11 Beautiful Holiday Desserts

Gingerbread House  (This might be better as decor than dessert!

Candy Cane Cookies 

Pine Tree Cake

DIY Hot Chocolate 

Gingerbread Cake

Peppermint Bark Brownies

Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

Meringue Trees

White Chocolate Bark

Gingerbread Cookies

Mixed Berry Pavlova

Happy Holidays everyone! Tis the season for baking sweet treats, from classic gingerbread boys to decadent chocolate ganache cake served with a scoop of peppermint stick ice cream. Because what better way to spend a cool winter afternoon than in a warm kitchen listening to Christmas music and decorating cookies?! I just absolutely love to bake with my boys during Christmastime, and our favorite is of course gingerbread. Sometimes we decorate them with sprinkles and icing, and other times we eat them warm out of the oven just as is. The spicy flavor is heavenly, and makes the entire house smell like the most divine bakery. We actually made a batch last weekend and the boys have enjoyed nibbling on the cookies all week. We will be whipping up a batch again on Christmas Eve for Santa :).

Now what will the sweet finishes be for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day do you ask? While we strive to save sweets for special occasions and stick to that rule most of the year, the month of December is a time when we indulge. Christmas Eve dinner will be punctuated with a real treat – southern pecan pie from Bird Bakery. It’s filled with sweet pecans and Carmel, and is nestled in a flaky buttery crust. Needless to say we are already counting down the days until we enjoy this dreamy dessert! As for Christmas Day, I’ll be making Ina’s old fashioned apple crisp. This is my husband’s all-time favorite dessert, and a go-to recipe in our house. Cinnamon, warm apples, and a crispy oat topping make this truly a showstopper.

And so, in the spirit of baking and Christmas just days away, I wanted to share some gorgeous dessert ideas to help inspire those of you who are hosting family and friends, or in need of sweet treats to bring to a holiday celebration. From cakes to cookies to DIY hot chocolate (how fun would that be?), I’ve found 11  of the most beautiful and festive desserts. Enjoy and happy holidays!

Fourth of July Flag Cake & Outfit Ideas

 

Happy Monday all! With July 4th just two days away, I wanted to post one of my favorite and festive desserts in honor of the holiday, as well as a couple of cute outfit ideas for watching the fireworks.

I can’t say enough fabulous things about this cake courtesy of chef and hostess extraordinaire, Ina Garten. The bejeweled berry design is such a show stopper and the combination of the airy cake, creamy icing and fresh berries is absolutely delicious. Ina has done it yet again! You could easily make and decorate this dessert the day before and serve it on the 4th, or make it for any summer party. I actually baked this cake a couple of weeks ago for some close friends, and both the kids and adults enjoyed every last bite. Yum!

As for Independence Day attire, because it’s always fun to dress in patriotic colors on this special day, I love this dress and these sandals for casual look, as well as these jeans and this top would be darling for evening. This bathing suit would be cute for the 4th too, especially paired with some fun sunglasses and denim shorts.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July!

 

Flag Cake 

For the Cake

9 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups sugar
3 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 Cup sour cream, room temperature
3/4 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons corn starch
1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

For the Icing

16 Tablespoons (8 oz./two sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/2 Cups (24 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 Teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 Cups confectioners sugar

For the Decorating

1 Pint blueberries
2 Pints raspberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a rectangular cake pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high-speed, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed to medium, and add the eggs, one at a time. Next, add then add the sour cream and vanilla. Be sure to scrape down the sides  of the bowl and stir the batter until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Turn the mixer to low-speed, and add the flour mixture to  until just combined. Try not to over mix! Pour the batter into the buttered pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake to room temperature.

For the icing, mix until smooth the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Spread three-fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries (to resemble a flag). Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe, and put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip (or you can make your own pastry bag by using a large ziplock bag and cutting the tip) and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is finished.

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Spring Table Settings To Recreate

Today I took the boys for a walk in our neighborhood, and from the 70 degree temps to the blue skies and sunshine, to the light breeze, we were enveloped in spring and loving every minute. G snacked on peanut butter crackers and soaked up the scenery while C fell asleep in the stroller, and I enjoyed the serene sound all parents appreciate – peace and quiet! 🙂

Something about the spring/summer inspires me to start entertaining again – perhaps its the ease of grilling a fabulous dinner and having friends over to swim, or it might even be the lovely daylight savings – and this year is no exception. Thanks to our two sweet boys, our version of entertaining has become much more low-key, and honestly I love it. Being a California girl, I’m inherently quite casual, and while I adore dressing up or go to a fancy party, I’m happiest in a casual atmosphere. I even dress casual – athleisure when I’m chasing after the boys on a daily basis, or jeans and blouse or casual dress (most likely blue and white!) if I want to dress up a little – done and done!

I’m looking forward to hosting friends soon, and of course it has me thinking about table settings and decor. Any guess what the color scheme will be? Likely blue and white! My go-to setting recently has been these gold placemats and blue and white napkins, and I’d love to find some neat votives to add to our collection. These napkins are on my wish list too. As for cuisine for upcoming spring and summer entertaining, I can’t wait to make this peach and raspberry crisp served with barbecued chicken, grilled corn and salad.

To help inspire you and any entertaining you have up your sleeve, here are a few colorful and crisp table settings that could  be recreated. I especially love the second image – the vibrant red and purple flowers mixed with the casual blue and white checkered cloth creates a simple and stylish look perfect for warm weather entertaining. You could easily recreate this by using a similar table cloth, white napkins, and fresh flowers in your favorite vase – voila and cheers to spring entertaining!

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