Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Washi Tape Holiday Photo Shoot with Pure Joy Events

Candy Cane Macarons
I know I've mentioned before that I'm lucky to be able to work with talented local party stylist and my friend, Christine of Pure Joy Events. Well I was impressed anew by her creativity when we got together 2 weeks ago to shoot these fun DIY holiday craft ideas using pretty Japanese washi tape! Not only did Christine provide me with my first paying photo shoot, but she also pushed my dessert-crafting boundaries again by ordering cake balls (more squares hehe) decorated to match the washi tape and candy cane macarons (I used this recipe but added crushed candy canes to the buttercream).

It all turned out quite well, if I do say so myself =p, and I'm delighted to announce that our shoot's been featured today on The Sweetest Occasion! Trust me, you don't want to miss this post as it includes FREE downloadable gift tags from Frog Prince Paperie, plus a fabulous washi tape GIVEAWAY from Cute Tape. Thanks to Christine and all the contributing vendors for making this shoot a success! I've included some of my favorite photos from the shoot below (several of which didn't make it into the feature) -- enjoy!

Concept + styling: Pure Joy Events / Venue: The Pear Tree Cottage / Washi tape + boxes: Cute Tape / Stationery + printables: Frog Prince Paperie / Sweets + photography: me / Hanging wreath design: The Knock-Knock Factory

Holiday Washi Tape Photo Shoot
Holiday Washi Tape Photo Shoot
Holiday Washi Tape Photo Shoot
Holiday Washi Tape Photo Shoot

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Favorites

This week only I'm adding somethin' extra to my favorites post. As those of you who follow my Twitter may have noticed already, I've recently discovered (and become a wee bit infatuated with...or at least that's what my bf keeps insisting =p) the incredible actor, Michael Fassbender, of Hunger, Fish Tank, Inglorious Basterds, Jane Eyre (as Rochester), and X-Men: First Class (as Magneto) fame. Having seen him in just a handful of movies, I can already tell that he'll be one of the top actors of our generation and hopefully making movies for a long, long time. Michael has already shown himself to be a rare chameleon who disappears into whichever character he's playing at the moment. But whether he's a metal-bending mutant or an IRA volunteer on hunger strike in prison, his performances rivet you from start to finish. As if that weren't enough reason to fall head over heels, he seems humble, funny, and a real gentleman in real life. And the final kicker...he sings and dances (see below), too! My apologies to my male readers for this post, but to my lady friends...ENJOY ^_____^!

Cherry Tomatoes Photographs from James Ransom
1 James Ransom_Food52-Cherry Tomatoes Ingred
Apple Upside-down Cake from Pictures and Pancakes
2 Picturesandpancakes-Rustic Apple Upside-down Cake
Passionfruit with Yogurt from Margaret & Joy
3 Margaretandjoy-Passionfruit Ingred Cream Parfait Metal Molds
Black Plum and Ginger Crumble from Verses from My Kitchen
4 Versesfrommykitchen-Pear Crumble Streusel Crisp Metal Tray Propwish

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Filled with Thanks (Recipe Shout-Out 4 and Giveaway)

Hi there! Did you guys all have a fabulous Thanksgiving? If you're anything like us, you've been stuffing yourself FULL of great food and company. Perhaps to the point that 8 pm felt like midnight and you gladly fell into an early slumber, feeling satisfied and thankful on all fronts? On the topic of thankfulness, I have a LOT to be grateful for in 2011.

To name just a few...for my mom finding a new/better job despite this economy; for my friends who gave me the confidence to start selling my baking; for my boyfriend who supported me through all the crazy moments and even revealed a surprising talent for shaping sugar poppies at one point 8p; for all the customers who trusted me to whip up desserts for their family birthdays, anniversaries, and christenings; for 2 magazines publishing my photos, and for so so much more.

