Nevie-Pie Cakes

I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting cake designs, but finding them isn't always so easy. Sometimes months and months will go by until I come across something that really excites me! This cake by Natasha of Nevie-Pie Cakes was just one of those cakes! It's completely hand-painted and utterly lovely. It almost looks like a really great wallpaper, but, you know, on a cake, instead of a wall. As soon as I saw it, I knew that I had to see  more of her work! After taking a quick tour of her Flickr page, I'm happy to report that Natasha's other cakes are also quite impressive. There are loads of pretty hand-painted cakes on her page, along with other fun and unique designs. I've chosen a few of my favorites above and below, but you can check out more of Natasha's work via her flickr page, blog, and website. (And, yes, those are "mushroom" cookies at the bottom!)


Lab Partners Cookie Tin

Last year UK retailer Marks & Spencer hired designer Sanna Annukka to create a gorgeous Scandavian-inspired tin for their Swiss Biscuit Collection. It was, for a cookie container, pretty darn swoon worthy, and this year’s designers, the California-based design team Lab Partners, had a tough act to follow. I’m happy to report that the 2011 tin is equally fantastic. Each of the tins features a cast of characters hanging about a telephone booth. It is super fun and seriously British.  Oh, yeah, and there are shortbread cookies inside, so it’s a total win/win!


The Mixing Bowl: Devonshire Cream Tea by Joël Penkman

Painter and graphic designer Joël Penkman has shared a recipe with us today for Devonshire Cream Tea that is the perfect accompaniment to your morning cup of tea, especially on cold, wintery mornings like the one we had this morning! She uses strawberry jam, but you could easily substitute it with raspberry, plum, or rhubarb jam, just to name a few. It’s a great, easy-to- make way to spice up your breakfast routine. {You can see a larger version of the Devonshire Cream Tea recipe by clicking on the image above. You can also find a text version at the bottom of this post, after the jump.}

I'm a huge fan of Joël Penkman’s work. Quite frankly, it’s difficult for me to take my eyes of her colorful food paintings. There is something really beautiful about the way she paints a jelly rabbit or a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, something lovely about their simplicity.  I think my favorite piece is Blackpool Rock. It brings back such great memories of childhood and makes me hungry, all at the same time! You can find more of Joël’s work on her website, right here. You can also click here to visit her Etsy shop and order prints online. I guarantee that looking at her paintings will instantly brighten up your day! Thanks, Joël!

For a text version of the Devonshire Cream Tea recipe, and to see more Joël Penkman images, click Read More below.


The Recipe Project

The Recipe Project, a collaboration between the band One Ring Zero and some of today’s hottest chefs, is at once funny, interesting, and completely unexpected. It asks the question, if chefs are the new rock stars, why not set their recipes to music? And that is exactly what is does. Chefs including David Chang, Chris Cosentino, Tom Colicchio, and Mario Batali provide the recipes and One Ring Zero performs the music, singing the recipes word for word over a wide ranging musical genres. There is a rap version of Brains and Eggs by Chris Cosentino, a pop edition of Peanut Butter Brunettes by Chandra Moskowitz, and a Mario Batali spaghetti recipe that is set to polka music. There really is something for every musical taste (no pun intended)! Also included are interviews and essays by chefs and food writers on how music (and food) has influenced their work and lives. You can check out an operatic version of Peanut Butter Brunettes (the only dessert recipe in the book) below. You can hear a sample of the original, along with more info on the project, by visiting the Recipe Project website, right here. To order the book online, click here.


Ace of Cakes: Who Knew??

I’ve never been a huge Ace of Cakes fan. I’ve watched the show before and, although I’ve enjoyed it, there’s part of me that gets a little overwhelmed by all those giant sculptural cakes. There’s always this little voice in the back of my head wondering, What do those cakes taste like?? I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole Ace of Cakes phenomenon, but then I came across this picture on Vince Lupo’s Flickr page and everything changed. The moment I saw this adorable cuckoo clock cake I was head over heels in love! (Check out the fox in the bottom left-hand corner!) And it didn’t stop there! I continued to scroll through Lupo’s images and discovered photo upon photo of some of the most darling cakes that I have ever seen! What wonderful person made these cakes??? And where can I see more of their work?? You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that they were not made by a Scandinavian baking goddess or a hip do it yourselfer, but by Ace of Cakes!! No way! So, I guess I am now, an official Ace of Cakes fan. I’ve actually heard that there cakes are pretty tasty, once you remove the rubbery fondant layer. To check out more pics from Vince Lupo's Ace of Cakes photostream, click here. For more on Ace of Cakes, the show, click here, and here for their bakery's website.


