Friday, October 28, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Both women and men can become victims of this horrible disease, and the toll it takes on family and friends can be daunting.

We must all do whatever small part we can in helping to find a cure for this insidious disease. Volunteer at a hospice, knit/crochet caps for chemotherapy patients, donate money, or do what you think you can to contribute.

We must have hope, and we must keep up the fight. It's too important of an issue not to.

Love & sweetness,


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's A Love/Hate Thang

As long as I can remember, I've had this love/hate thing going with winter.

Yup, the season. Let me explain.

I live in New England, where we are blessed to experience all four seasons in their complete glory. Springs are sometimes rainy and chilly, but newly budding trees and flowers, and the occasional warm breeze, reminds you that life is renewing itself, and that's a wonderful thought.
(Springtime in Boston)

Summer is, well, summer. What's not to like about it? Warm (sometimes TOO warm) days, sunshine, barbecues, beach trips, sounds of motorcycles (yup, I looooove 'em), sitting on the back deck at night with a glass of wine. Ahhhhhh.............
(Nantucket Harbor)

Fall. In New England, fall is breathtaking. The colors on the trees are indescribable, and I am constantly amazed at the beauty of it all.

And then there's WINTER. Ugggh.

Now, I'm a winter baby, so I guess I'm supposed to like the season. And I do. To a degree.

I love when the fireplace is roaring, and there's a heart-warming holiday movie on tv, and we're all snuggled on the couch (puppies included) watching. I love, love, love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and shopping on Black Friday, and Valentine's Day...........And I love watching snow fall at dusk, when it's absolutely quiet, and the wonder of it all just gets to me.

But.............(and there's always a but), I detest the cold, and the wind, and the ice, and the heating bills, and the slush, and...........well, you get the idea.

Anyway, with all that being said, I set aside my dislike of the season every year and get into the spirit. And this year, I'm starting early.

This cake was so much fun to make. And it's really not that difficult, but it is a little time consuming.

First, I need to give credit to Melissa Diamond of My Cake School from whom I got the inspiration for this cake. (You should check out her website/blog. She's phenomenal.)

The cake/igloo was made in two pyrex bowls and covered in fondant. The fondant was then scored to look like ice blocks. The doorway to the igloo was made from 2 Rice Krispies treats that I shaped into a horseshoe and covered in fondant.

The figures were all made from a 50/50 mix of gumpaste and fondant. (I make my own fondant from a recipe by Michele Foster that I found on Cake Central)

The snow is royal icing that I spread around with an angled spatula. And the trees are cones of gumpaste/fondant shaped into cones, and snipped with craft scissors.

Easy, peasy, as they say. Hope you like it!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Whimsical, that's me!

I've been baking, and enjoying it, since I was very young. Growing up, we always had homemade baked goods in the house, thanks to my grandma who lived with us. (She made the bestest cookie dough crust for blueberry pie that I've ever had!!)

True, she baked the "old-fashioned" way (a pinch of this, a smidgen of that), but still, I watched and learned. Grandma (and my parents) emigrated here after World War II, and her baking was ethnic and delicious. I adored her!

After I married and had children, I seemed to bake more and more. Given my upbringing, it always seemed important to me to have something fresh and yummy in the house for dessert or a snack. I made cakes (and pies and cookies) for every birthday, and holiday, and any other excuse I could come up with. I made wedding cakes for friends and family, and loved every minute of it. I distinctly remember my daughter's first birthday (she's 23 now), when I made this elaborate 3 tiered cake, complete with roses and scroll work, only to have her stick her hands gleefully into my masterpiece. (Who knew about smash cakes then? lol)

I tried very hard to get things just right in my decorating. I practiced my flowers, my piping, my smoothing. It was very important to me to be "perfect." (Or, as perfect as I could get.) I wanted my decorating to be elegant and refined. Call it youthful determination, I guess.

But now I'm older. And my style has changed. Oh, I still want to get things "right", (and I still spend alot of time practicing my skills) but I am not as inclined toward the dignified and elaborate. I've decided that now, in middle age, I am distinctly more whimsical than I used to be. (At 52, I absolutely adore Hello Kitty. That's whimsical, right?? :-)

For instance, take these cookies that I did recently for a baby shower.
They're cute, aren't they? (The cookie recipe is from Martha Stewart and you can find it here). And this is the type of stuff I totally enjoy doing now.

They make me happy!

