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It’s already Flora’s second birthday — and she requested a tea party. (She is a very refined two year old!)

Her mother (my sister) crafted a tea set and some favorite tea party attendees (including Peter Rabbit) from gum paste. She coated the gum paste with royal icing and then painted it in vibrant colors with gel food coloring. The cake itself was yellow, filled with very lemony lemon curd. We frosted the cake to look like a table cloth and topped it with the tea party toppers made in advance. 

Other tea party treats included: heart-shaped peanut butter s’mores that I made (with homemade marshmallows and chocolate ganache), tea sandwiches from “Grandma” (including egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese, avocado and carrot, and date nut bread and cream cheese), and fruit arranged by Nugi’s mom.

All the guests (kids and adults alike) had a fabulous celebration. Happy Birthday, Flora!

My mother-in-law gave us an amazing silicon baking tray — with six unique mini fluted tube cake molds — when she got home from a trip to Paris last month. I couldn’t wait to try it!

When our friends Virginia and Marc came over for dinner on Friday night, I got my chance. I am officially in love (with Virginia and Marc, of course, but also with the easy-to-use fluted cake molds). 

I baked little caramel and pecan cakes, which we topped with fresh whipped cream. In the excitement of the successful un-molding and getting to hang out with friends we hadn’t seen in far too long, I forgot to photograph the friends eating their pretty little cakes, but the cakes themselves are pictured above.

For my husband’s birthday, I threw a drinks & desserts party — the best kind of party (in my humble opinion). It was so fun to see friends (from all parts of lives) and family … and to start another (delicious) year together.

Featured desserts (as pictured above) were:

1. Homemade marshmallows, dipped either in caramel sauce or chocolate ganache. I used Martha Stewart’s marshmallow recipe, which is the best I’ve ever found. She’s a genius!

2. Fruit tart (all the fruit was from Trader Joe’s, surprisingly!)

3. Chocolate peanut butter cake. I made up this recipe and Ari loves it. I think it reminds him of his favorite food — chocolate-covered peanut butter pretzels. The cake had four layers of chocolate cake separated by thick layers of peanut butter frosting. The whole thing was coated on the outside with salted peanuts.

4. This is just a closeup of the peanut-y texture

5. This is a special cake that Ari and his whole family have been asking me to bake since we met. It’s a seven-layer sponge cake that his grandmother used to make (I only managed to cut the cake into five layers — I clearly am not as skilled as the famous Bubby!). I basically followed her recipe (with the help of my mother, who taught me how to cool the cake upside down on a wine bottle). However, the original recipe called for 5 raw eggs in the frosting. I made up an alternative, which was still chocolatey, but used whipped cream instead of eggs. 

6. Part of the dessert spread — which includes some chocolate chip walnut cookies I baked and beautiful flowers my parents brought from their garden at the beach

7. The array of goodies. On the far left is homemade (very creamy) vanilla ice cream in a crystal cauldron! 

I haven’t mentioned this before, but my husband and I are the founders of a startup called Culture Craver. I was SO touched (and impressed) when my friend Elyssa brought these Culture Craver logo cupcakes to a dinner party we hosted on Friday night. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so adorable. 

She found the tie-dyed mini-cupcakes at Baked by Melissa; they were the perfect cake representation of the spectrum we use in our logo and throughout our design. She topped the cupcakes with little black Cs that she created out of black fondant (using a crazy process she devised to cut each perfect C shape). They perfectly evoked our logo! 

Starting a business is often intense. I feel so lucky to have friends who are rooting for us — with cake no less! Thank you, Elyssa!

This past weekend, we had a beach party to celebrate summer with friends. I made a beach themed cake with one layer of mocha buttermilk cake and one layer of yellow buttermilk cake, filled with dark chocolate ganache. I used colored buttercream and colored sugar to create a beach scene and decorated with party umbrellas and pinwheels. 

It was a hit. My favorite reaction came from a six year old, who told her mom she wished this was the kind of party where you got to take a cake home with you. (Shouldn’t more parties be like that!?) My second favorite was Randolph (pictured above right) who devised a new innovation: “cake on cake” by stacking two pieces of cake on top of each other and eating both. I think he’s onto something.