Tag Archives: amy atlas

Pineapple Cake Pop Display

nikkiikkin luau table 1

Yesterday my Luau Dance dessert table was featured on Amy Atlas, its always an exciting honor!  (see the full post and pics HERE).  I made this luau table for my daughter’s 5th grade dance.  I didnt have much time to let my ideas evolve for it, as this was a fast track project.   My offer to create, design & budget were all submitted for approval in just a day or so.  So I was lucky that I didnt have creative block, but this isnt my first luau either!    I immediately knew I wanted to make a centerpiece that mimicked the bountiful fruit offerings at a traditional luau but I couldn’t do it with a cake.  This crazy idea to make a cake pop pineapple came out of know where.  I kept thinking that it reminded me of a croquembouche but in my research I couldn’t find many attempts of other cake artists doing a cake pop croquembouche.  I either had a brilliant idea on hand or an epic fail!

nikkiikkin luau table sketch

nikkiikkin cake pop sketches 1

So I sketched it out, trying to eliminate any potential bad ideas and in my head it seemed like an idea that should work.  I basically decided I was just “chocolate-glueing” cake balls onto a vertical stryofoam surface.  If it didnt work, plan B was going to be a tissue paper pineapple for the centerpiece and just cake pops elsewhere on the table.  Having the plan B definitely helped my confidence.  That, and asking for advice from my sister Jes and friend Jen.  They always put me in my place, they don’t sugarcoat it for me when its just wrong.  As I started down the road on this experimental trip I took pictures with my cell phone and had a group message going to them about my “pineapple progress”  Thats about as much DIY tutorials I do around here….sorry!

nikkiikkin cake pop pineapple1

It seemed yesterday most of the comments on Amy Atlas’s Facebook picture of my party (its up to 250 likes btw!) were about the cake pop pineapple.  I figure some people might be wondering how to make their own sculpted cake pop creation.  So took a look at my text message pictures and sure enough, I had enough to pull together a behind the scenes board on how I made it.  Its not a styled DIY or step by step tutorial by any means, but you can get the concept along with my descriptions.  So here it is!  (Click on the image to enlarge it to full screen for better readability).

pineapple cake pop display how-to 1

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Filed under Celebrations, Paper + Fabric, SugarCoated

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

As we end a week surrounded by so much devastation, my husband and  I are so thankful that our family, building and neighborhood are experiencing  much normalcy.  We are only 2 miles from Dumbo, less than a mile from Red Hook and a block from the G0wanus Canal, we expected much flooding  but were miraculously spared from nearly all effects and after effects from Hurricane Sandy.  Being home together for 6 days, the apartment is staying relatively clean, dinner is ready early every night and I have found the time to enjoy the comfort of baking, just for us, just because.  Although the kids have bags and bags of sweet candies, last night I was craving a different kind of treat – pumpkin whoopie pies.

I experience my first pumpkin whoopie pie just a month ago at One Girl Cookies in my Brooklyn neighborhood.   I probably mentioned wanting one everyday since then and my husband has offered to go get me more on several occasions. But I had known immediately at the time  I ate the first pie that I must learn how to make this delicious treat at home.

 

I didn’t have to look very far to find the recipe, Amy Atlas had perfected it in her book Sweet Designs and additionally posted the recipe on her blog just this week.  To my joy, the ingredients were all items that I already had in my pantry and last night I whipped them together.  Baking in the oven, my apartment was filled with their wonderful homemade goodness and comforting aroma.

The filling is a cream cheese icing recipe also from Sweet Designs.  I prefer cream cheese icing on many of my cakes and it is the perfect complement to this cake like cookie.  In fact I even preferred Amy Atlas’s cream cheese icing recipe to my standby that I thought couldn’t get any better!

Macy and I couldn’t wait for the pies to cool before we were gobbling up one still hot from the tray and waiting for them to cool so we could assemble a few for dessert felt like an eternity!  Honestly, the word heavenly comes to mind when I eat one, its the perfect combination of sweet and tangy with a nostalgic pumpkin pie spice taste.

A whoopie pie itself is an interesting treat, it could be described as a soft cookie. I would compare it to a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie, but much better of course because I made it at home.  One 2-3 inch round pie is the perfect size to enjoy but not overindulged.    I found working with the batter to be easy, it was just the right consistency to pipe out onto the parchment paper without much effort yet it stayed firm and didnt flood out of shape.   Baked to perfection in 15 minutes in my hot running gas oven and well, I dont think I’ll find out know how long they stay fresh in the fridge because they won’t last a day in our home!

