I’m kind of freaking that it’s September 1st. Summer, wuh happened? You blasted by too quickly! But then again, Fall is full of wonderful things – cool crisp weather and pretty burnt umber leaves (I just wanted to say burnt umber. CRAYON colour!), the return of socks, quilts and BAKING. I’m feeling the need for pies, cookies and bars already! And don’t get me started on getting my BUNDT on. I’m feeling very bundt-y lately.
But for now… one last gasp at Summer with this sweet treat! It takes the perfect cookie to send an ice cream cookie sandwich into outer space. This sweet and salty milk chocolate cookie recipe will have you munching all the cookies like this before you can even scoop your vanilla ice cream all up in there. This milk chocolate cookie ice cream sandwiches recipe is on Poppytalk!
Hope everyone had a sweet summer! (I know, I know – it’s not TECHNICALLY over.) What are you all looking forward to baking as the weather changes?
It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to this summer. She was a real beaut here on the West Coast. Sunballs every day practically! We ended our summer off with a camping trip – our first time camping with Teddy! Freshly turned 2 years old and a mini energy ball, we definitely had our concerns – would he sleep? What would he sleep in? Would WE sleep?? Haha… the first two nights we tried to do our usual bedtime routine of 7:30pm bedtime… at the first busy and noise and light filled campground, NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Teddy scream cried and we tried again and again to calm him and put him down… only to realize… we had to relax it up with his routine… and roll with the camping punches. So Teddy became a nighttime party dog, going to bed at 9, falling asleep to Rich singing him Joni Mitchell Blue.
Long underwear, fleece with hood and double sleep sack for this little nutbar!
After our grand Teddy sleeping realization, the trip was a cool breeze on a hot day – a real blast! Teddy stayed up til it was dark, and we had fun just lazing around with him at night, reading story after story, and in the day time, running around, swimming, playing with giant sticks and rocks and exploring the beaches and trees. My favourite part was making food. We were in such a rush before leaving that I didn’t think much about too much cooking equipment or utensils – or even nice dishware for my food styling obsession! (even camping, haha!). I had a blast cooking on our tiny one burner campstove and mini BBQ.
Miracle Beach, BC – a sweet provincial campground, really well maintained and private wooded campgrounds and lots of families.
Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville BC – so fun for kids! Big playground, huge beautiful beach and free weekly movies with popcorn and soda by donation at their ampitheatre.
Here’s what worked for us for camping with toddlers (Teddy just turned 2):
1. Throw the routine out the window. We ended up “car-napping” Teddy – we’d go for a drive around Teddy’s usual nap time, and Teddy would conk out in his carseat and Rich and I would get to explore the little towns and cities and beaches around where we were camping while Teddy was lulled to sleep by the long monotonous stretches of highway.
2. If your kid sleeps in a crib at home, try the pack and play – the comfort and security of the crib that they’re used to. Next year he’ll sleep on a blow up mattress with sleeping bag but he doesn’t quite get that blankets aren’t for playing “fort” in!
3. For sleep time, dress them warmly in layers and cover their head. We were concerned he wouldn’t be warm enough but we found that long underwear on the bottom, with a warm fleece with a hood and two medium-weight sleep sacks did the trick.
4.Camping is for exploring! We let Teddy roam at a safe distance and pick up and explore things in his surroundings – big sticks, rocks, leaves.
5. Bring books! Teddy barely played with any of his own toys – but we read a crapload of his books every day. It was a good way to calm him whenever he got overstimulated/overtired and it was fun to snuggle on our air mattress and read book after book without having to worry about anything but spending time with our son. Bring some old faves and a few new ones!
6. Try to relax! Once we relaxed on the routine, things got so much better. “Roll with it 2014″ was our motto, ha!
We never camped much as a kid so I didn’t grow up going on camping vacation – but sleeping out in nature with tall trees and bodies of water close by was super tranquil and relaxing. I hardly felt at all like coming home and sitting slumped in front of the computer madly blogging or writing about cakes. It’s trips like this that make you want to quit it all, move out of the city and open up a tiny cafe in a small town. As we drove back into town Rich and I wondered out loud why people stay in Vancouver when it’s become so bloatingly and garishly expensive to live here. It made me truly wonder if we’ll stay in the city forever… What about you? City dweller or country dweller??
