Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Serious Catch Up

A new year is a good place to get back on track. Let me dig through my archives and see what I've been up to!

Looking through my pictures, not as much as I'd hoped. I had to take a break from baking for a while, it was starting to feel like work and not fun. We bought a house and I got a new job and things got too crazy. I have been more committed to cross stitch recently too.

Finished in time for the Christmas gift exchange I made this pattern from a clip art I found. Stitched with metallic green thread it was a pain but came out beautifully with just a little shimmer and a gold button star. My parents ended up with it in the exchange so I'll get to see it every year!

Cross stitch metallic christmas tree made by Tawny Smith

This year I really got back into the groove for Christmas. I made 30 cookie bags for my friends at work and hosted both Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house.


I was so busy baking them all up at the last minute (my deadline got pushed up a week because so many people were taking the week before Christmas off work). Also, I'm very bad at remembering to take pictures.

Here is a pic from my nephews birthday party in December 2013. He loved his lego batman cake and I love the ease of the new technique! I can make every cake happen even if I don't have the desire/time to go all out. Much more manageable since I'm the family's resident cake baker for all occasions. This was also (funny enough) the first time I used my cake dummy I made 3 years ago! I practiced the technique the week before to make sure it would work. I learned a few lessons but was disappointed when the actual design stuck to the wax paper for the real cake.

I got the idea from a Pinterest post so here's the credit:

Here is my niece's birthday cake from October 2013.

I know you can't tell, because I once again forgot to take a picture of the inside. Wait, I was overrun by frantic 2-year-olds screeching for cake that I just cut and threw the plates until there was no cake left for a good picture.

Once again, inspired by a Pinterest post my sister saw the inside had colored cake balls for a polka dot cake. It turned out really well thanks to making a practice cake and learning my lessons. I now own a cake pop pan too!

Polka Dot  Cake
Don't worry, these cake balls came out just fine. I just had to learn how much batter to use.

Here is a craft I made in October 2013.

Oooh! I had forgotten about these cuties. BBQ cupcakes for a summer BBQ! They tasted good too, but it was mostly about good looks.

My fall button tree I made in the summer of 2013. One of my favorite things now is to wait until buttons go on sale! This one inspired the summer tree below. Probably many more to come too, so versatile and fun!

Spring button tree, made by Tawny Smith
 Mason jar pincushion my best friend and I made sometime in the summer of 2013. It is nice to have some weight on the pincushion so I can grab the pins with one hand. Also makes for pretty button storage.
Mason jar pincushion, made by Tawny Smith.

Here is a cake I helped my uncle make for an AA baking competition. He wanted a cake version of one of their coins. It came out well, although it didn't win. Probably because I ran out of frosting, it was probably a rather dry cake.

Some simple Seahawks blue & green cupcakes for my nephews birthday in December 2012. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

There, that's it. Now I'm caught up and maybe I will be better about taking pictures this year!

To support my craft and baking hobbies I have started selling my cross stitch patterns online. If it's something you want to look into here are the links. Thanks for looking!

User Profile:

Items for Sale:

Friday, August 31, 2012


Well, time flies and when I saw that my last posting was in 2010 I couldn't believe that it's been two years! I haven't been baking much so I've decided that Tawny's Treats can include more than just baking and am going to be adding my other pursuits as I have time

This is my most recent and most complicated cross stitch undertaking. It was commissioned by a friend and took me 7 months to complete. She gave me several smaller projects to complete as I have time and inclination. 

My first large cross stitch project. I had been searching for a pattern I like for years. I had almost given up when I found this pattern from a woman in Australia. It was uncanny how closely it resembled what I had been sketching to create my own pattern since I couldn't find one I liked.

I have to hunt down other projects I've completed and take photos. Until then, Make it a crafty day!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Long Time No Cake

Well, this year has been crazy so far. Now that I am laid off I actually have the time and energy to download all my saved pics on my camera and write about my experiences. I can't even remember what I've done.

Cake Dummy

I wanted to find a way to practice decorating without having to hassle with actually baking a cake. I also didn't want to buy a dummy, they are too expensive. So I ventured to make my own. I had the blisters to remember it by.

1. Cut 36 layers of cardboard (Mine is 9" round 4" tall, use any pan you like as a template)
2. Stack all layers and tape together on four sides from top to bottom to hold them together
3. Wrap around with cardstock and tape (smooth uneven edges of layers)
4. Wrap with several layers of plastic wrap to hold together and protect.
5. Wrap with foil to smooth and for crisp edges and tape if needed.
6. Wrap again with a few layers of plastic wrap

This took about 3 hours total. To use, secure the dummy to your cake plate with tape or frosting. Decorate as you wish. When you're ready to clean the dummy scrape off all the frosting and then remove and toss the top layers of plastic wrap. Re-wrap with a few layers of plastic wrap and you're ready to go again.

