Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sweet Little Blue Cake

Happy (almost) Spring! Last year at about this time, I made a little bright yellow cake to try to help usher in springtime. You might remember it and it is still one of my all-time favorites. You can find all of the details about that cake here.

This is always the time of year when we long for spring to come, for winter and cold temperatures to tuck themselves away for the season and be done, and for the sun to shine warmly once again. This year is no different. In fact, I think we are all longing for spring even more than usual after this hard and utterly cold winter we've all had!

This cake reminds me of spring, though I made it last fall. It is also one of my all-time favorites!

This is a cake I made to share with two of my closest friends on our annual girls' weekend. These girls are the best and we sure to have a lot of fun together! Though we don't live near each other anymore, we always seem to be able to pick up right where we left off. Everyone should have friends like these! So, special cake for special friends. Seems fitting, doesn't it?

I began this extra-tall cake (7 inches, as opposed to the normal 3.5 to 4 inches tall) with my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe, filling with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and covered with dark chocolate ganache. I then covered all of that with fondant in what is currently one of my favorite colors. It's kind of a light teal/aqua color - blue with just a hint of green.

For the decoration, I used edible paper. You can buy edible paper at your local craft store that sells cake decorating supplies. I used the Wilton brand edible paper, but you could use any you like. I then used a paper punch that I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby a long time ago and have never used on non-edible paper. (Some of you are laughing now because you know I am NOT a scrapbooker! I do admire those of you who do an amazing job with paper-crafting!) I punched out strips, then lined them up and attached them to the fondant with a little paint brush (also reserved only for food and not real paint) dipped in some water.

This was such an easy way to get a fun graphic design onto the cake! I really love love love this technique!

I put the edible paper design about two-thirds of the way up the cake and place a ribbon (non-edible, though you could certainly use the edible paper or fondant for this too) at the top of the graphic design.

I then made a quick little fantasy flower out of fondant and attached it to the top edge of the cake. The center of the flower is just three little balls of the blue fondant that I used to cover the cake.

I love how the blue and white look in this cake and how it all came together!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy spring!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lordy Lordy Look Who's Forty

Yep, you guessed it. It's me. Back in November I turned the big 4-0. I admit, I had a hard time with it. There's something about 40 that seems significantly older than the previous milestone birthdays. A doctor actually called me "middle-aged" a couple of weeks ago. Ouch!

Turns out, though, that 40 isn't so bad. I wouldn't trade now for younger ages and all the old insecurities. And there really is something to be said for wisdom that comes with age. This is going to be a good decade, I think!

To celebrate my big birthday, my husband threw me a fantastic party with several close friends and their families. It was so much fun! We rented a pinball machine and that was the hit of the party, I think. So much fun!

Of course, I made my own cake. It was huge. And fun. And a little disappointing. Here is a picture of the whole thing.

First, the fun part. It was fun to make such a big cake and get to serve it at my own party. The top tier was gluten-free for a couple of my allergic friends. I loved being able to make a delicious cake customized just for them!

My favorite part was done by my son. He had a grand plan for my cake and I let him design the whole thing. For inspiration, he grabbed a picture of our family that was taken during our vacation last summer and painted it onto the cake. The kid's got ambition! And some serious skills for an 8-year-old, in my humble opinion. I'm not biased at all, of course! After he painted me and his Dad, he got tired and decided the picture was complete. I happen to love how it turned out!

I put a little fondant flower on the top to complete the overall look.

Now for the disappointing part. You can see it on the side of the cake in that first picture and again in the picture of the painting. See that sag on the side of the cake? Yep, my caketastrophe. After I stacked the cakes, the middle tier began to collapse. That tier is an extra-tall tier and required supports halfway through the cake. Though I never figured out exactly why the cake began to collapse, I think that I did not properly space the supports in the bottom half of the tall tier. When I stacked the tiers, the weight caused the cake to buckle.

