You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Cake’ category.

May’s Daring Baker Challenge is here at last.  For me, this one was an instant “no brainer”….upon reading what we were to do, I was all but done.

This year will be 8 years since I lost both my Mother and my Mother-in-Law and it is in their memory that this Challenge was made.

For “Ma” and “LuLu”, we miss you, we love you and we look forward to the day we see you again!

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

Quick notes on the challenge:

Impressive presentation which is easily accomplished.

The recipe can be found here and also on Cat’s site, Little Miss Cupcake.

I followed the recipe down to the letter, other than the addition of rose water to the pastry creme.

This Pate Choux had some major puff!!

Some random pictures along the way…

Rosewater Pastry Cream in the works.

1st egg in the mix, I actually had to use 5 eggs instead of 4.

...Choux baked and ready to fill.

"Here's the story, of a Bia named Dana.... that's the way she became the Bia Bunch!"

Oh no!!!  My blog has been hijacked!!!  Apparently someone is having a birthday and her friends hog tied me and forced me into using my blog to send her birthday wishes!!!!  This is a group of kick ass people that I knew going against would not be in my best interest, so I succumbed!!

Bia, you know I had absolutely nothing to do with this, as you are aware of the “skinny” on how I feel about ya!!!!  But I value my life enough not to mess with these people, so here ya go……

_______

Kristy Jackson

Happy Birthday to my fabulously gorgeous friend Dana!!!! When you’re lucky enough to meet somebody so phenomenal in your life it makes it easier to smile through the tough times. They also often lead you to meet other wonderful people! I’m very blessed to have her as a friend and am thankful for that every day ♥

_______

Diane Cindrich

Happy Birthday Dana… I am so lucky and glad to have someone as special as you in my life. We have so many great memories together. Our trip to Bonita Beach is way up there though. I will always be here for you and hope that things eventually get easier for you. I love you girlie.

_______

Erin Kelly Jones

Happy Birthday to one of the most beautiful people I know, my Dana!! Girl, you are a one of a kind amazing person and I really don’t know how I went on so long without you! One Birthday Swipe coming your way! Love You!!!

_______

Amber Weber

tell dana- i hope she has a very wonderful birthday and everytime i go to the zoo and see pink flamingos i always think of her! Happy Birthday!

_______

Jordan O'Malley

Dana,
Happy Birthday!! You are one of the funniest and sweetest people I know. I hope you have an amazing birthday, you absolutely deserve it!

Love you!
– Jordie

_______

Ray Conley

Happy Birthday Dana,
You are a very strong good person who should have all her heart wants and needs. All I can think of is sitting out front of Station Square with her smoking and making fun of all the assholes going the wrong way. And all the fun we had at station square over all the years boy do I miss those days.
Ray

_______

Alicia Andrews Sattler

Dana, We have a lot of great memories together. Seems like we have known each other forever. I guess it has been since the 5th grade. I hope you have a very happy birthday and many more to come. Love ya, Alicia

_______

Carri Finkbeiner-Rapp

Dear Dana,

Have a Happy Birthday! I can’t wait to hang out with you next week. We don’t get together often enough, and you are such a wonderful person to hang out with. It’s not easy finding a friend who is smart, beautiful, sensitive, strong willed yet unappreciated…. like me! I love you, filth!!!

Carri

GO ARIES BITCHES!!!

_______

Kristin Durst

Dana was introduced to me from my other friend Dana. My Dana noted what a wonderful person she is and what a great hair stylist she is. I emailed your Dana and she took the time to reply in such a detailed and friendly manner. She was wonderful to talk to in the few times she has cut, styled or done something to my hair. She sent me such a cute message and it was so genuine when my boyfriend and I broke up a few months ago. She has a big heart and is a wonderful person. I hope she has a wonderful birthday!

Kristin D.

_______

Carol Donovan

Dear Dana, you are one of the greatest people Ive ever met, I wish you the best on you Birthday and everyday and if you were here I would give you a big hug and sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU Love ya Carol

_______

Megan Carney-Tardio

My fondest memory is that I first met her at Carlow college practically the first day!! We have been friends since that!! One thing that I can say is that I truly value our friendship and she is like a sister to me throughout the years and that I will always be there for her!!