Cake for breakfast is a norm in our home and now whoopies pies fit the bill too!  Luckily, I snapped a few pics (looking very fitting on my new Hable Construction fabric from the BKLYN sample sale last week) before we all enjoyed another round in our pj’s and I wonder now how I’m going to keep myself from eating 5 more today!

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

You can find the Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe in Amy Atlas’s new book Sweet Designs or on her blog HERE.

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Dancing Witches Halloween Cake

Happy Halloween!  My favorite holiday is here, although it feels strange to be celebrating in New York just 2 days after Hurricane Sandy barreled through.  My family is safe and sound, we never lost power or had flooding on our street and we are now on day 3 of a mini vacation from school, ballet and work.  The weather looks good for Trick or Treating tonight in our neighborhood, but if it wasn’t we would still have fun in our building full of young kids.

On the day that Sandy hit I had my second feature on Amy Atlas, a Halloween Dinner Party that was inspired by Dennison Bogie books.  I crafted for the first time with real crepe paper and fell in love with a medium that I can use to create dramatic backdrops and limitless crafts for just a few dollars.  For my Spooky Supper  I made a gigantic cake that would have served 100, except 2 of the cake layers were fake.  Here is a great shot of the prop cake portion of the cake, complete by itself as my Dancing Witches Halloween Cake.  I will be following up soon with the rest of my Halloween Dinner Party post, until then check out my Amy Atlas feature HERE and the rest of my Halloween posts:

Black Magic Candy Apples

Easy Halloween Invitation

Halloween Crow Curiosity

Wonderland Family- Halloween Costumes

Halloween Madhatter Cake

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Filed under Celebrations, Holiday, SugarCoated

Halloween Dinner Party Featured on Amy Atlas

I have been featured on Amy Altas again!  My “Spooky Super” is one of a few Halloween parties that Amy has chosen to feature in October.  I have already posted a few of the items from this table and I will follow up with a complete description soon.  Until then, have a Happy Halloween!

See the Amy Atlas Feature HERE!

Check out my other Halloween posts:

Black Magic Candy Apples

Easy Halloween Invitation

Halloween Crow Curiosity

Wonderland Family- Halloween Costumes

Dancing Witches Halloween Cake

Halloween Madhatter Cake

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Where The Wild Things Are Party

LET THE WILD RUMPUS START!

For Hudson’s 2nd party we choose a Where The Wild Things Are theme.  Always a classic and beloved story, we have given the book by Maurice Sendak as gifts many times.  I was not only proud to do this party for my son but to share it with thousands of readers on a very popular party site called Amy Atlas Events.  Amy Altas choose my party for a featured guest dessert submission, you can see the feature HERE!  It was a big honor to be featured among the best parties on the web!  If you don’t follow her blog you must check it out, and by the way her first book is coming out this week!

I have to give some credit to my talented sister Jes again for helping me come up with ideas for parties, we often work together on my niece Emma’s parties and I always bounce ideas from Jessica for my own as well.  She mentioned adding fur to the back of the invite and it was a brilliant idea that I can’t believe I haven’t come up with before!  So here is our awesome Wild Thing invite:

I can only imagine the Monster Party possibilities for this treatment on cards! To make the back of the card I cut the fur patches out the size of the card before I affixed the fur to the back of the card with spray mount.  Sticky fingers and fur can be a little messy, so if you try this, use utmost care in handling, have everything laid out on kraft paper (paper bags cut open-work too) and don’t rush!  To make the front of the card I scanned in images from the book to use on paper goods and for the first time ever I purchased a font to use in Photoshop.  This was a big deal for me, as I am self-taught in photoshop and pretty clueless to much of what Graphic Designers learn in school.  I just make it up as I go along and do what I need to do to get the job done!  These cards were hand delivered but an oversized envelope would allow for extra room the fur needs, I don’t think it would need extra postage, it wasn’t heavy but again, I didn’t try to mail any.

The fur started an inspirational goal for this theme, I continued searching for ways to express the wild forest feeling of the story through texture.

Real wood is a perfect natural texture, so I hiked it over to the New York Flower District to shop for some wood cuts.  My scores were a (very heavy) tree cut to use as a cake stand, a few birch branch cuts I used to stretch a paper bunting across and shorter ones to use as small display stands.  The flower district is an amazing couple of blocks just south of Madison Square gardens, it used to be a very large district but like most of Old New York times are changing, and there is only a couple of blocks left.  You must go early, like before 8am early, by 11am the vendors are putting their leftovers back into the coolers and shutting down for the day.

I repeated the faux fur from the invite as a runner on the desert table, which read more as grass than monster fur because it was green but it worked with the theme regardless.

