First of all, let me say that these photos are going to showcase my complete inability to take a decent picture in anything but natural light. While I am fairly proud of my ability to take a pretty picture when the sun is shining, I still haven't quite gotten the hang of capturing colors accurately in harsh artificial light. I need to work on that.
That said, today I'm sharing photos of some treats I made last Friday for a friend's bridal shower. Her colors are black, white and clover, which I wanted to incorporate in the desserts. I chose to mostly use white with hints of black and with a few spots of clover to keep things elegant and simple. I thought the prettiest treats I made for the shower were these wedding cake shaped sugar cookies.
I decorated the cookies with royal icing. I outlined and flooded the cookies and let them dry for about an hour. After they were fairly dry to the touch, I piped on increasingly thicker lines (from top to bottom) and sprinkled them with crystal clear sanding sugar, giving the cookies a gorgeous, glittery sparkle. I then added three small handmade gum paste flowers for a sweet pop of color. This was really only my second time working with royal icing, so I'm pretty happy with how these turned out. I'd like to get some cute cookie cutters to practice decorating different cookies. I'm seriously smitten with these strawberry cookies from Bridget of Bake at 350 and would love to give them a try. If only I had an appropriate cutter.
I took the next several photos after setting up at the shower. I had to make due with borrowing some cake stands and a cupcake tier from my mother-in-law because I really have absolutely no serving pieces. I made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, topping half of each with vanilla buttercream and half with chocolate fudge frosting. Each cupcake was topped with a gum paste flower.
With my limited resources, I couldn't get too creative with the presentation of the sugar cookies. I just piled them high on a large cake stand and called it a day. :)
I loved these black and white brocade look baking cups I found for the mini cookies & cream cheesecakes I made. I bought these from Bake it Pretty with most of the other supplies for the shower. I was pretty bummed about these. They worked great and were beautiful, but I paid almost $5 for them and then saw them at my local Kroger (can you believe these gorgeous baking cups are from the folks at Reynolds?) while I was shopping for ingredients for less than $3. I definitely made a mental note for the future!
I'm a bit embarrassed about the piping on my cupcakes. I was definitely behind schedule with everything and had to finish baking my cupcakes, make the frosting, and do all the decorating the morning of the shower. I was rushed, exhausted, and wasn't feeling well and it definitely shows. I was also half afraid I would run out of frosting and didn't have time to make more, so I was a bit less generous than usual with my frosting clouds.
You can't tell in these photos at all, but I painted the white gum paste blossoms with luster dust so they had a really pretty, pearly shimmer to them! I thought they looked very girly and elegant and contrasted nicely with the dark chocolate fudge frosting.
I wish I could have captured the beauty of the sanding sugar on these cookies better in the photos. It was such a pretty touch and now I want to coat everything in sanding sugar.
These cookies and cream cheesecake are really nothing to look at, but they sure were yummy! The pretty baking cups definitely help them look less drab. I thought about doing a cute little piped dollop of whipped cream on top of these, but I knew it wouldn't hold up well over the course of the shower.
Now you know how I spent Thursday evening, all of Friday, and Saturday morning. I really enjoyed making all these treats for the shower. I'm really excited about really experimenting with more recipes and figuring out my favorites in a few months once things cool off. With the heat we've had lately and the fact that I don't have air conditioning in my apartment, I'm not as inclined to want to get in the kitchen and bake. But once things cool off again, I fully plan to take advantage of the fact that I know can send my baked goods to work with the hubby so I can experiment with recipes without trying to figure out what to do will all the resulting desserts.
Most of the time when I bake for a given event, I really struggle over deciding what to make. With a few exceptions, I really don't have go-to recipes for the basics just yet. I still haven't found homemade plain chocolate or vanilla cupcakes that I completely love. There are some chocolate cupcakes that I have made that bake up beautifully and are pretty yummy but could be a bit more moist. As for vanilla cupcakes, I've yet to try a recipe that baked up to a nice, pretty dome. I half wonder if some of my issues with the appearance of cupcakes is due to my oven. I have a really cheap gas oven. While I have an oven thermometer and pay attention to it, I still find that I have serious difficulties getting my baked goods to bake up according to a recipe. A lot of times the texture turns out off or I'll have to bake things A LOT longer than a recipe states. I'm curious to see if and how my baking changes when I have a different oven. I've only been seriously baking since we moved into this apartment a little over a year and a half ago.
I'm curious, does anyone have any recipes for chocolate or vanilla cupcakes that they swear by? I know appearance isn't everything, but one of my biggest criteria for the perfect cupcake is that it bakes up with a beautiful, domed top.