Ok I’m holding pretty good on my promise to slam up some more content on my BLOGEROO! I started a new column over on the jam-packed delicious food website Genius Kitchen! I put a call-out on my personal Facebook page asking for name suggestions for the column because at the time, my brain was frazzled and I could not think of anything clever for a column name that encompasses pop culture, celeb gossip (hehe) and all things au courant. My friends went WILD with suggestions. My personal Def Leppard-inspired suggestion was Pour Some Sugar On Me… but here are my favourites from my friends/relatives: Frosted Tips, Batter Chatter, Another One Bites The Cake, Beat It (I felt this could be misconstrued, LOL), Wake n Cake (perhaps a little too weed-friendly), Cake On Me (A-ha reference!), Cake n Bake, ‘Zertgeist (so random), Dessertations (offered by my British friend Cam), Cake Pop (my fave) and the winner … Cake Life!
I wanted a new challenge in 2018, and I’ve written cake tutorials and freelanced many times in the past but not since my diagnosis have I really written for another website – in fact, my editor Hannah had initially written to me during 2016 while I was still in treatment and I only just found her email a few months back! I’m so glad to have re-discovered her email and to start back into freelance writing a bit. So welcome to Genius Kitchen Cake Life, with your host… ME! :) My first cake is this Love-Day-friendly Instagram Heart Emoji cake, based on… yep, the purple super smile heart in Instagram Stories, hehe!
You may be looking at this pastel pink and green stripey cake with its ruffly buttercream border and be thinking to yourself: “what a charming baby shower cake!” Hashtag #NOPE this is my husband Rich’s 40th birthday peppermint striped cake!!! There is a short window between my birthday in November and his birthday on December 21st where I am “technically on paper” two years older than Rich. It is a time of much heckling, talk of robbing cradles, lite cougar-ing, etc. It’s also when Christmas and the holidays ramp up with appalling speed, each year coming up faster than the last. I love how this cakey beauty came out!
It was a dark chocolate cake with casual times peppermint buttercream. I used this chocolate cake recipe which is my go-to favourite! Do you know how to make buttercream stripes? I will show you how, with some delightful iPhone photos, k?
First of all, fill two piping bags with your desired stripey colours. I went with a peppermint buttercream tinted minty green and pastel pink. Snip the ends off of each piping bag.
Using a cake turntable, pipe alternating rows of colours, nestled close together. Don’t worry if it looks incredibly ugly at this point. It’s a “work in progress”, as I am always saying to my son Teddy when he’s attempting to draw something!
Use a cake bench scraper to smooth the stripes, going around and around until you are satisfied with its stripey-ness. If there are any little buttercream holes or gaps, fill them in by piping a little blob on top of the hole and going around again with the cake bench scraper. Spread buttercream along the top of the cake and get it as smooth as you like. Then, pipe an alternating shell border using your favourite open star tips with the buttercream. I used a Wilton 1M and Wilton 4B. I loved how this border effect turned out – extra ruffly and cute!
Then, if you are feeling crazy, make three lasagnes filled with roasted tomatoes and roasted caramelized sweet onions because your man loves pasta.
Make a fondue! Fill your guts with cheese and the best chip dip ever! Drink an ice cold Fanta and five or six chocolate Lindt balls because you are at your dad’s party and no one’s really watching you!
Happy birthday to my amazing husband. Love you so much! xo Lyndsay
The holidays are here, so I’ve created this kawaii reindeer cake tutorial to celebrate! When I was a kid, I believed in Santa Claus and his mighty team of reindeers HARD, probably much longer than many other teens (I MEAN CHILDREN) very well should have. When my sisters and I would come downstairs on Christmas morning to peek at our presents, there would be a conspicuously scrawled note left next to a glass of milk and a plate of half-eaten cookies, and geez wasn’t it all just a coincidence that Santa’s handwriting looked exactly like Dad’s hand-writing, if Dad happened to be writing with his left hand and was mildly illiterate??
My son Teddy is semi-freshly five years old, now subject to the whispers of fellow Kindergarten classmates or older-grade buddies who might tell him that… GASP… Santa and his reindeer are not real!!! I’m kind of on the fence about how majorly to tout the “Santa is coming, you better be good” stuff – I found myself telling him that “Santa has all sorts of helpers” but I didn’t really know where I was going with that. All I know for sure is that the holidays are the best ever when you’re a kid. We grew up in a close family and each of us loved Christmas, with sweet memories of my mom’s signature white snow-flocked tree (which is back in style!) sparkling with lights and baubles and homemade decorations, Christmas carols, cartons of creamy egg nog in the fridge, hilarious family times with beloved cousins and friends, my Grandma’s Christmas-time only chocolate chip butterscotch pudding cookies washed down with a cool cup of milk. This year, I thought I’d come up with a new holiday dessert for our family – the kawaii reindeer cake! The whole time I was photographing the cake, Teddy kept coming into the kitchen to see when I was done – of course I promised him a piece of cake and the mini bottle of milk with the cool straw, if he remained out of my workspace, haha – he loves the taste of his “milky.” I fell in love with how the reindeer cake turned out! It’s fun and easy to make and is certain to bring some smiles, chuckles and giggles to your holiday. Teddy loved it, and gobbled up his piece and slurped up his milk as happy as can be.
