Pumpkin Roll

It's that time of year when you can't go anywhere without being inundated with pumpkin. From M&M's to coffee to Pop-Tarts, pumpkin is everywhere! It seems like a seasonal rite of passage to enjoy pumpkin in some form or other. I'm not one of the first people to run out and grab a pumpkin spice latte, but I enjoy the occasional treat. My favorite way to enjoy pumpkin is paired with cream cheese. Last year, I made some tasty Snickerdoodle Cookie Cups with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing.
These tiny treats have a long name and are packed with delicious Fall flavors!

I decided to try another pumpkin treat again this Fall. Since I love cream cheese and pumpkin, a pumpkin roll seemed like the perfect choice! I hadn't made a cake roll before, and I've been wanting to try my hand at one for a while. There are so many delicious cake roll ideas out there! I definitely want to try a red velvet cake roll for Christmas.

When looking for a recipe, I decided to try Trisha Yearwood's version. I made a few adjustments, but the recipe is pretty close to the one found on her Food Network page.

Pumpkin Roll ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla 
  • Optional: pecan or walnuts
Pumpkin Roll instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Mix together the wet eggs, sugar, and pumpkin until smooth
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder
  • Add the dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture
  • Mix until just combined
  • Grease a 17 1/2 in by 12 1/2 in jellyroll pan
  • Spread the batter unto the jellyroll pan (optional: sprinkle with pecans or walnuts)
  • Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, around 14 mins
  • Let cake cool for 5 mins
  • Cover a cake rack with plastic wrap
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar on plastic wrap
  • Invert cake onto the plastic wrap
  • Carefully roll up the cake in the plastic wrap
  • Completely cover with wrap and then refrigerate for at least 45 mins
  • Mix cream cheese, vanilla, butter, and powdered sugar until smooth
  • Unroll the cake
  • Spread cream cheese mixture onto cake
  • Reroll and cover in wrap
  • Chill until ready to serve
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar on the roll

The result was delicious! I've decided to make this dessert for our family Thanksgiving dinner.

Bourbon Maple Pork Chops with Apples

If you've read my blog very much, you know I am a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman! I've tried a ton of her recipes including Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, Cinnamon Chip Scones, Steak Butter...you get the point. Well, last weekend I got to meet her! She was the celebrity chef at a food show in the city we used to live in. 

My husband and I bought tickets several months ago, so I've been looking forward to it for a long time! The whole weekend was wonderful; we got to visit some of our favorite local restaurants and places. The actual food show included tons of venders letting us sample delicious treats from all across KY. We sampled ice cream, popcorn, cheeses, country ham, bacon, sauces, and so much more! 

While we enjoyed the show in general, we were most excited about the Pioneer Woman! We showed up an hour and a half before the show started to ensure we were one of the 150 that got to get a book signed by her. It was so crazy to actually meet her, since I watch her show all the time on Food Network. I probably acted a little weird...I was super star struck! She was as friendly and nice as she appears on TV.

The main event, though, was a food demonstration by Pioneer Woman. She cooked, answered questions, and told some hilarious stories! For the cooking demonstration, she did a twist on her pork chops and apple recipe replacing the white wine with a KY staple - bourbon. The food looked (and smelled) delicious, so we didn't wait too long to try her recipe ourselves. 

A few months ago, we made another bourbon pork chop recipe inspired by a Food Network chef - Bobby Flay's Bourbon Ancho Chile Pork Chops. This recipe is different, but just as delicious! Not only are the flavors delicious, but the apples make it a perfect recipe for Fall.
Bourbon Maple Pork Chops with Apples ingredients:
  • 6 boneless pork chops (we used thin breakfast chops)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 whole gala apples
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground black pepper
Bourbon Maple Pork Chops with Apples instructions:
  • Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium high heat
  • Salt and pepper one side of the pork chops and place in skillet seasoned side down
  • Season the other side of the pork chops
  • Cook each side of the pork chop for about 2 mins to get a nice sear on the chops

  • Continue cooking the chops until they are done, flipping back and forth between the sides as needed
  • Once pork chops are finished cooking, remove from the skillet
  • Leave the butter and oil in the skillet and reduce heat to low medium
  • Toss in the apples and coat them in the butter and oil
  • Pour in the bourbon and apple cider vinegar
  • Scrape the bottom of the of the skillet to mix in the seasonings
  • Cook the apple mixture until the liquid is reduced by half, approximately 5 mins
  • Mix in syrup, salt, and pepper

  •  Add pork chops back into the skillet and simmer for 20 minutes

Funfetti Cake Cheese Ball

Ever have to restrain yourself from licking the spoon when making cakes? I control myself (usually) since I bake a lot of cakes, but I love anything and everything cake batter! Up until recently, my favorite way to enjoy the flavor was cake batter ice cream. Lately, though, I've been seeing cake batter dips on Pinterest that make me want to reach into the screen and take a bite! After pinning several and never making them, I finally found one I couldn't resist - Funfetti cheese ball.