Sweet Testing: Date Butter Tart & Apple Green-Chili Pie With Cheddar Crust and Walnut Streusel

Back in November of last year, The New York Times put together an amazing slideshow of unique pies and tarts that appeared on their website. I was instantly taken with each and every pie and have being longing to make one ever since! Unfortunately, it just never happened, despite my best attempts to force these beauties upon other people, no one seemed quite as taken with the idea of green chili apple pie, but me! Well, I am happy to announce my pie dreams finally came true recently when my mom made not one, but two of the slideshow pies for my birthday! And I have to say, they were a huge success! So yummy and different! Normally, I have a little bit of a meltdown if I don't have ice cream with my pie, but, in this case, I actually ate around the ice cream, choosing instead to eat the pie in all its naked, untouched glory. Maybe the next time I eat a date butter tart, I'll eat it with ice cream, but this time I wanted nothing but pie! Oh, and while these pies do come with their own individual crust recipes, we opted for the fantastic Whole Foods gluten-free crust, which is a really good pie crust and, of course, it's gluten free, which makes it fun for the whole family! For the apple pie, which contains cheddar cheese in it's crust, my mom simply put the cheese on top of the crust. Click here to check out the recipe for Apple Green-Chili Pie With Cheddar Crust and Walnut Streusel and here for the Date Butter Tart. {Thanks, Mom!}


Inspiration Board: Silhouettes (Part II)

A couple of years ago (almost to the day!), I posted a piece about using silhouettes as a decorating device. Over the past two years, I've seen a lot of great silhouette-inspired desserts, but, just recently, I've come across some amazing cakes that take the whole silhouette idea to a whole new level. Normally, I wouldn't repeat an Inspiration Board idea, but I loved these cakes so much that I thought it was about time for a follow up! I especially love Melody Brandon's graffiti-inspired cake pictured above. Check out more of my favorites below.

By Berliosca Cake Boutique

By Cakes 4 Fun


A la Mère de Famille's Ice Cream on a Stick

As the summer of the heat dome comes to a close, I couldn't resist one last summer treat, and these fancy schmancy ice cream bars are the perfect way to say goodbye to summer. Created by Paris' oldest sweet shop, A la Mère de Famille (founded in 1761!), these sticks of frozen loveliness start out with homemade ice cream (chocolate-caramel, pistachio, vanilla, raspberry, mango-passion), which is then rolled-up in chocolate, and layered with with nuts (pistachios, almonds, or hazelnuts). Such beautiful, crunchy goodness. Click here for locations throughout Paris.


Caren Alpert: Food under a Microscope

More and more these days people seem to be interested in their food: where it comes from, what ingredients are used, is it organic or not. Photographer Caren Alpert takes our growing food fascination one step further by literally putting food under a microscope, an electron microscope to be precise. Alpert’s gorgeous and captivating photographs get inside our food, showing you what it’s made of, below the surface level.  I love things that take an everyday object and make you look at it in a whole new way. I think “Cake Sprinkles” (pictured above) is my favorite. The colors are amazing and it almost looks like a picture taken from a sci-fi movie of planets colliding. Then again, all of her photos are pretty swoon worthy.

Oreo Cookie

Fortune Cookie

Chocolate Cake

Life Saver

From Caren: In a society where we are obsessed with our food (either overeating or undereating), let’s see if we really “are what we eat.” I wanted to deconstruct that very thing that I’ve spent so many years recording. I wanted to show what was there, but what we never actually saw.

To see more of Caren’s wonderful microscope photos, click here. You can also check out her commercial photography, right here.


Sweet Testing: Grasshopper Cake

I swear this isn’t another Baked cake. It has nothing to with Baked. It is a completely unrelated dessert that has absolutely no connection to a particular bakery in Brooklyn known for their mega super delicious treats. Okay, that’s a lie. It is, in fact, a Baked cake. I’ve been thinking of adding a Baked tag to all my Baked recipes because I’ve made so many of them. I can’t help it! They are always good! I was particularly happy with the way this one turned out. It’s like a thin mint cookie in cake form! Actually, it’s better than a thin mint cookie and I really like thin mint cookies. One person told me that it was the best cake that I had ever made, but I usually hear that from at least one person every time I make a Baked cake. I’m telling you, they are just that good!

You can find the complete Grasshopper Cake recipe after the jump.


Giga Pudding

If you were to ask me, Hey, Erin, what is Giga Pudding, exactly? I would not be able to give you an answer. Apparently, it is a type of pudding. A type of pudding that comes in a bucket. A type of pudding that comes in a bucket and wobbles a lot. Quite frankly, Giga Pudding reminds me more of a toy, than something that is meant to be consumed, which is not surprising given that it's manufactured by a Japanese toy company. It's a food toy, not unlike the Easy Bake Oven of my youth, and I can see how it would appeal to kids. On the other hand, unlike the Easy Bake Oven, Giga Pudding seems to be marketed to adults as well as children, as you can see in this hilarious commercial. I will probably never actually eat Giga Pudding, unless it's on a dare, but I can watch this commercial over and over again. I do quite enjoy watching things wobble. To visit the Giga Pudding website, click here.