To begin with, I baked a classic yellow cake in three 8 x 2 inch round cake pans. Then I made a very simple chocolate buttercream frosting: 2 cups of unsalted butter are beaten on high speed until light and fluffy, the bowl is scraped down and 3 ¾ icing sugar is added, along with ¼ cup high quality cocoa powder and two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. Beat this on low speed until combined, then crank the mixer to medium-high speed until it has doubled in volume. Note that the chocolate frosting will darken in colour as the cake sits.
Once your baked cake layers are completely cool, fill and frost your cake with the chocolate buttercream.
Use the remaining buttercream to fill a piping bag fitted with a large multi-opening tip – I use Wilton #234. Starting from the bottom of the cake and working your way upwards, pipe strands of buttercream fur in lines.
Cover the entire cake in chocolate buttercream fur! Take a break if you need to! Crank those holiday tunes!
Using fondant or your favourite candies, assemble the face. For the eyes, I used pre-coloured black fondant rolled out and cut into circles using the circle edge of a piping tip. The muzzle is made by punching out a piece of white fondant with a medium circular cookie cutter and gently pulling it into a more oblong shape. The reindeer antlers are made of fondant held up by wooden BBQ skewers cut to size. I mixed a small amount of cocoa powder into the fondant to create brown ears!
To add some festive berries and leaves, make a small batch of simple vanilla buttercream -½ cup unsalted butter, 1 cup of icing sugar, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Divide into bowls and tint using gel food colouring. Place the red buttercream into a piping bag fitted with an open circle tip and the green buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a small leaf tip. Pipe little red dots for berries, and add some green foliage with the green buttercream! You could also use sprigs of fresh rosemary, or pipe small buttercream roses.
This kawaii reindeer cake would be the cutest addition to your holiday party or Christmas Day dinner!
I’ve been on a bit of piping train lately CHOO CHOO -if you can’t tell! I’ve always loved vintage buttercream piping techniques but I am really into this buttercream rose meringue kisses cake with its mix of modern meringues and “old timey” piping vibes. Crispy chewy sweet meringues give such a nice textural element to this cake, along with not-too-sweet buttercream.
I used my Swiss meringue kisses recipe for the pretty meringues. With meringue making, you want to go low and slow. Don’t open the oven to peek at their cuteness while baking, as any sudden temperature changes will crack your meringues. I like to bake them at night, and then after the baking time is up, I’ll turn off the oven and leave them in overnight to thoroughly dry out.
These meringues were particularly dry and crisp but still chewy – the perfect dryness to accompany buttercream roses. If possible, place meringues on a buttercream cake only a few hours before serving, to prevent any wilting of the meringues and to help retain the meringue crispness.
I like my buttercream “not too sweet” – my go-to simple vanilla buttercream recipe is two cups of unsalted butter at room temperature, four cups of sifted icing/confectioner’s sugar, two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and a teensy pinch of salt. Beat the butter, then add the icing sugar a little at a time until incorporated, then add the vanilla and salt. Beat this on high until the buttercream has doubled in volume.
I tend to be wildly overzealous with the leaf tip piping bag but I kinda like the look – it gives it both a leafy and ruffly look, and the leaf tip is awesome for filling in any “bald” spots. If I’m already on a piping roll, I like to use up any extra buttercream by piping tons and tons of buttercream roses to save in the freezer for future use. Lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes; then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.
