Archive for the ‘Appreciation Post’ Category

If you keep up with Bakerella’s blog, you might know that she’s out on her Cake Pops book tour right now. Sadly, she wasn’t stopping in my fair city, but she was going to be an hour away signing at a Williams-Sonoma in Costa Mesa where some of my best friends attend school. A relatively short drive, great people to hang out with, AND getting to meet Bakerella in the flesh? There was absolutely no question, I just had to go.

So I did.

My friends and I got to the mall early and had fun walking around, but when we got to the store, it was incredible how packed it was! I mean, I know Bakerella is amazing, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t shocked that there were so many people there. It was a very confusing mess, but eventually we figured out you had to buy a book and take your receipt to a lady in the front who gave you a number and the number corresponded to your place in line for the signing. Mine was 104.

Bakerella came out and did a quick Q&A with all the fans (she was so cute and wonderful, I was already spazzing out), and then everyone went and queued up outside the store. It was about 12:20pm then and I had to leave Costa Mesa by 2:30 in order to get back home and get to work on time, but I was confident!

An hour and half and many games of “Six Degrees of Separation” later, we reached the front of the outdoor queue and were let inside, where there were still about 15 people in front of me. But I was finally there, I was so excited! When there were two people in front of me, she actually caught my eye and exclaimed how much she loved my shirt and that got me even more thrilled.

Finally, it was my turn.

I had all these things I wanted to say. I wanted to shake her hand and tell her how inspiring she was, how she had influenced my own passion for baking and I was so happy for her success and so on. But of course, nothing ever works out exactly the way we plan.

I did shake her hand. But then I giggled and fluttered and turned five different reds and couldn’t say anything beyond “I am so happy to have been able to come here and meet you” in a stammery sort of way. Let me try and capture this moment for you, verbatim:

Me: omgomgomghi

Bakerella: Hi! *pose for picture* I just love your shirt so much, where did you get it? *grabs a notepad*

Me: omgomgomgomg uh um it’s shirt woot! S-H…wait, what am I doing, you know how to spell shirt. Shirt dot woot dot com. Yeah. I have a bit of a cupcake fetish *giant smile, can’t really breathe*. And I’m just so happy I got to be here and meet you and I’m so happy for you

Bakerella: Awww, you’re so sweet! *hugs*


And that was it. I tried not to trip on anything as I waved goodbye and giggled all my words. I was glowing all the way out of the mall, for it was time to run back to San Diego. I had just enough time to grab my things at my friend’s apartment and get on the road. Of course, I realized I didn’t explain to her how shirt.woot works, so I hope she finds the shirt in the reckoning and doesn’t spite me forever in her memory.

Want to see some pictures?

Look there she is! It was already so crowded when I got there, there was no room in the front to get great pictures during her Q&A, but my friend and I did our best

She was doing like bloggers do, taking lots of pictures with her fancy camera. Oh, and her shoes were adorable, I wish I had a picture of them

Here I am with my heart beating right out of my chest, telling her how much I adore her and not even worrying about coming off creepy (which I’m sure I must have a teeny bit)

But if I did, she didn’t show it. This picture came out incredibly, I’m really glad!

Ta-dah! It was an amazing adventure and a wonderful experience. Thank you so much, Bakerella, for being such a phenomenal person and a great inspiration to wonder bakers everywhere.

I have a confession to make.

I have an unhealthy obsession with something. No, it’s not baking, there’s nothing unhealthy about that.

I am completely in love with cupcakes.

I don’t mean eating them (but who doesn’t love eating them). I mean looking at them. Cupcakes are the most adorable things in the universe. They’re like tiny canvases, able to be spread with a whole host of tiny adorable decorations that make them even cuter. When I see amazingly decorated cupcakes, something in my heart just starts to glow and I feel that everything in life just has to be great. For how could any world that can produce something that’s so overwhelmingly cute and delicious at the same time really be that bad? Part of my obsession might stem from the fact that when it comes to being artistic, I am miserably untalented. I ooo and ahhh over well-decorated cupcakes not only because they’re cute, but because I know that it takes a level of skill I don’t have. When it comes to cupcakes, I pour out all the love, admiration, and obsessively intense behavior in the world.

That’s not to say I haven’t at least tried my hand at some cute decorated cupcakes! Here, check out these pool ball cupcakes I made for Nick’s dad for Christmas.