_______

John Sleeping Bear

“OH, BUT I DON’T!!”

_______

In case anyone is interested in the Cake, well it was a Key Lime coconut cake with a key lime buttercream.  The recipe for the cake can be found here and the buttercream was my kiwi buttercream with key lime juice subbed for the kiwi.

Yea, I know that “afeared” is not a word but nothing else describes how I felt, when I was asked to do a wedding cake (scared sh*tless, runs a close second!).  A wedding cake with 8 days notice, with Christmas falling on the day before delivery!!!  Oh and I have failed to mention that this was my FIRST wedding cake!!!  Anyone that makes cakes knows a wedding cake is much more than just a cake.  It is a focal point on a tense bride’s big day, many people will (hopefully) “oooh and ahhh” over it, as well as taste it…..so it must be PERFECT!!!  If you know me, you may also know I have a tendency to be a little too hard on myself as far as my cakes go.  I never seem to be 100% satisfied with the end result, regardless of the raves it may receive, I always think I could have taken it a little further. So again, combine the fact it was my first one, I had 8 days notice and a major holiday fell in the mix as well and…..you guessed it….I was “afeared”!!!!

I am not going to bore anyone with a recitation of recipes but for one, the fondant, as everything was pretty standard but the fondant.  The cake was a vanilla Genoise (Italian sponge), with an ivory Italian buttercream (vanilla), the cake was “soaked” with a vanilla simple syrup and the layers filled with a vanilla raspberry coulis.  Pretty vanilla, huh??

On to the fondant.  I love to work with fondant, I love the look of a fondant covered cake, I love the possibilities fondant offers and I absolutely……HATE…. the taste of fondant, classic fondant, that is.  A few years back I was searching for a fondant recipe that might be better than the norm and I ran across Marshmallow Fondant.  Now as I said classic fondant just gives me the willies in the taste department, so I typically peel it off and discard it like a banana peel.  MM fondant has a bit more flavor and now I only peel off 50-75% of the covering….less waste….and I hate to waste!!!   For those of you who have worked with fondant but never MM fondant here is the recipe, for those who have never worked with any type of fondant and think MM might work for you, follow the above link, as it has some good pointers on working with fondant.

Marshmallow Fondant

  • 1lb. miniature marshmallows
  • 2-5 Tbs. water
  • 2lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (min) Crisco (shortening)

Melt marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave by putting the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, repeat this until the marshmallows are melted.  Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix and stir to combine lightly.

Now grease your hands and counter GENEROUSLY and turn out the marshmallow mix and begin kneading it,  like you would bread dough.  Continue kneading and adding more sugar as you go, if the mix sticks to counter, add more crisco to the counter.  Continue till all sugar is incorporated and you get a smooth elastic dough (if the fondant tears easily when stretched it is too dry, add a few drops water and knead, continue this till you get a very elastic dough).

It is best to let the fondant rest overnight, this helps ensure that all the sugar has been absorbed.  Coat the fondant with a bit of crisco and wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest.  When ready to roll the fondant give it another good kneading and then proceed with rolling.

All in all the cake worked out well.  It did have a few “moments”……like the top tier was a bitch and it took me (much) longer to finish  than the other 2 tiers combined.  Another “moment” happened when we arrived at the venue only to realize that the piping bag, tips and extra buttercream were still at home!!!!  Aside from those few incidents it wasn’t as bad an experience as I had anticipated, the Bride and Groom seemed pleased, the guests “ooooh’d and ahhh’d” and the cake did not topple in any way shape or form.

I highly recommend to anyone that has a desire to make a wedding cake and has never done so….give it a go, it was definitely worth the trauma.  And to all those wedding cake veterans out there, I ask, when does the fear of the cake go away???

Yep kiddies, that time again…well yesterday was that time…Daring Baker reveal for August!  I know, again I have been remiss, again I am behind but then if I were on time, you all might get “afeared” that I had been abducted by aliens and replaced with some sort of pod person….so consistent and behind I shall be.

DSC_0501

First and foremost…..The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar
and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Second…The excuses and the story!

Excuse #1- ‘Tis august, the thermometer is bulging….who wants to turn on the oven?