I made this CAYOOT piped rainbow buttercream flower cake for another local school’s cake walk – one of the teachers follows me on Instagram and has asked me for a few years now to make a cake – so this year I rolled up ye old sleeves and power-piped out this cake. It was supposed to be a three layer affair but wuh happened was, I stayed out *late* the night before because my dear pal Amy was in town from NYC. Therefore, karaoke. Therefore, old man Winter L Sung went to bed later than her usual. Therefore, Teddy wakes up at his regular 630am “the sun is up!!” time and it doesn’t matter that L Sung went to bed at 2am. Therefore, bleary-eyed, and still humming “Live To Tell” – I dropped one of the cake layers onto its poor freshly baked face, just as they were coming out of the oven. Fart. Other bangers we belted out included “Wonderwall“, freaking Cranberries “ZOMBIE” … haha… I went for it with a little Boyz II Men “End Of The Road” (um, not in my range – those boyz can SING!) and so many more. Phil Collins “Easy Lover” also mighta snuck in there…
I used a few of my favourite piping tips for this: good old classic open star tip Wilton 1M, plus it’s brother from the same mother 4B, and a sweet little leaf (sweetleaf??) tip, which I like to use to fill in any “bald” spots. I pretty much just piped where the wind took me – and tried to step back and make sure colours and patterns were a bit balanced. My only real thought was: cover this muthah in bright frosting to entice a CHILD to choose it. I hope it worked. xo Lyndsay
I was never certain I wanted to be a mom. It was hard to imagine it or picture it for me. I didn’t have adamant feelings either way – I kind of thought I would have a kid one day, but “one day” kept creeping up, and in my 30s I thought, shoot. I’m still not totally sure… but maybe I better start trying?? I wasn’t sure, on Christmas Eve morning, when I peed on the stick and two prominent lines appeared. I still wasn’t sure, waddling around at 9 months pregnant, my stomach housing a somersaulting alien. Then, birth day arrived, a hot summer day in August, announced with my water breaking at 6:30am, a splash of tinged-pink fluid on the bathroom floor. Hours later, waves of contractions and moaning and pulling at my hair. Quiet in-between moments in the bathtub at the hospital. Then, counting down from 10, like a football game – cheers from my team: “you can do this Lynds!!!”… gushes of fluid, an insane feeling of physical pressure in your lower body, an absolute and primal urge to shit out a watermelon - and suddenly, that final push. Out came a waxy-covered baby with tiny bits of old-man balding pattern hair and what looked like a wide nose and cute little eyes, a little baby boy plopped onto my chest. I gazed at him in utter shock. Suddenly I was a mother.
Almost 5 years later, life with my Teddy is wild and hilarious. He is a pretty easy guy to be around – he is sweet natured, funny and mischievous. It is the hardest thing yet the most amazing thing. I feel so lucky I get to be a mother. If I had waited a while longer, it could’ve easily never happened.
To make this buttercream flower typography cake, you will need one recipe for your favourite cake, such as this Martha butter vanilla cake. I don’t recommend a box mix for this, as you want a cake that has a sturdier crumb. You will also need 1 recipe for vanilla buttercream, and gel colour in a few shades to tint the frosting. Piping bags fitted with an assortment of tips will also be your friend: I used Wilton 1M, Wilton 4B and a small leaf tip. The sneaky thing about this buttercream flower cake is, there are no flower nails needed – just easy piped rosettes and drop stars. Thank you Milk and Water Baking Co for the cute piping inspiration!
Make the cake batter according to the recipe instructions; prepare a 13 x 18 inch rimmed baking sheet by spritzing it with vegetable oil cooking spray and cutting a piece of parchment paper to size. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and use an offset spatula to spread batter to edges. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cake is springy to the touch and has pulled away from the edges of the pan. Carefully run your offset spatula along the edges of the cake, then let cake in pan cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Transfer to the freezer to power-chill it. This will make it easier to trim out the letters, but be careful not to freeze the cake – you just want to firm it up.
While the cake is chilling, make the vanilla buttercream from this recipe. Divide the buttercream in half; divide one half into three smaller bowls, tinting each bowl its own colour – blue, purple and green. Colour the remaining buttercream pink. Then, cut out a template for the letter “M” using a piece of paper – mine is about 5 inches tall. I used a 4 inch round cake ring to punch out the letter “O.” Remove the cake from the freezer and place template on top, trimming out carefully with a sharp paring knife.
Arrange the first layer of letters on a piece of parchment paper.
Using the pink buttercream, fill the cakes using an offset spatula.
Place the second layer of cakes on top.
Frost the entire cakes in the pink buttercream. Once finished, place in freezer and chill for 15 minutes.
Fill your piping bags with assorted decorative tips and start piping!
Drop stars are simple to make – squeeze the piping bag in a short burst, release then pull upwards.
Rosettes are made by squeezing the piping bag and rotating counterclockwise in a a tight circle.
The piping bag fitted with the leaf tip is great for filling in any naked patches and adding bits of greenery to your buttercream flower patch.
Crank some tunes or a podcast and start piping! HOT TIP: Once I finished piping the letters, I chilled the cakes in the freezer for 20 minutes to set the buttercream – then I used my sharp paring knife to trim a bit of buttercream floral overhang in the indents of the M’s – to define the letter shapes a bit more. You’ll want to do this when it’s frozen so the buttercream is solid and easier to pare.
Now cut yourself a slice, mama! Or make this for your own mama, a favourite Auntie, or a strong female figure in your life, or someone who just wants to eat some freaking cake. This concept would also work as a monogram cake, a number birthday cake or wedding initials.
