tutorial

A Half Birthday Cake Tutorial & 6 Months with Her Daily Bread!

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the woodandspoon.com

There’s been no shortage of celebration around here. With the school year ending, Mother’s Day, my anniversary, and a few family birthdays, we have been partying non-stop. Honestly, it’s been wonderful and exhausting. I’m simultaneously excited for a lull in our calendar and chomping at the bit to begin planning Charlie’s 3rd birthday. That’s kinda just how things work in our house, and I’m positive I’m not alone in that boat. There are certain types of people who live to honor the everyday (and not-so-everyday!) occasions. If that’s you, you’re going to love today’s post. I’m sharing a terrific half birthday cake tutorial and recipe in honor of this week’s celebration, the half birthday of my first book, Her Daily Bread. Cheers!

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the woodandspoon.com

Say it with me: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, my baby book is already 6 months old. Writing, editing, and releasing the book was such a labor of love that the aftermath has had a few baby blues attached to it. What should I be doing to help the book along? What in the world do I do next? Like any beginner in most things, I’m just kinda feeling this whole thing out, and that means occasional uncertainty and a few wobbly steps. The truth is, I probably haven’t done this all perfectly, so I’m currently focused on two things: first, learning from this experience in hopes that next time (PLEASE LET THERE BE A NEXT TIME!!) I’ll do it even better, and second, celebrating where I am in the process. So that’s us today: celebrating the process.

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the woodandspoon.com

Half Birthday Cake

Today marks a half of a year with my book, and we’re celebrating with a half birthday cake. For a long time now, I have loved the idea of a half birthday, and, truthfully, this recipe has been a long time coming. Whether you’re celebrating 6 months with your newborn or honoring the 182nd day of the year, this happy little cake is the perfect way to do it. With just a single round vanilla cake and a bowl full of frosting, you can honor whatever (or whoever!) you have in process.

How to Make It

To make this cake at home, we start with one ultra-thick round cake. I used a homemade vanilla cake that came out sturdy and tender. Once cool, cut the cake in half to make two half moon-shaped pieces. Next, homemade American buttercream seals the two layers together before we begin to frost the tops and sides. Here’s where things get interesting.

You’ll want at least two different frosting colors here: one color to be the revealed faux cake layers, and another to be the frosting. I ended up with three different colors, because I wanted the edges piped and decorated in a different shade. Set aside a heaping cup of frosting for smearing on the flat edges of your cake and another 2 cups to serve as the frosting. You can use the remaining frosting to pipe and decorate in whatever color you prefer.

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the woodandspoon.com

What You’ll Need to Make a Half Birthday Cake

I find an offset spatula helps to get the edges clean when frosting corners, but I’ll go ahead and warn you that frosting this shape of cake is not for the faint of heart. I spent a good bit of time to achieve the tidy edges and even frosting. Just be patient in the process. Once you have the flat edge frosted as the inside of you faux cake and the remainder of the sides frosted as well, use a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip to pipe a little wavy line for the center of the cake. I used a 1M tip to pipe the decorated edge around the perimeter of the cake in yellow, but you can decorate as you desire. This half birthday cake looks festive with or without the extra touches.

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the woodandspoon.com

There’s no time like the present to celebrate wherever you find yourself, and if you find yourself somewhere in the middle, I hope you’ll consider making this half birthday cake. If you haven’t already, take a peek at my book or pick up a copy at Amazon or most major book retailers. Happy Saturday to you and happy baking!

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the woodandspoon.com

If you like this tutorial, you should check out:

Sugar Cookie Pops
Homemade Sprinkles
Mini Layer Cakes
Donut Croquembouche
Alphabet Cream Pie

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A Half Birthday Cake Tutorial

This recipe and tutorial for a half birthday cake is a fun and playful way to celebrate everyday occasions!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 180
  • Yield: 6 Servings
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 13/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces milk

For the frosting:

  • 11/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 33/4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed

Instructions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 7 or 8” round pan and cut a sheet of parchment paper to sit inside the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, stirring briefly after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and scrape the sides of the bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir half of those combined dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter, just until combined. Add the milk, stirring briefly, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated bits until the mixture is uniform. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes for 7” pans and 38-42 minutes for 8” pan. Allow to cool completely. 
  3. To prepare the frosting, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in about half of the powdered sugar and the salt, adding the remaining dry ingredients once combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in the milk. Increase the speed on the mixer to medium and beat until fluffy and combined, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Set aside 1 cup of frosting to remain white. This will cover the flat edge of the side of your cake, serving as the exposed faux cake layers. You can color the remaining icing however you’d like. I colored a remaining 2/3 in pink and a final 1/3 yellow to be piped as decoration. 
  5. To prepare the cake, cut the cake in half to make two half moon shapes. Spread a dollop of your frosting-colored frosting to a cake board or serving platter and place the first cake pieces on top. Spread a thick layer of that same frosting on the first piece of cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Top it with a second piece of cake and continue frosting the top and rounded edges, being sure to keep the color frosting away from the flat edge. Next, use a clean offset spatula to cover the flat side with the white frosting. Clean up the edges as desired and then use a piping bag fitted with a small round (I used #3) tip to pipe a squiggly line on the flat edge. I used a 1M piping tip to pipe around the perimeter of the cake. Continue decorating the cake as desired, and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

Doughnut Croquembouche

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Listen, I’ve searched through and through my family tree to hunt out any trace of French in my lineage. It’s nowhere to be found. Apparently my undying fascination of French culture is built on a foundation of croissant consumption, not some innate inner tug towards the homeland. Regardless, I will forever be starry-eyed over the language, the scenery, and those precise methods of cooking. There’s something about that place that is almost fairytale-like, you know?

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

So even though there’s not a hint of Parisian in my blood, today we’re whipping out treats for Bastille Day. Why? Well, I think there’s some of you out there who are a little like me- willing and ready to celebrate just about anything if there’s fun and food and a party to be had. So let’s do this. Let’s celebrate the French Revolution, okay?

Croquembouche

Croquembouche is a classic French dessert that towers cone-shaped stacks of profiteroles spun with candied caramel. I’m not typically one to shy away from making intricate, time-requiring desserts, but the thought of making over a hundred homemade cream puffs while risking third-degree burns to spin magma-hot candy around said tower was all out-terrifying to me. No thank you. Instead, I decided we’d take the easy (and delicious) way out by making a doughnut croquembouche. Spoiler alert: I even skipped the effort of homemade doughnuts and bought these! That means less time baking, more time spent eating doughnuts- a wise decision, if you ask me.

So here’s your tutorial: a DIY doughnut croquembouche for you to make for Bastille Day, a wedding, a birthday party or whatever else is deemed worthy of loads of doughnut holes (which is really anything my opinion.) Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

One New 5″x18″ Styrofoam Cone (I bought mine here)

12 Dozen Doughnut Holes (I ordered mine a day in advance from our local donut shop for less than $20)

1 Bag of Mini Powdered Sugar Doughnuts

About 300-400 Toothpicks

Additional Powdered Sugar and A Sifter, If Desired

Directions:

Begin by inserting toothpicks about halfway into the base of the styrofoam cone. The toothpicks should be in sets of two about an inch apart. You can go ahead and stick in a few doughnut holes to make sure that you’re spacing out your toothpicks well. I chose to place toothpicks into the bottom quarter section of the cone before putting the doughnuts on, but you can do this however you’d like. Make sure your doughnuts are snug together on the cone so that the styrofoam cone isn’t visible beneath. Continue filling in the cone from bottom to top until you get to the very end of the cone. Arrange doughnuts on the peak of the cone and feel free to use toothpicks to stick a couple more doughnuts on top of the tippy top doughnuts as well.

