This week on my Instagram I posted a look back at two posts to show the reinvention/evolution of one of my ideas. If you follow me on the ‘gram this will be a bit repetitive, but basically I explained that while I was making my Gemstone Cupcakes I had wanted to incorporate an agate slice on top of one of them, and for the edible base of that pretty rock I initially used fondant (yuck). I was determined to think of a tastier method, and as I was writing the post I realized I could frost cookies that way, using essentially the exact same process, but by replacing the fondant with a cookie. And so the DIY Gemstone Cupcakes led the way for the DIY Agate Slice Cookies.

So, when I was thinking about non-traditional holiday desserts a couple of weeks ago I decided to try out the agate decorating technique again, but this time on a cheesecake. Initially I thought about attempting the technique before baking the cheesecake, but that didn’t work at all! Lol. So, I decided to bake a cheesecake and then simply top it with a beautiful agate slice. And while it didn’t involve much additional thought from the cookies, the larger representation of the rock slice allows for a lot of extra details, which is really incredible. The larger canvas also makes it much easier to create, in my opinion. Prior to making it I had almost forgotten how simple this technique is…seriously, regardless of skill level, I promise you can all do this. And best of all, once you have your cheesecake you can add this topping in under 10 minutes. Continue on below to find out how!

Cheesecake 3Cheesecake DIY Cheesecake 4     READ MORE (more…)

Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving week?! Sheesh, the time is flying by! If you haven’t finalized your baking list yet for Thursday, here is a little Thanksgiving pie-spiration for you with a roundup of some of my favorite pie ‘grammers. Just look at these beauties you guys, serious #piegoals!


Credits (left to right, top to bottom): 1. @elleventy // 2. @acozykitchen // 3. @vanillaandbean // 4. @joythebaker // 5. @comfortablydomestic // 6. @rusticjoyfulfood

Stained Glass Cupcake Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I was trying to think of some fun holiday-related dessert DIYs, but found myself very frustrated. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but so many DIY projects look the same to me these days and when you’re limited to a holiday, well so much has already be done and re-done…and done with some little twist. So, I paused my planning and realized that I can’t focus on a specific holiday or occasion while I’m brainstorming because I get pigeonholed. That’s when I went back to my list of inspired ideas I’ve had but haven’t had time to make and decided to give the Stained Glass inspired dessert a go! And with Thanksgiving and all the winter holidays, you could even neutralize the colors and do holiday-specific shades. In my opinion, you would be very rad if you showed up to a holiday dinner with these bad boys!!

I felt that the black piping was a bit necessary to achieve that true stained glass look, but as you can see below they look pretty cool without the piping as well. If the black piping isn’t your thing, you could also break up your candy into smaller pieces and cover them for a mosaic style cupcake. There’s a lot you can do by following this same process. So get that creativity flowing and continue on below for the DIY!

Candy Glass Cupcakes

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Side Cake

I shared this cake on my Instagram and thought I’d share a closer look on here. What we have here is what I like to call a “side cake”. When I have a plan in mind for a piped buttercream cake, regardless of how creative my plan is for the design, I often feel a little tied down during the decorating process. I guess you could say I have some commitment issues when it comes to decorating cake. There have been many times when I’ve thought of an awesome idea and then during the decorating process get the urge to change up the plan, and then follow that urge, which can be great… but can also not be great. Ha. So when the time allows, I like to bake a second cake (or use a dummy) to be able to use it like scratch paper and just pipe away. This particular cake sat aside my Otomi Embroidery cake. If you look at the two cakes side-by-side, you can probably get a much better understanding of why I love having a side cake. Details and a set plan can often make the decorating process seem a bit tedious, but having a surface to be able to pipe as I please, without any plan in mind, helps me stay inspired and motivated while I’m working.

Buttercream Details

Sidenote, I love putting up piped cakes on Instagram. There’s something about them that seem get people to comment on what they think of when they look at the cakes. I absolutely love to hear their thoughts – it’s awesome seeing where people’s minds go. My favorite from today: “If a mermaid had a birthday, this is what her cake would look”. Ha! Clearly the under-the-sea vibes are strong, as a few others said tidepool or coral reef-inspired. And while this was just a bunch of buttercream doodles, I’m wondering if subconsciously I was thinking of the sea.

