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Hope.

There is a very short list of people who could inspire me to use this particular shade of Carolina Blue during March Madness (Go Duke!!). But today I will make the concession in honor of my friend L, who is kicking cancer. My prayers, love, and sugar-coated hugs are with her today! 

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Conveniently, March also happens to be National Kidney Month, so you can pin on an orange ribbon and read all about taking care of your kidneys here: 10 Things to Protect Your Kidneys and here: Kidney Month.

[For my readers who are also followers of Bakerella, I am sure that Angie would also appreciate your continued prayers as she awaits her kidney transplant...]

When those we love face difficult battles, it is easy to be crushed by it. However, I believe firmly that prayer is the most significant gift that we can give. Our God stands ready to comfort, and to restore joy.

Posted in Celebration Cakes, Cupcakes, Musings and Inspiration.


Great Mardi Gras Deal

Happy Mardi Gras —

Everybody on LivingSocial should check thier NoVa deal today for the best offer ever! Of course, I am partial since it is my event!!!!  Click here: Laissez les bons temps rouler.

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Posted in Announcements.


Fairfax Chocolate Festival

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I always have a blast at the Fairfax Chocolate Lover’s Festival. Rooms of chocolate tastings and confections, demos, exhibitions, a cake room, and fun sugared-up people. This was my first year to participate, but I knew it would be a great event.

Here is my chocolate cake for the cake and chocolate display room. Chocolate is star here with a milk  chocolate collar, highlighted with pink cocoa butter. Flowers formed from chocolate are imprinted for texture and formed into fantasy shapes. A  vanilla buttercream and chocolate curls top the moist and delicious chocolate decadence.

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(Photo from @cakeshowNCACS on twitter. If you don’t follow them yet– go now!)

I spent the day watching demos, testing truffles, and chatting with folks about the NCACS cake show on March 26th and 27th. It was a great day! When I returned to the cake gallery after lunch it got even better. On the table were these two surprises!

Best in Taste &

Best in Show-Amateur

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Hooray! They liked it. It was a fabulous day out. I learned a ton about chocolate, met a bunch of cool people, took in the sights in downtown Fairfax, and generally enjoyed a sugar-fueled good time. Thanks Fairfax!!

 

Posted in Celebration Cakes.

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Read the Directions.

I have been working all week on an elegant and complex four-tiered “cake” for the Fairfax Chocolate Lover’s Festival. As with all of the show/competition cakes I have worked on that will be displayed over multiple days, I made it out of styrofoam core “cake” decorated with all authentic sugar and chocolate detailing. As Friday drew closer, I was more and more excited to bring it to the show. Then it happened.

I pulled out the rules & regs to check the event address and saw the large bolded text noting that “all materials must be edible”. Hmmm, is styrofoam edible? I mean rice cakes are classified are edible, how different can that be? … Panic and justification mode? You bet!

No worries. I have a few hours. More than enough time for a collegiate-style all nighter of baking madness.

  • Best chocolate cake recipe into the oven? Check.
  • Emergency flowers pirated from original cake? Check.
  • Cocoa butter prepped for custom transfer sheets? Check.
  • Sweet dreams of sugarplums? No way. Nap and big mug of coffee? Check!

I am happy to report that I dropped a cake on the table at the buzzer. Whew!

Moral of this story: READ THE RULES CAREFULLY!!! Lesson learned. Done and done.

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(Photo taken from @cakeshowNCACS twitter stream. If you aren’t following them, go now!)

Posted in Musings and Inspiration.

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Salted Caramel Cake with a Chocolate Wrap

Chocolate and I have a complex relationship. In truth, I have a torrid passion for the vanilla bean and a growing appreciation for chocolate’s… personality. Where chocolate shines in my book is as a conduit for other flavors like nuts, marshmallows, peanut butter (!), raspberry (!!), and caramel (swoon!!). As a cake decorator I also appreciate the structural qualities and the fact that it is a creative medium all its own. The color, height, and movement that can be coaxed out by a talented chocolatier astounds me every time.

My “toe in the pond” into chocolate world is the chocolate collar. It is a tall shiny sleeve of chocolate that wraps around the cake. I just think it looks cool.

Today’s cake was for a party that I was actually attending. Shocked? It’s true. Really. So I pulled a “must-try-soon” recipe from my notebook for a salted caramel cake that I suspected would pair well with the milk chocolate. And off we went.

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This cake was for the celebration of a baptism. This colors play off of the aqua and blue tones of water, a little yellow for radiance, and a big old hug of chocolate. The “fantasy” flowers imitate the style of floating lotus blossoms on a tranquil pool. I gave the petals depth by adding a dollop of chocolate between each.

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The guest-of-honor celebrated this milestone with a full dunk at 11:15 and was all re-outfitted, blown dry and gorgeously glowing with overflowing JOY by lunch. Hooray! Colby, I am so honored to be a part of your day and continue to pray the sweetest blessings over you.  :)  

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Posted in Celebration Cakes.

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