Oh, I still try my hand at more difficult work (Haniela is one of my biggest inspirations) and, of course, if I produced a beautiful five tier wedding cake that won a prize at the Oklahoma Sugar show I'd be more than thrilled!
But for now, I guess I'll stick to the things that make me smile!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My babies

No, I didn't make cookies that look like my children (although I've thought of it!! :-)). Instead, I'm talking about my 4-legged babies, Aries and Nikki.

Nikki is on the left, and Aries on the right. It's hard to get a good photo of them!

To be honest, Aries is my son's dog, and Nikki (his daughter) is kinda-sorta my dog. Although, I share her with my own daughter on occasion.
Awww, a boy and his dog!! :-)
Aries is a long-haired Dachshund, and Nikki is half Doxie, half Bichon. (She looks nothing like a Bichon, dontcha think?)

Anyway, in my latest order from Karen's Cookies, I got the most adorable Dachshund cutter, along with a fire hydrant cutter. After all, how can you make dog cookies without a fire hydrant??

I had to make these right away. It was imperative, it was a necessity, it was a sugar and flour situation!!!So, I made the dough, baked them, and flooded them with brown icing (I use the "Sort Of" royal icing by The Decorated Cookie):

Then I dressed them up with some sweaters, and cute bows for Nikki, and they ended up like this:

And like this:

I think they're kinda cute!!! But not as cute as my love bugs!!!!!!!!!!
Love and Sweetness,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Have you seen the little fishies....?

I can't take credit for this design. I was perusing the 2012 Wilton Yearbook (which, by the way, is an awesome source of inspiration) and found these adorable fishbowl cookies.

I had free rein to make some cookies for a wee child's special day, so I whipped up a batch of one of my favorite sugar cookie recipes (more on those later) and decided to try my hand at these.

The fishbowl is just a large sized round cutter, with about 1/2 inch cut off the top of the cookie to simulate the flat top of the bowl. I piped the blue for the water around the cookie, and flooded it. I used just a little of Americolor electric blue.

The round fishies are just small round cookies piped with a number 1 tip, and flooded. After drying they are attached to the larger cookie, and the tail, fins and mouth are added. I also added a royal icing eye that I purchased because I absolutely suck at making eyes! lol

Air bubbles are just dots, topped by a little heart. I used multi colored confetti hearts for the gravel on the first few (just brush some corn syrup or piping gel on, and pour the hearts on), but decided to go with blue and yellow sanding sugar for the remainder. The white band at the top is a thin rope of fondant (I primarily use Satin Ice, although I've been known to use Duff's on occasion), again attached with piping gel or corn syrup.

Oh, and the cat? It was a new cutter that I'd been anxious to use, so I threw him into the photo for the heck of it. Too bad I forgot to draw on his drooling tongue!!

I know this is a big cookie with alot of sugary goodness, but I understand the wee one adored them!!

Love and sweetness,


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Things that make you go BOO

I've been really enjoying my cookie exploits lately. I've found recipes that I love, and am stoked that Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are soon to be upon us. What better time for decorating cookies, right??

Here are just a few examples of things I've been doing lately:

These cookies, a combo of cream cheese sugar cookies, and chocolate/chocolate chip cookies, are covered with The Decorated Cookie's "Sort Of" royal icing recipe. They were so much fun to make!!

I also did these for some special friends:

I think I like the apples best of all.

Aren't these fun? The brooms were supposed to be witches' brooms, but they looked cuter to me this way.

I found these Wilton cookie cutters, and just had to make these.

I thought the witch's boot was an awesome idea for a cutter. LOL

Like I said, this time of year is sooooo much fun. Except for hating the cold, I love how the autumn and winter bring out the kid in me.

With love and sweetness,


Friday, September 16, 2011

Pink and Brown for Baby

I had such fun doing these cookies and cupcake bouquet for a little lovely's baby shower.

This chocolate recipe came from LilaLoa, and the taste is amazing!

The new auntie, who placed the order with me, wanted alot of PINK for baby Olivia, and I was more than happy to comply. (Next to purple, it's my favorite color!!)

This sugar cookie recipe comes from Sweet Sugarbelle, who constantly amazes me with her cookie genius!

I had so much fun doing these cookies!!