Cookies Collage for Giveaway
And you know I couldn't forget to thank all of you, my readers old and new, for showing such enthusiasm toward all that I do, whether it's the familiar cupcakes or something totally out of left field. I can always count on you all to cheer me on, and that means so much to me. To show my appreciation, I'm here today to present you with my 4th Recipe Shout-Out and yet another giveaway!

In the spirit of the holiday season, I'm giving away a batch of ANY COOKIES, BROWNIES, or OTHER BARS featured on this blog (must be stable enough to ship). I regret to say that this giveaway is limited to addresses in the continental US since baked goods are perishable. To enter, do as many of the following as you want and leave a separate comment for each thing you do! Please also make sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win. The giveaway will close on December 7 at midnight, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! THANKS FOR ENTERING!
  • Leave a comment telling me which cookies you'd like if you were to win.
  • Like 6 Bittersweets on Facebook, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do.
  • Subscribe to this blog, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do.
  • Follow 6 Bittersweets on Twitter, then leave a comment telling me you did or already do including your Twitter name.
  • Tweet about this giveaway, tagging me @6bittersweets, then leave a comment telling me including a link to the post.
Lastly, if you (1) posted about a 6 Bittersweets-inspired recipe and I missed it; (2) made a recipe and took a photo, but don't have a blog; or (3) post about a recipe of mine in the future, please email me your name, photo, and blog post URL (if applicable) and I'll be sure to include it in my next round-up. Now let's see what scrumptious things have been comin' out of your kitchens!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Pretty Sweet (Potato) Cake for Thanksgiving!

Woohoo! Thanksgiving break is finally here and my bags are already packed for the long weekend of great food n' family ahead. Still, I just couldn't duck out without sharing one more fun, festive fall dessert for any of you still needing a last-minute Thanksgiving dessert.
Happy Thanksgiving!
I love sweet potatoes in just about any form. And I'm betting that many of you feel the same...especially around this time of year! Which is why I simply couldn't resist making this richly flavored sweet potato cake this Thanksgiving. You'll love how quickly this comes together. Plus it only dirties up a bowl and measuring cup. It's also quite friendly to guests on restrictive diets, since the cake is already egg and dairy-free. If any dairy is an issue, simply swap dairy substitutes into the frosting to make this a welcome Thanksgiving dessert for all =).

P.S. - I want to thank Oh Nuts! for the wonderful Jumbo Raw Georgia pecans they sent me for free to use in my holiday baking. These pecans were so fresh and yummy. I sampled one as I was measuring them out for this cake and ended up eating so many I had to get more for the recipe O:-). They're big, as the name suggests, and have a wonderful subtle sweetness that made them downright addictive.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Favorites!

Can you believe it's already Thanksgiving week?! With Christmas and a whole 'nother year just around the corner after that...2011 has certainly flown by, with no signs of slowing down even at its close. Especially this year, I'm glad to have a chance to push the pause button for a few precious days to return with P to our hometown and celebrate Thanksgiving with his extended family. I always love to see P's family; they're such a warm, loving bunch and have treated me as one of their own from the moment we met. Plus I love that even nearing our late 20s, P and I (and all his cousins, too) still sit at the "kid's table" at Thanksgiving dinner ^_^. What are you guys looking forward to this Thanksgiving? Maybe a special side dish? Seeing your favorite uncle? Whatever it is, I hope you'll be surrounded by good food and loved ones aplenty when the big day rolls around!

Homemade Paneer from Journey Kitchen
N1 JourneyKitchen-Homemade Paneer Indian Cheese
Homemade Pasta with Sage and Pine Nuts from Pure Vegetarian by Lakshmi
N2 LaksmiW-Homemade Pasta Sage Pine Nuts Process Ingred Idea
Pumpkins Photograph from Honey and Jam
N3 Honeyandjam-Pumpkin Wheelbarrow Ingred
S'mores Cupcakes from Call Me Cupcake
N4 Callmecupcake-S'mores Choco Marshm Graham Cracker Toasted Cupcakes

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DIY Crepe Paper Fan Cupcake Topper Tutorial!

