I Am Baker

Let Earth Receive Her King!

I absolutely love our new home.  I love that we have a space we can grow into and that we can truly make our own.

Trying to figure out how I want to design things hasn’t been an easy task because I am not a good interior designer!  But I really enjoy the process.

And one of the newest challenges of late has been designing a fireplace mantle!

Christmas Mantle

I have got SO much respect for people who can put together a beautiful mantle.  I am not one of them!  Its hard working with scale and color and, well, design stuff.

So I opted for homey.  Personal.

Christmas Mantle

 

Fresh flowers in a red mason jar nestled in an inexpensive fake garland with multi-colored lights.

Christmas Mantle

A red and green “love” garland.  The kids and I made it last year.  We named every single person we could think of and said a prayer for them.  Then we put simple quotes like, “Jesus loves you!” and “God is Love!”.

If you look close you can see ‘Grandpa Dennis’ in there.  We still miss him so much!  I try so hard to help him stay fresh in the kids’ memories.

Christmas Mantle

 

Now don’t you dare laugh at my awesome chalk board skills!  As you can see we have a pretty tall space above the mantle and I had NO IDEA how to fill it.  I just happen to have these 4 foot high chalkboards so I decided to write something on it… something significant to us.  And celebrating the birth of our King is as significant as its gets!

Its going to be fun figuring out how to use this space in the future.  I have a feeling there will be a “mantle” pinterest board in my future… :)

 

I Am Baker

Family Holiday Gatherings: A Biblical Perspective

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Having hubby home, the spirit behind the seasons, the amazing food… its all enough to make me dream about these holidays for weeks before hand.

But there is another side to gatherings, one that can be sometimes stressful.

The truth is sometimes we just dont get along.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I deal with family.  Sometimes I look for the negative and not the positive in the people I love.  Sometimes I react to them in defensiveness based on my own issues, not on what they have actually said.  Sadly, its been easier for me to be in a pattern of critical thinking during those long holiday gatherings.

I forget how impactful the words I say are, and how lasting their impression is.  Even if what I am saying is not a true reflection of my heart, but simply an indication of a sour emotions or a bad attitude.

I came across these verses and I believe they have a direct correlation to how I can choose to think about extended time with family.

1 Peter 3:10-11 NLT

For the Scriptures say,  “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it…”

I love that part, “search for peace”.  What if I looked for good in others?  On purpose?

1 Corinthians 2:1-2 NLT

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.

This is Paul talking to the Corinthians.  One interpretation I heard of this message was that he was saying to them, “I am not here to listen to the gossip or the quarrels.  I am not focusing on this things of this world, I only want to focus on Jesus.”

I can only imagine the changes that others would see in me if my focus was truly on Him!  If I did not get caught up in strife, yet set my focus to the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11 ESV

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

One observation that I have noticed is that the deeper you love someone, the more vulnerable we are to feeling hurt.  I dont know about you, but I have heard words from family or close friends that cut like a knife.  Coming from a stranger would not have nearly the impact.

I know that those people love me,  and want the best for me, but I cant help but be torn up at how painful their sharp words are.  The above verse speaks to that so acutely for me.  I know I would want my family to forgive me when I say things I shouldnt, and here God is telling us that it is wise to do this right away!  Dont let things fester and turn into bitterness.  Forgive and let go.

Here are a few more versus that can help a troubled heart:

1 John 4:19-21 ESV

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Romans 12:18 ESV

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Hebrews 12:14 ESV

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

From the OpenBible.info.

 Heavenly Father,

I pray that your holy words will be permanently cemented into my heart.  That I will look for the good in others always.  That I will seek positive and loving words when speaking.  That I will honor you with my thoughts and actions.

Lord, please bless my family and our time together.  Help me to overlook things that may hurt, and to forgive as readily as You forgive me.  Help me to be an example of Your peace and love.  Help me to love others as You love them.

Thank you for this wonderful time we have together, where we can celebrate the birth and life of your Son.

In Your precious name I pray!

Amen.

 

I Am Baker

Pumpkin Pancakes

I saw these pancakes in a 2008 issue of my favorite magazine, Life Beautiful.

And I have made them twice in the last three days.

They are delicious!

