It's not always about the cakes...sometimes it's about other things. Yummy things. Things like cookies and care packages. Once a year, my family gets together for "Christmas in May". My Dad, two brothers, sister-in-law and Auntie all have birthdays within a month of each other. This makes it really easy on me to bake up a storm for them - and one of the things I love sending in a care package to my Auntie is cookies. This year I decided to include some peanut butter cookies - topped with a caramelized peanut (a little trick I learned in the half-a-second I worked in a 4 star restaurant). I also decided to include some cakes in a jar. It's the only safe way I've found so far to ship cake. Let me know if you want one!
It's so nice to know that awesome people still exist in this world. My friend Janelle called me because she wanted to say Thank You to her team in the hospital. She had been doing a placement in the psych ward (I think?) as part of her Master's degree in Social Work. She wanted cookies with smiles and "big teeth" to hand out on her last day. I thought it was an odd request at the time, but if you ever spend time with Jan, you would understand. She has an amazing smile which she flashes and brightens the whole room up. These cookies did the same thing for me. Every time I looked at them on the wire rack, I couldn't help but giggle. Everyone should have a smiley cookie to brighten their day!
I had hoped I would have time for a super fun Halloween side project this week, but I was super busy with regular orders. I was finally able to fill Andrea's blanket order request of the world's best Banana Bread (in loaf form this time) and dozens of whole wheat-oatmeal-raisin-toasted pecan-chocolate chip cookies - twice as yummy with fractionally less guilt! Also on my plate were some Halloween cake balls and some Bat & Ghost shaped cookies, which I iced lightly. I figured there would be enough sugar going around this weekend as it was. I decided to put together some baskets with the extras and some colouring books and holders full of crayons, markers and pencil crayons and sugar-free gum! I tried...
I also decided it would be fun to pass out some treats for the adults walking around with the trick or treaters this year. I made some mini vanilla cupcakes with French Vanilla icing (in the white cups) and Baileys icing in the red. It was pretty darn cold out, and I wasn't getting many takers (it was almost like they didn't want to take a treat from a stranger - odd) so I decided to bag the idea and keep my hands warm. The lucky people at work got the left overs on Monday.
This week I was asked to cater (and attend!) a party in honour of all of this year's Virgo birthdays. In order to accommodate everyone's favourites, we decided to go with some desert trays as well as the Patron Tiramisu for the birthday cake. On the tray were chocolate chip cookies (for Carlos), mini cupcakes (for Morena), XO Patron cafe infused mini cake balls (for Maria) and peanut butter poppers (for Stephane), and the other guests seemed to enjoy them too. After the feedback from last week's Tiramisu trial, I decided not to hold back on the alcohol this time. I added the Patron XO cafe not only to the espresso syrup, but also added a healthy amount to the marscapone filling. Yum!
This weekend I attended yet another fabulous bridal shower for my little cousin - she is one loved girl (with good reason)! I was asked to make three cakes for the shower, and in my haste to get out the door on Friday, I forgot to take a picture of what was probably the best one. The first cake was a 'Coco Loco' - Devil's food chocolate cake layered with milk chocolate ganash and real chocolate buttercream, then covered with a rich semi-sweet chocolate ganash icing. It tasted even better then it sounds, somehow. Since this was a brunch shower (awesome!) I decided something a little lighter would be nice, so I tried a new recipe for a key-lime cheesecake. Some thought it was a little too tart (wimps) and some thought it was just right. The third was a vanilla cake with a layer of yummy mocha icing and a layer of French vanilla buettercream. I covered it in pink fondant and prettied it up a bit with some stripes and flowers.
This week I got to try my hand at my first bottle-shaped cake. I decided it would be a good idea to actually have the item I was trying to recreate on hand - for reference purposes of course- (it worked with the PS3 controller!) so I brought some Labatt Ice home with me. Research included me studying the label intently as the contents somehow disappeared... Next time I think more research is in order! I also made some super cute Bumble Balls for a super cute couple's anniversary.
I baked my first cookie at the age of 5, and have been in love ever since. The smiles on people's faces when they taste my creations is what keeps my passion alive!