Crepe Paper Rosette Cupcake Toppers
Imma keep this post short and sweet as this weekend and next week up til Thanksgiving is just a wee bit crazy ^_^. A sane person might just pause the blogging entirely until life becomes more manageable, but I've learned that once you start down that road it's hard to get back on track. I've actually planned and delayed this tutorial so many times that I just can't wait another minute to share it with you guys! I hope you find it useful and please don't hesitate to ask me if anything's unclear! And if you like this, you might want to check out myearlier tutorial on making cute pom-pom cupcake toppers from tissue paper.

Step 1

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ruff(le)'s Up, Doc? (Carrot Cupcakes with Ruffled Frosting and Marzipan Carrots)

A few months back, P's cousin K asked me if I'd be willing to bake the cupcakes for her wedding (!!). This was the first time I'd been asked to contribute to someone's Big Day, and I was really touched by the request. And agreed right away, of course! K had her sights set on carrot cake from the start, which worked great for me. I loves me a client who knows what she wants =D. K's wedding doesn't actually take place until next October, but is it really ever too early to test run delicious carrot cupcakes? (Hint: the answer is "no!")

The weird thing about this carrot cupcake recipe is that I converted it into an all-apple recipe the first time I made it (that's just what I happened to need at the time). And I tell you what, the apple-fied version was so darn good that I couldn't resist re-converting it back to experience it in its full beta-carotene glory ^_^.

Carrot Cupcakes with Marzipan-Parsley Carrot Toppers
I also couldn't resist just a few tweaks here and there (swapping out some oil for the more flavorful melted coconut oil/butter, amping the spices up a touch, and so on...). What came out of the oven was to my mind the perfect basic carrot cupcake: delightfully moist but with no oily mouthfeel, packed with flavor from a balanced medley of spices, and boasting a subtle nuttiness and crunch from the toasted walnuts. Feel free to adapt this to your personal carrot-cake preferences! Like your carrot cake to have more nuts, no nuts, other nuts, coconut flakes, raisins, chocolate chips, whatever else? Go for it!

The only popular add-in that I'd expect any trouble from is pineapple chunks, since they'd add significant moisture to the batter. But I'm on a quest here, folks...I won't rest until I've found the perfect carrot cupcake for K's wedding day! And on the chance that the very best carrot cake contains pineapple, I'll be trying a recipe with pineapple in it next. Right now I'm eying this one, but please don't hesitate to speak up if you wanna share one better!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Favorites

First off, I'm gonna point out the obvious that this round of weekly favorites is ever-so-slightly dominated by wedding cakes 8p. And for the first time I've included 2 favorites from the same source. Both of these can be attributed to my discovery of The Caketress last week. As you might've guessed by now, I follow quite a number of party/style/wedding blogs. So I've seen (and shared with you) a number of impressive special occasion cakes previously. But from the moment I laid eyes upon the jeweled pieces of edible art below by The Caketress, I was awed, enchanted, and absolutely addicted to her distinctive work. If, after browsing the images below, you find yourself as head over heels as I was, I recommend you check out more of her work on her website. Plus if you're interested in the woman behind the cakes and how she got started in this business, here's a great little video promo about Lori Hutchinson, aka The Caketress.

Jeweled Wedding Cake by The Caketress
1 Caketress httpwww.elizabethinlove.com Jewel Wedding Cake Idea
Another Jeweled Wedding Cake by The Caketress
2 Caketress-Fondant Jeweled Wedding Cake Idea
Wedding Cake Trio with Fondant Ruffles, Spun Sugar Trail, and Fondant Eyelet Lace by Ambrosia Cake Creations
3 Ambrosiacakecreations-Frilled, Spun Sugar Trail, and Fondant Eyelet Wedding Cakes Idea
4 PlumGorgeousBook-Prosciutto Cheese Fig Relish Panini Grilled Sandwich

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snapshots of San Francisco (and the Bay Area)!