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Next, fill in the cone with some of the powdered sugar doughnuts. I chose to do this step last so that I could space the powdered sugar doughnuts out well. Alternatively, you could use some powdered sugar doughnuts as well. Simply remove a doughnut hole and barely squish the doughnuts around it to make room for the slightly larger powdered sugar mini doughnut. Place the mini doughnut on the toothpicks and continue arranging a few more around the cone as desired. I chose to place one on top as well, but this is your choice.

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

Finally, if desired, use a fine sifter to sift on a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Be sure to do this step just before serving.

What Else You Need to Know:

  • Each doughnut requires about two toothpicks to ensure that it stays on the cone well.
  • Be gentle with the top of the cone! I broke mine while trying to pull out a toothpick. You can glue this back on, but it’s an added step that isn’t necessary.
  • If you use a larger or smaller cone, the amount of doughnuts and toothpicks you’ll require will differ.
  • Fresh doughnuts taste best, so do try to assemble this the day you’re planning to serve it.

And That’s All It Takes to Make a Doughnut Croquembouche!

Truly, this has got to be one of the cutest shortcut DIYs I’ve ever made. I hope you’ll give it a try for your upcoming parties. In the meantime, vive la France! Vive la dougnuts! Vive la croquembouche!

Doughnut Croquembouche Tutorial by Wood and Spoon Blog. Learn how to make the classic French celebration dessert for your upcoming parties and wedding! Just in time for Bastille day, this DIY will show you how to shortcut your way to a donut tower using store-bought treats, a styrofoam cone, and lots fo toothpicks. This is a fancy impressive dessert for parties, brunches, and everything in between. Find out the how-to on thewoodandspoon.com by Kate Wood

If You Liked This Tutorial for Doughnut Croquembouche, You Should Check Out:

Alphabet Cream Pie

Marbled Sugar Cookies

Gold Splattered Sugar Cookies

Ganache Tutorial and Homemade Truffles

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Make Ganache (and Homemade Chocolate Truffles!)

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

There are a few recipes that every home baker needs to know like the back of their hand. Ganache, with only two ingredients and two steps to create it, is one of a few baking fundamentals that can elevate homemade dishes to sweet, chocolatey bliss. Despite its simplicity, ganache often scares bakers away from attempting to make it themselves at home. Today, in an effort to conquer this Everest, we are going to cover the basics on ganache so that you can create decadent, chocolate dishes with ease from here on out. We’re also going to learn how to make 4 different types of homemade chocolate truffles from a single ganache base, so if you’re interested in making some treats for your valentine (or yourself, no judgement here!), this is a post you’ll want to listen in on. Let’s get started!

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

What Is It?

Ganache is the mixture of warmed cream and chocolate. It can be used to glaze, fill, coat, or whip into baked goods and desserts. Ganache can take on a variety of forms depending on the cream to chocolate ratio; the concentration and preparation of these two ingredients will alter the final product.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
The three different types of ganache, photographed just after being mixed together.

How Do You Make It?

All ganaches begin by heating heavy whipping cream until hot but not boiling. The warm cream is poured over finely chopped chocolate and allowed to rest for a few minutes. Once the chocolate has melted enough to be stirred into the cream. When combined, the chocolate and cream transform into a smooth and rich liquid that we know as ganache.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

What Are the Different Types of Ganache?

The proportion of cream to chocolate will determine how viscous your final product will be. A higher cream:chocolate weight ratio will land you a more thin chocolate glaze. Likewise, a ganache with more chocolate than cream will result in a thick, fudgy texture. Here are three basic cream:chocolate ratios that you need to know.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

1:1 – One part cream to one part chocolate

Using the same weight of cream and chocolate will result in a thick fudge sauce consistency. When warm, this ganache can be poured thickly over cakes, breads, and ice cream. When chilled, the ganache can be used to fill cakes, pastries, and tarts. If whipped, this ganache ratio will transform into a hardening frosting that is perfect for cakes to be covered in fondant. You might remember this ganache from marble loaf pound cake .

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
1:1 Ganache after cooling for a bit.

1:2 – One part cream to two parts chocolate

Ganache will become thick and viscous as you increase the amount of chocolate to cream. The more chocolate, the thicker it will be. We will use this ratio later today to prepare homemade truffles, but you might remember a similarly rich ganache from the mint chocolate sandwich cookies.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
2:1 ganache after cooling a bit.

2:1 – Two parts cream to one part chocolate

When warm, this ganache will be a thin, pourable glaze that can be used to coat baked goods, but when allowed to cool, this ganache ratio will whip into a light and fluffy frosting that will stay soft upon setting.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com
1:2 ganache before and after whipping.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Ganache?

There’s a few other things that will affect your final ganache. First: time and temperature. A warm, freshly made ganache will be a bit more loose than one that has been resting at room temperature or chilled overnight in the fridge. Given enough time and cool temperatures, all ganaches will firm up somewhat from their warm state. For example, if you’ve prepared a thick ganache with more chocolate than cream, you’ll find the ganache is pourable and saucy while warm, but will harden up to a firm, malleable consistency after some time in the fridge. Cold ganache will always be more firm than a warm one, so if you find that your final outcome is not as thick as you anticipated, it may be that you just need to let it rest a bit more.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

The type of chocolate that you choose to use will also affect your final ganache. While most recipes call for bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, ganache can be made with white or milk chocolate as well. The type of chocolate you choose will affect the flavor and texture of your ganache, so be sure to use chocolate that you would normally enjoy eating on its own.

Finally, ganache can be flavored with a few simple add-ins. Extracts, liquors, and even nut butters can be whisked into a warm ganache to to add flavor the the chocolate base. I’ll share a few simple variations below, but be sure to tell me if you have any favorites that I need to try!

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Let’s be honest. There’s nothing sweeter than romance via chocolate on Valentine’s Day and no better way to share that love than by making homemade chocolate truffles. Now that you’ve mastered ganache, you can easily prepare 4 different homemade chocolate truffles to show love to your boo thang. Of course there’s a million other options, but here are a few rich candies to get started with:

Simple Chocolate Truffles

The gold standard for chocolate candies, these babies are the most basic form of truffle, prepared by scooping firm rounds of chilled ganache and rolling it in cocoa powder. These are perfect for the more-is-more kind of chocolate lover in your life.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Here, peanut butter is stirred into the warm ganache before it’s chilled to a thick consistency. Once firm, simply scoop small mounds of chocolate to roll and refrigerate until cold. The chilled balls are then dipped in a coating of melted chocolate and sprinkled with chopped peanuts.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt

Simple, rich, and decadent are these truffles, made by preparing a dark chocolate ganache with the addition of sea salt. Once chilled, balls of ganache are dipped in dark chocolate, and a sprinkle of sea salt gives these little guys a sophisticated look with that sweet and salty taste.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles

Similar to the peanut butter truffles, these hazelnut truffles are made by stirring chocolate hazelnut spread into the warm ganache. I like to roll the chilled truffles in chopped hazelnuts, but certainly you could dip these in chocolate as well.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

A Few Other Chocolate Truffle Filling Variations:

Boozy Truffles: Add 1 tablespoon of rum, bourbon, coffee or orange liqueur into the warm chocolate ganache recipe.

