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50 Sweetest Moments of 2014

It's been a delicious year.

Full of life, love, and alotalotalotalotofdessert. You know what? I'd like to look back at the year to re-visit some of my sweetest moments: things I ate, places I went, art I made. Why don't you join me for a loving look back? I've arranged 50 of my finest moments from the year, in no particular order, for our mutual enjoyment. Cue the memory montage music:

1. I tackled the controversial subject of things that are not dessert

2. I went to the Pillsbury Bake-Off and got to hug the doughboy, and taste the million-dollar winning recipe.

3. I went to Bali, where they served mini cookies with lattes.

4. In the case of Seniman Coffee in Bali, they served the latte with a mini coconut pancake.

5. I made millet cookies.

6. I made magic cookie bars.

7. I delved into the art of guilty pleasure desserts.

8. Two words: funfetti marshmallows.

9. Two more words: Magnum Gold.

10. I made a comprehensive post about the delicious sweets of  New Mexico.

11. I made ice cream...with butter.

12. I made what I consider the only flourless chocolate cake.
Flourless chocolate cake.

13. Along with King Arthur Flour, I learned how to make the perfect pie crust.

14. I invented Cadbury creme egg in hole toast.

15. I learned how to make d.i.y. sweetened condensed milk.

16. I discovered Dessert Mash-Ups by Dorothy of Crazy For Crust.

17. I made cornmeal pecan cookies.

18. I made the most marvellous marble swirl cake.

19. I made an absolutely perfect pie with King Arthur Flour.

20. I discovered that you can make Millionaire's shortbread with store bought sugar cookie dough.

21. I made amazing bread with blue corn and pinon.

22. I fell in love with caramels by Liddabit Sweets.

23. I made homemade rock candy. oooooh.

24. I went on the road trip of the century.

25. I taught the world about "The Cake".

26. I discovered how to make black rice pudding, a Balinese specialty, at home.

27. Three words: Breakfast. Nanaimo. Bars.

28. I shared a delectable Irish Soda Bread recipe.

29. I taught you how to make tres leches cake.

30. Not joking: I made peanut butter banana croissant doughnuts.

31. I made chocolate babka with olive oil!

32. I made NYC-style rainbow cookies.

33. I made Vanilla Kreme doughnuts inspired by Dunkin'!

35. How brilliant was this: cookie cups filled with milk.

36. I made chocolate filled cookies. Bliss.

37. I made a tutorial for how to make "honeycomb" out of chocolate.

38. I created "Pop-Hearts".

39. And then I outdid myself by making unicorn Pop-tarts.

40. I figured out how to make doughnuts using cookie dough mix.

41. I made my own nutella!

42. I went healthy for a few minutes and made this hippie drink inspired by one I enjoyed in Bali.

43. Then I went back to the sweets and made a white chocolate cranberry pie that I still dream about.

44. I learned how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker!

45. I educated you on what pumpkin pie spice is, exactly.

46. I figured out a way to make any and every cookie better.

47. I invented a fictional yoga cafe.

48. I really did some terrible things to cereal.

49. I created some possible new Pop-Tart flavors.

50. We discussed eating disorders and food blogs.

This was a very meaningful moment for me in 2014. I wrote a blog post entitled "Of Eating Disorders and Food Blogs" detailing my eating disorder recovery. The response was incredible, and I feel so lucky to have such terrific and inspiring readers. I consider you all my friends.

What was your sweetest moment of 2014?


CakeSpy's Recent Craftsy Posts

Chocolate filled cookies. The best!

This post is from a while back, but worth a look: a beginner's guide to veganizing your baked goods.

Also from a bit back but worth a look: how to make stabilized whipped cream.

Fine, Christmas is over, but a cookie table will serve you all year long.

Getting started with pencil drawing. An informative and cute post!

How to paint a snowy scene in watercolor. Adorable!

Learn some cool sketching techniques to improve your art.


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Guess whose work was featured in the James Beard Foundation's newsletter? (MINE! MINE!)

DIY cookie sheet chalkboard. SO clever! (The Spiffy Cookie)

Homemade peppermint oreos. (Joanne Eats Well With Others)

The history of conversation hearts. (BHG)

The ONLY flourless chocolate cake recipe. (Right here)

I want these: pistachio creams. (Betty Crocker)

Brown butter coconut shortbread (Clockwork Lemon)

A foolproof way to make perfect lemon curd. (Fine Cooking)

An amazingly comprehensive collection of cutters, knives, and tools for pastry chefs. Yes, you can shop, but it's also suitable for reference. (Pastrychef.com)

A great collection of baking spices with an explanation of history and uses. (The Spice House)

DIY peeps. I'm ready for them already (Baking Bites)

Lemon sour cream pie. (Tastes Better from Scratch)

Brown sugar buttercream...it makes everything better. (Craftsy)

Something I loved this year and every year: the Vanilla Kreme donut from Dunkin Donuts (CakeSpy

Book of the week: Baking: From My Home to Yours. By Dorie Greenspan. This. Is. A. Good. Book.


