Saturday, March 26, 2011

Love a Bake Sale!

So tomorrow morning our church is having a bake sale to help the youth pay for different trips and camps.  I love bake sales.  I can go nuts making things, and not have them sitting around my house, and it helps a good cause. 

This bake sale was good timing as well.  Some good friends had ordered a cake to celebrate their children being baptized.  Unfortunately I got a call this morning that their baby girl has RSV and brochitis and was in the hosptial for low oxygen levels because she was so congested.  Poor thing!  I feel so bad for them, I'm sure they are all exhausted.  I had only baked the cake,  I hadn't decorated it, so I probably could have frozen them for another day, but I really like to do fresh cakes.  Bake sale is a perfect opportunity to finish the cake and put it towards a good cause.  It's a vanilla cake with and homemade raspberry whipped cream filling.  I'll make new cakes when everyone is healthy again and be happy to do it.

Boxed up and ready to go!

The other thing I've been wanting to make is sort of a deconstructed key lime pie cupcake.  I made graham cracker cupcakes, then a no bake (but not boxed) key lime pie filling.  Then just a basic vanilla icing.  This seemed like a good time to break out the rum vanilla I made as well.  They turned out so yummy, though I want to make it with key lime juice next time.  I had to cheat and just use regular limes.  My parents live in Florida, so I've already asked my Mom to bring or send key lime juice.  Or key limes.  I'm good with either. 

Periodically I watch Cupcake Wars.  I know, you're shocked.  : )  One thing I see them do is 'core' the cupcake, then add the filling.  I've tried this, but you have to eat plain cupcake before you get to any fillling.  When I took a Wilton decorating class, the kit included tip 230, for the express purpose of filling cupcakes.  I love it.  It gets fillling into nooks and crannies, so you get more filling stuffed in there, and you get filling in most bites. 

Last thing I made biscuits.  (These are not for the bake sale.)They are supposed to be breath freshening.  Firstly, we'll see if the dog likes them, then we'll see if they improve his breath.  Cause he is a loving dog who really likes to be close to his people

Fingers crossed!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baked Alaska

I got a call from my very awesome chiropractor wondering if I would do a cake for her father's milestone birthday.  As a gift, the whole family was sending him to Alaska.  He does not know this yet, so this little cake is going to confuse him initially.  Which is awesome!

This a vanilla cake, with vanilla frosting, then the crystal snow is vanilla sugar I've made.  I love the vanilla sugar!  The trees are pretzel rods, then frosted using a star tip.  My son thought the trees were pretty cool, but pointed out I needed to add pinecones.  Then told me everything he knows about pinecones...which is actually quite a bit.  With the size of this cake, I opted to not add pinecones, I don't think people would know what they were.

For some reason, I absolutely love this little bear.  It's rough and simple, but there's something about it I really like.

A simple little cake, fun to do.  Here's to the birthday boy (man) and his trip to Alaska.  Have a great time!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

I made a cake a while back that had puppy prints going across it, and a friend asked if it was for a dog or a people.  That particular cake was for a people, but I told her I would certainly be happy to give a dog cake a try. 

Well, the little guy's birthday arrived and I got the call. 

I decided to replicate the pup.  I didn't want to use a bunch of food coloring, so tried to keep pretty natural colors.  I did try to crunch up dark dog biscuits and add it to the frosting to darken it, but did end up adding a tiny bit of food coloring to match the pup's locks.

The cake is a peanut butter carrot cake, then I made the frosting from cream cheese and yogurt.  It was actually a pretty good consistency to work with.  To make the lighter brown color, I added a little peanut butter to the frosting.

I had a blast working on this!  It was an adventure to decorate within the limits of dog friendly materials.  I will say, doing this will break of the habit of licking your utensils to see if it's tasting right.  I got close, then smelled dog treat and quickly backed away. 

Now the pup was apparently a little taken aback by his dog cake.  His Mommy set it up, and the real dog was growling at it like it was a real dog.  I don't think it's that realistic, but he was a little freaked out.  Plus, it smelled like yummies, not a different dog.  Getting the picture taken was apparently a little challenging because of this, but so worth it!

While I was working on this, I also whipped up some peanut butter dog treats.  My pup is LOVING them.  But now both the dog and the 4 year old are confused.  Now they both think that anything Mommy makes is for them.  Poor kids!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Do Believe!

I do believe in Fairies!  Clap if you believe!

I had to quit clapping, my son and husband were looking at me a little oddly.  I'm really getting into my work...