I just got back from an awesome long weekend in the San Francisco/Bay Area spent with my blog friends Stephanie, Prerna, and Joyti as well as my college friends M and G. Thank you guys so so much for making time for me! I had so much fun and hope to be back soon. Here are a few snapshots I took (now that I finally got over my fear of taking my camera outside haha). Hope you like them =)!

PS - Check out Steph's gorgeous shots of the same wine tour here and here!

Frog's Leap Winery Tour in Napa Valley
Frog's Leap Winery
Lovely Friends in Lovely Napa
Tour of Frog's Leap Winery in Napa
Grapes on the vine and after wine was pressed out
Grapes on the vine (left) and after wine has been pressed out (right)
Our tour guide...
Our tour guide!
More Snapshots from Frog's Leap Winery
More Pumpkins
Pumpkin Decor
Bouchon Bakery and Lunch at Bouchon Cafe in Napa Valley
Napa Valley
Bouchon Bakery
Lunch at Bouchon CafeSteph's French Onion Soup and Prerna's Scrumptious Gnocchi!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Angry Birds! Fondant Cupcake Topper Tutorial!

Pumpkin Decor
Happy Friday! I hope everyone's got something fun planned this weekend. Tell me about it comments, please. That way I can at least live vicariously as I prepare for another blistering round of exams 8). Boring things in my life aside, I'm excited to finally share this Angry Birds Fondant Cupcake Topper Tutorial that I was lucky to photograph a few weeks ago. This was one of several recent collaborations with Christine of Pure Joy Events, who recorded the directions while the incredibly talented Loan of PhoebeCakes demonstrated her surprisingly easy technique behind these adorable, edible Angry Bird cupcake toppers. I'm actually a bit behind the times with my dumb (not-so-smart ^_^) phone and have never actually played the Angry Birds game. But it seems to get people pretty excited, so I hope you guys enjoy this! Please head over to Pure Joy Events for the full step-by-step photo tutorial for Angry Bird cupcake toppers!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monday Favorites!

I'm busy running around the SF/Bay Area still...but you can enjoy these favorites early this week :). Look out for another DIY cupcake topper tutorial to come later this week...

Pistachio Biscotti Photograph from Food Ideas Magazine
N1 FoodIdeasMag-Pistachio Biscotti Gift Wrap Package Idea Doily
Lemongrass Beef Noodle Soup Photograph from Dish Magazine
N2 DishMag-Lemongrass Beef Rice Noodle Broth Soup
Autumn Leaves Fondant-topped Cupcakes from Lulu's Sweet Secrets
N3 LulusSweetSecrets-Autumn Leaves Fondant Cupcake Toppers Fall Idea
Photographs of Gorgeous Draped Fondant Wedding Cake via The Wedding Chicks
N4 WeddingChicks-Fondant Draped Wedding Cake Idea
Pomegranate Gelee and Coconut Cream from Inspiring the Everyday
N5 Inspiringtheeveryday-Pomegranate Jelly Coconut Cream, Panna Cotta
S'mores Kebabs from V.K. Rees Photography
N6 VKRees-Vegan S'more Choco Marshm Kebab Skewer Lollipop Idea
N7 IndianSimmer-Kaju Katli Sweet Cashew Thins
Christmas Cookie Photographs via and styled by Dietlind Wolf
N8 Dietlind Wolf-Gingerbread Decorated Xmas Cookies Gift Idea
N9 Cannelle-Vanille-Banana Quinoa Loaf Quickbread Cake Slice Window Idea
N10 SarkaB-Artichokes Ingred 2
N11 BakersRoyale-Cranberry Pear Brown Butter Almond Mini Upside-down Cakes
Holiday Cookie Gift Packaging Ideas from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine
N12 BHG-CD Envelope Mailing Tube Gingerbread Cutout Xmas Cookie Gift Packaging Idea
Caramel Macarons from The Pleasure Monger
N15 PleasureMonger-Caramel Macarons Wire Rack Dark

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tips on Using Edible Ink to Decorate Cakes

I've been getting a few requests for guest posting on 6 Bittersweets recently from writers unknown to me. My general policy is to only invite guest posts from friends/bloggers whose work I admire and follow personally, so I've turned most of those offers down. However, Melissa of Clickinks.com happened to make a very specific offer that I couldn't resist 8). As you may have noticed, I've been getting more into cake decorating in the last few weeks and found myself wondering about edible ink printing on many occasions. Thus when Melissa offered to share the basics about edible ink cake decoration, I made an exception and accepted. I hope you'll find these ideas as fun and exciting as I do. Please give a warm welcome to Melissa!

