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M-C takes the cake

M-C takes the cake

We’re closing out Simply Smashing September with some sweet treats from our customers and our employees.

Many of our fans helped us celebrate our 36th birthday by showing their cake creativity and entering our MC CakeOff contest. The winner of our Courtly Check Fluted Cake Stand, Lauren McPherson, made a cake that celebrated our ceramic patterns, topped with a pink flamingo decoration. You can see more of Lauren’s cakes on her Instagram account, morecheeseprettyplease.

Another entrant, Teresa Cordelli, recently celebrated her 60th birthday in MacKenzie-Childs style. The gathering for 48 guests included tables with centerpieces of fresh flowers arranged in Courtly Check enamelware pieces that Teresa has collected over the years. The dessert table included cookies stacked on Courtly Check plates and sweet stands. In the center was a two-tiered cake that had a Courtly Check-decorated cake on top with chocolate ganache filling and buttercream frosting. The cake was embellished with fresh flowers and presented on our Large Courtly Check Enamel Pedestal Platter.

Teresa has been a fan for many years, and the first piece in her collection was a Courtly Check dish that was a gift from her mother. Since then, Teresa’s collection has grown. “I never get tired of looking at these beautiful items,” she says. “They just make me so happy.”

Well, speaking of happy, that was the feeling at our recent employee baking contest. The judges were tasked with the difficult decision of tasting each creation and awarding their top three favorites. The winners were Maple Bacon Cupcakes, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake, and Lemon Cupcakes With Raspberry Filling.

The recipes are posted below. We invite you to try these sweet treats in your own Entertaining Kitchen.

Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Jill Williams

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
3 large eggs
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup water
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup bacon bits

2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
½ stick softened salted butter
¼ cup bacon bits

1 stick softened butter
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 to 4 tablespoons water
Dash of paprika
6 to 8 slices bacon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients for cake in a bowl, sift, and set aside. In mixing bowl, combine all wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Add bacon bits and mix just until blended. Fill 24 cupcake liners three-quarters full and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  2. Cook bacon slices until crisp. Set aside.
  3. Mix all filling ingredients. Set aside.
  4. For frosting, beat butter and maple syrup until smooth. Add spices and mix until well blended. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with water until frosting is spreadable.
  5. When cool, core out center of cupcakes. Fill and frost. Garnish with a crisp bacon piece and drizzle with maple syrup if desired.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Sarah Hart

Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup dark cocoa powder
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot water

Peanut Butter Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Chocolate Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream
½ cup cocoa powder

Chocolate Ganache
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
⅓ cup heavy whipping cream

Peanut Butter Ganache
¼ cup peanut butter chips
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

Peanut butter chips
Mini semisweet chocolate chips
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare four 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add in eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and oil.
  4. Add hot water to the mixture and mix well.
  5. Divide batter between cake pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


  1. Mix all ingredients together. Add more powdered sugar or heavy cream as needed to get desired consistency.
  2. Fit two piping bags with large round tips and put most of the buttercream into bags.
  3. Leave enough buttercream out to do swirls on top of cake, if desired.


  1. Heat heavy cream in microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds. Add heated heavy cream to chips and stir until melted.
  2. Fit two piping bags with small round tips and put ganache into bags.


  1. Once cakes are fully cooled, use a large serrated knife to remove cake domes and remove cakes from pans.
  2. Put one cake on a base and then add a layer of chocolate buttercream. Keep adding layers alternating between chocolate buttercream and peanut butter buttercream.
  3. Do a crumb coat with peanut butter buttercream and put cake in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  4. Frost the sides of the cake. To do smear frosting technique: Put dots of chocolate and peanut butter buttercreams all over the sides of the cake. Put cake on a decorating turntable. Hold a large angled spatula or scraper against the base of the turntable and slowly smooth the icing while rotating the cake. Wipe excess icing from the spreader as you go.
  5. If desired, put a strip of buttercream around the base of the cake and push a mixture of the peanut butter and chocolate chips into it.
  6. Top the cake with chocolate ganache and drizzle some on the edge to create the drips on the cake.
  7. Repeat the drizzle with the peanut butter ganache.
  8. If desired, sprinkle peanut butter and semisweet chocolate chips arounds the top edge of the cake as well.
  9. Add swirls to top of cake, if desired.
    1. For multicolored swirls, take the left-out portions of the chocolate buttercream and peanut butter buttercream and put each into its own piping bag. These bags should not be topped with a piping tip. Take a third piping bag and fix it with a piping tip. Cut the ends of the bags with the frosting and place both bags inside the one with the piping tip. Push the bags to the tip and then test to make sure both frostings come out of the tip to create the swirl look.
    2. Pipe swirls on the top of the cake and then place Reese’s between the swirls.


Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling
Leslie Beck

3 sticks butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 4 lemons)
1½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon flake salt (can use kosher)
1 cup buttermilk

one 21-ounce can of red raspberry fruit filling and topping

two 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
one 2-pound bag confectioners’ sugar


  1. For cupcakes, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla, mixing well.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, alternating dry ingredients and buttermilk, until combined.
  3. Fill cupcake liners three-quarters to the top with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove cupcakes to baking rack and cool completely.
  4. Using the large end of a melon baller, scoop out center of cupcakes. Using a teaspoon, fill centers with raspberry filling and replace top of cupcake.
  5. For frosting, blend cream cheese and butter with mixer in a large bowl. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Incorporate confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired consistency. You may not need the full 2 pounds. Frost cupcakes.
  6. Makes 28 regular-size cupcakes or 14 large cupcakes.



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