This morning's pick up was for a little girl turning 1 today.  She was Tinkerbell for Halloween, so we went with a Tinkerbell themed cake and the invitation was a picture of her from Halloween.  So cute!

I've actually been waiting for months to try out an idea I had for butterfly wings.  Around Christmas I was looking at different cookie recipes, and one was for stained glass cookies.  The stained glass part was crunched up hard candies that re-melted in the oven as the cookie was baking.  I thought blending several different colored hard candies would be very pretty.  It did work, but the shapes are very organic, which worked fine in this circumstance.

Beautiful multi-color wings

Let the sun shine in...
Because the cake was for a 1 year old, there had to be a smash cake, which I created to look like Tinkerbell's home.  Here's the cakes as a whole:

And Tinkerbell's cottage:

And some of the details.....

You'll notice I used figures for Tinkerbell and her friends.  With the perspective I wanted and the level of detail, I just didn't feel like I would be able to create such petite figures.  But now the birthday girl with have a keepsake from her first birthday.  Here's to this being first of many wonderful birthday's for this little girl.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Barbie cake #2 just delivered!  The party was at Chucky Cheese, so it was kind of fun to walk through everyone with the cake.  There was even one little boy I heard say, 'look at that cake!'  (I suspect his father went on high alert when he saw the cake.)

But the best part was seeing the birthday girl's face.  The cake was a surprise for her.  When I walked back she looked up, then her eyes got really big.  She looked at her Dad, then her Mom, who was walking with me, announced this was her surprise cake.  What a smile when she realized it was all for her!

I really enjoy doing the Barbie cakes.  The previous one was fondant and gum paste, this one was all frosting.  I loved the the skirt in frosting, but the bodice was a bit troublesome.  I didn't want her to look chubby, and getting the Grand Tetons covered modestly, but not overdone, took a little work.

I was happy with the design and love the little pearls to up the fancy quotient.  One of my college majors was apparel design.  Yay!  I'm using things I learned....learned a long time ago. 

I'm looking forward to getting another request.  The possibilites and the ability to blend the mediums are endless.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Organized

Space.  Time.  2 things everyone would like more of.  I'm one of them.  I have a small house and am starting my business in a small galley kitchen.  Which means organization is a necessity.  Still working on fine tuning but I'm discovering different things that, though minor, I feel help me quite a lot.

First, I wear an apron.  Gets me in the baking mindset and prevents me ruining my clothes.  And I tend to use it like a towel, which means I don't have to keep finding the towel I leave in a different spot every time I use it. 

I stole Rachel Ray's idea of a garbage bowl.  It may take up a little counterspace and be an extra dish to wash, but I'm not walking back and forth to the garbage, or pulling the garbage next to me.  Nothing like baking next to an open garbage I avoid that. 

I love my ice cream scoop.  Not only does it make consistent cupcakes quickly, (I have a small one for mini cupcakes) it helps me split my batter for cakes evenly between multiple cake pans. 

We just made our investment  in a stand mixer.  It actually is surprising how much time that saves, and even though it's larger, somehow I feel like I'm using less space.  I LOVE it!  It makes me feel a little more official than my hand mixer as well. 

Things I have left to organize-purchasing my ingredients.  I'm tending to buy as I need, which means I'm going to the store a lot (and I loathe grocery shopping).  I'm still not used to using the amounts of these products.  Normally baking powder, flour, cocoa and sugar would last a long time, now...not so much.  Need to figure out storage solutions for the bigger bags I'm buying and get stocked up. 

It's a fun adventure!  I'm so excited!  Now, to entertain my child until the next cake is ready to come out of the oven.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Playing Dress Up

When I was a kid I remember really wanting a Barbie cake...the one where Barbie is sticking out of the cake which is her skirt.  My Grandmother used to make them and I always thought they were so cool.  I still think they are cool and was so excited when I got the call to make one.  And then she asked for the dress to be in teal...which is one of my favorite colors!

Because I think teal is a little bit more sophisticated, I went a little more stylish than princess-y for the dress.  I chose a Barbie with a sassy up-do and the bonus of a pretty purse and necklace.

The only part of this that was maybe less enjoyable was I ended up with the song "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred stuck in my head, then making up my own verses.  Hopefully that will be done, though I have another Barbie cake order for next week.  I may end up with an entire new song....and yes, I am a little frightened by that.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Two Great Tastes...

that go great together.  Or sometimes three.

