Vintage Cake Toppers

I'm having a huge "oh, my gosh, I love these" moment over these candle holders and cake toppers that I found on Etsy. I don't normally like things that rarely get used because they just make me think about how they're going to end up in a garbage dump some day, polluting the Earth. The good news is that these particular pieces are vintage, so I can purchase them guilt free! (Okay, so I still feel guilty about the packaging involved in mail order, but most of that, if not all of it, can be recycled.) These would look so adorable atop your favorite cake or cupcake! Instant crowd appeal, with very little effort!


Nestle Toll House Swirled Morsels

photo courtesy of Anna Kashkanova

Okay, I admit it. I don't know when Nestle introduced these swirled chips. It could have been last week or it could have been ten years ago, for all I know. If this is old news to some of you, excuse my delayed reaction, but I'm SUPER excited about them!! In the right dessert, they look so cute! It actually comes across as if you've done something really fancy, when really, all you've done is pour a bag of chocolate chips into your batter. Well, they aren't just plain old chocolate chips, really. Each chip is swirled with either white chocolate, peanut butter, or caramel. From a purely visual standpoint, I like the black and white chips the best. They stand out the most, although I've always had a soft spot for chocolate and peanut butter! If you need some inspiration, Nestle includes a whole slew of swirled-chip recipes on their site. Click here for more pictures/recipes and here for additional information on the chips.


Beatty's Chocolate Cake

photo by Esme McClear

Last week my sister sent me an e-mail that said this:

I just ate an amazing cake my friend Jenny made.

Honestly, I'm always skeptical when people tell me about a cake that they really liked. People get excited about cake. I get excited about cake (mmmm…cake). Cakes have so much potential, but, really, most of the time I just end-up being disappointed by them. More often than not, for me, cake does not live up to its hype. So, when I finally got my hands on a piece of this so-called amazing cake, I wasn’t expecting much. I took a bite before I ate dinner, just to try it, and then I took another taste, and another, and then proceeded to eat the whole thing! It was really good. It's a very tasty chocolate cake and, like I said, I'm a bit of a cake snob! It does have a very slight coffee taste, but you don't notice it after the first bite. I hate the taste of coffee and I was pretty much licking the plate!

The recipe originally came from the Ina Garten's book Barefoot Contessa at Home, but Jenny found it on pete bakes. You can view the complete recipe on Pete's Web site by clicking here. Pete's version is a bit different, so it's fun to view his pics as well!

Jenny made some slight changes to the recipe, which you can find below. Thanks to Esme for taking the beautiful picture!
  • For the cocoa powder, I used half hot chocolate and cocoa powder.
  • I added hazelnuts, toasted them, crushed them, mixed them with sugar and cinnamon, and then pressed the mess to the sides.
  • I used canola oil instead of veg oil, but I don't think that would make a difference.


April Reed, Cake Designer

I've been wanting to do a piece on cake designer April Reed for some time now and this seemed like the perfect time, considering that the subject of one of my recent posts, the Farnsworth gingerbread house, was created by Ms. Reed. One of the reasons that I love April Reed's cakes is because she, like me, is a genuine, old-fashioned cake head! After graduating from the Culinary Institute of American and working at Tom Coliccho's Craft Restaurant in NYC, she decided that she just couldn't keep cake of her mind! She chucked it all in in 2001 and began working on her dream job, her very own cake design company! Reed's creations are both beautiful and original. I am especially fond of the Carnation Cake (the detailing is wonderful) and the Studded Truffle Cake (so fun)! Click here for more great pictures and additional info.

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