All posts by Whitney

Tips For Perfect Chocolate Ganache Drip Cakes

chocolate ganache drip cake recipe and tutorial

One of my favorite easy things to dress up a cake is to do a chocolate ganache drip finish. Over the years, my ability to create the drip look has definitely grown, and I get tons of questions asking what my secret is. The truth is, chocolate ganache has definitely put me through the wringer before (especially white chocolate ganache, which used to be my absolute nemesis). After figuring out the perfect ratio for chocolate to heavy whipping cream and learning the do’s and dont’s of drip cakes, I’ve got it down to a science these days. And now you will too!

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A Guide to Coloring Buttercream Frosting

how to color buttercream frosting with color gels

I think one of the coolest things about cake is how artistic it can be, and a big part of that comes from the freedom to create any buttercream color you could possibly imagine! In fact, when planning out my cakes I love to nerd out on the color palette and get a real thrill when the colors turn out exactly how I pictured. As with anything, getting my buttercream shades just right has come with tons of practice and finding products I love to help make it happen. 

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Our Sweet Baby Boy is Here!

Sugar and Sparrow baby

In case you didn’t see my Instagram announcement, our sweet baby boy is here and he’s totally stolen our hearts! I’m so thrilled to be a mama and just consumed with learning the ropes of caring for a newborn these days. Just wanted to post a quick message to let you know I will be on a little maternity leave, and while I am I won’t be checking the blog comments quite as often. That said, if you do have questions about my recipes or tutorials feel free to sift through previous comments, use Google, or check out my YouTube channel – between those three resources you should have the answer you’re looking for. If you find a new solution or tip, feel free to return and leave a comment for others to see! 

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Coffee Layer Cake With Vanilla Espresso Buttercream

coffee layer cake recipe by Sugar and Sparrow

If you’re reading this, chances are you love coffee as much as I do (or you’re here for a coffee loving friend). I don’t know about your city’s coffee situation, but we Portlanders are spoiled when it comes to good coffee. I wouldn’t call myself a coffee connoisseur per se, but I know what a good cup tastes like. So when I set out to configure the perfect coffee layer cake recipe, I wanted to capture the rich and aromatic flavor of the good stuff. The only way to do that is to use rich and aromatic coffee beans in the recipe!

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How to Decorate a Cake with Sprinkles

sprinkle cake tutorial by sugar and sparrow

Sprinkles these days aren’t what they used to be (in the best way). I remember swooning over the little vials of rainbow jimmies and sugar sprinkles in the baking aisle as a kid – little did I know that a few decades later sprinkles would come in all shapes and sizes and colors and textures with names like Bombshell and Party Monster and Unicorn Barf. You can find a sprinkle blend to match any color scheme you could dream of, and I think dressing up cakes with them is one of the easiest ways to add intrigue. 

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Your Guide to Frosting a Cake with Smooth Buttercream

Would you believe me if I told you that once upon a time it took me hours to frost a smooth buttercream cake? It was mainly due to my perfectionism, but also because I didn’t know as much as I do now about frosting techniques. I remember agonizing over every flaw and just smoothing the cake over and over again until I reached a point where I was okay with the finish. These days, I’ve got the frosting process down to about 15 minutes and I can’t wait to share my best tips with you so you can eliminate some of the anxiety that seems to come along with cake decorating. 

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How to Crumb Coat Cakes (and Why it’s Important)

How to crumb coat cakes

In the cake making process, you might be tempted to skip ahead to your final coating of frosting after you fill and stack your cake layers. If you’re a perfectionist though (like I am, to a fault), it’s so worth it to go the extra mile and crumb coat your cake. Not only will this prevent crumbs from getting into your final layer of frosting, it also helps to create a stable foundation for your final layer of frosting. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered how to get a super smooth buttercream finish, crumb coating is one of the essential steps. 

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How to Fill and Stack Cake Layers

how to fill cake layers tutorial

Have you ever had a fiasco with your cake filling? I have. Between it bulging out between layers or straight up oozing out of the sides because it’s just too thin to withstand the weight of gravity, I’ve seen it all. The thing is, the filling and stacking process is arguably the most essential part of building your cake’s foundation. If your cake filling is unstable in any way it can throw off the entire outcome of your cake, and if you’re anything like me (perfectionistic to a fault), that can be totally devastating. 

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A Magical Maternity Photoshoot in the Rose Gardens

international rose test garden portland maternity photoshoot

There’s this magical place in Portland called the International Rose Test Garden, where there are over ten thousand roses in bloom all at once. It’s apparently the longest running rose test garden in the country, and maybe even why Portland is nicknamed the “City of Roses.” So when it came time to start thinking about places to capture some maternity photos, this place seemed like the most beautiful backdrop ever. Turns out it is the dreamiest setting, and as a bonus, all of the roses fill the air with the most amazing fragrance. Whether for photos or not, if you’re ever in Portland, you must go!

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How to Level and Torte Cake Layers

how to level and torte cake layers

Whether my cake layers come out of the oven with a domed top or a flat one, there’s one step I never miss once those cakes are cooled: torting the layers. Torting is a fancy word for leveling, and the process ensures that any domes get chopped off and any difference in height between layers is eliminated. Perfectly level layers not only make for the most picturesque cake slices, they also ensure that your cake is more level overall when frosted. In my humble opinion, it is a must

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