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Devil’s Food and Buttercream

We had my family over last night for my mom’s birthday. She loves chocolate so I made some Devil’s Food cupcakes from a recipe in Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. I obviously can’t share the recipe here, but it is a fabulous cookbook. I had never heard of Thomas Keller until Hubby started talking about him, and Michelin Star ratings on restaurants and some restaurant in San Fransisco that costs like 200 dollars a person for dinner. A few years ago these things would have had no meaning for me, but I am starting to think we might make the trek out to the west coast sometime to try the restaurant. Of course our budget has to recover from our recent trip first. Maybe it can be his birthday present next year. Maybe I’ll get an award for being the best wife ever.

I digress.  I commented on how awesome Thomas Keller is and Hubby pointed out that all of the dessert recipes are probably by his pastry chef at his restaurant. Whatever, it’s his name on the cookbook so he gets the credit. Here are the cupcakes.

We knew they were going to be pretty awesome. We had tried them last month for Hubby’s mom’s birthday. That time Hubby had made a boiled buttercream which I had never made before (I was sick in bed with a fever so I was not involved in that process). So this time I was super excited to try my hand at a new frosting. Then we realized we didn’t have enough butter for that recipe and the recipe for dinner. So I used the butter that was available and made a version of the buttercream icing my mom always made. I like that about the easy version. I don’t think I measured anything but I had made it so many times that it turned out fine.

While I was waiting for the cupcakes to cool I melted some chocolate candy coating and put it in a squeeze bottle.

This was left over from my attempts at cake pops. True story:  a little over a year ago my sister gave me Bakerella’s Cake Pop book. I had never heard of these things! I loved it! I started reading her blog and she mentioned another blogger, Marian from Sweetopia. Sweetopia had the most gorgeous decorated cookies and the more I read about them the more I thought I could do that. The rest is history.

Sorry I keep getting distracted today. I made some designs on wax paper and let the candy dry. Not terribly original designs I might add.

However, when they went onto the cupcakes they seemed pretty cute. I would have been embarrassed about how easy these cupcakes were except they were SO DELICIOUS!!!

Happy Birthday Mom!



Work In Progress

Sorry I have been gone so long. I went a few places. For my birthday a friend gave me  a gift card to a craft store and so before I left I bought yarn and some plastic crochet hooks so that I could take my project on the plane with me to. . .


I continued to work on my projcet on the train. . .


to Brussels!

After that we went to. . .

come on, do I really have to say this one?

When we got home I looked at my WIP (work in progress for those people who are not yarn nerds like me) and I was pretty happy with the progress.

The plan is for this to become an infinity scarf. I chose this project because it would be very portable, but now that I am home in the 80 degree weather I am wondering if it is really out of season. If you are interested in the pattern I got it from this Etsy shop and I recommend you check out her other patterns, too. Very Cool!

Babies and Birthdays

In my teeny tiny apartment I have had to get creative with how I store things. I do not have the luxury of being able to leave things out for a few days (not that I am neat, I am a naturally messy person and so this has been a challenge for me). This means when I get out everything I need to decorate cookies I want to make the most of it for a day or two and then put it all away.So when I was asked to make cookies for a baby shower, I made a few extra for a birthday party!

I also just used the left over baby shower colors for the birthday cookies and I think it worked fine. I started out having trouble with my pink. I couldn’t seem to get the color right. Once I added two drops of fuchsia, the color deepened and I was happier with it.

You can still see a little bit of the yellow icing left on the bowl from where I had just mixed it. That is because I deliberately mix lighter colors first so that I can use the same bowl for multiple colors. I learned the trick from Karen’s Cookies. She has fabulous tutorials, plus she sells some of the hard to find decorating supplies. I have bought many things there and have always been impressed by the items and service. This is not a paid advertisement, just letting you know what I think.

If any of you decorate cookies or read cookie blogs you have probably heard about the spray bottle technique for thinning royal icing. The tip came from One Tough Cookie and is a great idea. I have just never gotten around to buying a spray bottle. This was what I came up with this time and it worked pretty well, I will probably try it a few more times before I give it my final verdict. I filled the cup with water and used the spoon to add water a little at a time to each batch of icing. I did notice as I went that I had figured out how many spoonfuls I would need to achieve certain results. I could see where this could be useful in the future so I wouldn’t have to do so much guessing to get the icing to the consistency I am looking for.

No pictures of the work in progress, just some final results. I had been asked to do pink and green, but I added the blue for a little interest. The shower was for a baby girl, but I heard the mom was using blue in the nursery.



I love the little foot prints. Someone showed me once how to make a little footprint using the side of your hand on a foggy window. I still do it sometimes . . .because I am an 8-year-old apparently.

And then there are the birthday cookies!

I used a bunch of different techniques on these. Quite a few bloggers have been talking about brush embroidery recently. I had used it on some of my Christmas trees this past year and I thought I would play with some flowers this time. I was terribly impatient and did not let the bottom layer of icing dry completely which meant I had to be very gentle with the brush. Do not be like me, let the bottom layer dry. (if you want more info on brush embroidery Ali Bee has a great tutorial)

Well if nothing else in this post I have linked you to a bunch of my favorite cookie bloggers. I have learned so much from them! I hope you enjoy looking at their fabulous work.

(and Happy Birthday A-dub)