I haven't used my dummy yet, lack of time and energy, but hope to soon.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The only other thing I have pictures of is some of the dozens of chocolate chip cookies I made as a thank you for a referral and for my coworkers on my last day of work.

Make it a sweet day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Catching Up: Holiday Cupcakes, Lightning McQueen and 1 Huge Cupcake

After the holiday rush I have finally recovered enough to want to write about them.

First, I made four trays of mini cupcakes for a meet-and-greet at work. The reaction was better than I expected and several people placed orders, which was so wonderful and exciting!

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing
Orange with Orange Buttercream
Pumpkin with Cream Cheese Icing
Devil's Food with Chocolate Fudge Icing

For my nephew Evan's first birthday I made him a Cars cake featuring Lightning McQueen. I made the car out of pound cake and the base cake is french vanilla with buttercream and marshmallow fondant. I bought red fondant since it's hard to get red-red from home dye. I made the car details out of fondant using food color markers and allowed them to dry. You can't see it in this picture but his number 95 is also on the top of the car. The "mud" is chocolate buttercream icing and the tires are chocolate cake. I had a cold and it wasn't exactly smooth sailing but everyone loved it. Oh, and the cake tasted good too ;)


Then the holiday rush was upon me and it was cupcake boxes with those same four varieties. I lost count of how many boxes I made but it was A LOT, I felt like a bakery. They got positive reviews from everyone, even people who don't like cake - those are my favorite.

Oh, and I couldn't forget the giant cupcake for my friend Phuong. She's another of the "I don't like cake" converts. The orange cake with orange buttercream suited her tastes since it was fruit based and not too sweet.

The giant cupcake pan wasn't easy to work with, mine was all silicone resting on a cookie sheet. The first time it didn't cook all the way through. I went and bought two heating cores and used them the second time to get the centers to cook more evenly. The cores made it tip a bit and spilled all over my oven. Icing it wasn't a piece of cake either. I know, stupid pun, I couldn't help myself. I tried to make the bottom look like a cupcake wrapper, but it was hard to make the cream cheese frosting stand upright because it is very soft. Some lessons learned so hopefully next time it will go smoother, but it turned out well.

Thank you for all my friends, family and coworkers for your support!
Have a sweet day!

Julie & Julia

I am a bit behind on my postings but am skipping ahead anyhow. I am watching the movie Julie and Julia on one monitor while I type and work on my second monitor. Oh what bliss is two monitors!!! What a wonderful movie and I'm only halfway through. I'll probably watch it a few times before I return it - gotta love Redbox.

I was asked to teach a friend's husband how to make mini cupcakes and fondant. They are moving to Japan and opening a bakery and are interested in making small, cute desserts. To say the least I am flattered and hope I can deliver on every expectation. So for the next two Saturday's that is where I'll be. I made a list of all the supplies we'll need and which recipes we'll use. I am very excited.

For the preparations I thought it wise to take my battered packet of recipes and clean them up a bit. To make them shorter I removed all the steps that I knew by heart and were just taking up space. Sift together dry ingredients, fill cupcake liners 1/2-1/3 full, bake until toothpick in center comes out clean, etc. Turns out that wasn't a great idea since I'm always asked for my recipes and I don't mind sharing. They're not much good to others without all the steps so now I have to add them back in. Also the clean-up is a bit literal since most of the pages have some sort of food splattered on them.

I firmly believe in using a food scale to get consistent results every time, which is important when I'm making something someone purchased. They are paying for that consistency. You can buy a pretty good digital scale for about $15, I found mine online. It should at least show ounces by tenths (ex: 9.8) and grams, which are more accurate since they are smaller increments than ounces. It's also helpful if you're using recipes from other countries.

I had a few conversion tables, but none of them seemed to match exactly. So I found a conversion calculator online that I trust and re-did all my measurements ( & This is also handy to figure out how many cups are in a pound so you know how much to purchase, especially for buying in bulk. There are 16 ounces in a pound, so if a cup of honey is 12 ounces then 16/12 = 1.3 cups per pound.

1 Cup = Ounces/Grams
Brown Sugar = 7/200
Butter = 8/225
Cake Flour = 4/100
Cream Cheese = 8/225
Chocolate Chips = 6/175
Cocoa = 4/100
Coconut =3/75
Cornstarch (Cornflour) = -5/125
Corn Syrup = 11/300

Evaporated Milk = 7.8
Flour = +4/+100
Honey = 12/340
Oatmeal, Dry = 3/75
Oil, Vegetable = 8/225
Peanut Butter = 9/250
Powdered Sugar = -5/125
Pumpkin = 8/225
Shortening = 8/225
Sour Cream = 8/225
Sugar =8/225

More to come, have a sweet day!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cupcakes & Fondant Flowers

I'm making boxes of cupcakes for Christmas. They are samplers, 4 cupcakes - 1 of each flavor.