This dessert cheese ball (found on What's Cooking Love) is made with cream cheese, granulated and powdered sugar, Funfetti cake mix, and sprinkles. This simple, tasty treat will trick your taste buds into thinking you are eating cake, it is that delicious! Not only will it tickle your taste buds, but it is also festive and adorable with the brightly covered sprinkles.

This cheese ball is perfect for a party or get together, which is probably a good idea - it's dangerously addictive! I made it for a recent get together, and it was a huge hit. There were a few skeptics in the crowd at first, but everyone dug in and said it tasted just like eating cake batter! Even someone who claimed they strongly disliked cream cheese, couldn't stop themselves from digging in for more. For our get together, I served it in a chip/dip platter we had with vanilla wafers and graham cracker cookies.

Here's the simple recipe -

Funfetti Cake Cheese Ball ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups Funfetti cake mix (dry)
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Vanilla wafers, fruit, graham crackers, cookies, etc

Funfetti Cake Cheese Ball directions:

  • Beat together butter and cream cheese until combined
  • Mix in Funfetti cake mix, sugar, and powdered sugar until fully combined
  • Dump the mixture onto plastic wrap and bring up the edges
  • Wrap up the mixture into a ball and fully cover in plastic wrap
  • Freeze the ball for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until it keeps its shape
  • Pour out the sprinkles onto a plate
  • Unroll the plastic wrap and roll the mixture around the sprinkle plate until fully covered.
  • Rewrap in plastic wrap and freeze for an additional 2+ hours
  • Serve with fruit, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, and more (if left frozen overnight, thaw 20-30 mins before serving)

Elmo Birthday Cake

I've decorated quite a few cakes over the past couple years. Of all the cakes I have made, though, the kids birthday cakes have been my favorite! Between bright colors and whimsical characters, it's hard not to smile when you are working on them. While character cakes can be difficult, it's a fun challenge to have.

It had been a while since I've made a kids cake, but I had one last week for a little girl's 2nd birthday. I had previously made treats for her first birthday including a ladybug smash cake and cupcakes. I also made bottle cap toppers for her dad's birthday. 

The girls birthday party was Elmo themed with pink and orange details. I looked around online for ideas and decided to decorate the cake with Elmo, polka dots, and a Sesame Street-style sign with the birthday girl's name and age. The Elmo took a couple tries to get right, but I think it came out looking like the beloved character.

To create this treat, I covered an 8 inch cake with buttercream and ironing it out with a fondant smoother and a non-pattern paper towel. I covered made small marble sized balls of pink fondant. I then created various sized pink and orange polka dots.

The front of the cake was decorated with a Sesame Street-style sign. The name was created with thin ropes of white fondant formed to create letters.

Of course Elmo was the main feature of the cake. He was made with fondant and edible markers. I used a printout of the character to ensure I got the details just right. You really have to pay special attention to even the minor details (for example, Elmo's fur) to ensure you capture the essence of the character.

I have another cake coming up soon, so make sure and check back! I also have some delicious recipes to share this week.

Star Wars Cake

It's a year of milestone birthdays in my family. My dad just turned 60, my husband is about to be 30, and my nephew will be 5 later this year! All these significant milestones mean special birthday celebrations. I'm still working on the details of my husband's birthday, but I'm thinking about an 80's themed party. I've been pinning lots of ideas on my Pinterest boards, but I'd love to hear your ideas as well!

For my dad's 60th birthday, we threw a Star Wars themed party. There was even Star Wars themed food and cake! I unfortunately don't have pictures of the party decor and food because I shattered my phone screen while prepping for the party. Sigh... I now have a new phone, though, and a sturdy safe case in place of my cute cupcake one. I learned that lesson the hard way!

While I might not have a ton of pics of the decor and food, I do have a few photos of the cake and fondant decor.

I love making cakes for my friends and family. I haven't had a ton of cakes over the summer, so it was great to have a new project. Of all the cakes I've made, the Star Wars decor was one of the more challenging ones I've worked on. Character cakes are more difficult than others because you really have to pay close attention to the small details, otherwise the characters just don't come out right. Trust me...you should have seen my first few attempts at Darth Vader and R2D2.

