The Trials and Tribulations of the Dreaded French Macaron!

Okay folks, I’ve gone and done it.  I’ve decided to try and attempt to make the most beautiful and deceivingly difficult dessert — the french macaron!  No, I’m not talking about those cookies filled with sweetened shredded coconut, but the sandwich cookie that has the most delicate balance of crunchy and chewy! I’ve had my eye on these guys for a while and I will share with you my first attempt.  Beware, it’s not all that pretty.

So this is the type of baked good that you really research; see what is out there; learn from other people’s mistakes so you don’t make the same ones!  I wish it were as simple as that.  I read blog post after blog post, article after article, and finally thought I had a handle on what to do.  I settled on this basic recipe: Okay here it goes. 

I followed the directions exactly, whipped my egg whites to stiff peaks, folded in the ingredients, but did not overmix, piped out my circles, let them sit to “dry-out,” and babysat the oven so they didn’t over/under cook.  Here’s my before shot:


Not too bad, I thought. 

So I take them out of the oven, and some of them even have the “feet” we’re looking for, but most of them are cracked on the tops.  What the?  I add my filling and sandwich together a set and take a bite.  They have the taste/texture/consistency that a macaron should have!  There’s one win at least! I even brought them into work and everyone seemed to enjoy them!  Oh okay, fine, I’ll show you the after picture:


So not completely terrible, like I said, the taste and feel was dead on, just not the prettiest looking things.  My theory?  I was so worried about OVER mixing, that I UNDER mixed my batter.  It’s clear to me now looking at the before picture, you can see that it’s not a smooth mixture. 

So, I will try again, you have not broken me yet, macaron!

Princess Fairy Tale Baby Shower

Tired of looking at cakes?  Thought I share some detail from my sister’s baby shower that I, along with my mother and sisters, hosted this past summer. 

We are a Disney family, through and through, so when I found out my sister was having a little girl, it HAD to be a princess baby shower.  Okay, so how in the world do you pick your favorite Disney princess??  I just simply couldn’t, so when my sister mentioned that she loved the “everyone brings a children’s book” shower idea, incorporating fairy tales was just a natural progression. Now I didn’t have to single out any one princess, yay!

Let’s start with some of the activities we had!

Design your own Onesie/Bib



I think everyone really had a lot of fun with this one!  It’s definitely not a new idea or concept, but I wanted to make sure that my sister would have onesies that, well let’s face it, didn’t suck.  So, I stocked up on plenty of fabric markers, stencils, and I even made some pre cut designs out of fabric.  I attached a fabric adhesive to the back, so all they guests had to do was peel away the paper and stick.  Everyone did a really good job!  I wish I got an after picture!


Design your own headband


Same concept, different item!  For the headband station, I attached squares of the same fabric adhesive to the back of an array of different flowers (I got most of these from clearance sections!), and provided all different kinds of plain, stretchy, headbands.  People made some really really cute headbands with these too!


Picture Wall


So I thought everyone would love a good picture spot.  I’ve used the strings of hearts that you see in the background for many parties!  They’re probably my most used item at this point! 


We also played a few games. 

  • Baby present bingo – which is a given for any baby or bridal shower in my family
  • Princess/Parent match game – this was fun and more challenging for everyone than I had expected.  I only had 1 person that got all of them correct.



So, the centerpieces were probably my favorite part to this shower.  I encorporated the princess and fairy tale theme by stacking the centerpieces on children’s books! Here are some photos:


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Added some tulle and flowers from a local florist to finish the whimsical look.

My castle diaper cake (intended to just be a gift) ended up as a focal point for our favor table!


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Then, of course, how could we possibly celebrate the life of a future princess without giving her some royal garb?  These are some presents from guests that we proudly displayed.



Onto the good stuff, the desserts! We had two options for everyone, mini cupcakes and a storybook cake.  I can tell you now the mini cupcakes were a HUGE hit.  I provided some boxes for everyone to take some home, assuming there’d be plenty left over with everyone’s full bellies from the wonderful meal.  Oh no, there weren’t many left by the end of the shower!

I made four different kinds, all princess related, of course. 

  • Cinderella’s Enchanted pumpkin cupcake – a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting.
  • Ariel’s Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate Cupcake – a chocolate cupcake, with chocolate buttercream, caramel drizzle and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  • Snow White’s Caramel Apple Cupcake – a caramel apple cupcake with caramel buttercream.
  • White Rabbit’s Carrot Cake Cupcake – a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.


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Finally, the cake.  I had a hard time deciding what design for the cake.  I didn’t want it to be too crazy, but I knew I wanted a castle in there somewhere.  Once I found this princess castle alarm clock, my mind was made up, a storybook cake reminiscent of those pop-up books from your childhood.  Inside is pink and purple velvet cake, and some more cream cheese frosting!  Here’s the final result:


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Overall, I think, a very successful shower!  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  We played the frozen soundtrack over and over so my nieces were definitely happy!

Cakes, cakes, and more cakes!

Hi, it’s been a while!

I’m totally not keeping up with my promises of previous posts, but if you follow my facebook or instagram you’ll notice that lately I’ve been making a lot of cakes!!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy every minute of it. Yes, some are challenging. Yes, some don’t come out exactly as you had hoped. Yes, sometimes I throw things and yell, but I think that helps with the process! At the end of the day, seeing everyone enjoy your hard work is the best part.

I thought I’d take the time to share some of my favorites over my next few posts. I hope these inspire you to create your own!!

 Let’s start with my favorite category — Disney inspired cakes!