Tomorrow is Food Day at my husband's work so he requested my chocolate cupcakes.  This recipe is cake meets brownie meets awesome!  No problem whipping up 2 dozen of these. 

But there was a little bit of batter left over.  I have been dying to try a Chocolate Irish Cream cupcake.  So I made some mini cupcakes to try. 

I love mini cupcakes.  Just a bite size (well, two bites in my case) bit of yumminess.  I had a little whipped cream in the fridge and that was just to perfect way to top off this flavorable little nibble.

While we were on a roll, we decided it was time for our nod to Elvis.  My husband got the Elvis tunes going and we whipped up peanut butter cupcakes, then banana frosting and bacon for the top.  The peanut butter cupcakes were moist and rich, the the banana frosting had a lot of punch.  You have to take a balanced bite or one with overcome the other.  I, as of now, have not been brave enough to try the bacon topping.

We tried two versions of the bacon, just bacon and then candied bacon.  The candied bacon didn't really work this time.  It was chewy in a not good way, so we chucked it.

I also wish I would have had some silver or gold cupcakes papers.  Plain white just doesn't do Elvis the justice he deserves. 

My son really got into the rock star thing today as well.  He was rocking out with his back scratcher guitar and dancing a bunch today.  May have been attitude, may have been the sugar high from licking the beaters.  He really wanted stars on his peanut butter cupcakes, so he and his Daddy worked on that.

It may take things a little longer to get done, and may be a little messier...but there's nothing better than the whole family baking together.  Even in our tiny little galley kitchen.

And then, lo and behold, there was peanut butter batter left.  Well what else could I do but add chocolate to it.  Cause I'm not sure there is much better the chocolate and peanut butter together.  Again, just a little whipped cream on these bite-size delights.

If you are looking for treats for an upcoming occasion (even if you have to create an occasion, look at the success Hallmark has had with that), all four of these are options for ordering. 

Now I've just realized that even though the rest of the family has gone to bed, NickJr is still on TV in the living room.  Not a big Go, Diego, Go fan unless the child is making me.  Time to find something with real people on TV, and relax for a little while. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My Husband's Sticky Buns

Y'all went there didn't you? 


Now what I'm actually talking about is my husband's chocolate sticky buns.

I don't know if that helped the picture in your head.

They are delicious!

Okay, time for real pictures of his chocolate sticky buns!


Waiting for them to rise...

The chocolate sticky part with pecans....

Ready to go in the oven...

While these were baking the house smelled heavenly.  There are still cinnamon in these, then the chocolate both in the swirls and the sticky glaze....yum....!

Out of the oven...

Then flipped...all that gooey deliciousness....
Initially when my husband talked about baking, I thought he would be going more savory in his choices.  After tasting these, I'm good with him coming to the sweet side periodically. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How Seussian...

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
      -Dr Seuss

Love that quote.

Today was delivery of baby shower #2's treats.  Dr Seuss themed cake and cupcakes.  The cake was an obvious choice...the Cat's Hat.

I didn't want to do a straight up/down hat, cause the Cat's hat is jauntier than that.  And I wanted it semi tall, so started looking at how to stabilize so it wouldn't topple over sideways or slide.  Thank you for help with that.  It is, however, hard to really gauge how tall your dowel needs to be for that stabilization.  I didn't want it too short, then have to unbuild and perhaps make the cakes themselves less stable...but I overestimated by about 4 inches. 

So I welcomed a new baking tool into the arsenal.

It was kind of awesome. 

I did wash it up well and covered the cake before clipping off those extra couple of inches of dowel rod.

I am pushing a little on this with it's jauntiness, and a small portion of the top did not survive the trip to the shower.  I was crushed!  The hostess and mommy-to-be just twirled it and hid the gap and were so gracious.  Again, thankful for good friend who are helping me through my learning curve and being so supportive. 

The cupcakes, however, I loved and they did not have any damage during the trip!

I did mostly 2D cupcake toppers inspired by Dr. Seuss stories. 

So, try new yourself.....check....clean up after yourself and save the planet..........getting to the cleaning up after myself....after all this, I'm pooped!

Big congrats to Eric and Jami!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's a Boy!

I found that out about 4 1/2 years ago.  I could tell before the ultrasound tech because one leg was up beside his head and his boys parts were right there. I was so relieved to find out.  I'm not one for mystery, I want to know now!

The first baby shower order for this week is for a Mom-To-Be having a little boy, so of had to be light blue.  And teddy bears.

My son wanted to keep the teddy bears, but we did manage to get them to the person that ordered them without any missing. 

