Month: January 2014

Conversation Heart Cake

February is TOMORROW – and that means the next holiday to fret over is Valentine’s Day. I saw a cake like this floating around Pinterest and thought it was awesome. But can we just stop and discuss something? Why do all the hearts look like they were a) stepped on, b) printed by a toddler, or c) part of the reject bin? Go home, candy heart-making machine, you’re drunk.

I even bought a new bag thinking my first bag was surely full of defective hearts that somehow escaped quality control, but noooooo. So what we’re left with is a cute cake covered with some pretty imperfect hearts.

I hope you are all staying warm — as most of the country seems to be in a deep freeze! I won’t complain though, as round two of the “Polar Vortex” gave me a day off of classes earlier this week. Even Wisconsin shuts down if it gets cold enough. :)

Conversation Heart Cake
Inspired by Love from the Oven
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (plus required eggs and oil)
1 tub of frosting (maybe two, depending on how big your cakes are and how much you like frosting)
6″ or 7″ cake pan(s)
A couple bags of conversation hearts

1. Make the cakes according to box direction.  You can use any flavor you’d like.  I used 6″ cake pans because I figured I’d go batty trying to cover a larger cake in candy hearts. Allow the cakes to cool on wire racks.
2. Assemble the cakes, spreading frosting between the layers and over the outsides of the cake. I used vanilla frosting because I thought the white color would work better than chocolate.
3. You might want to frost your cake in segments — because if the frosting dries at all, you’ll have a hard time getting the candy hearts to stick. I frosted the sides of the cake first — doing about a 1/3 of the cake at a time, covering with hearts, doing another 1/3, and so on.  The last step was to frost and decorate the top of the cake.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Bakery Review: Grace & Shelly’s

DSC_2240x900I’m reviewing Grace and Shelly’s cupcake shop – located in Whitefish Bay, WI!

  • Grace and Shelly’s shops are primarily located in Florida. The Milwaukee area must be pretty special in order to get one! ;)
  • I really like this bakery. I’ve visited a few times (so I could sample many varieties) and I’ve been happy every time.
  • My favorite cupcake here is the Butterfinger Cupcake (shown above) – OH MY GOD. It was to-die-for. My other favorite? The maple bacon because, well, duh. Maple and bacon. On a cupcake.
  • One of the great things about this shop is the variety of cupcakes. They print a menu – so you know what cupcakes will be made each day of the week.
  • The shop also serves Chocolate Shoppe ice cream — a local company out of Madison that makes amazing ice cream.
  • I also tried one of their variety packs of mini cupcakes — a wise decision if you can’t make up your mind. It was nice to be able to try teeny tiny versions of so many of their flavors.
  • The inside of the shop is very inviting – decorated in pale blues and whites.
  • So yes, if you find yourself in Milwaukee or Florida, please visit Grace & Shelly’s!

Note: I’m not being paid to promote this bakery. I just like to try new places and I’ll take any excuse I can get to eat a few cupcakes.


I went to Disney World!

I feel as if I’ve neglected my blog lately. But life has been busy. Let me catch you up with a few bullet points.

    • December marked a flurry of activity around here. A lot of Christmas treats were posted, but behind the scenes life was a little miserable. After months of being sick, the doctors told me that I had a faulty gallbladder and had to have surgery a few days after my final exams ended. Can you say awful and stressful?! The surgery was easy squeezy, the recovery was awful, but I’m back to being 100% now!
    • Two days into 2014, I headed to Disney World with a friend of mine from law school. We wanted to mark our halfway point through law school by spending a week at the happiest place on earth. I’ll be sharing a lot of photos on this post – because who doesn’t love Disney? (If you don’t, don’t even speak of it – we can no longer be friends). And we ate a lot of treats, so I’ll share my thoughts on those!
    • The spring semester has started and the mountain of work is piling up yet again. In case I haven’t complained about it recently (ha!), allow me this chance. You guys. Law school is nuts. The girls in my partnership tax class have already asked, “you’ll be bringing cookies every week, right?” Yes. Maybe every day. We will need them.
    • That’s about it for me. I’ll try to post as many goodies as I can over the next couple months. Valentine’s Day is less than a month away (!), so it’s time make something cuuuuute!
    • On with the Disney photos! If you have any questions or are planning a trip, shoot me an email or leave a comment. I love talking Disney. Also – early January is a great time to visit the parks (low crowds, cool weather, generally awesome experience — and the Christmas decorations will still be up!).
    • And in case someone wants to know – the photos below were taken with either (a) my iPhone or (b) a Nikon D300 with a Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 lens.