Excuse #2 through infinity- Refer to excuse #1.

The Story…..As some of you know, I have been absent from our beloved DB for a bit, too busy, too tired, too whatever, at the beginning of this month I was happy as a clam for a cake, my kind of cake, so I swore to all the baking and blogging Gods that I would “hell or highwater” manage to find the time.  Then, of course, the month intervened, vacations, bee stings, etc, etc, etc (all of which are lovely stories in and of themselves but I know you don’t want to hear them).  Then this morning arrives and I am sitting here with my coffee and cig and in my reader I notice….Dobos…..DobosDOBOS!!!!   “Aw crap!!” (that isn’t really the retort but I am trying a kinder and gentler approach here).  Yep, John will be John!

So off to work I go…BTW did I mention today was Fudge Day?  Yea, aside from the 96 gallons of ice cream we have been going through in a week, today was my day to make 140 lbs of fudge. Between the ice cream, the fudge, an employee on vacation and various classes of returning college kids…yea I had time to plan an attack on making a Dobos!!!!  Along about 4pm, in walked my inspiration….Ray (and for everyone going “awww” and tearing up…please!)…it wasn’t so much him , as it was the package of raspberries he just had to have that he wanted me to come up with something to make from them.  But alas, my dear sweet partner in life didn’t WANT CAKE!!!! (Lis, I think you have the proper retort for this one…can you be the one to say it please?)  Crunch time, now I have 2 desserts to come up with, yea right like that is going to happen….Ray will just have to be content with his nightly PB&J sandwich before bed!!!!! Yes people, we keep Smuckers and JIF afloat, not to mention Wonder Bread (yea he has to have the spongy flavorless white crap bread and if it didn’t take an extra 20 seconds, the crusts would be cut off also!).  At all times we have on hand 1 drum o’ Jif and 2 jars preserves, one strawberry the other raspberry.  Hmmm, raspberries, raspberry preserves, peanut butter, cake, dessert….can you feel the impending crescendo?  Viola!!!!  PB&J Torte!!!

Lastly, I give you the Mechanics!!!

As with any Daring Baker challenge that I complete, you can find the recipe here, on various other DBer Blogs and of course on our above mentioned Hostesses sites as well.

Here are my tweaks:

To the egg yolks in the batter I added 1/3 cup creamy Jif ( I think a bit more would have served me well)

For the buttercream I subbed white chocolate and also added 1/4 cup strained rasp. preserves.

Instead of doing the free-form rounds, as I feel I am rotund enough, I chose square and thus used 1/4 sheet trays to bake in, hence the reason I feel I got alot of “lift” in my layers.  (although I wish I would have spent a little more time leveling the batter)

For the wedge embellishments I did a half moon shape and replaced the caramel with reduced  strained preserves.  I really wanted to do more of a crescent shape for a bit more lacy feel and also for a little spot to tuck in a raspberry but it didn’t happen!!!!

The guinea pigs will have at it tomorrow, so I will update you when the final verdict is in.  Up to this point I found it to be a great challenge!!!


For a Pal

For a Pal

Merriam-Webster.com defines Pal as a close friend.  So, I guess the title of this post should  change but then again, it is there and I am not rethinking it!!!

This whole Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/Wordpress world brings us together with others we would never have had the opportunity to meet in the not so distant past.  It seems we are all a friend of a friend of a friend these days.  Luckily, I have met many a folk from across the globe….and some very “Wonderful” folk I might add!!!  The “pal” I am referring to today is not in some far off land or even a different US time zone…she is literally over the hill and across the river from me and yet we have never met!

What’s this about you ask….well this “pal” asked a mutual friend (sorry PP….”oh! but I don’t!”) if I would make her a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake and since I love me some cheesecake, I did!!!!

It's all about the ganache!

It's all about the ganache!

A bit of a sidenote now that I am about to give you the lowdown on this cheesecake and its making… It seems my new Pal has just recently learned she passed her CCRN’s so my dear I hope you enjoy a celebratory slice!!

Now comes either the disappointment or the intrigue, it depends on how comfortable you are with flying solo.

I make many a cheesecake and I have no real recipe just a couple rules.