They’re kind of cute, right? Of course, then you realize that I did the striped balls backwards, whoops. But I did think I had a stroke of genius when I used the mini oreos to pipe the numbers on to! Anyway, his dad really liked them, he had them displayed on the pool table and everything.

That same Christmas, my friend and I tried our hand at some snowmen for a family I babysit for

Awww, look at him! Amazing what some sprinkles, twizlers, a tic tac, and a fruit roll up can do to cupcakes!

Look at all those happy snowmen! Their mini cupcake heads are stuck to the bodies with pretzel sticks!

And of course it was too much fun to resist playing around

I haven’t ventured too much into cupcake decoration, but my absolute dream is to make the one thing in the world that might be cuter than cupcakes.

That’s right, bees made out of fondant.

These are the most amazing cupcakes I have ever seen. If you can find something cuter than these cupcakes topped with these fondant bees, I dare you to show it to me. Just look at them, they’re happy little bees! I’m all giddy now!

Ah, one day I’ll have some fondant to play with and then all my dreams can be realized.

Anyway, as you might imagine, when I see a cupcake on something I tend to buy it. Plus my passion has become such a defining characteristic for me that almost everyone I know does the same! I’ve got a lot of cupcake stuff. And by a lot, I mean a lot.

Want to take a look at my cupcake collection? Of course you do!

Some of my cupcake things are practical! Like this spatula, recipe book, and soap! I got the soap for my birthday, but I love it too much to use it, so I guess it’s not very practical after all

My cupcake memo pad makes all my grocery lists a delight

Yes, I have two cupcake lipglosses. It’s great though because one is chocolate and the other is raspberry, my two favorite flavors in combination. My cupcake necklace makes me feel special, but it’s my cupcake bandaids that really help me out on a daily basis

I tend to run into things, but when I can put on such a cute bandaid, it’s no trouble at all.

I also have a bracelet to match my necklace

And some sweet earrings too!

Back when I was recovering from knee surgery, I got this amazing cupcake bouquet from my boyfriend’s family. They just know me so well. Sadly though, the flowers were not edible, but I pretended they were cupcake scented.

What about this cupcake tattoo my sister drew on me at halloween? Pretty good for eyeliner and lipstick.

Cupcakes on clothes? Well I’ve got those too.

Speaking of Halloween, here’s some costumes cupcakes might wear (thanks Kelsey! <3)

And then there’s this sassy little number. In addition to getting me the cupcake bandaids and the halloween shirt, my friend Kelsey also hooked me up with a coupon for this. She’s an enabler of the best kind.

Is there any better way to keep your toesies warm than with cupcake socks? No, no there is not.

Finally there’s my favorite, the oh so cozy and pleasant cupcake pants. I’m also wearing the hello kitty cupcake shirt Nick got me for Christmas. Cupcake overload? No such thing!

Cupcakes cupcakes everywhere and not a bite to eat! But I’m really okay with that 🙂

Do you guys like cupcakes too? Have you ever made any? Or maybe you own something with a cupcake on it that I’ll just have to hunt you down for. Come show me! Cupcakes are too great to be loved by just one person, spread the joy around!

She’s not quite my fictional baking spirit animal, but Angie “Bakerella” Dudley is at the very least a huge inspiration to me. If you’ve never been to, you should seriously just go now (It’s not even hard, just slide your eyes to the right a bit and look, there’s a convenient link right there!). She makes amazing things, all her posts have incredibly awesome photographs, and she’s artistic to boot! And she’s totally adorable, so she’s a huge winner in my eyes.

I don’t even really remember how I found her website, but finding it is what really lit the baking fire in me. I’d always really liked to bake already, but everything in her blog just made me want to bake all the time. Baking things she puts on her blog and having them come out like hers did always made me feel victorious. Even when they don’t come out like hers (as you’ll soon see), I just ended up admiring her more.

Woo, let me back my truck up, I don’t want to come off creepy.

She’s the closest thing I have to a hero. She’s just a girl with no real professional training (although she has taken cake decorating classes) who loves to bake and made a blog about it! Now she’s totally internet famous and has a book published and has been on TV and got to go to an Emmy Party and hug Seth Green! Do I want to be the next “Bakerella”? Good golly, no. As I’ve mentioned, this blog is just for fun and I don’t want nor do I expect anything from it other than to share my passion and make people excited about baking too. But would I take her life if she offered it to me? You bet your sweet muffin tops I would. In a heartbeat.

