Cake Gallery Slideshow

Friday, November 2, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Post-October Catch-Up

How could I have forgotten to post my last Trick or Treat for October?!  But I did, and then the nation was transfixed by first Hurricane Sandy and then the Elections, so other things were definitely on my mind!

So here is October 31's post about my Halloween-themed Spider Treats!  For the first time ever, we went to a party outside of our neighborhood and trick-or-treated with our friends there.  Party was awesome, and our friend Kristine went all out with her Halloween snacks, decor and games!  So impressive!

As seen at the party:

Ghostly juice boxes

 Spider and Eyeball Eggs

Breadstick Bones
 Spider cupcakes were my contribution!

My little Japanese Geisha Girl and her Strawberry Shortcake BFF who hosted the party!

Until 2013, saying goodbye to our first ever 31 Days of Tricks & Treats!  Hope you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 31 ~ Candy Corn Parfait for Candy Corn Haters


Just in case you didn't know, yesterday, the day before Halloween, was National Candy Corn Day.  I hate the taste of candy corn; it's just too sickeningly sweet.  However, I love the colors and shape of candy corn!  It's the perfect Halloween/Fall symbol and I love decorating with it.  I've glued it onto picture frames, and filled vases with it.  However, I've never really used them in my cooking or baking until this week.

I bought a bag of candy corn for our pre-Halloween party to use as a "garnish" on our homemade caramel apples.  They were the right size for embellishing the apples, along with mini marshmallows, mini M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, nuts and coconut flakes.  It was a big bag, so I was inspired to also try something that I've always loved as a child--Jello Parfait!

What child of the 70s didn't admire the beauty of this Jello creation in Mom's Ladies Home Journal magazines?  Simply layers of Jello and Cool Whip, maybe fruit added.  Since I hate candy corn as a food item, I wanted to create something that looked like candy corn but tasted like something else!  Since I've loved Jello my entire life, this was an easy choice.

But I still had to use up some candy corns, and I do realize that other people (ie. KIDS) love it, so it was the perfect topping for my Halloween Candy Corn Parfait:

Want to try this at home?  I made a small batch of Parfaits as our party was very small (5 giggling girls) but you could easily double the recipe, I'm sure.


1 box (3 oz) Lemon Jello
1 box (3 oz) Orange Jello
1 small container Cool Whip
Candy Corns


Add 2/3 cup boiling water to Lemon Jello mix in small bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Repeat with Orange Jello mix. Cool for about 5-10 minutes.

Spoon equal amounts of Lemon Jello into plastic cups (could also use plastic shot glasses). Refrigerate 15 min. or until set but not firm.

Cover Lemon Jello layer with Orange Jello, an equal amount in each cup. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Top with Cool Whip and candy corns!

Makes 4-5 parfaits.

Monday, October 29, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 29 ~ A Cup o' Halloween

I was out of town for a few days attending the always fabulous Texas Book Festival in Austin so did not get to share a few days' worth of tricks or treats, so I will add on a couple of days at the end as a bonus and share some cool stuff I learned at the Festival!

Meanwhile, I wanted to highlight a new affiliate retailer on Sweetest Whimsy's Retail Love list: Cross Country Cafe.  What is their site all about?  In a word: Coffee!

This is the first retailer on the list that offers mostly edibles (or really, drinkables) and a nice contrast to the papers and gifts on my other fave sites.   Specifically, they offer ground and whole bean coffee, Keurig Kcups, gourmet coffee pods and a selection of brewers.  If you are coffee lover, this online shop is for you.  I swear when I am browsing this site, I can practically smell the java.  No joke.

What I like about Cross Country Cafe: they offer fair trade, organic and sustainable coffees.  Coffee lovers who ask for Fair Trade Certified™ and organic coffee may not realize it, but they are helping the world maintain a long-term supply of high-quality beans.

Every week they host Wacky Wednesday with a number of specials of the day, and this week, in honor of Halloween (and perhaps the arrival of real Fall weather to Texas!) they are offering these spooky themed flavors and roasts on sale:

Dark Magic Decaf

Dark Magic Extra Bold

Love the images, scents and sounds of Halloween and Fall that they conjure up!  TREAT yourself to all of the Wacky Wednesday savings, including coffee pods and ground coffee, and visit Cross Country Cafe's online store:

Friday, October 26, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 26 - Fall into Cakes

No TRICKS here, just a shout out to all of my awesome cake decorating students at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft (Bandera Location) who have shared their enthusiasm for decorating and thirst for cake knowledge in 2012!  Thanks to their appetite for cakes, cakes and more cakes, I am very happy to offer these upcoming Fall Wilton Classes:

My students never cease to amaze me with their talent! My most recent graduates of Wilton's Flowers & Cake Design Course turned out fabulous cakes such as this:

I am a PROUD teacher!  Are you ready to have some fun with frosting?