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

How to make a Santa cake. Impress everyone! You win Christmas! (Paul Bradford Cakes)

Italian sesame cookies. I loved these growing up and can't wait to make them as a grown-up! (Hunting for the Very Best)

Chocolate cinnamon rolls. Well done. (Heather's French Press)

Chocolate pecan tassies. I want these so bad! (American Heritage Cooking)

Five ingredient chocolate candy. This, I can handle. (Show me the Yummy)

Peanut butter honey shortbread. Some of my favorite flavors all in one cookie. (Savory Nothings)

Peppermint pinwheels. INTO IT. (Bake.Eat.Repeat)

Ever heard of Goan nankhatai? (Flavors of Mumbai)

Mantecaditos con guayaba. Translation: DELICIOUS. (The Noshery)

Salted peanut sandwich cookies. YUM! (Pillsbury)

Ever baked with persimmon? I haven't, and these sweet persimmon bars sound great. (Flavor the Moments)

A sweet discussion of the holiday cookie tradition. (Cape Gazette)

If you have an eating disorder, here are some tips for surviving a stressful food holiday season. (Unicorn Love)

Chocolate filled cookies! (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Did you know I'm on Instagram? Follow me! (Do it here)

Book of the week: Beard On Bread. This book is a classic, and with good reason. This book is like a people's bread bible--accessible, informative, and full of illustrations.


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Desserts that are GREEN. (CakeSpy online shop)

Yep. You can transform marshmallows into fluff. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

A people's history of "slutty" brownies. (The Perfect Brownie)

Yogurt minute bread. Intrigued? You should be. (Love, Thyme, and Honey)

Best-ever blondies? You've got my attention. (Hip Foodie Mom)

Chocolate chip pecan pie bars. SO MUCH YUM. (The Little Kitchen)

Brown butter maple cornbread. (Tutti Dolci)

What is figgy pudding, anyway? (Good Housekeeping)

What do Mary Jane candies and Paul Revere have in common? (Necco Candy)

Refreshingly creative gift ideas for foodies. (Burlington Free Press)

Always perfect for the holidays: candy cane cookies. (CakeSpy)

Food trend forecast for 2015. What do you think? (McCormick)

Book of the week: Blue Corn And Chocolate (Knopf Cooks American Series) Every food has a story. When new foods are introduced to a new land, they become part of the old world cuisine, and are gradually absorbed in their new homeland. Sometimes they take off in a big way--like the tomato in Italy! Author Elizabeth Rozin describes how travel and trade have affected the way we eat in a huge way.


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Learn how to make a DIY paint by numbers painting! I made one of a cupcake to illustrate the easy and fun technique. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Which recipe won the million dollar prize at the Pillsbury Bake-Off? (Find out here)

Easy acorn doughnut holes. TOO CUTE! (A Taste of Madness)

Paris-Brest. No, I am not catcalling you. (Lavender and Lime)

Homemade brownie mix in a jar. Gift idea alert! (The Perfect Brownie)

What is cornstarch and what does it do in baking? (CakeSpy)

Is pure vanilla worth the price? (The Kitchn)

Gingerbread pancakes. Frosting tree. You've gotta see it! (Brooklyn Farm Girl)

Buttermilk chess pie! (Love and Olive Oil)

What's the best type of chocolate for baking? Here's a guide. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Carb-o-licious: homemade apple cinnamon bagels. (Heather's French Press)

Desserts that are ORANGE. (CakeSpy Shop)

I wish I had thought of this first: speculoos and pumpkin spice oreo "lasagne" (Spiffy Cookie)

IN LOVE: Baking in Miniature. Thanks Pam for the lead! (Baking in Miniature)

Painted holiday cookies. (Jelly Toast Blog)

Ever heard of "Buddha's Hand"? (Food on Fifth)

Book of the week: The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook: Cookies, Cakes, Candies, and More. Because...well, COOKIE DOUGH. Recipes to enjoy it in more ways than you'd ever dreamed!


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links


Today's links are brought to you by the color RED. 

Need a good way to use up all that leftover pie? Pumpkin pie shakes for all! (CakeSpy)

One of my favorite Christmas cookies: pistachio cookies. (CakeSpy)

Another fave: Stained Glass Cookies. Get ready for compliments if you make these! (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Very intrigued: 7-up biscuits! (Bake.Frost.Repeat)

Cardamom rolls: so spicy and delicious-looking! (Fresh April Flours)

A helpful primer on cake knives. (Bakery Boy Blog)

No-bake peppermint cheesecake. This one's a showstopper. (Beyond Frosting)

Cappuccino eggnog donuts. So into these. (The First Year

Mini gingerbread house mug kits by my friend Not Martha. (Not Martha)

Savory whipped cream! Really?? Really. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

DIY horchata. Or, add rum and make it "rumchata". (CakeSpy)

French Toast Swirl Sticks. I'd go there. (Pepperidge Farm)

Interesting: a historian chases down the history of baby food. (Saratogian)

Brown sugar chess pie. YES. (Grandbaby Cakes)

Cherry buttercream. It's a winner. (CakeSpy

Book of the week: CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. Yes, MY book! Because it's a great holiday gift.