Vanilla Truffles: Add 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to the warm chocolate ganache. Roll the finished balls in powdered sugar.

Coconut Truffles: Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract to the warm chocolate ganache and roll the finished balls in toasted sweetened coconut.

Peppermint Truffles: Add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract to the warm chocolate ganache and roll the finished balls in crushed candy canes.

You Need to Know How to Make Ganache and Homemade Chocolate Truffles by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This simple tutorial will teach you the ins and out of preparing ganache from bittersweet , milk, semisweet, dark, or white chocolate. From there, learn to make a few different types of truffles including coconut, orange, coffee, peppermint, hazelnut, Nutella, peanut butter, and sea salt. This recipe and how to will teach you how to make pourable glaze, whipped, thick and fudgy filling ganache, and more. Find the recipe and learn how to make homemade candy for Valentine's Day on thewoodandspoon.com

Ok, I’m Obsessed with Ganache. How Do I Get Started?!

Ganache and homemade truffles are one of the easiest recipes you’ll make all year. Once you know how to make a base ganache you can make a ton of different treats like peanut butter chocolate cheesecake, mint brownie ice cream cake, and pretzel millionaire bars. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’ll be glad to have this technique in your pocket, and you honey booboo will be even more thrilled. Give these homemade chocolate truffles a try and let me know what you think! #MonthofChocolate will continue next week, so stay tuned for more milky cocoa goodness!

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Chocolate Ganache

Making homemade ganache is simple and only requires two ingredients. Use some basic ratios to learn how to make the perfect ganache your recipe needs!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
  • Heavy Whipping Cream

Instructions

  1. Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside while you prepare the cream.Warm the cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat until cream is hot and beginning to steam. Do not boil.
  2. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Allow it to rest about 5 minutes, and then use a spoon or spatula to stir the chocolate and cream together. If the chocolate is not completely melted you can microwave the chocolate and cream together in 15 second increments, stirring until the two have combined. 
  3. Allow the ganache to cool to your desired consistency. You can expedite this process by placing the bowl in the refrigerator. Stir it regularly to keep it uniform in consistency.

Notes

For a thick glaze/ cake or pie filling:

  • Use a 1:1 chocolate to cream ratio.
  • Weigh equal amounts of cream and chocolate. For example, you may use 2 ounces of heavy whipping cream and 2 ounces of chocolate to make 4 ounces of ganache.
  • If you plan to frost a cake with this ganache, allow it to cool and then whip with a paddle attachment until fluffy in the bowl of a stand mixer. 

For truffle thick ganache:

  • Use a 1:2 cream to chocolate ratio.
  • Weigh out double the amount of chocolate to cream. For example, you might combine 2 ounces of cream and 4 ounces of chocolate to make 6 ounces of truffle thick ganache. 
  • If you plan to use this ganache to make truffles, chill the ganache until it is firm enough to scoop.

For a thin glaze/ whipped ganache:

  • Use a 2:1 cream to chocolate ratio.
  • Weigh out double the amount of cream than chocolate. For example, you might combine 4 ounces of cream and 2 ounces of chocolate to prepare 6 ounces of thin ganache. 
  • For whipped ganache, allow the cream to set out or chill in the fridge until slightly thickened and viscous. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to beat until light and fluffy. Be sure to not overbeat- you may make butter!

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Homemade Truffles

If you know how to make ganache, these homemade truffles are a cinch! Four variations will make for a beautiful homemade dessert!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 18

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces (115 gm) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces (60 gm) heavy whipping cream
  • Cocoa powder (for classic truffles)
  • 1/4 cup (60 gm) creamy peanut butter (for peanut butter truffles)
  • 6 tablespoons (90 gm) chocolate hazelnut spread (for hazelnut truffles)
  • Sea Salt (for dark chocolate truffles)
  • 1 cup (180 gm) chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate for dipping, optional
  • Toasted peanuts or hazelnuts, finely chopped, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a small mixing bowl
  2. Heat the heavy whipping cream until hot. Pour over the chocolate, stir to combine, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to rest 5 minutes and then stir to combine until smooth. Microwave in 15 second increments if the chocolate is not thoroughly melted. If you plan to make classic truffles, refrigerate this mixture until firmed but still malleable. Scoop out 2 teaspoon sized balls and roll them in cocoa powder. Refrigerate to firm and then serve at room temperature. 

For peanut butter truffles:

  1. Stir the peanut butter into the warm ganache and place in the fridge to chill. Once the ganache is set but still scoopable, spoon 2 teaspoon sized balls (I use a small cookie scoop) of ganache and roll gently in your hands. Place the balls back in the fridge to cool. In the meantime, melt the additional chocolate in a double boiler set over medium-low heat. Roll each chilled ball in the melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment or wax paper to set. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and cool completely in the fridge.

For hazelnut truffles:

  1. Stir the chocolate hazelnut spread into the warm ganache and place in the fridge to chill. Once the ganache is set but still scoopable, spoon 2 teaspoon sized balls (I use a small cookie scoop) of ganache and roll gently in your hands. Roll each ball in the finely chopped hazelnuts and place in the fridge to set. 

For sea salt truffles: 

  1. Sprinkle in a small pinch of salt and stir to combine. Place in the fridge to chill. Once the ganache is set but still scoopable, spoon 2 teaspoon sized balls (I use a small cookie scoop) of ganache and roll gently in your hands. In the meantime, melt the additional chocolate in a double boiler set over medium-low heat. Roll each chilled ball in the melted chocolate and place on a piece of parchment or wax paper to set. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to firm up at room temperature or in the fridge. 

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Marbled Sugar Cookies

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

This past week was  good for my soul. Going back home to Florida is beautiful in and of itself, but the glorious addition of Christmas spirit and celebration made my time there extra cozy. Something about being back in my parent’s house is comforting, and the familiarity of those rooms and the faces I see in them fills me with loads of nostalgia. It feels good to be welcomed back and to know that I am known there.

We spent the week wrangling the babies and carting them to see old friends. My mom and I made the trek with Aimee to Disney World (because if you go to Florida without visiting Mickey, did you really go to Florida?), and oh man, does my girl love her some theme parks. Although she’s already been to Disney a number of times, the Magic Kingdom never fails to bring the magic. I love to watch her take it all in like that.

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Let’s Pour One Out for Traditions

Christmas was not without the usual annual traditions. Mimi made her famous sugar cookies , and I pretty much destroyed my weight in butter and flour. On Christmas morning, we took our time opening gifts, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the package’s contents, and even though it takes my family FOREVER to open gifts, I love that everyone takes time to appreciate the items they received and the people who gave them. That much gratitude feels good. I think I need to practice it more often.Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

The moral of the story is that I never get too old for home. A few moments at home make me feel like a kid again- a little less hung up on the stuff that the adult me usually has to worry about. Ending the year happy, hopeful, and refreshed for the coming year is a good way to be. I’m grateful my parents afforded me that chance. And speaking of ending the year on a good note…

Let’s talk about these marbled sugar cookies.

