Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cornflake Wreaths

My Grandma used to make these every single Christmas. They were my favorite treat that she made because they were so special. Now that I am looking for wheat/gluten free desserts to make for Ella, these couldn't be more perfect. And they are pretty easy to make.

Coconut "Snowballs"

When I was a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's there was a treat that we would get at the store, every year around Christmas. I cannot for the life of me, remember who made it or what it was called. But it was basically vanilla ice cream, rolled in shredded coconut. And then it came with a small candle that you were suppose to put in the middle and light it. Very festive! For the past couple of years I have been craving this dessert like crazy. So I decided to make my own version and was thrilled at how easy it was to do. (I guess my years working at an ice cream parlor continue to pay off!)

1 Pint of the best vanilla ice cream
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let rest on the counter. Fill a shallow bowl with the coconut. With a #20 scoop or another trusted ice cream scoop, create a balls out of the ice cream, trying to keep them as round as possible. Gently roll each ball in the coconut and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment. Repeat until you have run out of coconut (I was able to make about 6 snowballs). Stick the cookie sheet in the freezer and allow balls to harden for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Joyce's Joy Juice

This recipe came from a former co-worker of my Mom's. The ingredients were sloppily written on the back of an old envelope at what I am assuming was a very fun Christmas party. We have been making it, happily, now for close to thirty years. If you are looking for a warm drink to serve or bring to a holiday party, consider this. Spiking is only optional!

Joyce's Joy Juice

7 cups apple cider

5 cups orange juice

1½ cups fresh lemon juice

4 cups superfine sugar

3½ cups STRONG black tea

5 cups water

4 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon of whole cloves

1 (2") piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for approx. 30 minutes-1 hour, depending on taste and urgency.

Remove cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

Serve with brandy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pumpkin Cupcakes, oh my!

Milo just turned 2 and the kid loves pumpkin muffins. I mean, REALLY loves them. So I decided to make him some pumpkin cupcakes for his birthday. And I went to one of my most trusted resources for the recipe. Martha! Here is a link to the recipe, if you are interested. Trust me, they are so good. And easy. And here is the recipe for the cream cheese frosting. I dusted each cupcake with freshly grated nutmeg. And used a football decoration that I purchased at Surfas. Something tells me that I will be making these bad boys very soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hazelnut Crunch Cake

Hazelnut Crunch Cake

I originally got the recipe for this cake from Everyday Italian. I made a few changes, after some trial and error. The cake recipe comes from the Cake Doctor. This is surprisingly simple and beyond delicious!

1 recipe Darn Good Chocolate Cake...

1 package (18.25 oz.) plain devil’s food cake mix

1 package (3.9 oz.) chocolate instant pudding mix

4 large eggs

1 cup of sour cream

½ cup warm water

½ cup vegetable oil

1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Crunch: 1 cup (about 4½-ounces) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

⅔ cup sugar

⅓ cup water

Filling: 2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1 cup cream

¾ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping: ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (8-inch) cake pans. Prepare the batter for the Darn Good Chocolate Cake. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and bake according to recipe instructions. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Place the cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream, water, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2-3 minutes more. The batter should be thick and well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into pans.

Bake the cake in center of the oven until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, about 45 minutes. Let cake cool on wire racks until cool.

For the Crunch: Place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. (Or test with a candy thermometer, look for the hard candy stage.) Let the bubbles subside then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the sugar nut mixture cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When the sugar nut mixture is hard and cool, top with another piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place the sugar nut mixture on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Set aside.

For the filling: Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip until a bit more stiff. Fold in Marscapone cheese. Do not overmix. Fold the Crunch mixture into the whipped cream mixture.

For the topping: Place the chocolate, sugar and zest in a food processor. Process the mixture until the chocolate is finely ground.

To assemble the cake: Put 1 cake on a serving plate. Top with 1-inch of the whipped cream crunch mixture. Top with the second layer of cake and continue frosting the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream crunch mixture. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the ground chocolate.


Yields: Serves 8-10

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to decorate a cake, perfectly

Here is a suggestion for ways to decorate a cake, perfectly. As far as I am concerned, the only tool that is a must when decorating cakes is an offset spatula. It is a lifesaver. I cannot imagine working without one. It is also really helpful to have a really great set of pastry bags and decorating tips. If you have this, you can deliver a fantastic looking cake.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tea Party!