  • 1 X LG egg for each 8 0z. cream cheese  (use best available CC, no “store brands”
  • Bake in a water bath
  • Bake @ 400 degrees for 15mins, reduce to 300 degrees till center jiggles ever so slightly (please don’t mar the beautiful top of a cheesecake by inserting a skewer or knife to check for doneness!!)

The rest my friends is something I wing!!!!  Sweet, savory, crusts, flavors etc., etc.  There of course are some other rules but these come with time.

  • Don’t overbeat the batter.  Too much air causes the cheesecake to crack, even when using a water bath, which cuts down on this a bit.
  • Do mix 1 egg at a time into the cream cheese till it is fully incorporated
  • Do practice often till you get to know the “it’s done jiggle”!!!

Now for those who need a bit more instruction, as best as I can recall, here is what I did for this particular cheesecake.

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup crushed oreos
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 4 TBS melted butter

Pulse oreos and peanuts in processor till fine, slowly drizzle in butter till it comes together.  Pat into bottom of 10″ springform pan.

Batter:

  • 40 oz cream cheese
  • 5 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Divide the batter and add 1 cup creamy peanut butter to 1 half and 1 cup chocolate ganache to the other.  Pour PB batter over the crust and level, next pour chocolate batter over PB batter.  Place foil prepared* pan into a water bath that comes 3/4 way to top of pan then into oven, bake 15 mins at 400 and then finish off at 300 till you get the “it’s done jiggle.  Let it come to room temp and then refridgerate at least 10 hrs.

Once it was chilled, I then topped it with a white chocolate peanut butter ganache, back to the fridge to let that firm up.  Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake, release the lock and serve it up!!!!!

* I should have stated this sooner but when using a water bath to bake in a springform pan you must cover the outside of the pan with a couple of layers of foil so no water seeps in while it is baking!

Congrats Edy!

Congrats Edy!

And as a final tease….some of my favorites.

  • The Classic- a bit of lemon juice and grated rind in the batter and top with fresh fruit.
  • German Chocolate-Chocolate batter with coconut and mini chocolate chips folded in.
  • White Chocolate Raspberry- Fold white chocolate ganache into batter then swirl with a sweet raspberry compote.
  • Chicken Jalapeno with cumin minis- a freakin’ awesome appetizer!!
  • Lobster with Garlic clarified butter drizzle- Only 16 oz cream cheese packed with diced tail meat and a bit of lemon zest, drizzle with garlic clarified butter and brunch is served!!!

So this is a day behind schedule but then again “prompt” is not my middle name!!!!

1strose

Happy Mother’s Day to all!!

My Mom and my Mother-in-Law are no longer with me, so Mother’s Day is more a day for thought around these parts anymore.

This year however, I was given a Mother’s Day gift!!  Yes, I know, technically, I can’t be considered a mom but then again, I have a tendency to think of some of those around me as my kids.  So, in an odd sort of way I am a Mom!!!!

One of my kids, Widdah, is a culinary student specializing in pastry and yesterday she brought to work some practice icing and her piping kit.  As you all may recall “piping” is not my forte and it was her intent to teach me to make a piped rose…and my friends she did just that!!!

I am not known for my “warm and fuzzy” nature, quite the contrary!!!  Although, yesterday I was beyond giddy with the excitement of actually learning and succeeding at making a piped rose….so much so that my little Widdah was somewhat taken aback, as she has never seen that side of me.

“My Dear, it’s the little things…”

What you see above is what she taught me, although I did do a little photoshop work, as the practice icing was blue.  I think she understood a little how very happy this tutoring made me but what I think she doesn’t know is….

No matter where your externship and life takes you….

…every piped Rose I see from now on will remind me of you and how much I was thrilled you gave me a

Mother’s Day Rose!!!

Denise’s Birthday…must bake cake…what to do?

She’s Irish (update, I was mislead a bit…she isn’t Irish afterall), born the day after St Pat’s and likes Boston Cream Pie, Viola!, Irish twist on a Classic.

No sordid details on this one other than I have always wanted to bake a “Stout” cake and this seemed the time to do it!!!

