Art in Yellowstone

Last September I was contacted by Kristy Rice from Momental Design. Apparently social media does work, because the talented (and nationally recognized!) Kristy found me online, so that's pretty rad to begin with. Kristy's business focuses on creative and artful invitation suites, menus, and general wedding paper goods. Utilizing her antique inspired and floral heavy watercolor techniques she has created some of the most gorgeous invitations I have ever laid eyes on. Not to mention she did the opulent invitations for Jessica Simpson's Wedding (except I just did). 

Anyhow I was definitely surprised to hear from her, but also totally thrilled when I discovered the reason. Kirsty, who is working on a book titled The Painters Wedding (due out this year I believe), asked if I might be interested in lending my own creative talents to a styled shoot in and inspired by Yellowstone National Park! She and a group of incredible and renowned vendors were set to travel all the way out to our perfect little corner of the world for a bridal photoshoot that would emphasis the majestic beautify of our beloved national park . If you don't know what my answer was, you don't know me at all... Um, yes. A thousand times yes. 

Participating in styled shoots is something I am constantly being asked to do. 50% of the time I am super jazzed about the concept and 50% of the time I'm either too busy to take on extra work, or not terribly inspired by the vision for the shoot. In this case it was 100% inspiration and the added bonus of being featured in a real live book!  

Being that she and the other vendors participating where traveling from out of state, and therefor somewhat disconnected from Yellowstone and what it means to those who have grown up nearby, I felt it was necessary for me to convey a local Montanan's take on Yellowstone. To me it is a place of clear wildfire pools and sulfuric sand, but more importantly a wildlife sanctuary for wolves, elk, buffalo, and more. I am also eternally inspired and fascinated by Montana's native plant life, so you can bet that came into the mix. 

What emerged was a two tiered cake painted as my own abstract interpretation of the layered, jewel toned hot springs, and a set of edible sugar cookie place-cards painted with individual names, flora, and fauna. 

I was fully expecting to wait for the book to come out before I could share the resulting images from this gorgeous photoshoot but as luck would have it the photos where just too fantastic to be contained, and the shoot is now a 6 page feature in Destination I Do Magazine!


And so, with Kirsty's blessing, I am excited to present the stunning results of her beautiful concept as well as my own offerings to the Spirit of Yellowstone: May she continue to protect our miriad creatures, geological miracles, and bountiful plant life... and also keep the monster volcano at bay. Amen.

I just have to say how much I love this model, Terasina. There is something completely captivating and unique about her features, and the way she carries herself. Plus she has tattoos which you just don't see enough of in bridal photoshoots...

I just have to say how much I love this model, Terasina. There is something completely captivating and unique about her features, and the way she carries herself. Plus she has tattoos which you just don't see enough of in bridal photoshoots...

Charles the Elk, Sophie the Sage Brush, Celeste the Indian Paintbrush, and Ezra the Wolf:  If that does sound like a Yellowstone party, I don't know what does...

Charles the Elk, Sophie the Sage Brush, Celeste the Indian Paintbrush, and Ezra the Wolf:  If that does sound like a Yellowstone party, I don't know what does...


Photography @JohnCainSargent // Venues @mtundercanvas, @yellowstonenps  // Styling, Stationery, Design @Momental // Design and Planning @emilyclarkeevents // Floral @Intrigue_Designs // Gowns @ClairePettibone, @TaraLaTour // Calligraphy @designsgirl // Cake, Cookies @whippedreams // Model @terasinabonanini // Rentals @poshcouturerentals // Linens

you can paint like Kristy when you purchase one of her gorgeous watercoloring books from amazon!      

just click here

Independence Day

So here's the thing: if you are really going for full on "red velvet cake flavor" (because it is it's own damn thing, amiright?) I say just go for this little bottle of condensed RVC.

Lorann Professional Kitchen recognized our national love of RVC and was like "Woah. let's emulsify that shit, so we can make ANYTHING Red Velvet!" which is why you see red velvet donuts, and soft serve, and waffles, and deodorant... well, maybe not that last one, but you get the point.