We are having one of Ella's friends over after school tomorrow. What better way to spend the afternoon than with a tea party? I just whipped up a batch of shortbread, which I will cut with cookie cutters and have the girls decorate them. And I made rice crispie treats. Tomorrow I will make some mini vanilla cupcakes and decorate them with chocolate frosting. Ella's new rule for all play dates is to have a tray of fruit and raspberry yogurt dip (which is basically equal parts yogurt and cool whip... thanks to my friend Susan's mother who made this for Ava's birthday!) And since I feel the need to balance things out a bit, I will also put together a veggie tray. Who am I kidding? They are four! Veggie tray, schmeggie tray! And last but not least, tea. We just saw the Wiggles in concert last night and Dorothy the dinosaur talks a lot about rose tea. Ella is sort of fixated on that. The closest I got to that is chamomile lavender, so that is what I will serve. Hopefully the girls will have a blast. Hopefully, Ella's friend will not got home and act like a complete sugar crazed maniac! Hmmmm...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dad's Birthday

This is one of two cakes that I made for Dad's birthday today. This was chocolate cake with whipped cream and berries, topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting. The other was an ice cream cake made with dolce de leche ice cream, a crust of semisweet chocolate and rice crispies, freshly made caramel sauce and whipped cream. Needless to say, Mama is wearing her pants a little bit looser tonight...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Great Aunt Elyse

So the holy grail has just been discovered... at least the Schultz family version of the holy grail. My Great Aunt Elyse was the greatest of cooks. A woman with a distinguished pallet who was a also a kick ass cook. She sort of made us all quiver in her presence, but each of us respected her on a high level. Sadly, she passed away in 1992. But recently, her daughter gave my aunt a box with some of Ol' Aunt Elyse's stuff. In it were several of her prized recipe files. Since my Aunt is not a cook, she passed the gems along to my Mother who is the center of all food culture in our family. And knowing that I am also an epicurean, my Mom gave me a coveted glance of the treasure. Their value is not lost on me. I am chomping at the bit to do something big with many of these recipes. She even had an entire box dedicated to cakes and frostings. HELLO! I have a blog called Buttercream Buzz! Now I know that I come by all of this honestly. After I try out a few of these sure-to- please concoctions, I will be posting them. Can you tell that I am losing my mind over here? This is the best gift that I have received all year. More to come!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cherry Chip Cupcakes Part 2

Today is the last day of Ella's preschool. Since I am the room mother, I tasked myself with cupcake duty. Everyone at her birthday loved this cupcake so much, I decided to make it again. This time I piped the frosting on and added sprinkles. Final touch: a cherry on top. My only mistake was not making enough buttercream. If you are piping, triple your recipe. I only doubled it. Thankfully I had enough ingredients to make more. It was just an annoyance. Also, if you are working with Maraschino cherries be sure to drain them and get them nice and dry before placing them on your cake. You will thank me for this!

Friday, May 29, 2009

My boy, for sure

So I was making some frosting the other day and as the egg beaters spun wildly in the bowl, I looked down and saw Milo staring up at me. Actually, he was panting but I couldn't hear him over the hum and the clank. He became impatient. He wanted what I had and he wasn't going to take "no" for an answer! The kid is only 19 months old, but that did not stop him from KNOWING what I was doing. There were freshly made cupcakes on the counter, Ella was dancing around and I was busy with my Kitchen-Aid! Silly was I to think that he would be satisfied with a measly lick of the egg beater. Oh no! This kid wanted his own frosted cupcake. It cracked me up. How could I refuse him? He is just like me and I honor his determination. Buttercream Forever, baby!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Birthday Season

Here are several highlights from our wild and crazy birthday season. Thankfully, it is coming to an end. But we certainly had a great time... ********

Hello Kitty #1: My friend Susan is my hero. A single mom who bakes her heart out and throws the most amazing parties! She made this cake, along with a bunch of cupcakes. So pink and soooooo good!********
Hello Kitty #2... Isabel's party was crazy fun, complete with a DJ and a confetti adorned dance floor. They also served bags of cotton candy, which Ella and I had a hard time resisting!********
Baxter's pirate themed party was Ella's favorite of the bunch. The cake was fantastic! The kids were practically fighting over the edible jewels... which were a brilliant way to decorate the cake, by the way!********

NOTHING compares to Bradley's birthday parties. My friend Andrea throws the most amazing bashes that I have ever been to. Each year has a theme, this year was sports. The "cake" was a giant chocolate chip cookie that she decorated herself. (She is my baking inspiration, everything she does is top notch!) They had Pie 'n Burger cook up some tasty snacks, including a buffet of crazy good pies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Send me YOUR stuff!

