!). So — yes, it’s feeling a little bit more like a real 2nd job — and yes.. I was sore for days. Those 30 hours were on my feet — I’ve worked a desk job for 5 years! Yeouch.

Anyway, #2 — one of my very favorite, most skilled and impressive cookie bloggers, Jill FCScommented on my post — because I had found her Ninjago cookies and been obsessed with making them myself — and she said I did a great job! And, she liked my page on Facebook! Oh my gosh. Made my day. And, that’s only the first part of my “celebrity obsession” of the week, because…

I met The Pioneer Woman.

Yes.

Really.

And it was fantastic. And she was adorable. She was nervous, and sweating, and just cute. She gave a great presentation/speech (she even sang!) for the first hour or so, and then signed books, well.. probably signed books all night, since probably 1000 people (or more) showed up for the book signing. Holy moly.

Anyway. Yes. That was my biggest celebrity encounter, and certainly by proximity. I did once see Jude Law on the streets in NYC, back in 2009 (he was playing in Hamlet) — but we were walking, and he ducked out of the car, signed an autograph or two in front of the theatre, and then dashed in through the side door. But this.. she walked in front of me, face to face, and smiled and said hello. Sweee-eeeet! Yeah, I was a happy girl.

So — that’s all my news for now. I have two events this weekend, and then.. a vacation! Well, a short one. And in-between those, I’m going to put some serious work into my menu development — finding and testing recipes, deciding what desserts I want to offer (mini-serving type desserts) — and, I’m going to be making a call to Sears.. because my oven temps are not even. And it’s a new oven.. we got it late last summer. And it makes me very sad. And makes my back cupcakes crispy. And then I eat those.

You can see my problem.

 

Ninjago Cake!

Dun-dun-duuuun.

You’ve seen the Ninjago cake pops — and you’ve seen the Ninjago cookies — and now.. the grand finale.. the Ninjago cake! Up atop his 6-inch perch.. glaring at all who challenge him. Well, really, glaring at everyone. Because that’s what Ninjagos do — they glare.

I love this cake! This was my first sculpted cake — which, to my great luck, was a very simple first sculpted cake to take on (thank you, Lego.. you are a very cake-like shape to begin with). This cake was a chocolate butter cake, the chocolate equivalent of the white butter cake I like to use for all of my fondant work, since it stands up extremely well to the weight of the fondant. We used a hazelnut praline buttercream frosting as filling.. maybe a little fancy for the tastes of a wild bunch of 6-year-old boys, but this was a very special birthday boy!

We were a little late delivering the cake (such a beautiful day — forgot about Tulip traffic!) — and by the time we got there, all of the little boys were already running laps around the house. But, they stopped on sight of this cake, with the birthday boy telling all of his friends to see his Ninjago cake — that kind of excitement over a cake, makes it all worth it!

(A great big thank you to The Great Cake Company for the amazing cake inspiration!!)

Edit — we got some party pics to show off the great details — thank you Joy!

Ninjago Cookies!

Ninjago cookies — how great! I wish I’d taken my camera to the birthday party — the birthday boy’s mom went way above and beyond and created a magical Ninjago world for his party! She hand-made stuffed ninja toys (for throwing — adorable!!), put together the Chinese to-go goodie boxes (which the cookies were for) — paper lanterns hanging all throughout the house, the handmade ninja birthday banner — it was all so incredible! Thank you so much for letting me be a part of the big day! (Edit — pictures now available, see the cake post for party pics!!)

Happy 6th birthday Ryan!

(A big thank you to Jill FCS for the great cookie inspiration!)

Pink And Glitter Birthday Cupcakes!

These cupcakes went along with the super sparkle cake pops and the pink girly sparkle cake pops we posted earlier — and so sticking with that theme, we did the sweet pink flower cupcakes, and another purple sparkle cupcake! I just love these. And I don’t know how well you can tell, but I (accidentally) matched the colors to the flowers I already had — so perfect! (Check out the pink flowers in the last photo — they matched the flowers of the pink cupcakes too, nearly perfectly, totally by accident!).

