Category: Food Design

Food Design: 30+ Fun Recipes for a 4th of July Party

Are you hosting (or bringing a themed dish to) a 4th of July Party this year? Every year, even though I’m Australian, I love how lots of red, white and blue color starts to pop up on Pinterest around the time of American Memorial Day, in preparation for the Independence Day holiday. I know lots of my American friends try to plan ahead for a tasty and unforgettable 4th of July menu, so that they can relax on the day and enjoy the fireworks with family and friends. This post is dedicated to my patriotic friends, who I know will browse through hundreds of recipes on Pinterest until they see the perfect dessert, cute themed cupcakes and red, white and blue sweets for their 4th of July party.

4th of July Party Recipes to make your red, white and blue menu planning a breeze!

This is exactly why I put together a list of my favorite 30+ Fun 4th of July recipes, so my friends, you no longer have to keep looking all over the internet – because you can find it all here! From Patriotic Chocolate Chip Cookies and 4th of July Mixed Berry Swirl Popsicles to 4th Of July Firecracker Popcorn and even Fireworks Sugar Cookie Cake, you’ll never run out of ideas for an unforgettable 4th of July Party table spread.

Check out my full 4th of July party food list and light up your cookout with these delicious and colorful red, white and blue treats.

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Food Design: 3 Easy Last Minute Valentines Day Recipes

Looking for last minute Valentines Day recipes that are super cute, easy and simple to make, and fairly healthy to eat, too? These 3 easy last minute Valentines Day Recipes are guaranteed to be a hit, even when you have left it until the eve of February 14 to cook up and make some DIY Valentines ideas in your own kitchen.

If I can make these, so can you!

3 Easy Last Minute Valentines Day Recipes - AWSOME DIY ideas for February 14!

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Food Design: How to Make a Pinata Cake

Don’t judge a cake by its cover! Especially not a Piñata cake :)

Image by Jessica Lea Dunn via

*This post was inspired by Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day in collaboration with HelloSociety.

Here are step by step instructions that show you how to make a pinata cake! It’s really so easy, but the effect when you cut it open will impress everyone!

I made this chocolate pinata (or more correctly, piñata) cake especially to celebrate the release of the movie Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Have you seen the film? It’s good family fun!

The release also happened to coincide with the Australia Day long weekend here in Sydney, so it was great that I could decorate to the theme of the movie and throw a mini Australia-themed Alexander party at home!

Now for the cake – I did tell you it was easy, and I’m not joking.

Super excited for Disney’s 'Alexander’ movie. I’m making a Piñata a la Australia Chocolate cake to celebrate!

Image by Jessica Lea Dunn via

I simply bought four of my favorite gluten free packet mix chocolate cakes and made four round cakes using an 8-9 inch tin, following the instructions on the back of the packet. Luckily, the frosting also comes in the packet, but you could always just use your favorite chocolate frosting recipe – or even a white butter cream frosting would work here.

Now I’m going to teach you how to make a pinata cake – are you ready to assemble it?

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

How to make a Piñata cake - Easy step-by-step instructions for a festive ‘Alexander’ inspired dessert! #pinata #pinatacake

Image by Jessica Lea Dunn via

1. Cut a hole in two of your cakes using something round eg. a ramekin dish as a guide.

2. Place one of your whole uncut cakes on your cake base or stand.

3. Ice around your first cake in a ring-shape (you can use the ramekin dish as a guide again here).

4. Place one of your cut-out cakes on top of the first cake layer.

5. Start filling the hole in the middle with candy (I used Smarties which are a bit like M&Ms – a classic candy that everyone knows from their childhood and loves here in Australia!)

6. Spread icing in a ring-shape around the top of your first cut-out cake.

7. Place your second cut-out cake on top.

8. Fill the hole again with candy until completely full – with Smarties or your favorite candies!

9. Spread icing in a ring-shape around the top of your second cut-out cake.

10. Place your remaining cake on top to “put the lid on” your candy-filled edible piñata.

11. Now its time to completely cover your cake in frosting – so nobody will suspect what you have hidden inside.

12. Perhaps add sprinkles as a final touch – and you are done! Pro decorating tip: You can even use cookie cutters to write a number or word on your cake.

Clever - Use cookie cutters with sprinkles to create a message or write a number on your cake!

Image by Jessica Lea Dunn via

Now, when it comes time to cut the cake open and serve up your first slice, it will explode everywhere with colorful, sugary goodness, much to everyone’s surprise and delight!

Don’t judge a cake by its cover! Especially not a Piñata cake :) #pinata #pinatacake

Image by Jessica Lea Dunn via

So that, my friends, is how to make a pinata cake! Happy baking!

For more Alexander-inspired recipe fun, click here.