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Marbled Sugar Cookies

Do you have plans for New Year’s Eve yet? If not, I would argue that now is that time to make some. These marbled sugar cookies are every bit as festive and sassy as any respectful NYE bash deserves, so if you’ve been waiting for the perfect party theme to come to you, consider it done. These marbled sugar cookies are the perfect treat to ring in the new year.

If you already have a favorite cutout sugar cookie recipe, you can use that here! The magic is in the glaze which, with a little help, gets swirled into a monochromatic pool of sugar that will make your average sugar cookie look anything but. Making marbled sugar cookies is simple and requires very little time and ingredients, so you’ve got more time for popping bottles and prepping for your midnight kiss.

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.comMaking the Glaze

To make the glaze, we combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk in a large bowl, whisking until a thick glaze forms. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of the glaze. The mixture should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer, a process that should take about 6-8 seconds. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.

Next, separate the icing into three different bowls. For a traditional monochromatic marble, use gel food coloring to color one bowl of icing black, one bowl a light grey, and one bowl white. If you know you’d prefer cookies that are primarily one color (I prefer a predominantly white cookie) make sure you keep the majority of your glaze that color. Pour a good bit of white glaze into a separate shallow bowl and drizzle with just a smidge of your two other colors, like in the photo below. You can use a toothpick or knife to swirl it a little, but keep in mind that as you dip your cookies into the glaze the mixture will stir a bit on its own.

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Dipping the Cookies

When you’re ready to begin icing your cookies, dip the tops of your baked and cooled sugar cookies straight into the glaze. I try to only cover the tops of the cookies. Pull each cookie straight out and flip it over carefully to see how your glaze looks. If it’s not as marbled as you would prefer, you can tilt the cookies side to side to get a little extra swirl action. Otherwise, place the finished cookie on a cooling rack or sheet of waxed paper to dry!

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

You’ll repeat this process with the remaining cookies. If you start to run out of icing in your dip bowl or if it gets a bit too swirled, just add more of your reserved glaze to the pot and resume the cookie making! I like to make a diverse bunch by changing the concentration of each icing glaze color. I find I prefer a cookie with lots of white and deep streaks of black.

Marbled Sugar Cookies DIY Tutorial from The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to for sugar cookies frosted with black and white grey to look like stone marble! Simply dip the cookies in the powdered sugar glaze and watch the swirls decorate each dessert. These cookies are simple and a perfect treat for the holidays, particularly New YEar's eve parties! Check out this party recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

These marbled sugar cookies are mega festive and perfect for any casual or black tie New Year’s Eve affair. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Happy baking, happy new year, and happy everything else to you and yours. I’m looking forward to baking with you in the coming year.

If you like these marbled sugar cookies, be sure to check out:

Painted Sugar Cookies

Gold-Splatted Lavender Vanilla Bean Cookies

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

Raspberry Lemon Linzer Cookies

Funfetti Cookies

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Marbled Sugar Cookies

These marbled sugar cookies are decorated to look like stone and make a festive addition to parties!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 60
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 36

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 teaspoon princess cake and cookie emulsion (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)

For the glaze:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract, or bakery emulsion
  • Gel food coloring in desired colors (I used black)

Instructions

To prepare the cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

To prepare the icing:

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.

To glaze the cookies:

  1. Divide the glaze into three bowls. Add gel food coloring to one of the bowls a single drop at a time. It is important to not add too much as it is easier to darken the glaze than it is to lighten it. I keep one bowl of glaze white and dye the other two bowls grey and black.
  2. Pour a small bit of white glaze into the bottom of a bowl just big enough for your cookies. Drizzle a small bit of grey, black, or both glazes and barely swirl with a toothpick or knife. Carefully dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and allow any excess to drip off. You can further “marble” the cookies by tilting them side to side. Place the cookies on a cooling rack or wax paper and allow to set completely. It will take about 4-6 hours for the glaze to set up completely. Be sure that they are completely dry before storing in a tupperware or cookie box!

Notes

Read the blog post for more tips on icing these cookies!

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Cookie recipe adapted from Bridget

YOU NEED TO KNOW: How to Brown Butter

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

Brown butter. A sexy ingredient, if you ask me.

If you’ve been around the block a time or two, you’ve probably already become acquainted with brown butter. You know it by its nutty aroma and speckled amber hue. You’ve already been allured by the rich caramel flavors, seduced by the complexity it adds to sweet and savory dishes alike. But for the average home baker, brown butter is a mystery. What is it? Where can I find it? How do I make it?

If you fall into that second category, allow me to make the introduction. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the magical world of brown butter.

WHAT IS BROWN BUTTER?

Brown butter, or beurre noisette, is basically regular old butter that is gently melted and cooked until it browns which results in a change of flavor, aroma, and color. Butter is made up of water, fat, and protein. When it is cooked beyond the point of melting, the water will slowly evaporate leaving the butterfat and milk protein to continue cooking. As the proteins cook, they will begin to brown, which will be evident in the changes that you’ll notice in your pan.

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

HOW DO YOU MAKE BROWN BUTTER?

A fine question, dear friend. I’m glad you asked. To make brown butter, all you need is a quality stick of butter, a metal pan for your stovetop (I use this one), and a whisk or a spatula to gently stir with. I prefer to use a a light bottomed pan and a whisk, so whip those out if you have them. To help explain the browning process, I’ve taken some photos and notes. Let’s get started!

Step One: Melt the butter

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

Place your butter in a pan over medium-low heat. I like to cube my butter into equal sized chunks, and I prefer a light-colored pan so that I can monitor the browning process easily. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. Allow the butter to melt, stirring occasionally, until the butter is entirely liquid. As the butter continues to heat, it will begin to sizzle and foam, which is a good indication that the water has begun to evaporate.

Step Two: Begin browning the butter

Once the water has completely evaporated, the protein in the butter can begin browning! This is when you need to stay glued to your pan. Once you notice that the butter isn’t sizzling as much, begin whisking it regularly to ensure that the proteins brown evenly. We don’t want to burn the butter on the bottom of the pan while the liquid skimming the top remains unaffected. So keep whisking and watching. You’ll notice little golden flecks beginning to form on the bottom of the pan which is a thumbs up that you’re getting super close.

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

Step Three: Brown that butter!

The butter will continue to darken and brown as it cooks. Man your post at the stove and keep that whisk moving to ensure that the milk proteins cook evenly and you don’t wind up with burnt bits of butter. You’ll notice the changing aromas as the butter continues to brown. Trust me when I tell you that it tastes as good as it smells. Keep stirring and agitating the butter until you reach your desired degree of darkness. Then, remove the pan from the stovetop and pour the butter, browned bits and all, into a separate bowl. Don’t leave it in the pan or the residual heat will continue to cook and brown your butter, likely resulting in a burnt finish.

