Thursday, February 19, 2009

Green Tea Cake Recipe

Tuesday was my bff's birthday and to make it special I headed out to Cheney to surprise her in the painting studio with cake, flowers and gifts. She's got a huge painting review and a couple upcoming shows to get ready for so the break was a welcome relief. Because she's quirky and adventurous like me I always try unique recipes out on her. She loved this one and I'm sharing it with you to try out as well.

Here's what you'll need:


2 C. All-purpose flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Salt
3 Eggs
4 Tsp. Matcha Green Tea Powder (Or comparable substitute)
1 1/4 C. White Granulated Sugar
1 C. Vegetable Oil
1 C. Plain Yogurt
1 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract


2 1/2 C. Confectioner's Sugar (Powdered Sugar)
4 Tsp. Matcha Green Tea Powder (Or comparable substitute)
4 Tbsp. Butter (Softened)
8 oz Cream Cheese (Softened)
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Tsp. Milk (In my case I use soymilk)

Also Needed: 2- 9 inch cake pans
Crisco or other means to grease pans
3 medium mixing bowls
Electric Beaters
Wire Cooling Rack
Spatula (for frosting cake)


-- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

-- In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, matcha green tea powder (I could not get this at my local grocer on short notice, so I went with Chai Green Tea instead. A slightly "spicier" taste than the matcha but also very good!) and salt. Set aside.

-- In a medium mixing bowl, beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until smooth. Stir in the vanilla, adding extra if you wish. Beat in the yogurt until incorporated, don't over mix.

-- Incorporate dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing on medium speed.

-- Grease and flour both 9 inch cake pans. I use springform pans, but you can use whichever you like- you may need to adjust your baking time depending on which type of pan you use. Pour the batter into both pans, being as equal as possible. (This is very hard to do one-handed while snapping photos that aren't blurry!)

-- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 30 minutes before removing from pans. You may freeze the cakes after they are cool if you aren't going to use them right away.

-- For the frosting, sift together cofectioner's sugar and matcha green tea powder in a medium bowl. Add butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and milk.

-- Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. You can also add any food coloring, if you wish, at this point. (I added a bit of green to mine)

-- To assemble, wait until your cakes are completely cooled. Trim your cakes, if needed. Place one cake on a serving plate and spread a generous layer of your frosting on top. If you cake crumbs try dipping your spatula in hot water and using more frosting at once. Spread from the middle out.

-- Place your second cake on top. Frost the top and sides, decorate or sprinkle with matcha powder if desired. Serve either cool or at room temperature.

** Can also make one sheet cake if you do not choose to make a layerd round cake. Your baking time will need to be adjusted for this, so check your cake to prevent burning it or under-baking.

Hope you enjoy your cake as much as we did. Sorry, no pictures of it in action- candles lit in all it's glory but I can assure you it was spectacular. ;) Big hugs to the birthday girl. Good luck on your review and upcoming show, I'm so proud of you! (Me on the left, my bff Keshia on the right. People ask us all the time if we're sisters- we're not. We are just both super pale and have red hair.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gift Guides

Gift Guides seems to be the phrase on people's lips lately. This section of Etsy suggests items to buyers looking for gifts in various categories or for certain people. Consider the gift guides as your one-stop shop when you're looking for items in a specific style or for a special person and you just aren't sure what to search for. These items are all hand-picked by Etsy staff members so, naturally, to be picked for one of these guides is quite flattering.

Some folks have found themselves wondering how to get included in one of these guides. One such person is my friend Cherie over at StudioCherie. One of the theories out there is to change up your photos so they are excellent shots and vibe well with the other picks already in the gift guides. Check out her blog and leave your opinion on what photo you think will earn her that well deserved place. Doing so will give you the chance to win one of 3 prizes!