These were for a 13th birthday for a beautiful young girl who loves everything pink and sparkles, and I couldn’t have been happier to do them! We did a dozen Dark chocolate cupcakes and a dozen Vanilla, both frosted with a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream. Two of my favorite flavors, with my all-time favorite buttercream frosting. Yum!

Happy Birthday girlie!

And For Our Final Act.. Ninjago Cake Pops!

Ninjago cake pops!! Enough said.

Actually — consider this a sneak peak, more Ninjago birthday party pics to come soon! One more event for the weekend, so gotta get back to it.. just a quick break to show the last of the cake-pop madness! Next.. one super-cool cake, cupcakes galore, and another “super” thing or too.. you’ll see!

Then.. it’s supposed to be 70 degrees here.. it’s never this nice, so I’ll take a little break to see what natural sunlight is all about, then post the pics tomorrow! Have a great rest of the weekend everybody!

Super Hero Cake Pops!

I told you — wasn’t kidding about all the cake-pops! Killer on a work night schedule.. but this is an unusually high weekend order for me, so it really was a little cake-pop factory here yesterday! So I know I said the super-glitter were my favorite.. but, for a 3 year old’s birthday party — well, it doesn’t get much cuter than this. Cutie cake-pops for a cutie pie! Happy birthday to little “Super-G” Gage!

P.S. I’m giggling at the last photo’s editing.. I tried as best as I could to make cake pops look super-hero dramatic. Umm.. might not have pulled that off quite like I hoped. I’m not sure cake pops are meant to be so dramatic 🙂

Super Sparkle Cake Pops!

So that last post, where I said this was cake-pop madness Friday.. well, you have no idea. Here’s part two — we’ve got 2 more after this, but can’t ruin the surprise on those, so have to wait til after Saturday to post!

But these… those last cake pops have nothing on these cake pops! I cannot even tell you how cool these are in-person — serious disco-ball sparkle! The photos do not do these pops any justice, as hard as I tried to capture on film. Yes, definitely my very favorite cake pops yet. Yes, I love the girly pink too.. but these are just awesome!

Ok, that’s all for today.. cake-pop madness continues tomorrow!

Pink & Sparkles! — Cake Pop Friday

Just part one of this cake-pop Friday madness — for one of three events this weekend! More to come!

Kate & Co. Desserts + Party On Facebook!

Come check us out! Yes — it’s brand new.. and yes, it may be just a brand new way to become just that much more plugged in — but we’ve got some photos up there that never made it to the blog (i.e. mostly out of season, but still super cute) — so yes, it’s nearly 5pm and I’ve been working on this way too much today and having trouble ending this suuuuper long run-on sentence — but yes, it’s true, kate & co. is on Facebook, so come check us out!

Edit — disclaimer: I promise never to be rude and obnoxious, and never to be like this! We won’t be doing giveaways, I promise to still love you even if you don’t promote my website, and I will never make you do anything you feel uncomfortable doing (unless you are uncomfortable eating.. and then I can’t help you, I’m a baker). I debated creating a Facebook page, but ended up doing it for two reasons:

1. For the ease of availability. A Facebook page is easy to use & give out as a type of business contact page; seems like one of those business-type things that’s a good thing to do. So, in the idea of trying to make a successful business here, that’s the main motivation.

2. The idea that I can keep my business life and my personal life separate. At minimum, I can keep my hundreds (not quite, but close) of cake & cookie pages separate from my friend’s updates, since I’m starting to lose my ability to focus past cookie blogs and giveaway.. oh, yeesh. Sugar overload.

And that wraps up your disclaimer for the day, which was longer than the actual post. Sheesh! Hehe.

Your Random Update From Kate&Co. !

Let’s talk business!

I haven’t baked anything new to show you.. ok, that’s the real reason for this post. But I thought I’d come in and say hi again, talk a little bit about what’s going on new at kate&co., and what’s going on in my business — exciting stuff!