I am looking for all kinds of info to share. If you are a baker and want to strut your stuff, contact me! I am also looking for baking resources that you might love. Recipes and photos are also desired. Send everything to me at! Best, Heidi

Places to Party in LA: The Coop

The Coop is our new favorite place to hang out and party. It is quite near our home and we decided to have Ella's birthday party there, after attending a bash for a friend of hers. We couldn't have been happier. The Coop was designed to be a bit of an oasis from the usual play spot. The color palate is easy on the eyes (yellow, orange and white are the theme colors) and they have a variety of activities for the little ones... a bouncy house, an interactive dance floor, a CLEAN ball pit, a climbing tower with a slide that links to the balls, a pretend play area, an outdoor patio and a craft space. They were so accommodating with our dietary wishes; they let us bring in whatever we wanted. I did all of the table decorations, cupcakes and favors but these are services that they also provide. They are also open during the week for play dates or drop ins. You can order food and have it delivered as you watch your kids burn off their endless energy supplies.

They also are available for adult parties, allowing you to serve cocktails and bring in caterers. The owners were so wonderful and I want to make sure that they get lots and lots of business. I am hoping to take the kids there again soon. Definitely check them out!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Epicurious and their favorite cake recipes.

Epicurious just came out with a list of their favorite cake recipes. Worth a look-see!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ella Turns 4!

Lots of excitement around here... as birthday season is in full effect. Party after party, weekend after weekend. It is a part of life in the big city. Sort of a carry over from all of the Mommy groups that we were a part of. Now that the kids are getting older, their circle of friends is expanding and so are the number of events we must now attend each year. And we are just as much to blame, when we host our own shin dig. This year was a trifecta; three crazy, fun activities over the course of a week. We went to Disneyland with the Grandparents on Tuesday. Thursday we had a ice cream party at Ella's school. And Friday, we had a big party for all of Ella's buddies, 34 children total. Since Ella has a wheat allergy, I made her cake. And since everyone else is able to eat wheat flour, I made cupcakes for all to enjoy. Ella's cake was Cherry Chip with chocolate chips and cherry butter cream. The cupcakes were dark chocolate with orange cream cheese frosting. And cherry chip (sans chocolate chips) with cherry butter cream frosting. This is what it all looked like...

My Go-To Cake

A friend of mine made this cake for her son's first birthday party and it haunted me. I am usually not a fan of chocolate cake, for some reason. Usually, I am strictly a white cake gal. But this cake was remarkable. Totally flavorful and moist. I had to have the recipe. And to my surprise, she readily handed it over. She got it from a cookbook called "The Cake Mix Doctor" and it is called Darn Good Chocolate Cake. I have made it about 30 times in the past 3 years and that is a conservative estimate. I serve it many different ways. One favorite is with whipped cream frosting with fresh summer berries and a chocolate ganache frosting. (KNOCK OUT!) I also am fond of making it with bananas. The other way that I have enjoyed it is with a marscapone whipped cream frosting and hazzlenut brittle... soooooo good. My husband's favorite is when I use the recipe to make cupcakes and top them with chocolate cream cheese frosting and berries. The secret to this mix is the addition of sour cream and chocolate chips. If you want to knock someone's socks off, this is the cake for you!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Birthday Party Madness

After a fun afternoon chasing around my children at a 2 year old birthday party, I have decided that it is high time to start a blog honoring festive baked goods. Many of us spend hours researching and preparing these tasty treats and this is a website for YOU!!! This is a forum for bakers. If you have a recipe or an idea this is your place to share! No holds barred! Let's have some fun filling tummies with all combinations of sugar, butter, eggs and flour...

* These are my "Neapolitan" cupcakes from Ella's 3rd Birthday party... white cake, chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream and fondant flowers.