When it comes to baking RVC I'm past the point of being artisan about it. Let's not pretend there is anything dignified about our American obsession with Red Velvet Cake. It's shameless, delicious, and just a little bit gross. 

So let's stop messing around and just commit.


I mean, at the end of the day you are consuming a bright red cake: it's decidedly gaudy but proudly so and I think that pretty much describes July 4th wouldn't you say?

This beautiful cake stand was given to me by local ceramicist Ona Meyer for use in my cookbook but it just seemed to fitting for this cake so I had to give it a test run...

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cup flour           

1 tsp baking powder        

1 tsp salt                

1 1/2 cup sugar            

2 Tbl cocoa powder                    

1/2 cup soft butter            

2 oz Red Velvet Bakery Emulsion (half a bottle)        

2 eggs                

1 tsp vanilla                

1 cup buttermilk            

1 tsp vinegar               

1 tsp baking soda            

In an electric mixer Whip sugar and softend butter until soft and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, and beat thoroughly between each addition. Add in your vanilla, and Red Velvet Emulsion. Make sure there are no streaks in your batter and that the color is distributed throughout.

Separately sift together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Do not sift in your baking soda! You will be adding it in last. 

Add your sifted ingredients to the red butter/sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk until your batter is homogenous. 

In a small bowl mix together baking soda and vinegar. It will foam up briefly, and than eventually the soda will settle at the bottom so stir it up real good (again) right before you fold it into your batter so you can be sure and get the soda in there. Fold with a  rubber spatula until you are certain is has been distributed evenly. 

Pour into two 9" greased lined cake pans and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes turning half way through. To test doneness insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. It should come out clean.

Allow your cakes to cool completely before frosting. 

Many people like cream cheese frosting with their Red Velevt cake but I'm not many people. It's too sweet for me (thanks to all that powdered sugar) which is why I like to go old school with a Whipped spin on a traditional Ermine frosting...

Buttermilk Buttercream.

This is the real star of the show.  I am absolutely in love with this frosting, and you will be too. It's so much better then cream cheese frosting but with a similar tang. It is fluffier, far less saccharine, and more stable in hot weather!

My gift to you on America's Birthday:

Buttermilk Buttercream

2 cups buttermilk

10 tbl flour

2 1/2 cup flour 

1 1/2 lb soft butter

1/4 tsp baking powder (for taste)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

In a sauce pan mix together flour and sugar. Pour buttermilk into sauce pan and whisk together with flour and sugar. Over medium heat whisk constantly until mixture is thickened (should coat the back of a spoon) it should be bubbling a bit but hopefully not browning on the bottom of the pan because you've been whisking consistently. If it does brown on the bottom and you get little toasty bits don't fret. Just strain it through a fine mesh sieve! 

Allow your buttermilk roux to cool in the fridge until it's close to room temp. 

Pour roux into an electric mixer and using the whip attachment whip it for a few minutes. Add in pads of the softened butter until it is all incorporated. If it begins to separate it means you have allowed your roux to cool too much but don't worry: place some of the frosting in a container and microwave until melted before adding it back into the bowl and whipping. continue doing this until the mixture is soft and fluffy and there are no obvious lumps or separation. 

Add in baking powder, salt, and vanilla and whip on low, and then high.

You should have creamy, fluffy, tangy, falsity perfection. 

Let's decorate!

I decided to decorate my red velvet cake with fireworks because, aside form the terror they strike in my pup, they are my favorite part of Independence Day. 

I thought a "brush embroidery" technique would achieve the closest visual results rather than piping lines, and I think on that front I was correct. Here is the basic premise:

Once you have frosted your cake and allowed it to cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour you may begin. Mix up some red and blue pots of frosting and microwave them enough that you have a rather soupy but still thick consistency like a THICK paint. If it's too runny add in a little bit of solid frosting and beat it together until it thickens up, or place it in the fridge for a few minutes and stir it together again.

(You can get the most out of your Wilton Gel Food Coloring by microwaving it. The colors deepen and distribute.)

