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real parties: green & blue dessert table

10.28.2010

Heather of Whipperberry Events sent me this crafty blue & green dessert table created for her daughter’s 13th birthday. When I first started this blog I wrote a post about my love for Nothing Bundt Cakes and I’m so excited to see one featured in a dessert table. It’s such a fun and lively addition, especially with the mini bunting across the top. Heather created all the bunting herself and has a step by step tutorial on her blog for how to create the mismatched larger triangles. The argyle printables and other patterns seen in the tent cards and water bottles are a smart choice and perfectly compliment the look.







{images via whipperberry}

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a meeting of the minds & coastal desserts

10.26.2010

Just over a week ago I had the privilege of sitting down to lunch with a few of my favorite bloggers. Our group was organized by Michele of Cakewalk Baking in honor of Sharnel Dollar who is currently traveling in the states, and Glory of Glorious Treats who was serving as happy hostess during Sharnel's stay in San Francisco. Each of these women is extremely talented at baking and party planning, and moreover they are genuinely lovely people. It was one of those occasions that reminded me why I started blogging in the first place- to share work and inspiration with the kindred spirits who I'd never otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

Case in point, not days after our lunch I stopped by Amy Atlas, and the one of the first things I see is this coastal 50th birthday party dessert table that Sharnel put together. Amazing. Gorgeous. Delicious. I'm so proud to say I know her. Also coming soon is the County Fair party that I helped Michele with last Sunday. Hold your breath because it's gonna be another showstopper...






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custom inspiration board: vintage pink & grey tea party

10.23.2010

Larisa is planning her daughter's first birthday this winter, and wanted a theme that was classic and timeless. She was not looking for something 'cute' but rather 'lovely'. After tossing around a few ideas, we settled on a vintage tea party using a pink and grey/silver color scheme. The soft, subtle colors feel appropriate for winter and offer a elegant and romantic ambiance...


Party Ideas
Colors: pale pink with grey + silver accents
Setting: afternoon tea and sweets at home
Invites: consider calligraphy script and lace detailing
Decorations: white linens with centerpieces of soft pink flowers (ie: cabbage roses, anemones) in milk glass vases and mercury glass candle holders. *silver platters & tiered trays for serving, china plates, crystal garlands draped from light fixtures and mantles. *to create your own silver platters, try framing pieces of lace fabric inside silver picture frames.
Food: tea sandwiches and a wide selection of pastries including petit fours, mini cupcakes and tea scones. pink lemonade for the kids with grey striped paper straws & a variety of teas for the adults.
Favors: silver compact mirrors in fabric pouches, engraved with a message or each guest's initials for an added touch of elegance.

Photo Credits
Row 1: garden table via
vintage home and garden; chandelier via jose villa; anemones via estilo weddings
2: pastries via
laduree; table setting via nonpareil mag; cups & straws via the sweetest occasion; tea girl via crown & crumpet
Row 3: cupcake via
country living; roses via sparkled vintage charm; crown via snippet&ink
Row 4: macaroons via
brides; invite & lemonade via martha stewart; table setting via elizabeth anne designs

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buttered rum bundt cake

10.20.2010

Change in the weather got you down? Warm up from the inside out with this enticing recipe...

{image & recipe via bakingdom}


Butter Rum Cake

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 eggs, plus 6 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups cake flour
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

FOR THE GLAZE
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dark rum

Directions
To make the cake: Grease and flour one large Bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed for a few seconds until smooth and shiny. With the mixer still running, very slowly add both the white and the brown sugars. Continue mixing on medium high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, and almost white in color, about five minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice, as needed.

While the butter is mixing, combine the eggs, vanilla, and rum in a medium bowl, or large measuring cup, and mix together lightly. When the butter mixture is ready, reduce speed to low and slowly add the egg mixture in a thin stream, then beat in the salt.

Sift one cup of the flour on top of the batter and gently fold it in with a spatula. Repeat this process twice more, until all of the flour is used and the batter is mixed completely.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for one hour.

To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and water over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium high, and continue boiling for five minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the vanilla and rum (add it slowly to prevent it from sputtering too much).