Ok, 2 sordid details…

  • The batter is so damn good there is almost no need to bake the cake.
  • The scent of simmering stout, butter and cocoa is heaven and the scent of the cake baking is a must experience for yourself!!!!
Stout, Butter and Cocoa Heaven!

Stout, Butter and Cocoa Heaven!

Your typical Boston Cream Pie consists of three components

  • A Butter or Sponge Cake
  • A Dark Rum scented Custard Filling
  • A Chocolate Glaze or Ganache

My version differs only in 2 ways, The Stout Cake replaces the sponge/butter cake and instead of rum, well of course, I used Irish Whiskey.

Pastry Cream

adapted from Boston Cream Pie recipe from Yankee Magazine

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1/4cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Irish whiskey

In a saucepan, heat butter, milk, and light cream to just below a boil. While this mixture is cooking, combine sugar, cornstarch, and eggs in a bowl. Whip until ribbons form. When the butter-cream mixture reaches the boiling point, slowly whisk in the sugar-egg mixture and cook to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap (to prevent it from forming a skin). Chill overnight if possible. When thoroughly chilled, whisk to smooth out and flavor with Irish whiskey.

Ganache

  • 8 oz chopped chocolate bittersweet or semi-sweet
  • 3/4 whipping cream
  • 2 TBS Butter ( I use salted)

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat ( I often use the microwave for this step, of course using a microwave safe bowl). Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

And now…………

Chocolate Stout Cake

Direct from the KA site using ingredients by weight option.

  • 16 ounces stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 ounces Dutch-process cocoa
  • 17 ounces KA unbleached AP flour  (I used Robin Hood)
  • 1 pound, 12 ounces sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 ounces sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.  Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.  Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.  Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.  Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.  Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before assembly.  Being that I was doing 2 layers and my 9″ pans are only 1 3/4″ deep I was lucky enough to get a very nice 6″ round as well from the batter.

The verdicts are in and all seem to be very positive on this one.  I ended up getting a few orders for this one as it sat, but my personal opinion was it would have been multitudes better without the custard filling.  Not that it was a bad addition but this is such a uniquely flavored cake the custard kind of competed a little more than it should have with that uniqueness.  I had one minor issue and that involved my 9″ pans, which aren’t 2″ deep, as suggested…I should have started testing for doneness a little sooner than I did, I think I could have gotten away with only 40 minutes oven time.

From beginning to batter to baked!

From beginning to batter to baked!

This one is most definitely a keeper!   Although a very special occasion kind of cake as if you take a look at the nutrition information on the KA site, you will see this isn’t a cake for the faint of heart!!!!  It’s slightly malty taste and it’s just shy of sweet chocolatey richness is something everyone should try!!!

Cascades of Chocolate...what better finish?

Cascades of Chocolate...what better finish?

And finally here is why I spoke with such authority against the custard version that everyone raved over… my little 6″ gem with a simple powdered sugar glaze.   Hands off this one is all mine!!!!!!!

6stout1

Hands off!

Happy Birthday to you...

Happy Birthday to you...

You all may recall Carol, well she managed to turn “36”  on Jan 28th and of course I did whip up a little something something for her.  Carol and Scott, of course, both LOVE chocolate…truthfully I don’t think they “do” anything but chocolate, save the occasional peanut butter; so I went to my favorite go-to chocolate cake and thought I would top it with some sort of peanut butter icing.  After perusing multitudes of PB icing recipes I settled on this one, from Blondie and Brownie, and boy am I glad I did.  This stuff was peanut butter silk!!!  It came together like a breeze and OMG was it good…imagine the center of a Reese’s cup but light fluffy and… well all I can say is MAKE IT!!!  Now some of you may laugh at this one as you already may know this but I discovered something while making this, kind of a John Eureka moment.  I have always made Swiss Buttercreams the old fashioned way…pot of simmering water, bowl with egg whites and sugar and a hand whisk, well not no mo’!!!!!  It was late, I was tired and I didn’t have the energy to whip that merengue by hand, so enter stage right my handy dandy hand mixer with whisk  attachment in tow.  Yes, the most obvious often eludes us at times.  Now I am not saying I will never make Swiss Buttercream by hand again but now I know there is really no need to do so.

