Category Archives: Cake

Fairy House Birthday Cake

The spring fairies must be visiting my garden!  The flowers are blooming and my daughter has been busy building fairy houses in our yard.  She just turned 7 and to celebrate, I wanted to make a fairy house cake for her party.

A few years ago, I bought a beautiful story book called Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane.  It was about a little girl who went into the forest on an east coast island to build fairy houses made only out of natural things.  My daughter enjoys the idea so, that we still go on walks to collect sticks, bark, rocks and even seashells on vacation.  You may not collect anything living.  She then builds these cute little homes for the fairies, tucked into hidden places in our gardens.  I thought it would be very fitting if she had a fairy house cake for her birthday!

Chocolate Fairy House Cake

The idea was to make the cake look like a tree stump fairy house.  It had 4 layers of chocolate cake, two 9″ layers of dark chocolate boxed cake mix and two 9″ layers of german chocolate cake mix.  The layers were alternated light and dark to add interest when you cut into it.

The chocolate ganache frosting was very simple to make.  I was inspired by a recipe from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 24 ounces bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat the heavy cream until very hot (not boiling) and add the chocolate chips.  Stir over heat until completely melted.  The mixture will turn smooth deep chocolate color.  Remove from heat and pour into an electric mixer bowl.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, but do not let harden.  After 2 hours, the bottom of the bowl was just slightly warm to the touch.  I added the vanilla and started to beat the chocolate using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Tree Stump Fairy House Birthday Cake Detail

The chocolate ganache frosting filled between each 9″ chocolate cake layer and the sides of the cake.  I covered the sides of the cake and then stroked from the bottom up to create the look of bark.  The door and windows were a graham cracker, cut with a knife to shape.  They were trimmed with a tube of orange decorative cake icing.  The vines were piped using a tube of green decorative cake icing.  The edible sugar flowers were packaged by Wilton.

Butterscotch Pudding Chocolate Ganache Fairy House Cake

To vary the color of the top of the cake, I made a box of butterscotch pudding and spread this over the top of the cake to look like the inner part of a tree.  The fairy figurine that adorned the top of the cake was purchased at a local craft store.  A piece of wax paper was placed down underneath to separate her from the cake.  The fairy figure will make a neat keepsake on my daughter’s bedroom shelf after her party.  The springy butterfly party plates napkins matched perfectly!

Happy Birthday!  Stop growing so fast!!


Disney Frozen – Ice Castle Cake

Here in Chicago, the snow is FINALLY starting to melt and I think the spell that was cast by Queen Elsa has been broken.  The Disney Frozen movie has made quite an impression on my young girls.  A few months ago, my daughter knew she wanted this theme for her 5th birthday party.  My daughter favorite character from the movie was Elsa, the Ice Queen.  She built her own ice castle and here is the edible version that I created.

Frozen Ice Castle Birthday Cake

The towers come to a sharp point and I used ice cream sugar cones and thin pretzel rods.  The tip of the ice cream cones were cut, so the pretzel rod would sit tightly in the top.  One tower was trimmed off a bit to make it shorter.  I dipped them in white chocolate candy melts, sprinkled them with blue sugar and added a few snowflake sprinkles here and there.  I also dipped some small pretzel twists to create a balcony.

Frozen Ice Castle Cake Towers

I made two layers of cake using a 12″ round pan and two layers using a 6″ round pan.  Alternating yellow cake mix and devil’s food.  Will admit, I love Betty Crocker’s boxed cake mixes!   I think I had used 4 box mixes, since I was alternating flavors – made a few cupcakes and had a lot of leftover cake.  One cupcake came in handy because it elevated the tallest tower perfectly!

Like I said, I love to use boxed cake mixes because they always turn out moist and delicious.  However, I DO like to make homemade icing and filling.  This cake was frosted using a French Vanilla Icing, which I posted before.  It holds up great for constructing a towering cake!  The homemade filling was delicious and easy – love it because it is not too sweet.

Strawberry Cream Filling

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries, washed and diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring strawberries, water and sugar to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until a sauce forms.  Add heavy cream and whisk in cornstarch one tablespoon at a time.  Whisk constantly for approximately 8 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and cool.  Chill before filling a cake.