What you see in the pictures got worse and worse, but thank goodness the cake did not fall down completely before we were able to cut and eat it. If this was going to happen, I am glad it happened on my own cake and not one meant for someone else! And, despite the disappointing look of the buckled fondant, the cake was still delicious and enjoyed by all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CakeCentral Magazine - A Second Time!!

Hello! Welcome back! Many of you already know that one of my cakes made it (again!) into CakeCentral Magazine. I was so honored to have cakes in back-to-back issues!

This second cake was for the October issue. CakeCentral sent me a picture by the illustrator Arthur Rackham from the Grimm Brother's story, The Seven Ravens. It is an amazing illustration! I was lucky to get to work with it.

Most of all, I wanted to capture the eerie feel of the illustration. It is a little dark, but not overly so, and cool in tone. I wanted to make sure my cake design reflected all of that. I focused on the pattern and colors of the waters in the picture and used that as the main element of my cake.

I painted the waves onto the cake using a watercolor technique with vodka and food coloring, going from darker at the bottom to lighter moving up the tiers. I left the very top tier unpainted.

This painting actually went a lot better than I had anticipated. I thought I would have trouble with it, but it was actually really simple. I used a very "watery" paint, using more vodka than I normally would to paint with food coloring on the fondant. I then put the tier onto my turntable and spun it slowly while moving my brush up and down against the side. Does that make sense? It all went on really well and I was so pleased with the effect!

To bring in more of the Ravens story, I covered the very bottom tier in jet black fondant and made some fondant feathers, which I dried on a curve and set around the entire tier. I used a leaf cutter to make it easier and make sure the feathers were more uniform. Then I took my knife tool (you could also use the dull side of a butter knife) and gently scored a line in the middle of each feather and all along the edges to create the feather look.

As the finishing touch, I decided to do sugar pieces to reflect the ice mountain, against which the girl is standing. I ended up using Isomalt to make my sugar pieces because it dries clear and that is the look that I needed. Real sugar is cloudy when it dries and opaque and it just didn't look right. After the Isomalt was heated to the right temperature (per package instructions), I added a drop or two of blue and black food coloring, gently swirled it, then poured it onto a parchment-covered sheet pan. After it was completely cool and hardened, I cracked it into large and small pieces. I then took the pieces and attached them to the finished cake.

I really loved these sugar pieces! They were just as I had hoped they would be! The only problem was that they don't photograph super well. It is difficult to photograph a clear piece of sugar! But my photographer for this cake, Lisa Vargo, did such a fantastic job with it. By the way, Lisa is an amazing photographer! Check her out here!

I had so much fun doing this cake. I hope that CakeCentral Magazine continues to call on me to make cakes for their awesome publication! If you would like to check out all of the amazing cakes in the October issue, or any other issue, visit and click on the "Magazine" link. You can also buy individual issues for download from iTunes.

I am so, so thankful that I get to make cakes and hopefully bring smiles to those who see, and often eat, my creations. During this holiday season, this week at Thanksgiving and through the end of the year, I hope that you all take the time to think about all of the gifts and blessings you have been given and to give thanks for them! I am also so thankful for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fashion-Inspired Cake

Many of you may already know that I had the awesome privilege of being featured in an online magazine that came out last week. I am so very excited about this! And I've been waiting an awfully long time to tell you all about it.

I actually made this cake back in April. Remember when I said I had something exciting coming up? Well, this was it. I just didn't know that "coming up" meant waiting five months! I was ready to accept the rejection when the magazine finally came out and there was my cake, on pages 75 and 76. I jumped up and down when I saw it, then emailed a bunch of people and posted it all on FB. It is really incredible to see one of my creations in print!

Don't you all just love the pictures? Aren't they amazing? I could not have done this without my friend, Heather Foy, who came over and took pictures for me. She overcame some bad lighting and a rough set-up to capture the very best of my cake creation. Thank you Heather! All of you should go over and check out her FB page, Heather Foy Photography. If you are in the Geneva, Illinois area and want some fabulous family photos, give her a call!