First off, the company logo project was a huge hit. When the CEO came to me and asked if I could do logo goods, I said, sure.. then immediately started figuring out what I would need. Lee designed the logos I would use (which were my favorite versions). I ordered the highest quality tools available for custom logo-images in frosting sheets (a business investment, whoo) and waited patiently for everthing to arrive before going any further. I know how important it is to make the right first impression, so I was willing to wait for the right tools to come in. And so, a week or so later, to her surprise (she had no idea what I was capable of doing) — I made a great impression! Making someone happy, exceeding expectations especially when it’s something you’ve created, is very rewarding.

Speaking of new tools, I’ve made some very exciting purchases, and one of these days I will write a post of the tools I use (and the news ones, also). There are certain techniques and looks that you cannot achieve without the right tools, and now I have the right tools on the way! I also have a free weekend, this weekend — but the next two weeks are going to be busy, which means more content here for you guys! 4 events in two weekends (while working a full time job) — and with a possible late addition for mid-week next week; yes, I am thrilled. I just hope some of my more fun tools get here sooner rather than later, just so that I can have more fun with everything.

Next.. and here’s where we get more into real business talk —  prices have been listed on my contact page! At this time, all prices include local delivery (within the Greater Puget Sound area, including King, Snohomish and Skagit counties) and special packaging, as requested (such as ribbon ties, labels, etc). I am happy to give corporate discounts based on volume of order, and still offer friends and family referral discounts (contact me directly for information). I am not shipping any goods at this time — honestly, the idea terrifies me! I will need to practice in my packaging and shipping techniques first (friends, feel free to volunteer here) — I don’t want to ship anything that will be destroyed upon arrival! What an awful thought.

And finally, before I forget — boxes! This is the source behind the image of this post, but also where I’m at right now — contacting a local company for information and a quote on ordering boxes. I’ve found them online, but would love the idea to stay local if possible. And the company was highly recommended to me, personally, from Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes — so, I am very excited. Not that I will start out with a product like hers! — but one day, when I spend more time on my branding and product imaging, logo work etc. I love my doggies (and I’m pretty happy with the name also, kate&co. desserts + party — which is the name as shown on my WA State Business License) — but I really did not put a lot of energy or effort into the logo design, and will I’m sure change my mind.. like I very often do about these things.

So that’s about all for now! And as always, thanks for stopping by, I love that you do!

(image source via weheartit)

 

Part II: Northwest Face Logo Cupcakes

First rule of business (or so I’ve heard) — when you make money, invest.

Which is just another way of saying — yes, I bought some new toys.

Wait — I mean tools. Yes, tools.

Wow.

Northwest Face Logo Cookies

Yes. I have a full-time day job. How else could I afford to make so many cookies, cakes, desserts.. and afford not only a couple’s gym membership, but an unlimited hot yoga membership! (Haha — yeah, it’s expensive too.) But back to the cookies. Yes — I am a good employee. And if this isn’t proof, I don’t know what is. My boss is going to love me in the morning. And this isn’t my only surprise. You’ll see.

(And — not bad, right? See original logo here).

Happy Easter Cookies!

Happy Easter everyone! I made these last night for my mom.. yeah, I’m a total softie for that sort of thing. You can see the Easter “basket” we bought, in the last photo — I put the carrots in the grass sticking up so it looked like a tiny garden.. yeah, it was too cute!

These cookies were my favorite to make by far.. hope you like too!

Bridal Shower Cake Pops

Yum. That’s all for now. Happy Saturday.

Pink Ruffle Cake

First thing I have to say about making a ruffle cake — it’s much simpler than you would ever imagine (I recommend it highly!). It just makes for such a stunning presentation, and all you need is the right tip and a bit of patience (the above cake was my first try, no practice). Second thing I’d say — use a more solid buttercream, rather than a cream cheese frosting (which is what I did) — and you’ll get better results, which would have made for a slightly easier task. I don’t know that you can tell in the photos, but the frosting was a very soft, “fluffy” consistency, which tasted great! — but seriously threatened not to keep its shape (luckily we ate it pretty much right away). Take that, cake.

