Hats Off Graduate 2018

I don’t take commissioned baking orders very often as they can be challenging to schedule with busy-as-usual-life and a full time day job, but every now and then I jump at the chance to make something special for someone 😉 This was a fun high school graduation cake for one of my co-worker’s daughters, and I am happy with how it turned out.

EVENING 1: Research recipes, select final recipe and shop for ingredients

The request was for a chocolate vanilla marble cake, and I’d never made one before, but felt happy with this recipe I found online. Granted, I wasn’t able to make the party, so was not able to taste it and critique the texture, moistness etc. but I hope the guests were pleased.

EVENING 2: Bake the cake layers and cover completely to chill overnight in the refrigerator to be firm enough to frost

Instructions: Vanilla > Chocolate > Vanilla > Marble with knife 🙂

EVENING 3: Trim and level the cake layers and prepare to stack, crumb coat, frost and decorate!

I didn’t realize the marble effect would be so visible after trimming the cakes in preparation for stacking them – so beautiful!

After mulling over the direction the decoration would take, and having gone through several iterations in my head, I landed on a simple ombre-like effect from red (as red as I could get this frosting! Also–one of the high school colors) to white, a medley of sprinkles (of course!), and some fun starburst-flower-like piping! I’ve seen many cakes use a similar piping technique, and it always seems a bit whimsical and loose and still each one unique.

First round of decoration finished and chilling in the refrigerator… I considered stopping at this point, but decided that a high school graduation cake should have more pizzaz! I also knew what the custom cake topper looked like and decided that it should have a more hefty supporting role below 🙂

Final product! <3

And the custom cake topper that would be united with its cake at the party!

Happy Halloween 2017

A Mummy Halloween to you! I’ve made these little guys before, but made double batches again this year both for a neighbor’s party as well as a work potluck – Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese mummy frosting and sugar eyeballs 🙂

I actually initially made two batches of the same recipe I’ve used multiple times before and was not happy at all with them! I’m not sure if I did something different, or it was the difference of our convection oven… so found a new recipe and I was much happier with how they came out.

From plastic container….

… to full on fall layout! I love the oranges and greens in this image, along with the warm walnut stained display box that my Dad made for our wedding cupcakes 🙂

RIce Cream Krispie Treat

I spotted this idea online somewhere recently, but when I went back to find it again, I couldn’t! But the idea is pretty simple – sculpt rice krispie treats into the fun shape of an ice cream cone!

I chose to keep it simple this time and used regular rice krispies and cocoa krispies cereal, but you could add some color and/or flavoring to the marshmallows for other options. For example, pink for strawberry or pale green and chocolate chips for a mint chip ice cream look 🙂 The possibilities are endless! I considered making a red fondant cherry for the top, but ended up only using some sprinkles to add color and festivity to this cheery birthday surprise 😀

First I sketched out my approximate size and shape on white parchment paper over a half sheet pan…

Then covered the sketched parchment paper with a clean parchment sheet and taped it down/used non-slip squares to help when spreading/sculpting the krispies. It was a bit tricky to sculpt as it hardens fairly fast and is also hot off the stove. But butter up your fingers and stay calm and it will work out 🙂 They did remain slightly malleable even at the end for some minor adjustments.

I wanted two cone drips, but ended up settling for one once I got sculpting! Keep an extra pan nearby for the rice krispie mix that you don’t use and ask a helper to take care of that while you put the finishing touches on the design.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how this RIce Cream Krispie Treat turned out, and I am eager to try some other “flavors” and maybe even shapes! Donuts? Flowers? Letters? oh my.

April {Baby} Showers

Back in mid April, my department at work hosted our friend and co-worker an office baby shower! The shower was Norwegian themed to honor the Momma’s heritage and I baked orange cardamom cupcakes for the occasion. The Real Simple recipe I used called for a chocolate sour cream frosting, but in the end I felt like the chocolate was too much and overpowered the cupcake flavor. I ended up just making a simple cream cheese frosting and I think the combination was successful. Yum!

April {Baby} Showers)_02

April {Baby} Showers)_01

Birthday desk surprise

Friends at work have gotten into the fun tradition of decorating each others’ desks for birthdays! My favorite part is dreaming up personalized and specialized themes that are fun and fit the person we are celebrating, and seeing what we all bring and how it comes together. The latest was a collection of vignettes that included Easter, candy, chocolate, cute, minis, marathon runners, gluten-free, snow sports…

Birthday desk surprise

I baked this gluten-free chocolate cake from Bob’s Red Mill, and decorated it with fluffy vanilla “snow” frosting, coconut, mini skaters, daring skiiers, a marshmallow snowman and a cute gingerbread house!