The cake was inspired by a photo sent to me by CakeCentral. This is the fashion issue, so the photo they sent was from this spring's fashion week. The dress that inspired my cake was done by Valentino and is just incredible. I really loved the details and the pattern on the dress. This picture came from the Vogue website and is the exact picture sent to me by CakeCentral.

I started this project by making a sketch. I do this with all of my cakes. Here is my sketch for this cake. You can also see it in this article on

To make the cake, I covered styrofoam cake dummies with tan fondant. You may be asking yourself now, why didn't I use real cake? Well, there are two main reasons. First, I don't have to worry about styrofoam staying fresh and tasty. That means I don't have to do all the decorating work the day before or the day of the event. This gave me a little more time to make sure everything was perfect. Second, I used styrofoam because I want to keep this cake on display and I can't do that with real cake. I now have the cake in my living room for all to see. Well, all who come over to my house, that is!

I painted the tan fondant with gold dust mixed with a little vodka and water. This created the gold, somewhat shiny background for the red design, just like in the dress. I then used extruded fondant and a lined template to make the design. I placed waxed paper greased with a little bit of shortening on top of my template and extruded the fondant onto the waxed paper. I then used the waxed paper to place the design onto the side of the cake. It was tricky to get it all on straight! And, after awhile, my fingers were aching from the extruder! It was worth it! I really love how it all came together! Simple and dramatic all at the same time.

I wanted the pattern on the very bottom of the cake to hang down below the cake for a dramatic effect and to highlight that pattern, just like on the bottom of the dress. To do this, I raised the cake with a small "riser" made from styrofoam and covered with black ribbon. I then extruded more fondant and draped it to create the design. All of the extruded fondant is attached to the cake with a little vodka brushed onto the fondant with a very small paint brush. This bottom part is my favorite part of the cake!

The finishing touch was the two flowers made from fondant. They are fantasy flowers, meaning they aren't really reflective of any real flower. I wanted to put a softer touch on the cake as an accent, so that the overall feel of the cake was softened but the pattern could still take center stage.

The most amazing thing about this cake is that the request to do it came at the exact perfect time. I could not have planned it. The night before I got the request to do the cake, I had committed to doing something that was very difficult for me. I wasn't sure how I was going to keep that commitment and then the next morning, the needed distraction was waiting for me in my inbox! I kept my commitment because I had something else to focus on. I absolutely believe, 100 percent, that this opportunity was a gift from God. You see, my commitment was to something He required of me and I know that He helped me by giving me this opportunity. There was really no reason for CakeCentral to notice my work or ask me to be in the magazine. I didn't apply for the opportunity or do anything to get their attention at all. What a blessing and joy it was to be able to do this!

Thank you all for your support and for sharing in my excitement about all of this! YOU are a blessing to me!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Filled Up, Poured Out

Last week, I had the wonderful privilege of making a dessert for a Women's Ministries Kick-off event for my church. As I was thinking about what to make, I thought of the theme for this year, "Filled Up, Poured Out." It stems from Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." I really love this verse and the theme for this year! Hope, joy, peace, filled and overflowing with and through the power of God! Wonderful!

The image that goes along with the theme is a pitcher overflowing with water. I thought that would be perfect for a cake! So, I carved a pitcher out of cake and made it "pour" out water. Pretty cool, huh? I was very excited about how this one turned out!

I haven't carved a lot, so it took quite a bit of planning and thinking for me to get this to work. I wanted the pitcher to appear as if it was tilted, pouring out the water. That was the most difficult part! To make the shape, I took 6-inch and 8-inch cakes and stacked them on top of each other. Then I carved the shape of the pitcher little by little with a thin serrated knife. I covered the top of the cake with blue candy clay so that I could later make it look like the pitcher was filled with water. The rest of the pitcher was covered with gray candy clay. Normally, I would not cover an entire cake with candy clay or modelling chocolate, but I wanted to make the top of the pitcher appear thin and higher than the water. Unlike fondant, candy clay holds it's shape and will stand up even with nothing supporting it directly. The seams are also easier to blend away with candy clay, which melts slightly until the pressure and warmth of a finger.

