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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Bunny Cake | Continuing Granny's Tradition | Coconut Cake

*I'm re-sharing this post today - one of my most popular from last spring.  Granny's Bunny Cake lives on!  I'm trying to decide what flavor I'm making this year... lemon, cherry almond?  Milk chocolate?  What do you think would make a great bunny cake this year?





We could always depend on what was going to come out of Granny's kitchen - spaghetti and meatballs any day of the week, shrimp dip on Christmas Eve, fried mushrooms during mushroom season, fried donuts on Saturday mornings and the infamous Bunny Cake on Easter.  Easter wasn't Easter without the Bunny Cake.  As I look back on the Bunny Cake, I can remember thinking it was amazing when I was really young.  We were fascinated by anything in the "cake decorating" realm and I loved seeing it come together in person.  

Making Sugar Cookies each season is another family tradition we have.  This Spring, we'll be using these Copper Cookie cutters to make this collection of Chicks, Bunnies, Birds & Eggs - love these! 

These cookie cutters are extra special, as they are made from copper - the most traditional metal for cutters.  They are a truly heirloom quality cutter that can be passed down for generations.  I love collecting copper cutters - and I love thinking that Emma will be using them with her kids and grandkids as they make holiday memories as I did with my Mom and Sister. 

For more Spring and Easter baking projects, decorating and gift ideas, visit my Spring Entertaining Guide.

However... we never really ate the cake - none of the kids liked coconut and my Mom's cream pies piled with meringue tended to distract us.  None-the-less, the Bunny Cake always showed up and we always got a kick out of it.  She presented hers similarly, in a basket with fake green Easter "grass" surrounded by cupcakes topped with jelly beans.  

I also put mine in a basked, but instead of the "grass" I used Spanish Moss ($12) for a more natural looking bunny - you can buy in my store here.  Granny was better than me - I forgot to only make one 8-inch cake and bake the rest of the batter as cupcakes... I made two cakes and ended up with two bunnies.  I guess it really is true what they say about bunnies...
Coconut
Bunny Cake


3 sticks of butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
...
Parchment Paper (can buy here)
...
Cream Cheese Icing
Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and coconut.  Add it to the butter mixture a little at a time alternating with the milk.  End with adding flour coconut mixture.  Do not over mix.

I line my baking pans (and cookie sheets, and everything...) with parchment paper that I cut to fit.

Bake the cake for 30 minutes and cupcakes for 15.

See cream cheese icing recipe below.
 
 



I made a base for the cake to sit on by wrapping a piece of cardboard in parchment paper.  You can use wrapping paper, printer paper or foil... whatever you have.





Cream Cheese Icing

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 block of cream cheese, softened
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of milk

Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.  Stir together until creamy - do not whip. 



I put a smear of frosting on the base to help the cake stick.


 

Cut a notch out of the top to form the head.  Use part of the scrap to create a little tail.




Cover the bunny in icing.  You may need to put it in the refrigerator then add a second coat if you like a lot of icing like me.



 Cover the outside with flaked coconut.  I put some of my Spanish Moss, $12 around the bunny to give it some natural texture and life.
 

I created the little ears by cutting them out of textured cardstock and painting pink centers with Emma's watercolor paints.  Granny used good ol' fashioned pink construction paper.




I added a little pink nose, too, but kept the bunny blank... I like just the nose and ears.  Too much decor takes away from the simplicity of it.



The Bunny Lives on!   Both of them.

The eggs came from my Mom's friends' farm - I've been saving them just for this.  It will make a great centerpiece for our Easter dinner!




Here are some of my favorite Spring projects so far : 

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Products used :

6" Celebration Candles in Lemon Curd

Jumbo Starburst Tip

18" Disposable Piping Bag

Brown Cupcake Liners















Spring Copper Cookie Cutters, $15

Cookie Cutters have become my new favorite item to think about for each season of the store.  For years, I've always looked forward to decorating cookies each season, now I look forward to being able to share that tradition with all of my readers.  





For more Spring and Easter baking projects, decorating and gift ideas, visit my Spring Entertaining Guide

Here is the easy-to-pin strip!



Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Menu & Table Setting | Leek & Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin




I'm always looking for a new way to prepare a traditional dinner entree like Pork Loin - especially in the Spring.  While there are many different marinades and cooking methods out there that can change up the flavor, stuffing it has to be one of my favorites.  It is a great way to introduce some spring vegetables and color to a somewhat plan cut of meat.  It is such an elegant presentation, too - sliced and served on a platter - it is a great option for a Easter or a Spring dinner party.


