Cake Gallery Slideshow

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rainbow Fish Cake

I made this a few years ago, not actually intending for it to look like The Rainbow Fish from Marcus Pfister's wonderful books for children. A "fish cake" was requested, and I had seen a similar design online, so that's how this fishie got his start.

I actually loved how he turned out! Perhaps he was too cutesy to be a guy's birthday cake, but the thirtysomething birthday boy thought the design was great. Isn't that what counts?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FoodieLicious: Eating an Urban Myth

Neiman Marcus: Texas Icon
Pic from

I really suck at a schedule, don't I? Thank goodness I don't work on a schedule. Ha! Sorry for the missing Let Them Eat Cake on Friday. I was solo parenting from Thursday through Sunday and things just slipped through the cracks. Like blogging.

To make up for missing Friday and in honor of the outrageously wonderful tin of Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies sitting out on my kitchen island, today's FoodieLicious item is a double recipe treat!

I heart the Chocolate Chip Cookies sold at Neiman Marcus at Christmas time. They come in a lovely tin with the NM logo. But inside the tin is pure wonderfulness. We usually receive a box at Christmas from my Godmother, and I have to admit that I usually eat the most cookies!

Anyway, years and years ago, you might remember the funny, although rather incredulous tale of the Neiman Marcus cookie recipe. I think I received the recipe by email at least 14 years ago, so it's been out there a long time. Obviously, if you've ever shopped at Neiman Marcus or even just thought about the story for a bit, it wouldn't take very long to realize that the story is false. The cookie recipe was great though! I especially liked the addition of oatmeal as an ingredient.

Neiman Marcus only recently started selling a "Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie," no doubt because of the persistent urban myth! And I'm so glad they do! Although I do know the recipes for both the 'fake' cookie and the 'real' one, and like them both, it's such a treat to receive a box full of them during the holidays.

For those of you who don't have a tin at home (and can't buy them until winter holidays roll around again), here are both recipes to enjoy:

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe
from my email files, circa 1996

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.
  3. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts.
  4. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
Makes 112 cookies.

Image from Google Images

The "Real" Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
(from, absolutely free!)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds)

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.

3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.

4. Using a 1 ounce scoop or a 2 tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let Them Eat . . . Candy Cake!

For several of my friends' 30th birthdays over the years, I've done a twist on the traditional birthday cake. They've received Candy Cakes instead. I first saw one almost ten years ago in a really unique catalog that I don't think exists anymore. It arrived boxed just like a real cake. It was $60. I cut out the pic for my "idea file."

Fast forward a decade and everyone sells a Candy Cake now. Multi-tier or monochromatic, all chocolate or lollipops-only, they're everywhere online.

I've made Candy Cakes in every size--super humongous weighed down with a ton of candies,all the way down to a petite cake atop a fancy doily. I absolutely love to create Candy Cakes. They're never the same each time. And I love going to the store and buying all that candy!

Now that most of my friends are hitting 40 instead of 30, I'll have to think of another twist on the birthday cake. But I did have a young-ish friend who turned 30 not too long ago, and this was his gift from me:

All-Chocolate Themed 30th Birthday Candy Cake for Tom

The best thing about the candy cake is that you don't have to eat it all up quickly; it doesn't go stale on you! You can eat some candy every day and stretch out your birthday celebration, piece by piece. That's a gift that truly keeps on giving!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

FoodieLicious: Fruit Pizza

Today's recipe is a bit of nostalgia from my older daughter's playgroup days! This was often served because it was sort of healthy for the kids, and more importantly, would impress the other Moms with your ability to plan ahead and serve something besides goldfish crackers and apple juice. It's been 6 1/2 years since we were in playgroup, but this recipe brings back some wonderful memories of when I was a newish Mom with a toddling little girl.

This is a basic recipe, but I've tweaked it in different ways over the past 8 years. See notes for other variations. Super easy dessert or snack.

1 pkg. refrigerated sugar cookie dough
8 oz. pkg, fat free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Fruit of choice: kiwi slices, strawberry slices, raspberries, blueberries, banana slices, etc.
  1. Press cookie dough into pizza pan. Bake according to directions. Let cool completely.
  2. Combine cream cheese and confectioners sugar until well blended. Spread on cookie dough crust.
  3. Top with your favorite fruit. Slice into wedges and serve.
Notes: You can use regular or Neufchatel cream cheese as well.
For a chocolate version, you can substitute chocolate chip cookie dough. You can also add melted chocolate squares to the cream cheese mixture.