The cuppies were red velvet and key lime, faves of the mom-to-be. Aren't those baby faces cute?? :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For those who haven't checked lately, here's a sample of our menu at SweetCakes

Some of Our Offerings

“Midnight Madness - Dark Chocolate Cupcake with chocolate chips, Chocolate Ganache, topped with Chocolate Buttercream;

“Vin & Dottie” - Boston Cream Cupcake topped with a yummy Chocolate Glaze;

“White on White” - Vanilla Cupcake with White Chocolate Mousse filling, and covered in creamy Vanilla Frosting;

“Psychedelic Shack” - Rainbow Cupcake with Creamy Vanilla Frosting;

“Sir Pistacholate” - Chocolate Fudge Pistachio Cupcake filled with Chocolate Pistachio Truffle, crowned with Pistachio Buttercream;

"Cherry Cordial" - Devil's Food Cupcake with cherries, topped with Chocolate Ganache, Cherry Buttercream, and a Chocolate Covered Cherry;

"Namaste" - Chocolate Chip Chai Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting;

"Scarlett O'Hara" - Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting;

“Chelsea Morning”- Lavender & Honey Cupcake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting;

“Action Jackson” - Fudgey Brownie Cupcake with a peanut butter cup center, topped with Chocolate Ganache, and Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirled Buttercream;

“Coffee with Cream“ - Vanilla Bean Coffee Cupcake topped with Coffee-Chocolate Ganache and Creamy Vanilla Frosting;

“Mellow Yellow” - Vanilla Cupcake with Lemon Filling, topped with Whipped Meringue;

"Danny Boy" - Irish Coffee Cupcake with Bailey's Irish Creme Buttercream;

Other Cupcake Flavors Include:
Vanilla,    Carrot,   Cookies & CreamCinnamon Roll,   Blueberries & Cream,   White Chocolate Fudge,   Almond Amaretto,      Double Chocolate Kahlua,   Mango Pineapple Coconut,   Root Beer Float,   Orange,   Strawberries and Cream,    Chocolate Toffee,   Guinness,   Key Lime,   Milky Way    Peaches & Cream,    Chocolate Hazelnut,    Pina Colada,    Banana,    and Devil‘s Food.

Buttercream or Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Vanilla        Chocolate    Espresso      Lemon    Bailey’s Chocolate    Amaretto Fudge    Strawberry    Chocolate Strawberry    Raspberry    Mango    Champagne     Caramel    Cream Soda    Vanilla Malt    Butterscotch    Chocolate Malt    Cinnamon    Dulce de Leche    Cookies & Cream    Pineapple Cream Cheese    Coconut Rum

Ganache & Other Frostings:
White Chocolate    Chocolate    Key Lime Meringue
Marshmallow Frosting    Cream Cheese

Whipped Cream, Lavender Cream, Raspberry Mousse, Creamy Mint, Mango, Apple Cinnamon, Caramel, Pineapple Cream Cheese, Orange, Coconut, Vanilla, or Chocolate Custard, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut, Rosewater Cream, Chocolate Truffle, White Chocolate Truffle, Chocolate Pistachio Truffle, Lemon, Lime , Banana, or Key Lime Curd, Strawberry, Blackberry or Blueberry Coulis.

Standard Cupcakes: (min. order is Half Doz.)
Traditional Flavors:  Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Orange, Red Velvet, Carrot, Cookies and                 Cream, and Lemon
             $18 per Doz. and $10 per Half Doz.
Specialty Cupcakes: $25 per Doz. and $13 per Half Doz.

Mini Cupcakes: (min. order is Doz.)
Traditional flavors: $12 per Doz.
Specialty Cupcakes: $15 per Doz.

Cake Pops

Small, $6.00   Medium, $7.50   Large, $9.00  (all prices per half dozen)

Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla, Red Velvet, Lemon, Banana, Strawberry,
Root Beer, Coconut, and Pistachio


Hand Decorated Cookies
Made to your specifications
Sugar, Gingerbread, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip
Up to 2“ in size:  $25.00 per dozen
Over 2” in size:  $35.00 per dozen

Any Cupcake (standard or mini) 
can be made into a beautiful


Half dozen standard size:    $15.00   Dozen standard:    $28.00
Half dozen mini size:  $12.00     Dozen mini:    $20.00

Orders over Two Dozen will require advance notice of more than three days. Please inquire about your specific order.

We bake with Dairy products, nuts, and wheat. Please advise us if you have any allergies, and we can make suggestions for you.

Fondant and Gum paste Items and Cupcake Toppers are available at an additional charge.

Custom made Cupcake wrappers available in a wide array of styles & colors.

Please call SweetCakes to place your order today 203-706-7999

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Makin' the Cuppies

I've been doing lots of baking lately. Lots. And lots.