Cake Decorating For Kids

One of my favorite memories from childhood was when I was given a chance to design my very own dinner plate! All the kids in art class were given a white plastic plate and markers and told to draw whatever their hearts desired and then, wallah, through some magical process, our childhood art was turned into a dinner plate that you could actually use! Okay, I’m a little fussy on the whole process, but I remember my design like it was yesterday (a girl and a bird and the words “sing with me”)! It was the first thing that I thought of when I saw this wonderful child-designed cake from Soutine. It’s such a fun idea for a child’s bday…let them create the artwork for their own cake. You could allow them to draw directly on the cake with frosting or with food markers on fondant. You could also have them put their doodles down on paper and then let a professional recreate the design. Such a cute and clever idea! To see more from the Soutine Bakery (NY), click here.


Inspiration Board: Baked Alaska

Is it just me or has the Baked Alaska taken on a whole new level of gorgeousness lately? I know that I have definitely been obsessed with it these last few months. There’s just something about that beautiful round mound of meringue that gets me ever time. And the things people do with the ice cream/sponge cake fillings, the wonderfully creative colors and designs, just blow my mind! I’m sure if I were ever to tackle this classic dessert, it would not be quite so perfect as these pics, but a girl can dream, can’t she? {Pictured above: Baked Alaska by The Food Network}

Baked Alaska with Chocolate Ice Cream by Martha Stewart

Baked Alaska by Double Cream Single Sugar

Chocolate orange bombe Alaska with hot chocolate sauce by Nick Nairn/Good Food Magazine


The Mixing Bowl: Iced White Chocolate with Warm Blueberry and Thyme Soup by Emma van Leest

Australian Emma van Leest is one of my favorite paper cut artists. In general, I have a soft spot in my heart for anyone that can create something so delicately beautiful out of a sheet of paper, but Emma’s work goes a step beyond the average paper cutter. Inspired by her travels and studies in the East, specifically China, Indonesia, and India, as well as her interests in Medieval saints, fairy tales, and folk art, Emma creates a unique and fascinating world that is simply awe inspiring. Her work is so breathtaking in its intricacies and subject matter that it’s nearly impossible to resist. I can’t even imagine the work that goes into one of her pieces!

For her Mixing Bowl recipe, Emma has chosen a recipe that is as interesting and creative as her work. She first tasted this sweet concoction at the Queenscliff Hotel and, even though she isn’t a huge fan of desserts, she loved this one so much that she asked the chef for the recipe. It seemed so simple, but, like so many of us know, not all desserts come out exactly as we envisioned! But that’s what I love about Emma’s write up. There is so much story to it! I really enjoyed reading about her struggles with this recipe, and, how, in the end, it was still delicious, although maybe not perfect. I hope you find a special occasion, or just a plain ol’ ordinary occasion, to be a bit adventurous like Emma and try this dessert! It sounds amazing!

You can find the complete recipe and story, along with additional photos, after the jump. You can view more of Emma’s lovely work on her Web site, right here. Thanks, Emma!


Edible Art: Martí Guixé, Food Designing

There is a quote from photographer Inga Knölke that appears on Martí Guixé’s home page that reads “A food designer is somebody working with food, with no idea of cooking.” It is the perfect way to introduce the viewer to Guixe’s work, which is all about enhancing the modern idea of food as a product, as opposed to a necessity. By creating objects like a hands-free lollipop, a pie chart which shows the percentage of ingredients in a cake, or a hot chocolate mug that “never gets dirty” he brings whimsy and imagination to objects that we all so often take for granted. Guixe was also the creator of the Candy Restaurant (a place for eating candies) in Tokyo, which was a unique food space where a chef served sweets to diners along with eating instructions. The childlike act of eating candy therefore transformed into a much more formal dining experience. What fun!

photo by asobi tsuchiya

You can find a collection of Guixe’s work in his book Food Designing. You can also check out some of his food-related pieces via his Web site, right here. Be sure to click on both the “food” and “tool” links.


Sweet Testing: Almond Green Tea Cupcakes

I have come to realize something about myself. I love almond flavoring! I only came to this realization recently, after eating these green tea and almond cupcakes from Baked, but, from now on, I am all about eating anything flavored with almond! Actually, this new found epiphany is not really surprising, given the fact that I eat almonds every day, but as much as I love real live almonds, I don’t know if they can take credit for the yumminess of these cupcakes. I think it’s the more intense almond extract that does the trick. Whatever it is, I think these may be the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! They were definitely a nice change over more traditional chocolate/vanilla cupcakes. Oh, and the green tea taste is very subtle, so if you’re not a tea lover, I wouldn’t let that stop you from trying these! So good!

You can find the complete recipe after the jump.

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