The trickiest part of this process is knowing when to pull you pan from the heat. There are a few different degrees of brown butter. Some recipes may call for a lighter, less-browned butter, while others may encourage you to continuing cooking, even to the point of nearly burning it. So to help identify what you’re looking for, I’ve got you covered with a photo lineup of the different varieties of brown butter.

The Three Degrees of Browned Butter

First up is a super-light, golden butter. At this phase of the game, you’ll notice deep golden flecks forming at the bottom of the pan, but the overall hue is still pretty light. This degree of brown butter isn’t as rich in flavor, but may be just the ticket for a number of dishes. If a recipe you’re using calls for “lightly browned butter,” this is exactly what you’re looking for.

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

Next up is the OG of brown butter- the gold standard. When in doubt, go for this degree of browning. Here, the color is darker, and the flavor is richer. This butter will give off a strong nutty, almost caramel scent and those same flavors will be present in the taste as well. This is the brown butter we fold into streusel crumbs, toss in our pasta sauces, and whisk into sugar for a delightfully decadent cake glaze.

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

If you’re willing to take the risk and allow your butter to brown in the pan just until the point of burning, you can score the darkest butter of all. Ultra-dark butter adds scads of flavor when chilled and creamed into cookies, cakes, and more. The extra color results in an extra oomph of flavor, so you’ll land terrific tasting treats every time.

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

HOW CAN I USE BROWN BUTTER?

I have a very specific rule of thumb about when it is most appropriate to use brown butter. Are you ready? Ok, here it is:

USE IT ALL THE TIME BECAUSE IT’S THE BEST.

That’s it! Simple, right? Ok, I’m kind of kidding. When making things like pasta sauces, salad dressings, toppings for breads and sauces for proteins, brown butter is a perfectly acceptable substitution for regular butter and oil. However, when adding it to baked goods like cookies, cakes, and pie crusts, there’s a few things to consider. Remember how we cooked all of the water out of the butter? Well, water is a really important part of baking! We need water to add moisture, to create steam in the oven, and to do a number of other nerdy food science stuff that I won’t bore your with here. So if we substitute brown butter for regular butter, we have to remember that our final outcome will likely be affected by of the lack of H2O. To compensate, sometimes you can add a bit less dry ingredient (like flour) or a wee bit of extra water or fat. But sometimes it’s just isn’t a good sub and we just have to dry our tears and be okay with that.

How to Make Brown Butter Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a step by step photo tutorial on how to brown butter / beurre noisette. Will give the instruction and science behind browning butter and how to make the best type of browned butter for your baked goods, sweet and savory dishes. Find out what color brown butter should be and how to know if you've browned it enough! DIY here on thewoodandspoon.com

So, do you have any recipes using brown butter?

I thought you’d never ask. Of course! I use brown butter in a number of recipes, a couple of which are already on this site! You can check out my raspberry rhubarb crumb cake (with a brown butter crumb), carrot cake with brown butter glaze, or the ever-delightful hummingbird muffins for some delicious and sweet recipe inspiration. I’ll also add the links to a few other personal faves below.

Chewy, Gooey Golden Rice Krispie Treats

Brown Butter and Peanut Brittle Ice Cream

Brown Butter Pecan Pie

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes. There’s tons. But this isn’t that kind of blog. I’m giving you what I think you want to know as well as a few other science geek tidbits that I just couldn’t hold myself back from. If you have more questions about, please share them with me below in the comments section! I would love to help in any way!

This is the first in what I hope will become a fun and helpful series for you all. Baking becomes so much easier and enjoyable when you understand some basics and have a few tips and techniques up your sleeve to help achieve success in the kitchen every time. So stick around for a few more things you need to know. I can’t wait to share more! Have a great weekend and cheers to you!

If you like this tutorial, be sure to check out:

Smash Cake Tutorial

Gold Splattered Sugar Cookie Tutorial

Painted Sugar Cookies 

Cake Baking Tips

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How to Brown Butter

This is a quick and simply tutorial on how to brown butter. Making brown butter has never been easier with this photographic how-to!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, cut into equal-sized chunks.

Instructions

  1. Place butter chunks in a light-colored pan over medium-low heat. Allow the butter to melt completely, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  2. Once the butter has melted, you’ll notice it begin to sizzle and foam. Continue stirring occasionally. Once the crackling has subsided, you’ll notice small golden flecks forming on the bottom of the pan. Begin stirring constantly with a whisk or a spatula to agitate the butter and keep it cooking evenly. Continue cooking until the desired level of brownness is reached. Remove the butter from the pan to a separate bowl to discontinue the cooking process.

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Smash Cake Tutorial and George’s First Birthday!

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Pink Floral Cake.

Hi friends and happy Thursday! I have something a little out of the ordinary for you all today but I have a feeling you crazy cake lovers are gonna go nuts for it. It’s a smash cake tutorial! If there are little ones in your life that you want to celebrate well, or if you just really want to dig into a cutesy mini cake all on your own, today’s tutorial is just perfect for you.

George’s First Birthday!

A few weeks ago, we celebrated baby George’s first birthday. The year that has passed since his birth was one of my favorites yet, and it seemed only right that we celebrate this little buddy the best that we could. We hosted a gathering of friends and family at our  home, complete with cake, corn hole, and birthday crowns. The weather was just right and many of our friends showed up, kids in tow, for what ended up being a giant, outdoor free-for-all for more than 30 kids. (Seriously, I think my friends could re-populate the nation if need be.)

The kids ran and threw balls, played in the mud and munched on cookies while the parentals sipped cocktails and chatted. We all know first birthday parties are really just an excuse for moms to throw a celebration, but I’d say it was a success. Luckily, my friend Meghan was there to capture the day, so I get to share some images with you guys! Check it out:

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Balloon arch made from tutorial on the house that lars built. White balloons inspiration.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Balloon arch.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Honey basil margaritas boozer cocktails.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Piñata

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com PInata

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Piñata

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Felt Crown.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Watercolor painted sugar cookies, red and polka dot black and white.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

A Few DIYs

There were a ton of fun blog recipes and DIYs that made this day personalized and delicious. You might recall the painted sugar cookies from a tutorial that I shared last year. The cocktails were honey basil margaritas, another blog favorite, that were a sweet and sour way to cool off from the warm summer air. The cake was a certain raspberry streusel cake that we all know and love, and even the ice cream, coffee cookie dough, was a no-churn recipe that I shared with you all a few weeks ago.

My mom and I made the balloon arch following a tutorial that I found on the fabulous blog, The House that Lars Built. It was a process, but a ton of fun to make and I think it really added something special. The piñata was also homemade and was similar to one that I made for Aimee’s first birthday party following a fun DIY that I found on 100 Layer Cakelet blog. If you have any ideas for future DIYS, I’d love to hear about them! These are certainly some fun ones you should consider adding to your next occasion.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

The Cakes!

And what’s a birthday without a layer cake and candles? It would be a shame if I threw my kids a party without making cake, right? I made one large cake for our party guests and one (slightly larger than normal) smash cake for George to dig in to. Since the party, I’ve had several people ask me about making smash cakes for their own littles and I thought this might be a good opportunity to share some DIY decorating ideas with you all. I’ve prepared a few simple cakes that will hopefully inspire you to make mini cakes of your own next time you are celebrating a special little gal or guy. Let’s get started!

