Sunday, May 31, 2009

.com, baby!

You can now visit kdd at! I couldn't resist adding the domain on to my photography business' host! You can still type in if you'd like.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Good News!

Tip Junkie is featuring my Shovelin' Sand Cupcake Tower today! Can you imagine life without the internet?! It's so easy now to get awesome ideas...go to Tip Junkie to grab some useful tips on just about anything!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Wild Things Are...

at Creative Parties and Showers! My Where the Wild Things Are party is being featured there today! Be sure to check out the amazing parties featured on the site. Thanks so much for the feature, Shannon...I can't wait to show it off to Max when he is older!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cupcake Par-tea!

Kara and I are happy to be your hosts! Be sure to check out more

cupcake craziness on Kara's blogs at Kara's Party Ideas and

Obsess much? YEP! We love cupcakes! Last time I was in Seattle, I caught cupcake fever and immediately called my friend Kara who was already burning up! We decided to follow in my mom and her Seattle-ite friends' footsteps and host our own cupcake party in Utah!

These aprons were super easy to make! I bought the apron at Ikea and added an iron-on rhinestone cupcakes (you can find them at Wal-Mart) to the top. Then I found the adorable cupcake fabric at JoAnn's and added a strip on the bottom to cover up the designs that came on the apron. Kara introduced me to spray adhesive to attach the fabric-definitely beats digging through my basement to find my sewing machine! They are great aprons-the straps adjust; they just pull through the sides of the apron!

I made some cupcake flip-flops to complete the look! I found the stickers at JoAnn's and just stuck 'em on!

Aren't the chairs cute with tulle tied on the back?!

Shown above are the Cupcake Par-tea cupcakes I made! Alpha-Bits cereal is SO fun to use to decorate because you don't have to bother with any icing! In the pot are mini-cupcake pops on Pixy Sticks. More fun than sucker sticks because there's more to eat!

Kara made this TOO CUTE banner to welcome our guests! Can you guess what the table is? It's my ironing board! Kara seriously needs to be a party planner-who else would have thought of that?

To start off the festivities, we did a little demo on how to pipe a cupcake. The cupcake chicks got to pick what decorating tip they wanted to try. We assembled the grape crush cupcakes I created and took them to our seats to begin girl talk! You're probably wondering how we "assembled" a cupcake...the bottom was basically a grape crush shake frozen in the bottom of nut cups, so we added our cupcakes and piped on the grape crush buttercream frosting! Stay tuned if you want to know more...I'll post the recipe inspired by The Vanessa Contessa soon! (After my fingers recover from this LONG post!)

The strawberry lemonade cupcakes with the umbrellas are THE BEST cupcakes I had ever had (until I tried the ones in the next picture!)! I found the recipe at Love and Olive Oil and just had to try it. I can't even DESCRIBE how amazingly delicious they were! I think the secret in the cupcake recipe was the coconut milk-they were SO moist! I cannot stop craving the frosting...which has strawberry puree and lemon juice and a meringue-y type addition that makes it so creamy and fluffy...have I raved enough yet?! Go to Love and Olive Oil to get the recipe! (If you think I'm exaggerating about how good they are, check out the comments from those who made them!)

Kara's amazing chocolate cream cheese cupcakes with peanut butter frosting! Go to

Kara's Cupcakes for the recipe. By the way, this cake plate is DIY...keep reading!

Here's we are enjoying the par-tay!

A place setting at our table-complete with cupcake lip gloss on the napkin ring holder, cupcake sugar cookies, and chocolate cupcake suckers! You can see Bakerella's cake pops in the background-we made sure to have all things cupcake! See Kara's blog for even more info!

I found some cupcake soap at Mini's Cupcakes...but I guess we should have served more beverages if we wanted the soap used...haha.

My mom sent us this super cute (I'm running out of adjectives for all this fun stuff!) cupcake table cloth that she made. I made the cupcake in the center and it was really easy. We served raspberry "tea" (lemonade)...we figured, what's a little more sugar going to hurt?

I found these lights at Wal-Mart and decided to make them into cupcake lights! It's simple! Just use a hot glue gun to attach cupcake liners to the lights. Then use the glue gun to attach little rhinestones to act as sprinkles. We hung them over the table-not that anyone looked up, we were too busy stuffing our faces!

In the background, you can (kind of) see the fun cupcake canvas my mom painted. It reads, "Got Cake?" Like how we covered our thermostat with a cupcake?

Fun cupcake towels on my oven!

I had to add a shot of my son trying the grape Crush cupcakes-he gave me an A+! (Of course, he'd give anything a high score-he loves to eat!)

Kara (faded out in the background) made this AWESOME cupcake cake with Wilton's pan!

Here's a close-up of the glasses and silverware. The mini-silverware is at Ikea near the mini-teasets shown below. Kara made the cupcake tags at the bottom of the glasses-what a great idea!

Here's our mini-cupcake placecards in mini-teacups! I think these are my favorite!

Here's the brownie pops I made for the party. I used rolled fondant to make the flowers and placed them in my chalkboard pot. I wrote "Cupcake Par-tea!" with chalk around the top.