So yes, a traditional buttercream would have been the better choice, but this was a Red Velvet cake — you can’t not use cream cheese frosting. Then it’s just… well, a red colored chocolate cake. Actually, Red Velvet is something new to me, something I hadn’t tried before this year (I mean — what’s the big deal) . . well. It’s something pretty amazing, if you get the real thing. Which this was. So it’s ok my ruffles were a little droopy — I think it just adds to the appeal! What a cute thing on a cake, ruffles. Who knew.

Red Velvet with pale pink ruffles.. a little bit retro.. a perfect birthday cake!

A Site Within A Site.. New Website!

Well — new design, same website but it’s like it’s brand new! Again!

So, if you aren’t a regular website viewer (I read all of my blogs via Google RSS Reader, and almost never see the actual websites) — click through to see all of the changes, and let me know what you think! For now, I am officially calling it a night.. back tomorrow, lots to come in the next few days — cake pops, business logo cupcakes & cookies, and one giant carrot cake.. have to catch up on my sleep while I still can!

Goodnight, lovely fans!

Springtime Cake Pops

Aww, cake pops are already so sweet, and these colors are so great! It’s almost like it’s Spring around here. You can almost see the wet grass out front, smell the pollen in the air. It hasn’t stopped raining in weeks. So yes, it must be Spring. So… that means it’s time for cake pops, right? Sure, why not!

My mom actually asked me to make these for a birthday surprise for her coworker at Molbak’s. I went for purple and orange, and was afraid they’d turned out too girly (he’s a guy) but, she says they were a big hit! I love cake pops. What a great idea, mom! Now, if I could just get someone to make me cake pops, I’d be a happy girl! In the meantime, I’m happy to be the one making them, and not eating them. Summer is right around the corner! Or at least I hope so.. if it ever stops raining! At least I have cake pops to cheer up those rainy days!

Baby Elephant Shower — The Cake!

Well, and the cookies too..

And the cupcakes — Red velvet, yum…

And just one more sweet detail shot. Aww.

Ok, maybe one more.

But now — the cake!

( .. and — the back of the cake, also cute) ..

With the flag banner I made the night before, announcing the new baby boy..

Finally — the sweet baby elephant baby-shower cake, in all its glory.

You’ve seen me hint about this cake, and maybe caught a couple of the earlier detail photos, but now here are the last quick details: it was 100% edible, carrot w/ cream cheese frosting + white cake with vanilla buttercream; fondant decorated with a 50-50 gumpaste/fondant ratio for the elephant and the standing leaves, both of which I made a few days in advance so that they’d be solid enough to stand on their own. This was my first cake using fondant decorations, and my 3rd cake using fondant in general.

Other than the elephant, those simple roses might have been my favorite touch to this cake — just cake it a bit of charm and sweetness!  The cake plate was just purchased days earlier from Pier 1 — and let me tell you, I love this cake plate. It made the entire presentation look so much more professional, than using a disposable cardboard cake plate. Sometimes you have to use what you have, but for 14.95 I am definitely going to go buy more (they have a smaller size too — but my cakes were 8″ and 6″ and the size I bought was perfect).

Hope you like! I have events every weekend this month, including two bridal showers and three children’s parties — so wish me luck, and I’ll have more to post soon!

Baby Shower.. Monkey Business! (And Other Cute Details)

Some detail shots from the the Elephant baby shower last weekend!

.. and yes, I’m just now editing these pics — I was on vacation all last week and never got around to doing much of anything on the computer! More photos to come soon.. hope you love as much as I do!

Most definitely my favorite cake (and cutest!) — took a million pictures (or so, lol) and will get some more up later tonight or probably tomorrow.

Top layer was carrot (no nuts — the new mama’s request!) with cream cheese frosting, and the second layer was a favorite vanilla white cake with vanilla buttercream. I wish I had something fancier to call it — the vanilla cake really is amazing! The cupcakes (in the background) were a favorite red velvet recipe, and they were fantastic as well.

Sneak Peak… Elephant Baby Shower

To be continued…

Hello Hazelnut, And..

.. and well used recipes,

.. and chocolate pastry cream,

.. and homemade hazelnut praline,

and… cake? Where’s my cake? Ahh, there you are.

