Friday, August 20, 2010


So here's the question.  How crazy am I?  See I know I didn't write for about 6 months.  There is a reason for that.
                        My third little girl, and if she's like her sisters,
                                 my third little bakers assistant.
She is due on September 20th.  Coming right up isn't it?  Here's the crazy part.  There's this wedding.  My husband's cousin is getting married, and, you guessed it, she wants ME to make her wedding cake.  When is the wedding?  September 25.  So I ask crazy am I?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Purely Coincidental

There is a movie that came out recently, perhaps you've heard of it.  Julie & Julia?  People have been asking me if I've seen it, and besides the whole Julia Child cooking thing, I really didn't know why they thought this particular movie should have caught my attention.  I've never really known much about Julia Child and I'm a baker more than a chef, so what made everybody think I must have seen this movie.  I watched it last night.  Now I understand.  And while I assure you that all similarities between Julie and I are coincidental, the parallels are uncanny!  We are both nearly 30 with a passion for cooking and a husband who encouraged us to blog about it.  What really made me gasp was the shot of the laptop that she wrote her blog on.  It looked like an older (2002 vs 2010) version of this beauty that my sweet husband insisted on giving me to encourage me in publishing my baking fancies.
Seriously?  The same laptop?  That is just, just, well it just made me laugh.  And then it inspired me to get on here and write this post which I've been meaning to do for some time now.  This computer isn't the only new gadget that this baking/ blogging thing was the to upgrade.  There was also this beautiful new camera.  Picked specifically for its size (it fits in a pocket or my bag) 

but also its ability to take really great food shots for a point and shoot.  Because, I may as well come clean now, I've been obsessed with photographing everything that comes out of my kitchen since long before it was popular.  And of course if you have a great camera you have to have something to edit those photos with... 

because even my best shots still need cropping :)  This is going to be fun!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I have a friend. She has been my friend for a very long time. Nearly 30 years. We will have been friends for EXACTLY 30 years on my birthday, but this isn't about my birthday. It is about her's...her surprise 30th birthday party. And what a surprise it was too! This sweet friend of mine was so involved in preparations for her sister's upcoming wedding and studying for law school that she assumed her birthday would pass unnoticed this year. We were not going to allow that of course, but it made for excellent cover, especially since she gave up this weekend nearest to her big birthday to her sister's bachelorette weekend (I baked for that too, but forgot pictures, so I'll recreate and share later) so we planned for the Saturday before her birthday. And there was no way she was going to turn 30 without a big birthday cake from me. Which is really what this post is supposed to be all about, so forgive me if I ramble on about my friend :)
 Now I happen to know that her favorite cake combination is a rich, moist chocolate cake with barely sweet cream cheese frosting (great minds think alike I must say), and I also know she has a fondness for hazelnuts.

Since I intended this to be a BIG cake with two tiers, I did chocolate on the bottom and a lovely Hazelnut Brown Butter cake with ganache for the top.

As for decorating, I let her personality and interests inspire me. She is a fashionable gal who spent a semester studying in Paris during college (we tried to study French together, but my language skills...well lets just say its a good thing she was the one in France) so I decided to start with a hat box cake....two hat boxes.
 The bottom one was inspired by limoges  jewelry boxes and piped and brushed accordingly.

The top one was quilted blue with pearls and a hand painted 30 popping out.

 Then I sculpted a ballet slipper in honor of her years as a fabulous dancer...and mine of watching her (I gave up after getting my foot stuck on the bar at age 7).

She graduated from USC so of course I included her Alma Mater on there.

 And as a tribute to her stint as an actress (I won't tell you which film because she might never speak to me again, but she was great!) I draped it with a bit of Hollywood film.

I finished it off with her current school University of San Diego where she is busy studying law.

The best part about this cake?

When she called to talk about the bridal shower for her sister and found out I was baking a cake "for a birthday this weekend" and she got jealous of the person getting the chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting because "I want a birthday cake". How many times will I get to make someone jealous of their own surprise?  Happy Birthday Jodi!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Giving Thanks for Little Things

Most specifically for one small daughter who was born just before Thanksgiving last year, and whose birthday we celebrated on Thanksgiving this year. Since we were doing a Thanksgiving celebration a Thanksgiving cake seemed in order. And a brand spanking new recipe that marks my first success at recipe creation. I will share the recipe soon. For now however I want to quickly post the pictures of sweet Cadence’s birthday cake before launching into holiday treats later this week. Now when I conceived of this Thanksgiving idea I started to think of things that are typically representative of Thanksgiving.What comes to mind? Well a turkey first of all, but somehow that didn’t seem right for this sweet little bit of humanity that has blessed us for the past year. Then I thought about blessings and giving thanks and by golly I had it. A Cornucopia. The horn of plenty representative of the abundant blessings for which we celebrate and give thanks. Perfect. On to the carving. This is a spice pound cake that just seemed to fit the season. And the decorating. I’m telling you, basket weave on a

tapered and curved object is no easy task, but I prevailed.
And the detail work.
There must be plenty spilling from the horn. In this case the fruit and vegetables are modeled from marzipan and hand painted.