What about that exotic background?   I don’t think it would have mattered what anything else on the table looked like, the background made it super impressive. All different greens, shapes and sizes and it was all paper, This made it inexpensive but it was all handmade, which made it time-consuming.   I used tissue paper for the top canopy foliage and the leaves, origami flowers, vines and fan flowers were made from construction paper.  You can find cheap packs and multiple shades in teacher/parent supplies stores.   Its better quality than a pack of typical construction paper but not as expensive as archival scrap-book paper, so I didn’t feel bad about tossing it.

Hudson’s party was a small soiree of his playmates,  I have a hard time doing parties small….I can’t help but to make a big production regardless of the guest size but I did restrain myself in the amount of sweets for this party: just cake, cake pops and a take home cookie, this was plenty for 25 guests.  Another table held an assortment of snacks….. and plenty of wine….gotta have the mommy juice around when the kids out number you.

The cake was a two tier yellow butter cake, buttercream icing and fondant decorations.  Each tier represented a part of the book, the bottom was the forest in buttercream & fondant, the top was fondant scales in the style Maurice Sendak illustrated on the main Wild Thing, Carol’s legs and the topper was Max’s crown simply made from fondant and dried till it was able to stand on its own.   Inside the cake was multi layered in yellow and orange representing the shirt also from Carol.

Cake pops are fun but not as simple to make as people pretend them to be.  This is my second time making pops and I’m still learning the techniques to make them as good as Bakerella.  I did learn that candy melt needs to be thinned out with shortening to make it dip smoother.  I also realized that the cake crumb has to be more finely crumbled in order for the ball to roll smooth….after I finished these.  So all that being said, here are my little cake pops!  I cut triangles from fondant and placed them around the top of the pop to represent  Max and his “king of all wild things” crown.  The pops are in a tin wrapped in natural birch bark that I picked up at the NY flower district, but you can purchase it here on www.Save-on-Crafts.com.  Which is an awesome resource for building party decorations and dessert tables, by the way.  I see many of these same items at the NY Flower District but I can get them for subway fare instead of shipping and handling and its also fun to haggle the vendors on pricing :)

The next treat was one that I probably worked harder on then the cake,  my Carol cookies were super detailed.  A mix of fondant and royal icing, I layered on each facial element to give just the right 2D/3D look.  My favorite part was being able to use the Wilton grass tip #233 to zip through the last element, his fur mane.  After the cookie set up, I packaged them in standard 4 inch wide treat bags and topped them with a card stock topper that I designed and printed using an image from the book and the famous words “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”  I found it very fitting to give as a departing favor.  On the back it said “Thank you for joining us at Hudson’s 2nd Birthday”

Another favor the children took home was a set of twig colored pencils.  I love these pencils and have also used them as favors at Macy’s Woodland Fairie party.  My husband and I laugh about the twig pencils being a “chic and new idea”,  because you can pick up all sorts of wood pencils and rural decor at a Tennessee or Kentucky truck stop.  So we call them,“Country Chic”, LOL, we are from Tennessee so we can make fun of it all we want :P

A main element for the party was an 8′ long 30″ high vinyl banner with illustrations from the book. I scanned & uploaded my pdf image and ordered the banner on sale at Vista Print.  I arranged these monsters specifically for their relationship to the guests.  The Wild Things were literally the size of the two year olds.  I double sided taped the banner to two cardboard science project boards and used it for a background where the kids played in the living room.  The kids loved it and now the banner lives wrapped around the 24″ cement column in our Brooklyn loft style apartment.  Hudson wouldn’t let me put it away when he saw me rolling it up after the party.

AND here’s the birthday boy, Hudson Oliver Berry, age two!  He had a ball at his party with all his little friends.  Luckily I caught his picture before the party because he had too much fun to hold still during the party ;)

As a very special birthday gift, Hudson received for his second birthday an Eames Elephant!  If you’d like to learn more about this elephant you can read my post about it HERE.

Lastly is a picture of what our guests saw first, a forest covered door that was my husband’s creation.  I solely let him have creative control over this decoration.  I had pictured the leaves arranged different when he explained that he wanted to put leaves on the door.  I was so happy with how it turned out and glad that I let him just do it.  We left it up for about a month!

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My Party Featured on Amy Atlas!

What an exciting day for me!  Hudson’s Where the Wild Things Are party has been chosen as a Guest Dessert Feature on Amy Atlas!  Amy Atlas is the goddess of “Sweets Tables”  and an inspiration for anyone who looks for ideas for party styling.  Heres a peek at my feature and you can see the rest of it HERE

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