Yes, I know it’s March. But this is my favorite cake. And I’m making it on strict request — and how can you say no to this cake. Seriously. I’d make this cake just for myself, if I didn’t know any better.

And for the title — we’re not just talking about any hazelnut.

But hazelnut praline.

Ahh. Yes.

I know.

This is what I’ve been up to all morning. And what I’ll be doing all evening? — eating. This cake (which, by definition — even in March — is a glorious Bûche de Noël). Yum. (And in between the baking and the eating — working out).

Hello St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I love this holiday — hope everyone has a great weekend!

Hello Spring Colors

Hello Spring colors — plus bad lighting, and soft focus for the save. Hello, learning how to take decent photos at evening, lol. But thank you, Daylight Saving! Now I have better lighting for longer into the evenings, which is when I’m most often baking.

I bought these pastel sprinkles at Target, great multi-pack combo (back in their seasonal aisles) — I mixed them all together with a light pink colored sanding sugar I already had, and went to town. The hot pink sprinkles we already had too. I’m a bit of a cake-decoration hoarder, and usually I have to order online, so it was fun to find something I liked on accident.

I love Spring — pastels, more occasion for cupcakes.. and yeah, it’s not quite Spring yet.. it was snowing this morning actually — but soon, soon it will be Spring!

Hello Gray + Pink

Beautiful. Vanilla cupcakes are my favorite. And right now, I’ve got this thing for pink and gray. Just so gorgeous together. Very simple, elegant.

P.S. Celebrating 1000 views in one month — thank you.

Hello Leftovers

You know those posts about cakes, and you see the perfectly cut, perfect portion of cake, and it’s beautifully displayed, without a crumb or frosting smear out of place??

Yeah, that’s not me.

Here’s the wreckage of what’s left of the cake I made Saturday night (we had friends over, and that was all the occasion I needed to make a cake). I might be the kind of person who doesn’t let my husband even look twice at what I’m making until I’m done taking photos of all possible shots, angles, after playing with the staging and lighting of said dessert until it’s perfect. But once it’s cut, it’s fair game. And in this case — well, this cake was sufficiently ravaged.

And yeah. That’s all that’s left.

Sooo… breakfast?

Hello, WA State…

 

The original idea behind this website, was to document the steps it would take to open up a bakery. Starting from nothing.  

Well — here’s official step #1.

I just applied for a business license within the state of Washington.

It cost me 25.00.

 

 

I’m preeeetty thrilled about it.

Hello Dark Chocolate + Salted Caramel

This is a cake I can only thank Sweetapolita for.

So let me say —

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Also — I realize I don’t write much here. And so I feel like that part is missing, something is missing. But it’s also not quite like I’m running an online umm — menu? — of services. So right now, it’s just the photos. No recipes, no how-to’s — I just don’t have the patience to take a photo of each step (although I’d pay a photographically inclined side-kick, in batter and frosting of course). So, just for fun.

But I am happy for the occasional breaks, like tonight. To reminisce, and spend some significant time on the elliptical. Thank you, cake.

Hello Minnie Mouse Cake

See. The cake.

(Ta-da!)

This was my first fondant cake, mostly just an attempt at something new for a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party, for a friend’s 1-year-old little girl — and my largest cake to date! (It was pretty huge.) 

The bow was a combination of fondant & gumpaste, color matched to the ribbon border, and made a few days in advance to harden. The ears (both the cake & the cupcakes) were made from black fondant — black really doesn’t taste very great, in case you were curious, so really is best only for smaller details. The cake itself was a white cake with a homemade strawberry filling and vanilla buttercream. It’s since been one of my favorite white cake recipes, with the density being perfect to hold up to the weight of a tiered cake, especially fondant.

The top tier was made in a 3-in round cake tin, intended to be easily removed as the baby’s “smash cake” — had only the baby only been interested in smashing the cake. Everything about this cake was edible except for the ribbon. 

And it was delicious. In case you were curious.

Hello Minnie

Minnie mouse cupcakes — to match the Minnie Mouse cake.

For a perfect little girl’s 1st birthday.

It was sweet.