Jess - Find me on Pinterest

Food Design: 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas - Boo-nanas, Mandarin Pumpkins, Ghost Eggs, Mini Cupcake Spiders, Tim Tam Tombstones | A Designer Life

Today, I’m sharing 5 easy Halloween food ideas that I made especially for the HelloSociety Halloween Potluck Pinterest Party! I’m so excited to participate in this, especially since I had so much fun making dishes for the Easter and July 4th Potluck challenges earlier this year. It’s a really great way for me to get out of my cooking rut, and get my hands (and kitchen bench) dirty in a really creative way. Not to mention, I get to share lots of awesome yummy treats with whoever happens to be nearby!

1. Boo-nanas!

Inspired by seeing Sharpie drawn on just about everything these days, I made some screaming bananas. It’s such a simple and easy idea for when you can’t possibly face another handful of candy, piece of cake, or pumpkin-flavored whatever. And of course, bananas are a great gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free, everything-free snack. Except if you are allergic to bananas. Sorry.

Boo-nanas! | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

2. Cute Halloween Ghost Eggs

So, this is not strictly something you can serve at your next Halloween party, but it is a cute little idea to surprise your loved ones when they go to make some eggs in the morning. I was inspired to use my Sharpie to create little haunted egg faces after seeing this idea on Pinterest. The only trouble is… Our eggs aren’t exactly white in Australia. So they don’t quite look like ghosts. But you get the general impression!

Halloween Ghost Eggs | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

3. Mandarin Pumpkins

I was inspired to create these mandarin pumpkins after seeing this idea on Pinterest. Anybody would think that this post is sponsored by Sharpie, the way these ideas are stacking up (it’s not). However… I’m a big fan of simple, quick, healthy, and fun, and these little guys tick all four boxes! And not to mention, it’s naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. A good tip: Draw the outline of the pumpkin face shape you want with thin Sharpie, then fill it in with a thicker Sharpie. You’ll save so much time!

Mandarin Pumpkins | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

4. Mini Cupcake Spiders with Pretzel Legs

So I cheated a bit with this idea, as I used store-bought mini cupcakes. But, paired with Smarties for eyes and Pretzel legs, with a dash of chocolate icing to stick the eyes on – you wouldn’t know the difference! These little spiders are bright, colorful, and combine an unexpected savory touch to an otherwise sweet dish. The original recipe uses donuts instead, but you can see how much I was inspired to make something very similar and just as visually effective.

Mini Cupcake Spiders with Pretzel Legs | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

5. Tim Tam Tombstones

This one is an original! I don’t know whether folks over in the States can obtain Arnott’s TimTam biscuits over there, but they are a cult classic quintessential food here in Australia. So, my dad came home with a packet the other day and I was busy thinking up ideas for the Halloween Potluck Party. Anyway, as he was munching, I said “your TimTam kinda looks like a tombstone!” and he promptly bit the biscuit he had right in half, pulled out a fresh one, laid that flat on the bench, and stacked the bitten half-TimTam on top to make a proper tomb-like shape! Horrifically morbid, but also pretty funny at the same time. Thanks Dad!

Two days later… I prettied the idea up a little bit by using a knife to cut the TimTams, with some white-chocolate writing icing to create the RIP detail. I also used a smear of caramel icing and a couple of toothpicks to join the two biscuit pieces together. You can see something similar here.

(Oh, and by the way, did you know that TimTams only come with 11 biscuits in the packet now?! Talk about the opposite of a baker’s dozen. I felt slightly ripped off by that number, its very cheeky, since I’m sure their used to be 12 in a packet.)

Tim Tam Tombstones | 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed these 5 Easy Halloween Food Ideas, as much as I enjoyed making them! Now, please excuse me while I go and eat one of those cupcakes… I mean… mandarins.

Jess - Find me on Pinterest

The 3 best ways to decorate with strawberries as a garnish

I love these three fantastic ideas to make with strawberries – this is food design at it’s very finest! Perhaps you too will be as inspired as I was when I first saw these ideas on the Blue Apron blog. The best thing is – that all three are really simple to do! Those who know me will appreciate that I am definitely no chef, but I’m sure I could pull these off with not too much trouble.

1. Strawberry Roses on Panna Cotta

How to make strawberry roses! | Food Design Inspiration

Image via

These strawberry roses are going to be the highlight of any dessert! Impress your dinner guests and provide a fresh burst of flavor at the same time. They look so good, I want to eat them right off my computer screen.

2. Strawberry Santa Hats on Brownie Cupcakes

How to make Strawberry Santa Hats! | Food Design Inspiration

Image via

This is a perfect Christmas idea to bookmark for when you have some plain cupcake mix to use up and a punnet full of fresh strawberries. Cream and white chocolate make the perfect fur trim for these little Santa hats!

3. Strawberry Hearts on Nutella Poptarts

How to make Strawberry Heart Nutella Pop Tarts! | Food Design Inspiration

Image via

Nothing is cuter than hearts – and nothing is more delicious than Nutella-filled anything! This gorgeous idea can be used to create a very adult dish from a nostalgic favorite.

So – which one are you going to make first?

x Jess