You'll need a clean paint brush, preferably unused or only used for decorating cakes. Dip your paint brush into your blue or red buttercream until you get a bead on the tip. using a swift brush stroke apply the bead of frosting to the cake and swipe towards the center of your firework. Repeat in a circle. This does not need to be precise as fireworks are like snowflakes and all different. If you are worried about screwing your cake up I would suggest practicing on your countertop first until you feel you have the swipe down. After I've covered my cake in firework bursts I like to go in and add a few specks here and there. 

And there you have it! 

I didn't take pictures of the process but hopefully this description gives you a good idea how to proceed. If you really want to check out some videos on this technique look up "brush embroidery" on youtube and fall down a rabbit hole of decorating videos!

Happy birthday america!!


Dirndls, Pistachios, Strawberries, and a whole lot of Love...

My 2015 wedding season kicked off with an incredibly sweet low key wedding. Honestly these are the weddings I love the most. Production value is low, but all of the details are so well thought out and lovingly addressed you can just feel their love for one another in every photo.

To me the success of a wedding does not hinge on the presence of escort cards, extravagant center pieces, or thoughtful (but largely useless) wedding favors for your guests. It is found in the uninhibited dancing on full tummies to music that consumes you; It is found in honoring all those individual aspects of your partnership and sharing them with your loved ones, laughter, incredible food, a nip of booze, and of course a slice of delicious cake. Elizabeth and Owen got it right, and you can see it in the stunning photos Kacie Quesenberry captured. They knew where their priorities lay and they budgeted for joy and love in every moment. 

Elizabeth and Owen-Reception-0061.jpg

When I first met them I knew two things: their guest count was low, and they were open to unusual flavors. A dealers choice cake tasting begins with an idea of likes and dislikes. I'm not interested in sharing something with you you aren't going to love! Elizabeth and Owen gave me little in the way of direction but it was just enough to come up with a selection that fit their tastes to a T, and after an impassioned  meeting they agreed on Brown Butter Pistachio Cake, and Champagne Strawberry Cake. 

told them about a new technique I was interested in exploring wherein preserved strawberries are patterned along the sides of the cake, and they gave me an enthusiastic and resounding YES. I love when clients allow me to adventure a little, and the results are always inspired.

I'll admit I was bummed to find that I wouldn't be making the Kransekake, but with Owen's grandmother at the helm I knew the towering confection was in experienced hands!

I feel enormously proud to be a part of this simple and heartfelt wedding. Let us raise a glass to a stellar wedding season, Elizabeth and Owen,  celebrating love in all its delight, and the knowledge that sometimes less really is more.  

Lilacs are for lovers

This year I have a newfound appreciation for May. Historically Bozeman springs have left me feeling frustrated at the indecisive weather changes, and perhaps it is this early onset spring coupled with fairly consistent weather (not much snow to speak of!) that has me in better spirits, but I think mostly it is the lilacs. 

I know that they have always been our most fragrant indication of the coming summer months, but they are always at the mercy of either a snow storm or heat wave. This year however, they have really been allowed the time to flourish. Everywhere you look the horizon is laden with a lavender colored froth erupting from yards, parks, and alleys. Their magic has inspired me to infuse that comforting aroma into my pastries and generally every moment of these fleeting spring days. 

After much experimentation I have concluded that Lilac syrup is the way to go. Lilac sugar sounds pretty fantastic but far too subtle to bake with. It would be wonderful at a tea party, but it would just get lost in a pastry. So I figured a syrup that I could use to infuse buttercream would be my best bet. I am also convinced that lilac ice cream or panna cotta would be incredible! So if I somehow find some time to play around with that in the next week or so you'll be the first to know! 

In the meantime here is a lilac explosion.

I picked so many lilacs to experiment with and inevitably had a bag full of unused beauties that served as an immersive break from baking. Sticking your face in a bag of lilacs and inhaling deeply is a pretty fantastic way to calm nerves, and cool your thoughts. Just saying'.

For the Lavender Syrup I decided that in order to extract the most color from the flowers I would use the darkest buds, and grind them into the sugar using a food processor before boiling with water. It did work well, but because the Chlorophyll leached out into the syrup it turned a very dark almost black sort of purple! I ended up adding a bit of red food coloring to take it back to a nicer hue.

