All posts by Whitney

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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How to Prepare Cake Pans for Easy Release

how to prepare cake pans

Before you mix up your cake batter, there are two things you’ve got to do to set yourself up for cake baking success: preheat your oven and prepare your pans. There’s no need to explain how to preheat your oven (I hope!) but I do have some things to say about cake pan preparation. After all, there’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you’ve baked the perfect cake, only to have it stick to the pan and fall apart upon release. Whether you’re completely new to baking and don’t know the first thing about what it means to “grease and flour” or “line a cake pan,” or you’re just curious about how I prepare my cake pans, you’re going to learn all of it in one handy little blog post!

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Common Reasons Why Cakes Sink

reasons why cakes sink

It happens to the best of us: you spend all this time mixing up cake batter and feeling extra optimistic about those future cake layers, come to find that when you open the oven door your cakes have sunk. Before you blame the recipe, there are many things that can factor into the chemistry of your sunken cake creation. Baking is a series of chemical reactions, which can be cool and frustrating all in the same day!

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The Tastiest From-Scratch Strawberry Cake Recipe

strawberry cake recipe by sugar and sparrow

A few years ago, I created this Strawberry Lemonade cake that became an instant hit: cake flavored with fresh strawberries (pureed and reduced), filled with strawberry buttercream, topped with lemon buttercream – basically Summer in cake form! It’s been on my list to write an all-strawberry cake recipe ever since, and after getting a request for one via Instagram DM, I knew it was time. I took to the store for a pound of fresh strawberries and a package of freeze dried strawberries to give you the ultimate flavor profile. I promise, it’s as delicious as it is pretty to look at! 

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Tasty Toasted S’mores Cupcakes

smores cupcakes with toasted marshmallow

I can’t tell you how many requests I’ve gotten for a cupcake version of my S’mores Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Buttercream. It’s one of my all-time favorite recipes (s’mores fan to the core, here!) and there are so many amazing flavors going on in it: graham cracker cake, decadent chocolate, toasted marshmallow buttercream. I had to get a little creative to capture the magic of these flavors in cupcake form, and I am so happy with how they turned out. Behold!

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Coming Soon: Cake Basics

birthday cake with sprinkles by sugar and sparrow

One of the biggest reasons why I started blogging about cake is because I fell in love with helping people. It totally makes my day when I read messages from you guys talking about how one of my recipes has become your go-to or how a tutorial helped you make the perfect cake to celebrate your loved one. Cake is one of my favorite ways to spread joy, and I feel like teaching you how to make pretty cakes spreads that joy even further – from my kitchen to yours and beyond. I consider it an honor! And while I love sharing cake decorating tutorials and recipes, there’s one thing I’ve been dreaming about teaching for a long time, what I like to call Cake Basics

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