St. Patrick’s Day Bakin’ & Dancin’

My kids, baking and dancing, all come hand in hand. So, today was no exception. With some Meghan Trainor’s ‘Better When I’m Dancin’ and some Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’ music in the background this house was smelling like freshly home made brownies and sugar cookies in no time – green to be exact in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Once the cookies were baked and cooled, the kids took turns decorating the cookies with frosting and sprinkles, before enjoying their own creations. So, while some helped in the kitchen and others danced to the beats of these super fun songs, this is just another example of how quickly we turn baking into a dance party of it’s own.

Hope your St. Patrick’s Day was as sweet and full of beats good enough to make you want to dance – just as ours.

Happy weekend friends!



Kids Birthday On A Budget + Tips On A Homemade Cake

A few years ago when I got my KitchenAid Mixer with the KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater I began making the kid’s birthday cake at home. We’ll have a birthday gathering at  home, we’ll make goody bags for the children, have something to eat, say pizza or arrange a hot dog bar with toppings such as relish, ketchup and mustard and serve with chips. In the recent years I’ve included a Piñata for them to break. As for the children that go to school, I will speak to their teachers beforehand about having the celebration done in the classroom to include their school friends, take either a pull-apart cake – which essentially are cupcakes put together to resemble a cake, cake or mini cupcakes, depending on which the teacher prefers. I’ll take the napkins, plates, juice and make the goody bags according to the theme they choose. I’ll include a small toy, punch balloon – which are always a success, kids love them and about 3 to 4 candies per bag.

A few basic kitchen tools to have at home – and you can get more ideas from here …

Cake Pan   ⁄ ⁄  Nonstick Steel Cake Pan – 9-Inch, 2-Pack or  9″ Nonstick Round Cake Pan – Set of 3

Cake Board   ⁄ ⁄   Wilton 10-Inch Cake Circle, 12-Pack

Cake Icing Spatula   ⁄ ⁄    Cake Icing + Decorating Spatula Set of 7.5, 10.8, 12.8 Inch or Angled Icing Spatula, 12.5-Inch, Silver

Rubber Spatula    ⁄ ⁄   2 Piece Spatula Set – Colorful Silicone

Icing Bags   ⁄ ⁄   12″ Disposable Icing Bags (Set of 12), Transparent or Icing Bottles – Set of 3

Cake Stand   ⁄ ⁄    Magnolia Large Wooden Tray I use this large tray as a cake stand

Happy Birthday Banner + Toppers   ⁄ ⁄   Invest in one and reuse. These are banners Gold ‘Happy Birthday’ Cake Topper Banner  or Happy Birthday Banner – Colorful or  ‘Happy Birthday’ Topper Garland with Wood Pole Ivory Pink Roses and this is a topper Gold ‘Happy Birthday’ Cake Topper

There are plenty of ideas online to choose from. However, this was the last cake we made at home. The theme was of the lovely Peppa Pig so we decided on a Strawberry Icing for the outside and Vanilla Icing for the inside. This is something I’d see on television and decided to give it a try.

Store Bought Cake Mix with Chocolate Candy Center Filled Birthday Cake

>  I’ve been using the ‘Duncan Hines’ cake mix and it’s tastes great. This is what I use for times sake, but if you have time to make one from scratch and not a store box one, fantastic! I also, substitute vegetable oil for butter.

After you have allowed the cake layers to fully cool down, I then used a heart shaped cookie cutter and gently pushed downward to cut out the center of the bottom cake layer, then filled the center with chocolate M&M’s – if you do not allow the cake layer to fully cool down, the candy will melt. This was my candy of choice however you can choose the candy of your choose. You can recreate this same idea for a reveal baby shower and just place the gender colored candies inside, say blue candy for a boy. Tip – make three layers instead of two to fill the center with more candy, you’ll just have to cut the center of the two bottom layers for this. Another tip, when you’re ready to set up the bottom cake later on the cake board, put a little icing on the bottom of the cake and on to the board, this will prevent the cake from shifting.

Now that you’ve filled the center with candy, using the icing spatula spread your middle filling with icing – both the ‘Duncan Hines’ and ‘Pillsbury’ brands taste great, here we chose Vanilla – avoiding the center. Tip – do not put icing in the center because the candy will get stuck to the icing when it’s time to cut the cake.

I also, placed some sprinkles on the Vanilla frosting before placing the top layer.

Lastly, place the top layer on top, do not cut the center of this layer. Also, clean out your icing spatula after using a different flavored icing.

>  Now, using your icing spatula again, spread the outside icing all over your cake. While the icing is moist – has not harded, place sprinkles on top, here we used multi-colored sprinkles in doing so the icing will serve as a glue for the sprinkles.

Lastly, place your ‘Happy Birthday’ banner or topper and candle.

Having the right tools at home, will ensure a great tasting cake everyone will love!

Happy Baking.


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Photo: Annie Spratt