To begin, you’ll need:

-A few small cake layers. I prefer to use 6″ cake layers, but you can certainly use a 4″ or 5″ pan as well. I use these pans to bake 3 layers. You can use any of your favorite recipes, but if you want a sure thing, try halving this chocolate or this vanilla cake recipe. Perfect every time. If you use smaller pans or bake few layers, be sure to not overfill your pans as this can cause underbaked cakes and messy oven spills.

-3 to 4 cups of frosting.  I used a plain vanilla frosting for these cakes, but adjust as desired.

-A 6″ cake board. Cake boards aren’t necessary but certainly make decorating and transporting the cake a bit easier. You can just barely see the cake board in all of my photos.

-A cake turntable. Again, this isn’t necessary but certainly makes frosting your cake a TON easier. Consider investing in one of the inexpensive models or jump to the big leagues with something like this.

An offset spatula. It’s less than $6 and will make your life so much easier. If you’re currently frosting cakes with a knife or a bowl scraper, just buy one of these, ok?

Flower Smash Cake

I always say, when in doubt, just throw some flowers on it. Decorating with flowers and greenery can take a plain frosted smash cake to a sweetly styled work of art. I typically like to use flowers that I can find at my local store or florist, but there are tons of ways to put a little nature on your cake. If you’re unsure about using fresh blooms on your cake, take some time to practice with silk flowers and greenery like I did in the following photos.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Pink Floral Cake.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Pink Floral Cake.

How To

Before styling your florals, frost and chill your cake as desired. Here, I’ve used 3 thin 6″ vanilla cake layers coated with a vanilla cream cheese buttercream. You can half this cake and frosting recipe to yield enough for your mini smash cake. Coat the outside of the cake in a thin layer of frosting so that a bit of the cake edges show. Chill the cake briefly in the fridge to allow the frosting to set up slightly and then begin arranging! I like to use a variety of blooms, leaves, and twigs in different shapes and shades, but you can use any variety you like. Start by adding some flat leaves, twigs, or stems to the top of the cake and then arrange one or two larger blooms on top. Fill in any unsightly gaps with smaller flowers, berries, or filler.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com Eucalyptus greenery cake topper.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

For George’s birthday cake, I knew I wanted to use natural elements as decoration but I didn’t want the cake to be too feminine. As an alternative to flowers, I used some greenery and stems from my neighbor’s garden. To achieve a similar effect, you can purchase eucalyptus, olive leaves, or other green filler from your florist and arrange it in a minimalistic fashion on top of your cake. Get creative and know that practice makes perfect! The more you work with florals, the more comfortable you’ll get with arranging them on your layer cakes.

Stenciled Sprinkle Smash Cake

You can decorate your smash cake with a word or a number in less than 5 minutes and with minimal effort. Simply print out a word or number on a sheet of computer paper. The number should be slightly smaller than the size of your cake. Use an X-Acto knife or scissors to cut out your shape and create a stencil. Center the stencil on top of the slightly chilled cake and sprinkle small nonpariels on top to fill it in. Be sure not to get too many sprinkles outside of the stencil our you’ll be picking them off your cake! Press down lightly to adhere the sprinkles to the cake and remove the stencil. You can use a careful hand or a pair of tweezers to pick off any rogue sprinkles.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

I like to use nonpariels, but if you have a different variety of small sprinkles that you’d like to use, feel free! You could also sprinkle on small candies, cocoa powder, or finely chopped nuts.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Ombre Smash Cake

Frosting an ombre cake remains one of my favorite ways to decorate a smash cake. To get started, all you’ll need is a small, crumb-coated smash cake, about 1-1/2 cups of white frosting, gel food coloring, and an offset spatula.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Evenly divide your frosting into 3 small bowls. Add a small drop of your gel food coloring into one of the bowls, keeping in mind that you can always add more food coloring, but it’s a challenge to lighten the frosting once you’ve added too much. Stir well with a spatula and then color your remaining bowls of frosting as desired. I typically use 3 shades of the same color and just add more or less food coloring to each bowl to achieve my color gradient.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

How to Frost an Ombre Cake

Top your smash cake with your lightest or darkest shade. Smooth out the colored frosting on top of the cake using an offset spatula and push any extra frosting off the edge of the top of the cake onto the top third of the sides of the cake as well. Don’t worry about making it smooth yet, just be sure that all sides of the cake have some of that frosting on it. Move on to the next shade and spackle it onto the middle third of your cake. Finish with the final color on the bottom third of the cake and gently work to smooth it out over each side.

Holding your spatula parallel to the cake, smooth the sides of the frosting out. The more you spread out your frosting the more that the colors will blend together, so be sure to not overwork it. Clean off your spatula occasionally to ensure that the colors don’t get muddled together as you go over different parts of your cake. Check out this ombre cake tutorial for more help. Rosie does a great job explaining the technique and it’s super helpful to watch her do it in her video. She also sells some gorgeous sprinkle blends that you may want to top your cake with so be sure to check those out!

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Blue Ombred cake- looks like the ocean! Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

Rustic Frosted Smash Cake

One of my favorite ways to decorate a smash cake also happens to be the easiest. Rustic or “messy” frosted cakes are all the rage. These cakes require no perfection, no straight edges, no perfectly piped swirls of frosting. All that is needed to create these beauties is a little creativity and an offset spatula.

Smash Cake Tutorial Recipe By The Wood and Spoon Blog. Sharing tips and techniques for decorating mini 6" smash cakes to be served at a little boy or girl first birthday party! You'll find out how to decorate a cake with a stencil and sprinkles, flowers, top with color balls of fondant, ombre layer cake, and rustic frosting style done with an offset spatula or palette knife. Read more about the how to and find some colorful kid birthday party inspiration here! www.woodandspoon.com

The How To

To frost one of your own, start with a thinly frosted smash cake. Allow the cake to chill briefly in the fridge and then use your offset spatula to spackle frosting onto the sides of your cake. You may decide to go for big swoops, parallel lines, or thin stripes of frosting. Whatever you choose, just begin adding frosting to the sides of your cake and smooth out the top edge once finished. The great news is that if you mess up- no problem! Just smooth out the frosting and start all over again. When you’re finished, top the cake with a cute candle or topper. For more rustic cake inspiration, be sure to flip through my Instagram feed.

Ok, now that you guys know all of the cute and simple ways to decorate your kiddo’s smash cakes, I wanna see them! I gain so much inspiration from you guys so if you’ve created some recently or in the past that you think I might like, please shoot me an email. If you have any ideas for future tutorials, holler at me in the comments section below so that I can get cracking. Let’s just learn all the different ways to create beautiful food for the people we love, okay? Have a great week and be sure to pop by next Tuesday. We’re going to be talking biscuits and sandwiches and Father’s Day, so you’ll want your appetite. Cheers to you and Happy Thursday!