New Cupcake Techniques





So, who doesn’t love cupcakes?  There are so many ways to personalize and decorate cupcakes!  You can be as creative or as basic as you want and you don’t have to worry about stacking or frosting large crumbly cakes for you to make a statement!  Well I’ve been taking a class (Have you heard of craftsy???  Head over there now and try out one of their free classes on cake decorating!), “The Perfect Cupcake.”  It’s taught by Jennifer Shea; and not only has she shared some of her best cupcake and frosting recipes, but she’s been introducing me to some brand new cupcake techniques that I wouldn’t have thought of.  The technique I worked with this past holiday weekend:  Cupcake crusts!

You heard me, cupcake crusts.  What better way to add some texture to a soft cupcake and frosting and really bring it to a new dimension!  So I experimented with two different flavors, and I’ll go over each of them below, an Oreo cupcake and Nutter Butter cupcake.  I won’t keep you in suspense, they were a huge success!!!!  Here we go….

The Oreo Cupcake


Crust:  I processed about 1 cup of mini oreos (filling and everything) into crumbs, added 2 Tbs of melted butter, mixed, and pressed about 1 Tbs of the mix into the bottom of each cupcake liner (approx 12 cupcakes).  I baked them in a 350˚F oven for 2 minutes just so they were set.

Cake:  I used my go to Vanilla Cake recipe.  You can use your favorite here.  Chocolate Cake would be just as good!

Filling:  I cut out a small core in the middle of the cupcake and filled it with a chocolate mousse (For this mousse I just mixed chocolate fudge syrup with cool whip until I had enough of a chocolate flavor).

Frosting:  I used my go to Vanilla Buttercream.  Again, use your favorite here.

Decorations:  I chopped up a Hershey’s cookies’n’cream chocolate bar and sprinkled it on top.  Then I finished it off with an oreo mini!


The Nutter Butter Cupcake

Crust:  So same concept here, I processed about 1 cup of mini nutter butters (filling and everything) into crumbs, added 2 Tbs of melted butter, mixed, and pressed about 1 Tbs of the mix into the bottom of each cupcake liner (approx 12 cupcakes).  I baked them in a 350˚F oven for 2 minutes just so they were set.

Cake:  I used my go to Vanilla Cake recipe.  You can use your favorite here. 

Filling:  I cut out a small core in the middle of the cupcake and filled it with a peanut butter mousse (For this mousse I just mixed peanut butter with cool whip until I had enough of a peanut butter flavor).

Frosting:  I used my go to Vanilla Buttercream.  Again, use your favorite here.

Decorations:  I chopped up a Reese’s peanut butter cup and sprinkled it on top.  Then I finished it off with a nutter butter mini!

August’s My Bakers Box – ICE CREAM!!!

Now I realize that I should have taken a picture of the goodies I got in August’s box, but you can check them out here:!/mybakersbox?fref=nf

I love that they even include recipes!

I decided to make use of the ice cream cone cookie cutter that was included. I recently had an order for decorated sugar cookies for a baby shower, so I actually had a small amount of cookie dough left over. I used this recipe for “Basic Rolled Sugar Cookies,” They came out really good!  Very easy to roll out and cut.  It’s also important to mention that the cookies held their shape very well while baking.  I didn’t have globby ice cream cones that really looked like snowmen!

And the finished product………


Very simple!  For the decorations, I used some cookie frosting that I also had left-over, “Meringue Powder Buttercream,” I thinned it down with just a sprinkle of water so it would have that cloud-looking ice cream effect and spread it on the top of the cookie in circles.  Then I put a little of the fudge, included in the box, at the top and let it drizzle down, and finished with some sprinkles!!!!

I got a sneak peek of September’s box today, and it’s looking like an apple theme, so I can’t wait for it to arrive!!!

Coca-Cola Float Cupcakes


Hello everyone!  Got a request from my mom this weekend to create a treat for a birthday at work.  Her co-worker LOVES anything coca-cola!  When she came home with gifts of all coke memorabilia, I knew we were going with some kind of coke themed dessert.  This particular cupcake is representative of a coke float, cherries and all!

First the cupcake itself:  I’m no stranger to a boxed cake mix and use them very frequently in my baking, as was the case here.  My go to recipes for these quick fixes usually come from Anne Byrn’s Book, The Cake Mix Doctor (you can purchase it here:, but her chocolate cake recipe calls for ingredients I didn’t have, namely sour cream.  So some internet searching brought me to this recipe from Duncan Hines:  I was really just looking for a recipe that could confirm success when replacing coke for the liquid and this one did the trick!


I stopped after the recipe for the actual cake, however, the only change I made from here was replacing the oil with melted butter.  The cupcakes baked up very nicely (I read some horror stories about runny and exploding cupcakes).  Once they cooled I cut out the middles and filled them with ready-made cherry pie filling.  How easy, right?

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(Sorry for the not so great quality pictures.  I left my camera in PA while visiting my sister last weekend, so these are from my phone).

In the second picture you can also see that I added a glaze.   Originally, this was going to be a chocolate ganache coating, but I found that the cupcakes themselves didn’t seem to have enough coke flavor, so I wanted to add another coke element.  I added about 2-3 Tbs of Coca-Cola to about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar so it had a rather thin consistency and dipped each cupcake in the glaze.  Then I let them sit to harden slightly.

Finally, the topping:  I went with a very simple and classic whipped cream.  Whipped up about 1 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs  of powdered sugar.  With the sweetness of the cupcake and the glaze I wanted to keep the whipped cream less sweet.

I found some adorable paper milkshake straws at target (on clearance!!!!!!!!!!!!) in all different colors, so I pulled out the red ones, cut them to size (about 1.5″) and placed them into the whipped cream like straws in a Coke Float!