Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Special Lady

Last week I said goodbye to one of the most amazing women I have had the fortune of knowing, my great-grandmother, Louise Schreck. Not only do I blame her for my addiction to coffee at an early age (sneaking me cups when my parents weren't looking...) but I also attribute my love of food and cooking to her. My family has gone to her house for Thanksgiving ever since I can remember. Even when she was well into her nineties, my Great Grams would make a large chunk of the dinner- complete with pecan, apple, and pumpkin pie...and I don't mean the kind from the can! She taught me the value of fresh ingredients over cutting corners, and how food brings people together even today, in a world of technological disconnection. This is why I love to cook and bake. To give people who don't have the time or talent for it something to share at the table when they are gathering with family and friends; to be a part of the stories that bring people together and make them who they are. Because a wedding without a cake is like Thanksgiving dinner without the pie. My Great Grams will live forever in my recipes and the story that makes me the chef I am today. At 102, she was pretty close anyways! Here's to a long life well lived, and eating real cream and butter!

In December 2009, Great Grams turned 100 and we threw her a birthday bash to celebrate. I made her a lemon-filled sheet cake per her request, and here it is:

Count 'em- FOUR generations of amazing women in my family. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I competed in my first cake-off last Thursday and let me tell you, I have never been that nervous! The service club at my college organized the competition as a fundraiser for the Hunger Project. Cake, competition and community service...I'm all for it. We had 45 minutes to decorate a spectacular cake of our choosing, but we had to use the cake and icing they provided (which accounted for most of my nerves...). My amazing roommate Cassie stepped up to be my sous chef and I could not have done it without her! I've never attempted to make a tiered cake under a time constraint before but because I had her help, we finished with about 4 minutes to spare. The theme of our cake was school spirit, which at Washington College means good 'ole George and the Gus the Goose, our mascot. There were three layers of cake on each tier frosted with what I'm assuming the dining hall intended to be buttercream. I was allowed to bring my own decorating supplies so we used fondant for the polka dots, cherry tree and George head and gumpaste for the cherry blossoms. We won best overall cake!

Right before the clock started

Cassie dyed, rolled out and cut the all the fondant

 Finished product.

 The George cookie cutter came from a 'presidents' set my sisters and I had as kids. My mom gave it to me when I decided to go to Washington College but I honestly never thought I'd actually use it.

A cherry tree for George Washington...

Wish I had known that I'd have 4 minutes to spare when icing this could use some TLC

With our school mascot, Gus the Goose

Cassie and I are both Spanish Majors, our name meant 'Little Cookies' in Spanish

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

Continuing my mini-blog series on fall flavors, this week I'm introducing you to the sweet potato cake. Sweet potato is one of my all-time favorite fall ingredients. This cake reminds me of Thanksgivings with my Great Grandmother, and her sweet potato casserole. It was like having dessert for dinner, which of course I am all for! Only slightly sweet and spiced up with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and all-spice, this cake pairs perfectly with the brown butter frosting on top which has a deeply sweet caramel flavor and super smooth texture. Topped with freshly topped walnuts,  this cake is perfect for a Fall bridal shower, birthday or Halloween party!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Flavors

Back from my hiatus! College was taking up too much of my time due to my annoying habit of over-loading myself, but I finally found some time in the kitchen. Thank God for fall break! The thing I look forward to most about fall (besides boots and scarves) are the flavors that come with it. It's like one morning you wake up with frost outside the window, and immediately start craving cinnamon, pumpkin, apple cider, caramel, and cranberry...okay, well I do. I've been working on a few new cake flavors to share this weekend, and this is the start of a series of tantalizing fall cake flavors starting with (drum roll, please):

Caramel Apple Cider: [insert yummy noise]

These are a crisp apple cider pound cake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Hiding in the center of each one and drizzled over the top is homemade caramel. Hope that gets you excited for Fall this Monday morning!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Piping Designs

I had a bunch of leftover frosting from the wine cake so I used it to practice some new designs:


[Paisley, a flower and some random circles]


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Then and Now

The first post of this blog is of the first wedding cake I ever made for my grandparents' 50th anniversary in 2007. The cake had the topper from their original wedding cake on it, thus I thought it'd be cool to share a picture of their original cake. Here's one of the best couples around on their wedding day, 50 years ago:

This, again, was my humble version :-)

More Dessert Bar Ideas:

Alternatives (or in addition!) to having just a traditional wedding cake.
Pistachio Macaroons with dark chocolate ganache:

Rice Krispy Bars (dipped in dark chocolate, sprinkles, coconut and chopped nuts):

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

75th Wine Barrel Birthday Cake

My Grandma turned 75 this week and I made her a wine-inspired cake for the party we had for her this weekend. The bottom layer is meant to look like a wine barrel, and is all handmade from gum paste. The top layer is covered and decorated with Italian butter cream.

Blue Bow Dummy Cake

No, the inside is not edible, but yes, the outside is all handmade! I'm especially proud of how well the bows turned out. Bows made with gum paste, bands and cake are covered with fondant.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Red Velvet Petite Fours

An alternative dessert detour- red velvet petite fours w/ cream cheese filling and chocolate ganache glaze made for my parents' dinner party. It's a new trend in weddings to have multiple desserts in addition to or instead of a wedding cake. These are the perfect bite sized treats and also cute as favors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Brown Ribbon Rose Cake

I have discovered the beauty of styrofoam cake. Non-perishable, empty canvas for me to practice on again and again? Check. Show off what I can do as a decorator without the hassle and waste of baking real cake? Check. Here is the first of what I hope to be many portfolio builder dummy cakes. All decoration was handmade with fondant.

Fun fact: the inspiration for this cake came from a pillow on my bed-

50th Birthday Cake

My parents turned 50 last March and my sisters and I threw them a big party to celebrate. This was my first time using fondant and gum paste and I loved the smooth look. The cake is vanilla-almond cake with berries and cream on the bottom and chocolate almond on the top. The numbers and flowers are handmade in gum paste.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I made this cake for another cousin's wedding in June 2009. I was really happy with how it turned out, and consider it my first 'good' wedding cake. The flavor was vanilla-almond cake with strawberries and vanilla cream filling and chocolate dipped strawberries (topper was ordered separately). The groom's cake is a beach theme and it was chocolate fudge.


My very trusting cousins let me do their cake for their March 2008 as my first real wedding ever. This cake is at the very best- rough. It was definitely a learning experience. I made the topper out of silk flowers and the groom's cake is camouflage to match the groomsmen's tuxes. The bride's cake was all vanilla-almond cake with layers of raspberry, chocolate almond and lemon curd filling. The groom's cake was chocolate fudge.