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 25 - Green Slime is Sodalicious

We're less than a week away from Halloween, so the time has come to get serious about spooky party planning!  In addition to receiving invitations to some Halloween parties, we are planning our own pre-Halloween pumpkin decorating shindig for the kiddos.  So I was really happy to discover that Punchbowl, one of Sweetest Whimsy's newest affiliate links, dedicates a whole section of their site to party planning ideas!  Punchbowl is a one-stop mecca to get your event organized.  From email invitations and online RSVPs to potluck sign-up and gift registry, they offer everything you need to get started (and finished).

Right now, I love Punchbowl's FREE recipes for kid-friendly Halloween drinkies:

Halloween kids drinks

 Green Slime Soda (from
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 1 scoop lime sherbet or 1 scoop lime sorbet
Stir the sugar into the lime juice until it is dissolved. Then add the sparkling water. Lastly, add the lime sherbet and stir gently to mix. 

Perhaps we could rename it Green Goblin Soda as well?  Or Ghoul-Aid?  Either way, I'm all for any drink that has lime sherbet (reminds me of all my childhood parties)!

As for party snacks, I'm letting the kids make their own caramel apples and will probably serve some of these cute and easy cupcakes I'm "borrowing" from Punchbowl's many Halloween ideas:

Witch cupcakes, Halloween witch cupcakes

I love playing around with fondant, so these will be fun to re-create.  If you need some clever party ideas for next week's celebration, you must check out Punchbowl's amazing Mom-oriented site! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 19 - Be a Show Off!

For anyone who has ever taken a Wilton Method cake course with me, either in San Antonio or elsewhere, recently or in the past, Wilton wants to see what you can do!  All you have to do is open or log in to your Pinterest account, follow the Wilton Contest set-up directions, and start pinning your cakes!  Wilton wants to see any cakes you've decorated from your Wilton Method Class lesson plan.  Don't forget to include my name as your Wilton Method Instructor and the store or location where you took your class(es).
What can you win?  Five winners will each receive their choice of in-stock items from Wilton's online store totaling $100.  That's a pretty sweet TREAT! 

I already have a few students who've entered the contest, and would love to have a few more in the running.  After all, I know you're great decorators!

Need some inspiration?  Pick up your Wilton Class Lesson Plan from the course you took for some great ideas:

Search for Wilton cake decorating classes near you   Search for Wilton cake decorating classes near you  Search for Wilton cake decorating classes near you

Contest ends NOVEMBER 4!  I would love for any of my students to become winners!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

31Days of Tricks & Treats: Days 16 & 17 - Exotic

Well, my bad.  I went to a costume party last night and then sort of injured myself (dumb story), so I didn't get a chance to post Day 16.  So here is Day 16/Day 17 all rolled into one!  I'm crazy about Craftsy, as you've probably already guessed!  They have a new course that I'm totally excited about as well-- Exotic Sugar Orchids with the fabulously talented James Roselle.  I had the pleasure of watching James decorate a wedding cake in a funny 'Cake Wrecks' themed event earlier this year, and he is awesome!  He is also very nice and very patiently posed for pictures after the show.

Anyway, he is offering a gum paste Orchids course on Craftsy and it is a mere $39.99.  As some of you may know, I do teach a 4-week Advanced Gum Paste Flowers course featuring some lovely, realistic looking flowers like Gerbera Daisies, Stephanotis and Lilies.  However, I do not teach gum paste orchids so I am happy to learn from James Roselle myself!  I have seen his work on the Food Network's Cake Challenges many times, so it's exciting to finally learn how he does it.  James' Craftsy course is less than $40, while my own course is $45, so this is a very nice deal.

As with all of Craftsy's classes, once you are enrolled, you can watch the course online as many times as you want, over and over and over again.  You can also ask James Roselle questions about the course and he will actually answer them! 

You'll find a link to Craftsy on Sweetest Whimsy's website, or you can click on the banner below to get crafting:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 13 - Buttercream (What a Scream)

Butter Cream Frosting
Photo from Google images

Poor buttercream frosting.  Over the past decade and a half since I became a cake decorating instructor and started creating cakes for others, buttercream has taken a backseat to fondant in the cake world.  Fondant is pretty awesome, I must admit, when you're going for a certain level of realism with your cake.  You can do so much with fondant in terms of covering and embellishing your cake.

