Joy to the World Party

I just wanted to share some photos from a recent party I hosted at the beautiful private room at the Cornerstone Culinary Kitchen in Camp Hill. It’s really a wonderful venue for a party. The beautiful photos below were taken by Thomas Beaman and the team at The JDK Group helped with the styling and catering and tunes by Mike Miller with Mixed Up Productions. I hope you enjoy!
The theme was Joy to the World. The look was rustic with a little sparkle. 
 
 The globe was a great touch decorated by Erika with The JDK Group. I used a gift tag I saved from last year to decorate the jar. 
I created the bunting with a map design to tie the theme together. I love the wooden tree I purchased at West Elm.

I also made some small map flags for the cupcakes.
The display that Erika designed for the food was just beautiful. I love the green and blue together.
 
Wishing everyone a joyous Christmas and New Year!
 Thank you to all the wonderful vendors and friends who helped 🙂
Venue: The Cornerstone Culinary Kitchen, Camp Hill (Thank you Susan Pera)
Catering, linens, event design: The JDK Group (Thank you…Erika, Steve & Amanda)
Music: Mike Miller with Mixed up Productions

Amy & Mark’s Christmas Wedding

I’m excited to share Amy and Mark’s festive wedding at Riverdale Manor in Lancaster. Gold, silver and red ornaments were the perfect decorations for this elegant Christmas themed wedding. The beautiful photos below were photographed by the very talented (MattnNat) Photography.
A special ornament was the topper on the cake which was designed to reflect the style of Amy’s gown.
The cupcake flavors included Chocobutter, Red Velvet and Vanilla Vanilla. The decorations on the cupcakes included red, silver and gold flower blossoms to coordinate with the wedding colors.
So pretty!

 

 Riverdale is such a beautiful venue and the red, gold and silver accents looked so elegant.

Love this ring shot 🙂
The perfect holiday photo to end the evening.

To see more amazing photos from the wedding,
Congratulations Amy and Mark!
Vendors:
Photography: (MattnNat) Photography

Tips to Making Pretty Royal Iced Holiday Cookies

Every year at Christmas time, I love making cookies for my friends and family. This year I tried a new recipe from Fancy Flours that is fantastic. The recipe is below or you can click here to go to their website.
Here are some of the final cookies. Read on for some helpful tips to make these yummy cookies.
 
Use a stand mixer to get the best results with your dough. The consistency of the dough will be pretty soft.
Here’s a tip that I loved from their recipe. Plop a large dollop of dough onto a piece of parchment paper and place another piece of parchment on top.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough between the two pieces of parchment paper. OMG…no flour all over the place! I recommend purchasing parchment paper in sheets from your local restaurant supply store versus buying it at the grocery store. It is much less expensive, you get about 100 sheets per pack and it’s flat which is the biggest benefit.
I placed the rolled out sheets in the freezer.  After chilling for a bit, I pealed one sheet off of the dough, then flipped it over the pealed the other sheet off. I then placed the dough back on a piece of parchment. I did this to prevent any sticking to the paper when cutting. It worked great! I did roll my dough pretty thin, and would suggest rolling to about 1/8 inch thick or a bit thicker. Make sure the dough is chilled when cutting.
I placed the cut cookies onto parchment paper and baked them on cookie sheets. I never bake cookies directly on the trays…they tend to stick and baking on parchment will prevent sticking, plus your trays don’t get dirty. I love this recipe because the cookies did not spread at all. It’s the worst when you bake cut out cookies and they look like unidentifiable blobs when they come out of the oven.
I used Martha Stewart’s royal icing recipe which turned out very nicely. I’m not big on piping and flooding…mainly because it takes so long and I don’t really like the outlines on the cookies. I just use a very small spoon (like a baby spoon) and place the icing right onto the cookie and use the spoon to spread it around. I also use a small brush to move the frosting around for detail areas. To create the pretty line pattern, all you have to do is pipe straight lines horizontally in red and get a toothpick and drag lines vertically from bottom to top. You will get this pretty pattern very easily.

 
Yes…these cookies are a bit of work but so much fun to make and a holiday tradition I love!
 The recipe for the cookie dough from Fancy Flours is below. 
Happy holiday baking! It’s still not too late to start 🙂
Delicious Sugar Cookie Recipe
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
This is a great recipe when using cookie cutters. It doesnt spread! Your cookies will be the same shape after you bake them as they were before.
Note that this recipe makes up to 4 – 6 dozen.
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and flavoring. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mix well.
Put a handful of the freshly made dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Put the rolled dough, including the parchment paper, on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes or longer. Your dough will be chilled and ready to cut and bake with no wait and no added flour! Repeat the process with scraps after cutting cookies.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on rack.
—————
Royal Icing
1 box confectioners’ sugar (1 pound)
5 tablespoons meringue powder or 2 large egg whites
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar and meringue powder. Mixing on low speed, add a scant 1/2 cup water. For a thinner consistency, usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. Mix until icing holds a ribbonlike trail on the surface of the mixture for 5 seconds when you raise the paddle.