My kids are getting used to me being up late, and hearing the mixer going at all hours.

But, what can I say? I work better at night.

These are some of the cuties I've turned out lately.

This one was quite the yummy concoction.
Let's see: Brownie cupcake. check
               Nutter Butter truffle filling. check
               Chocolate fudge frosting. check
               Drizzle of Reese's chocolate/peanut butter syrup. check
Can you say Sugar Shock?? lol

I also whipped up these little beauties, just in time for the Royal Wedding.
(Not that I watched the wedding, mind you.)

These are delicious Earl Grey cupcakes with a delectable Lemon Buttercream. Heavenly.
Now, if only I had a funky hat to wear, I would've gone to the wedding and delivered them myself. :-)

But after I finished with my romantic notions of royal love stories, I got back to the real business of cupcake making.
I call these "Sir Pistachalote"
Chocolate Cupcake with chopped Pistachios
Pistachio Buttercream
Chopped Pistachios for a garnish
(Are ya drooling yet??)

And, to make things even more interesting, we can make any of these cupcakes FOR YOU!!! 

C'mon. Ya know ya want some!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I had a yen to try those Rainbow cupcakes you see all over the blogs these days.

They just look so awesome and festive.

And what's better, they really can't come out wrong.

I mean, really, what's easier?

Use your favorite white cupcake recipe, divide the batter into 4 bowls, and add your colors of choice.

I suppose you could do as many colors as you wanted, but there's such a thing as TOO much of a good thing. I mean, really, you don't want the colors running together, and there being very little distinction between them.

I chose fuschia, yellow, orange, teal and violet for mine. (Yes, I went with 5 cuz I couldn't decide!!)

They looked so adorable when they came out of the oven.

And decorated, they looked even better. For my frosting, I used the Creamy Vanilla Frosting from the Magnolia Bakery. I just looooooove that stuff. I swear, I could eat the whole bowl if I could.

Anyway, I couldn't wait to slice one open.

As they say nowadays, way cool. (Or is that sooooo 90's?)

Our newest addition to the SweetCakes family. "The Psychedelic Shack".......(what can I say, I'm stuck in the 60's!!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cake Pops

Cake Pops.....We've all heard of them, right? Well, perhaps not if you're not into baking. But recently these little darlings have become a sensation. You may have noticed that they're even selling them at Starbuck's now.

If you really want to see some awesome work, either visit Bakerella's site, or pick up her book. The woman is a marvel, I tell ya.

I've been trying my hand at them lately cuz, really, they are so cute and yummy.

The ones in the photographs in this post are made from banana cake, mixed with my new favorite buttercream, Magnolia Bakery's Fluffy Vanilla. I swear, I could eat that frosting with a spoon!!

In case some of you would like to try this, it's really fun to do, and not that difficult. First, collect some scraps from a cake you've levelled, or a layer that you've baked and perhaps frozen for later use.

Crumble the cake up nice and smooth, and add about 1/4 cup of the frosting to it. Recipes I've read have called for up to 1/2 cup for an entire recipe (2 layers), but I like to start with less and add more as I go.

You mix this all up till it's a nice consistency. Then use something that will give you equal measurements, like a measuring spoon, or melon baller, or cookie scoop, and grab yourself some of your cake-ball mix. Roll it into a nice ball. Place the ball on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Continue with the rest of the mixture.

Once you have all your cookie balls made, either pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours, or freeze for about 15 min, then put them in the fridge.

When you're ready to dip them, take some candy melts and a little bit of shortening (to make the chocolate a little thinner), and microwave until melted. I think the rule of thumb is about 3-4T of shortening for a whole bag of melts, so you can gauge how much to put in based on the amount of chocolate you're melting.

Then, take a few of the cookie balls out of the fridge. Take a lollipop stick, and dip it about 1/2 inch into the melted chocolate. Put the stick into the cake ball, being careful not to come out of the top of the ball. About halfway, or a little less, should be safe. After we've done a few, return them to the fridge to set. Continue until you have "stuck" all the cake balls with lollipop sticks.

When they've firmed up some, (maybe an hour or so), again, take a few out at a time, and dip them in the chocolate, making sure to cover the entire ball. It is easier if you have the chocolate in a deep enough container so that you can fully submerge your cake ball.

Tap the stick lightly on the edge of your container to let the excess fall away. The chocolate will start to firm up fairly quickly, so if you're going to do any decorating, now's the time. You can roll the cake pop in sprinkles, or jimmies, or cake crunch. You can let the chocolate dry, and then draw designs on the pops with candy writers that come in little tubes. You can even decorate them with fondant.

