the secret to perfect french macarons

Your palate will be dancing!

Sydney and I are presently working on a very special post, but in the meantime we thought it might be fun to revisit 2012. We were blessed with an amazing friend who travels home, to Japan, twice a year, and generously brought us back a plethora of cherry blossom flavors. We spent an entire month using cherry blossom extract, sugars, and compounds in array of treats, by far the favorite was the Cherry Blossom Macarons.

french macaron secrets

The fusion of strawberry with the cherry blossom is extraordinary!

And Strawberry-Blossom Macarons.

This summer Sydney turned 20 and wanted us to design  Butterfly Orchids out of gumpaste for a tiered birthday cake. We spent a good 5 days creating Butterfly Orchids, I must admit I enjoyed the time Sydney and I spent talking while we were working. I find we both tend to open up a little more when we are engaged in a project. As the Butterfly Orchids came to life we found a whole new dimension to our mother/daughter relationship.

cake decorating school


During the early spring Sydney decided she wanted to transfer to George Washington University (GW), all three of us flew to D.C. in order to visit GW and Georgetown. We had a wonderful time seeing our country’s monuments and both universities. I remember imagining on the plane ride home what life might be like if Sydney transferred to D.C. I must admit that seems like a life time ago.

The day after we arrived home we created  monochromatic Ruffle Blossom Cupcake with a cherry blossom flavor, and spent the entire time talking about both universities. Sydney seemed to be leaning toward the urban GW. She has always had a love for D.C.

ombre cake tutorial

The cupcake was our signature cherry blossom recipe!

While we  were not so patiently waiting to hear if Sydney had been accepted to GW and Georgetown, Sydney was on pins and needles. To keep her mind occupied we baked D.F.’s favorite cake for his birthday, Boston Cream Pie.  Although we had a marvelous time Sydney’s mind was still anxiously waiting to hear her collegiate fate. On November 30th as I was checking some products, Sydney came towards my baking supply room crying..she said she had heard from GW. My heart sank as lump developed in my throat (I thought GW had turned her down), a few moments later she squealed GW had accepted her! I was over joyed with happiness. I thought D.F. should receive the extraordinaire news in the same manor I had, while Sydney was still crying (tears of joy) I called D.F. and gave Sydney the phone.

Omni Parker recipe Boton Cream Pie

Once a year D.F. has his favorite cake!

 As we entered the month of December I realized that Sydney and I only had five weeks to pack, purchase airline tickets, and prepare for Sydney to transfer GW (they start classes prior to the Inauguration).

It would seem Sydney friends began to realize they had a small window to say goodbye and during the holiday time it was like juggling oranges. We entertained as many people as time would allow. A very close friend of Sydney had just become a father 4 months prior and Sydney had yet to see the baby, we had them over for dinner first. We served bolognese, warm pancetta spinach salad, garlic bread, steamed green beans, and to finish the meal we had Cranberry White Chocolate Pound Cake. The cake was a huge delight!

Cranberry White Chocolate Cake Recipe

There was not even a crumb leftover!

As Christmas was quickly approaching Sydney wanted to create a Snowman Cake she had seen in Alan Dunn’s book, but of course we put our own special touches on the cake.

snowman cake tutorial

He brings a smile to your face!

 I still can not believe it is 2013, it seems like I blinked and 1992 jumped to 2013, if you have not already realized Sydney was born in 1992. As I finish writing a recap of Sydney ‘s and my adventures in baking/culinary arts this year an array of emotions have come over me. We leave in one week to bring Sydney to her new home; I seem to be procrastinating all that needs to be done for Sydney’s departure, I find myself in “White Rabbit” mode. Maybe that is best, I won’t have time to think. I am truly happy and proud of Sydney; however I selfishly will miss her terribly.

Luckily she will be living in an apartment and we can bake together by Skype, she received a KitchenAid for Christmas.

We have one special baking project to finish, in the meantime Poinsettia Cake was the last cake we baked together in 2012!

Happy New Year!

Thank you for sharing this past year with us. Now on to a New Year!

perfect poinsettia cake


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