After reading that I could win some awesome gift from her shop I had to put in my two cents, which brought me to the gift guides page to take one more look before casting my vote. To me, putting together a gift guide seems like a huge treasury, so I wanted to see which photo of hers compliments the other photos in the "baby" guide. I never got that far (yet! Cherie, I will be checking yours out after this, I promise!)

The reason I didn't get that far is, much to my surprise, I have been included in a gift guide myself! Woo Hoo!

Check out the "Writing It Down" guide to see my birds and bees journal in action. I'd love to provide you all with advice at this point on how I did it, but honestly it wasn't anything special. Recently I've improved my photographs and since then I've almost doubled my monthly sales, been included in more treasuries, been hearted more, and scored a spot in the gift guides. Proof, I suppose, that a picture truly is worth a thousand words.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

Just popping in to my much neglected blog to wish you all a Happy Valentines Day. Hope yours is filled with roses, romance and carefully aimed arrows. (Or whatever tickles your fancy)

So far mine has been spent catching up on emails and planning out some new items for my Etsy shop (keep a look out for some embroidered journals and coffee sleeves in several themes: woodland animals, matryoska dolls, and sushi!). My husband has spend most of the day bonding with Mr. Rooter and our ever faulty septic system. Love is in the air, or not. We seem to be notorious for un-romantic Valentines days as hard as we try. Haha. Oh well, humor is an integral part of a lasting relationship anyway.

Keep a look out for new items in my shop and an uncoming tutorial for a delicious and unique green tea cake.

Mannequin Kiss Card by WHIMSYlove

Monday, February 2, 2009

Egg People Tutorial

Or, as my 3 yr old niece likes to call them- "people grass."

Last week we planned on having my niece over for a couple of days to spend the night at our new home. I had all sorts of activities planned for when she came over including making little egg people with grass hair and whipping up some homemade marshmallows. (Which were a disaster. I learned that letting a 3 yr old do all the stirring makes flat marshmallows and gelatin without flavoring is very stinky!) In case you want to make some of these cute little guys, I've made a mini tutorial for y'all.

Since wheatgrass grows so fast it is pretty instant gratification and fun for kids to plant. I made it a little more kid friendly by using eggshells with faces on them. The grass looks like crazy green hair and children love to play barber and trim it.

Materials Needed:
Egg carton
Markers or paints
Soil (I use Miracle Grow water control)
Wheatgrass seeds (available here)


1. Crack your eggs very carefully to remove just a small portion of the top. Sometimes this takes several tries so plan on making a quiche or something with lots of eggs. They do sell a fancy tool that cuts off the top, but if you don't own one use the lip of a bowl or glass and tap lightly all around. Empty the contents of the eggshell and rinse with water. Set aside to dry.

2. If you are using an egg carton to hold your egg person, cut out an individual cup for each egg and allow the children to decorate them with markers or paints. Remember if using markers not to get these wet or they will bleed! Other alternatives are to cut out feet from a piece of cardboard and hot glue them to the bottom of your egg, or cut a 1" strip of cardstock and make a "tube" for the little guy to sit in.

3. Using the help of an adult (especially for young children) lightly draw a face on your egg using a sharpie or other non-washable marker.

4. Fill your egg 2/3 full with soil using a teaspoon. Tap down lightly. At this point I also like to water the soil a bit so it is moist and I don't wash away the seeds by trying to water the top.

5. Sprinkle with an even coating of wheatgrass seeds, trying not to overfill or cause the seeds to overlap.

6. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and moisten. Not too much- your soil underneath the seeds should already be moist as well. (A spray bottle works perfect for this!) Do not over fill or flood your egg.

7. Place the newest member of your family in a warm place and allow to sit for about 3 days, watering lightly only when the soil feels dry. Once the first little sprouts peek through the soil move locations to a windowsill or other sunny spot in your home. In a few days your egg will have wild hair! You can cut the hair or allow your pets to nibble on them. (I woke up to the cat sitting in my sink eating my wheatgrass!)

Enjoy your projects!