If you like this smash cake tutorial, you might also like:

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies and Gold Splatter Tutorial

Painted Sugar Cookies Tutorial

Confetti Ice Cream Cake and Naked Cake Tutorial

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies and How To Gold-Splatter Sugar Cookies!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood and Abby Hollar of The Hollardays Blog. This is a simple recipe for homemade cutout sugar cookies flavored with dried lavender and vanilla bean paste. The icing is simple and dries quick and doesn't require a piping bag or tip like Royal icing. The gold lustre luster dust is mixed with alcohol to create a shiny metallic paint that you can splatter on your cookies with a basting brush. Find the tutorial and how to paint cookies on thewoodandspoon.com

This past week on “Real Housewives of Alabama,” Kate drove to the big city, hopped a plane to Orlando, and spent a kid-free weekend at the beach with her college girlfriends(!!!) Yes, it’s true- for a glorious 72 hours, there were no diapers to change, jobs to clock in to, dirty boxer-briefs to pick up off the floor. Just 4 gals, the crashing waves, and a super classy box of red wine.

With no deadlines to meet or tiny humans to tend to, the hours of the day passed lazily with cozy blankets and rabbit trails of conversation that usually began with “Remember when…?” and ended in fits of laughter. Time away is good for the soul and helps me to dust off little bits of myself that ordinarily hide on the bookshelf. These girls have been around for over a decade now, and every time we see each other, I’m always reminded how good it feels to be known. What would we do without the people in our lives who love us without agenda and in spite of ourselves? Bless. Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photos by jesse walsh dreamtown photo co

Tutorials with Friends!

One of my little beach bunnies, Abby, recently started a lifestyle blog called The Hollar-Days where she shares DIYS, painting tutorials, and snippets from her life as wife and mama. Abby shares my love of delicious food and beverages, so when she suggested we plan a little beachside picnic for our girl’s trip, I was all in. A few cookies and cocktails later (you know, for “testing purposes”), we came up with a few treats that I’m thrilled to share with you.

Exhibit A: lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies.

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

These cookies are quite similar to my favorite cutout sugar cookies that I shared with you all a while ago, except they have specks of vanilla bean and lavender. I adapted my favorite icing recipe so that you can simply dip the face of the cookie in the glaze, and I have to say, it makes preparing these cookies easy breezy. While lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are certainly special enough on their own, we decided to fancy them up a bit by splattering them with little gold speckles. I was inspired by a recent article in Martha Stewart Magazine and knew I needed an adaptation of my own. Maybe the girliest, most lovely little cookies of all time!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
photo by abby hollar

Cookie Tags!

Abby, the super crafty lady that she is, came up with a coordinating champagne cocktail for us to enjoy and even hand-painted some tags to adorn the packaged cookies. With a vanilla bean simple syrup and super jazzy lavender bitters, champagne cocktails have never been so chic or Provencal (and you all know how I feel about the French).  Check out the her post for the cocktail recipe and watercolored tags as well as a few photos from our time at the beach. The rest of her blog is equally charming, and you may even catch a few snippets of her darling little Margot, who I’m certain is destined to be Aimee’s BFF someday. (Fingers crossed!!!)

Cookies are great, but sometimes, a little time away with your bests is just what the doctor ordered. Give these lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies a try, and share them with your favorite gals (or guys!) this coming Valentine’s Day. You can also find a few other delish cookie recipes to share with your besties here. Oh, and PS, I’m chomping at the bit to share ALL THE CHOCOLATE RECIPES with you guys throughout the month of February, so hold on to your hats, belts, and everything else, and prep your gullet for some melt in your mouth goodness. It’s going to be a delicious 28 days for us. Cheers to you!

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar CookiesLavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

For a link to Abby’s cocktail recipe and Valentine’s gift tags, click here!

To check out the culinary lavender I purchased, click here!

To find lustre dust, click here!

Print

Lavender Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

The lavender vanilla bean sugar cookies are soft cutout cookies scented with dried lavender and vanilla bean. Decorated with a glaze and a gold splatter, the tutorial for these cookie is easy and fun!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Category: Cookies

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean extract

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To decorate your cookies, you will need

  • Food grade gold lustre dust (see notes)
  • Clear extract or liquor (I use clear vanilla or vodka)
  • A silicone basting brush

Instructions

To prepare the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind the lavender slightly using a food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. Combine the lavender and remaining dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 6-8 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.
  4. When ready to frost your cookies, cover your work space in wax paper. Set out some cookie racks to place your frosted cookies on. To frost, hold each cookie by its rim and dip the face of it directly into the icing. Allow any excess to drip off the sides. Add more milk or sugar, if desired, to modify the consistency of your icing.

To decorate your cookies

  1. Cover your workspace in parchment or wax paper. Lay dry, frosted cookies out on the paper.
  2. Scoop 1/4 teaspoon lustre dust into a small dish and add 1/8 teaspoon of extract or liquor. Stir until the lustre dust is all dissolved. You can add an additional 1/8 teaspoon of liquor, if needed, but take care to not add too much, as this can cause your sugar icing to dissolve and bubble up.
  3. Dip a silicone basting brush in the liquid gold, and dab any excess off on the side of the bowl. Do a test splatter on a paper towel or extra sheet of wax paper. To splatter, I hold my silicone brush parallel to the work surface, draw back slightly at the wrist, and then fling the brush downward, like you’re swatting a fly or hitting a drum. The size and shape of your silicone bristles can change the way your splatter looks, so do a few test splatters before you move to your cookies. Once ready to decorate your cookies, splatter then in the same manner you did your tester and allow to dry completely before packing or storing.

Notes

  • For a deeper, more concentrated gold color, use as little alcohol as you can. The more liquid in the splatter, the lighter it will be.
  • I tested this technique using a natural hair basting brush and it was not successful. I recommend a silicone brush for best effect.
  • If desired, you can pipe the icing on your cookies for a more polished, perfected look. There is a tutorial for this in the cookies archives of my blog. You will need you frosting to be a bit thicker.
  • Be sure to purchase food grade, edible lustre dust. I purchased mine on Amazon!

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Adapted from: Bridget Edwards

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies Recipe and Tutorial by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a recipe for almond vanilla sugar cutout cookies that doesn't require chilling the dough. The dough holds its shape for cookie cutters. The frosting isn't like a royal icing- it is a simple glaze made with milk and powdered sugar and flavoring. you can pipe or dip the cookies icing on and then paint with food coloring gel and alcohol. Find the how to on the blog thewoodandspoon.com

Forget the Kardashians. Forget Birkenstocks and ombre hair and cold shoulder shirts. Forget Lebron and matcha and cold brew coffee. Yeah, all of those things might be having a moment… but painted sugar cookies? Well, in my book, they’re really having a moment.

I get a million and one food related questions on any given week, but one of the most frequent items I get asked about are painted sugar cookies. Why? Well, for one, sugar cookies are a crowd pleaser. I’ve literally never heard anyone say, “I don’t like sugar cookies,” and I can tell you that if I did, we wouldn’t be friends. They’re sweet and celebratory, and if you know what you’re doing, they’re fun way to tie desserts into any themed event or party.

Up until a few years ago, I had only been exposed to the two extremes of sugar cookies: a soft, lofthouse style cookie with a thick and creamy butter-based frosting, and a hard, crunchy sugar cookie with tooth-shattering, cloyingly sweet royal icing. Enter painted sugar cookies. These little guys are a soft yet stable sugar cookie that holds its shape in the oven. The icing is pipeable and easy to decorate with but without all the fuss of a royal icing.