The cake was pretty simple to assemble.  I alternated the cake layers starting with chocolate, than yellow and they were each separated by the Strawberry Cream Filling.  The entire cake was iced with the French Vanilla Icing.  The chocolate covered cones were placed on top using an upside-down cupcake to elevate the back tower.  In front of the 6 inch layers, I placed a Disney Elsa figurine surrounded by the chocolate dipped pretzels which created her balcony.  Then placed a few snowflake sprinkles around the sides of the cake and sprinkled white sugar sprinkles on top like glistening snow.

The birthday girl’s eyes lit up with a smile from ear to ear when she opened the refrigerator in the morning!  She sure was happy and super excited about her party.  More party ideas to come…stay tuned!

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Birthday Party

My youngest daughter requested a Daniel Tiger birthday cake for her 3rd Birthday.  She loves the TV show on PBS, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  It is the next generation of characters from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood that I grew up with.  I will admit that I even get nostalgic watching it.

I wanted to recreate the neighborhood trolley…

Daniel Tiger's Birthday Party

The Daniel Tiger figurines were purchased at Toys R Us.  Thought they would be cute to set up next to the trolley cake.  After the birthday party, the birthday girl could play with her figures.

A loaf pan turned out to be the perfect shape and size to make a trolley cake.  I baked two separate box mixes using Betty Crocker’s yellow cake mix and a devil’s food cake mix.  For each loaf cake, I filled the pan about ¾ full and baked them for approximately 45 minutes, until a toothpick came out clean.  With the remaining batter, I filled a muffin tin to make a few cupcakes.

Once the cakes cooled, they were stacked one above the other with a Homemade Creamy Blueberry Filling in the middle.  (I also filled the cupcakes with this filling – so good!)  Using homemade French Vanilla Icing (see recipe below), the cake was iced white around the sides.  Reserving a small amount to dye yellow and the remaining red for the roof.  I used Twizzlers candy ropes to trim the trolley and piped yellow icing to create the seats.  Just like the neighborhood trolley on the TV show!

My daughter was so excited about her cake and kept taking peeks in the fridge.  She also enjoyed the tiger plates that I found at the dollar store along with bright-colored mylar balloons.  So cute!

Happy Birthday kiddo!  Hope this made her day special.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Trolley Birthday Cake

French Vanilla Icing

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup Crisco shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup milk (plus a little more if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening on high-speed.  Gradually add the sugar.  In a small pan, heat the milk until scalded (stir constantly to prevent it from burning).  Reduce the speed of the mixer and pour a couple of tablespoons of milk into the mixture, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed.  Return the pan of milk to the heat again and repeat the process.  The key is to melt and remove the grit from the sugar.  This takes patience!  If the milk is used up, I will add a few more tablespoons of milk to the pan and repeat the process.  The icing will be creamy and grit free!

Healthy Raspberry Cake? Why Yes!

My family and I had a relaxing afternoon picking raspberries at a local farm on Labor Day.  It was definitely the peak picking time for the season after the heat and rain last week.  The berries were so big and delicious!  When we got home it was about time to start planning a BBQ dinner, but I wanted to whip up a quick dessert with our fresh picked berries.  I remembered that I had received a message last week from the Meal Makeover Moms about a healthy cake with fresh fruit.  Yes, I said it…healthy cake!  Well, I was actually missing one main ingredient.  I thought I had wheat germ in my fridge, but as it turned out I didn’t.  Since I needed a 1/4 C of something, I added another whole grain – corn meal.  Which I really enjoyed the moist cake with a little added crunch.

Healthy Fresh Raspberry Cake

Raspberry Breakfast Cake

Makes 8 Servings

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ or ground flaxseed 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Coat a 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray.

Add the dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.  In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, canola oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract until combined.  Add the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour the mixture into the pan and place the fresh fruit on top.  Sprinkle the top with remaining tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick come out clean.

Let cake cool or serve warm.  A scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt is certainly a treat over the warm cake!

Star Wars – Queen Amidala Doll Cake

My little girls have been obsessed lately with Star Wars.  Yet, I was still quite surprised that my daughter asked for a Star Wars birthday cake.  I wasn’t sure where to go with this idea.  At first, I was picturing a black cake with bright colors, but that wasn’t at all “girlie”.  Then I remembered my Wilton Wonder Mold cake pan.  I found a few 12″ Queen Amidala dolls on and let my daughter pick which one she wanted in her cake.  Of course she knew this would be something she could play with after her birthday too!