Guys. I tried to play it cool this year for Teddy’s 2nd birthday. Last year I tried to play it cool too with his doggy themed 1st birthday party - but you know how it goes when you’re trying to play it cool – inside you’re SO FRIGGING EXCITED and dying to plan the cutest party ever.
So I’d been asking Teddy what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday party for months. For a not quite 2 year old, he was pretty perceptive to what birthday parties were all about – with five older cousins and lots of pals, there are birthday parties aplenty in our world – and shiny candle-lit birthday cakes make appearances in many of our daily children’s book reads together! At first I was trying to convince/reverse-psychology him into choosing a Pingu cake, because I thought that would be a really cute party theme – but he wasn’t buying it. “Blue bear bear cake!” he would say, giggling at me. I would say, “do you mean… PINGUUUU cake?” and he would say “Nooooo … blue bear bear!” NO idea who, when, what or where the blue bear bear came from but he was pretty adamant!
Blue bear bear cake it was! It was also a pizza and ice cream party, which are two of his fave foods – he also loves to play “pizza stand” where he stands behind his little kitchen set and says “mama order peezza!”The kid loves commerce. So I made a little mini garland out of craft paper featuring the party triple threat – pizza, bear and ice cream! I love how the garland turned out – and it will now hang up in his bedroom as a cute party memento.
Blue bear cake was rainbow confetti sprinkles vanilla cake layers with light blue tinted vanilla buttercream!
To go along with the party idea, and to delight Teddy’s love of commerce and “selling” pizza and ice cream, the sweet hubs made him this super rad DIY ice cream stand! Cheap wood and an old drawing board of mine became the stand, and two vintage striped aprons came together as the awning. I made the Teddy’s Treats sign out of craft paper and letter stickers! CUTE! He loved it!
My little guy waiting patiently for cake time! He also wore an ice cream cone t-shirt – one of our faves by Whistle and Flute!
The big moment!!
His party was a special one – seeing how thrilled he was when those birthday candles were lit, and his eyes huge with excitement when his family and friends sang him Happy Birthday – I loved every second. He blew his candles out with gusto to a round of applause and high fives. My heart is full, blue bear cake was a hit and this casual times party mama is zonked! Happy happy 2nd birthday to my sweet little boy – I love you SO much!
What about you – do you go WILD TIMES on your kid’s or your own birthday parties, or do you try to keep it minimal? Leave me a link of a birthday party you’ve thrown – I love that stuff! xo Lyndsay
Obsessed. As a teen, I was so obsessed with Pretty In Pink. We had it dubbed on VHS and I would play it over and over again, a heartsick, annoying little Chinese teen in a Benetton sweater and hair-sprayed bangs, dreaming about Andrew McCarthy. I wanted to be Molly Ringwald so bad. Except I hated the frumpy fit of her final satiny bubblegum pink dress. I get that she needed to wear pink in the end – but emerald green is so much more her colour, right? This is so good – Every Outfit Andie Wears In Pretty In Pink. I can visualize each outfit, each jangly brooch, those floral matte tights she pulls on in the opening scenes…
So this cake. This brightly hued, screamingly 1980s boppery fun triple layer cake – I made this in collaboration with my new pal Sarah over at The PFW! (Happy birthday, Sarah!) Sarah’s instagram, Porn For Women, has blown up for a reason – it features her curated selection of handsome and cool guys, from the olden days to now, often with hilarious captions, men with sweet style as well as being cool-times with the ladies. In other words, no wiener dogs allowed, no jerks, no a-holes. Just some quality fellows, and many of them are easy on the old eyes, too.
Sixteen Candles! Another movie that has a pretty swoon-worthy teen-man in it – Jake Ryan. Never seen the movie? Well here ya go – the final scene from Sixteen Candles. You’ll feel like a teen again watching this and if you are a teen, I’ll say this: dream on. It’s fiction!
Okay! This cake! She’s a real beaut! Hilariously fun for any party or birthday. It’s one of those cakes that you kind of can’t help but smile at, whether you’re laughing at its audacious colours or loving its feminine frilliness so deeply. So dig in to making this pink rose cake tutorial!
