By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Dress: ASOS

Vanilla cake tinted and decorated in varying shades of pink and red as inspired by the ruffle on a certain Valentine’s Day dress.
Valentine's Day, A food-inspired life, Cake Inspiration, Cake Decorating, Libbie Summers, ASOS
Cake Decorating, Valentine's Day Cake, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life, Girly Cakes, Girly Girl Cakes
top and above photo by Teresa Earnest Photography

serves 24 (makes one 4 layer cake)

5 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups vanilla sugar* (can substitute regular sugar)
1 1/2 cups milk
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature, plus 4 tablespoons for the pans
10 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pink and red gel food coloring
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (recipe to follow)

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter four 8-inch round baking pans. Line the bottom of each buttered pan with a parchment round and butter the top of the paper round. Set aside.
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In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla sugar and mix just until combined. Add the milk, butter and vanilla and mix until combined (mixture will be very thick). Add the egg whites and mix until batter is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Pour 1/4 of the batter into one pan (this will be your white layer). Mix in just enough pink food coloring to the remaining batter to make a light pink batter. Pour 1/3 of this remaining mixture into another pan (this is your light pink layer).  Mix in more pink food coloring to make a deeper shade of pink batter. Pour 1/2 of this mixture into a third pan (this will be your deep pink layer). Finally, add red food coloring to the remaining batter to reach a deep red color and pour into the final pan (this is your red layer). Smooth the top of each pan and bake until baked through (about 20-25 minutes). Set aside to cool. When cakes are cool, remove from pans and remove parchment paper. Prepare frosting and decorate (see below for how to decorate like mine using a simple star tip…it’s so easy and so cute).
*Vanilla sugar is sugar that has been with a vanilla bean in a jar for a few weeks imparting a mild vanilla flavor

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
yields about 5 cups (DOUBLE THIS RECIPE for the PS I LOVE YOU CAKE, you’ll probably have leftover frosting, but I like to make sure I have plenty!)

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (can sub vanilla extract)
4 to 8 tablespoons milk
Pink food coloring

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add 6 cups of the confectioner’s sugar. Add the salt, vanilla paste and 4 tablespoons of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. If the frosting is too thin, add more of the sugar (1/2 a cup at a time). If the frosting is too thick, add more of the milk (1 tablespoon at a time).
Cake Decorating, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life, Star Cake, Cake Frosting To make the PS I LOVE YOU cake, I divide the frosting into 4 bowls (with one having twice as much as the others. I used pink gel food coloring and added the smallest amount to the first bowl with twice as much frosting (this will be for your crumb coat too). Then, I gradually added more of the gel coloring to each of the bowls (increasing it with each bowl to intensify the color). Side Note: Once I got to the last bowl, I wanted more of a bright raspberry pink, so I added a different pink color to get the desired result.

To Decorate:
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1. Crumb Coat: Prepare the crumb coat of the cake by placing the layers down in this order. Red, dark pink, light pink, white and with a thin layer of the lightest pink frosting between each layer (because this cake has a TON of frosting all over it, a thin layer of frosting between the layers was perfect). Apply a thin smooth coat a frosting all over the cake and refrigerate while you are assembling the decorating bags.
2. Prepare Frosting Bags: Fill 4 disposable pastry bags (each fitted with the same size star tip/I used a big star tip) with each of the frosting colors.
3. Frost the Cake: Using one color at a time, polka dot all over the sides and top of the cake with stars. Change colors and do the same with this color next to each star you piped first. Continue this technique with the final two colors. Then go back and fill in any of the holes. Try not to have two of the same color next to each other, but no worries if you do. It really doesn’t matter. This is a super simple old school cake decorating technique with loads of modern day wow!
4. Top it: This cake really needs no topper, but I wanted to have fun with some balloons, so I filled a few with helium and tied bakers twine from the end. There wasn’t enough helium to keep them up, but I kind of love how they just hover!
Cake Decorating, Libbie Summers, A food-inspired life, Valentine's Day, Girly Girl Cake,
photo by Teresa Earnest Photography

The perfect cake for the one you love.
OR…maybe you need a cake for the one you don’t love? Check out this VIDEO for inspiration!




Heart Leaf Garland

By Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong
Assisted by David Dempsey

I love this idea for marking a path to a wedding reception, a lunch date in the woods or basically for any old party where the guests need to find their way. 