Happy 6th Birthday Kiddo!!

Star Wars Queen Amidala Doll Cake

I have written about how to make these doll cakes using a real doll in prior posts.  Check out my:

Rapunzel Doll Cake

Cinderella Doll Cake

As you can tell, I love my Wilton Wonder Mold cake pan!  I even made a Teapot Cake using it.

Easter Lamb Cake

Happy Easter!  Easter is a holiday that brings back a lot of memories from my childhood.  One of my favorite memories is the Polish tradition of baking the Lamb Cake, then placing it in a basket to take to church on Holy Saturday to be blessed with samples of the food we would eat for Easter dinner.   The basket would even include decorated hard-boiled eggs, lamb molded butter, salt and pepper shakers and a small carafe of wine.

Easter Lamb Cake

I borrowed my Mom’s cast iron lamb cake mold.  It is very important to grease the pan and every nook and cranny very good, then dust with flour!

Cast Iron Lamb Cake Mold

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and say “I only eat this cake once a year”.

My Grandma’s Pound Cake

yields two lamb cakes (or one lamb cake and 12 cupcakes)

1 lb. butter, softened

2 cups sugar

9 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease both sides of the cast iron lamb mold, then dust with flour.

Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla extract, the gradually add one egg at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl.  Once combined, reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour and baking powder.

Place the batter into the bottom of the mold.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes until browned.

I also made 12 cupcakes with the remaining batter.  Bake in the same oven for 25 – 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Grandma's Pound Cake

Gently unmold the cake and let cool completely before decorating.  For this cake, I used cream cheese icing and piped it in swirls.  Raisen eyes are very traditional.

Lamb Pound Cake

What are you traditions for Easter?

A Ballerina Birthday

This perfectly pink birthday is fit for a little prima ballerina!  Complete with a beautiful pink swirl rosette cake adorned with a gorgeous ballerina figurine.  My daughter was so excited to keep the ballerina figurine on a shelf in her bedroom, a nice keepsake that she will always remember this birthday by.  This ballerina cake complements the theme, in addition to, matching pink ballerina partyware, ballerina tutu picks and cupcakes and a beautiful centerpiece of fresh pink tulips in a vase laced up with a pink satin bow.

Ballerina Birthday Theme Party

Since I filled my ballerina cupcakes with a whole strawberry, I wanted to have the cake filling compliment the flavor.  The following recipe was used for filling in between the two cake layers.

Strawberry Filling

1 – 16 oz. bag of frozen strawberries (thaw in bowl with 1/4 C sugar to make syrup)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mash strawberries and drain reserving the juice.  Add water to the strawberry syrup to make 1 1/4 cups.  In a saucepan, combine the strawberry liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Stir until the liquid boils and thickens.  Cool completely, then mix in the strawberry pieces.  Refrigerate.

Pink Rosette Swirls Cake Icing

Cream cheese icing, devil’s food cake and strawberry filling is a delicious combination that everyone enjoyed!

The rosette pattern encompassed the entire cake.  Using a large star tip, start in the middle of the cake and create little circular swirls.  This technique is actually very easy!  The ballerina figurine was approximately 5 inches tall and made the perfect cake topper.

Birthday Cake and Ballerina Figurine

The cake turned out so pretty and delicate – just like a ballerina!

Ballerina Cake

Happy Birthday to my little ballerina!!

Look wHoo’s 2! – the cake

The owl theme turned out to be quite fun and my little girl is still enjoying her decorations.  A few days ago I posted the owl cookies that were made for the birthday party.  This post contains how to make this owl cake and some decoration ideas for my daughter’s birthday party.

Owl Shaped Birthday Cake

Preparation for decorating the cake, can be done days in advance.  This is the part when you need to get creative with embellishment for the cake.  To make the eyes and beak for the owl, I used Wilton’s Candy Melts.  Melt a handful of white chocolate wafers.  Then place a large spoonful of white chocolate on wax paper.   Spread into a circle that is approximately 2 inches in diameter, then offset and place one round chocolate-colored wafer for the dark part of the eye.  Make second eye mimicking the first.  For the beak, I melted a small handful of yellow Candy Melts, then spooned into a triangular shape about the same size as the eye.