To apply the candy clay, I rolled it out as thinly as possible onto a sheet of waxed paper, then used the waxed paper to wrap the candy clay around the ganached cake. I then peeled away the waxed paper and smoothed out the candy clay onto the cake using my fondant smoothers and my hands. The edges didn't come together everywhere, so I took scraps of the candy clay and pieced them onto the cake where they were needed, smoothing the edges with my fingers. It was definitely a process and not as easy as it sounds!

I decided to leave the finish on the pitcher a little rough. So, I marked it up a bit and colored it a little with black and silver petal dust, brushed on randomly to create a tarnished look. In the verse, we as humans are the vessels. We are the pitcher being filled with hope from God. We are imperfect vessels, yet we are fully accepted and even welcomed by God and freely given the gifts of hope, joy and peace. So, my pitcher cake needed to be an imperfect vessel, too. Sometimes imperfection can be beautiful!

To make the "water", I used more candy clay, a long rope for the water pouring from the pitcher and a flat piece to be the puddle of water on the board. I tinted some piping gel with blue coloring and swiped it with a spatula over all of the blue candy clay to make it look watery. It worked perfectly!

The board is cut from 1/2-inch foam core and covered with black and white fondant, marbled together. I like the effect, but I wish I would have done a different color. The board matched the pitcher a little too well! The letters and numbers were cut out of an icing sheet.

Inside this beauty is some serious deliciousness. Lightly lemon blueberry cake with blueberry swiss meringue buttercream. White chocolate ganache covered the entire thing underneath the candy clay. It was enjoyed by all!

Here is the recipe so you can make it yourself! Enjoy!!

Lemon Blueberry Cake with Blueberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
For the Cake:
3 cups (12 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 (1/2 ounce) tablespoon potato starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
3 whole large eggs
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
3/4 cup (6 liquid ounces) buttermilk
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

For the Buttercream:
6 egg whites
12 ounces granulated sugar
Pinch salt
12.5 ounces unsalted high-quality butter (I use Kerrygold), very soft room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ - 1 cup fresh blueberry puree*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans by greasing them with shortening, lining them with parchment paper and dusting lightly with flour.

Whisk together the flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and a splash of the buttermilk. Set aside.

Add the rest of the buttermilk and the butter to the flour mixture and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until moistened, then on medium speed for 90 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Whisk the lemon juice and lemon zest into the egg mixture, then add in three parts to the flour/butter mixture. Add each part on low speed then mix on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Gently mix in the frozen blueberries. (Adding them frozen keeps the batter from turning purple, as does mixing them in quickly and gently.)

Divide evenly into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in pans on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely. Tort and frost as desired or wrap tightly and carefully in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month. Thaw completely before unwrapping.

While the cake is cooling, make the buttercream. Whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt in a large bowl that sits comfortably on top of a saucepan, or in the top bowl of a double boiler. (The bowl should have no trace of fat (including egg yolks) in it anywhere or your egg whites will not whip up properly. I often wipe my bowl down with some vinegar or the cut side of a lemon to remove any residue then dry it before putting my egg whites in.) Bring about an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan upon which the bowl will sit without touching the water, or in the bottom pan of a double boiler if that is what you are using. Make sure that the water will NOT touch the bottom of the bowl in which the eggs are placed or the eggs will scramble. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat to a simmer and set the bowl with the egg whites mixture on top. Whisk continually until the egg white mixture reaches 165 degrees F on a candy thermometer, or until the egg whites are very foamy and all the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

When the eggs reach 165 degrees F., pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Immediately put the bowl onto the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on high speed until the eggs reach stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch. This can take 10 minutes or more. Once the egg whites have reached stiff peaks, turn the mixer to the lowest setting and add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all of the butter is incorporated into the egg whites. Continue to mix on the lowest speed until the buttercream comes together. It will look soupy and curdled at first. That’s normal! Keep mixing on low speed and it will come together. Just keep an eye on it and stop the mixer when the buttercream looks smooth and silky.

