Jack n’ Jill Cupcake Cakes

I always get excited when I am approached to do a baking job for someone.  I love to hear what their request is and the wheels in my head turn as I debate with myself about whether or not I can do it.  In the end, it is always a pleasant surprise.

This week’s request was for cupcake cakes for a Jack and Jill party.  For those of you not sure what a Jack and Jill party is, they also go by the name of Stag and Doe party or Hen and Stag Party and is a type of wedding social event generally arranged by the bridal party to help fundraise for the upcoming wedding by charging entrance, running raffles, auctions and games.

The specific request was to re-create 2 cupcake cakes that were seen in the past, one in the shape of a tux and the other a wedding gown.  Done.

The cupcakes were simple, just vanilla and chocolate.  The icing was buttercream (always) and flavoured chocolate (the black buttercream) and vanilla (white buttercream)

Over all, there were close to 90 cupcakes here.

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To make black icing, I add cocoa to my buttercream and then add Wilton black icing colour. The longer it sits, the darker it gets. Wilton 2D tip to pipe the buttercream.

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Little fondant bow tie.

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 Here’s Jill!

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Here’s Jack!

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The feedback was positive.  A few tears from the Bride who had mentioned this cake idea to her bridesmaids a while back.  They remembered and thought it a good idea to have these made as a surprise.  What a sweet idea!  =)

Someone Made It, I Ate It – Barque Smokehouse

Barque Smokehouse is a BBQ joint located at 299 Roncesvalles Avenue in Toronto.

http://barque.ca

For over a year, I would pass this establishment as I rode the streetcar to my weekend baking class and I would notice the full restaurant and sometimes line up outside and wonder…Why wasn’t I eating there at that moment?!

I finally got my chance to try it on a dinner outing with some Peeps from work and a Peep from college.

Some restaurant ambiance.  No pretension here, just a cool neighbourhood food joint.

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Apricot wheat beer.
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Since there were 4 of us, we opted to pair off and order sampler plates of two.  This plate did not stay empty for long. IMG_8328

For my pair’s sampler plate we opted for Brisket, Italian Sausage, 1/2 rack of dry rub ribs, with sides of smoked asparagus, creamy smoked cauliflower and potatoes served in mini skillets.

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The brisket was awesome, so tender and soft.  The sausage was well grilled and smoky.  Although the ribs were delicious, I am a fan of fall off the bone ribs and these were not.  The sides were interesting and not anything I have ever had elsewhere.  Quite inventive flavours and textures there.

Of course, dessert was a must and seeing as we were in the Roncesvalles area, I knew of a newly opened Ed’s Real Scoop location just down the street.  I made it no secret that we were absolutely going here.  A terrific new store with all the delicious ice cream flavours I have come to know and love.  This visit, I opted for the chocolate cheesecake and butter pecan.  So good, I did a jig!

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Ahh, so full of yummy goodness. I will definitely be back to both places! =)

Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival

I simply love summer in Toronto.  The city comes alive as people start to emerge from winter hibernation and there is always a festival or gathering going on.  So many ways to spend time with people and explore the great city of Toronto.

The first day of summer 2014 coincided with the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival, the city’s first outdoor wine & spirit festival which has been around for 6 years.   Held at Sugar Beach, located on Toronto’s Waterfront, it was a perfect day for some socializing, wine tasting and tanning at the same time!

This way to the festival!

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Tagged and have cup.  Time to sample.

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Sugar Beach – pink umbrellas, live music and plenty of people and sand.

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There was food to be eaten.  Had to try the lobster poutine from the Lobster Shack.  Delicious crispy tater tots, thick chunks of lobster and melted cheese.

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Braised Beef pierogies from the Saucy Pierogi.  Soft tasty beef and a rich gravy sauce.  Sauerkraut on the side. IMG_8299 IMG_8301 IMG_8303

Fall off the bone ribs by Del Fico Catering and Creemore BBQ.  One of the better ribs I’ve had ever.  Friendly servers made the wait in line enjoyable.  IMG_8288 IMG_8289 IMG_8291

And of course there was wine and other spirits.  For just a few tickets, lots of sampling could be done.  And lots of sampling did happen…

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Some of my personal favourites – a crazy concoction created with Wiser’s spiced whiskey.  We watched the rep mix up an entire bottle of whiskey, 5 bottles of beer, lime juice and a syrup of some sort to create a strange yet yummy mixture.  I also enjoyed a new product by Jack Daniel’s, I suppose a girly way to enjoy some whiskey without even realizing it.  Their Down home punch and Lynchburg Lemonade were quite delicious.

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A terrific day relaxing in the sun, catching up with Peeps, enjoying the city as the sun set over it.  Welcome Summer!  So happy to see you again! =)