You will need:
Three baked and cooled vanilla cake layers, tinted electric pink
Electric pink gel colour, sky blue gel colour
5 cups of vanilla buttercream – 3/4 tinted sky blue, 1/4 tinted electric pink
An offset spatula
A cake scraper
A piping bag fitted with an open star tip (my favourite is the Wilton 1M!)
A cake board or cake plate
Using a serrated knife, trim your first cake layer to make it level. Add a creamy layer of blue buttercream.
Trim and level your second layer of cake; place cut-side-down on top of the buttercream. Add buttercream to this layer, then trim and level the third layer, placing cut-side-down on top.
Frost the entire exterior of the cake using a generous amount of buttercream.
Using your cake scraper, smooth the sides and top of the cake, pulling away any excess buttercream. This is your crumb coat! Place in freezer for 15 minutes to set until buttercream is firm.
Remove cake from freezer. Add a final layer of buttercream, using the cake scraper to smooth this layer. Set aside.
Fill your piping bag fitted with an open star tip with the electric pink buttercream. Pipe a cute ruffly border around the bottom of the cake – squeeze out a little puff shape then pull away, creating a “shell” look. Pipe the next shell on top of the “tail” of the previous one and continue until you’ve piped all around the bottom.
Now, pipe a cute matching border along the top edge of the cake! It’s like you’re making a dress for 1980s prom night! I kind of would love to have a dress in these colours.
Finally, the piece de resistance (ha!) – to finish the cake, create a real special little hot pink rosette in the center of the cake, using the same piping tip. Start in the center of the cake and pipe counterclockwise to create the rosette. Tip: If you’re sketched out about ruining the cake by screwing up the rosette, place the cake in the freezer prior to adding it so the blue buttercream is firm – if you mess up, you can simply lift off the offending buttercream with a metal offset spatula and try again. Or, if you’re truly worried, pipe a few rosettes onto a piece of parchment paper, place in the freezer, and once the rose is firm and cold, place gently onto the center of the cake!
I love this wildly ruffly thing!
And here it is, all Sixteen Candles-like. No one was around with me to sit on a table and kiss above this pretty glowing cake. However, husband did slam a piece of this back later when he got home. Sheer romance.
I’m thinking three of these cakes in three different colours and sizes would be RIDICULOUSLY cute at a bridal shower or Marie Antoinette themed birthday party. This cake really makes me want to get dropped off at the mall and snap bubblegum wearing my ski jacket half off my shoulders and ogle cute boys with my gal pals. But wait, I’m 37! Oops! See, this cake is a mental time transporter!!
Hope you liked this pink rose cake tutorial with a deeply 1980s twist! We finish with a final set of mini questions: What’s your favourite movie from the 1980s?? And who would you make this cake for?! Happy baking, cake pals! xo Lyndsay
I kind of deplore the term naked cake but darn it they can certainly be classy cool. I liken the naked cake trend back to Momofuku Milk Bar’s wedding cakes – super awesome slam-jammed with flavours and textures and with an eff-you attitude towards typical wedding cakes – ie, slathered in buckets of frosting or tiers of dry cake wrapped up in too-sweet fondant.
I made this sweet and pretty cake for the world’s coolest TV news anchorwoman, Tamara Taggart, for her lovely Little Gem Woodland shoot for the Glitter Guide! Tamara’s Instagram is also one of my favourites. She has a way of writing which is at once inviting, hilarious and real, sharing daily slices of her personal life with her three frigging adorable children. Vancouver is pretty lucky to have Tamara!
How to make a naked cake – this can be as simple as stacking and filling your cake layers with buttercream and leaving it be. I like the rustic look of the scraped-away buttercream, like the cake I made here – crumb coat your cake, then using a cake scraper, scrape away the layer to leave some buttercreamy remnants. I added extra buttercream to the top and then adorned with fresh flowers from my garden and local berries.
To make a naked cake, you will need:
A baked and completely cooled triple layer cake in a flavour of your choice
4 cups of vanilla buttercream
A piping bag fitted with a large open circle tip
An offset spatula
A cake scraper
A cake board or cake plate
A serrated knife for levelling your cake layers
Fresh flowers and fruit of your choice – make sure the flowers are edible, or remove before eating.
