Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A D.C. cake for a D.C. Friend

When I moved to Northern VA after grad school I got a job teaching 1st grade.  I was lucky enough to get teamed up with some great women, Sarah included. We've grown very close in my three years at the school and she has walked me through a lot of my big life moments. I look up to her like a big sister!

Her awesome husband Tim contacted me right before her birthday about doing a surprise cake. Since it was her 30th we all pulled out every stop to make it memorable. I was so thrilled to get to make her a cake! She loves red velvet, and she has a darling red Mini Cooper so we started there. It was originally going to be a 1 tiered red cake with white racing stripes like her car... simple but obvious.  As I was adding fondant I kept thinking of ways to make the cake more personal. In the end it was a two-tiered tour of D.C., and I couldn't be happier to share it with you!

What I forgot until I arrived at the party was that Sarah and Tim got engaged at the Washington Monument, and ran their first 10 miler (the Cherry Blossom) as an engaged couple.  There are always certain parts of the city that make her nostalgic and I had added them to the cake without realizing it.

 It was a very special night for sure. Thanks for letting me be a part of it in so many ways!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A First Time for Everything.

This changes everything! I'll be the first to admit that carving a cake into the shape of anything is tough, especially if it's a shoe.  I learned a lot throughout this process, and I'm so fortunate to have come across party planner Stefanie.  It was a pleasure to get to know her as we planned this cake for her boyfriend's birthday! I also learned a lot about shoes.  For example, I now know that the one this cake was modeled after, the Nike Galaxy Air Foamposite is a big stinkin' deal in shoe world.

Thanks Stefanie!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Wonderful Woman Retires

Happy retirement, Mary Lynne!!

I had the pleasure of working with Mary Lynne for almost 3 years during my time at JMU.  I worked at an office called Student Activities and Involvement where all of the behind the scenes work was done for the clubs and organizations on campus.  When we found out she was retiring this spring the current student employees gathered supplies, ideas, and past employees to celebrate her.  I was so excited to be a part of this, and honored to be asked to make cupcakes.  Mary Lynne was the mother of the office for so many years, and she will really be missed on campus.  She touched a lot of lives and has some BIG shoes to fill!

This was also my first time dipping cupcakes in ganache.  They were extra chocolatey, and extra delicious!

Featured flavors: Yellow cake with vanilla frosting and pearl dragees, Fudgy chocolate chip cake with vanilla frosting and dark chocolate ganache.

*Thanks to Kristin Muncy for sending me some pictures of the guest of honor!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

It's a rainy Easter from my kitchen, but still an excuse for celebrating. I'm excited to bring these cupcakes to you with their bright colored bakery papers, and fresh taste.

While you take a look at these lemon cupcakes with raspberry cream cheese frosting, we'll be chowing down on our holiday roast.

To all of you a happy Easter and a lovely spring season!

Bakery Papers brought to you by Pick Your Plum.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Lucky Weekend for a Wedding

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

I definitely got lucky with this wedding order.  It came from a friend of Moira and Graham's, and it was possibly one of the most low maintenance orders I've had in a while.  I was given a date, a cupcake total, and a fun experiment on their cutting cake. Other than that they were very flexible! The bride Jen said, "I need them next month, and they can be whatever flavors Moira and Graham had... something good!" She was easy to please for toppers, and she was out of town in NC so she didn't even require a tasting.  I was thrilled to pass them off to Moira and Graham for the drive to North Carolina this weekend.

Yellow Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting 

Coconut Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

Fudgy Chocolate Chip with Peanut Butter Frosting

I also got to experiment with a Gluten Free option for the couple's cutting cake.  It took a few tweaks to get the consistency right, but I only needed to replace a few ingredients. It's nice to have that under my belt now!

Jen and Mark's Gluten Free Cutting Cake 

Gluten Free Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 

I'm feeling so lucky to have such wonderful cake fans as friends and customers. It's an honor to continue baking for you all!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy 70th, Grandma!

My coworker Shannon's mom, known by most as "Grandma" celebrated her 70th birthday this weekend. After a big dinner out with the family, Shannon requested that I make a cake for them to eat back at the house.  She noticed the polka dots from my fondant lesson, and asked that we stick a few on the side.

I took some inspiration from my friends' cakes, and created this one with the colors and techniques they tried out.

Happy celebrating!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baby Quinn!

One of my dearest friends so graciously dreamed up this cake for a coworker. A close work friend of hers is due to have her second baby next week, this time a girl! The mama-to-be strikes me as a "no frills" sort of woman, and she made it very clear that she didn't want a shower for her second baby.

But who can say no to a ruffly pink cake?

I've been dying for an excuse to use the newest fad, "ombre," in some way other than on my hair.  We decided that the cake must be pink, it must have ruffles, and something cute on top.

I'll definitely be hitting the ombre again. Thank you Kristina for giving me the chance to test it out. A week from now we'll be welcoming baby Quinn into the world, and I can't wait to hear about how sweet she is!

Also, thanks for reporting back with this inside cake picture. It's just as pink as I imagined it!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Very Happy Birthday!

Today has been a really special birthday for a very lucky person... Me!

One thing I love most about my job as a teacher is that birthdays are really treasured. Yes, sometimes I feel rushed to cram a "celebration" into my social studies time, and yes you're right in assuming that cupcake sugar can ruin a 6-7 year old for the afternoon. But it really is fun to watch the kids glow all day long when people wish them happy birthday thoughts. All of my kids know I love to bake so I've been excited to get to today when I can bring my own cupcakes in.

You should know that something cute happens in first grade. The kids need to know your favorite color so they can make paper notes/crafts/anything out of them. This happens all.the.time. My first few years I changed my "favorite colors" a lot just to keep them busy, but this past year I took the easy road and defaulted to my JMU colors of purple and gold (yellow for them). I have a lot of kind gifts and notes in purple and yellow hanging in the classroom. It only made sense to add the colors to the cupcakes.

And to answer your question- yes, I have food allergies in my class. I have a few peanut allergies, a few tree nuts, 1 egg, and 1 red food dye. These kids enjoyed grape Jell-O. Good stuff!

We also have a fun tradition in my class where kids can donate a "birthday book" to the class library. It can be a favorite, or just one from home that they're ready to pass along.  This year I catered to the animal lovers in my class by bringing this one.  It was a big hit!

Thank you to everyone. Today, I am the luckiest!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Metro Area in Neon

Jessica strikes again! Someone who started as a friend of a friend has quickly moved from client, to colleague, to personal friend! She is so kind to think of me as various events pop onto her radar, but what I've really loved most are the conversations we get to have when we're planning cakes to fit various themes.

This time she was working with Capitol Romance to form a gathering of vendors.  Musicians, photographers, event planners, and other vendors were all in one spot to socialize and network. Because the actual event fell on a particularly busy night of work I was unable to attend, but what an honor to be invited!

I was given the parameters "VA/MD/DC" and "The owner loves neon!" when describing the people in charge of the event. You had me at neon.

My original idea of state shapes fell through once I realized how difficult Maryland would be to place on a cupcake and still look like Maryland.

 I kept the Virginia toppers, but experimented a bit to get the rest right.

Thanks Jessica for such a fun excuse to bake boldly!!