And here is a cake overflowing with love for my little girl.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lego Constuction

My friend's son was having a 6th birthday party on Saturday and requested a Lego cake. He loves Legos. And he loves chocolate. So that is what he got. This is the same chocolate cake I used for the Pocket Dragon, and filled with ganache. To get the clean plastic lines you see in legos I used fondant for this cake.

The challenge here is the lining up of different colors without gaps or crooked seams.

And trying to make the corners as sharp as possible.
And then my husband (an avid lego lover) piped up and asked me if I was going to put the logo on them. What? I didn't even know there was a logo. So he brought me some and I busted out my magnifying glass to read the tiny embossed LEGO printed on each of the little dots. Well that settled it.
This cake was for a lego-loving six year old and must be authentic.
I finished it off with a little steam to make the fondant plastic-like shiny and
topped it with a lego 6.

Stack up the Legos and you have a sweet chocolate treat disguised as a little boy's favorite toy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Double Batch

Several months ago I volunteered to make cupcakes for a post Parade Barbecue for a dog therapy group. They were going to be dog cupcakes that represented each dog in the group. This was before my oven broke. After my oven broke I was still going to make them...just at my mom's house and she was supposed to help me at least watch my children while I worked. Then my mother got injured and there was no way she could help me, but that wasn't going to stop me. I was still going to bake them in the neighbor's (best neighbor ever!!) oven like I've done the whole time the oven was broken. Then I got a message from an old friend asking if I could do 30 cupcakes for a baby shower the same day. Glutton for punishment? Nah. I just like a good challenge! She said the theme was birds and nests with colors of turquoise and chocolate and a design immediately popped into my head. I simply HAD to try my hand at it. And I was making cupcakes anyway, what's a couple dozen more? Fortunately the design I had in mind for the baby shower involved hand modeled chocolate which could be done ahead (we won't talk about how I dumped the tray on the floor after it was done and chilling in the refrigerator and had to start over...I still almost cry thinking about all those hours of work), and meant that most of the decorating work was done and I would only have to place the decorations on the freshly baked cupcakes, thereby saving me plenty of time for the dozen-odd different dog designs I had promised. Then (loud cheers) the oven part came in!! So at least I could use my own oven. We had a very touching reunion as I baked five dozen cupcakes in two flavors to gently break it back in. The dog cupcakes were a fabulous delicate white/spiced strawberry that surpassed the cake I used for the flower cupcakes in August. And the baby shower cupcakes were Red Velvet. The aroma of those Red Velvet cupcakes was so heavenly that I almost refused to let them out of the house! Sweet home-baked perfume. Seriously if someone hadn't been paying (yep, it was my first paid job) for them I think I would have kidnapped them and eaten them all myself while wafting the cocoa-buttermilk scented goodness into every corner of my home.

I didn't get pictures of the undecorated doggie cakes because my camera had dead batteries by the time I got to them, but here is some of the finished product.
They absolutely loved them and everybody got their own dog, we didn't however share with the dogs. They had to satisfy themselves with dog treats.

Red Velvet with Cream cheese frosting.

I made a couple of different designs so they would look good displayed on the cupcake tower.

The main design- hand modeled chocolate branches and bird dusted with luster dust.

A couple other designs to keep it interesting. The flowers are rolled fondant, again painted with luster dust.

Now aren't those just the best cupcakes ever? (Okay I admit I'm biased)

And just because this was a professional job and I thought it was fun, I drew a logo on the box.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So my oven has been broken for the past three months, but has that stopped me from wanting to bake....of course not, so I borrowed the neighbor's oven for all my recent projects. And I thought I'd try out non-baking dessert recipes, after all they would fall in the confections category. I haven't done much lately though because nothing stops my cooking mojo like a messy kitchen. I must have a clean, tidy kitchen to start or I just fizzle, I'm weird like that. And what did I decide to do when my oven went down? Well it seemed like the perfect opportunity to re-organize my counter space which was never really organized to begin with as I was somewhat distracted from kitchen organization when we moved into this house by the need to get the rest of the house baby ready. And of course that project managed to spread and NO cooking, baking, stirring, or creating was getting done until it was finished. Unfortunately I am also slightly weird in that I don't have a lot of motivation to finish organizing or cleaning or any such thing if there is no reason, ie: something to bake, and my life therefore has spiraled out of control. Okay so it wasn't really that bad, but my re-organization of the counters really took so much longer than it should have which left me with not only nothing to bake, but a chaotic kitchen which is overall quite depressing. The moral of this story? Don't deprive me of an oven!! In order to fill the void of motivation left by the gaping hole where my oven panel belongs and the clutter that was supposed to be being organized I turned to finding way too many recipes to try out...and I fully intend to try them all very soon. (I actually have test a couple of non-oven related ones and I'll get to writing about those soon) However I have managed to finish organizing my counter space into a oh so much more recipe producing friendly layout and my oven is fixed!! (I installed the part myself too *bows* "thank you, thank you") So my kitchen shall start churning out an abundance of sweet treats, well, now.

Stay tuned for the most amazing cupcakes you've ever seen (no I'm not biased, why do you ask?)