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Our Favorite Spring-Inspired Sweets on Pinterest

April 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm , by

Maybe it’s because there are baby showers, spring birthdays, and wedding parties coming up (or maybe it’s because I just miss the carbs and sugar I banned from my diet recently), but the desserts on Pinterest are more enticing than ever, and would be perfect to make for any spring occasion. Many of them were even created in the Journal‘s test kitchen by our talented food editors!  So grab a glass of milk and enjoy a sweet sampling of my favorite pins this week…

Double Rainbow Happiness Cake

For more ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, check out our Delightful Desserts board on Pinterest.


How To Throw A Rock And Roll Birthday Party

March 31, 2011 at 4:11 pm , by

sue cake rock and rollSophia just turned six and we celebrated by rocking out at home with an appropriately themed-party for my little popstar. And she had a blast!

Here are the elements that made the party really rock:

1) The kids were greeted at the door by the birthday girl with backstage passes and superstar sunglasses. I got them both from Oriental Trading and pulled pictures of each of the kids from their parent’s Facebook page — and a few pics I had from past parties.

2) We decorated with mylar curtains hanging around the stairs. I don’t know what it is about these things but kids love them. We used them for Sophia’s fashion show themed birthday party last year and they were all obsessed.

3) Inflatable guitars were brought out about halfway through for a dance party. We made sure that Sophia’s ipod (yes, she has her own! It’s a hand-me-down. Don’t judge me.) was full of lots of fun dance songs. Each kid got to take a guitar home. (Note: If you have a lot of girls at the party, spend a little extra on some more pink ones because every girl will want a pink one and there will be tears if you don’t have enough. Just sayin.)

4) We also busted out Sophia’s mic stand in case anyone was in the mood to entertain us but I think my little extrovert was the only one that decided to sing.

5) A “Sophia: Live in Concert” cake made by yours truly. I started with a half sheet cake (the audience) and then topped it with a smaller square cake (the stage). The audience was filled with Sophia’s adoring fans (teddy grahams!) and the role of Sophia was played by a Polly Pocket doll with a guitar. The backdrop was a large piece of cardboard covered with wrapping paper and a logo I made. (Thanks to our awesome food editor, Tara Bench, for the Teddy Graham idea and the delish chocolate frosting recipe that you can find here.) It wasn’t quite as grand as last year’s Ariel cake but Sophia loved it so that’s all that matters.

So, let me know if you’ve got any great party ideas. Lily’s birthday is June so I’ve got to start planning soon!


DIY: Ace of Cakes

July 20, 2010 at 10:32 am , by

NicoleDevonDuffNeither Devon nor I had ever made a cake before.  While we were very excited to spend the afternoon learning about Ace of Cakes Chef Duff Goldman’s new baking products, we were a little hesitant to do it ourselves. The Astor Center in New York City was set up like a kitchen with hundreds of personal cakes waiting to be covered in buttercream fondant and frosting.  We were given the choice of chocolate, vanilla or yellow cake, and handed an apron to aide us in our first semi-professional cake decorating pursuit.

DevonCakes

With the Food Network star only a few steps away, we struggled with the first simple step of merely placing the fondant in the microwave to soften it.  Luckily, the cake master himself didn’t see us! Instead of just ten seconds in the microwave, it took about thirty-five, and from there it was a piece of cake!  Rolling fondant is a lot easier than we thought.  After a few attempts, we learned that small imperfections can easily be reversed with a smidge of water, a touch of frosting or Chef Duff’s edible cake tattoos–the kind parents would prefer to the real ink!  We opted for the flower patterns over the animal prints and other graffiti inspired designs.

NicoleDevonCkes

In less than an hour, our finished cakes looked like they could be displayed in a bakery window.  With just one flower-shaped cookie cutter and blue sprinkles, our black and red fondant cakes bloomed to life.  No one would have guessed this was our first time!

For more Ace of Cakes insight, check out Food and Entertaining Editor Tara Bench‘s interview with Duff himself!


Bogged Down with Ace Of Cakes’ Duff Goldman

October 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm , by

cakeFear not – just because this post is about cranberries doesn’t mean it has anything to do with Thanksgiving (I know you already can’t get over the fact that Halloween is already here). I spent a chilly afternoon in Rockefeller Center, New York, to watching a taping of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes that will be airing tonight at 10pm/9c and 10:30pm/9:30c. For the episode, the host, Chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes and his cake team (known for making elaborate, out-of-this world custom cakes) made a cake celebrating cranberries and appreciating the work of Ocean Spray’s growers – who were all on hand at the event to tell their stories about growing up in cranberry bogs and continuing generations of harvesting. While he stood in New York City’s very own” bog”, Duff told me about the event and the incredible cake commemorating it.

bogBefore he became Food Network’s cake-making master, Duff Goldman grew up in Cape Cod – where he says the whole town was surrounded by cranberries and everyone grew up in a cranberry bog. “Bogs were like the cool place to hang out — we would hang out and drink beers there in highschool, we’d meet up there… it was just a huge part of the culture and I have a lot of memories. So it’s a very exciting thing for me, I really wanted to get involved and make a cake when I heard Food Network was partnering with Ocean Spray on this.”

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