Cake Gallery Slideshow

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!