Just before the Peanut Butter addition

Just before the Peanut Butter addition

Ok, this is a quicky post and I am off.  Once again Happy Birthday Carol and you guys enjoy Florida we will see you soon!

Almost Done!

Almost Done!

Done and Dressed

Done and Dressed

First Cut

First Cut

and lastly the innards!!!

and lastly the innards!!!

Ok, ok so I have been busy, apparently too busy to visit here and let you all know of what has been going on in my kitchen.  Well it is a New Year and I am definitely going to find the time to post more frequently.  Aside from not posting here I have also fallen behind on my Daring Baker challenges, which was how this blog started….

For Shame

For Shame

For Shame!!!

…. I am pleased to say however, that today I completed my January Challenge, although you probably know you will have to wait on that!!!!

In order to play a bit of catch up, I am now going to throw at you for your viewing pleasure a few of the creations from the past couple of months.  I hope you enjoy!!!!

Amber and her burger or is it a cake?????

so you want a burger Beeotch??

so you want a burger Beeotch??

Foster’s birthday cake, this one I am particularly proud of, as I can’t pipe very well and this is the first cake I have done with only frosting that I thought could actually be in a bakery window!!!  BTW, hope all is well in L.A. Foster!!!!!!!

Foster's B-day cake.

Foster's B-day cake.

Miss Tina’s Birthday cake!!  She is another reason this blog started!!!!  Love ya!!!  This cake was a wonder to taste but was a little less than to be desired on the visual…I attempted praline sheets as a covering with less than stellar results!!!  Although, the idea came from “The Cake Bible” which I received from Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice fame!!  Thanks “cous”, I love the book and plan on using it often!!

Praline sheets can be a pain!!!

Praline sheets can be a pain!!!

There was one cake of the last few months that I had no hand in making but it was a most memorable cake for me.  Just hours prior to getting a fat piece of this marvel I was privileged to meet some very lovely ladies, Lis of La Mia Cucina; Helene of Tartlette and Kelly Pea of Sass and Veracity.  Hugs girls, I hope all is well!!!!

Now!  That's a Wedding Cake!!!!!

Now! That's a Wedding Cake!!!!!

I have actually been approached to do cakes for other folks, you know the kind that actually pay for ’em!  Here is the first.

My first "gig"!!!!!

My first "gig"!!!!!

Here is a spooky halloween cake courtesy of the Diva herself, Martha!!!  I can’t be sure but Madonna may have been at the party to eat my cake!

boo!!!!

boo!!!!

Moe Moe is that you???

dsc_0435

Like a Prayer!

My last cake of 2008 was also for a paying customer, she works in the building where Ray’s and my store is located and she had heard tell of my cakes.  Her friend was turning 60 and also retiring from the railroad and this is what I came up with.

The "Cobb" Express

The "Cobb" Express

There were a few others tucked in here and there that of which I was not able to get photos but obviously 2008 or at least the last few months was most definitely the Year of the Cake for me!!  Again, I promise to be more faithful to this here space on the ole www. and I hope to see you all often in 2009!!!

So as we all know, Blogland can be a wonderful place. We get the chance to meet people from far off spots and form some great friendships but oh so often it is a faceless world. Should any of you get the chance, as I did, to actually meet the friends face to face, jump at it!! Dive in, it truly is a wonderful experience.

A quick history lesson, then on to the fun. I joined both Blogland and the Daring Bakers back in April, so I am definitely still a toddler in this land. Immediately I met Lis, a most welcoming, warm and ab-so-FAKKIN-lutely hysterical person!!! Through her, I was introduced to some other wonderful and talented folk. Time marched on and we got to know a bit about each other, Lis announced her nuptials, then one day the mailman dropped off an invite….what to do? Oh, that was easy, clear the sched and get there!!!!!

I soon learned that Kelly and Helen(e) would be in attendance as well. Ray and I cleared our weekend, made arrangements and were ready to go. Now, if you have visited here before, you may be aware nothing goes as planned in my life. Yadda yadda yadda, ultimately we had a five hour delay in our start, we drove from Pittsburgh to Cleveland. We arrived at the hotel 15 mins before the reception started, took quick showers, dressed and got back on the road. Now I thought, this could be a good thing…I could make my entrance fashionably late, as is my usual MO. NOT TO BE!!!!