Drizzle the bottom of the cake with about 1/3 of the glaze and allow to stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert and transfer the cake to a plate, poke several times with a fork and drizzle with the remaining glaze. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

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real parties: cookies & milk

10.19.2010

Let me just start by saying that I have always loved this theme for a birthday party or shower, and Brianna & Amy of the Savvy Mom's Guide did a delightful job of bringing it to life with a hint of fall in orange & chocolate brown. This baby shower is full of DiY details... the "A" on the door was cleverly created out of Cookie Crisp cereal, the favors were milk carton printables filled with mini chocolate chip cookies, and most of the cookies were homemade recipes contributed by family & friends. Big congratulations are in order too... Amy was in labor this morning, and may even have her new baby boy Ayden as this feature goes up!






{images via the savvy moms guide}

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real parties: fall football tailgate

10.14.2010

This 1st birthday tailgate party is a great theme to help 'kickoff' the fall season. CJ promised her husband she would throw a Redskins football party if ever they had a son born in the fall... and sure enough they did! She used pick-up trucks as the food stations, laid down picnic blankets and hung fabric banners around hay bales to add a rustic feel. The tailgate ready food included football shaped deviled eggs, grilled sausages and sliders, s'mores marshmallow pops and the ultimate: dark beer chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel icing. (See here for recipe). To finish off the day, guests were sent home with fabric covered jars of red velvet cake. With details like this, who needs a birthday as an excuse? Make it the start of your next NFL Sunday celebration!








{images via Pink Tea}

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chocolate raspberry pavalova

10.13.2010

I discovered a new foodie blog this week and wanted to share this deliciousness before raspberries go totally out of season... it looks like a challenge, but sooooo pretty!

{recipe & image by what katie ate}


Chocolate Rasberry Pavlova
Note: This recipe is from an Aussie blog so you’ll have to convert from metric.

Ingredients
6 x Egg Whites
300g Caster sugar
3 x tablespoons Belgian cocoa powder
1 x tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
50g good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
3 punnets of fresh raspberries
500ml whipping cream, whipped and sweetened with a tablespoon of caster sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 180˚C

1. Place egg whites in the bowl of a mixer (I use a Kitchen Aid, find it excellent for meringues) and whisk until soft peaks form.

2. Using a tablespoon at a time, add sugar into egg white mixture and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff and glossy.
Be careful not to over-beat as it can start to separate. The mixture is ready once it forms stiff, glossy peaks and you can hold the bowl upside down without any of it falling out. (I don't normally test the latter as I'm familiar with meringue consistence but if you've never made one before, it's worth giving it a try, once it stays put, you know you're good to go.

3. Sift in the cocoa powder, add the vinegar and chopped up chocolate, using a large spoon slowly and carefully fold these into the egg white and sugar mixture until fully combined. the mixture will resemble a very light brown shade.

4. Line 2 large, flat oven trays with baking parchment - I find it a good tip to dab a little bit of the pavlova mixture underneath each corner of the paper as it helps it stick to the tray and avoids the paper slipping all over the place whilst you are loading on the mixture = very annoying..

5. Place a 9" or 10" dinnerplate on the middle of each tray and draw firmly around the edge with a pencil or pen to form a circle - this will act as a guide and ensure both pavlovas are the same size. Flip the paper over so the ink/pencil lead is touching the tray side as opposed to the pavlova side, you'll still be able to see the line through the paper.

6. Load up each circle with the mixture, smoothing it out to the edge of the line you have just drawn, try to divide the mix equally so both have same volume of mix. I normally smooth out the mixture, but a Pavlova is not supposed to look perfect so feel free to form a few points and peaks if you want, when cooked they'll crisp up and add a bit more interest visually.

7. Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 140˚C. Cook for 1hr to 1hr15mins.
Do not open the oven door whilst the pavlova is cooking.

8. You'll know when the pavlova is cooked when it looks crisp at the edges which will have started to crack slightly. The top will be dry but if you press on the underside it'll give a little as the centre should be still a little squishy/soft. Place the pavlova back in the oven and leave the door slightly ajar, leave the pavolva to cool completely inside.

9. When it is cool, I place one disc on a serving platter or cake stand and spoon a big wallop of cream on top, scatter a good handful of fresh raspberries onto the cream and then place the second meringue disc on top. Again pile on a good amount of cream and the remainder of the raspberries. Sprinkle with finely chopped chocolate and serve.