I also want to give a special shout out to my sweet friends Erika and Robyn – who are celebrating their first Mother’s Day with their adorable two month old baby Olympia! I am so happy for you guys and your amazing little family! Strong as a muthah. xo Lyndsay
This party dog pink penguin cake was inspired by Pingu’s lil sis, Pinga. Damn cute little simple-faced simpleton penguin. PINK! Why not. I’ve been on a bit of a video-making kick lately because… because … to be honest (or as younger folks acronymize – TBH) – I am bored to shit of my usual cake making, photography, etc. Existential blog crisis time, which I have a few times a year at least. A decade ago I graduated with a degree in Integrated Media from ye olde local art school – Integrated Media being a catch-all phrase for anything that wasn’t painting, I guess? So I kinda rediscovered that I liked video, and was capable of some lite-video-making. So be prepared for some video-ish type things coming up. Nothing major, and it will always be a little silly.
You Will Need:
One 8 inch round cake of your choice (baked and cooled completely)
4 cups of vanilla buttercream of your choice
Two piping bags, one fitted with a large multi-opening grass/fur tip; the other with your favourite open star tip
So what does one do when they are approaching the ripe and refined age of 40? How about HAVE A CHILDREN’S STYLE BIRTHDAY PARTY!????? Yeah. I turned 40 on November 15th! An age I was anticipating with both fascination and dread. For months I was hemming and hawing over what to do. My first idea was to have a ginormous 100+ person bash at our house, catered by a taco truck with the theme “Fruity Forty” and everyone would wear bright colours and I’d make a bunch of cakes that looked like fruit. Then, my second idea was to bury myself in blankets and cry and not want to do anything because 40 just sounded so OLD to me. Then, my third idea was to slap myself and remember that I could have easily not even lived to be 40. Then, my fourth idea was to think: “What do I actually even like doing right now??”
1. I like basketball
2. I like playing the drums
3. I like karaoke
So I decided to fuggedabout having a fancy-ass party. No expensive new dress, champagne and canapés here. Instead, a homemade SNACK STADIUM, a Dairy Queen Garfield ice cream sheet cake (!!!) and some of my dearest friends and family running around like 5 year olds in a gym.
Once the theme of Sporty Forty was established, it made perfect sense that this would be the moment in time by which I would finally make my own SNACK STADIUM. There are many examples of these on the interweb – slabs of meat-filled sandwiches stacked high around a guacamole field center; brand-name logos and trays of taco fixings. We based our snack stadium on a mix of this tray-based one and the cuteness factor of this foamboard non-guacamole-field one.
A trip to the dollar store around the corner yielded these amazing brightly coloured sheets of foamboard for $2.25 each. I also picked up a few $1.25 packages of aluminum mini loaf pans in two sizes. Gather together a pencil, a utility knife/box cutter and a glue gun too. Rich traced the loaf pans onto the foam board and used the utility knife to cut out the shapes. He then cut brackets out of the foam board to elevate it into “stadium stands.”
While Rich was constructing the stands, I worked on the washi tape pennant garlands – fold washi tape over baker’s twine, then trim the tape into the pennant flag shape with sharp scissors!
I wasn’t too keen on a guacamole field, for fear of it turning brown and looking icky – luckily I found this bright green foam board which acted as the base for the stadium. We added strips of white paper (not very accurate at all, oops!) and I cut out a little brown football to place in the middle because … sports????
I loved the scoreboard – Rich’s idea to make the score 4-0. Heh heh. The HOME and AWAY are stickers I found at a craft superstore. I just have a collection of this stuff lying around as I’m a craft and typography hoarder. You could totally draw the letters/numbers too but I love the clean look of the letter stickers/stamps.
Annnnnd I drew this MASCOT. GO BEAVERS! Hehe. To add a little more sporty flair to the snack stadium.
Sung Stadium!!! Customized!!
And the stadium filled with snacks!! The stadium was kinda pretty much more for show – we had bowls of other snacks and food beside this guy. It’s almost like it fits just enough snacks for 2 actual people to munch on.
I used Crush because they had the cutest cans and colours. Duh.
I added my late grandfather’s old golf trophy too… because I thought it gave it a nice aesthetic and also golf + football = MAKES SENSE??
Hehe! FUN. Extra special props to my cousin Mike (and his little guy H) who drove up from Seattle to surprise me, just for the party!
I also wore my actual jacket from grade 9 and I got the green basketball jersey from a vintage shop. Pardon the VERY SWEATY look here – we really did play sports! I’m so glad I followed my gut (literally and figuratively) and went for the sports party. It was such a blast. (Special thanks to RT and my sisters for all your help!) 40 is a piece o’ sh*t! Not really! xo Lyndsay