It’s Cocktails & Desserts This Oscar Party!

Try as I might, I could pretty much only come up with dessert and cocktail themed food this year for the Oscars.  But I am fairly certain none of my friends will be complaining.  I mean what can you do when there is actually a movie nominated called “The Danish Girl”?  You gotta serve danish, right?

Or, you could serve “The Big Short Cake” with “Straight Outta Compote” and “Whipped Creem”.

The Big Short Cake



So  when it comes to dessert recipes, I head to my go-to dessert gal, Joy the Baker and while her Snickerdoodle Strawberry Shortcake recipe looks amazing (I grew up making and eating snickerdoodles), I think I will stick with a classic shortcake recipe she has on her blog.  Then I hopped over to another favorite, Minimalist Baker for a Simple Berry Compote. For the whipped “creem”, you are on your own.

The other title that was almost a given this year was “Bridge of Spies” which will now be my “Bridge of Pies”.  While this could have been added to my dessert theme, I thought I would try my hand at another JTB recipe that has been on my list – Bite-sized Baked Brie Pies.  Well, she doesn’t call them pies, but they do look an awful lot like mini pies so I think they will work just fine. Now I just need to figure out how to display them across some bridge type plate or platter.

Bridge Of Pies

Moving on to cocktails, I will leave this up to our host Robin to come up with her signature cocktails.  She usually comes up with several new ones every year and they are always quite tasty.  The honeydew martini she served a few years back was a surprise hit. But if I had to make some suggestions, well… I am sure I can manage to come up with a few.  White on Rice always have beautiful looking cocktails on their blog and having tasted a few at workshop and events, I can attest to their deliciousness.  The Chili Martini Cocktail looks like it has just the right amount of sweet and spicy.  Anyone who knows me, knows I like a bit of kick to my cocktail.  The Blood Orange Gin and Tonic and the Blood Orange Margarita both look amazing and then there is the Sea Salt Iced Coffee (technically not a cocktail but incredible – trust me, you must try it).


50 Shades of Gray Goose

Well, since that is a lot of booze and sugar, I thought I would throw in one hearty dish.  My easy, classic 7-layer dip which in this case will now be an 8-layer dip.  Now I just need to figure out what that 8th layer will be…  Will blog about that one later.

The Hateful 8 Layer Dip

And yes, I know, George isn’t nominated or even to the best of my knowledge involved in any movies this year but you still gotta have some hot dish and it still has to have a George Clooney sign because, damn, he is hot!

George Clooney is hot

Happy Oscars!!

Buttery Raspberry Lemon Cake and a Small Victory

One of my favorite cakes to make for the non-cake people out there is this Buttery Raspberry Lemon Cake that I cut out of Sunset magazine. Do non-cake eaters really exist, you ask? Yes and my sister is one of them. I have made this cake on several occasions, including my sister’s birthday, and it is simple and delicious. It was also the perfect thing to make on a busy weekend when I was in charge of bringing dessert to a family dinner. But, the fact that I not only made the cake amidst the constant chaos that is my home on the weekends and managed to take a few photos is the small victory.

This is one of the most important things that I took home from the amazing workshop I did a few weeks ago. It doesn’t have to be some huge production to take a styled food photo. You just need great natural light (which fortunately I have an abundance of in my house), a nice surface (one of which I painted at the workshop) and a simple display of what you have made. While perhaps someday I will have the time to shoot beautiful step-by-step instructions like Joy the Baker, another favorite of mine, for now I will be happy with a few shots I am proud of and a very tasty cake.

Click here for the recipe.

Buttery Raspberry Lemon Cake

Buttery Raspberry Lemon Cake

Buttery Raspberry Lemon Cake

Buttery Raspberry Lemon Cake


PS – In additional support of this cake, I also submit to you my chocolate loving, lemon hating brother-in-law. His dessert of choice is chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate and he loved this cake.

And of course, Ollie, my official taste tester, who is always happy to help “clean” the beaters.

My Official Taste Tester

My Official Taste Tester

May Madness

…which obviously turned into June madness and a little July madness since I am just getting around to writing about Ollie’s birthday.

My sister and I are often accused of not having a birthDAY but a birthMONTH. I want to deny it, but it’s true. Why should you only get one day out of the whole year to celebrate your arrival on this earth? I have kept that tradition alive with my son Ollie, and this year it was a doozy. We had a party at his school with Hungry Caterpillar cupcakes; dinner and games at Chuck E. Cheese’s; a big house party with all his preschool friends and friends around the city plus all my friends (which turns out can fill a house, balconies and a large yard); and finally, a four-day vacation to Disneyland, California Adventure and a very silly, fun water park at our Howard Johnson’s (courtesy of Nana & Papa). He is one lucky boy and I am one exhausted Mama. Throw in a preschool graduation and the month was complete.

I am definitely grateful for all the inspiration I found to make cupcakes, cake and theme food. The Internet is a powerful tool, and in the hands of a mom set on making a birthday special: watch out!  I was also able to use natural food dyes this year for most of the cakes and cupcakes, and that made me very happy.

Ollie’s Hungry Caterpillar Cupcakes were a big hit at the school. The kids recognized it right away and in true gender-specific form, the boys shouted that they wanted to eat the “head” and the girls explained that the head was for Ollie since it was his birthday.

"On Ollie's birthday he ate through 15 cupcakes."

“On Ollie’s birthday he ate through 15 cupcakes.”

All Gone

“That night he had a stomachache!”

Next up was a Toy Story party. We had theme food, a big cake, cupcakes and theme games.

Ollie's Story


However, the games quickly dissolved into a four-hour water fight with all the kids and most of the dads joining in; ending with two moms in my kitchen pumping out water balloons and “shipping them out” to the kids on the front.

We did manage to get the kids to put down the water shooters with the enticement of cake!  I tried something a bit new with Ollie’s cake this year and I was very pleased with the results.  A big thank you to my mom for cutting out all the stars and clouds by hand.  Having never used sugar sheets before, I had no idea you couldn’t use a cookie cutter on them.  Another midnight decorating adventure with my mother.  As well, a big thank you to Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe for the design inspiration.

The Cake!

PS – every kid gets to take a big bite out of the cake if they want.  A tradition started on his 3rd birthday when his Elmo cake was devoured by three 3-year-olds having the time of their lives!

We are eternally grateful

Happy Birthday my beautiful baby bug!!