These Photos were taken by me during recipe development, but a couple days later Justine came over and we did it all over again with food styling, and a professional eye because... you will be able to find this recipe in my cookbook! That is so exciting, and will never get old. I am convinced.

Let's get this party started!

Well the Kickstarter has ended and I am overwhelmed with emotions. All of the feelings are dancing around in my stomach: excitement, fear, joy, honor, pride, anxiety... all the old friends are here. 

Kickstarter has informed me that my money may take up to 2 weeks to come through, and because I needed to get this ball rolling, and also because I am impatient and chomping at the bit, I went ahead and bought the big guns on credit with the intention of repaying myself... So that money better some through! This means I am currently writing this on my new computer (!!!) and that these photos I am posting were taken with my new camera (!!!!!!!).

Chocolate Strawberry Cake drizzled with Strawberry Syrup and topped with Fresh Flowers

This camera is truly amazing. So much so that someone with very minimal photography experience (i.e. - me) can take photos that look this good! Expect to see my website looking a lot more professional! 

One of my resolutions, now that I have these incredibly efficient pieces of technology at my disposal, is to have a consistent blog presence, so I am stating here and now that I WILL BE POSTING WEEKLY. At the very least. You are all witness to these bold words, so hold me accountable! If you haven't heard from me in over a week than give me a digital slap on the wrist!

Although I have already said some enthusiastic thank you's it's time to hand out some more: To everyone who supported, pledged, and shared my Kickstarter, Thank You! This is all possible because you believed in me, and the importance of good cake. You rock. Never forget that. 

To get things started here are the first photos I took with the cookbook in mind! Justine was unavailable to shoot that day so I did it myself... in other words they probably aren't the caliber of photos we will be using ultimately.

These photos may or may not make it into the book, but I do love them!

I'm going to try sooooo hard not to share all of the photos we take for the cookbook. It will be painful, but necessary, to withhold all the beauty until the end. That being said, I will fold on occasion because my enthusiasm is bound to get the better of me... This is one of those times. But don't get used to it, I'm going to have to learn some self control!

The cake on the left is a Brown Butter Cake with Pistachio Buttercream, and the cake on the right is a Champagne Cake with Strawberry Champagne Buttercream and decorated with "preserved" strawberry slices. Both of these cakes were for a wedding last weekend for which the bride and groom gave me creative freedom, which I love. If you want to get the best work out of me, give me creative freedom and let me rise to the occasion!

So this is the beginning of the next chapter. I am so ready to take wedding season on head first, and chip away at Butter Bourbon & Botany in the meantime. I can't wait to start sharing my illustrations with you, and all of the progress we are making along the way. It's going to be an incredible creative zenith so stay tuned for more adventures in baking, creating, and living the dream!

Boss Ladies Gonna Boss

I have met so many dedicated and talented women in the last few months, it boggles the mind. Painters, photographers, designers, stylists, accountants, coaches, coordinators... the list goes on. I am blown away and truly inspired by all of the women in this small town who have dedicated themselves to the soul satisfying, and terrifying goal of self employment. I can only imagine how many women, outside of this community, are paving the way for their own dreams and ambitions.

I would gamble that we have all isolated ourselves behind some antiquated expectation that we must hide our failures, and to a certain extent our successes, from one another for fear of appearing unprofessional, prideful, or weak. The truth is we are all on this struggle bus together. The masks we wear to appear perfect to the world work both ways, and it is high time someone forced us to take them off and embrace the imperfections behind them.

As solopreneurs, our businesses are deeply personal pursuits that feed something inside us. A piece that requires giant leaps of faith on the regular, and thrives on that terror that propels us forward when all others would breathe a sigh of relief at knowing exactly what their place is. We are lost in this pursuit without one another. It is okay to admit that you need a pat on the back, or better yet a resounding round of applause! We deserve a community to support and lift us up as we strive for greatness, or remind us of our worth when we unnecessarily beat ourselves up over something that is entirely common. And what better community is there than A.) Women and B.) Fellow entrepreneurs who can relate to all of the hardships and accomplishments inherent in carving our own paths.

