Birthdays, Christmas, and Cookies

Whew. It's been a really, really busy week. I've been baking pretty much non-stop since Sunday afternoon. Dog biscuits on Sunday (my dog *loves* them, and I've heard that a few other doggies do too! Who doesn't like peanut butter flavored treats?!), 3 kinds of cookies on Monday, and 8 cakes between Tuesday and now. I am SO ready for a nap! This is going to be a really long post, just to warn everyone!

Starting with the birthday cake that my friend Jenni made for me (thanks SO much Jenni!!!):

The cake was 2 layers of chocolate with a layer of vanilla cake in between, chocolate raspberry ganache filling, chocolate buttercream, and fondant roses and leaves. Yum! Check out her blog, All Things Jenni - she makes some really great cakes, tarts, sushi, etc!

Holiday Cakes:

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing and fondant bow:

Chocolate cake with buttercream icing and fondant bow:

I unfortunately don't have a picture of the cake I made for my family's Christmas dinner, but it was a white cake with chocolate filling and frosting, dusted with confectioner's sugar. It had a really nice texture and flavor.

Birthday Cakes:

Chocolate barbie princess cake, with buttercream frosting, fondant dress, and gum paste flowers:

The following present cakes are for a 1st birthday party for twin girls. The tiered carrot cake is for the adults, and the 2 chocolate cakes for the birthday girls!

2-tiered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and fondant bow and flowers (the lighting is a little off on these 2 ... the frosting isn't quite as yellowy. I need a better place to take pictures!):

Top view:

Side view:

Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and fondant bow and flowers:

Side view:

Chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and fondant bow and flowers:

Side view:

Fondant flowers drying:

Bow loops drying:

A small break from cakes! I sent a bunch of these to California with my boyfriend. I hear they are pretty delicious :)

Chocolate espresso snowcaps, ready for the oven:

Chocolate espresso snowcaps, ready to eat!


Chocolate chip cookies, ready for the oven:

Chocolate chip cookies, ready to eat!

My kitchen is finally starting to look "normal" again ... The amount of powdered sugar, butter, chocolate, and many other ingredients that I have gone through this week is simply astounding. I even tried my hand at making my own fondant, which was surprisingly not all that hard. Takes some practice to get the consistency right I think (mine was a little bit on the dry side), but it'll be really nice to be able to make chocolate fondant and other yummy flavors.

On a sad note, my trusty Cuisinart handmixer died this week. I was making buttercream in a metal bowl, and pushed down a little too hard - one of the beaters jammed against the bottom of the bowl. So sad. So, I've been using my Kitchenaid much more this week. I am learning what speed to beat/mix/etc - it's taking a little time. Might be just about time to invest in a second mixer bowl, and a grater attachment (let me tell you...hand grating 6 cups of carrots with the little teeny holes of my grater isn't exactly easy!).

After a nap this afternoon, I'm going to plan what's next. I just can't seem to leave my oven off for too long ... :)

Make way for ducklings ...

Lots of 1st birthdays lately! This week I got a request for a duckie themed cake and cupcakes. I'm really, really happy with with way things turned out.

Chocolate cake with chocolate filling, buttercream frosting, and fondant decorations (bow, dots, bubbles), and a real rubber duckie:

Side view:

Warning: the following content is extremely cute!

I haven't done cupcakes for a while - but after these cute little things, I think I'll be making them more often! I'm really happy with how they came out, particularly the fondant ducks. They weren't even that hard to make! The first time I looked at them all together, I think I giggled almost non stop for about 10 minutes...they're just that hilariously cute.

Chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and fondant ducks:

Duck close up, front view:

Duck close up, side view:

Ready to go, in a cute cupcake box :)

Impossible is nothing

So, I'm working on a project for a certain company at work, and I thought it would be fun to make a branded cake for the team to celebrate the last day we'd all be together at work before today's snowstorm/the holidays. And I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the result!

It was a red velvet cake with buttercream frosting and fondant logo. And it went *fast* at work. All I had to do was stand in the hallway with the remaining 6 slices of cake after my team had some, and all of a sudden it was gone!

Oh and by the way ... the performance and style logos are next!

I really do need to find some smaller cutting implements. My gum paste tools aren't quite sharp enough for the precision that this required ... so I opted for a small paring knife. A little bit scary. As soon as the holiday shopping madness calms down - I'm going to have to go in search of some new cutting implements!

Working from home today, waiting for the snow. I have a cake and cupcakes to make for a 1st birthday party this weekend; what better way to spend a snowy night than to make fondant duck cupcake toppers? :)

Flowers and Elmos and Monkeys - Oh My!

I had the pleasure of creating 3 birthday cakes this weekend. I must say, that December birthdays are absolutely the best (mine is in a week!).

Red velvet with buttercream frosting and gum paste flowers:

Elmo! He's chocolate, with buttercream icing. (Yes, even the eyes, mouth, and nose):

White cake with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting. The palm trees, bananas, and monkey are fondant:

Today is another big baking day; stay tuned for some more holiday cakes :)

A few of my favorites

Just a sampling of cakes that I've made over the past few months ...

Chocolate with dark chocolate filling and buttercream frosting. Fondant holly wreath:

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting:

2-tiered carrot cake with royal icing drop flowers, top view:

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting:

Carrot with cream cheese frosting and royal icing poinsettias:

White cake with chocolate ganache filling and buttercream icing; royal icing poinsettias:

Chocolate cake with buttercream filling and fondant:

Software Engineer by day, Baker by night

My name is Kristen, and I have always loved to cook.

I remember being in kitchen with my dad at a young age, trying to learn as much as possible, and hoping that I would be the recipient of the much coveted "chef's sample" - a sliver of smoked chicken, a big spoonful of tomato or bbq sauce, the first taste of grilled veggies fresh off the grill.

So while I definitely have an appreciation for meat smoking / tomato sauce making / etc, my main love is baking. Most recently, cakes!

I try to eat gluten-free as much as possible, though I have a tough time resisting nibbling on cake tops, particularly when trying a new recipe. Admittedly, this happens quite often in my kitchen.

A few interesting facts about me:
  • I'm a former bodybuilder (yep, I competed 3 times!), but my latest addiction is flying trapeze lessons TSNY Boston.
  • I usually have approximately 5 dozen eggs in my fridge.
  • Most days, I could eat sushi for every meal. I'm trying to learn to like sea urchin - but it's looking like it might be a while before I can actually say that I "like" it.