No Bake Lilac Blueberry Cheesecake OMG 10th Blogiversary

Turn a plain cheesecake into an epic symphony of sophistication with this No Bake Lilac Blueberry Cheesecake. Lilac? Oh yes! It is subtle, wonderful and makes the cake an eternal spring classic!

A decade, a freaking decade people! Double digits! I am honestly a bit at a loss for words. Suddenly my blog feels like a child. 10 years is a long time to nurture such a project. And, like a child, I have seen it grown, I have seen it crawl, take its first steps and later on some leaps. I have seen it sing, kick and scream, smile ear to ear, and shed tears. It has laughed a lot and loved. So much love. Love from me to you and enormous portions of love from you to me. Please help yourselves to a slice of my Lilac Blueberry Cheesecake and come celebrate my 10th blog anniversary with me!

Lilac Blueberry Cheesecake

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Beetlejuice Swiss Roll Cake for Halloween

BOO! The cute &  adorable Japanese deco Swiss Roll Cake recipe was hijacked this month to create a gousligh Beetlejuice movie themed cake for Halloween.

I am always super excited to present my big main Halloween post each year! And this year, with my goolish Halloween recipe, I got to knock down two skeletons with one big candy (ha ha). This post combines both the October 2016 challenges for Food ‘n Flix and the Daring Kitchen. The movie for Food ‘n Flix was Beetlejuice. The Daring Kitchen challenge was a decorated swiss roll cake. Hence, my evil mind gave birth to the scary themed Beetlejuice Swiss Roll Cake! Do you dare to take a bite?

swiss cake roll

swiss cake roll slice

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9th Blogiversary: my Cake Decorating Challenge

The art form of cake decorating can be intimidating to a novice. But even masters had to start with a humbling first cake. Learn in this post the basic tools needed and how to prepare your canvas for your creations.

Let’s eat a fancy decorated cake for my 9th blog anniversary! No, not one cake, let’s have two cakes! Here is a blog veteran tip: keep challenging yourself, make those hard recipes, try those scary cooking techniques. Today I will attempt to conquer one more personal kitchen nemesis: cake decorating.

Cake decorating lily of the valley

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3 Tips to Save a Swiss Meringue Buttercream that has Run Amuck

All hail the supreme cake icing: Swiss Meringue Buttercream! Is it new to you? Learn it’s history, advantages, and make this buttercream recipe like a pro with these 3 tips if the icing goes berserk!

One of my weaker skills in the kitchen is cake decorating. I am not a natural and I have ventured little into serious cake decorating business. I decided to do something about it and give it a real try. Now before you can really give cake decorating a try, you have to start off with the right icing. There are many options but the uncontested icing for serious cake decoration is the Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.

icing with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Lemon Cupcakes are just Beachy

Got a party in the works? How about serving up these adorable beach themed lemon cupcakes and cake! No special skills are required to prepare these sweets and your dessert just may steel the spotlight from the honored guest!

As you get older you realize that one of the most important things in life is being well surrounded by people you love. Or to keep certain people close enough to you that they are willing to plan a huge party for you. Just kidding! On May 31st 2015 the party organization team of Sue and Evelyne threw a big 50th Birthday bash for our dearest friend Michele. It was an absolute pleasure to plan Michele’s birthday as she is like family to me and I know it is a mutual feeling. So one more time: Happy 50th Birthday Michele!

Beach themed Lemon Cupcakes tier

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Celebration Party Cake – 36 to 54 people

Yesterday I organized a big family and friends party at a great restaurant for 2 very special occasions: June 5th is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary and June 8th is my dad’s 75th birthday. We were a nice group of 30 people and we enjoyed a great meal at a very group-friendly restaurant, LaGriglia d’Oro in Montreal. Thank you Carmine for everything. The food was excellent, all cooked perfectly and served warm (salmon and steak not over cooked like most places), everyone loved the place, the decor, and the service was excellent. The general comment I got from everyone was that the dinner experience was perfection. Now this post is not about the dinner but about the DESSERT!


Sorry bad restaurant lighting

The restaurant does not supply cake with the group menu but would charge $5 extra per person for a dessert. Times30 that is $150…a lot for a cake! They happily said I could bring in my own cake. Again a cake for about 30 in a bakery shop will  run you around $100. So I though I am a baker, I have a food blog, I can kinda decorate. Why don’t I make the cake? And lots of anticipation stress ensued.