Here's another view of my brownie pops...I used Pixy Sticks for the sticks and it turned out SO cute! I also sprinkled Pixy Stick on the brownie pops to decorate them and it was actually VERY good! The orange ones tasted like those chocolate orange sticks that you can get at the store. It made it look like a bee had stopped by my flowers to pollinate them-haha!

We had lots of prizes to give away: stamps, notepads, shopping lists, candles...and of course they were all cupcakey!

Katie...come on down! Here's Kara proudly displaying the winner of a cupcake stamp set! We used the place cards to enter everyone in a drawing for the prizes.

Kara made this adorable display to hold the cupcake polymer earrings she made for EVERYONE! How cute! We found the idea at Saucy's Sprinkles.

The paper cupcakes shown above and below held the darling earrings so the guests couldn't lose them on the way home!

My mom had a great idea to make your own cupcake plates-they are shown above. All you do is buy plates and candlesticks at your nearest thrift store and glue them together. Kara did a great job making one for each of the ladies to carry out their loot! She also made a large one to display cupcakes-a great alternative to spending your precious baking money on a cupcake tower!

After a lotta sugar and silliness, the gals got to take home cupcakes to their family in a cute cupcake box!

We had so much fun we decided to make it a yearly event to debut new cupcakes!

Note to self: I've had too much glucose-no more sugar for the rest of the week! (In my book, the week ends on Saturday...)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shovelin' Sand Cake Tower

Yep, that's a cake! Here's the shovelin' sand cake I made today...I saw some cupcakes similar to this in the book Little Cakes from the Whimsical Bakehouse and I thought it would make an adorable cake. So I bought this sandpail, shovel, and sifter thing at Wal-Mart today and here it is! When I shared what I was doing with a friend, she said people have done this before, which doesn't surprise me. There are people out there who are a lot more creative than me! I used a 6X4 inch cake pan and cut the edges to fit the sandpail. I put a thin layer of vanilla buttercream frosting on top so the topping would stick. The "sand" is crumbled cupcake, which I saw in the book, too. Here's what the cover looks like:

I would HIGHLY recommend this book...the ideas in it are adorable! I only got a chance at the bookstore to peek in it, but it was enough to catch inspiration for this cake tower (shown below)! They have a cute website at

Here's a little sour patch kid with his "lifesaver!" This cupcake was my idea, but I bet someone has thought of this before, too. I used mirengue frosting with blue food coloring (see next post for the recipe) and used the back of a spoon to make the waves. Sour patch kids are my fave candy, so I thought to use them right away. I originally had some circular mini-pretzels picked out for the life preserver, but then I realized Lifesavers would be perfect! I LOVE going down the candy aisle, there are so many things you can use to decorate!

I didn't get a close look at the cupcakes in the book, so I tried this. I made the shovel from Airheads and a lollipop stick. Just use scissors to cut the pieces. I cut about an inch off of the Airhead and curved it to look like a shovel. I also cut the corners off of the bottom to round them a little. The handle on the shovel was a little difficult...I rolled the Airhead with a rolling pin to flatten it and cut out the handle piece. I cut out the middle so it looked like a handle. Then I cut out a thin piece to stick to the back of the shovel handle to make the handle stay on. The pail's handle is cut from Airheads Extremes.

Below is an example of the cupcake with the nut cup colored with a marker to make it look more like a pail. My idea was to have a whole cupcake tower ready with the pails decorated by the time my guests arrived, but as usual, baking took longer than expected!

Here's another idea for beach cupcakes. I just used the mirengue frosting and colored goldfish crackers.

Lemon Meringue Pie Cupcakes

For my birthday, I wanted to bake cupcakes (I know it's weird, but that's how I wanted to spend my afternoon!) so I attempted to make some like Mini's Lemon Pie Cupcakes (see next post). I'm not thrilled with how the cake part turned out...they were a little too dry. I just looked in America's Test Kitchen's cookbook and the first thing it says is, "Be careful not to overmix the batter or the cupcakes will be tough and rubbery." It must have been because I finished mixing the batter and then realized I still needed to add lemon rind and lemon juice. I'll write the recipe so you don't have the same problem!

Here's a math problem for the doughdoughs out there...
These recipes call for 6 egg yolks and 4 egg whites. 6 + 4= 10 eggs, right?
Wrong. As I discovered while baking. I only had 4 eggs, so I called my neighbor and asked her to bring over 6 eggs. Then I realized that eggs have a yolk and an egg white. (I know you are thinking, DUH!!) So...the problem is really 6-4=2 eggs! I had to call her back, plead guilty for being a doughdough, and tell her to only bring 2 eggs.

Lemon cupcakes - adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Easy Yellow Cupcakes

3 cups cake flour (you can make it yourself, but I bought Pillsbury's Softasilk Cake Flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used Saco dried buttermilk-you just mix it with water and there is no expiration date if you put it in your fridge)
Rind from 2 lemons
Juice from 1 lemon (Remember, just like the eggs, you can get the rind and juice from the same lemon! haha.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with nut cups.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in the melted butter a little bit at a time. Whisk in the buttermilk. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture into the batter. Whisk it in until a few flour streaks remain. Repeat with the next third of the flour mixture. Add the lemon rind and juice, and the last third of the flour mixture. Whisk the batter gently until most of the lumps are gone, but don't overmix! Fill your nut cups about 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick comes out with 1-2 crumbs attached. It took mine about 22 minutes to finish baking. I actually used regular cupcake liners for one of my pans and they finished about 4 minutes sooner.