More to come…

Hello Macaron

Ah. Macaron. Your pied is so beautiful. We get along so well. Thank you for not collasping, in the oven, crushing all my hopes and dreams. Although you’ve done that in the past.

I forgive you.

 

Hello Scones

Again — breads. This time though, breakfast breads.

Ahh. My love. You might be sensing a theme here.

If it’s probably pretty high in carbs.. it’s something I love.

Oh, yesh.

Hello Spooky

So simple. So ghoulishly delightful.

I love Halloween.

Yes, it’s a little early. My bad.

Hello Pretzel

It doesn’t count if you can’t make bread.

Everyone knows that.

(And yes — pretzels are technically a bread. Sheesh.)

Hello Donut

Oh. Err — I mean.. d’oh!

Sorry. That was corny. And now I’m hungry. I instantly regret putting up this photo.

Hello Pop Tarts!

Ok, this is cheating. I made these last summer for my husband.

And… yeah. He was pretty pleased.

What — you think I could even leave the house if I baked this much all at once?! Although these do look pretty great. Maybe we’ll have breakfast for dinner..

The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts

One of my most favorite books.

(It’s probably my most expensive book, too).

Most of my books are cookbooks. I don’t do much casual reading. Err — unless you count browsing génoise cake recipes as light reading. Nah — I didn’t think so.

I mean — look at it. It’s beautiful. Yes, it weighs nearly 20 lbs. And yes, it’s a little intimidating. But I love it. Just showing off.

Hello PB + Chocolate

Just took these out of the freezer.

I need to get back to yoga.

Hello New Logo

Ok. I might have a soft spot for dogs. Yes, these are my dogs. They are my “co.” in “kate & co.” Awwwww. And oh — they go outside when I’m baking, don’t worry. (They’re really more like a clean-up team.)

Hello Twin Fondant Babies

99% adorable. And — ok, 1% creepy. But we can agree, mostly they’re just adorable.

It would be hard to eat them.. personally, as adorable as these are, I probably wouldn’t have any tiny-sized babies on a cake I wanted to eat. And I wouldn’t recommend eating them. Even though they are 100% edible. You might get some weird looks.

These are so tiny you could hold them both in one hand. The pacifiers are no bigger than a pin. I hand painted the tiny details on their faces with the tiniest paint brush, using food coloring gels. And I fit them individually into my tiniest containers, so that I could save them until I know of someone having twins. Not creepy. It’s not like you can put them on a birthday cake.

Ok — maybe creepy was a little harsh. They really are pretty sweet.

 

Hello Boston Cream

Boston cream cupcakes.
Chocolate ganache.
Vanilla bean pastry cream.
Toasted walnuts on top.

Yeah. It’s supposed to look dreamy.

Hello Cupcake, err — Cupcake Cookie?

I’ve just realized — I’m going to have a hard time coming up with names if I keep along with this theme. Hmm. Well — a problem for another day.

There’s been a lot of posts for Friday — after a whole week of a lot of nothing. Yes, I apologize. And no — I really haven’t been that busy in the kitchen. These are a few of the things I’ve made in the past few weeks. Like these cupcake cookies. I played around with the idea of doing these for the baby shower — the baby girl’s room is a “cupcake” theme — but in the end I went with the more traditional route (and loved the result). But these are also just as loveable! I swear — and yummy.

I gave these all away. I know — very sad.

Hello Tiramisu

Yes. Tiramisu.

Yes. This is the inside of my freezer.

And yes. It was amazing. Without a doubt, the best dessert I’ve ever made. And that’s a pretty big deal.  I’d like to show you what it looked like served, plated — but it didn’t last long enough for that. I did put some love into this dessert. I mean, I even made the ladyfingers. Honest. And if you’ve never had homemade Tiramisu — well, you just talk to me. I’ll hook you up.

Hello Sweetheart Cupcakes

Now, I could call these Valentine’s day cupcakes — but then I’d be very late, right?

These were part of the series I posted earlier, but left out a few photos, so thought I’d give you a little more. I adore these cupcakes. Who needs an occasion for cupcakes, for your sweetheart especially.. that’s what I thought.

Hello Flower Cake — & 18th Birthday!