Enter Lauren Caselli. Her presence in my life is well timed, serendipitous, and all too welcome. As is often the case with strong women I meet, I was simultaneously intimidated by and in love with her energy and drive. My nervous anxiety over making a good first impression was quickly replaced by a massive desire to just know more about this amazing woman and share in this journey with her, and I am so glad that I am. I have been taken on a crazy and satisfying journey through the wilds of female entrepreneurship, and I can now safely say I am not alone.

Lauren has facilitated introductions in this vast array of strong women. Through the advent of the Boss Ladies Club and Boss Ladies Bash, she has made possible the assembly of a community of women who are willing to lift one another up and listen with hearts unburdened by judgement. She has managed to create a safe place for sharing all those "shameful" missteps alongside the well deserved triumphs, and somehow lend necessary structure to a group that desperately needed someone to take the reigns for a short spell. We may be well versed in managing our own trajectories, but letting our guards down and embracing a community that offers support rather than competition is uncharted territory.

I am honored to count myself an original Boss Lady. This most recent Bash is just the beginning of something really beautiful and necessary.  I can see Lauren's achievements unfolding in the months and years ahead and I am so proud to say that I was there at the inception, and that I played even a small part in her wonderful story of self acceptance for all independent women. I raise a glass to you Lauren, and all my fellow Boss Ladies, for checking your fear at the door and walking into the great unknown time and again armed with nothing but passion, commitment, and drive. You inspire me, and I can't wait to lift you up just as you have lifted me!

July 4th Big Sky Wedding

This July 4th, instead of having a crazy BBQ I was delivering a glorious cake spread to Big Sky! As usual, I am really late getting these photos up, but here they are at last....

Starwberry Red Velvet, Chocolate and Vanilla, Champagne, Salted Caramel Chocolate, Citrus Earl Grey.

Two Weddings, One Fine Day

Oh Boy.... Wedding Season just started with a BANG! over here at Whipped. Seriously: Two Weddings in one day. Now for those of you out there thinking "Two? That's not so bad", let me remind you I am a one woman operation (at the moment). I don't usually double book. However the second wedding I took on was primarily cupcakes (and a much smaller guest list) and they wanted me to do a painted mountain scape on their two tiered cake and I have trouble passing up creative challenges. I mean who knows, maybe this new style of painting i did will turn out to be a Whipped signature... So I said yes.

And you know what? No regrets. Sometimes we have no idea what we are capable of until we allow ourselves to wander into uncharted territory. I am so glad I did, because both spreads turned out beautifully, and I feel so proud of what I accomplished. Bring it on Summer of 2014, Show me what you're workin' with!!

Without Further Ado, I give you June 28th: A Story in Two Parts.

Part One:

Rhonda and Buckeye. Okay, with names like that how was I supposed to say no? Technically this was the second wedding I said yes to, but when it came to actual delivery/time of day R&B came in first. When I met with this lovely couple to discuss details (way back in mid winter) they told me that their colors would be lavender and aqua, and they were avid hunters. Rhonda was very excited about an earl grey frosting she has either had, or heard of, so we knew that had to be involved, and Buckeye is a Carrot Cake man (aren't they all;). Ultimately we decided upon a two tiered citrus cake with earl grey buttercream, and the same flavors in cupcake form, alongside carrot cupcakes. Before parting ways I gave them my "your cake topper should say something about who you are, this is the perfect opportunity in all the chaos of your day to have two little figurines that exemplify who you are as a couple" talk. I really believe this.

I am fully on board with a floral cake topper as well, but I say if your going to go to the trouble of putting figures on top of your cake they should say something about you. I mean why not? And I am happy to say that they took my advice and found a stag/doe salt and pepper set that also (this is so cute) had magnets so that the stag was kissing the doe on the kiss. Too cute.

Rhonda had also seen a photograph of a cake with a mountain scene on it, and was curious if I could replicate it. I said yes, but as I remember it, the mountain scene was made of fondant and while fondant is all well and good I just had it in my mind that I could have a Bob Ross moment on this cake. And I did. I Bob Ross'ed all over that cake.