1. Place a dab of buttercream on your cake board. Place the first cake layer on top. Using serrated knife, trim the cake to make it level.
2. Using your piping bag filled with buttercream, fill the first layer of cake. Trim the second cake layer to level it; place the layer cut side down on top of the buttercream. Continue this process with the third cake layer. Make sure all of your layers line up evenly, then chill the entire cake at this point in the freezer for 15 minutes.
3. Remove cake from freezer; using your offset spatula, begin crumb coating your cake with a generous amount of buttercream. Any gaps in the cake layers will be filled now with buttercream.
4. Using your trusty cake scraper, lightly run your cake scraper along your cake to scrape away the buttercream, leaving the remnants of buttercream behind as well as a smooth finish where the buttercream peeks through between the layers.
5. Scrape the top of the cake from the outside in to smoothe the top of the cake, too!
6. Adorn the top with fresh fruit and flowers! My approach to decorating the top was to place the items evenly but loosely on top – I like the idea of even spacing. However, I was tempted to also just shower the top with fruit and flowers! Find your style and roll with it!
So there ya go – how to make a naked cake! Happy naked decorating! Hehe!
Oh, and these: Friday power blast fun links:
These big fat sugar cookies from The Faux Martha are on my list to make and devour. I can already taste the creamcheese frosting.
If you love horse head cake stands (or duck head cake stands, like the one above!) you’ll be stoked on this contest! My pals over at Imm Living are hosting another Pin Imm To Win!
What’s that you say? Back to schooool? Oh boy, August. What’s your DEAL! Cramming the world with back to school stuff already!? Yes – but these apple pie donuts with cinnamon glaze and crunchy apple chips can be eaten anytime, anywhere – in school, outta school, school of hard knocks, night school – no school…
Yeah, these apple cake toppers are pretty darn tootin’ cute. Plunk em into your donuts, or into a little sandwich, or use them to tell everyone you’ve made an apple pie without having to speak. Multi-functional, guys.
It’s been a real longo bongo time since I was in school. I graduated from my second degree, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Media (whuttt is that) back in 2006. Prior to that, this nerdball received a degree in Women’s Studies and Film Studies back in 2001. I loved school – every minute of it, and all the details that go along with it – especially recess and lunch, and little children’s lunchboxes. CUTE.
So the apple pie donut recipe – a little bite of donut heaven, cinnamon nutmeg with apple pie filling, and that satisfying mix of creamy glaze and crunchy topping! Happy chappy back to school times! Note: these are baked donuts using a donut baking pan. You will not regret welcoming one of these pans into your life.
Apple Pie Donuts
1 dozen donuts
For The Donuts
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup granulated white sugar
⅓ cup golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinammon
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup apple pie filling, chopped into small pieces
2 ⅔ cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dried apple chips, broken into smaller pieces
For The Cinnamon Glaze
1 cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinammon
7 teaspoons whole milk
Make The Donuts
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugars until smooth and creamy.
Add the eggs, mixing to combine.
Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract.
Stir in the apple pie filling.
Add the flour into the wet mixture, alternating with the milk until combined. Do not overmix.
Fill your donut pans 3/4 full with the donut batter – use a piping bag or Ziploc bag with a snipped corner to pipe the batter!
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Remove donuts from pans and let cool on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: whisk together icing sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and milk.
Dunk the cooled donuts into the glaze and sprinkle liberally with the crunchy apple chip pieces.
For the apple cake toppers, you’ll cry because they’re so cute and easy. You’ll need a circle craft punch (or just scissors – I like the punch for a perfect roundness), red and green craft paper, wooden BBQ or cocktail sticks and some scotch tape.
Punch out a red circle; snip a little V shape into one of them. Cut out a cute little leaf shape from the green paper and glue to the red circle. Attach to a wooden BBQ stick with tape, with a little bit of the stick poking out the top for the apple stem.
I made two different sizes using two different sizes of circle craft punches! You get the idea. You can obvi freehand cut the apple shapes, too!
Don’t the donuts look extra cute with a little special somethin-somethin apple cake topper?
Imagine a cute and sneaky lil apple pie donut tucked into a special someone’s lunchbox on the first day of school? Kid would be CRAZY COOL day one.