After experimenting some, I decided to go with R2D2, Yoda, Death Star, a Storm Trooper, and Darth Vader. A Star Wars cake wouldn't be complete without some light sabers as well!

I decided to let the Star Wars characters be the star, so I just did a simple round cake with blue icing. The cake was my go to chocolate recipe with buttercream icing. I topped the cake with the characters, and made some round gray fondant balls for the border of the cake.

Check back next week for an Elmo cake I'm working on!

Bourbon Ancho Chile Pork Chops

I started my blog just over two years ago, and was solely focused on cupcake recipes and sweet treats. Over time, my blog has evolved to include cake decor and fondant tutorials, crafts, and even quite a few savory dishes! My husband and I love to cook together and have recently started experimenting more with recipes. 

If you read my blog much, you know I love Food Network. I've tried out a ton of Pioneer Woman recipes (seriously...it's a lot)! Recently, though, we've been on a Bobby Flay kick. A couple months ago, I shared two Bobby Flay burger recipes, and his Ancho Chile fries. After enjoying those recipes, we decided to tackle something tougher. When we were on our honeymoon, we went to his awesome restaurant Mesa Grill in NYC. The bread, the appetizers, and dessert - everything was amazing! My favorite part of the meal, though, had to be my entree - Bourbon-Ancho pork tenderloin. 

We decided to try our hand at his recipe for the pork dish. To switch things up, though, we made pork chops instead of pork tenderloin. The crust worked well on them, and the Bourbon-Ancho sauce was perfect! We were disappointed at first, because it didn't seem to thicken up well. But the taste was spot on, and worked perfectly with the pork.

Bourbon-Ancho Pork Chop ingredients:
  • Spice crust:
    • 3 tbs ancho chile powder
    • 2 tbs brown sugar
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 2 tsp allspice (if you don't have all spice, use equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
    • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • 2 lbs pork chop
  • Bourbon-Ancho sauce
    • 1 tbs olive oil
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup frozen thawed apple juice concentrate
    • 1 1/2 ancho chiles (or 1 tbs ancho chile powder)
    • 1 cup bourbon
Bourbon-Ancho Pork Chop instructions:
  • Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat
  • Pour in Bourbon and bring to a boil
  • Heat until reduced to a few tablespoons (~5 mins)
  • Add ancho chile powder, chicken stock, apple juice concentrate, black pepper, and brown sugar
  • Cook until reduced by half, about 15-20 mins
  • Heat tbsp canola oil in pan over medium high
  • Mix together spice crust for the pork chops
  • Cover both sides of the pork chop with the spice rub

  • Heat the pork chops to an internal temperature of at least 145F (for medium rare), we cooked them to 160F. Cook them on each side for a few mins and then flip, continuing cooking and flipping until finished. 

Chicago Trip Recap

My husband and I are definitely foodies, but we equally love traveling! When we are going on trips, we love visiting local eateries and places we've heard about from Food Network. You may have read our Cincinnati foodie recap, or our NYC recap from our honeymoon. Our anniversary was a couple weeks ago and we celebrated it with a weekend trip to Chicago!

Below is a recap of our quick weekend trip, and all the delicious food we ate along the way!


Once we landed in Chicago, we started the day off with some Chicago deep dish pizza! My husband is quite the pizza aficionado, so he of course did his research. There are obviously a ton of deep dish pizza joints in the Windy City, but one caught his eye - Lou Malnati's. This pizza joint has been in business for decades and is an iconic Chicago restaurant. It was also featured on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. The pizza definitely lived up to its hype! 

My delicious pepper and onion deep dish pizza!

After the pizza, we headed over to Wrigley Field, to watch the Cubs take on the Nationals. My husband played baseball for years, and loves catching a game when we can.

Reese's Cupcakes

So...it's been a while since I've posted much on my blog. Life has been pretty busy lately, lots of new beginnings and celebrations! I'm loving my new job, but it's kept me pretty busy so far. Working from home is a blessing and great experience, but I do find myself working longer hours than I would otherwise... It's just so easy to stay online and get more work finished!

Any Reese's peanut butter cup fans out there? If so, I have a recipe you HAVE to try. My mom's birthday was a couple weeks ago, and I created a special cupcake flavor for the celebration. I decided to just wing it and experiment without using a certain recipe. I started with a base of a chocolate cupcakes and then created a vanilla buttercream. I enhanced the buttercream by mixing in some crushed Reese's. I saved some to sprinkle on top as well.

