Sep 20


First Birthday Decorated Cookies

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This post’s going to be short but sweet (har har).


My neighbour’s little boy turned one a while back, and since I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on more detailed cookies for his birthday party, I just made some simple duck and heart cookies.

The cupcakes were carrot cake; maybe not the classic chocolate or vanilla for a b-day party, but his Mom loves ’em!

{And hey, the party was mostly adults anyways}.  😉

The recipe is Ina Garten’s (love love love her recipes), although instead of Ina’s yummy cream cheese icing I made vanilla buttercream.  (By the way, Ina has a new cookbook coming out on October 26th!  I’ve got all her books so far – can’t wait to see what she makes in this one!)

Here are the recipes if you’d like to try them out:


Ina Garten’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes

{Courtesy of the Food Network}



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.


Vanilla Buttercream

{Recipe courtesy of}


Makes 5 cups

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Combine sugar and egg whites in mixer bowl. Place bowl over pot of simmering water; whisk until hot and sugar is completely dissolved, 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat mixture on high until cooled, about 15 minutes.
  2. Using paddle attachment, add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla. If not using immediately, refrigerate in airtight container up to a week, or freeze up to a month. Bring to room temperature, and rebeat or stir vigorously before using.


Bon Appétit!



p.s. For those of you have have been emailing and asking about where to find the brown cupcake liners, click HERE.

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  1. September 20, 2010 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    It was short (post length) but still so sweet Marian!

  2. September 20, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    These are precious!! I love the cookies on top of the cupcakes!!

  3. September 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Cute cookies! and love the cupcakes with the heart cookies, soo perfect! Thanks for sharing the recipes Marian. Love Ina’s books can’t wait for this new one.

  4. September 20, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    These are incredibly elegant, I love that Tiffany blue!

  5. September 21, 2010 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    so cute, as always! I didn’t know about Ina’s new cookbook! Yay!!!

  6. Janelle
    September 21, 2010 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Can you provide your recipe for your cookies and how did you get to ice them that shape?

    • marian
      September 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      No problem Janelle; just check out my cookie decorating tutorial here and my top 10 tips here.

  7. September 21, 2010 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    beautiful as always! 🙂

  8. September 21, 2010 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    so cute and beautiful done…
    what ever you do,it’s always special! I have to try your carrot cake recipe!

  9. September 21, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Love the heart cookies on the cupcakes. I so want to copy that! Beautiful stuff as always.

  10. September 24, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Love the duckies…they are just adorable! I will definitely attempt those one of these days when I find the time!

  11. September 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    lovely cupcakes! i finally made the cookies with edible image as u have shown long time ago. appreciate if you can drop by and leave a comment 🙂

  12. October 3, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I love Ina Garten’s recipes too! thanks for the heads up on the new book coming out! the cookies you made were simply gorgeous!

  13. October 7, 2010 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Wonderful talent. I love decorating cookies but I’m no where near as skilled as you are. Your blog is fantastic, I hope to learn a lot here.

  14. Marie B.
    October 8, 2010 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Hi, I was just wondering about those brown cupcake liners. They look like they are straight up and down rather then skinny on the bottom and open wider on top like regular liners, are those special stiffer straight liners (when i click on the amazon link they just look like the regular kind) or do you use a special cupcake pan that is straight up and down? Thanks a lot, i REALLY like how it looks -Marie

  15. marian
    October 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    @ Marie B.:
    They’re Golda’s brown cupcake liners found on Amazon which I baked in an large cupcake pans. They’re not special in terms of being straight up and down, they’re just large size. Try also putting less batter so that the cupcake doesn’t rise as much.

  16. October 15, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I’m absolutely in love with your Blog!
    And I adore this Post, such a cute idea.
    I’d really like to follow you, but I cannot find the button. ):
    I would be glad if you had a look at my Blog and I’d feel so honoured if you want to follow me.
    Lovely regards,

    xx, Jana from petit fournil de paris.

    • marian
      October 16, 2010 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      Hi Jana,
      Thanks! You can enter your email on the right hand side of the blog to follow it. (Subscribe to blog updates)
      I’m off to see your blog!

  17. October 28, 2010 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    Wonderful! I like it!

  18. February 16, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Very beautiful cakes and pictures! /Ester

  19. March 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Silly question, sorry Marian: What size and brand bags do you use for packaging your cookies? I am very limited here in Switzerland with bags, but my MIL is sending a package for Easter and I may have her include some in it! I received my very first cookie order for a baby shower. Wish me luck! Nikki

  20. marian
    March 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi Nikki,
    It depends on the size of the cookie of course, but Wilton makes these bags I like:

    I would suggest that your mother-in-law go to her local craft store in the baking aisle (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby’s), and get a few different sizes for you… They have about 3 different sizes there, and they’re made for cookies or little favours, so your MIL can’t go wrong when she gets those. Also, that way you’ll have options. You don’t want to buy the bags too small!

  21. Robbin
    September 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I have a question regarding cupcake liners. why do the cupcakes stick to the liners even after they have cooled? Are there any tricks to keep this from happening? I have watched decorating videos and can’t seem to hear anyone give a tip on this. thanks for listening…

  22. marian
    September 6, 2011 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Robbin, I’m so sorry, I don’t know! As soon as I find out I’ll be back here though!

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