 This pork loin is stuffed with a mixture of spinach, leeks, garlic and parmesan cheese - very springy.  Any type of filling would be great, though, be creative.  If you're really short on time and energy, you can buy a pre-made spinach dip (or artichoke dip) and use that as the filling. 

When I'm entertaining for a holiday or a dinner party, it is so important that it be easy.  Everything in this menu is cooked on baking sheets in the oven at the same time.  There is no hovering over the stove, or stirring - just put everything on a platter and bring it to the table.


Here is my filling - for the entire recipe, visit my monthly column on MyWell-Being.com.  It starts with sauteing leeks and spinach, then making a simple white sauce with cream and parmsean cheese.  You can't mess it up.


Ask the butcher to butterfly the pork loin for you to make it really simple.


Again, recipe and details on MyWell-Being.com.


Here is everything roasting at the same temperature.  Very easy!


And, sorry for boring you again with photos of this table (that I used to feature many of my spring products), but many of you that purchased the items have asked me about the details, and about recreating the flower arrangement at home.  So, here it goes : )

For the table setting I used :

Large Willow Vase filled with white hydrangeas, yellow daffodils, and pussy willow sprigs.  (arranging details below)

Hand-Dipped Taper Candles in Lexington Wheat : I love a neutral, tone on tone look, so after looking at multiple candle color options, I went with this muted, warm yellow.

Hemstitch Linen Runner (medium) for my table linen - I hardly ever use a table cloth because I love the natural wood of the table.

Creamware Egg Cups to display brown eggs.







For the arrangement, start by plopping all of my flowers in the vase so I am sure I have enough - and am using the right vase shape and size.  I used the hydrangeas to fill out the mass of the vase, and then highlighted with groupings of the yellow daffodils.


I always to arrangements within arrangements - so I make little bunches of flowers and add them to the bunch.  I think big blocks of color are more pleasing than a homogenous arrangement with all of the flowers evenly dispersed.  It seems more natural and gathered.


Also, be careful not to go color crazy - I like to stick to 2-3 colors in various shades, otherwise it can be spastic looking.  When in doubt, just go with one color.










And because I always like some natural texture, I added the pussy willow branches.  They add the perfect touch of spring - and are so beautiful when you look at them so closely. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

Free Easter Tags Friday & Saturday! And... Easter Favorites Round Up

Happy Friday!  This is the first time I've done a giveaway special for the store - and I'm thrilled.  This weekend is the last chance to get orders in to guarantee Easter arrival.  With that said... today and tomorrow (Fri-Sat), I'm offering a giveaway of a free Easter Tag or Folded Card with every order (while supplies last).

**To redeem the discount, add an Easter Tag or Easter Card (Lambs or Bunnies) to your card, then enter one of the following codes at checkout :

EasterTags   or EasterCards

**It is very important to actually add the tags or cards you want to your order, or I won't know which one you'd like.  You will receive a credit for the item you have in your cart.










This has been such a fun and exciting season of products.  The next go-round next Month will feature more party and wedding supplies... think custom paper goods, favors, etc., in all of my favorite colors.

As the preparations for Easter continues, here is a little roundup of my favorite recipes for Easter Brunch, Lunch and Desserts.  Do you have anything that I must make?  I'd love to hear about your favorites.




Heirloom Egg Hunt Centerpiece


Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing & Pecans


Lemon Meringue Mousse Tart



Cranberry Scones with an Orange Glaze




Mrs. Ross's Blackberry Cobbler



Bacon, Potato & Chive Skillet Omelet



Homemade Herbed Ricotta Cheese on Garlic Baguette Toasts


Chocolate Glazed Donuts




Cherry Almond Cupcakes


"Homemade" Cinnamon Rolls from Frozen Bread Dough

Banana Pecan Pancakes Recipe 


White Cheddar & Chive Strata (you might remember it from a brunch we hosted last fall?)


The bacon getting ready to be baked - 325 degrees for 18-22 minutes.  The BEST way to fix bacon.

As I re-posted last week, one of my all time favorite things to do is to make "homemade" cinnamon rolls from frozen bread dough.  We had friends over for brunch this week and, in addition to the classic cinnamon rolls, also made Pecan Cinnamon Rolls.  With just one extra step, you can create these sticky, pecan glazed cinnamon rolls.  
 


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