The cupcakes might have been good enough like that, but I decided to keep going. I remembered the deliciously sweet peanut butter glaze that I put on the banana peanut butter muffins and the banana bread. After sprinkling on Reese's on the buttercream, I drizzled the glaze over top of the cupcakes.

All together, the cupcakes scream Reese's!! I was so happy with how they turned out. These may not be the healthiest thing to eat, but believe me its delicious.

American as Apple Pie

I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July! Work has been extremely busy for my husband and I lately, so it was nice to have a day off and have a bit of a slower pace. Speaking of being busy...you may have noticed that I've been a bit MIA on the blog lately. I recently started a new job, and life has just gotten a bit busier. But, I've got some cake projects coming up, and some new recipes to try out! Plus, I have some projects that I've never had a chance to share yet. My goal is to pick things back up again, starting with a new recipe I made for the 4th of July. 

As I mentioned, my husband and I had a relaxing day including a picnic and a cookout. The weather was perfect on the 4th and we enjoyed a beautiful picnic. We had received an adorable picnic basket for a wedding pleasant, complete with silverware, plates, a cooler area, and a cute blanket. We enjoyed pasta salad I made, chips, sandwiches, and some freshly squeezed lemonade in our mason jar cups!

We did a small cookout that night with our new grill. I wanted to make something festive for dessert. As long time readers of my blog know, I typically stick with cakes and cupcakes, but I decided nothing quite says 4th of July and Americana quite like apple pie. As if that wasn't patriotic enough, I decided to add a unique twist by using stars cutout of the crust on top.

You probably haven't been reading my blog since it started, but if so you may remember my rough start with apple pie... I used the same pie and recipe, though, as I did with my more successful Mickey themed apple pie last year. Thankfully, it turned out well again. The only thing was I should have started out with foil covering the pie. Since there wasn't as much crust, the edges got dark pretty quickly. After noticing this, I carefully covered it with foil and slowed down that process.

I used the same recipe as before, but I'm sharing it again. This pie could be used for lots of occasions, but is definitely fitting for a celebration of America's birthday.

 Apple Pie ingredients:
  • 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts in the box)
  • 6 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced (~6 cups)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Apple Pie directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Wash, peel, and thinly slice the apples
  • Mix together the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon)
  • Toss the apples in lemon juice and then the dry ingredient mixture
  • Place one crust in a pie pan
  • Fill with apples
  • Roll out crust and cut out stars using a cookie cutter
  • Place stars on top of the filling
  • Dot the top of the stars/pie crust with butter and add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Bake 45-50 mins, carefully cover the edge of the pie with a strip of foil halfway through baking

Bananas Foster Bread

Banana is one of my favorite ingredients to include in desserts and baked goods. Of all the recipes I've worked on lately, my previously shared banana bread is definitely at the top of the list. I love the combination of the spiced banana bread and the tasty, sweetened peanut butter glaze. Yum!

As much as I love my banana bread recipe, I recently saw one on TV that looked even more amazing! It was on a new show I've been watching on Food Network - Southern at Heart with Damaris Phillips. Damaris is a KY native like me, and I'm enjoying her Southern style cooking. On a recent episode, she made the most delicious looking recipe - Bananas Foster Bread! While I enjoy banana bread, I love bananas foster even more!! I've made Bananas Foster milkshakes and Bananas Foster sauce before. So Bananas Foster + Banana Bread sounded AMAZING!

While I eventually want to try Damaris' specific recipe, I decided to make my own version of the Bananas Foster Bread. I combined my banana bread recipe, with the Bananas Foster sauce I have also shared. The result was delicious - the bananas bread soaks up the caramel rum sauce and creates a flavorful treat!

Bananas Foster Bread ingredients:

Banana Bread -
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 tbs butter (room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
Rum Sauce -
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Dash of cinnamon
Bananas Foster Bread instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Cream sugar and butter until smooth
  • Add in eggs one at a time, mix until smooth
  • In a small bowl, mix together mashed bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk, and vanilla
  • In a different bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • Add in banana mixture and beat until completely combined
  • Mix in dry ingredients and beat on low until flour disappears
  • Spray loaf pan with cooking spray
  • Pour banana bread batter into loaf pan
  • Bake around 1 hour and 10 mins
  • After baking (or just before it finishes), melt butter in medium sized sauce pan of medium-high heat
  • After butter is melted, stir in dark brown sugar
  • Mix in heavy cream
  • Pour in rum and stir. Carefully tip the pan over the open burner to ignite the alcohol, or use a long click grill lighter if you don't have a gas oven.
  • Pour half of the liquid slowly over the banana bread (while still in the loaf pan)
  • Allow it to soak up the liquid for approximately 30 mins
  • Once liquid is soaked up, turn it out onto a pan

Here's the recipe cards for this amazingly decadent treat!!

