Weddings: It’s Personal

Personalized weddings? We'll drink to that. Then again, we'll drink to anything.

Personalized weddings? We’ll drink to that. Then again, we’ll drink to anything.


If weddings should be anything, they should be personal, right? After all, it’s the one day you are pronounced husband and wife. The only other times you are pronounced something it involves words like ‘guilty’ or ‘dead’  – and that’s not nearly as much fun.

With sites like Etsy and tools like Pinterest (what would life be without you, Pinterest?) and caterers like Epicurean, each and every wedding can – and should – be unique. If you are going to celebrate becoming part of a couple, you might as well splash your new coupled name over everything. This is your one shot to be the center of attention (besides the guilty and dead days mentioned earlier, of course).

I love monograms and nameplates and initial jewelry and business cards and Sharpies that leave a permanent mark on pretty much anything. It may be because my mother called me ‘Amy’ for the first three weeks of life, though my birth certificate and every subsequent document since clearly states ‘Stephanie.’ True story.

There are fancy ways to personalize a wedding, and there are simple ways. So if you can’t swing a skywriter, try these tricks instead:



A personalized send off.

Table numbers with personalized photos.

Table numbers with personalized photos.

Stir sticks from the newly married.

Stir sticks from the newly married.

A new twist on the guest book.

A new twist on the guest book.

Fun place cards!

Fun place cards!

Custom wine labels are savvy (and a sneaky way to serve less expensive wines).

Custom wine labels are savvy (and a sneaky way to serve less expensive wines).

Table runners with the couple's monogram is simple and sweet.

Table runners with the couple’s monogram is simple and sweet.

The traditional matchbook with a non-traditional look makes this keepsake more modern.

The traditional matchbook with a non-traditional look makes this keepsake more modern.


You Can’t Hurry Love (Or Cheesecake)


cheesecake hearts

It is almost Valentine’s Day. I know, I know – you have yet to implement your New Year’s Resolutions and here we are zeroing in on mid-February. Well, no need to do today what you can put off until tomorrow – so skip the gym just one more time and, instead, bake someone special (this can and should include you) this amazing cheesecake. If you didn’t believe in true love, you will now.

This cheesecake recipe is courtesy of my Aunt Joy. My cheesecake never taste like hers, even though I call her every single time when I am making it. Still, even my amateur efforts pay off big.

Be forewarned, this cheesecake needs time to bake and set, but surprisingly little time to eat. Odd.

I’ve made it twice and both times it was during the early weeks of having a newborn at home, which was a blessing in disguise because I was already wearing a lot of sweat pants and I had a baby that would wake up in the middle of the night demanding to be fed. Again. So I would bake it in the evening and let it sit in the oven until that dreaded 2AM feeding. It’s called multi-tasking, for all you men out there.

Make this and top it with anything you like – melted chocolate, fresh berries, a picture of yourself wearing your best sweatpants. I suggested to my Aunt Joy that we top the cheesecake with another whole entire cheesecake! She just sighed, but I think it was because she didn’t think of it herself. Some of us are just more creative than others, you know?


Prep time: 25 minutes | Bake time: approximately 2 hours | Total time: 4 hours

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 sticks butter

Crust Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour and sugar
  • Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly
  • Add 2 slightly beaten egg yolks
  • Add vanilla
  • Mix lightly with a fork just until pastry holds together and leaves sides of bowl
  • Chill

Cheese Mixture Ingredients:

  • Five (5) 8oz packages of cream cheese
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbl vanilla
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pint sour cream


  • Pat 1/3 chilled cookie crust evenly over the bottom of 10″ spring form pan
  • Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned
  • Pat remaining dough evenly onto sides of pan
  • Chill
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and fluffy
  • Beat in eggs and yolks one at a time
  • Stir in sour cream
  • Pour into spring pan with baked bottom crust and unbaked shell
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes
  • Lower oven to 250 degrees and bake for 1.5 hours
  • Turn off oven and let cake remain in the oven for 1 hour
  • Remove from oven and and cool
  • Take out of pan before refrigerating
  • Love the one you’re with – and if you are alone, more cheesecake for you!

Hang Time

hanging cake 2
(Cake by Avalon Cakes)

Any way you slice it, it’s hip to hang.

The bride is – and always will be – the most important piece in any wedding. It’s a fact. For real. That’s why ugly bridesmaid dresses were created.

But an Epicurean guru who shall remain nameless (it was Wesley), was a guest at a recent wedding and snapped this picture of the wedding cake hanging from the ceiling. Now, I hate to say that those of us who work in the events industry are jaded so I will just say…ok, let’s face it, we’re jaded.

It takes a lot to wow us, but this idea was something new, even to us. Cake hanging from the ceiling is almost as good as money growing on trees. If we see THAT at an event, we’ll let you know.


Stephanie Blackford
Communications Director, Epicurean Culinary Group

You Want a Box with That?


A few blogs back I mentioned that one of the best home chefs I know is truly fabulous, but the added butter and cream in her recipes didn’t hurt one little bit. And she’s right. She’s right about a lot of things, actually, including this DIVINE cake that starts with a box mix and ends with zero leftovers.

In fact, she brought this cake with her to celebrate a family dinner at Larimer Square’s Osteria Marco. The staff was so gaga over her creation that they passed it on to The Gabby Gourmet who mentioned it in a column. Ah-and I knew her when…

Susan Grupe’s Simple Sugar and Spice Cake

1 pkg Duncan Hines spice cake mix (add a T. flour for altitude-or not!!)
1 pkg instant butterscotch pudding (small size)
1 C sour cream
1/3 C oil
4 eggs

Mix together according to package directions. Meanwhile, prepare Bundt pan with Pam or grease it well.

Prepare filling

1 T flour
3 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

Sprinkle 1/2 filling (sugar mixture) in bottom of pan, add 1/2 cake batter-then 1/2 filling over cake batter and pack down. Put rest of batter on top of filling and pack down. Filling, batter, filling, batter.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 minutes (check box). Don’t overbake.

Susan says-“FYI-I took it out at 38 minutes and thought that was better. Also, I let it sit for 25 minutes in the pan, then remove it and cover it…stays really moist that way.”

Stephanie Blackford
Communications Director, Epicurean Culinary Group