Once it comes together, switch to the paddle attachment and add the vanilla extract. Mix on low until incorporated. Add the puree a little at a time to ensure that it is fully incorporated. Add more to taste, being careful not to break the buttercream by adding too much.

*To make the blueberry puree, heat 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries in a medium saucepan with a few tablespoons of water until the blueberries begin to break down and the liquid is boiling. Once it is boiling, mash the blueberries with a potato masher or a wooden spoon. For a very smooth sauce, puree with an immersion blender right in the pot or briefly remove from the heat and puree in a blender. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and stir in a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Celebrating 90 Years

Hello Everyone! I hope that you are all enjoying your summer! We just got back from a wonderful vacation up in Michigan. Though it was a little colder than we would have liked, we had a fantastic time.

Before vacation, at the beginning of July, I had the opportunity to make a cake for the grandmother of one of my very dear friends. Vi was turning 90 and they were throwing her a huge party. I was honored to be asked to make the cake!

For inspiration, I was sent a copy of the invitation and I took my colors from that. The design of the invitation matched a stencil I had, so I wanted to use that too. I kept the whole design pretty simple, with a gumpaste gardenia (Vi's favorite flower) on the top.

I'll start here by showing you the picture of my sketch and inspiration pieces. Maybe you'd like to see how I start? If not, just skip this part! :) My drawing isn't the best, so you'll have to excuse that, but drawing out my cake gives me an idea of how all of the elements will look before I begin my cake. Sometimes I get an idea on paper and realize it wasn't a great idea to begin with. Seeing that right from the start saves me a lot of time and trouble in the end! I also use my sketches to show others my ideas to see if I am on their page about what the cake will look like.

Here is my sketch, the stencil and a picture of a gumpaste gardenia I found online. (Jacqueline Butler from PetalSweet made this one. If you like sugar flowers, go check out her site. You will be amazed!)

This was by far the biggest cake I have made for another person. It was meant to serve 75 people, though some of those servings came from a separate sheet cake so that I could keep the main cake more simple and save costs by not using fondant for the sheet cake.

Here is the main cake finished.

The stencil is my favorite part, I think. I love that it is subtle and adds an element of sophistication and simple prettiness to the cake.

The message on the cake was what was written on the invitation. The whole thing reads "Celebrating 90 Years. And her story continues..." I really love this for a milestone birthday because it shows that it is not only the life lived that is celebrated, but also the life yet to be lived. I was going to use fondant to make the message, but in the end it didn't seem right for this cake. The spacing would have been off and the block letters just didn't seem to "go" with the rest of the design. So, I chose to hand-paint it with food coloring. I really love how it looks on the cake! I was so nervous painting black onto white because every little mistake would show and I'm not really used to painting, especially letters. It was so much fun to "write" with that long, thin brush. Makes me want to learn calligraphy! You know, because I need another thing on my to-do list! :) It would be fun though...

For the topper, I made the birthday girl's name out of modeling chocolate and placed it on top of the cake next to a gumpaste gardenia.

Competing for my favorite thing on this cake is the gardenia. These little guys gave me a bit of trouble, but in the end, I think they are beautiful!

The sheet cake (actually a quarter sheet cake) was iced in smoothed buttercream and decorated with a fondant plaque. I admit that the look of this one isn't my favorite, but I do like the different elements. And I heard that the cake as a whole was loved by all! That absolutely makes my day and makes all of the effort totally worth it!

For those of you who would like to imagine eating this beauty, let me share the flavors with you. The top two tiers were vanilla bean cake with raspberry vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream filling, covered with white chocolate ganache. The bottom tier was chocolate cake with vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream filling covered with dark chocolate ganache. The quarter sheet cake was chocolate cake covered with vanilla buttercream. Of course I had to taste the scraps. You know, just to make sure I'm giving away a quality delicious cake. I may have had a bowlful. I won't tell you how big the bowl was! But I will tell you it was delicious!