Dusty the Cropduster Cake

I've had quite a few cake orders lately! A couple weeks ago, I shared the baby shower cake I made for a friend who's expecting their bundle of joy soon. I also made a cake for my sister a few weeks ago, I still need to put it up on the blog! Over the weekend, though, I made a cake for a former co-worker's 4 year old boy, Anand. (Did you see my post about getting a new job?!) I especially enjoy making cakes for kids, they get so excited about the characters! This little boy loves the Disney movie, Planes, and specifically the character Dusty the Cropduster.

Between Mother's Day, and starting my new job, I may or may not have procrastinated a little on getting my Dusty pieces ready... A couple nights before I realized I really needed to get it finished. I still get extremely nervous each time I sit down to work on a new character. Cakes that don't involve characters are much easier for me, there isn't as much worry about tiny details. But with character character cakes (like Oscar the Grouch, Thomas the Tank Engine, or Daniel Tiger), you have to get the nuances of the characters look just right, or they could end up looking strange. I started working on Dusty and quickly realized the unique challenges to building a fondant airplane. Not only did I have to make a character, but also a plane that would be structurally sound enough to hold up for a couple days! How was I going to get the propeller to work? How would I get the wings to hold up and stay in place? It all reminded me of my college days...

Children's Book Baby Shower Cake

My husband and I are very excited for some close friends who are just a few weeks away from welcoming their son. You may recall I made a cake for their gender reveal party a few months back. I was so excited to once again create a special cake for them this past weekend. The mom-to-be's family threw her an adorable book themed baby shower.

After talking to her family, I decided to attempt a stack of books cake. The mom-to-be gave me titles for a few books. I also wanted to incorporate some beloved popular characters. About a week before the party, I started experimenting and ended up with Curious George, Clifford, the hat from Cat in the Hat, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. 

Cinco de Mayo - Delicious Mexican Dishes

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In honor of the holiday, I am sharing a round-up of four delicious Mexican inspired dishes. My husband and I love Mexican food, and have several dishes we've worked on. These recipes are ones I've shared over the past couple years. What's your favorite Mexican dish? If you have a recipe, leave me a comment!

This recipe was a Mexican inspired version of the stuffed pepper recipe I shared last year. I enjoyed those stuffed peppers so much, that I wanted to create a new version of the recipe. The original pepper dish is filled with Italian flavors, all which I replaced with Mexican seasonings. In the place of marinara sauce, I used salsa. Instead of Italian seasonings, I used taco seasoning. I even replaced the traditional white rice from the stuffed peppers with Mexican flavored rice in this recipe. This recipe is packed with flavor - yum!

When Life Gives You Lemons...

It's been a challenging past couple years...

Just under two years ago, my husband and I got married and moved into our house we just bought. My husband's company closed an entire division of their business, and he lost his job he loved. He and a lot of other engineers were suddenly without employment, and the city we were in could not support that. A month or so later, my husband found out about an employment opportunity that sounded like a perfect fit for him. So we made the riskiest choice either of us had ever made - I quit my job, we put our house on the market, and we moved to another state without me having a job yet. My husband and I are not risk takers, and have a terrible time making decisions. But, we took a leap of faith as we felt this was a perfect opportunity for my husband, and that this was a part of God's plan.

Everything fell into place at first. My husband loved (and still loves) his job. It was a great decision for him, he's getting to work in the specific area of his profession that he always wanted to pursue. We also had an offer on our house within a few days of putting it on the market. Everything was pointing to this being a smart decision. But, then days became weeks, weeks became months, and I was still unemployed... Turns out my engineering degree wasn't doing me any favors in finding employment in our particular town. Now I know there are way worse things other people have to deal with, but this was a challenge for me. I've always been very career and work focused. I'm not someone who can even easily relax, I like to have something I'm doing or working on. Being alone in our apartment spending months and months job hunting in an unfamiliar city where we knew no one was rough for me. My husband worked long hours and had a significant commute, so I began feeling alone. I had worked extremely hard in college for my degree, and that only made me feel more discouraged and without purpose.

