Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pineapple Flowers

For Gina's Shower (the Country Cookout) I wanted to make a "natural" looking cupcake. I saw these pineapple flowers on Martha Stewart and decided to give them a try. They were quite a bit of work, but I love the final result. 
The cake was a Hummingbird cake, a dense pineapple, banana, coconut and walnut cake topped with rich cream cheese frosting.  It was a very good cupcake, but I wasn't absolutely in love with the cake. I'm going to be on the hunt for a moister version of the hummingbird cake, because I loved the ingredient combo. Now, I must say, the die for. 

Many thanks to my mom who helped with all the baking that I did that weekend. Always my #1 fan!

How to Make Pineapple Flowers
Technique from Martha Stewart

Step 1: Skin a pineapple and cut out any rinds or seeds that remain. 
Step 2: Slice pineapple into thin (as thin as you can) round slices.
Step 3: Bake slices at 225 degrees for at least 30 minutes on each side. The purpose is to dry them out so you could bake them for much longer. 
Step 4: Once almost completely dried out, transfer to a cupcake pan and form pineapple slices into bowl shapes. Let dry over night
*Note: The next morning when I went to decorate my cupcakes, not all the pineapple flowers were completely dried out, I put the pan in the oven again and kept a close eye on them. If you want a deeper color, leave them in the oven longer.
Step 5: Get out your kitchen scissors and cut slits around the pineapple cup to form petals. 
Step 6: Place on top of your cupcakes and enjoy your creation!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Simple Beauty

Currently, I am in love with the simple beauty of a mason jar. There is something rustic and simplistic about a mason jar filled with flowers. They are inviting, not too pretentious.

At a women's retreat with church, Meg the artist behind Milk and Honey Market created some beautiful arrangements that overflowed from the humble mason jar.

I took this idea and filled the jar with my favorite flower, the Sunflower. 

To complete a warm rustic atmosphere for my sister's Country Cookout I placed floating candles in the mason jars. 

Why stop there? The rafia bows have me all giddy. I picked up a bunch of filler greenery from Sam's Club for $2.01 (including tax) and filled my favorite vase. 

How do you use a mason jar?

Country Cookout

I threw a couple shower for my sister and (now!) brother-in-law. The theme was country cookout. It turned out better than I thought. I will break down the different elements in future posts. Here is an overview in pictures.

Write a message on a stone: alternative to a guest book

Heart-Shaped Bird Seed Ornaments/Favors

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Name

It's been a long silent summer. And I'm ready to be back!  I've missed writing and baking. So, I decided to give my blog a small facelift, and begin again!

Welcome to the new and improved Sweets By Francesca. This blog will include party planning and baking delicious desserts. What's a delicious and cute dessert without a party? And, what's a party without a delicious and cute dessert? There will also be some crafting and life thrown in the mix as well.