Jess Creativ Treasures

Cakes and cupcakes are all the rage at any given celebration we host since I love playing with icing and swirls and sprinkles, but this summer I put down the piping bag filled with buttercream to allow the work of my talented girlfriend, Jess, take the stage!

When we were celebrating Bradley prior to his leaving for Boot Camp, I was looking for something different and fun to add to the day.  I mean we all love sweets, but sometimes buttercream is just too much and not everyone is a fan of fondant.  While brainstorming ideas, I happened to catch a post from Jess in my social media and it clicked…

Cookies!

We needed gorgeous, fun, colorful and themed cookies for the perfect addition to our party!

I have long admired Jess’s handiwork…. Y’all, she is so talented! Decorative cookies take a A LOT of patience and quite a bit of time; each one is a work of art. These aren’t your everyday cookies from the Publix bakery, no, these are special and made with care. From baby showers to my US Marine, Jess does a wonderful job making sure your cookies are not only delicious but the perfect centerpiece for your dessert buffet!

I can assure you these cookies are fantastic and delicious as they were completely wiped out in a matter of minutes!

And if these beautiful & intricately decorated USMC cookies don’t convince you cookies are the perfect decorative dessert, check out a few more of Jess’s fabulous treats!

If you’re interested in cookies for your next event, Jess will meet you in metro Atlanta, but she has shipped before as well! Check out her Facebook page … Jess Creative Treasures … for more information or to order cookies for your next event!!

Velvety White Chocolate Cake

Despite all the baking going on in the house this summer I’ve actually lost 10 pounds and several inches since Bradley left for boot camp last month. The patriotic cupcakes shared earlier this week were delivered to the local police department so that they didn’t stay in the house after Audley, Madeline and my niece ate a couple.  But, when you whip up something like this cake we carried to South Carolina as we visited two of our kiddos over the weekend, it’s really hard to say “no” to sweets!

WhiteChocolate Cake

 

Making a cake from scratch is not that difficult. A little more time consuming maybe, but really not as hard as people would have you think. My problem with taking the time to bake is there are actually people out there who will complain about the dense layers of homemade flavor, and say they prefer a box mix!

Really?!

You have got to be kidding me!

Nonetheless, I will continue to scratch bake when time allows, and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s their loss. They should probably have their taste buds checked and shop the outer rims of the grocery stores for real food more often!

Velvety White Chocolate Cake

For my white chocolate cake you need a good quality cake flour (I love King Arthur’s brand), sugar, baking powder & salt for your dry ingredients. For your wet ingredients you will need egg whites ( separate your own, don’t use prepackaged liquid eggs), vanilla; grass-fed, fat-filled, real butter, and whole milk. You will also need 8 ounces of quality white chocolate …. I prefer Ghirardelli brand.

Scratch Cake Ingredients

The better quality products you use, the better tasting your cake will be!

You also want to have a flour sifter on hand to use when measuring your flour. You will be able to tell a difference in the density of your cake if you do (or don’t) sift the flour.

If you’ve never used one, it’s not difficult; promise! You just place flour into the gadget and shake or sift into a measuring bowl the amount your recipe calls for.

You’ll also need two bowls (one for wet ingredients; one for dry), measuring spoons and of course a mixer. You will need a bowl to melt your white chocolate in as well.

Prepare to 8-inch cake pans by spraying with Bakers Joy or another cake release product and preheat your oven to 350°.

White Velvet cake

After you have baked your layers, allow them to cool on a cooling rack,  The edges may be crispy (my favorite part to eat), but carefully level each layer with a cake leveler.  You can find a good one at Hobby Lobby for under $10.  Its worth keeping on hand if you like to bake.

The cream cheese icing recipe I shared earlier this week would be perfect to frost this cake, but since this cake was traveling I used a decorators buttercream that would hold.  Click here for the full and printable Velvety White Chocolate Cake recipe and here for the Cream Cheese Icing recipe.

