Branching Out - Sourdough

And now for something a little bit different...some lovely homemade sourdough loaves!  A month or so ago, on a snowy, frigid day, I decided to bake a loaf of bread - a crusty country loaf, from the Flour cookbook (the Flour cookbook is fabulous - I've made probably about a dozen or so things from it, and everything has come out really, really well).  A conversation about said loaf of bread with my husband turned into how it might just be really fun to make a weekly gourmet grilled cheese - he'd pick the fillings, and I'd select and bake the bread.  We had our first grilled cheese on homemade bread the very next day.

I sent my friend Sasha a few pictures of my country bread loaves - he's a really amazing bread baker - and he said: "welcome to the obsession!".  And obsession it has become!  The idea of turning a few simple ingredients - water, flour, salt, and yeast - into beautiful loaves of bread is completely fascinating and magical to me.  The once a week loaf has turned into several loaves a week, of different varieties.  Over the past few weeks, I've made several challahs, chocolate babkas, brioche, country loaves, multigrain loaves, and several sourdoughs.  And while the commercially yeasted loaves are wonderful and delicious, baking sourdough has become a new love of mine.  It's certainly an investment (not really money wise, more time, effort, and the willingness to learn) and the learning curve can be a bit steep - you must care for your precious sourdough starter(s), the process of mixing, fermenting, proofing, baking can take quite a bit of time (sometimes, in a measure of days), and there are many things that can make your bread turn out not so great.  But, the rewards can be really, really great!

Nicole's Baby Shower

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of creating this adorable baby animal cake for Nicole's baby shower.  Nicole and Jon have a baby girl due to arrive in April -  seems like just yesterday that I was making their wedding cake!

The top tier was chocolate, bottom tier was white velvet, and both tiers were filled with vanilla buttercream.  My husband helped out with quite a bit of the fondant work - I feel very lucky to have such a detail oriented, artistic guy, who actually enjoys making cakes!

Congratulations, Nicole and Jon!  The happiest wishes for the new bundle of joy that will soon enter your lives.

Catherine & Karl's Wedding - Pro Pics!

Back in September, my friends Catherine and Karl tied the knot, and this week, Catherine shared some of the professional pictures of the cake and cake cutting with me.  Sarah Culver, you are extremely talented!  How absolutely gorgeous are these pictures?!

I think they liked the cake, huh?  Head on over to to take a look at more of Sarah's amazing work!