Southern Snow

Oh, the weather round here is muggy. No, you’re not going to need that Snuggie. But just crank the AC down low. And make it snow, make it snow, make it snow!

So what if it’s sunny and 75 degrees out? Here, Lauren Kapeluck and Jennifer Christ share a flurry of merry ideas for a winter-themed fete with lots of frosty,  fluffy trimmings.

Gal pals and former work-at-home and stay-at-home mothers Kapeluck and Christ have long loved entertaining friends and family at uber-creative and trendy events. The two are now creators of the new combo bakery and party planning shop in Midtown. EllenJAY is equal parts sweet, stylish and homemade, just like the light, snappy frosting slicked atop luscious, flavorful cupcakes customers find there.

The hip hostesses offer these delectable dessert recipes and simple, festive table ideas for a frosty and fabulous snow-themed fete. Who cares if all the guests are wearing flip-flops?

- Sponsors -

ABOVE LEFT Lauren Kapeluck, far left, is a regular contributor to the popular site, The Cake Blog, and the longtime voice behind the successful baking blog Crave.Indulge.Satisfy. (Odds are you’ve pinned from her extensive repertoire of recipes. And, if not, you’ll want to now!) Jennifer Christ brings to the table a designer’s eye and a talent for crafting up adorable handmade decor and froufrou favors that don’t break the bank. This winter, the pair debuts their new bakery and event planning company, EllenJAY. For more information or to book a party, visit

Italian Cream Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes • Baking Time: 25 minutes • Decorating Time: 20 minutes

This sensational dessert recipe is melt-in-your-mouth good!

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Icing, recipe below
2 cups shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with baking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, mix butter and shortening until creamy. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
3. Add egg yolks one at a time. Beat well after each addition, scraping sides of bowl.
4. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda.
5. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk to mixer. (Begin and end with flour.) Stir in vanilla, coconut and walnuts.
6. In another bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
7. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to finish.
9. Once cool, frost each layer with Cream Cheese Icing. Stack cake. Finish with frosting. Garnish with coconut. Makes one 8-inch three-layer cake. Click here for a tutorial for icing-coated cake topper trees.

Cream Cheese Icing

Prep Time: 10 minutes

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, mix butter and cream cheese until light and creamy.
2. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Add vanilla and mix until smooth.

Winter Wonderlands

Prep Time: 5 minutes • Inactive Prep Time: 30 – 60 minutes

Forgo traditional milk and cookies for a bushwhacker-inspired frozen cocktail with snowball treats.

6 cups packed vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
1/4 cup Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
Cool Whip dessert topping
Sno-Caps semi-sweet chocolate nonpareils, for garnish

1. Combine ice cream, milk, Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and Kahlua Coffee Liqueur in a blender. Mix until smooth.
2. Pour milkshake into 4 glasses and place into freezer for about 30 minutes to an hour to allow to thicken up a bit.
3. Remove milkshakes from freezer and garnish with a dollop of Cool Whip topping and a sprinkling of
Sno-Caps. Serve with straws for sipping and spoons for dipping. Serves 4. 

Snowball Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes • Bake Time: 12 minutes

Messy but tasty powdered sugar adds to the snowy scene.

1 pound unsalted butter,  softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar,  plus 2 cups for coating
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped
small pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed cream butter until smooth.
3. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until well combined.
4. Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
5. Add flour 1 cup at a time and mix, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
6. Mix in pecans.
7. Use a tablespoon scoop and place dough balls onto prepared baking sheet.
8. Bake for 12 minutes.
9. While cookies are still warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar and then place on wax paper.
10. Once cookies are cooled, place them in an airtight container layering cookies and confectioners’ sugar to coat completely. Makes 5 dozen.

Blizzard Fudge 

Prep Time: 10 minutes • Inactive Prep Time: 8 hours

These no-bake pick-ups, featuring white chocolate and walnuts, are addictive.

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-oounce) bag white chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Using a double boiler, heat condensed milk over medium heat until thinned.
2. Add chocolate chips. Stir until melted.
3. Add marshmallows. Stir until smooth.
4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
5. Stir in walnuts.
6. Line 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper and transfer fudge mixture into pan.
7. Let cool for 8 hours before slicing. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serves 24.

Marshmallow Pops

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Kids adore these simple, sweet treats.

18 large marshmallows
12 ounces Ghirardelli Chocolate White Melting Wafers
(or any type of candy coating)
paper straws or lollipop sticks

1. Line baking sheet with wax paper.
2. Place chocolate in bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until completely smooth.
3. Place straw inside marshmallow(s). Dip completely in chocolate. Allow excess chocolate to drip back in bowl.
4. Add sprinkles immediately. Place marshmallows on wax paper to allow the chocolate to set. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 6 large pops or 18 individual.