Thank you Ginny and Julie for letting me be a part of this celebration! And to Vi, may you have many more happy birthdays to come!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Baby Turns Six

Last week, my baby turned 6. I know it's a total cliche that time flies, but it is so true. It doesn't seem that long ago that Kate was itty-bitty, screaming her head off at me over absolutely everything. Yep, she was a crier.

All. The. Time.

I am glad the days of crying are over and I really love the age she is at now. Apparently, Kate got all of her anger out during that first year because she has been pretty much happy with everything ever since then. She is a breathe of fresh air and a joy. And I'm not just saying that because I'm her Mom! :)

This year was the first year Kate had a friend party. (I know, she is so deprived!) She invited all of her best friends, mostly from her school class, to a Princess & Superhero party here at home. What a lot of work that was! But it was also so much fun. The theme fits Kate to a "T". She loves superheroes and princesses equally and can hang with both the boys, all rough and tumble, and with the girls, with dolls and sweetness.

I had elaborate plans for her cake, too. It was going to be a castle, with many turrets and different sized tiers of cake, stacked up and decorated like a real castle. On it would be standing a sweet princess. A dragon was going to be climbing the side of one turret, breathing fire, and Superman himself was going to be saving the day.

Did I mention that I have never done any figure modelling before? That proves important later in the story!

I made the princess and was pretty pleased with her. I think I could do better next time, but I thought she was very nice for a first effort.

Here she is...

A few nights later, I began the dragon. He was coming along fine, but wouldn't dry. So, I propped him on some tissues to keep his shape and started molding Superman. Let me tell you, that was NOT easy! Two hours later, I had a figure that was just okay. It was nearly one o'clock in the morning and I could barely see straight anymore. I set my headless superhero down and realized he was bigger than the dragon. And about four times bigger than the princess. Ugh! I think I will blame extreme focus on the task at hand for my not noticing the size discrepancy earlier! The bottom line is he was unusable on this cake. The proportions were just all wrong.

It was two days before the party. The cake was baked, but not trimmed or assembled at all. None of the turrets, which were to be styrofoam, were covered with fondant or started at all. The buttercream for the filling and the ganache for covering the cake (under the fondant) were still unmade. And I had a day's worth of party prep to finish. I'm not ashamed to say I cried a little!

The next day, Kate and I had a heart to heart. It turns out the only person really invested in having an elaborate castle cake was me. So, we came up with an alternative, thanks to some inspiration from Sweetapolita. The dragon, which was still not dry a full 24 hours later, and headless Superman were scrapped and instead, I did a sweet and simple stacked and buttercream covered cake in pink, blue, and white. The princess stood alone on the top and simple fondant flowers were placed beside her and scattered around the base of each tier. I also sprinkled some pink sugar stars around the edges and on the top.

All the kids, including my own, greeted the cake with many ooh's and ah's, proving that really all one needs is cake. And sometimes simple is better than crazy. Crazy as in me turning into a wild crazy yelling person with no sleep and too much stress. No good for kids or birthdays!

Ahhhh...such a long story this time, huh? I bet you're ready to see the picture of the entire cake! Without further ado, here it is in all it's simple glory. I hope you like it!

It's definitely not fancy and not perfect, but that is part of it's charm. For me now, simple is in and over-complicated time-consuming designs are out!

Do you want to know what's on the inside? Even if you don't, I'm going to tell you! So just skip this paragraph if you don't want to know! :) The bottom tier was made with two chocolate layers and one strawberry layer with vanilla American buttercream (the powdered sugar buttercream that most of us know and love) filling and covering. The top tier is strawberry cake with vanilla buttercream. The strawberry cake was a sort of experiment that turned out pretty well. I used fresh strawberry puree that I reduced to about half as the liquid in the recipe and threw in chopped fresh strawberries just before baking. It tasted really good, but I had some problems with the baking, so I'm going to tweak the recipe before I share it. That's a little recipe teaser for you!

Want a peek at the insides? Here you go!

The chocolate layers tasted a little like brownies. Mmmmm....

Most importantly of all, my little now-six-year-old princess loved it!

Thanks for stopping by!