But is fondant rich, creamy, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth goodness?  NO.  So it's a bit of a shame that for many decorators, buttercream is an afterthought.  However, I have always favored buttercream over fondant and will tell my students and my clients this freely and often!  I love the taste and texture of a good buttercream frosting.  If buttercream is "old school," then I'm at the head of the class.

Buttercream, like fondant, takes some practice.  With practice comes confidence and skill, and that is true with buttercream.  That's why I was so excited to see that Craftsy is offering a Modern Buttercream course online by the awesome Joshua John Russell, one of my faves from the Food Network cake challenges! 

Not only is Joshua John teaching this class full of great tips about putting your cake together, making from-scratch buttercream and frosting a perfect cake, but the class is also FREE!  Yes, you can enroll in this Craftsy course for FREE and watch it over and over again.

How awesome is that?!  I've already enrolled, and learned something new in the first 6 minutes of the class.  Even cake decorating instructors can learn new TRICKS!

Check out this FREE course at Sweetest Whimsy's Craftsy link below:

free modern buttercream cake decorating class at

Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 11 - No Trick, Just a Free Princess Treat

Oops, this is wee bit late in getting posted!  Meant to get this to you about 3 hours ago, but was putting the finishing touches on some cake orders and had to get it done!

Today's TREAT is some seriously adorable Cupcake Toppers from Smilebox and John Beach Design.

Free downloadable princess party circles from Smilebox.

How cute are these cupcake toppers?!  I love freebies!  Suitable for your little Princess-in-Training's royal celebration, but also perfect for a non-birthday, totally pinked out shindig.  Trust me on this one.  You can one dozen toppers to print in 4 designs.  Download and print yours here right now.

Smilebox is known for their simple application for PC or Mac that lets you easily create slideshows, invitations, greetings, collages, scrapbooks and photo albums on your computer.  These cute cupcake toppers coordinate perfectly with Smilebox's Pink Party Princess invitation that can be emailed or printed for an enchanting celebration! 

Have a party coming up?  Get it all started at Smilebox! Find our link to on Sweetest Whimsy's website or just click here:

Celebrate birthday moments with Smilebox.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 9 - It's All Small Stuff

You know the phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff"?  When it comes to cake decorating, it's ALL small stuff!

In recent weeks, I've found myself crafting tiny, detailed decorations for my cakes.  Repeatedly.  But this is, after all, the work of a cake decorator.  And I do love it, usually.  For example, about 4 dozen tiny fondant Legos:

Over 3 dozen individually molded seashells, starfish and seahorses made of white and dark chocolate, some marbled with coral tinted chocolate, and fondant.  Each molded chocolate and fondant piece was one-of-a-kind:

 Or how about some bubbly bubbles in pink, light pink and white fondant?

 Just when you think you've made enough bubbles for the tub, it's time to make more for the rest of the cake!  Each "bubble" is painted with edible pearl dust, for that bubbly sheen.  And can't forget the dozen and a half cosmetic and nail accessories out of gumpaste and fondant.  Each one is totally different in color and style, just like in my makeup drawer of course!

How long does it take to make many pieces of something?  Longer than I thought sometimes.  But honestly, when I'm working on these kinds of cake projects, I really get into that "zone" where it's all about the cake.  Everything else just becomes part of the background, both in my head and in my kitchen. Crafting these kinds of cakes is almost a Zen experience!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 6 - Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!

So the other day I blogged about Craftsy and the decadent chocolate cakes.  Yum.  Today I am even more excited--bursting really-- to share a new TREAT: one of my favorite cake designers and instructors is offering her own course on Craftsy!

Cityscape Cakes: Intro to Modeling Chocolate

This is a class I have taken with her myself, and it was amazing and fabulous and I learned SO much as a cake decorator.  Lauren Kitchens is a Texas cake artist who also happens to share her craft through her classes she teaches around the country.  I took her Austin Cityscape Cakes: Intro to Modeling Chocolate class earlier this year and it opened up a whole new world of decorating options for me.  I had never attempted anything with modeling chocolate before then, and she made it so easy and absolutely do-able!