Chocolate Stirring Spoons

Prep Time: 5 minutes

These cheery and flavorful stirring spoons are a creative addition to a self-serve hot chocolate bar.

8 ounces Ghirardelli Chocolate White Melting Wafers
(or any type of candy coating)
white nonpareils
pearl dragees
silver sprinkles
12 plastic spoons

1. Line baking sheet with wax paper.
2. Place chocolate in bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each for about 1 minute 30 seconds. Stir until completely smooth.
3. Dip rounded end of the plastic spoon in melted chocolate and place on wax paper. Add sprinkles.
4. Allow chocolate to set for 1 hour.
5. Use chocolate spoon to stir hot cocoa or coffee for added flavor. Store in an airtight container at room
temperature. Makes 12. 

Cheesecake Pops

Prep Time: 10 minutes • Bake Time: 45 – 55 minutes

A staff favorite, these are oh-so impressive.

3 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
24 ounces Ghirardelli Chocolate White Melting Wafers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
2. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium until smooth.
3. Add eggs 1 at a time. Beat well after each.
4. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix.
5. Add flour and mix until incorporated.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on top of baking sheet until center of cake is set and just starts
to brown, 45 – 55 minutes.
7. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack and then cover and chill in refrigerator overnight.
8. Remove cheesecake from refrigerator and release outer ring of the springform pan. Trim any crust or brown part off cheesecake around the top or edges.
9. Use a tablespoon scoop and spoon out cheesecake balls. Place on baking pan covered in wax paper.
10. Use hands to roll smooth balls. (Rinse hands after every few balls to avoid mess.) Repeat until all balls are formed.
11. Place 2 ounces of chocolate melts in small bowl, microwave about 20 seconds and stir until smooth.
12. Dip the end of the lollipop sticks into the melted chocolate and insert into cheesecake balls about halfway.
13. Freeze cheesecakes for about 1 hour, until firm.
14. Place remaining chocolate in bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring after each for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
15. Remove a few cheesecake pops from freezer at a time. Dip completely in chocolate. Tap lollipop stick against bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off.
16. Place cheesecake ball onto piece of wax paper and add sprinkles immediately before chocolate sets. May store in refrigerator for 1 – 2 weeks. Makes 3 dozen.

Snowflake Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes • Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes • Bake Time: 10 – 12 minutes
Decorating time: 1 hour

Adorable and delicious, these homemade confections are well worth the effort.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold,
cut into chunks
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and butter and mix on medium speed until well combined.
4. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
5. Gradually add flour mixture, scraping sides of bowl as needed until dough comes together.
6. Place wax paper on countertop and lightly flour surface.
7. Take half of the cookie dough and knead together and roll out to about 1/4-inch thickness with rolling pin.
8. Cut out snowflakes with cookie cutters and place onto prepared cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
9. Place cookies into refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill. This will help the cookies keep their shape when baking.
10. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.
11. Allow cookies to cool on pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to continue cooling.
12. Once cookies are cool, decorate with royal icing and sprinkles. Makes 2 – 3 dozen, depending on the size.

Royal Icing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

For the icing:
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
1/2 scant cup water

To decorate:
piping bags
piping tip – small round Wilton No.2
squeeze bottles
gel coloring

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine confectioners’ sugar and meringue powder and mix on low.
2. Add water and beat on medium speed for 5 – 7 minutes until icing is fluffy and stiff peaks form.
3. Place icing in plastic airtight containers until ready to use. Portion out icing into separate containers, using 1 container for each color you plan to use. It is best to work with about 1 cup of icing at a time.
4. Use a toothpick and a small amount of gel coloring to tint icing.
5. To pipe details or outlines on cookies, place a small amount of icing in piping bag fitted with No. 2 round tip. Gently squeeze icing and trace the outline of your cookie or pipe snowflake details. Allow outlines to dry for about 20 minutes before flooding.
6. To flood cookies, thin the icing with 1 teaspoon water at a time. Stir icing with small spatula and continue to add water as necessary to reach desired flooding consistency. If you lift your spatula and the icing drips and falls back into itself after about 7 seconds, it is a good consistency. Makes enough to decorate 2 – 3 dozen cookies.

For more party how-tos, including tutorials for icing-coated cake topper trees and fringed tissue tassel banner, click here.

Text by Lawren Largue • Styling by Jennifer Christ and Lauren Kapeluck • Photos by Todd Douglas

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