Oh man, talk talk talk talk talk. Let’s get to the part about the baking! I didn’t make this post just to profess my love, I made it to show off the Bakerella recipes I’ve made. It would be silly to make a whole long recipe post for each of them when you can easily find just as much detail on Bakerella’s blog. I’ll include all the links, so you don’t even have to go searching!

So just relax and enjoy~

The first Bakerella recipe I made were her signature cake balls. It was also probably my first venture into baking experimentation. The typical formula is a cake and a can of frosting, but I used a peanut butter and nutella instead. (What can I say, I’m a rebel). The peanut butter is my favorite kind of cake ball and I know a lot of you are nutella nuts, but in my opinion the flavor ended up being too subtle. If you do want to use nutella, I’d suggest not pairing it wil chocolate cake or all that chocolate will completely eclipse the hazelnut goondess.

They were really, really tasty. The best thing about the cake balls is that they’re probably the easiest thing in the universe to make, but everyone is always blown away by them. So they’re a must for potlucks and shindigs and if you want, you don’t have to tell anyone how easy they are, it can be your secret!

Then came the 4th of July and I wanted to do something really special for the picnic I was going to with my boyfriend’s family, so I attempted these special burger themed cake balls. Burgers for the fourth, it was a perfect match and oh so cute. I had no idea what I was getting into, but these specific cake balls are a lot of work. If I had only made about 30, it would have been fine, I think. But I ended up with over 100.

And I, sadly, do not have any artistic flair.

Honestly though, I was just proud they turned out resembling burgers! Sure, they’re messy and the bottoms were impossible to keep flat, but they still came out okay! And they were a big hit at the picnic!

They were super cute all nestled in their tupperware.

Okay, maybe I was a little more proud of them then I’ve let on. Here’s a little advice if you attempt to decorate cake balls:

  • When I was melting the candy melts, I tried to be all fancy with a double boiler method, but I found the microwave worked the best. I had to stir and re-microwave continually, but it still was the most effective method. And use a bowl that won’t burn your candy either. It becomes completely unsalvageable.
  • I have yet to find an effective dipping method when it comes to coating the whole thing. If you watch Bakerella’s video on how to make cake pops, she makes it look incredibly simple, but I didnt have any lollipop sticks to work with. I found that when you’re working with actual chocolate (as opposed to the chocolate candy melts), it’s smoother, so you can pop the cake ball in there and roll it around with a spoon and then pull it out with little difficulty. The candy melts, however, melt down much thicker, so it made the cake ball fall apart when I tried to get an even coating. So if you can, I would recommend using proper chocolate, like a bar of Ghiradelli’s Special Dark, for instance 🙂
  • Wonder Baker Tip: This is probably more a common sense thing, but if you ever think that maybe you can thin out your hot melted chocolate by adding milk THINK AGAIN. I thought I had a clever idea, but it ended up turning my chocolate into clumpy, crunchy, unappealing, blobs. Did I just do it wrong? I honestly have no idea, but I would recommend if you don’t know either, just avoid that altogether.

The next Bakerella recipe I went for were her Pillow Cookies.

It’s a brownie…inside of a cookie. A GIANT cookie.

The cookie dough was my favorite part of this whole recipe. It had lots of tasty brown sugar in it and molding it around the brownie was an experiment in itself. I think I decided that the best course of action was to err on the side of more cookie dough on top of the brownie because it tends to spread out to the sides and expose the brownie center. But even if your secret centers pop out, they’re still yummy!

Anyone in the mood for some Cheesecake Bars?

Bakerella’s recipe uses that very specific special cookie for the crust and if you have those cookies, let me know how they are! I just used graham crackersl. This was also my first time making cheesecake! Cream Cheese is really intense to work with in such bulk.

The cheesecake was okay, but it’s that ganache on top that really makes the whole dessert. It’s just chocolate and cream, but it’s soooo gooood. I think I could eat it by the bucketful.

Nick sure can. Fingers are the most appropriate utensil in this case, but if you have enough to take whole spoonfuls then more power to you.

And there you go! I have maybe a dozen other Bakerella recipes bookmarked, so expect another post like this some day for sure.

Now I invite you all to come and appreciate Bakerella with me! Have you ever made a Bakerella recipe? How did it turn out? Do you think she’s really great like I do? Do you have a cake pop idea you think would be amazing and cute? Do you have any suggestions on melting candy and chocolate? I would love to hear anything you have to share, so c’mon and let’s talk!