It's A Boy!!!

Yesterday we had a baby shower for one of my best friends. She is going to have a baby boy in July and everyone is really excited! Another very good friend of mine held the shower at her house (and did a super hostess job!) and we were able to enjoy the back yard setting for about an hour before it started to rain. Amazingly (there was a large group of us) we made a comfortable transition indoors and continued on as if we were there from the beginning. There were many super-cute baby gifts: bibs, clothes, jolly jumper, and of course mine was 'baby's first birthday cake' for when the little guy turns one. I also made the cake for the shower which was blue with a sleeping teddy bear on top. ENJOY!!

Bridal Shower

My aunt asked me to make cupcakes for a bridal shower she is going to tomorrow. The theme is sex and the city so I figured fancy, girly things would be the way to go. She requested the icing be hot pink and she gave me zebra stripe and black and white polka dot cupcake liners to use. I decided to make fondant and gumpaste items to top each: shoes, Chanel purses, Chanel #5 perfume, and lipsticks. ENJOY!!

p.s. these would also be perfect for birthdays or bachelorette parties!!

Chocolate fig wedding cake

Here is a new wedding cake that I have just completed. It is for a tennis friend who's daughter is getting married today! Whoo Hoo! She sent me a picture of the cake she wanted which was chocolate with chocolate ganache icing and filling with fresh figs on top. We were worried that I might not be able to find any fresh figs in the grocery stores but I talked to a guy at Food Port in Milton who was super nice and made sure they brought them in just for me, so a big thanks to him! ENJOY! (i certainly did....mmm leftover chocolate ganache!!!)


My boyfriend's mother asked me to make an elegant cake for her bible study. Some of the ladies in their group are celebrating birthdays this week and she wanted to have something special to celebrate. I chose to do a classic sponge cake but enhanced it with lemon and royal raspberry flavour. I did a raspberry filling with raspberry-vanilla meringue buttercream. ENJOY!

4 Years Complete

One of my best friends just graduated from the International Development program at Guelph University. Hooray! Our family was invited over to her parents house to celebrate and her mom had asked me to make a cake. My friend likes to avoid gluten so I decided to make a cake using an all-purpose gluten-free flour that I found at Bulk Barn. The cake was a mango-vanilla pound cake with vanilla drizzle. ENJOY!

Gluten Free

Gluten free products are becoming very popular these days. People who have celiacs disease (gluten intolerance) or have made a lifestyle choice to not eat gluten have created a new market for these products and this market is growing! I have actually been asked by a few brides if a layer of their cake or some of their cupcakes can be gluten free. I also have a number of friends who don't or can't eat gluten. This always makes for a wonderful baking challenge. There are many types of gluten free flour on the market (bulk barn carries a large selection) and also some that just have a lower gluten content than wheat flour.

This week I made a carrot cake for a friend who doesn't like to have a lot of gluten in her diet. The flours I used were coconut, brown rice, spelt, and an all purpose gluten free. The spelt does actually have a low amount of gluten so it was not 100% gluten free, but rather close. The texture of the cake was slightly less chewy than a wheat flour carrot cake which actually made it quite nice, the flavour was the same - quite tasty! ENJOY!

p.s. I put some gumpaste flowers on top to make it look extra special! (roses, carnation, stephanotis, pansy, and forget-me-not) Here's a close up:

Belated Birthday Wishes

Busyness seems to be a large part in why a recent birthday celebration (for a very good friend of mine) was about 2 months late! We have been trying to hang out for months and something always gets in the way. We were finally able to hang out and I made his favourite cupcakes for a super belated birthday treat. The favourite flavour is vanilla cake, strawberry filling, and fondant icing on top. I whipped them up from a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe (she really is a cake master!), filled them with strawberry goodness, brushed them with apricot glaze (to keep in moisture and make the top adhesive for fondant), and topped them with stripy fondant. The cake was so moist and soft that they melted in your mouth! I would have liked more strawberry filling in them but they could only hold a small amount before it came exploding out the top (I will have to work on a way to get more in there.) ENJOY!

'T' is for teacher

Recently a lovely lady has hired me to make some fondant items for her. The first two were rock climbers and then this week she asked for some school supplies for a retiring kindergarden teacher cake. My first thought was an apple (why is that such a teacher thing? I don't remember any of my teachers loving apples!). I also made a pencil, an old school slate chalk board, and an ABC's book. ENJOY!

Banoffee Pie

BANOFFEE PIE: (also spelled banoffi, or banoffy) is an English pastry based dessert made from bananas, cream, toffee and boiled condensed milk (or dulce de leche), either on a pastry base or one made from crumbled biscuits and butter. Some versions of the recipe also include coffee. Its name is a portmanteau constructed from the words "banana" and "toffee".**
BRITISH INVASION: something that happens about twice a year when our friends from England come home to Canada for a holiday.

Our friend from Canada married a British 'Bloke' (haha I love pretending to be British) and they sadly chose England as their place to live (although we are trying to convince them to switch to Canada!). They were just recently here for a visit and my family had the pleasure of their company for lunch just before they left for the airport. A few days before, we were having a bonfire with them and I asked what I should make for dessert after our lunch. The decision was banoffee pie.

I had never made a banoffee pie before but figured it really couldn't be that hard, especially since I just finished baking school (not to say I haven't had mess ups before!). I looked on-line for a recipe and after glancing at a few I got the gist of what I needed to do and went to work. Here are the step by step instructions for your own banoffee pie making enjoyment! Trust me, it's worth the time!

Step 1: In a very large pot bring to a boil 1 bag of whole milk (1.3 L), 1 1/2 C sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp vanilla. Turn down heat to medium and continue to boil for about an hour, stirring occasionally, until caramel brown and thickened. Turn down heat to low and cook until thick and deep brown, be careful to keep a close eye and stir often so it doesn't burn. When toffee is finished cooking set aside to cool slightly.

Step 2: In an 8 or 9 inch springform pan mix together 2 C graham cracker crumbs and 1/4c melted butter. With a metal spoon press the crumbs up sides approx an inch high, leaving enough crumbs to press onto the bottom. Bake in a preheated oven @ 350 f for 15 min. Let cool for 5 min and then pour in the warm toffee mixture and smooth it with a spoon. Leave to set in refrigerator until cold. *If you want to decorate it with toasted coconut put 1/4 C shredded coconut (sweet or unsweet) in oven on a pie tin while the oven is on for the crumb crust. keep an eye on it as it will brown quite quickly after a few minutes (you want it to be a nice golden colour). Then set aside.

Step 3: Whip up 500 mL (2 C) whipping cream with 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla to stiff peaks. Thinly slice two ripe bananas. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on top of the cooled pie then spread with half the bananas, cover with another thin layer of whipped cream and remaining bananas and then top with remaining cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut* or chocolate shavings if desired. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Step 4: ENJOY!!

P.s. at lunch it was greatly enjoyed by all, especially our British friend who had seconds! YAY