Painted Sugar Cookies

If you’re anything like me, trying to pipe a bunch of designs on a cookie is a daunting, time consuming, and ultimately disappointing task. I’ve done it before, and I can say that I won’t be doing it often in the future. Painting the cookies allows me to decorate the cookies and flex my creative muscle without all the mind-numbing tedious work of piping. I love it. 

Once the sugar cookies are iced and dry, you simply mix a small amount of gel food coloring with a clear liquor. I prefer vanilla vodka, but really, you can use any type of clear liquor. (Sidenote: If you would prefer to not use alcohol, you can try clear vanilla extract.) Once your paintbrush is wet with a teeny amount of liquor and food gel, you are free to paint away! I usually just paint solid colors on the cookies, but if you’re super artsy, you can Monet and van Gogh all over that goodness. The world (read: cookie) is your oyster, so go for it. 

For cookie inspiration, you can check out the cookies I’ve made here, here, here, and here.

Let me know how your cookie making goes and be sure to have a blast doing it. Cheers to you!

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Items Needed:

Cutout sugar cookies, approximately 30 small-medium, recipe below
Sugar cookie frosting, recipe below
Piping bag fitted with #2 tip
Gel food coloring
Clear liquor (vodka, rum, etc)
Clean, unused paint brushes
 

Directions:

Fill piping bag halfway with sugar cookie frosting. Pipe borders around cookies, being careful to not get too close to the edge. Using a paint brush, “paint” frosting into the center of the cookie, filling in to the outside border. (For a good tutorial on this method, check out the Ina Garten video here) I typically will border and fill 4-5 cookies at a time. Continue this process until all of the cookies are iced. Set aside for 3 hours, or until icing is set and dry. If you’re in a humid climate, you can use a small fan pointed at the cookies to help expedite this process.
Cover your work surface with wax, parchment, or newspaper. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of liquor into a small glass or bowl. Set out a plate or some other type of palette for your gel food color “paints”. Squirt small, 1/8 teaspoon drops of food coloring on your palette. Dip your brush in the liquor and then into the gel food coloring. Notice how the food coloring will thin out and bleed. The more diluted your food coloring is with alcohol, the less vibrant your colors will be. For more saturated tones, use less liquor. You can test out the colors on a paper towel or extra cookie. When you have the desired color, begin to paint! Try to avoid over-saturating your cookie as this can cause the icing to loosen up or become sticky. If your brush becomes too wet, dab it a bit on the paper towel. Once completed, allow your cookies to dry thoroughly before enjoying!
 

Print

Cutout Sugar Cookies

Perfect every time cutout sugar cookies get the royal treatment with some cute and colorful painted icing! Find the tutorial and buttery recipe here!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 teaspoon princess cake and cookie emulsion (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract, or bakery emulsion

Instructions

For the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.

Notes

  • Icing will keep in the fridge for up to a week and can easily be colored with gel food coloring.

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Recipe Adapted From: Bake At 350

 

Easter Cake

easter cake Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a how to on making a layer cake covered in robin egg blue frosting and speckled to look like an egg. This tutorial is adapted from the cake blog. Step by step how to and photos for this easter / good friday / spring time cake on thewoodandspoon.com

Easter Cake TutorialAbout one year ago, almost to the day, I made the decision to be more intentional on social media as a means of determining if blogging and putting myself out there on the interwebz was something I was ready to do. About two weeks into this experiment, I made an Easter cake, speckled to look like a robin’s egg, topped with little nests of swirled chocolate buttercream, and studded with leftover jelly beans from Aimee’s first Easter basket. (Shameless shout out to other moms who buy candy “for their kids” that just so happens to be their own favorite varieties and wind up hiding in the secret, “mom’s only” corner of the pantry. I feel you.) The cake was adorable and because I was pretty excited about it, I posted a photo on Instagram. Imagine my surprise when, hours later, Food and Wine magazine re-posted the photo. MY photo. I found myself victory dancing in the living room, high-fiving my husband, and with a new batch of Insta-followers. To me, that Easter cake was a moment of much needed confirmation that I was to continue forward.

easter cake

Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask how to make that humble little cake, so in honor of Easter, you’re going to get a fancy little tutorial today. This Easter cake is fairly simple and is a perfect excuse to get messy in the kitchen. If you have kiddos, or if you just share my affinity for pretending to be artsy in the kitchen while simultaneously stuffing your face with Easter candy, this cake is for you! Little ones can help with the speckling and will love the opportunity to sneak a jelly bean or a lick of the frosting bowl. Be warned that this process can get a little messy, so be sure to protect your work space with newspaper, wax paper, or old t-shirts of your husband’s that you secretly want to make disappear. 

easter cake

This Easter cake is one I plan to make for years to come and seems like a brilliant tradition to start with my family in the kitchen. My babies aren’t even old enough to say the words “Easter Cake”, but I’m eager to make memories with them on special holidays. If you have any traditions or recipes you like to share with your family during this holiday, I’d love to hear about it below in the comments section!

Happy Easter and Happy Baking!
easter cake

To make the Easter cake, you’ll need:

  • One baked cake (I used a 2 layer, six inch cake in a lemon poppyseed flavor which will be coming to the blog soon. You can try this recipe if you’re looking for a no-fail cake recipe)
  • 3 cups of frosting, divided
  • Light blue gel food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, divided
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • M&M’S Eggs, Jelly Beans, Cadbury Mini Eggs, or any other bean/egg shaped candy
 

Tools you’ll need:

  • News or wax paper to cover your work space
  • A clean, unused paint brush or a natural bristle pastry brush
  • Piping bag fitted with a 1M tip
 easter cake

Directions:

  • Set aside 1 cup of frosting.
  • In a bowl, add a small drop of light blue food coloring to the remaining two cups of frosting. A little goes a long way, so add slowly. Once your frosting it too dark, there’s no going back! Also, keep in mind that the frosting will darken as it sets.
  • Fill and frost your cake. I like to smooth my cakes with an off-set spatula like this , but a butter knife will do the trick!
  • In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder and the vanilla extract until a thin, watery slurry comes together.
  • Set your unfrosted cake on a clean, covered work surface. Do no speckle close to anything you can’t easily wipe down with a wet rag- things are about to get messy!
  • Hold your paint brush or natural bristle pastry brush at the base of the bristles. Squeeze, applying a small amount of pressure with your fingers to fan the brush slightly. Dip the tips of the brush in the cocoa/vanilla “paint” and find a spare corner of your covered work space to practice your splatter. While continuing to fan your brush with one hand, use the fingers of your other hand to lightly pull back the bristles and release. This will be a slingshot type of movement and will result in a splatter effect on your work surface. Once you’re confident with your speckling skills, move on to the cake! I start with the sides of the cake and finish with the top.
  • Mix your remaining cup of frosting with the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder. Add a small amount of water, if needed, until frosting is piping consistency. In my experience, a medium consistency frosting works best here and can best be described as frosting that, when peaked, will droop slightly without collapsing back into the blow.
  • Fill piping bag with this frosting and pipe away! I did simple swirls but you can get as fancy as you’d like.
  • Top each swirl with one piece of candy.

easter cake

 

Technique adapted from The Cake Blog