If you’re a reader of Coco Cake Land, you know I have a special place in my HEART for Hawaii! The tropical sun, the warm clear water, the beautiful friendly people… sigh! Man I love the flavours of Hawaii too, especially those desserts – coconut, lillikoi (passionfruit), strawberry guava, lychee, pineapple… Gah I wish I was back there right now. Have you ever had haupia cake? I’m just going to blast right in and say it: if you hate coconut, run, just RUN away right now. If you love coconut, get your drooling parts ready ’cause this coconut haupia cake recipe is super stuffed with it. So what is haupia? It’s a cold and creamy coconut pudding that I could basically eat a children’s sized kiddie pool’s worth. After that, I may not eat it again for a while. But still. That’s pretty impressive.
Many haupia cake recipes online use a white cake mix and gelatin in the haupia – I am SO down with cake mixes (the flavour is so nostalgic to me! Those cake mix companies know what they’re doing, guys) and gelatin is lots o’ fun, but my recipe uses a haupia pudding as opposed to the thickly set gelatin layer you might find in other recipes. Honestly, there is NO haupia cake I would leave behind. None. My cake is also a bit heftier than the light Hawaiian sponge – it’s more of a butter cake slam-jammed with coconut. I made this cake for my sweet older sis Leanne’s birthday – she’s as Hawaii obsessed as I am!
Note: If you have leftover haupia, consider yourself a happy chappy – you can add it as a topping for waffles with fresh berries, or you can even CHURN IT UP in an ice cream maker! DUDE. It’s true. Or just gobble it up nice and cold with a spoon.
Coconut Haupia Cake Recipe
One 9 inch 2 layer haupia cake
For The Cake
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups packed shredded unsweetened white coconut
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups of full fat coconut milk
½ cup of white coconut curls
For The Haupia
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
4 cups coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
For The Whipped Cream
2 cups of whipping cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make The Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour your cake pans. You can also add parchment paper circles for easy removal.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes.
Scraping down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs one by one until incorporated.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts until mixed.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, shredded coconut, baking powder and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk.
Mix on low speed until incorporated; do not overmix.
Divide batter in half and pour into prepared cake pans.
Bake in the middle rack of the oven, turning pans halfway to ensure even baking, about 25-30 minutes. Insert a toothpick in the center of each cake; if the toothpick comes out dry, remove the cakes from the oven.
Let cool in pans completely.
Make The Haupia
In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch and water into a slurry.
In a medium sized saucepan set over medium high heat, heat the coconut milk to a low boil.
Add the slurry, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens.
Once thickened, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla extract and let cool.
Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour until thickened and set.
For The Whipped Cream
Chill a metal bowl and whisk attachment or beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Place whipped cream in the cold bowl. Add sugar and vanilla.
Beat on high until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat.
Assemble The Cake
Once the cakes are completely cool, run a small offset spatula around the edges of your cake; remove cakes from pans.
Place the first layer flat side down on a cake plate. Using a serrated knife, trim the dome off the cake to level the cake.
Add 2 cups of the haupia filling to the cake.
Remove second cake layer from its pan; trim the dome off the second layer.
Place the layer cut-side-down gently on top of the haupia. It’s ok if the haupia filling drips down the sides a bit! Au naturel.
Then, place the remaining haupia on top of the second cake layer.
Add a healthy amount of whipped cream on top of the haupia, spreading from the center to the edges for a rustic look.
Finally, sprinkle the white coconut curls on top of the cake.
Chill the cake for one hour, covered, before serving.
Depending on how wildly/and or greedily/chintzy you cut this cake, it can serve 12-15 guests happily. Serve it at a Hawaiian themed party with a big old salty umami porky original nose-to-tail plate of Spam musubi and some lychee mochi ice cream! Ooh I want to try making ice cream mochi so bad.
For more coconut madness (yeah, I’m nuts about coconut) try:
Speaking of flavours-specific-to-geographical-locations, are there any wild and wonderful cakes you know about that you’d like to share? I love learning about new cakes, like this unknown-to-me one: cassata alla Siciliana ricotta cake which I read about on David Lebovitz’s blog! WHAT! It looks like it’s made out of vegetables. I am kind of dying to taste it. Come on, cake readers – spill! xo Lyndsay