Saturday, July 31, 2010

They Still Do!

Chip & Jane have been married for forty years.  Forty years!  To honor their milestone, Chip planned a ceremony to renew their vows in front of family and friends and a reception to celebrate, just like a regular wedding.  Oh, and he did it all as a surprise for his lovely wife.
Que romantico!

Chip ordered a chocolate chip cake with both raspberry buttercream and mocha buttercream, covered in vanilla buttercream and shaved white chocolate.  He wanted it to be in the style of a traditional, tiered wedding cake, but understated with a simple topper and very little embellishment. 

When Chip asked me to make the cake for their special day, I had to admit that it would be my first wedding cake, and in fact, my very first tiered cake.  He was all in, so I got to work researching the process of stacking cakes.  I had nothing to worry about because I can always count on good friend Lindsey, an extremely talented baker, to help me along the process with advice she picked up while baking her brother's wedding cake and the other gorgeous tiered cakes in her repertoire.  

Congratulations Chip & Jane!  I hope your special day was wonderful, and that you enjoyed the cake!  May your next 40 years together be filled with good health, tremendous joy and much laughter!


So when folks at the party heard there was a blog, everyone wanted a bite of the action.  Here they are, full of cake & love. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blackberry Breakfast Bars

These lovely bars are filled with blackberries* and surrounded by a delicious, slightly crunchy, entirely chewy oatmeal shortbread.  The recipe came from my favorite food blog, smitten kitchen.  I used blackberries instead of raspberries because they were picked about an hour before I arrived at my favorite farmstand.  I'm a sucker for fresh picked berries.  Next though, I've got to try them with peaches.  Doesn't that just sound dreamy? 

*I've been semi-obsessed with blackberries since my friend Sharif taught me that they are members of a fruit family called drupes, which essentially are a fleshy fruit with a stone hidden inside.  Other drupes include cherries, mangoes, plums, nectarines, peaches, dates, and olives.  Blackberries are a special kind of drupe, the berry's flesh is composed of "aggregated drupelets."  Drupelets!  How cute is that?  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Girls!

Heather & Erin are the kind of people you really want to be around, the kind of friends who, no matter how long it's been since you saw them last, you just fit together again seamlessly, as though no time at all had passed between you.  Isn't that the best kind of friends?  They're smart and funny and loyal, they're motivated and passionate and kind, and when it's been more than a couple months between visits, I get cranky and feel an actual physical need to spend some time with them.  This weekend was our long overdue chance to reconnect. 

We celebrated their birthdays at a great outdoor beer garden.  We caught up, we laughed, we talked about love, law, politics, reality TV, food, you know, the usual.  And we had cake.  Of course we had cake! 

Heather is a red velvet with cream cheese frosting junkie, so that's what she got.  I whipped up some chocolate with chocolate buttercream for Erin because she should have a special cake too.  Two birthdays, two types of cake.  Both cakes were a huge hit, but the red velvet was responsible for the marriage proposals flying around everywhere.  Red velvet will do that to you.

  Jay & Heather      

Erin & Corrine

From left, that's Erin, Paula, Heather & yours truly, so happy together!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Blueberry Muffy!

Remember my friend Veena?  Tonight she asked her kiddo, who she calls Muffy, if she wanted to come visit me and eat cake. Muffy yelled in the background "Blueberry!"  The kid knows what's good.  So, since I get to have lunch with Veena tomorrow, I thought I'd surprise the Muffster with some blueberry crumb bars

Admittedly, my pictures are terrible, but the bars are tasty enough to compensate for that.  If you want good pictures, click the link to smitten kitchen.  Deb, smitten kitchen diva, does it all, baking, mothering, photos, funny, all of it.
She's pretty much what I want to be when I grow up. 
I just bake good stuff and take crappy pictures of it.  

Monday, July 5, 2010

First the Parade, then Cupcakes!

My super cute niece & nephew came to check out the 4th of July parade that goes through my teeny tiny neighborhood.  Afterwards, of course, there were cupcakes! 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gimme Some Sugar!

It is really, really hard to make a good cake without sugar!  But, my friend Alissa's mom is diabetic.  Not just kinda-try-not-to-drink-soda diabetic, but fridge-full-of-insulin diabetic.  So when Alissa asked me to bake her mom's birthday cake, sugar was totally off limits. 

Sure, Splenda is an option, but it changes the chemistry of the recipe.  It's better to use half sugar & half Splenda, but that wasn't an option.  So, I added some buttermilk for a leavening boost and the cake turned out pretty good, just a little more dense than usual.  To lighten it up, I spread sugar free chocolate pudding in between the layers. Frosting though, was another story since powdered sugar is the key ingredient in almost every type.

Most of the diabetic recipes I looked to recommended either simply using half the normal sugar in a recipe (gee, thanks for nothing!) or frosting a cake with Cool Whip.  Gag.  Cool Whip is 100% synthetic, I can't do it.  I cringe just thinking of how Cool Whip feels on the roof of my mouth.  So I whipped up an improvised caramel cream cheese frosting.  To pretty it up, I added a ring of chopped pecans and drizzled on some the sugar free caramel syrup I used to sweeten the frosting.  I was really surprised at how good it was.  There were 2 other cakes at the party, both from a popular local bakery, and no one even touched them.  Everyone had a slice of the sugar free cake!  

*In case you missed it, the recipe was posted in the comments!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

These festive cuties are the life of the party!  They are for Ann, one of the directors at work.  She's got a huge family that's really close and loves to spend time together.  No, really!  Ann ordered up 3 dozen cupcakes for a family BBQ and wanted a bit of a patriotic theme.  Happy to oblige!

What you're looking at now is chocolate & double vanilla cupcakes, half with red, white & blue vanilla buttercream and half with good ol' chocolate buttercream.  Just to pretty up the chocolate buttercream, I added some picks that look a little like fireworks.  Fun!