Photo from Google Images

Sunday, January 17, 2010

52 Cakes: Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

also posted on Paper Dolls blog

Friday was a busy day spent on a special cake order, so I didn't have a chance to blog! Getting caught up today.

I love chocolate mint. Such a wonderful marriage of flavors. Cool mint and chocolatey chocolate. Yum.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure peppermint extract
3/4 cup warm water.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tins w/ paper liners. With electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, extract and water. Beat on low speed until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 1o minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks to cool completely. can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen up to 2 months.

3. Frost with Martha's Mint Buttercream. My note: Or frost with a Chocolate Mint Buttercream. Frosted cupcakes can be stored up to 1 day at room temperature or 3 days in the refrigerator.

Makes 18.

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, which I just bought over the summer and have enjoyed perusing. Image from

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roller Skate Redux

Allison's Roller Skate Cake, May 2009
Modeled after her actual skate!

The Roller Skate Cake was officially my most popular cake in 2009! No wonder--it's a popular party idea for the 'Tween set. Notwithstanding the fact that my daughter broke her wrist at the skating rink this summer, it's still a great party and cake theme.

This week, my first cake order of 2010, is once again, you guessed it--a Roller Skate Cake! It will also be my largest one to date, to feed 40 guests of a very lucky 10 year old girl.

Stay tuned for pics!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thin Mints Cookie Pizza

Ha! I already suck at this blog schedule! I almost forgot to post my Monday 'Foodie Fun' and 'Shop Talk' bits on my respective Sweetest Whimsy blogs. Actually, I did forget what day it was and posted tomorrow's topic on Paper Dolls today! (And then went back and changed it so it's posted on the proper day.) Ay-yi-yi. What next?!

So here's the updated blogging schedule for The Sweet Spot, because I can't seem to figure out the other one:
Mondays: FoodieLicious (*new and improved theme!*)
Tuesdays: Blog Day Off
Wednesdays: Cake Spotlight
Thursdays: 52 Blessings
Fridays: Let Them Eat Cake--52 Recipes

So here it is, some FoodieLicious fun just for you:

Girl Scout Cookie Sale 2010 is well underway here in Southwest Texas, so in honor of the Sale and if you, like me, need a quick way to use up extra Thin Mints, I'm giving you my favorite Rachael Ray recipe--

Thin Mints Pizza Supreme

From Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine
April 2007
8 servings

One 18-ounce package refrigerated chocolate chip cookie
Half of a box Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies (about 20
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons heavy cream or half-and-half

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a 12-inch pizza pan or a 9-by-13- inch baking dish with parchment paper. Using your fingers, press the cookie dough to fit the pan. Break the thin mints into quarters and gently press them into the dough. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a double boiler, whisk together the white chocolate chips and cream until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat. Using a fork, drizzle the topping over the cooled pizza. Cut into slices.

My notes: A favorite at our house and to take to parties. Have made it for my husband and daughter's birthdays!

Friday, January 8, 2010

52 Cakes: Eggless Wonder

Also posted on Paper Dolls blog

Eggless Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. vinegar

Prepare cupcake tins with liners, or if baking a cake, grease small (6-inch) cake pan.
Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed until moist and well-blended.
Fill each cup 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees for cupcakes. Cake pan may need a few extra minutes baking time.

Do you have a friend or relative who can't eat eggs? I have a friend/former neighbor who had an egg allergy, and this cake recipe would have been absolutely perfect for his birthday. Unfortunately, I didn't have this recipe when he lived next door to me, but I am still dedicating this one to him!

Best of all, you don't miss the eggs at all in the taste--it's chocolatey and moist, and even more wonderful when paired with my favorite chocolate frosting recipe.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy New Blog!

Happy 2010! 2009 is just behind us and already I'm blessed with several cake orders and even a wedding order in the new year!

I'm trying something new with my Sweetest Whimsy blogs and think it will be fun but possibly overly ambitious. I'm imposing some order and structure to my blogs and creating a slightly-Type A schedule to follow in 2010 (or until everyone gets really bored with it):

Mondays: Foodie Fun
Tuesdays & Wednesdays: Cake Spotlight
Thursdays: 52 Blessings
Fridays: Let Them Eat Cake--52 Recipes

So wish me luck and come back tomorrow when I unveil my first blog of the new year, a cake recipe just for you!