If you are a fan of piped buttercream-covered cakes you’d probably like THIS cake, OR if you’re a fan of this under-the-sea palette you may like THESE cakes.

place setting

My pie to-go container project from 2013 is absolutely my all-time favorite Fall post. The idea was inspired after seeing a children’s crochet toy pie…so not at all similar, but enough to spark a cool idea. What I love about this project is that these pie to-go boxes not only work as containers for your Thanksgiving guests to each take a slice of leftover pie in (or any leftovers for that matter!), but they also make adorable place settings for your guests. They’d work great as little gift boxes too, and personally speaking, I’d love to receive a gift wrapped in a cute pie box at any time of the year! See the DIY for the project HERE. If you get stuck at all, there’s also a video tutorial HERE.

PIE container place cards piecontainer

Here’s some visual inspiration for you on this glorious Friday – a little explosion of color from The Saguaro Palm Springs. I took these during my stay at the hotel last weekend, while I was in town on THIS wedding job. Since returning to NYC, I’ve been playing that fun game of catch up, but make sure to come back next week as I will have a couple of new DIY projects hitting the blog (1 of which I am VERRRRY excited to show you!).  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Palm Colors Plants on PinkSaguaroPalm Tree ShadowsBlueWallPlants on YellowREAD MORE (more…)

Desert Desserts

This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of getting to make the desserts for a wedding in Palm Springs for an incredible couple. I initially connected with Anica (the bride) online and after learning that she and Jonpaul (the groom) were in charge of the LA Pug Meetup, I knew these two were my kind of people. Anica had asked if there was any way I would be able to come out to make a cake and some cactus cupcakes for their wedding…as if there was any convincing to be done. A wedding in Palm Springs and an excuse for a weekend in California, sign ME UP! I flew into town two days prior to the wedding to get everything baked and prepped in San Diego and then drove up to the venue the morning of with my desert desserts. My DESERT DESSERTS in the DESERT…why does this excite me so much?! Ha

Alana Jones-Mann Cactus Cupcakes

I loved baking my cactus cupcakes in San Diego. Finally, they were home! It felt pretty special getting to bake them in my home city, the place that initially inspired the cupcakes three years ago. Truth be told, I was actually obsessed with having them in California. I even made an extra one just so I could take it around my street and photograph it in front of some drought-friendly landscaped homes (I’m a total loser, guys!). I will refrain from posting those since I have four or five to choose from – and that’s just in my “selects” folder from the trip. I couldn’t stop!

Wedding DessertsPalm Springs Wedding Desserts

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AlanaJonesMann Otomi Cake

I’ve recently found myself very enamored with classic Otomi embroidery patterns from Mexico. My appreciation for the traditional folk embroidery styles of The South led me to research a variety of designs in search of a common underlying pattern. To my surprise, I found that there is no such thing as an identical pattern; the randomness of it all is so incredible. Each original Otomi embroidery piece is unique. And while the palette stays the same across the designs, it is so incredibly expansive, much more than I had thought it was at first glance. I’d love to travel to the small town of Tenango in Hidalgo, Mexico where the embroidery style originates from. I can’t even imagine how incredible the textile markets are down there! Anyhoo, with all this said, I guess I should mention the obvious – I made a cake inspired by Otomi embroidery. I was able to achieve the embroidery-esque appearance with buttercream. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to shoot a DIY of the process before I had to jump on a plane for a job in CA this weekend, but I plan to do so once I’m back so I can share my process with you all. But for now, here’s a look at the cake!

Mexican Folk Cake Otomi Embroidery Cake - Closeup Mexican Embroidery Cake

Cactus Cake

I had originally made this Potted Cactus Cake DIY for a Whole Foods online magazine, and had posted the link to the post a year or so ago when the project was posted. However, it looks like the magazine no longer exists (wah wah), so since that means that the DIY for the cake is no longer available, I’ve decided to post it here for those who may be interested. Continue on below for the DIY.

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Fall Cake

I wanted to throw together a cake that showcased some topping ideas that are, in my opinion, just perrrrfect for the fall season. Whether you’re making a smooth-as-can-be buttercream cake, a naked or semi-naked cake, or an unfrosted cake, continue after the jump to find easy store-bought topping ideas that will get your creative (and seasonal!) cake decorating juices flowing.

Fall Candy

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