After much research I settled on a 12 x 18 in. sheet cake with 1 layer. Now you can serve 36 to 54 people with this cake depending on how you cut it. If you portions will be cut 2 x 2 in. you get 54 slices; math 6 horizontal slices x 9 vertical = 54. If you want a more generous portion (like me) you can cut portions 2 x 3 in. and get 36 slices ; math 6 horizontal slices x 6 vertical = 36. I also decided to settle for cake mix to save lots of time and money **hold the rotten tomato throwing**.  I was way more stressed about the decoration and spent hours online looking at pictures and trying to find some inspiration. This was truly the toughest part. Here are the recipes and my costs:

Sheet Party Cake

3 cake mixes (2 chocolate and 1 golden) – $6
9 eggs – $2
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil – $3
1 cup sour cream – $3
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 12×18 aluminum rotisserie pan from the dollar store – $2

Cake batter total= $16.00

Preheat oven at 350 F. Butter and flour your pan. Add and mix with an electric mixer everything as directed on the cake mix box and poor into the pan (I had a cookie sheet big enough to place the pan on). Bake for about 55 min or until ready, you know the toothpick test. Cool 10 min and remove from pan. Let the cake cool completely.

Since my pretty undulated borders stayed pretty clean I opted to not ice the sides. I decided to go with a buttercream icing recipe, found here, that would be laid smooth on top and add colored scrolls inspired by my henna designs for a sophisticated look.

Vanilla Buttercream Icing and Decorations

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature – $4
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted – $7
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
pack of 5 vials various cake sprinkles – $3

Icing and decoration total= $14.00

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Add 6 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time. Makes 5 cups.

Spread 3 cups of the icing (colored if you wish) on the top of the cooled sheet cake  smoothly. Put the remaining icing (colored if you wish) in a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your choice and pipe your designs. I added the candle, wrote some wishes, let inspiration flow for the sprinkles (less is more) and voilà! Of course I was so rushed for time I forgot to take pics of the icing process, so you get the dirty dishes, and when my lift arrived as I was finishing my icing job still. I did not even have time to take a good pic at home of the cake.

Cake total= $30.00

Gee I saved about $70. True I did not add an hourly rate to my cake total because it was fun, I saw it as a personal baking challenge for growth and I made it out of love for my parents.

A note on the icing: I went with an all butter recipe which means it will be off white and could melt in a warm climate. If you want a purer white or a less climate sensitive icing substitute half the butter with vegetable shortening and use clear vanilla extract.

Childlike Cake Pops

Oh boy, I was not jumping up and down when I heard this months International Incident Party challenge, hosted by Penny at Yes cake pops are like the new THANG . Some people say that cake pops will sweep the nation and put cupcakes down a notch from their pedestal (I heard rumors whoopy pies where next…time will tell). Cake pops are totally frigging cute to look at and the creativity limit is sky high. So why was I not psyched?

Because I SUCK at icing and cake decoration. What I really wanted to use as a title was childish cake pops but I figured I would be accused of being to hard on myself. Nothing went right. So I used blueberry muffins instead of cake and I used regular frosting as the recipe calls for. It was really messy and the balls did not stick very well together.And the idea of that much icing IN the cake was not appetizing for me.

I did not fins lollipop sticks so first I tried straws, the cake balls were to heavy and the straw would bend. I opted for chopsticks. Then I could not find the colored candy melts so I tried melted white chocolate with food coloring. The texture was WAY too heave, I tired adding cream to get a ganache consistency but I guess white chocolate does not like cream. I would try dipping and covering the ball in the chocolate like suggested and then the chopsticks just slipped out or the cake ball fell apart. I was ready to give up.

So I went with reverse cake pops. I did the fork dipping thing and placed the chop sticks on top. I had some store bough cake icing tubes and with my horrible icing talents got 2 cake pops to look like supposed bees and 2 other cake pops with flowers, leaves and hearts. A childish garden on pollinated flowers from bees!

Gimme a really complicated cake recipe where the final presentation is in the baking I got no problem. Put icing in my hand and I am terrified. But hey I did it once…I can move on lol.

International Incident Cake Pops Party