These edible Easter Baskets are a great treat for kids and adult alike. They look adorable, but the best part is – they’re relatively easy to make. A simple cupcake acts as the “basket” base (I chose coconut cupcakes), green-colored coconut is strikingly realistic Easter grass, tuck in a cookie handle, and mini chocolate eggs finish off the look. Just a couple of do-ahead steps, and you’ll be ready to assemble your own baskets!
As the summer winds down, I thought I would sneak one more berry dessert into the mix. Although peak raspberry season is over, you can still find acceptable berries at your grocery store. This tart is the epitome of simple: a graham cracker crust, a sweet and creamy filling, topped with fresh berries. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this combination. The dessert highlights the berries by creating a subtle contrast in flavor and texture in both the crust and filling, but does not over power the delicate raspberries themselves. The tang of the berries are complimented nicely by the tang of the sour cream filling. Similar to a no-bake cheesecake recipe, the filling is a simple combination of cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar. By including the sour cream, it not only adds an extra layer of flavor, but also softens the filling and keeps the dessert on the lighter side. (more…)
It all started about a year ago at our wedding…
As a token for their involvement in our wedding, Scott and I presented two of our groomsmen, Reed & John, with bottles of Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. I believe John was the first to suggest that he and Reed hold on to their bottles and we all drink them together at a nice dinner. Flash forward 10 months and four failed scheduling attempts and finally we all managed to congregate at our apartment for our “Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner.” However, in the time that it took us to plan this event, we found that we had another reason to come together and celebrate; our dearest friend Reed proposed to his girlfriend Kristina. Now we really had a reason to open those bottles of wine. (more…)
This recipe is titled ricotta cheesecake, however I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a cheesecake. I admit that I was not anticipating the texture of cake that I ended up with. Instead of a smooth, creamy, somewhat dense cake, this ricotta cake lends itself to a light and fluffy texture. With more subtle flavors of ricotta and a touch of lemon zest, the cake is a nice clean canvas. I think this would be perfect to serve with tea or coffee in the afternoon – possibly an addition to a brunch. However, as a dessert, I think it could use a little jazzing up.
I wanted to create a dessert that mimicked the light, airiness of the cake; I did not want to weigh the cake down with the addition of heavy flavors. Trying to stay in season, I spread a thin layer of lemon curd (you can make your own, or buy good quality at the stores these days) and then topped the cake with an assortment of fresh berries. This way the topping did not detract from the cake, but helped to give it the little extra umph that made the cake a Dessert – not just a simple cake. (more…)
This is the cake I made for my Mother-in-Law this year. The cake is a pina colata creation that I tried for the first time. (The mojito cupcakes were such a hit, I have decided to further explore “cocktail” cake flavors.) This particular cake is a pineapple cake (boxed cake made with pineapple juice instead of water and added crushed pineapple) layered with a coconut pastry cream, finished with a coconut rum whipped cream. Although I could have had fun with more flavor-inspired decorations (shredded coconut and fresh pineapple) I wanted this cake to be elegant and feminine for Mother’s Day. To achieve this look, I simply placed royal icing flowers around the edge of the cake to create a flower wreath. I kept the flowers all the same color, but made them in three different sizes. Allowing some of the flowers to “fall” over the edge gives the flowers and more natural look.
Stay tuned for instructions on how to make your own Royal Icing Flowers.
Recipe: Pina Colata Cake
What better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than a cupcake? (Who needs beer, guacamole and salsa anyways?) Scott and I were invited to a Cinco de Mayo party and I started thinking of what Mexican inspired dessert I could come up with that would be good for a crowd. While beer may be the drink of choice for this holiday, I am a personal fan of the mojito. The combination of rum, lime and mint is very refreshing and says “South of the Border” to me. (I do realize the mojito is traditionally a Cuban drink, but lime is certainly no stranger to Mexican cuisine). So I knew I wanted to play with the idea of an edible mojito, but in what form? When planning for a party, I tend to fall back on the cupcake for group events. They are already pre-portioned, don’t require a plate or utensils and are easy to eat. So I knew what I wanted to create, the next step was actually figuring out how to do so. (more…)
Spring is here! (well, sort of, but to us New Englanders, any day with a temperature above 50 is considered Spring). And with Spring comes the first vegetables of the season. To be honest, the Spring harvest is not the most abundant. However, when you have been so starved for the fresh taste of green, the first asparagus and rhubarb are truly welcome signs. Unfortunately, in New England, our gardens don’t really start producing until much later in the year, usually May-June. So although I would like to say I am collecting all these wonderful Spring harvests from local farmer’s markets, in reality, my produce comes straight from California (via Whole Foods). Obviously not as “farm to table” as I would like, but sometimes you just can’t make it work. (I refuse to forgo asparagus and rhubarb on principal alone!)
So let’s talk rhubarb. For those of you rhubarb virgins, here’s a little crash course. The rhubarb plant consists of long red stalks, leading to large triangular leaves. We consume the bright red stalks (the leaves are poisonous), however the stalks are only enjoyable after cooking (and adding some sugar to combat their tart nature). This is also why rhubarb is most classically paired with sweet strawberries. The two flavors work well together to balance out the tart of the rhubarb and perk up the sweet strawberry. You will most likely find rhubarb in grocery stores or farm stands trimmed of their leaves. If you’ve never seen fresh rhubarb, think bright pink celery. (more…)
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