Disney2014__024Disney2014__004Christmastime at the Magic Kingdom!Disney2014__037My favorite ride – the Mad Hatter’s Tea PartyDisney2014__253Disney2014__254These two photos were taken at the Confectionery on Main Street USA. Everything looked so delicious! I wanted one of those Goofy caramel apples – but not for $10!Disney2014__007The new magnet collection is adorable. All the classic Disney treats!Disney2014__016And here’s a real Mickey waffle! Waffles just taste better in Mickey form.Disney2014__043A must-eat at the Magic Kingdom is pineapple Dole Whip. Do not be swayed by the orange Dole Whip. Go with pineapple. It is one of my all-time favorite treats.Disney2014__096Gaston’s Tavern is part of the new Fantasyland. If you go, try LeFou’s Brew, which is frozen apple juice with a hint of marshmallow. It’s delicious!
Disney2014__101Speaking of new Fantasyland, have any of you been to Be Our Guest? It was the best part of our trip. What a magical restaurant. Truly.Disney2014__102Note the red napkin folded into a rose. Those Disney imagineers miss nothing!Disney2014__103You can have “The Grey Stuff” for dessert – which is cookies ‘n’ cream mousse – but really does look like mystery grey fluff.Disney2014__288A little more Magic Kingdom Christmas.Disney2014__307Who doesn’t love fireworks?Disney2014__054The Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios – so amazing!Disney2014__078We lunched at the 50s Primetime Cafe. The food was decent – all comfort food! Andrea tried a peanut butter and jelly shake – and it tasted like a blended and frozen Reese’s peanut butter cup. Mmm!
Disney2014__279Is there anything happier than a Disney balloon?Disney2014__159EPCOT is next!Disney2014__173First stop, the bakery in France. I got macarons and Andrea got chocolate mousse.Disney2014__180Next was the Karamell-Kuche in Germany. *Everything* was covered, dripped, drizzled, or dunked in caramel. My version of heaven. :)Disney2014__187Norway brought us the Kringla Bakeri og Cafe. My friend (and Disney super fan and expert) Amber HIGHLY recommended that we try the schoolbread. You guys. Oh my god. And look, I *hate* coconut. But this magical pastry sent from the heavenly land of Norway? SO DELICIOUS. I dream about it. Others feel the same way!Disney2014__197Loved the cookies ‘n’ cream cupcakes at the Boardwalk Bakery.Disney2014__047A note about our hotel – we stayed at the Contemporary and booked a boring garden level room. Upon arrival, we were upgraded to a Club Level room with a view of the Magic Kingdom. H-o-l-y-s-h-i-t. You couldn’t have wiped the smiles off of our faces! In addition to the great view, there was free food in the common area from 7am to 10pm, every day. Breakfast! Snacks! Wine and cheese! Free beer! Dessert party! It was basically the best thing ever – and we’ll never be that lucky with an upgrade ever again.Disney2014__015Free chocolates. The one with the photo of the Contemporary? It’s chocolate. I ate our hotel. Also, I love love loved the Contemporary. I didn’t know if I would because it was said to be so modern and cold – but I thought it was fantastic. The hotel was warm and clean and simple – and the biggest perks were the fact that you could walk to the Magic Kingdom and that the monorail went through the hotel (talk about convenient).Disney2014__283And here’s the end of the photos (thank god, right?). I had a great time with Andrea and I will always love Disney with all my heart. And I will also always love those Mickey-shaped krispie treats. Daaaamn they’re good.

Mickey & Minnie Cupcakes

DSC_4433x900I’m off to Disney World with a girlfriend from law school! To mark the halfway point of law school, we’re reverting back to childhood and enjoying a week in the land of magic. As a result, I may be a little absent from my blog for the next week or so. Apologies in advance if I don’t approve comments or respond to emails as promptly as usual. :)

Smiley Face Cupcakes – and Happy 2014!

DSC_3968x900Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the first day of 2014! I wanted to make something excessively cheerful for my first post of the new year — and I think these classic yellow smiley face cupcakes are just that. Have you all made resolutions for the new year? I never make resolutions — just a list of little things I’d like to accomplish (an item on my list for 2013 was to make cake pops — so really, I don’t aim very high!). Have a great start to your new year — especially if you are nursing a New Year’s Eve hangover. :)

Smiley Face Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (plus required eggs and oil)
1 tub of vanilla frosting
1 tub of chocolate frosting
48 brown M&Ms
Yellow food coloring

1. Make the cupcakes according to the directions on the box mix. Under fill the muffin tins with batter for these. Allow them to cool entirely.
2. Dye your vanilla frosting yellow by using food coloring. Scoop the frosting into a microwave safe bowl and microwave it on 20-second increments until the frosting is thinner and a little runny.
3. Spoon the frosting onto the top of each cupcake. Using thinned frosting will help to give the cupcakes a smoother look.
[note: You don’t have to thin your frosting — these will work with your regular method of frosting a cupcake!]
4. Add two brown M&Ms to each cupcake for eyes. Pipe a smiley face onto each cupcake using a pastry bag + a small round tip.