Kelly, is the only one of the 4 DBers in attendance to actually have her picture on her blog, so she was who I was lookin for. I had notions of what Lis and Helen looked like but no real reference. In a sea of faces I knew no one!!! Foolish foolish, foolish!! People kept coming but no light bulbs were going off…finally I heard someone say, “she is here”…YES!!!   Still who I saw was no one I knew! Finally I spy someone, I knew had to be Kelly, tentatively, I made my way over, yes it was her…hugs, nice-to-meet yous and all that goes with a first meeting…through this I noticed a dark haired sprite of a woman (in the HOTTEST tights you ever saw) checking us out….HELENE!! More hugs!!! Still however, no Lis or Wayne!!!!! Now, I have never heard her say this but I swear Lis’ motto is, “Schedules are meant to be broken“. Now, I left my watch in the hotel but I do know when we arrived and I know it was at least a half hour before I saw Kelly, so basically the Bride trumped my “fashionably late” entrance!!!!

The reception was wonderful, we drank (some of us too much, RAY!!!), we talked, we ATE!! Oh yes, the food as expected was wonderful.  L, K and H had a few days of kitchen time together, with other helpers of course, and they created a wonderful feast for an even more wonderful party!!! Helen, did Lis’ cake and as much as I want to share pics, I won’t, that is for Helen and Lis but I will tell you it was wonderful (don’t get bored with the over usage of “wonderful” it will all be clear soon enough).

Just a quick side note, bit of levity and inside joke…During the evening I got to meet many people, all very very nice, Lis surrounds herself with wonderful people!!  I met one person and was quickly introduced to “the girls”, “the girls” seemed to follow me wherever I went, a few times even “the girls” were WAYYY in my personal space.  Now you are thinking this can’t be all that bad…well, the truth be told I am not such a fan of “the GIRLS”!!!!!  (Lis, you owe me on that one!!!)

The reception came to a close and we all went off to get some rest, as there was more festivity planned!!!  Lis had us all over for brunch in the morn (afternoon actually).  Finally, my kitchen time!!!  I refused to let my fellow DBers say that I only came to eat!!   I was cookin’ for these kids!!!

We arrived at Lis and Wayne’s around 11 am and as expected there was alot of ass dragging goin on!!  Everyone was spent and just enjoying the “down” time.  Kelly was showering but her contribution to brunch was in the oven…a french toast bake, which again I will leave to her to tell of but, yes here it comes… Wonderful!  Helene, as I said before did the cake so she had a “Get out of the Kitchen Free” card.  Lis did eggs and hashbrowns, how wrong were we to let her in the kitchen on the morn after her wedding, bad DBers!!!!  My time came and I did a breakfast bruschetta, bascially a mish mosh of some recipe ideas I found and threw into one easy to eat package.  I will post what recipe I can for it here but basically it was toasted baguette slices topped with apple and golden raisin compote, crumbled bacon and Black Diamond Cheddar (which I was so happy to find in Lis’ local supermarket cheese case!!!).  Personally, I thought it was wonderful and they seemed to like it as well!  (I hope but don’t think that one of those guys got a picture of it, as I didn’t).  The Bellinis and Mimosas were made, we sat down to eat and talk and again had a wonderful time.

After some time together, Kelly’s driver came to wisk her off to the airport…hugs and kisses goodbye.  I and Ray (obviously) were fading fast, so we gathered ourselves and got on the road… more hugs and kisses.  A slight pang of guilt hit me as I was leaving Helen and Lis to handle clean-up but I knew it would get done, sooner or more likely later it would get done!

Now this is a blog and there must be the obligatory picture, well I have quite a few but I need time to download edit and upload, so a picture page will come soon but for now….Helene forgive me!!   Check out these tights!!!!

lis-weddingtightsedit

Are you ready for wonderful?  Well, if you are given the chance, meet your fellow bloggers.  I know I am glad I did!!

Lis and Wayne, Helene and Kelly, Greg and Bob, Laurie and “the girls” and everyone else….

We had a wonderful time!

We had wonderful food!

and most importantly

You are all WONDERFUL people!!!!!

KKHH