Part Two:

Annie and Matthew. I came across this wedding via Katalin Green over at Avant Floral/Montana Bride, and I am so glad I did. I'll admit I never actually met these two individuals, but Katalin described Annie as one of those rare brides who is excited to let other people take the reigns and surprise her with their creativity. My favorite. I love rising to an occasion! And, if I do say so myself, I nailed it with this one. Here was the information I had:

Colors- Peach and Mint

Vibe/Aesthetic- Sweet and mostly just a celebration of two people really super duper in love with each other. I found real joy listening to Katalin describe their love for one another. She got a little misty eyed, and she just kept saying how sweet and supportive they were. Just mellow and easy going, and ready to spend the rest of their lives together. There wasn't a bridezilla in sight;)

So I have been really wanting to create an epic cake table with cakes of varying shapes and sizes partying together in all their formal wear. This was my moment. The only specification was that they wanted a central two tiered cake with vanilla bean cake and huckleberry frosting... Done. The cast of characters was as follows:

Gluten Free Coconut Key Lime Cake, Gluten Free Almond Cake Cardamom Plum Cake, Chocolate Raspberry Mascarpone Cake (apparently this was the scene stealer), Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, Lavender Strawberry Rhubarb Cake, Earl Grey Peach Cake and of course Vanilla Bean Huckleberry Cake.


The Cake Party

The Cake Party

May I draw your attention to the totally bad ass handmade ceramic cake stands intermingling with those adorable jadeite stands? Those ceramics stands were made by my dear friend Ryan Mitchell over at Gang Busters Pottery. Check em' out. He is stupid talented, and if you are looking to register for wedding gifts, he recently started creating custom sets for this explicit purpose! I am in-freaking-love with my new cake stands!!!!

RAB: Random Acts of Baking

I have been gearing up for Wedding season with a bunch of intimate occasions: low key last minute wedding celebrations, birthdays, fundraisers, and than just a bit of baking for fun! Here are some of the highlights:

Carrot Chamomile Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Fresh Feverfew Flowers

Carrot Chamomile Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Fresh Feverfew Flowers

These Cupcakes were for Crystal Slater's Low Key Wedding Party up at Pine Creek in Paradise Valley. Crystal owns Your Yoga, a really wonderful local Yoga Studio  in Bozeman where you can get centered with some guided body contortion. You know you want to....

Alternating Layers of Chamomile Champagne Cake and Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

Alternating Layers of Chamomile Champagne Cake and Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

This little lovely was made for a 40th Birthday. Happy Birthday Benjamin!!

I made these cupcakes just because. I really wanted to try out a new frosting recipe... and boy did I. It's probably the most dangerous frosting ever created (at least my waistline thinks so).

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cake Batter Buttercream Topped with a Fresh Cherry

What IS THAT you might be asking yourself. Well I'll tell you: its a cake I donated to the Audubon Society dessert auction. Champagne cake with Rosemary Cake Batter Buttercream Wrapped in Candied Rhubarb Ribbons. This technique (of candying rhubarb) was VERY time consuming, but I'm so glad I did it, because the results are one of a kind. And I think I have gotten all the trouble shooting out of the way so replicating the process in the future should be a lot easier. Maybe I'll even do an instructional blog post about it so you can try your hand at it:)

Well that's it for now. Very soon there will be a flood of wedding posts so really, this was the calm before the storm, but I'll admit: I'm feeling pretty good about the storm!


Painting Cakes

So, I’ve noticed that cakes are getting the artist’s treatment these days and I couldn’t be happier. All over Pinterest (which I am addicted to in case you didn’t know), I am seeing these fabulous painted cakes, and I’ll admit: I’m pretty jealous I didn’t think of it first. But no matter. I’m gonna make it my own.

Wedding season is about to kick off here in Bozeman. For me the festivities begin June 28th with not one, but TWO weddings, and wouldn’t you know it: I’m painting cakes for both events. So as luck would have it, Katalin Green over at Montana Bride, approached me about making a birthday cake for her lovely daughter Hannah on her 17th Birthday.

