Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snowball Cake

Hello CIS readers! I am so sorry I have been away for over a week now! That is totally not like me at all, but I have had a few more important things than baking going on with my family so my sugar cravings have taken a back seat lately. Lucky for you I had made this Snowball cake a few weeks ago for my friend Renie's birthday, but hadn't posted it yet. I am back home in KY right now and there were a few snow flurries on Tuesday so I figured there was still time to post a cake related to snow before Spring arrives!

I decided to make 2 sizes of the snowball cake from the same recipe. One small. One large.

Afterall, I needed to have one cake to cut into for photo purposes right? Or was it taste testing?

And the large cake was taken to my friend Renie's birthday party!

I got the inspiration for this cake from the Kraft Food & Family Magazine Snowball Cake. Although their chocolate cake & creamy filling looked delicious, I decided instead that my family's Italian Cream Cake recipe would be absolutely perfect since it contained coconut inside the cake and would pair nicely with a coconut garnish on the outside of the cake.

The end result was a moist and light cake with a fluffy coconut topping that definitely reminded me of a big pile of snow. Typically when I make this cake I garnish the top with walnuts, but I must admit I loved the extra coconut on the outside this time around! You have gotta try this recipe!

Snowball Cake (Italian Cream Cake with Cream Cheese Icing)

For the Cake

-1 stick butter, softened
-2 cups sugar
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 cup buttermilk
-1 bag (14 oz) flaked coconut (use 1/2 cup for cake, remaining for garnish)
-5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
-1/2 cup vegetable shortening
-5 egg yolks
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  • In large bowl, cream butter and shortening with electric mixer.
  • Add sugar and continue beating until mixture is smooth.
  • Add egg yolks and beat well.
  • Combine flour and baking soda. Add alternately with buttermilk and scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
  • Stir in vanilla, 1/2 cup coconut and walnuts.
  • Fold in beaten egg whites.
  • Pour batter into greased large Pyrex glass bowl.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until cake tests done. (This cake can also be baked in three 8-inch round cake pans for 25 minutes)
  • Allow cake to cool in bowl for about 20 minutes, then flip out onto cake plate to continue cooling.
For the Icing

-1 stick butter, softened
-1 8 oz block Cream Cheese, softened
-5 cups confectioners' sugar
-1 tsp vanilla

  • In bowl, mix butter and cream cheese with electric mixture until creamy.
  • Gradually add in confectioners' sugar beating well after each addition.
  • Mix in vanilla.
  • Frost cake with icing and garnish with remaining coconut flakes to create "Snowball" look.
  • Add a decorative flag on top labeled as "Snowball Cake" to finish off the cake.
Have you ever baked a cake in a bowl? If so what recipe did you use?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today it's my birthday. The start to the last year of my 20s. I woke up as usual at 5:30AM and went for a run, and when I returned I was welcomed with this cake lit with a candle and all...what a sweet surprise! Randolph slipped out quickly to the grocery while I was running and got this cake and rushed back home to surprise me when I came in the house! This definitely caught me off guard, but was such a sweet gesture, it made my day!

So here's how this cake came to be...Last night as we were finishing up our Valentine's Dinner, he said, I'm going to make your cake now. You see, this has been a running joke for the past few years. Ever since I got into baking, I always make him a homemade cake so we joke that he will make me a cake when my birthday rolls around...which still hasn't happened. So it was about 8:15 PM at the time and he was about to start making my chocolate cake. He was in the kitchen searching for recipes and the first thing he asks is "do we have any yeast". I knew this was not a good sign if he thought there was yeast in cake...but this is the same guy who refers to cake as "bread" so maybe it makes sense in his head. So I suggested he could just make Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate cake since it is super easy and everything goes in the same bowl. He then asks, "even the icing goes in the bowl with the cake"...oh my! This gave me a good laugh, but realizing how clueless he really was, I quickly let him off the hook and told him he really didn't need to make me a cake after all.

So although I didn't get a homemade cake, I still got a cake and that is all that matters! And the fact that the cake was a total surprise made it even better!

Along with the cake I got this card. It couldn't be more perfect since we have a black lab. Although my lab would never ever be carrying a basket of flowers in his mouth, since he won't even retrieve a ball. But somehow Randolph always manages to find the perfect card that resembles something personal in our lives, he is a great card picker outer!

And on the inside of the card was this drawing from Randolph of our dog Tillman. He is always decorating my presents and cards with little drawings which always puts a smile on my face.

It has been a great birthday! Thanks R for making this a special day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day! Wishing you a day full of LOVE and cupcakes!

I'm excited to share with you a new icing technique inspired by a photo my friend Mary Kendall sent me a few days ago. I just knew Valentine's Day would be the perfect occasion to create these sweet ruffled cakes. The icing is slightly more elegant than a traditional swirl iced cupcake, but is still super easy to do.

To create the ruffled look start with a Wilton petal tip #104 and a piping bag filled with frosting. By holding the wider end of the tip towards the center and the narrow pointed end of the tip to the outside of the cupcake, pipe a layer of icing around in a circle by gently wiggling the piping bag back and forth to create the ruffled look. Follow this same motion creating a 2nd and 3rd layer on top of the previous ruffles of icing. Finish off the look with a fondant topper to fit your special occasion, in this case the obvious choice was a heart for Valentine's day.

