Summer Sweet Eats

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S'mores Ice Cream

Sweet Stars Trip To Duncan Hines!

Chocolate Marshmallow Mousse

I am so excited to finally share with you guys my recent trip to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen – an amazing once twice in a lifetime experience. In case your just tuning in, last year I had the chance to visit Duncan Hines as a winner of their frosting creations baking challenge! It was an incredible trip – but it didn’t end there! If you remember this post from the spring I told you guys I was invited back as a Sweet Star, for a bigger and better event this year and now I’m back, as promised, to share all the deets with you! And just think…all this started from a little chocolate mousse!


(The beautiful bakers Jocelyn and Aimee ready to start the day!)

Duncan Hines promised a sugar filled weekend to remember – and boy did they deliver! As a matter of fact there was some much Sweet Stars fun going on – I really slacked on taking pictures. I was ready to capture every detail this year but it was just tooooo much fun! Thankfully I also grabbed many shots on my iPhone to share along the way. Sorry for the blurry pics!

For the moment we all began arriving in New Jersey Duncan Hines we were all wisked away to the beautiful Sheraton in Parsippany where we could relax a bit, or spend some time getting to know everybody in the hospitality room. Soon it was time for cocktail hour and dinner – which was an absolute blast! We spent time mingling and meeting all of the other bloggers, winners, and (incredibly sweet) Duncan Hines staff. After drinks, yummy food, and great chat we got to test taste all of this years winner’s creations. YUM!

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(Me and Aimme aproned up and ready to rock the red carpet, ha!)

Saturday morning started bright an early! We arrived at the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen to a red carpet complete with a “Sweet Star” for each of us and a adorable little Duncan Hines apron to get us started. We started off with a tour of the state of the art Pinnacle facility, home to over 2 dozen brands!


(Some of Pinnacles products over time, showcased in the entry)

For some of us this was a walk down memory lane (which I would do over and over again!) and for some of us an incredible first time sneak peak! My fav parts? These giant baking silhouettes that spruce up the different labs throughout the facility. You think the hubs will allow a six foot whisk in my kitchen?! ;) But wait – check out this mini grocery store, I need a pantry like that!

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(Duncan Hines crazy cool decor and Pinnacle “mini mart”)

After we settled in it was time to get to work! We were greeted by Cupcake Wars Winner and Wilton Cake Decorator Beth Somers! Who shared with us all her little ticks and trips from covering a cake with fondant to buttercream brush work. It was an absolute blast seeing how she does it and you guys know how much I love Wilton!

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(Beth getting ready to school us in fondant!)

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Confession – Ive made far more fondant cakes then I can count and I’ve never taken a Wilton class. I think this counts, do you?!

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Next up was lunch, a little social time, and then our next session a lesson from Chef Joe himself! Chef Joe amazed me yet again this year, sharing all kinds of baking tips from blowing sugar bubbles, to rolling cake, to chocolate curls, rolling parchment bags, to making pie crusts from a cake mix! He definitely got my inspiration juices bubbling, you better believe I will be sharing many recipes inspired from the things he showed up! And pie crust from a cake mix – whaaaaaattttt? I can. not. wait!

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(Parchment triangle success and Chef Joe’s amazing Mocha Baked Alaska!)

I think it’s safe to say…we learned a ton!

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(These lovely ladies were ready to learn, totally jealous of their upfront seats – Liz, Cindy, Amy,and Kim!)

Of course we wrapped up the evening with dinner prepped by the Duncan Hines crew themselves, and an insane amount of Chef Joe’s dessert creations from that evening. If was so nice to sit back and enjoy the company, and talk over all we had just taken in!

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(Shelly and I capturing season two and a yummy treat from Chef Joe)

Finally a group of people who totally get my sprinkles obsession…haha.

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(One of my favorite bloggers Cindy and I enjoying a few last moments at Duncan Hines!)

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I even tried salmon for the very first time ever….are you guys impressed? It was good… but could have used a few sprinkles. I kid, I kid.

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(Wrapping up with some of my favorite sweets – Stephanie, Jennifer, and Aimme)

I have to say, the trip was incredible. I still can’t believe the generosity and hospitality of the Duncan Hines crew both last year and this year. They are amazing, seriously. And my favorite favorite favorite part of the whole thing? Spending an entire weekend with some of the sweetest (cheesy pun intended) people I’ve ever met who all share a love of baking. I will forever treasure the friendships made that weekend and all the inspiration and encouragement that came back from New Jersey with me. I just can’t say that enough….thank you Duncan Hines.

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(Trying out a few of this years winning treats and chatting it up with crazy (for crust) Dorothy!)

And of course I simply can not wait to share with you some of the tips/tricks/recipes I learned while on this adventure! Stay tuned…



  1. Looks like so much fun!!!! You got to mingle with some of my favorite bloggers!! I’m so jelly!!!!!

  2. Sounds like you had an amazing time. Can’t wait for you to share all those tips, tricks and recipes with us. Don’t forget to add the sprinkles!

  3. Great review of our trip, Toni! It was so great meeting you! Maybe they’ll let us all go back next year. :-)

  4. Such a fun time! It was great meeting you!

  5. What a fun time! So many favorite bloggers all in one place:) You look fabulous, Toni!

  6. It was an honor to meet you and hear your story. I’m so excited to have not only discovered a great new blog, but to have gotten to know you a little bit. Call me if you make it out to Hawaii any time soon.

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