So now I'm a big fan of modeling chocolate, and an even bigger fan of Lauren's, who also happened to create wedding cakes for two of my very dear friends.  A class with Lauren runs around $200, well worth the money in my opinion, but on Craftsy, you can take a class with her for less than $40!  And you can watch it over and over again.  That is a steal!

 Here is a sneak peek at what you might create after signing up for Lauren's new Cityscape Cakes class online:

My Austin Cityscape Cake! The 2nd one I've made so far.

This is Lauren, showing us how it's done, at the class I took earlier this year.
This was my sample Austin Cityscape cake, done in class!

Love chocolate?  Check out Lauren Kitchen's new class on Craftsy!  I'm signing up for it AGAIN!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Day 3 - Chocolate Cake to Die For

I love teaching students how to decorate their own cakes, in addition to creating my own, but rarely ever have the chance to teach anyone how to bake a cake.  My students bring their already baked, undecorated cakes to class and we go from there.  But I do think that baking a cake is an art unto itself, and something that goes hand in hand with decorating.

As some of you know, I occasionally post my favorite tried-and-true cake recipes on the blog, but they're just recipes, without step by step photo or video instructions.  So I'm really excited to offer another way to really learn a cake recipe from start to finish: Craftsy!

When I discovered Craftsy earlier this year, I really wished I had been the one who thought of the whole idea.  Usually, when you want to take a class with a master cake baker or decorator, you travel to wherever she works (probably several states away) or if you're lucky, you might attend a workshop he might be offering in your own city during an annual cake or baking show or conference.  Cake classes with the masters are not inexpensive; I attended one earlier this year that was about 2 hours long and about $300, plus travel expenses.  So Craftsy kind of turns all of that on it's head.  It's a gathering place for some of the most talented cake bakers and decorators out there who have found a way to teach classes to anyone with an Internet connection at an affordable price.  These masters are household names, frequently seen on their own shows or competing on Food Network challenges!

To Die For

In honor of Halloween, I present this little TREAT: the chance to learn how to Bake Decadent Chocolate Cakes, with the ease and convenience of your own kitchen via Craftsy.  The instructor is one of the country's foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts.  

Meet Alice Medrich, your master instructor!

What would you pay to learn several new baking techniques and recipes?  And actually watch the instructor show you how to do them?
For about $40, you sign up for this class on Craftsy, and then have the freedom to watch it over and over again, whenever you want or need to!  Craftsy doesn't just offer cake or food craft classes; you'll find a full array of all crafting topics.

Is your mouth watering for chocolate?!  You can find our link to Craftsy on Sweetest Whimsy's website.  Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days of Tricks & Treats: Blogging Here & There

Today starts Sweetest Whimsy's 31 Days of Tricks & Treats, my own personal challenge to post a TRICK or TREAT for you every day in October!  I will either post here, on The Sweet Spot blog, or here, the Paper Dolls blog. 

Check both sites daily for a little trick-or-treating throughout October.  Who knows what you'll find?  I know I don't!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

By Popular Demand: Tall Cakes Class!

Over the past 14 years, since I started teaching Wilton Method cake decorating courses, the curriculum has changed several times to reflect growing trends and to introduce different techniques.  As a result, some techniques were "retired" from the course books, not because they weren't useful or lovely themselves, but because there simply isn't time during the classes to teach everything!

One of my favorite things to teach that didn't make the most recent course updates was how to make a wedding cake, from start to finish.  This was always alot of fun and everyone always said they had no idea what was involved in building a tall wedding cake.

Of course "wedding cakes" are no longer for weddings anymore!  Or rather, TIERED CAKES are all the fashion, whether it's your kid's 2nd birthday or best friend's baby shower.  Cake shows on TV build larger than life, multi-tier cakes as the norm, and so the rest of the baking and decorating world (sort of) follows suit.  Case in point:

Do these look like "wedding cakes"?!

So I am SO EXCITED to be teaching my newest Wilton Method Course TALL CAKES this month!  It builds upon the chapter in our old Course III book on wedding cakes, but features so much more information and ideas.  What used to be about 45 minutes of instruction has been expanded to a 3 HOUR COURSE. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: You will learn the steps and techniques to create “tall cakes”. You will assemble and decorate your special creation. In addition to creating a multi-layer cake you'll receive valuable tips for serving, transporting, and storing your masterpiece.

And here's a sample cake from the class:

As you can see, this is a totally do-able tiered cake, suitable for many types of celebrations, and isn't necessarily taller than you are!  But it is definitely a lovely Tall Cake that you can complete in one 3-hour class and transport safely to your destination.

