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Neon Swirl Cupcake

neon swirl cupcake

My beautiful friend, Amanda, just celebrated a birthday, which for me was a perfect excuse to take my new AmeriColor gel pastes for a test drive! I recently developed an improved recipe for my cream cheese buttercream frosting (its all about the ratio..recipe to follow soon!).  The only problem with this new frosting, is that I can’t stop taste-testing it!!

For this neon swirl cupcake, I divided the light and fluffy buttercream goodness into three parts, and tinted each with a different gel.  I used Electric Yellow, Electric Pink, and Sky Blue here. Next, I layered each color into the pastry bag in vertical layers, so that each color is piped through the tip at any given time.  I used my (all time favorite) 1M tip here (as I do for the majority of my cupcakes).  The beautiful, soft, swirly blend happens all on its own in the piping process.

This technique takes some extra time, as you’re making three distinct icing colors.  Between each color, you have to clean the mixing bowl and utensils, or the colors muddy.

Bonus: the pastry bag looks like a beautiful Monet-inspired work of art at the end.  Perhaps this will be my next endeavor- a watercolor/Monet/impressionist cupcake?!?  That sounds like a perfect challenge.  Stay tuned!

Aviator’s Indulgence

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My Brother is traveling to South Korea to teach English for a year.  We had a little send off party for him, with a vintage-travel theme.  These chocolate cakes topped with cream cheese buttercream and a hand piped milk chocolate airplane were a lot of fun.  I had to play around photographing this *new to me* vintage typewriter that Rob and I found on a very exciting adventure to nearby Plymouth! DSC_0050Ready for take-off!

 

Welcome, Baby Ben!

A little blue confection to welcome home Baby Ben!

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Vanilla cakes glazed in white chocolate vanilla bean ganache topped with blue vanilla buttercream and sugar pearls.

Salted Chocolate Cupcakes

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A perfect new Sunday recipe: Chocolate cakes dipped in chocolate ganache, topped with fresh chocolate butter cream, a dusting of fleur de sel and a tiny ganache-dipped pretzel! Yum!

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My Little Luxemburgerli

There’s a beautiful historic cafe in Zurich called Sprungli, which is well known for its hot chocolate, and a serendipitous confection with an innate ability to make me smile: the Luxemburgerli.  I had to have them.  The delicious swiss adaptation of an airy macaroon is undoubtedly the most perfect subject for a macro shoot.   I think had a little too much fun with these:

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Hot Chocolate Bar

One of this year’s holiday parties was an annual cookie swap.  This year, however, there was a “whiskey swap” component added for the gentlemen who wished to participate, a pot-luck meal, and an optional “ugly sweater” dress code, to further complicate things.  Of course I had to add my own Trace of Grace flair to the event; cue the hot chocolate bar!

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I must apologize for the poor quality of this photo.  It was taken quickly in an effort to capture it all before it was gone! I really need to work on this..

Anyway, the crock pot is full of warm homemade drinking chocolate. Optional additions include a variety of nips (adults only!) toffee, peppermint, homemade marshmallows, chocolate kisses, and my favorite- frozen whipped cream dollops! It was pretty easy to get creative here.

I used printables from Yellow Bliss Road found here: http://www.yellowblissroad.com/hot-chocolate-bar-free-chalkboard-printables/ to decorate the mugs and make the sign.  This was a very quick and easy way to add some festive fun to our already very exciting little gathering!

Will you try a Hot Chocolate Bar at your next holiday gathering?

 

Todisco Family Session 11.24.13

I’m pretty sure it was the coldest day of the season so far, with unbearable wind.  Our time together didn’t go exactly as planned, as mother nature seems truly intent on making these christmas card mini-sessions increasingly challenging for me.   With approximately 5 minutes before we would all turn to icicles, this SUPER SPEEDY portrait session yielded a small handful of blog-worthy photos (in my humble opinion..!)

Thank goodness for hot cocoa with whipped cream.  The kiddos were great sports! I’m really looking forward to spending a little more time with them after the thaw this spring.

Please welcome the stars of today’s show: AJ, Natalie, Jack and Olivia!

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The Ombre Cake

Ombre CakeThis is my first attempt at an ombre cake.   Well, ombre anything for that matter! I suppose I’m a little behind on this trend.

I made this cake for one of my very best friends for her birthday.  It was a fun cake to make and a great opportunity to practice a new technique for frosting.  I do have to admit that this was a time consuming little guy, not to be undertaken without several spare hours, ample frosting for tinting, a significant amount of patients, and of course a trace of grace.

The fun factor of this cake was increased when the birthday girl cut her first slice to reveal an extra surprise!

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Unexpected and Serendipitous

I received these beauties as a lovely housewarming gift a few days ago.  This afternoon, my camera told me to take them outside.

I was getting some pretty, light and whimsical images which are, in my opinion, a great reflection of the personality of these flowers:

And then this happened:

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Suddenly, whimsy is drama, and pretty is, I think, better defined as gorgeous.  What do you think?

Three Special Ladies

The last week in July always marks the birthdays of three very special women in my life: My grandmothers Sally, and Grace, and my Aunt Debbie.  This year we celebrated with three pretty cakes, all rustically styled and adorned with fresh flowers.  For Grace, a scrumptious white cake with cheesecake filling, and vanilla/almond buttercream frosting, topped with two happy gerber daisies. For Sally, a sweet strawberry cake with cheesecake filling enrobed in vanilla buttercream frosting, crowned with pink peruvian lilies.  And for Debbie, a decadent chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse, veiled in chocolate buttercream and a cascade of purple poms.

Which do you like best? Please comment, follow, and share!!

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