This cake was much bigger than it looks. I intended on making a smaller, cutesy cake for my cousin’s 18th birthday. She was just having a few friends over. They probably had leftovers. I definitely should have come by the next day.

The flowers were much more beautiful in person. I hand-colored the fondant, and hand-placed each sugar-sprinkle center into the center of each hand-cut flower. I brushed on the disco dust (to give them sparkle), and then let them dry for 48 hrs, covered on the kitchen counter. It was my first attempt making sugarpaste flowers. These were very simply done, intentionally — and I didn’t count how many I had, so I can’t impress you with that number. But it was probably hundreds. Or maybe like 60.

The best part of this cake — the inside! (it’s always my favorite part of the cake). I made a white lemon cake with vanilla buttercream (my favorite) — tinted pink, and a Meyer lemon curd filled center. And I wasn’t fooling around — I hand squeezed the lemons (I went through 12 lemons, zest and all). It was amazing.

I made shortbread cookies later in the week to eat with the leftover lemon curd.

Amazing.

I love lemons.

Hello Change

Hello, readers!

This is what I’m calling my “Official Friday Wrap-Up Post” — not that this will definitely be a thing you see normally, or even on Fridays, or that I’ll have enough to even say often enough to dedicate an entire post to writing. But — it’s officially been one week with the new site, and that calls for celebration! And a few words (eh-hmm).

So let me so graciously say — it’s been great to show off! Hehe. And now, without harrassing only my friends, family and co-workers! Although, desserts hardly constitute “harrassment” — at least, I hope. 

First, I’d like to casually apologize for any of the random, unannounced changes you might have noticed around here. And will likely continue to notice. I’m still trying to figure out what I like, and what I’m even doing. So far I’ve changed the look of the website only once, but have changed around the pages, the contact info, and the actual name of the website (luckily, WordPress is very nice about all of that).

Now I do have to admit — one week in, and I feel like quite the imposter. I’m not sure how all of a sudden, I can really bake — that I have tricked you all into thinking I can bake — but, I can. It’s like, a very cool super-power.

So thank you for everything this last week — this has been a tremendous amount of fun for me!

Until next week, & with lots of love —

Katie.

Hello Cookie – Baby Edition!

I love these cookies.

L-o-v-e.

So sweet. So buttery. So… vanilla bean?

Oh — and they are cute too. Of course. It’s a baby shower. Baby showers are kinda cute by design, really. It’s hard not to get all cutesy when doing something for a baby shower.

These were actually for a personal friend of mine, for her sister’s baby shower last Saturday. They turned out exactly as I hoped, every detail. Very beautiful — they might even be one of the most favorite things I’ve made. I definitely have a soft spot for babies, baby showers, and for these cookies! So pink, so soft — aww gosh, just so dang sweet. Coming up with the colors, designs.. then making it all come together.. this was great fun.

And delicious.

Hello (Baby Shower) Cupcake!

Who knew red velvet & vanilla would go together so well.

You guys are so great looking. Sheesh.

Hello Chocolate Stout

.. and Chocolate Stout caramel.

And Chocolate Stout caramel buttercream.

(Made from beer made in Seattle.)

With just a touch of pink glow. You know, to give you the warm and fuzzies.

May you have a very Happy Valentine’s day! I dedicate this to all of the men out there. Especially mine. Or, the girls who like beer too (which, is me too). So what I really mean is.. happy Valentine’s day, everyone!!

Err — at least, all of you beer lovers. If you don’t love beer, this probably isn’t for you.

But it is delicious.

Hello Vanilla

Ahh.. you are my one true love.  Vanilla. Who’d have known.

You’re not as simple as everyone thinks.

And really, so beautiful. And tasty! Yum.

Hello Sweet Detail

Oh. And you are so sweet. I didn’t use you today, but you gave me some great ideas. Thank you, extra melted white chocolate. That doesn’t sound quite right.. it wasn’t extra-melted. You know what I mean. I hope.

Don’t extra-melt your chocolate. This is bad.

Meringues are good.