Caketress-Vintage Writing Edible Ink Wedding Cake Idea
Cake by The Caketress (decorated by hand but a similar effect could be achieved with edible ink sheets)
Have you ever marvelled at wonderfully intricate cake decorations and the steady hands that created them? Perhaps you’ve seen mouth watering treats in bakery windows featuring images of superheroes, wedding celebrations or portraits. Well we’re going to let you into a secret. These designs are not the handiwork of highly skilled artists, they are in fact printed images created using edible inks and wafer thin edible paper. Edible ink is a relatively new concept that has been around since 2003 and has taken the hassle and hard work out of producing stunning sweet treats. Here’s a quick look at how you can use edible inks to transform your home baking and wow your friends and family with your cake-decorating creativity!

Getting Started

You can print using edible ink if you have a HP, Canon or Epson printer. You’ll need to buy edible ink cartridges and special edible paper, which can also be called icing sheets. Edible inks are formulated using food coloring that matches standard printer inks – so the colors from your photo or image should be the same as when you print it using standard inks and paper. You can buy refills for your cartridges, which keeps the cost of replacing your colors down. It’s also a good idea to purchase a non-toxic cleaner to keep your printer in tip-top condition.

Photo 1
Choosing Your Design

Once you’ve got your inks and paper, you can start to get creative. You can use any kind of design software to create your images, download pictures online, or use some of your favorite photographs as inspiration; the only limit is your own imagination.

Celebration Cakes
If you’re planning a birthday, anniversary or christening celebration why not add a personal touch to your cake? You can print your favorite photographs and place them directly onto your cake, creating a uniquely individual effect that’s sure to become a talking point at any party.

Photo 3
Cake by Mili Cake

You can use your computer to create your own edible stencils. Simply create a template of your design on your pc, print it using edible inks and paper and place it onto your cake. You can use frosting, ink pens or icing to fill in your design, creating a precise outline – steady hands not required!

Photo 4
Image via Wedding Points
Edible Ink Pens
To add text or carry out detailed decorations, an edible ink pen is the best tool for the job. These are available in a variety of colors and can also be used to create edible gift cards or decorate plates and glasses too, the perfect way to showcase your culinary masterpiece.

Cute Cupcakes
You could also try adding miniature edible prints to cupcakes, muffins and cookies. This is a much less fiddly way of integrating intricate designs to your baking than free-hand icing. All you have to do is print off your design, no matter how complicated, and trace over the image using your favourite frosting or icing. Why not try printing a variety of photos or designs and turn your cookies or cup cake collection into a creative collage?

Photo 6
Bijou Biscuits
The image below shows just how intricate and creative you can get using edible inks. These delicious looking morsels feature old fashioned Christmas card designs with an astonishing level of detail. Leave them out for Father Christmas, use them as stocking fillers or hang them on the tree. Miniature works of art like these deserve to be shown off!

Photo 7
Cookies by Sweetopia
Edible Tattoos
Finally, there’s more fun to be had with edible inks than just baking cakes. As edible ink pens are water based, you can use them to draw temporary tattoos on your little ones (or even on yourself!). You can use edible paper to print off a tattoo design and try it out before going for deciding to go under the needle for real. And the really good news? If you don’t like your tattoo or get a little bit carried away, it can be removed with just a few licks!

Author Bio: This post comes from Clickinks, an online distributor of printer ink cartridges that carries a full range of products for the top 25 printer brands on the market.