Congratulations and enjoy to the Mom-to-be!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweets for the Sweet!

Today was delivery day for the cupcake bouquets, and the weather was ideal!  What a fun day driving around and delivering sweet treats!

I think the next holiday is St. Patricks day?  Maybe four leaf clover cupcakes in beer mugs?  Whose in?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Puppy and the Princess

It's so odd how you can be working on two cakes for one party and how one can go so smoothly...and the other....not so much.

Now part of that is that one was for an adult and a more simple design.  The customer said to have something dog related.  I actually was inspired by my own high school graduation cake.  No the cake did not have puppies on it.  It wa actually more of a cat issue. My mom had just brought the cake in, set it down...and one of our cats went tiptoeing across it.  Luckily it was still in the box, but it did get a little smooshed.  Mom did her best to fix it up, she was so upset, we hadn't even had a chance to take a picture of it yet.

Now the next cake was for this individuals niece who was turning 3.  I had so many epic ideas!  And it felt like everything I tried turned out...odd.  I try to keep in mind that a person is their own worst critic and that I still have a learning curve, but I wanted to make this so cool.

Now the pictures are not actually what left my house.  When I was shopping I saw pink cotton candy and thought that could be something cool and fun for the cake.  What I learned was that when you leave it sit for a ends up looking like matted clown hair. 

Not so festive.

So imagine where you see fluffy cotton roses.

Now some of the things I liked...I loved how the turrets turned out!  They were so sparkly and pretty.  And I like the pearl candies (the cat enjoyed them too, several pinged to the floor and she was chasing them like a kitten).  And I suspect the tiara, which lights up, will be a hit with the birthday girl. 

I'm really hoping to get another chance at a castle cake when I'm in a good groove.  I would not say this is a bad cake, but there is so much potential if I had more time. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cupcake Bouquet

I have my first prototype of my cupcake bouquet.  These can be individualized by color and concept.  This one is a little more 'adult', but fabric can be fun hearts and more valentine's like.  Sky's the limit.  I am pondering putting some small cookie hearts (on a stick) to fill in some space, but that would not affect the $25 price.

A cookie bouquet will be posted tomorrow.  The sugar cookie dough needs to chill for quite a while before it's easy to work with.  Again, so many option.  Hearts, xoxoxox, love bugs (butterflies and then ladybugs made from a heart cookie cutter), flowers...and again, any color or style you would like. 

Then delivered to you or your valentine...your choice. 

And I will guarantee I will do no singing telegram one needs their valentine's day ruined by my singing.  The true temptation was to dress my blonde little 4 year old boy like cupid and have him deliver...but it's too cold for that.  Sorry!  (Plus he may do some damage if I gave him a little bow and arrow.)

Please let me know if you have additional questions or requests.  Email me at , post to comments, or contact me through Facebook.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day is Coming!

And flowers die.  (But honey, I still like flowers.)

Cookies and cupcakes taste good, really good! 

So 6 sugar cookies, decorated or 6 miniature cupcakes (chocolate, vanilla or red velvet) frosted to look like roses, in a delightful pot for an opening special of $25.  I'll even deliver if you are in the Cedar Rapids area. 

Let me know which you would prefer.  You can reach me at, or on Facebook through my Sugar Rush page, or at 319-270-5607.

I'll post pics as they are completed so you can see examples.  Let me know if there are special colors, or a specific concept you would like. 

I'll accept orders through Thursday morning if you want them for this weekend.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Kindness of Friends and Family

I have talented and generous and caring friends.  I couldn't feel more blessed and thankful.

Today I visited with friends who are supporting my baking...and apparently especially the frosting, and giving me lot's of advice and support on marketing what's turning into a baking business.

A friend as work was the one that gave me the idea for the name.

And another friend, and wonderful graphic designer, created me an awesome logo.

I am so excited to see where this goes.  I have friend's and family I know are pulling for me, and the support is profound.

Thank you all! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I got a call from a friend of mine in Dubuque.  Her boyfriend had the stars align perfectly that his team, the Green Bay Packers are going to the SuperBowl on, of all days, his birthday.  Being the good girlfriend she wanted to do something special.

A cheesecake, but not that kind of cheesecake...a cheese of velvet to be exact.

Now that's some Wisconsin chedda'...

This was so much fun!  I'm really looking forward to hearing how he liked it. 

Now my husband's family is about 1/2 Packer and 1/2 Vikings.  My brother is a huge Steelers fan. 

Who am I cheering for.....?  The commercials.