Hello Red Velvet

Oh Red Velvet.. you are so sweet. Actually, you aren’t my favorite. But you are such a smooth talker. And so handsome. We could get to know each other. My husband won’t mind.

Hello Creampuff!

 

 

Wow.

Hello Cupcake Cakepop

Holy batman. These are the cutest thing I’ve ever made.

Hello Meringues

You’re just going to have to trust me.. these look much better in person. Night lighting = bad lighting. But these turned out perfect. Pretty happy! And getting a little sleepy. Must carry on.

Edit — ahhh. We got some daylight photos today. Bad photos removed. Enjoy.

Hello.. Followers?

I’m not sure how this happened, but I am definitely intrigued.

And by intrigued, I mean ecstatic. Unless you guys are robots. And in that case, boo robots.

Hello Monsters

 

These were supposed to be for a baby shower. And then the baby shower was postponed. But I still had cookies. So I made monsters. Love, love them.  Especially the pink one. Even though I’m pretty sure he’s flipping everyone the bird. Oh well — can’t stop monsters from behaving badly.

Hello Valentine

I love you.

And by you, I mean cupcakes.

These cupcakes.

Ok, I love you too.

Hello Snowflake

Yeah, it’s not Christmas anymore. But won’t it be exciting when it’s time again for these kinds of cookies! Oh, love. These were for the Christmas party, and I spent hours on them. And the other 72 decorated cookies I made (which you can kind of make out in the background, a little). And the 84 decorated cupcakes. And the 96 cake pops. And (most impressively) — the three Yule Logs. This was the most baking I’d ever done at one time — in 48 hrs straight. I loved it.

Hello Cupcake

Actually, I could call this post Hello Procrastination and that would be more applicable.

Mission baby shower — stalled. But just for lunch. And blogging. I can see this might be a problem. But nice cupcakes, right? I’m going to play around with the blog format and photos, etc — which is why you might see a few of these “cheater posts” with a handful of photos I’ve taken of things in the past weeks. So.. don’t judge too harshly! Just look at the pretty foods.. yum.

Hello Baby Shower

So I’ve got this baby shower tomorrow..

Officially, this is my 2nd paid gig — the first one being for our company Christmas party last December. I’m charging her 50.00 for supplies but really I have no idea how much the supplies cost. I do know that 50.00 will get me some more vanilla, and offset the amount of butter I just purchased from Costco. I go through a lot of butter.

I know absolutely that I’m about to make way too much food, but I don’t really mind, especially since I’m the one who suggested too much food. This is the original inspiration for the desserts. I’m making meringues and cream puffs, cupcakes and cake pops. Really I’m just excited she asked me to do it. And I should be working on that,  instead of being here. But the cookies are done! And they are beautiful, if I do say so myself.

Hello World!

Hello. My name is Katie, I am 26 years old, and I want to start a bakery.

Wow. Yeah, I said it!

This is where I’m going to write about how to make it happen.

So, since you’re new here (me too) — hello, welcome to my page! This is the very beginning of my new venture, trying to get into the world of baking. I am so excited, and excited that you’ll be here with me jumping into this new adventure! Here, I’ll write most about new experiences in starting a career in baking. Which at this point, is all still so very new and scary and thrilling.

Besides the first (and most important) step — actually knowing how to bake (I have that part down!) — I literally have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just going to throw that out there now.

So in addition to this new WordPress blog, I also just started a Tumblr blog, mostly to show photos in a visually pleasing way exclusively, vs. doing much writing about the experiences. So if you have a preference over the two, you’ve got your options now. Yup, I’m just looking out for you. And that’s because I love you. Yup, I love pretty easily.

(*Yikes, edit — I deleted the tumblr blog, but I do have just-photos over at Flickr!)

Just to let you know what you’re getting into (and this may change at any point, I like to change my mind often) —

  1. I’m probably not going to teach you how to bake.
  2. I probably also won’t be doing any tutorials on decorating, baking, recipes, etc.
  3. And, I’m not trying to sell you anything here (err — not yet!)

I’m just trying to figure out how to do what I love.

And so.. with that introduction — I am thrilled you’re here!

So stick around.