Whenever I walk into a bakery, my eyes are always drawn to anything pink. Pink cupcakes, cookies, donuts or anything with pink icing will inevitably come home with me. This probably started in childhood. Most bakeries back then, including the bakery my aunt always took me to, had pink boxes, so I associate it with delicious, freshly baked treats. Maybe pink desserts do taste better or maybe our minds just tell us that. Either way, if you love pink treats, you’ll love these cookies.
Pink velvet is similar to red velvet, but without the cocoa powder and red food color. The texture should be somewhat velvety, like red velvet cake. I have yet to taste a velvety red velvet cookie, but I think the texture of these cookies is pretty velvety as long as they’re not over baked. Pink velvet desserts are typically vanilla flavored. I upgraded the flavor by adding a touch of cherry flavoring. It’s not enough to give you cherry flavored cookies, but it will add depth to vanilla flavored treats. It’s an old bakery trick that I learned years ago that adds a fruity note in the background.
For best baking results, I recommend using a scale to weigh your ingredients, especially your dry ingredients. If you love baking, you should invest in a food scale if you don’t already have one.
Once upon a time, there was a little black bear who woke up from a long nap. As she stretched, she felt her tummy growl. She ventured into the morning sunshine and smelled something sweet. She sniffed the air, following the sweet fragrance until she came upon a beautiful purple tree. She climbed up to a comfy branch and ate the tender, purple blossoms to her heart’s content.
Bears, butterflies and bees know something good when they see it. We humans can also enjoy lilacs. I knew lilacs were edible, but I hadn’t tasted them until recently. The flavor reminds me of beets, slightly sweet with a vegetable aftertaste. I really wanted to try lilac syrup after seeing so many photos of pretty purple syrup online. I discovered that lilac syrup is not purple. It’s more of a dull, brownish blue-green. Many people use food coloring or blueberries to color their syrup. I also discovered that lilac syrup will turn a pretty shade of mauve by adding a small amount of lemon juice to the finished syrup. Since I would be using my lilac syrup inside of cake layers, I let it remain its natural color. I made a simple syrup with lilac blossoms and let them steep for a couple of hours. It was just long enough to give a subtle lilac flavor without being too floral. If you want a stronger lilac flavor, I suggest using more lilac blossoms rather than steeping longer to avoid bitterness.
I paired the lilac syrup with this soft, fluffy vanilla cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream. If you aren’t a fan of lilac syrup, feel free to use vanilla simple syrup instead and just use the lilac blossoms to decorate your cakes. They look stunning on any cake or cupcakes.
The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime has been in my family for over 20 years. The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.
Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?
You might also like my Nutcracker Land of Sweets inspired candy bark. It’s a delightful holiday bark I designed that is often imitated. To view it, click here.
Sometimes we need a little magic in our lives. These pretty, dainty meringue cookies sparked a bit of magic in my life that I want to share with you. It started when I washed some beautiful little violas. Watching them float in a bowl of clear water was positively therapeutic. After pressing and weighing them down with a heavy book overnight, the reveal of perfectly flat, delicate blossoms was so satisfying. The process of making meringue is also very satisfying for me. I love the moment when the frothy egg and sugar mixture magically turns to glossy, billowy sweetness.
Piping the meringue circles was fun! I traced circles on the bottom of the parchment paper to use as a guide for stress-free piping. I used white chocolate to fill the center of the meringue circles, but you can also use white chocolate chips or candy melts. You can use any small edible flowers or flower petals. Feel free to express your creativity! Try using sprinkles, edible glitter or tint the meringue mixture with a few drops of gel food color.
I recently enjoyed a girls’ day out at Universal Studios Hollywood. My daughter is a Harry Potter fan, so of course we beelined straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter upon arrival at the theme park. We were spellbound by the ominous looking Hogwart’s Castle and the sparkling snow-topped shops of Hogsmeade. My daughter was in Harry Potter fan heaven, flitting around Hogsmeade, testing out her interactive wand and sipping some refreshing Butter Beer. It’s definitely a must-try
Our favorite shop was Honeydukes sweet shop, where anyone with a sweet tooth can get his or her candy wishes fulfilled. The candy selection was nothing short of magical. We picked up some Chocolate Flies, a Chocolate Frog and some Pink Coconut Ice candy.
I was most excited to try the Pink Coconut Ice. I’ve been intrigued by the thought of this candy ever since it was mentioned in the book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. The Pink Coconut Ice candy is similar to a stiff fudge. It’s very sweet, so you can cut it into small squares and have plenty to share with friends.
I imagined the “shimmery pink squares” a little differently so, I decided to build on my imagined version of the coconut candy by making a shimmery pink coconut cake. I used my favorite coconut cake recipe and pink coconut buttercream. I tinted my buttercream with Americolor gel food color soft pink. I covered my cake in large flakes of unsweetened coconut. To find unsweetened coconut flakes, click here. I think the large flakes look more whimsical and add texture, but feel free to use whatever kind of coconut you prefer. I colored my coconut a shimmery, soft pink. Click here to see how I colored my coconut flakes.
You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to appreciate this pink, fluffy, coconut-covered cake. I can imagine this pretty cake at any party or event with a pink theme. I hope you enjoy this perfectly Pink Coconut Ice Cake as much as we did!