There are literally thousands of ways to decorate your cake pops. I hope that you'll try them out with your favorite cake recipe and enjoy.

At SweetCakes, we are currently offering cake pops in the following flavors: chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, lemon, pumpkin spice, banana, white almond, vanilla malt, coca cola (regular and cherry), root beer, and coconut. They are available by half dozen of one flavor, and range from $1.00 for small ones, to $1.50 for the largest size.

Cake pops can also be made into bouquets, much like cupcakes can. Call us today to order your own!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The evolution of a cupcake

I've been trying and trying to find a lemon cake recipe that I like. The box mixes are too fakey tasting for me..(and that's not how I roll anyway)...And most of the scratch recipes have been too mild in the flavor department.

It's almost like my search for the perfect white cake recipe. It took me forever, but I finally climbed that mountain. And that story is for another post, on another day.

Anyhoo, I did find the most wonderful lemon cake recipe in a book called The Well Decorated Cake by Toba Garrett. It's actually a lemon coconut cake recipe, but by omitting the shredded coconut (which I don't care for anyway), it became my long sought-after lemon cake recipe.

(Btw, this book is a worthy purchase as Ms. Garrett is a wealth of knowledge on decorating technique, etc. )

Anyway, back to the lemon cake. It's hard to describe the smell that emanates from the oven when this cake is baking. And when you finally take it out, and snitch a piece, the lemon flavor just explodes in your mouth. Which doesn't surprise me since the recipe calls for the zest of 3 lemons, lemon curd and lemon juice. That's a 1-2-3 punch!!! I've been using this recipe for a while now, with wonderful results.

But, tonight, I decided to put that lemon cake together with strawberry, and this is what I came up with:

These cuppies, wearing their pretty little wrappers made by yours truly, are a veritable delight. In the center of this luscious lemon cakette is a slice of strawberry, which is a pleasant surprise for your taste buds as you bite into it.

On top of the cuppie, I made an oh-so-fluffy Strawberry buttercream which isn't at all cloyingly sweet like some buttercreams can be. The flavor of the strawberry is a definite complement to the lemon.

Finally, I garnished the whole thing with some fresh lemon zest, just to keep the flavors all balanced and working together. It really is a delicious cupcake. My name for it?? The STRAWBERRY BLONDE. :-) I hope you'll try some at SWEETCAKES.

Friday, April 8, 2011


For those that have asked us about pictures of some of our cupcakes, here are a few:

The above cupcakes are Blueberry Puree cupcake with a Whipped Blueberry Buttercream. They are really scrumptious, and the color is absolutely amazing. Only in nature....

These are our Cherry Cordial: a devil's food cupcake with cherries, topped with chocolate ganache, cherry infused Buttercream, and a chocolate covered cherry. These are very popular!!

These cuties are our Pink Velvet cupcakes with a White Chocolate Ganache, topped with pink sugar crystals. For anyone who's ever had velvet cake, other than red velvet, you know that it's smoothness cannot be compared!

And finally, we have our Milky Way Cupcakes. These are truly out of this world. (No pun intended). The cupcake is actually made with melted Milky Way candy. And it only gets better from there!!

Are ya hungry yet????? :-)

Fooling around with some springtime designs

I wanted to decorate a few cupcakes I made tonight in some fun, whimsical, springtime designs. So.....I broke out the mixing bowl and made a batch of Vanilla Buttercream. Then I went to town tinting all different colors. I already had some orange and yellow from yesterday's adventure in making my cupcake bouquet, but I really wanted to work with some new colors. I had seen a blog post the other day by someone who had done cupcakes for a bridal shower in Tiffany teal. What an awesome shade!! I checked my collection of gel colors, and sure enough, there was the teal. (Funny, I don't remember buying it.) So, I mixed it into some white, et voila, Tiffany teal. (Or is it Tiffany blue?? IDK)
As you can see from the picture, I really like the blue! lol
But, I also had fun making those little bunnies. They are just too cute for words. The body and head are done in tip 12, the feet (paws) in tip 3 or 4, the nose in tip 2 or 3, the eyes are just a touch of black food coloring on a toothpick, and the ears are snips of marshmallow. Aren't they precious?

It's gonna be 70 degrees here on Monday. I'd say spring has arrived!

Wouldn't these cuppies look wonderful on your Easter table?? SweetCakes is taking orders for Easter now.