Katalin has been a driving force in my life lately, providing inspiration, friendship, and a variety of commissions. The installations she creates (as we have taken to calling weddings because, lets face it, they are a work of art when done right) are beautifully crafted with an eye for detail. Much like myself she is one of those wonderful (and perhaps tortured) individuals who expects a great deal from themselves and surrounding myself with people who strive for excellence suits me as I feel compelled to rise to the occasion.

And than the icing on the cake:
Me - “What would you like me to make?”
Katalin - “Surprise Me!”

And so I shall.

I knew I wanted to do a little bit of painting and, as usual, my love of lemon curd knows no bounds particularly during these summer months.

 Add to that my growing appreciation for champagne cake....

 And... (Ah Ha!) a bottle of orange blossom water I have stashed away for a rainy day.

Hannah Green’s 17th Birthday Cake:

Champagne Cake with Lemon Curd Filling, and Orange Blossom Buttercream.

Wedding season here I come!

Spruce & Honey

If you live in the Bozeman area, are a woman, and HAVEN'T paid a visit to Spruce & Honey you are missing out. In my humble opinion this place is perfect. From the calming environment,  heavenly smells, and elegant products that grace the shelves, to the always effervescent Keely Degenhart who owns and operates this amazing waxing parlor/apothecary/boutique. When I go to Spruce and Honey I feel like I'm taking a daycation away from all the ugliness of everyday life. 

But, I've waxed (ha!) poetic about the amazingness of S&H for long enough: down to business! I was so excited when Keely asked me to design a simple dessert spread for the one year anniversary party she was throwing to celebrate her fantastic achievement (my words, not hers- I'm sure she's far too humble to admit what a badass she is!).

And the cherry on top was that she said I could make anything I want! Seriously, these are my favorite words to hear. I sometimes dream of starting a wedding planning cooperative where a couple would come in and go through an intensive interview process: answering questions that would give us an idea of their personalities, likes, and dislikes in order to come up with a conceptual wedding that truly spoke to their individuality. They would just let us take care of the details and surprise them with the party of their dreams! This is how much I love creative freedom. But mostly what I love about creative freedom, particularly in relation to a special event like a wedding or an anniversary, is the trust it takes to put important decisions in someone else's hands. I am the type of person who flourishes in situations like this. Katalin Green said similar words to me during the planning stage for her magazine release party and look how well that turned out! Hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful trend...

Anyhow I figured since the Chamomile Cream Puffs have established themselves as  Whipped's signature confection I ought to include them in the festivities, and so they became (once again) a starting point for the idea train. From there I knew I wanted to keep the desserts rustic yet elegant. I was inspired by Keely's singular aesthetic, which if you haven't been to S&H is equal parts Scandinavian sophistication, silk flannel, gilded whimsy, and Montana ease, all of which led me to Salty Caramel Thumbprints, Lavender Madeleines, GF Espresso Chocolate Ganache Cookie Sammy's, Italian Lemon Thyme Glazed Shortbreads, and GF Candied Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies. Comfort food with an edge.

When I arrived to set up she had transformed the already exquisite space into something truly deserving of celebration. Avant Floral provided a beautiful spray of cherry blossoms; there was a unique array of alcohol that included elderflower liqueur, champagne, ginger liqueur, local brews, and the most adorable beer coozies with the S&H logo on them (my boyfriend was especially excited about these!).

Keely hired a wonderful tarot card reader named Kathleen Johns to perform mini readings on all the guests (Kathleen's phone number is 406-585-7267 and she is FOR REAL. I can't say enough good things about my short time with her!), and a wonderful massage therapist named Rino Kabe (pronounced Reeno Kahbay) who performed relaxing chair massages (call 406-451-9009 for a massage). And than to top it all off there was a free temporary tattoo parlor where I relieved the most awesome hammer and pliers chest tattoo.

The turn out was fantastic and the ambiance was easygoing and fun loving, managing to straddle that fine party line where everyone is a little sauced up and celebratory, but not belligerent or messy. Plus I met so many cool people it was crazy. It was like a who's who of Bozeman ladies, with a few rad dudes sprinkled in for good measure. 

Thank you Keely for include me in festivities! It was truly a night to remember!