 

White Chocolate Cake with Sprinkles

An easy way to decorate your cake would be to add a colorful holiday sprinkle mix over the top.  Fresh summer berries would also be a delightful addition!  Strawberries especially compliment the flavor of a white chocolate cake!

Sliced White Chocolate Cake

 So tell me, which do you prefer… A box cake or a fresh baked scratch cake?

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Simple Cream Cheese Icing

Usually when the summer heats up I bow out of the kitchen or take a lot of shortcuts, but this season has been quite the opposite. From cakes and cupcakes to jams, jellies, and pickles, as well as many a lovely supper our kitchen has been quite busy!

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One of the most delicious things to leave my kitchen was cupcakes frosted with cream cheese icing. While quite tasty, I will admit they were a challenge with all this Southern heat!  Cream cheese is not a fan of heat at all.

I actually cheated when making the cupcakes by using a box mix. When I resort to box mixes Duncan Hines Butter recipe is my favorite. I use a full stick of butter for each box and it makes for deliciously light cupcakes that are normally devoured. Top with cream cheese icing and you have an easy summer delight everyone will love!

Ingredients for the icing include cream cheese (use the full fat stuff for best results), a stick of real butter, vanilla extract, powdered sugar. I’m a firm believer in using quality products to maximize flavor, so go for the grass fed butter and a reputable brand of vanilla!

The icing is quite simple to whip up. First, I blend the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then add the vanilla and combine. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until all ingredients are blended well. Due to the heat, I usually refrigerate my icing about 30 minutes before putting it into a bag to pipe.

You can grab the entire recipe and instructions for the Cream Cheese Icing here.

Since one box of Duncan Hines cake mix generally makes 24-30 cupcakes, I double this easy cream cheese icing in order to make decorative swirls on top.

After your cupcakes are iced, dress them up with fresh berries or colorful sprinkles that fit your special occasion.

I love simple, and these cupcakes combine both the ease of a boxed cake mix and the flavor of homemade cream cheese icing will have your guests thinking you’ve spent HOURS on dessert!

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Cinnamon Valentine’s Day Bark

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday evening my girlfriend Tammie and I spent time in the kitchen making a few last minute treats to share for Valentine’s Day.

 {Treasure time with your girlfriends y’all, even if it is nothing more than baking!}

Not only were our treats super easy to make, but we really had a wonderful time catching up with each other as our schedules have been rather full lately.

We whipped up two recipes I have shared earlier on the blog: Cupid’s Crunch and Valentine’s themed Rice Krispies Treats, then proceeded to make Valentine’s Day Bark.

Valentines-Day-Gifts | Fiddle Dee Dee

One thing I love about recipes like this is they are super versatile and ingredients are always easy to find!  Tammie and I each made our bark a little differently as she isn’t a fan of cinnamon, and it worked out wonderfully!

Valentine Bark Pinterest Image

1 pkg pink colored candy melts (from Michaels or Hobby Lobby)

1 pkg white candy melts

Sprinkles

M&M’s

Red Hots

Melt the pink candy melts and spread evenly on a piece of parchment paper. Allow to set firm (about an hour). Melt the white candy melts and spread evenly over the top of the pink. Top with M&Ms, red hots and sprinkles. Allow to set an hour before breaking a part.

Cinnamon-Bark | Fiddle Dee Dee

Tammie used almonds to replace the red hots which added a little salty flavor to the sweetness of the bark.

Valentines-Bark | fiddle dee dee

Either way it just delicious!

You-and-Me-Valentine | Fiddle Dee Dee

With all of our sweet treats ready, our kiddos will enjoy a little extra something this Valentine’s Day totally made with love.

If you want to ship goodies these three recipes I shared over the last few days work perfectly because they don’t crumble as easy.

valentines-Gifts | Fiddle Dee Dee

I’m a firm  believer that it’s the little thing we do for those we love that make Valentine’s Day special, and not the greeting card company! Make today special and enjoy it with those around you!  A small act of kindness from love in your heart can go a long way to making someone’s dreary day brighter!

 

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