RECIPE: Strawberry Reduction


strawberry dream cake tagged

A couple of my most clever cake friends, let’s call them “Falyssa” and “Fesley,” have been telling me for ages to take a stab at making strawberry reduction to incorporate into my buttercream. Recently, Falyssa sat down with me (well. virtually) and walked me through exactly how she does this. With her permission, I am now sharing it with you (with a few minor tweaks that worked for me). Trust me, you NEED to make this. Continue reading

RECIPE: My Favorite Carrot Cake!

carrot cake with logo
This cake is decadent and so easy to make! I can make this recipe from start to finish in under 2 hours. Feel free to substitute walnuts for pecans, either is excellent. (Hint: If you have trouble translating the measurements, a quick Google search is all it takes to translate cups or sticks into grams, etc.)
Cake Ingredients
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

World Vegetarian Day: Peggy Does Vegetable Garden Strata

Peggy Does Veggies!
October 1st is “World Vegetarian Day” – and since my 15 year old daughter has been a vegetarian since she was 12, we do a LOT of vegetables in this house!
I’m not much of a cooker, but if it goes in the oven… I’m down with it. I won’t be straying from cakes very often on this blog, but I’m excited to share one of my all-time favorite recipes in the universe with you: Summer Garden Strata.

Recipe: Gee’s Apple Dumplings

I got this recipe from my then mother-in-law more than a decade ago.  It’s been a family favorite since the first bite!  I’ve made tons of substitutions over the years and basically every sub has worked (“baking Splenda” for sugar, diet soda, light crescent rolls, half the butter, etc.), but the BEST result is from the following recipe IMHO.  No more comment needed. These things are GOOD.

RECIPE: Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Start with a batch of SMBC (click here for a recipe/tutorial of my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream) and incorporate room temperature caramel. For the caramel, you can use anything from store bought (like this 5-star Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch Caramel) or you can do it mama’s way and make it from scratch (nom nom). Let’s make a homemade version together, real fast!
Remember to work quickly, caramel is temperamental if you don’t hold your mouth just right.
For the caramel:
1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons water Continue reading

Recipe: Crusting American Buttercream Icing

For me, 2012 has been the year of SMBC (Swiss meringue buttercream). In fact, you can read all about that HERE. I’ve just recently met SMBC and fallen madly in love with it – but I must confess: love affair or not, I still couldn’t live without my trusty ol’ crusting American buttercream.Very different tastes, very different textures, very different techniques – but each has its place in my cake world. I know ABC is an enigma to many, so let’s break it down!

American Buttercream – Decorator’s Recipe
(Perfect for frosting and decorating)
(See “All-butter” recipe below that’s perfect for filling)



1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter (4 ounces/112 grams)
3 sticks (1.5 cup) shortening
1 two-pound bag of confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup liquid* from list below (more can be added for desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract


Step 1: Cream butter and shortening well, until white and fluffy. Add 1/8 cup water, mix.
Step 2: Add sugar all at once and mix on low. Be sure to cover your mixing bowl with a lid. I then cover the lid with a clean, dampened towel. You may also want to use a raincoat, Avenger’s shield, and giant beach umbrella, as you will have a bit of sugar storm.
Step 3: Mix on low and add more liquid as necessary to attain desired consistency. Scrape sides, mix again. Add extracts.
Step 4: Mix on medium-high for a quick minute until well blended.

Don’t incorporate too much air by overmixing or your icing won’t be silky smooth.

If you triple this recipe, you’ll have a VERY full bowl, but your icing level will be above your paddle attachment and if you mix on high until all visible air bubbles are eliminated, you’ll be creating the smoothest, most perfect buttercream ever. When making a triple batch, it’s not only fine, but preferred, to mix on HIGH.

See the Youtube video by Sharon Zambito on how she makes her buttercream HERE for more information on this “air removing” technique. Although my icing recipe is completely different than Sharon’s, I use her exact technique. I use it because it’s brilliant and can’t be beat. Ha! No pun intended.
I always try to triple this icing recipe whenever possible for this very reason – a big, full bowl of icing means no air – and that means the most beautiful, smooth consistency you can imagine from a crusting ABC.
This icing is perfect for smoothing via the Viva method, found HERE. Here’s a photo of an undressed (indecent!) cake finished with this exact recipe (the shortening/butter version) and smoothed using the Viva method.

American Buttercream – All Butter Recipe
(Perfect for filling)

2 sticks of salted butter (8 ounces/225 grams)
2 sticks of unsalted butter (8 ounces/225 grams)
1 two-pound bag of confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup water
1/8 cup liquid* from list below (more can be added for desired consistency)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

Ideas for liquid options:

  • Water
  • Skim milk
  • 1% milk
  • 2% milk
  • Whole milk
  • Half and half
  • Heavy whipping cream (my favorite!!)
  • Flavored liquid coffee creamers (I’m partial to the French vanilla and hazelnut, but don’t bother with the sugar free, as they leave a bit of after taste in the icing
  • Extracts beyond or instead of vanilla and almond
  • Fresh squeezed fruit juice
  • Coffee
  • Anything else you’re brave enough to try; I think I’ve tried it all!

If you try it, give me a shout and let me know how it worked for you.

Oven’s on – I’ll be back soon!

~ Peggy