Best-Ever: Pumpkin Pie with Sweetened Condensed Milk

If pumpkin pie made with evaporated milk simply stopped existing today, I wouldn't really care. Because even though that's the "back of the box" classic version, I prefer mine with sweetened condensed milk.

Adding sweetened condensed milk not only saves you the trouble of measuring out sugar, as it provides all the sweetness your pie will need, but it also imparts a creamy, rich flavor. It's perfectly accented with a little salt, which takes the pie from earthy to ethereal, and completely crave-worthy. 

It's also almost sinful how easy this pie is to make, so instead of using pumpkin pie spice I used all the spices separately. It made the recipe seem more impressive, I think. 

I consider this the best way to eat pumpkin pie, and I hope you will, too. 

Pumpkin pie made with sweetened condensed milk

Makes one 9-inch pie (8 servings)

  • One 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (I prefer the King Arthur method)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt (note: I like my pie fairly salty. If you don't, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • One (15 ounce) can plain pumpkin puree
  • One (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (212 degrees C).
  2. Roll the pie dough to a circle about 12 inches in diameter; place it into the pie pan and crimp the edges. Keep the dough refrigerated while you prepare the filling.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs; stir in the pumpkin and the sugar-and-spice mixture. Once well incorporated, stir in the sweetened condensed milk (it may incorporate better if you add the milk in three additions, ensuring that each addition is fully mixed in before adding the next). Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate the pie and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. If desired, serve topped with whipped cream.

PS: Pumpkin pie not for you? Here are some other pies and ideas for Thanksgiving from around the web that I suggest.

Happy Thanksgiving, sweet ones!


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Need cards? Click here.Cake decorators: Win 8 Craftsy courses! (Craftsy)

I need to tell you: Oreo Peanut Butter Dip. (Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts)

Maple walnut fudge. I like it. (Eagle Brand)

I know, linking to a link post. But this is a collection of food blogs beloved by someone in eating disorder recovery. Now that's sweet! (Recovery Warriors)

Is Walkers the best shortbread in Britain? (Telegraph UK)

Intriguing: salted caramel pita chip clusters. (Naptime Chef)

Pie-fect: how to make pretty pie crust edges. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Pecan pie baklava. A naturally delicious progression for both desserts. (Crazy for Crust)

In case you've ever wondered how to make a carved dinosaur cake. (My Sweet and Saucy)

50 Cake batter desserts. YES! (Chef in Training

Spumoni trifle. FREAKING LOVE THIS! (Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

Palette knives: no longer just for paint. For cake, too! (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Pear, blue cheese, and walnut rugelach. Wow! (Baking a Moment)

Ramen Donuts. Would you ever?? (Culinary Brodown)

Edible Thanksgiving place cards. (Hungry Happenings)

In case you missed it: my awesome roundup of the Pillsbury Bake-Off (CakeSpy)

Homemade carmelitas. I wouldn't lie about this. (Shauna Sever)

Book of the week: 

Holiday Cookies: Prize-Winning Family Recipes from the Chicago Tribune for Cookies, Bars, Brownies and More. This book spans three decades of prize-winning cookies from the Chicago Tribune's annual holiday cookie contest. They are amazing. I will be featuring the winner from 2012 in a few days on the site, but til then, I do suggest you buy this book!


Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Square scoops of ice cream? Believe it. (Cinners and Squares)

Listen to an interview with me on an eating disorder recovery podcast! (Recovery Warriors)

In case you missed it: the most beautiful blog post ever. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

Butternut blondies with white chocolate chunks (Whole Foods; I found it via Vanilla Sugar)

Easy and elegant chocolate garnishes (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Food encompasses human struggle and happiness. An interesting read. (Arizona Daily Star)

How to make sandwich bread. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Junk food brownies. These are brilliant. (Love and Olive Oil)

Pumpkin Spice Butterscotch Sprinkle cupcakes. Every word is so right! (Picky Palate)

Paint the rainbow: explore color theory, adorably. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Homemade honeycomb ice cream. If you don't know what that is, it's worth discovering. (Giramuk's Kitchen)

What is "urban sketching" and how do you do it? Find out here. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Looking for a cool contest? Check out Perugina's Chocolate Dessert Contest. (Perugina)

Back in stock: the best holiday card ever! (See what it is here)

I don't know if you already knew, but I'm on instagram. User name: cakespyblog (it's a long story why I don't have the "cakespy" one; deal with it!)

Book of the week: You Can't Judge a Cookie by Its Cutter: Make 100 Cookie Designs with Only a Handful of Cookie Cutters. What the title promises, the book certainly delivers: you'll learn how to make many types of clever cookies with a small selection of cookie cutters. Check out a more full review (which is what initially intrigued me!) on InStyle.

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