Pumpkin with Cream Cheese Icing
Devil's Food with Chocolate Fudge Icing
Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing
Orange with Orange Buttercream

Here's a pumpkin mini cupcake. I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin, so I had to test it before I mass manufactured. These were so delicious, especially the cream cheese icing. The icing was a bit odd while it was mixing it acted more like a dough than an icing, but resulted in a very smooth and creamy frosting with just enough sweetness. The pumpkin cake was moise and light, not overpowering. Mmmm!

I used my new gum paste flower kit to make these fondant flowers. Simple, but cute! I was pleased with my first attempt. I used fondant because I had some on hand and didn't feel like making a batch of gumpaste. It took longer to dry and I used those cheap paint palettes to dry them with the curve.

Strawberry cake with cream cheese icing

Sugar crystals to add some sparkle

Have a sweet day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Inspirational Posts

I wanted to acknowledge those other cake bloggers that have inspired me to try new things, learn new techniques, and start my own blog!

*Note: these inspirations are not wrecks, they are part of the Sunday Sweets collection featured every week.

This is one of my favorite sites, Louise has many how-to's with lots of pictures.

Warning! This is a very addicting website!

Cake Central is a large forum website with user submitted recipes, pictures, how-to articles, and heaps more.

That's all for now, have a sweet day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chalk Petal Dust

I am devoted to cake decorating and am establishing quite a collection of supplies. I have purchased shimmer dust in the colors available at my local craft store, but there were only 12 and I wanted matte powders too. When I went searching for petal dust the prices for small containers shocked me. There was no way I was going to pay that much money, there had to be a better way.

After much searching I stumbled upon a reference to chalk powder used on gum paste flowers. Voila! That was the solution I was looking for. So here are the instructions to make your own cheap petal dust using chalk.

Supplies needed: paper, cornstarch, non-toxic chalk, tea ball, small containers, gloves. I bought a box of sidewalk chalk with 20 colors for $2.20, cornstarch for $2.00, a tea ball for $2.00, and a $5.00 case with 24 small containers meant for beads. So $11.20, which is about the cost of two 1/2 ounce containers of petal dust.

1. Disassemble tea ball into two halves, wash all containers and dry completely.
2. Put on gloves to protect your hands, grate chalk through tea strainer onto a piece of paper.

3. Add 1/2 tsp cornstarch, also sifted through tea ball half. The cornstarch keeps the powder from clumping, but it also lightens the color.

4. Mix together with your finger and pour through tea ball half one more time to combine.

5. Fold paper and pour powder into container. Use a paper funnel and poking device (I used a mangled paper clip) to help if the opening to your container is small.

6. Snap on the cap and repeat for all desired colors. After all is said and done you have an entire kit of powders, and a lot of chalk and cornstarch left over for several more batches as you need them.

I will caution you that although the chalk is non-toxic it's not really tasty. Since you will probably use it sparingly it shouldn't cause a problem, just keep in mind if you are covering large areas. You can mix the powders with clear alcohol or an alcohol based extract (like almond or lemon extract) and use it as a paint. The alcohol evaporates, leaving behind just the liquid color, this keeps gum paste and fondant decorations from becoming soft after painting. You can also mix with clear piping gel to tint for writing, although I recommend using gel or paste icing color for large amounts.

I hope to make some gum paste flowers soon and use my new powders. I'll post pictures!

Have a sweet day!

Ice Cream Cake & Devil's Food Cupcakes

I have some catching up to do! I finally got the pictures off my phone onto my computer, so here's the ice cream cake I made for my husband for his birthday in September. It was two layers of ice cream and one layer of white cake with whipped topping and oreo cookies. It was delicious, easy to make, and so much cheaper than Baskin Robbins.

I also tested cake mix to make domed cupcakes to be dipped in poured fondant. I also used this same post from Louise's Cake Journal website as inspiration for the flowers & leaves on my Devil's Food cupcakes below. Betty Crocker mix versus Duncan Hines. I have always been steered towards Duncan Hines, but one week they were out of white mix so I grabbed Betty Crocker. The cupcakes came out very domed without my even trying. I wanted to be sure so I tested it, the winner is Betty Crocker for domed cupcakes!

Betty Crocker

Duncan Hines

I made a test batch of Devil's Food cupcakes with Chocolate Fudge Icing. I made rolled pink fondant roses and leaves using marshmallow fondant.

They were delicious, but the cake was very light and fluffy, I need to find a dense chocolate cake recipe.

Chocolate Fudge Icing
This icing dries thick and is very rich. I don't think it's too far off actual fudge. Sift cocoa and powdered sugar separately to prevent lumps.

2/3 cup butter (5.4 oz)
1 1/3 cups cocoa (5.3 oz)
6 cups powdered sugar (1 lb 9.8 oz)
2/3 cup milk (5.3 oz)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter over medium heat, add cocoa and heat just until bubbles form.
Pour into mixer bowl and cool slightly.
Add powdered sugar and milk, alternating, beat until smooth.
Add vanilla, beat until fluffy.