Owl Eyes - made from melted chocolate wafers

To make the cut-out shape of the owl cake, I baked two 9 inch rounds using a Devil’s Food cake box mix.  I gently sliced each round cake into half to make two layers with filling in between.  Overlap the two bottom layers and cut a semi-circle out of the body layer, so that the head is nested into the body.  Cut the shape for the head and ears out of top cake round.  Spread filling.  Then place the top layers on, trimming to the shape of the bottom layer.

Pineapple Filling

1 can (16 oz.) crushed pineapple

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Drain pineapple reserving the juice.  Add water to the pineapple juice to make 1 1/4 cups.  In a saucepan, combine the pineapple liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Stir until the liquid boils and thickens.  Cool completely, then mix in the crushed pineapple.  Refrigerate.

Owl Cake - using two 9" rounds

For the chocolate frosting, I followed a recipe from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa).  It was delicious, but next time I would cut back slightly on the ground coffee.  It does enhance the chocolate flavor, but for a kid’s palate it could be reduced a bit.

After frosting the cake, I placed the eyes and beak in place.  Then used blanched almond slices as the ruffled chest feathers, starting from the top to bottom and leaving room at the bottom to write a birthday message.

Chocolate Owl Cake

Was actually super easy and turned out darling!  I refrigerated the cake overnight and my daughter was hanging on the fridge in the morning because she knew the owl was in there.

I found a few cute things in the dollar bins at Target for Valentine’s day that matched the owl theme.  This little felt purse was perfect to hold the balloon weight.  I stuck a few festive metallic picks into the weight to fill in this arrangement.

Owl Balloon Decoration

I Love to Reuse!  Why keep buying birthday banners to match a theme when you can simply reuse a basic banner every year?

I have been reusing the same two Happy Birthday banners since my kids were born.  These banners actually say Happy 1st Birthday and each one comes in a different set of colors for girl and boy.  Every year I change the “1st” circle piece to their current theme.  For this party, I created this cute little owl out of card stock to match our color scheme and used a few heart shaped stickers to make the ruffled feathers.

Happy Birthday banner

Happy 2nd Birthday kiddo!!

Baptism Cake

My goddaughter was Baptised this past weekend and I had the honor of making her a cake to celebrate the special occasion!

Christening Cake

Here’s a neat idea for a cake decoration:  Purchase a pretty pictured greeting card that would look nice as a cake decoration.  I traced an oval-shaped around the cross and cut it out.  Then applied a piece of wax paper on the back with tape to protect the paper from moisture of the frosting.  This decoration could then be used as a keepsake or would be beautiful to use in a scrapbook.

I made a round double layered cake in a 9 inch pan and frosted it with whip cream frosting.  Then place the paper cut-out and outline it with candy decorations, pulling the colors out from the picture.

Whip Cream Frosting

yields: frosting for a 9″ double layered cake

1 pint heavy whipping cream

4 TB confectioners sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Place metal mixing bowl and beaters in freezer (I leave mine in overnight).  Whip cream on high speed until stiff peaks are starting to form.  Add sugar and vanilla, continue until the whip cream is stiff.  (do not over beat)

Congrats to my goddaughter and her beautiful family!!

Teapot Birthday Cake

I wanted to make a special cake for my Mom’s Birthday and I thought how much my Mom enjoys having tea parties with her granddaughters.  This teapot cake turned out so cute and was super easy to make in a pinch using the Wilton Classic Wonder Mold.

Teapot Birthday Cake

I baked one Devil’s Food cake box mix in the Classic Wonder Mold.  While the cake was baking, I found a bone white teapot in my cabinet.  The teapot lid was the perfect size to top the cake.  For this cake I chose simple white, but if you have a patterned teapot, you could be inspired to decorate the cake based on the color or pattern of your teapot.

I studied the teapot and sketched out the shape for the spout and handle on paper.   Then cut it out and traced it onto yellow card stock twice.  (Two times because I wanted to place toothpicks in between the sheets and then stick them into the side of the cake to hold it in place)

I melted some yellow chocolate melting wafers in a squeeze bottle and outlined a bunch of five petal flowers on wax paper.  Once the chocolate sets and has cooled, they are very easy to handle to place on a cake.

Once the cake had cooled, I frosted it with my homemade icing and added a little more icing at the top to hold the ceramic lid in place.  The cardstock spout and handle were placed and the candy decorations were added to complete the teapot.

Time for tea!  Happy Birthday Mom!