Saturday, May 22, 2010

Doctored Cake Mix: Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

I took these tasty little cupcakes to a BBQ. It was a lazy Sunday and I wanted to make something simple. So, I took a "milk chocolate" cake mix, chopped up about 25 maraschino cherries and tossed them into the batter and baked. Easy Easy.
The frosting was a wee bit of a disaster. Here is the recipe I was supposed to use:

3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 tbsp. (or more) maraschino cherry juice

But I thought "hmmm....if 4 tbs of cherry juice is good...8 will be better! Or, I'll just pour the whole thing into the mix!" um, no, it doesn't work like that. The frosting was weird and chunky, and couldn't hold those pretty cherries. By the time we got to the BBQ it looked like a brain explosion in my container :(

Oh well, they are still delicious and you should still make them...but follow the recipe for the frosting :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A few cards

A few days before Mother's Day I whipped together these cards for my Mama and my MIL. I'm having fun digging through my "stash" of old scrapbooking stuff and finally getting some use from it. I have supplies that are 10 years old! That's practically half of my life!

The white flowers are these amazing rub-ons from Stampin' Up. I got them for my birthday last year, but this is the first time I've used them and I LOVE them! They look so clean and professional. Love.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Black Magic Cake

I had been planning on making strawberry cupcakes for Mother's Day dinner, but my brother (who was pretty adorable in trying to plan the perfect mother's day dinner) thought everyone would like Chocolate better. So I turned to my trusty favorite at the eleventh hour and found a chocolate cake recipe that used ingredients that I already had on hand.
It came together quickly and easily, and was pretty darn tasty! The chocolate flavor was really light, so next time I make this cake I plan to toss some mini chocolate chips into the batter before cooking to add some more chocolatelyness.

Black Magic Cake


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans or one 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack. Fill and frost as desired.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Making a Great bow

I worked in a flower shop for two years, and one of my main jobs was making those big, gorgeous bows that flower shops put on everything. And I really did put them on everything! Some days when the shop was slow, I'd do nothing but make bows. Of course, I hated it then, but now I'm glad I had that experience.
While I was at a craft store a few weeks ago I overheard a conversation about bow making, a man had asked an employee to make him some bows and she said she didn't know how, and called over another employee who also didn't know how. So, I thought I'd share my flower shop bow making technique in case you work at a craft store and need to know how to make a bow...

1. Make a circle around your finger. Be sure the ribbon goes around the circle 1.5 times, or it will slip later.

2. Twist the ribbon under your circle, then make a loop, then twist the ribbon when it is under the circle again, and make another loop on the other side (this is if your ribbon only has a design on one side, like the satin ribbon I am using here. You twist so that the pretty stuff is always on the outside. If you're using two sided ribbon, skip the twist.)

3. Continue step 2, making each set of loops a tiny bit larger than the last, until you think your bow is long enough.

4. Cut a piece of ribbon at least 4" long, thread it through your orignal circle and around all of your loops and tie it. If you'd like your bow to have "tails", make this piece of ribbon longer, and the two ends will become your tails. (sorry no pic, but this step requires both hands!)

5. Fluff up your loops, and pull them into the position that you want them.6. Cut the ends of the tails at an angle to make a V in them.

that's it. It's pretty simple and once you do it a few hundred times you'll be a pro! When you're first starting out, use wired ribbon. It makes your loops hold their shape better and is so much easier to work with.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


We celebrated mothers day yesterday with my family, and I figured it was the perfect excuse to play in fondant. I've never made fondant before, I don't think I've ever even tasted it, but Bake@350 posted a very easy recipe for it last week and I figured it couldn't hurt to try it.

I had imagined a cake with daisies on it, but JoAnn's didn't have the fondant cutters in the flower shape I wanted, so I bought a leaf shape and handmade the flowers instead.
Leave my countertops alone! They're antiques!
This was really, really easy to make, and I love the results. (it tastes like solid sugar. Not a bad taste, but very sweet!) And it's super fun to play with, like play dough for grown ups.

There was a lot of touching involved, so I was a little squeamish about it, but you hands have to be coated in Crisco at all times, so that was enough of a barrier that I was okay with it :)

Here is my final result:

I'll post the recipe for this cake soon. It was really good!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts

If there was a contest for weirdest family tradition, I'm pretty sure mine would win. There's one goal at holidays that we all strive for: make mom cry. At prayer before dinner everyone passes her their napkins, and then we all giggle when she actually has to use them. Yeah, we're mean. Anyways, my point is, I think my mother's day gift is going to be a winner, so pass the napkins!

A few weeks ago Sarah from He Coaches She Crafts posted this adorable plaque that she made for her mother using a cricut. When I whined that I didn't have a cricut but loved the idea, Sarah suggested that I go to and create a collage there. What a great idea!

I used Sarah's tutorial to make two plaques, one for my mom and one for Dimples' mom. For my mom I chose the words for mom (mother, mom, mama...yes I call my mom "mama" still), and words that I thought described my mom, like beautiful, caring and loving etc.
For Dimples' mom I chose their last name to be the focal point, then love, home and family. Then I used to find other words that meant love, family and home, and chose the ones I thought described his family best.

And I really loved how they turned out. I think they are so sweet, and I'm glad that I took the time to make something instead of just buying something like I usually do.
sorry, I had to black out our last name there.
And mom, if you're reading this, you know you're going to have to pretend to be surprised and cry for me later. Happy Mother's Day!