I am loving how the ruffled icing works so well when paired with a lace doily.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Packaging Ideas for Valentine Cookies

Looking for the perfect sweet treat for your Valentine? Nothing says I LOVE YOU more than a batch of decorated sugar cookies! I am a sucker for cute packaging and re-purposing items for different uses other than what they are originally intended for. So as soon as the red & pink started hitting store shelves in January, I stockpiled on an assortment of materials that would come in handy when creating my Valentine's this year.

Using the colors and designs from the packaging materials I found I decorated cookies to match. I love finding inspiration from printed pieces such as tissue paper, fabric and stationery and recreating them in sugar.

So if you are up for being a little more adventurous this year and forgoing that same old box of chocolates for your loved one, check out these adorable packaging ideas.

Place cookies in a small colored tin and personalize with a label

Fill up favor boxes with paper shredding and place mini heart shaped cookies inside. Seal the box with a lid and coordinating ribbon.

Fill up cupcake liners with a small stack of cookies and tie with a ribbon.

Load up a decorative Chinese take-out box with shredded paper & cookies
(an assortment of designs can be found at Michaels for $1 each)

Pile cookies high in a clear paint can style container

Dangle cookies with ribbon for a decorative center piece
(this is the same jewelry tree I used for the Cute as a Button Baby Shower)

If cookies aren't your thing, you can easily adapt all of these packaging ideas to include candy, cake balls, brownies or meringue kisses.

Here are the recipes I used:
-Sugar Cookies
-Chocolate Sugar Cookies Recipe from the talented Meaghan of The Decorated Cookie. If you have never visited her blog, go take a look...her cookie & marshmallow creations are unlike anything I have ever seen! This was the first chocolate sugar cookie I had ever tried and oh my goodness they are AMAZING! I'm now a huge fan and will definitely be making these again soon!

I hope you have found some inspiration in these super cute and very affordable packaging ideas! Do you have some other fun ideas for packaging sweets, I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, February 7, 2011

And the winner is...

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! I had so much fun watching all your guesses come in for the Valentine's Giveaway. I'm so excited to finally reveal the # of hearts in the jar and the winner of the giveaway....drum roll please....
the # of hearts in the jar was 536

and the winner is....

"krissyjosephine who guessed 532"

Congratulations, and awesome guess, you were so close! And lucky for you I got around to making some Valentine's cookies this weekend too so your giveaway package will also include an assortment of decorative cookies pictured above! Please send me your address at so I can get your prize in the mail this week so you will have something sweet to unwrap for Valentine's Day!

Check back tomorrow for some fun packaging ideas for Valentine's Cookies!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Valentine's Giveaway!

Since Valentine's Day is fast approaching and I LOVE all my readers, it's time for a GIVEAWAY! Nothing says "will you be my Valentine" more than these nostalgic conversation hearts. So it's time to have a little fun, you ready?

Here's the deal. All you have to do is guess how many Conversation Hearts are in this jar by leaving it in the comments section below! The person who guesses closest to the actual # is the winner!

Wanna know what you are playing for?

A lovely prize package full of all sorts of Valentine's goodies put together by yours truly! I just couldn't help myself, all of these adorable pink & red items were calling my name and I knew you would love them too!

Valentine's Giveaway Package Includes:
-pink polka dot oven mitt & heart shape cookie cutter
-package of red & pink patterned cupcake liners
-4 Valentine gift tags
-4 Valentine plastic favor bags
-a LOVE cupcake box
-pink & red magnetic notepad
-a cupcake Valentine's card
-the jar of conversation hearts
**if I can get my act together...a dozen Valentine's sugar cookies**

Giveaway is open until Monday, February 7th at 12:00PM!
The person closest to the number in the jar wins!
Only 1 guess per person.
Contest open to US Residents only.

I will post the correct # of hearts in the jar and the winner sometime on Tuesday February 8th!

Ready, set, start counting up those hearts!

In other exciting news I have created a Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. Facebook page! I'd love for you to come check it out!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cake Pop Lovin!

Happy February! It's the month of LOVE so it's only fitting to kick it off with a few things I'm lovin' right now!

#1 - My blog redesign! Do you all like the new look? I figure with the new year it was time to give CIS a facelift, and I'm lovin the new colors, fonts and custom design feel! A big thank you to Marina at Penny Lane Designs for a fantastic job! If you are looking for a blog makeover, PLD is a great place to start! Marina's portfolio is full of a wide array of designs, colors, fonts and styles, you will be sure to find inspiration. Her turnaround time is great, she is a pleasure to work with and her pricing is so affordable! Go check PLD out!

#2 - Cake Pops! Can't go wrong with cake on a stick! Especially chocolate cake with pink & red sprinkles! I just got finished teaching 2 friends how to make cake pops and we had so much fun. I love being able to pass on the tips and tricks I have learned throughout my baking adventures!

# 3 - My Birthday month! I will be entering the last year of my 20s on the 15th! For the past two years I have run a half marathon on the actual day or weekend of my birthday and this year will be no different. I am heading to Jacksonville in two weekends to run the Breast Cancer Half Marathon. I am so thankful to be healthy and capable of running. I know some people think I'm crazy, but really there is nothing I like more than to run a race on my birthday. It's the present I give to myself, and a tradition I hope to continue for years to come! Plus after 13.1 miles I can indulge in as much birthday cake as I want!

Looking forward to a wonderful month full of sweets & treats and red & pink!
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