SIGN UP TODAY!  September 10, 2012 at 5:30 pm at the Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft, Bandera Location.  Questions?  Email me (see my contact information on this page).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kitchen Whimsy

When I teach my cake decorating classes or bake at home, I wear an apron.  When I don my apron, my mind goes into cake decorator mode.  Everything else is secondary.

And when you put on a fabulous apron, not some frumpy, old, stained number, then you're really cooking!  You're not just a cake decorator or cook, you're the awesomest cake decorator or cook!  (Yeah, I know that's not really a word, but I love it.)

I have one of these fabulous aprons.  What makes it fabulous?  It makes you look fabulous, and you feel fabulous!  It's fun, flirty AND does what it's supposed to do--protect your clothes.

Here's mine:

My fabulous apron comes from the charming site Flirty Aprons!  Their aprons are fun, flirty, sweet and sassy, all at once.  Put one on and you feel stylish but you're still protected from spills and stains.  Brilliant.  The hardest part about visiting their site is choosing which design you love the most!   

Fits Like a Glove

You know what else I can't live without in my kitchen?  Some fabulous Rubber Gloves!  I hate the idea of ugly rubber gloves, the kind my Mom wore when I was a girl, so I adore these cute AND completely functional pairs.  

I started wearing them a year ago when hot water temperature and soaps started affecting my skin from constant dishwashing.  When you create cakes, you do quite a bit of washing up!  Cake pans, bowls, utensils--most of these are hand-wash only!  Believe it or not, I actually like dishwashing now that I get to wear these.

Kids in the Kitchen

Kids cooking too?  Flirty Aprons has the cutest matching aprons for your Junior Cake Decorator. 

All I know is this Mom will be ordering the same apron in Women's size for herself!  They're perfect for toddlers through tweens.

Cake designers, start your ovens!  Then get ready to feel fabulous!  Check out Sweetest Whimsy's newest affiliate retailer Flirty Aprons's many, many designs for some stylish kitchen inspiration or click on the banner below:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stuff Cake Decorators Buy

Sweetest Whimsy is so excited about being an affiliate for about 30 online companies, large and small, offering a gazillion different products, ranging from invitations to party favors to cake decorating supplies to personalized gifts.  You can browse all of these websites through Sweetest Whimsy's new Retail Love page (kind of like a mini-shopping mall of stuff I love!) or from the Paper Dolls Blog.

One thing that's really fun about cake decorating is constantly having the opportunity to replenish your cake decorating supplies!  Cake decorating is all about consumable items--flour, sugar, extracts, butter, and that's just baking the cake itself!  Then there are all the supplies for decorating, and when I start shopping for those, I'm like a kid in a candy store.  (And sometimes I literally am at the candy store!)

One of Retail Love's new website's is Dessert Decor (part of a company called Plates & Napkins).  I LOVE this site because it's a one-stop shopping place for stuff I need and use regularly for my cakes.  Dessert Decor offers a plethora of Cake & Cupcake Toppers, Baking Cups, Sprinkles, Packaging and Displays for anyone who's got the baking buzz!

Turquoise Sprinkles from Dessert Decor
Oh Paris Cupcake Kit from Dessert Decor
Stuff I buy alot?  Sprinkles and Baking Cups!  Dessert Decor offers sprinkles in 13 different colors (as well as Rainbow of course).  I love these Turquoise Sprinkles, a great summer color!  I also love the Oh Paris Cupcake Kit, which is too cute AND so convenient--everything you need in one box, and it beats having to make your own cupcake toppers for a very specific theme.

Zebra Baking Cups from Dessert Decor
I am blessed to fill many cupcake orders throughout the year--in the past few months, I've blown through about 500 baking cups!  So obviously I replenish my stock of baking cups often!  How much do I love these Zebra Baking Cups?!  Dessert Decor offers nearly 40 different baking cup designs and colors.  Something to match all of my customers' party themes!

Butterfly Cupcake Wrapper from Dessert Decor

Cupcake Wrappers are great for really dressing up your cupcakes on special occasions, and I love the delicate details on these Butterfly WrappersDessert Decor has a dozen laser-cut designs for all celebrations.  Can't wait to use these!

You can browse all of Dessert Decor's cool baking and decorating supplies from Sweetest Whimsy's new Retail Love page or from the Paper Dolls Blog.  If you see something (or things) you like, you can order directly from the website links OR just contact us and I will be happy to help you with your order!

Dessert Decor Cake & Cupcake Decorating Supplies