A Beautiful Winter Wedding


It’s December, so a winter wedding theme is the perfect touch for a beautiful reception. I had the pleasure of creating a sparkly wintery wedding cake for Alison and Miso’s wedding reception at the Hershey Lodge along with a super sweet dessert table. The beautiful photos below were captured by Klose Photography…thank you Cyndi!
The wedding cake included sugar snowflakes, a quilting pattern with silver accents and a blingy rhinestone band.
 The cake flavors were carrot cake with honey cream cheese filling and chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut buttercream filling.
 
The sweets table included Alison and Miso’s favorite treats including gourmet Oreos from Sweeties by Kim and some Serbian Kiki’s and much more.
 Alison and Miso were married at our beautiful State Capitol. What a stunning couple. Alison’s make-up was done by the very talented Carmina Cristina.
This photo is just priceless. The reception did look pretty spectacular.

 The floral arrangements created by  Jeffrey’s Flowers and stationery by Love Jessica were just gorgeous.
A bonus of having your reception on a Hershey property is that a Kiss and Reeses Bar may just show up for a quick dance.
Congratulations Alison and Miso!

Thank you again to Cyndi Klose with Klose Photography for providing these beautiful images.
Click here to hop over to Klose Photography’s blog to see more photos from the wedding.

VENDORS:
Ceremony: Capitol Rotunda
Photography: Klose Photography
Reception: Hershey Lodge
Flowers: Jeffrey’s Flowers
Stationery: Love Jessica
Cake and Sweets Table: The Couture Cakery
Videographer: Sugar Leaf Films
DJ: BRP Enterainment
Ceremony Music: Seasons Trio
Trolley: Unique Limousine
Photobooth: Wink! Photobooth
Hair: Moxy Day Spa
Makeup: Carmina Cristina

Gingerbread Man Decorating with Blake

On my last visit to Trader Joe’s I bought their “Really Big” Gingerbread Man Kit. My four year old had a blast today using his impeccable decorating skills to create this beautiful cookie.

Yes…I am plugging Trader Joe’s with the hope they will put a store in closer to me!
 
It all begins with the hair, eyes, nose and mouth of course.
 
 Here is my son displaying the piping and decorating skills I have been teaching him.
 Yes, as a professional 4 year old decorator you must sample the royal icing directly out of the piping bag.
 Lots of sprinkles are a must when decorating a giant gingerbread man.
 Lots of perfectly placed M&M’s too!
 The final result is this beautiful gingerbread man we will all enjoy eating!
Happy Holidays from Blake 🙂


50th Birthday Cake

Sometimes I receive calls from people who have seen something I have done in the past and want something similar. Recently, a lovely couple called and said they were celebrating the husband’s 50th birthday and wanted a cake similar to one I had done previously. It happened to be one of the very first cakes I did for a friend and told them I have learned a lot since then and could do something much nicer now 🙂 Here is the result. It was so much fun to create.

 

The four tier cake was marble cake with chocolate buttercream filling and marble cake with chocolate hazelnut buttercream filling.

Large purple sugar peonies added a nice touch. Special thanks to Ron Ben Israel for teaching me how to create them.
 

 Here’s the inspiration…I couldn’t find a bigger version.

This was such a fun cake to create and I have certainly come a long way in 2 years!


Farmland Glam Styled Shoot

Late October, I had the opportunity to be a part of an amazing styled photo shoot conceptualized by three talented wedding professionals…Matt and Nat with (mattnnat) Photography and Lori Witmer with Wildflowers By Design. Matt’s vision was to find the perfect tree in an open field for a beautiful bridal shoot. Matt and Nat went in search of “the tree” and found it on a farm in Lancaster. The owner probably thought they were a little strange when they asked to use the tree, but it really was the perfect location. The day started with gusting winds and we wondered how we were going to glue everything down, but when it came time for the shoot, the weather was just right. I hope you enjoy our efforts in creating something beautiful just for the sheer pleasure of doing it.
I created this sweets display incorporating purples and silvers. Mixing modern with rustic was a lot of fun. The vintage dresser was the perfect piece to display all the goodies.
Mixing the cool metals with the warmth of the wood was the look we were going for.
 
 Lori created the hanging flower balls which looked amazing above the sweets table. Nat really wanted French macarons for a fun ring shot, so I made some just for her. The wedding cake incorporated modern white flowers and ruffles. There were lots of other sweets that tied all the colors together.
Yummy mini tarts with fresh blackberries and a signature cocktail rimmed with purple sugar.
I love the florals peaking out of the drawer. We used crocheted pieces Lori’s grandma made which added a touch of charm.

 
Denae and Andy were just married a month before our shoot. They were so sweet.
The stunning florals in deep purples looked amazing against the white linen.
 
The modern and elegant stationery was created by the very talented Love Jessica.
The beautiful linens were provided by Special Occasions. This rosette pattern is one of my faves.
The to die for vintage couch was a Matt and Nat find. How cool does it look in the middle of a corn field! Denae’s beautiful ruffly gown was from In White Bridal Boutique in Lancaster.
Aren’t they just adorable?
“The Tree”

 
Thank you to all the amazing vendors who 
made this beautiful shoot possible:
Photography: (mattnnat)
Sweet’s Table: The Couture Cakery
Stationery: Love Jessica
Groom’s Suit: Filling’s
Bridal Jewelry: Finch Jewelers
Hair and Makeup: Lani from Plum Salon and Spa
Models: Denae & Andy (real life newlyweds)