Derby Day Desserts

As you might have noticed from some of my UK basketball themed posts (Blue & White muffins, UK basketball cake, Blue & White cookies), my husband and I are Kentucky born and raised. We no longer live in the Bluegrass State, though, and there are some things we miss. No one around here has an appreciation for "My Old Kentucky Home" or UK basketball! We moved North and no longer can get Zaxby's or sweet tea (check out my peach sweet tea recipe here). There are tons of other things as well including Ale-8-One, Missy's Pies, local spots in our old town of Lexington, and KY Derby pie. 

Now if you are a Kentuckian, horse fan, or sports fan, that last one might have caught your attention. The 140th KY Derby is this coming Saturday! Neither my husband or I have been to the Derby, its on our list of things to do. While the Derby may be known for horses, hats, and Millionaire's Row, there are a couple treats that are also synonymous with the day - KY Derby pie and Mint Juleps.

While I've never had a Mint Julep, I do enjoy Kentucky Derby pie. You may also know it as "That Day in May" pie, Kentucky pie, May Day pie, or even just Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan pie. Whatever you call it, the pie is delicious! It's fitting that both Mint Julep and Kentucky Derby pie feature another Kentucky classic - bourbon. I decided to look around online and found recipes for the classics, along with other Mint Julep and Derby pie inspired desserts!

  • KY Derby Pie cupcakes - These cupcakes are from yours truly, they are butter pecan chocolate chip cupcakes with pecan pie topping and whipped cream! I even topped them with some Derby inspired fondant decor. (My version omits the Bourbon, but you could add that in if you want!)
  • Mint Julep cupcakes - This Baker Chick cupcake recipe is made from batter flavored with mint extract and Bourbon, and topped with a a Bourbon/mint buttercream.
  • Mint Julep sugar cookies - Good Clean Fun's recipe is for a Bourbon infused shortbread cookie, topped with a Bourbon mint icing.
  • Mint Julep Kisses cookies - If Bourbon isn't your thing, check out this simpler Food.com Mint Julep cookie recipe that just focuses on the mint flavor of the iconic drink.
  • Mint Julep scones - These scones from Fake Food Free are a bit of a mix of the two iconic Derby desserts, they contain Bourbon, pecans, and mint!
  • KY Derby Pie bars - Another Derby Pie inspired dessert features a shortbread crust with Derby pie filling. The SoHo blog recipe sounds scrumptious!
  • Mint Julep brownies - These brownies from Noble Pig are amped up with bourbon and mint extract. They have a nod to Derby pie as well, since they are served with brown sugar candied pecans!
The Classics
  • KY Derby pie - You can't go wrong with a classic! This Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan pie recipe is from the newest member of the Food Network, Kentucky native Damaris Phillips.
  • Mint Julep - Another Damaris Phillips classic Derby party recipe. I'm pretty sure Damaris, a Louisville native, knows a thing or two about Derby classics! Not a Bourbon drinker? Try this Mocktail version.
Enjoy these dishes and let me know if you try them out for a Derby party!

Rainbow Cupcakes

I seem to go through waves for cake/cupcake orders. I'll get quite a few all at once, and then I hit a lull without any orders. It had been a while since I've done a cake (my last one was my niece's art themed cake!). But, I've had two projects in the past week, with a couple more coming soon! One of my favorite parts about the process is brainstorming after getting a theme for the party. Who doesn't love an excuse to browse Pinterest?! My job tends to be more left brain, analytical work, so it's nice to tap into my creative side when planning cakes!

As I mentioned, I've had a couple projects lately. The first order I had was for rainbow cupcake toppers. My boss' daughter turned 3, and I was excited to make cupcakes for their celebration! Unfortunately, I also had my first cupcake transporting issue...someone pulled out in front of me and when I slammed on my brakes a few cupcakes flipped over in the carrier. Thankfully, though, the toppers helped hide the issue and the cupcakes still looked cute. 

When we were talking about the cupcakes, the birthday girl's mom mentioned she liked rainbows. I thought that would make adorable toppers! I used rolled out ropes of colored fondant to create the rainbow, and balls of white fondant for the clouds. The toppers were easy to make, and my boss' daughter loved them. Here's how I made them:

  • Start with colored fondant, or dye fondant red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple
  • Roll out the colored fondant into thin ropes

  • Form the ropes into a rainbow shape and cut the fondant

  • Add a small amount of water in between the ropes of fondant
  • Roll out white fondant into balls for clouds, use a row of 3 and one of two for each side of the rainbow
  • Attach the clouds with a small dab of water
  • Let dry a couple hours