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Chia Chong, Valentines Day
Heart Leaf Garland

What you need: 
Length of ribbon (I used 9 feet of a 1-inch pink grosgrain)
Green leaves
Sewing machine and thread

What to do: 
Cut the leaves into heart shapes (don’t try to be perfect). Sew, using a decorative finishing stitch onto the ribbon

Libbie Summers, A Food-Inspired Life, Chia Chong, Valentines Day

Iced Malted Cherry Coffee

Styling by Libbie Summers
Photography by Chia Chong

When you didn’t get quite enough sugar on Valentine’s Day, this deliciousness will do the trick! A little jolt of espresso, a lot of malted milk, the slightest cherry and a whole lot of goodness! 

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Iced Malted Cherry Coffee
(a dessert coffee drink)

What you need:
1 cup brewed espresso
1/2 cup malted milk powder
2 teaspoons cherry syrup (yes, that “cherry syrup”)
Whipped cream (I colored mine pink)

What to do:
In a large Mason jar, add hot coffee and malted milk powder. Place the lid on the jar and gently shake the contents until the malted milk powder is dissolved. Place jar in the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and add cherry juice. Shake again. Pack two glasses with ice and pour coffee mixture over. Garnish with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a dusting of malted milk powder. Serve immediately.

Libbie’s Food Styling Props: Burlap Coffee Bag I poached from Perc coffee while we were there doing a podcast, Vintage Mason Jar with Zinc lid purchased from Habersham Antiques Market, Hermes Ribbon from where else, Vintage silver iced tea spoon purchased from an Antique shop in Annapolis, MD that I can’t remember the name of (it’s on Maryland Avenue and the owner is British), black straw liberated from a coffee shop in North Carolina that I would rather not mention since their significant straw loss could be traced back to me.

Never Fail Chocolate Soufflé

By Libbie Summers

Dear Scared of Soufflés,
I’d like to introduce you to Never Fail Chocolate Soufflé. I think you guys will really hit it off.

Chia Chong
Never Fail Chocolate Soufflé
makes 6


What you need:
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
5 ounces BEST quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon cocoa powder


What to do: 
Preheat oven to 375°. Liberally butter 6 individual soufflé ramekins and use the 3 tablespoons sugar to sprinkle the insides; set aside.

In a metal bowl over simmering water, melt chocolate (stirring often). Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the egg yolks one at a time.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites with salt on medium high speed until they hold soft glossy peaks. Continue beating egg whites on high speed, gradually adding the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, until the egg whites hold stiff glossy peaks.

Gently stir 1/3 of the eggs whites into the chocolate mixture. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites. The chocolate mixture should be full of bubbles, even colored and without egg white streaks.

Spoon your soufflé mixture into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12-15 minutes until risen with a crusty exterior.

Dust with cocoa powder and serve right away.


4 Ways To Give Someone the Flick This Valentine’s Day

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey and Candace Brower

Sure Valentine’s Day is the day when most engagements happen…but what are the stats on break ups? My thoughts are break ups should never be bad, I prefer if they were fun! Here are 4 fun ways to give someone the flick. 

1. Do it fresh…cut herbs

Fresh Thyme, Chive, Dill, Mint and some Bay Leaf
Pink cardstock

What to say:
ain’t got no THYME for you
quit you CHIVE talkin’
can’t even DILL
MINT to breakup with you earlier
you’re not my BAY, LEAF me alone

2. Take ’em to the farm

What you need:
Biting Wit
Card Stock (I used white)
Fun colored paper (I used gingham parchment paper)
Glue Stick
Glitter Tape
Toy Barnyard Animals

What to do:
•Think of witty puns involving barnyard animals and print on card stock leaving plenty of room in the middle to accommodate the toy animal.
Some examples include:  “another valentine’s day and you still boar me.”, “wool you be my valentine?”, “i’ve got no beef with you, let’s be valentines.”, “some bunny loves you, too bad it’s not me. happy valentine’s day anyway.”, “you’re kind of a cool chick. let’s be valentines.”
•Cut a second piece of card stock just bigger than the first and glue on cute piece of colored paper (I used gingham parchment and yellow construction paper).
•Glue the printed valentine onto the center of the larger colored piece of paper.
•Cut a piece of glitter tape (or any tape) and tape the coordinating barnyard animal to the middle of the card.
•Use colored markers to adorn with hearts or sign your name or do whatever makes you feel better about yourself.
•Give away to those you love and love your sense of humor.

3. Surprise Them With A Twist on The Original
Waxy chocolates? NEVER.
Showy heart-shaped boxes filled with the unexpected, always.

What To Gather:
A few Empty Chocolate Heart Boxes (you can enjoy the chocolate later)
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Fried Chicken
Ice Cream
1 stop at McDonald’s..


4. Make it sweet. Do it with a cupcake!

Get the recipe HERE!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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