There is a fantastic variety of premade stamen centers out there in the cake market. However, they can be quite expensive, especially if you have many flowers to make or if you have flowers that require a lot of stamen, such as peonies. Making your own stamen allows you to fully customize them to your flower and make as realistic or fantastical as you wish. Although the process of making gumpaste stamen can be tedious, they’re also fairly easy to make and do come together rather quickly. These particular stamen work well with other open varieties of flowers too, such as wild roses and poppies.
Here in the Midwest, we’ve officially hit summer. The kiddos are out of school and the few short weeks when we were having gorgeous 70 something degree weather is no more. We’ve hit 90 degree days with the weather being tolerable enough to take the kids outside in the early morning and late evening. And while summer heatwaves are not something to be excited about, I’ll tell you what I do get excited about when summer rolls around. Berries! Berries are at their peak ripest in the summer months and I buy them in large quantities. Berries for jams, snacking, smoothies, and of course, baked goods and desserts. Berry ALL the things.
When I discovered Swiss Meringue buttercream (or SMB) several years ago, I was intimidated by it. I couldn’t just throw everything in a mixing bowl and start mixing as I had done with the American-style buttercream I had been previously making. SMB required a bit of extra time and a process. But let me tell you, it is so worth it. SMB is luxuriously light, creamy and delicious. It’s silky, fluffy and smooth texture makes it a DREAM for filling and icing stacked cakes. It’s stable and holds its shape when piped. People ask me often how I get such sharp edges and a beautiful finish under my fondant. Well, this buttercream is it.
Chocolate chip cookies are an essential staple in my house. They’re fantastically delicious and everyone goes crazy for them – they never stick around for long. The dough can also be made in advance, scooped and frozen so I always have a supply in the freezer. I just pop them in the oven when I need a sweet treat for last minute guests or for an after school snack for my girls. The chocolate chip cookie is an iconic and timeless classic, enjoyed by all ages in its various forms – thin and crispy, thick and chewy, in dough form, in ice cream…they’re the ultimate comfort cookie and perfect for an anytime snack.