Lemon Pie Filling - Made exactly from America's Test Kitchen's Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe
I'm not sure if I can post it since I didn't adapt it at all...anyone know if that's okay? I can't find a link to it online.

Cut out the middle of the cupcake, leaving cake on the very bottom. Spoon the filling into the hole.

Meringue - made exactly from America's Test Kitchen's Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

After the cupcakes are filled, add the meringue to the top with a spoon. Use the back of the spoon to make peaks. Preheat the oven to 325. Put the cupcakes on a baking sheet near the top of the oven until the top of the meringue turns brown.

The final product! They turned out so cute! And delicious! I now prefer my lemon meringue pie in a cupcake!

Note to self: You do not need eggs for egg yolks, and more eggs for egg egg contains both parts!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Change your cup size" at Mini's!

I have a new favorite place-Mini's Cupcakes in downtown Salt Lake City! I had a lemon pie cupcake there today that was TO DIE FOR!!!!!!! I was mmmmmming out loud by myself in my car. I am now on a mission to find a recipe that rivals it, but it's going to be a tall order!

They have a CUTE shop and I love their motto, "Change your cup size." Very clever. All of there cupcakes were mini's, which was cute...but I needed a CAKE of that lemon pie concoction. Oh my, was it delicious. I brought a couple to my grandparents and my grandma said hers was great too...Grandpa wasn't home yet to try his, so I'm awaiting the verdict.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so click here to see their site...make sure to click on their menu and photo gallery! I just noticed that on Wednesdays they have a Key Lime Pie cupcake-I guess I'll be getting that for my birthday cake tomorrow!

Oh, they also have adorable cupcake things to buy! I bought some cupcake soap for my guests to enjoy after they use the loo at our cupcake tea on Saturday!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brownie Pops 1

At Sur La Table last week, I discovered Wilton's brownie pop silicone baking pan and had to have it! Tonight I did my first trial and they turned out very cute! I ran out of time before we were expected at a friend's house, so they are decorated simply with powdered sugar. I have a better idea for my brownie pops 2 post! There was too much batter in each cup (they looked like mini-cupcakes on top when I think they were supposed to be more flat), so next time I'll try to fill the cups only halfway.

We also made mini-brownies in mini-cupcake cups...which is a great way to eat a brownie. Usually when we make a pan of brownies, we are lazy and never end up cutting pieces for a plate. We'll keep a fork in the pan and every time we walk by, we take a bite. This time we were able to just pick up a mini brownie!

They were a hit with the kids at our friends' little get-together! My son LOVED it! He had his first lollypop the other day, and he is now apparently obsessed with eating things on sticks.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chalkboard Pots

Just wanted to share a cute idea! I was at Robert's craft store and saw some cute pastel pots in all sizes with chalkboard around the top. I wanted to get one to put a cake in and some cake pops decorated as flowers. Then with the chalkboard, you can write "happy birthday" or whatever you want.

Then I found this on Martha Stewart that helps you DIY!

They use the idea as planting pots (which was also really cool to label your plants!), but you can definitely design your own cake pot! I had no idea there was such thing as chalkboard paint! I can't wait to try it!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Italian Cream Sodas and Fettuccine

I used to always squander my money at Olive Garden on their yummy Italian Cream Sodas...until I figured out I could just make them at home! Another bonus of making them yourself is free refills! You just need club soda, half and half, and flavored syrup. If you know me, it's a no-brainer that I used cherry, but you can use whatever. Just use 5 parts club soda for one part syrup. Then I just dump in the cream.

I think the alfredo sauce that I made from America's Test Kitchen is the best I've ever had! I took the recipe straight from the cookbook and it isn't available online from what I could's the usual alfredo ingredients with a pinch of nutmeg. I just grilled chicken with olive oil and garlic salt and it was delicious on top.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Pots and Pins!

My son and I wanted to wish my mom a Happy Mother's Day...and since my son can't talk yet, we decided to write it with his Alpha-Bits cereal!

As a tribute to my talented mother, I thought I'd create some pots and pins cupcakes!

The pic below is a little hard to see with all the pins, but they were so cute, I had to post them!

My mom is the most amazing person I've ever met. If you don't believe me, check out her blog pots and pins. She inspired me to create my own blog, which led me to have the confidence to get into photography, which has led to a lot of happiness! She has done more service for others than most people could do in a lifetime. She is such an example to me of selflessness!

Here's some more cupcakes inspired by her:

All of the cupcakes are a delicious lemon with lemon buttercream frosting. Unfortunately, since my mom is in Seattle, she won't get to taste them (but her familiy that lives here will!)! But I thought it would still be fun to "deliver" them via blogland!

I'll post some extra info about the cupcakes to share these with the fam!