Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
A Merry and Bright Christmas Tea

A Merry and Bright Christmas Tea

Christmas is just 5 days away, can you believe it? This whole month of December we've been celebrating by baking cookies, making festive cocktails, and of course, my annual Christmas tea!

I hosted this year's Christmas tea early in the season, and it was such a fun way to kick off the festivities with friends. I would totally use this same set up for a fun Christmas or New Years Eve brunch too!

Last year I opted for a traditional red and plaid table, so this year I chose a Merry and Bright theme with pinks and blues. I love how happy and relaxed this table feels. Read on for all the details!

Used In This Post: 

I knew I was going to focus the table on light pastels, and just about jumped with glee when I found these adorable nostalgic village salad plates! I love that each plate has a different winter village scene - they are so pretty! I love how the snowflake napkin rings tie in with the plates, and also add just a bit of glam to the table.

My centerpiece was incredibly simple this year, with some bottle brush trees in different colors and  pretty candles, set on a simple pink table runner. It doesn't get much easier than that, and we've been enjoying the bottle brush trees as decoration around the living room too!

For desserts, I set up a hot cocoa bar with all the fixings, and a fun tiered tray full of various sweets! I love this 3-tier stand, because it makes every cookie whether homemade or store-bought look beautiful! It's one of my go-to dishes when I'm entertaining!

If you have any questions about anything on this table or how to host your own Christmas tea (or party of any kind), check out my 6 Tips For An Easy and Beautiful Christmas Tea, or leave a comment below!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

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Kirsten Bell
Gingerbread Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Do you love gingerbread? Me too! Spicy, moist and festive - this Gingerbread cake is all the delicious gingerbread flavors in cake form! The perfect dessert for Christmas dinners and New Years festivities. This cake is sure to become everyone's new favorite dessert, even for the busy cook since it takes just a few minutes to come together and is beautiful to present!

Also, I personally love semi-naked cakes! They're so quick and easy to frost, and especially when the cake is such a pretty color like this one, I love seeing the cake layers peeking through the cream cheese frosting!

The star player of this cake is the Brown Sugar Bourbon drizzled over each layer of cake, and in the cream cheese frosting! So warm and delicious, and a perfect way to elevate the cake for special occasions. The bourbon perfectly compliments the brown sugar and molasses flavors in this cake, and it's basically a dessert and nightcap in one!

If you enjoy bourbon, scroll to the bottom of this post for my other favorite bourbon recipes!

Cake Ingredients: 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
 2 eggs
1 1/4 cups brewed coffee
1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar Bourbon (plus more for drizzling)


Preheat the oven to 350, and grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans or two 8" cake pans. Set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through cloves, and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, molasses and coffee, mixing until combined. Your batter will look piecy at this stage, and that's ok! It will all come together in the next step.

Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing on low speed until just combined and making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl often.

 Evenly divide the cake batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low. Add the Brown Sugar Bourbon and mix until light and fluffy.

To assemble, drizzle 2-3 teaspoons of Brown Sugar Bourbon on the top of each dry cake layer, and then frost. Allow the bourbon to settle into the cake for a few hours before serving, and enjoy!

Love Bourbon as much as I do? Check out my other Bourbon recipes!

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Kirsten Bell
Cranberry Jalapeno Poppers

Cranberry Jalapeno Poppers

Holiday desserts are great (Cranberry Orange Cake anyone?), but what I reallllly love about the holidays are the delicious appetizers. All the dips over here, please! So I'm really excited to share this super yummy appetizer with you! These Cranberry Jalapeno Poppers are a little sweet, a little spicy, and very cheesy!

With just a handful of ingredients, these jalapeno poppers couldn't be easier! I love the flavor of the cranberries and jalapenos together, and I really love the flavor of the cranberries and cumin together. Add in the chives, cilantro and the yum factor goes sky high!

Makes 16 Rolls


2 cans crescent rolls (I like Annie's)
8 oz block of full-fat cream cheese
6 Tablespoons dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons chives, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika


Preheat the oven per the crescent roll directions. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Combine all the ingredients except the rolls in a medium sized mixing bowl, and stir together with a spatula until well combined. Spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the wide end of each crescent roll, and roll toward the point. Bake about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot!

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Kirsten Bell
Orange Cranberry Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Orange Cranberry Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

The first Christmas cake of the season! This is such a fun and festive holiday dessert, baked with fresh orange and cranberries! The cinnamon cream cheese frosting is the icing on the cake (ha!). The cinnamon flavor is subtle, and compliments the cake flavors so well. This cake is perfect for all of your holiday parties, so let's get baking!

The fresh cranberries baked into this cake are so pretty when it's sliced into, and are little bursts of bright flavor when you bite into them! Orange and cranberry is one of my favorite flavor combinations; last year I shared my Cranberry Orange Muffins, which are still going strong as a top recipe!

For a super easy decoration, I cut a few orange slices and covered some leftover fresh cranberries in sugar. It doesn't get more simple than that, and I love how pretty it looks!

Cake Ingredients:

 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
6 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 1/2 oranges
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh cranberries

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients: 

8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degress F, and grease and line three 6" cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients, flour through salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sour cream. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add the orange zest and juice, and mix until all ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in the chopped cranberries with a spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 33-36 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, and then use a knife to gently loosen the edges before inverting onto a cooling rack.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing until it's fully incorporated. Add the cinnamon and vanilla, and beat for a few minutes on medium-high speed.

Frost when the cakes are completely cooled. (I even prefer to frost cakes that have been refrigerated at least an hour.) Top with cranberries and orange slices, and serve!

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Kirsten Bell