Ken and Barbie: Valentine’s Day

By Libbie Summers 
With David Dempsey

Once a year, on Valentine’s Day, Ken takes one for the team. 
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Beautiful Candy Bark (VIDEO AND RECIPE)

By Libbie Summers
Assisted By David Dempsey

I LOVE a gift from the kitchen. This past holiday I made 4 pounds of Everything Bagel Topping and before then it was Homemade Mega Marshmallows. This year for Valentine’s Day, I was under the gun and needed to Macgyver something fast…but still with some Libbie Fun and Beauty.

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Beautiful Candy Bark
(makes 24 servings)

What you need:
2 (11 ounce) packages Ghirardelli white chocolate chips, melted (I used a double boiler)
Food coloring gel, I used purple
Sprinkles or colored sanding sugars (I used light and dark purple sanding sugars and gold dragees. NOTE: It will only take a tablespoon of each)
Edible Flowers (I used violas)
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What to do:
1. Prep: Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Have all your toppings ready.
2. Divide: Divide melted chocolate into two bowls. One will have 2/3 of the melted chocolate and the other will have 1/3.
3. Color: Add just enough food coloring into the smaller amount of melted chocolate until tinted the color you would like.
4. Spread: WORKING QUICKLY, spread the white chocolate out on the prepared baking sheet. Next, drop dollops of the tinted chocolate on top of the white. Using an offset spatula, swirl the two together.
5. Decorate: AGAIN, WORKING SUPER QUICKLY. Decorate with your sprinkles, sanding sugars and edible flowers before the chocolate starts to harden.
6. Break: Allow the bark to set until completely hardened (about 20 minutes) then lift off the parchment and break apart into pieces.
NOTE: If using edible flowers, Beautiful Candy Bark is best eaten within 24 hours. If not, bark will be good for up to one week. Honestly, you don’t even have to store in an airtight container. We just leave ours on the kitchen counter for nibbling.

Need more help? Watch the video!

Sprinkle Sugar Scrub (RECIPE and VIDEO)

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

I love giving gifts made in the kitchen –especially on Valentine’s Day. Making something for your loved one just seems to say “hey, I dig you” a lot more than a grocery store card. Add in the extra cool factor of it being the most yummy smelling exfoliant and moisturizer and you are bound to get some action! 😉

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Sprinkle Sugar Scrub
(makes 8 ounces)

What you need: 
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1/2 cup colored coarse sanding sugar (I used pink)
1/2 cup Toyland Sprinkles (you can sub coarse white sanding sugar)
1/4 cup almond oil
1/4 teaspoon bubblegum extract (you can sub with your favorite extract or essential oil)

What to do:
Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir. Scoop into an 8 ounce jar and seal. Shake before using.
(NOTE: We used pink sanding sugar and there was a visible pink hue that was there when rubbing into the skin, but left when washed away…it was really nice!)

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Watch the fun video of making the Sprinkle Sugar Scrub!


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.
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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!
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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

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