P.S. visit the Spruce & Honey Website for more information on this one of a kind local business

A Celebration of Weddings

I was recently introduced to the lovely Katalin Green over at Montana Bride/Avant Floral, who's approach to wedding planning is truly innovative and speaks to me on a very artistic level. I was honored when she asked if I could assemble a dessert table for her upcoming event celebrating the release of the 2014 issue of Montana Bride, and immediately got to work scouring the internet (ohkay, really just my obsessive Pinterest page) for ideas and inspiration.

What I decided upon was what is quickly becoming my signature Chamomile Cream Puff (I swear by Chamomile. It's so subtle and addictive and manages to make everything else taste so much better), Mini Coconut Cupcakes, Vanilla Cake Truffles, Meringues, Rosemary Citrus Shortbread Sandwiches, and a couple kinds of Petit Fours. These choices where based largely on the theme for the event: White. Guests where encouraged to wear white (even their weddings dresses!) and the whole party had a very modern minimalist aesthetic going on, so I thought an all white dessert table was an appropriate compliment.

When it came to deciding the Petit Four flavors I returned to my love of tea. Early Gray with Blood Orange, and Green Matcha with Almond. I am such an enormous fan of tea in pastries. I mean historically the two go hand in hand, just ask the French or the English... and people are always pleasantly surprised by how well they compliment flavors we are familiar with (like almond and orange).

But the real stroke of genius came when I was wracking my brain trying to come up with a flavor to infuse the meringues with. I knew I wanted something herbal or floral, and I considered lavender but remembered I had a near full bottle of Rose extract from a previous wedding cake I had done. Eureka! But wait, the epiphanies keep coming, because once it was time to start piping those delicious little clouds, I couldn't decide upon a shape... and than I thought "rosettes." Duh. Sometimes the most brilliant moments of pastry clarity come from linking two very simple things together. Rose Meringue Rosettes. It was so obvious, and yet I'd never seen it before.

In short, the event was a blast, the pastries were delicious and well received and I was lucky to have been introduced to so many fantastic people who are also working within the crazy world of weddings. Here is a toast to many more events just like this one!

Please check out the Montana Bride website for a constant source of inspiration!

vanilla cake truffles

vanilla cake truffles

chamomile cream puffs

chamomile cream puffs

matcha almond petit fours

matcha almond petit fours

coconut cupcakes, rosemary citrus shortbread cookies

coconut cupcakes, rosemary citrus shortbread cookies

rose meringue rosettes

rose meringue rosettes

earl gray and blood orange petit fours

earl gray and blood orange petit fours

Its lemon time!

I'm pretty sure it's no coincidence that during the bleakest time of the year (urgh, January and February... I'm talking to you) citrus fruit get CRAZY GOOD. Pomelos, and Meyer Lemons just showed up in our local Co-Op, and I literally gasped when I saw them. I have to be honest though; I smelled them first. So sweet, so sour, and fresh. I couldn't wait to get to the kitchen and whip up something bright and sunny in the middle of this terribly cold time of year (seriously- its supposed to drop down to -20 degrees tonight.)

So here's the thing: I try not to make a habit of making sweets without a "reason." My waistline doesn't appreciate it, and after about the sixth or seventh brownie, or cupcake, or whatever the "offending" pastry may be, my boyfriend is like "Who can we give these to? We have to get them out of this house." Luckily, I had the perfect reason!

My very best friend, Charissa, gave birth to the most beautiful, happy, easy going little baby boy just about one year ago, and wouldn't you know it, he had a first birthday coming up! Aaaaah yeeeeaaahh. And just because the pastry stars were aligned, I remembered that Charissa was hoping someone (i.e.- me) would volunteer to bring a gluten free sweet treat to satisfy those who could not eat the banana cake she made. I basically came in like a ray of sunshine and laid down some sweet lemon bliss.

Also, the party was fantastic and ripe with bubbles, pizza, and dinosaurs aplenty.

Meyer Lemon Gluten Free Mini Cupcakes

Meyer Lemon Gluten Free Mini Cupcakes

Charissa and Felix

Charissa and Felix