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real parties: a rustic red 30th birthday

10.12.2010

At last, one for the men! I love this party Kristy of Posh Pixels Design Studio created for her brother's 30th birthday . She used natural elements and rustic colors & fabrics to create a create a guy-friendly atmosphere, including both a dessert table & a s'mores buffet... yum. The simple gingham logo is carried throughout and pulls the look together. My favorite touch... her husband sawed real tree stumps to create those cupcake stands! Now that's commitment to a theme.








{images via posh pixels}

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spotted: robot cupcake molds

10.11.2010

Too cute not to post! The perfect favor for a robot inspired birthday party...

{image via perpetual kid}

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custom inspiration board: a puppy party

10.10.2010

Hilary wanted some theme suggestions for her son's birthday, and after tossing a few around, we landed on a puppy party due to his love of dogs. Here are a few fun ways to make this party a success for kids... and keep in mind that some of these ideas could also be used to throw a birthday party for your dog too! (something I was hoping to do for our own pup this year, but unfortunately her birthday got trumped by new motherhood).

Theme: A Puppy Party
Party Ideas
colors: brown & pale blue, with red accents
decorations: decorate tables with bones & dog toys. hang colored balloons from plush dogs and small fire hydrants. create paper paw prints in a variety of sizes and run them up to the front door and along the walls.
food: serve snacks in dog dishes and use cookie cutters to create mini sandwiches in bone shapes. for dessert, offer a 'treat' bar with puppy cupcakes, dog bone shaped cookies and a variety of candy or snacks in jars labeled with silly dog treat names. or consider a 'dog dish sundae' bar where guests create their own ice cream sundae in a dog dish with the toppings as the 'treats'.
favors: create felt puppy ears and tails for each of the kids to wear during the party and take home, and design ribbon collars with name tags for each guest.
activities: hire a face-painter that can do puppy faces. for older kids and parents, have a 'kibble' eating contest by trying to eat a bowl of cocoa puffs with their hands behind their back.

Photo Credits
Row 1: puppy invite via tiny prints; cupcakes via parents and hello cupcake; cookies via jessica kettle
Row 2: dog dish via jessica kettle; cupcakes via posh pixels; sundae via my recipes
Row 3: plush dog via amazon; hydrant via flickr; dog tags via martha stewart; cupcakes via save the date for cupcakes
Row 4: dog cake pops via bakeralla; facepaint via la petite party

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baby love.

10.06.2010

Just thought I'd brighten your Friday with a few pictures of the tiny person who keeps me from blogging as often as I'd like (aka: Caitlin Leigh, age 3.5 months). I mean, come on... could you argue with that face?



{photos ©birthday girl 2010}

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halloween treat: chocolate pumpkin cake

It's been far too long since I posted a cake recipe, and with fall in the air and the holidays on the way, the itch to bake is getting the best of me again. Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought I'd jump back in with this indulgent chocolate pumpkin cake, complete with gooey chocolate ganache glaze...

{recipe & image via country living}

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Total Time: 55 min
Oven Temp: 375

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup(s) flour
2/3 cup(s) cocoa
2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
1 cup(s) canned pumpkin
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
3/4 cup(s) butter, softened
1 cup(s) dark brown sugar
1 cup(s) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk

Frosting
6 ounces softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring

Glaze
4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions
1. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean--about 35 minutes. Cool layers completely before icing.

Frost: Beat 6 ounces softened cream cheese using a mixer set on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and a scant 1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring on medium-high to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake. Chill 30 minutes and proceed to step 2. Makes 3 cups.

Glaze: Place 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, and 3 tablespoons corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil, pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently stir, using a whisk, until smooth. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly. Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and smooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drop over the sides. Makes 1 cup.

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real parties: magical mary poppins

10.05.2010

It's a jolly holiday at this Mary Poppins birthday party! My jaw dropped a little when I received this event from Danielle of Belleza e Luce... so creative and well thought out from beginning to end. This is just a sampling of the party photos, but I love that she left the children hats for a tea party and offered activities inspired by the movie like penguin stuffing and kite making. Not pictured are the umbrellas hanging from the trees and silhouette of the London skyline, both of which can be found on her blog. Of course, I think the custom made Mary and Burt costumes for her kids are just about the cutest thing of all...








{images via belleza e luce}

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