 

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These pancakes are easy and quick, but so rich and decadent.  Especially with an extra sprinkling of cinnamon over the top… I felt like I was eating at a fancy restaurant!

Well, except for the baby screaming and the basket of folded clothes at the end of the dining room table.

Just sayin.

Can I set a mood or what?  Lets try again.

I can just see these sweet and satisfying pancakes on a cold, snowy Christmas morning with a cup of this fabulous Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Cocoa.

Sound better?

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice (or pumpkin spice)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all spice. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, and pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and blend until just incorporated. (lumps are ok)
  2. Cook pancakes as you normally would.
  3. Note: This is a dense batter, and you might not see bubbles form as quickly as they normally would. Look for the top to no longer be shiny and for bubbles around the edges as a sign to turn over.
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Extra options: Top with toasted pecans, maple sugar glaze, or a powder sugar/cinnamon blend.

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Seriously.  Try them.

Its like having dessert for breakfast!

 

I Am Baker

Creepy Millipede Cake

I get asked a lot of questions about cakes. One of the most common questions I get is, “What can you do with a 9×13 cake?  I don’t want to bake a layer cake.”

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I happen to really, really like layer cakes.  Might even have a small obsession with them.  Like making them twenty five layers and rainbow inside obsession.

But every now and then its nice to just make a cake like mom made.

Well, minus the creepy millipedes.

You know what I mean.

So I found this picture of a giant millipede.

photo from here

That sucker is like a foot long.  I do not like looking at pictures of creepy crawly things but I do like you so I sucked it up and moved forward.

This cake is a marriage between wanting to make something fun out of a regular old 9×13 cake and wanting to do something seasonal. (Halloween)

Hence the creepy crawly millipede cake.

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After icing the cake with white frosting, I just added some black food coloring to the remaining frosting.  I always use *Americolor Gel Food Coloring when I need to achieve deep, rich color.

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Since I am more familiar with the tiny millipedes in real life, I knew I wanted to add some to this cake.  They are what really got me… since those little rollie pollie ones look EXACTLY like the real thing.

Pretty much my skin has been crawling for a week now.

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So there you have it.  I see a Cake Challenge post in the futuree.  Maybe even a candy post.  Maybe I will just snuggle up next to this cake in bed because its so beautiful.

But that might be weird.

I do know one thing, and that is that I have a few more Halloween cakes to share!

Hope you like Halloween as much as me!

*Link is through Amazon Affiliate.

 

I Am Baker

Chocolate Spider Web {Cake in a Jar}

Spiders in jars.  Spider webs made from chocolate.  Black and orange everywhere.  It must be ‘that’ time of year!!

(I also made spiders and webs in 2009 on petite fours!)

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Its Halloween!  Well.  In like a month and a half it is.

But its definitely fall… and I adore fall.

What I don’t adore about fall is every spider known to man trying to make its way into my house so it will not perish in the bitter winters of Minnesota.  We have some big spiders around here.

I digress.

I wanted to do something fun with cake in a jar and also wanted to add a little somethin somethin to the outside.  So I found a way to write messages or pictures on the inside of the jar as well as add lots and lots more calories with chocolate on top!

It was a good day in my kitchen.

And it can be a good day in your kitchen too.  These are super easy!

To write on the inside of a jar I used a chocolate cake and made a white cake to fill the jars with.  If you dont want to make two seperate cakes, simple reserve about 1/4 cup of your white cake and use food coloring to tint brown or black.

One cake recipe made approximately six jars.

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After I piped the cake into the jar, I popped it into the microwave for eight seconds.  Maybe ten seconds, but no longer.  I just wanted the chocolate batter to set in place so it wouldn’t fall when I poured thewhite cake batter in.

I added 1/2 cup of white cake to the jar and then baked for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

This was tricky… some baked fully in 18 minutes, some took about 25 minutes.  It really depended on where it was placed in my oven.  So just keep a close eye on them!

And if writing inside your jars isn’t enough, I am also gonna show you how to make chocolate spider webs that fit snuggly over the rim of your jar!

IMG_9294.chocolatespiderwebs

 

IMG_9114.chocolatetips

You do not NEED to use a wide mouth jar for the chocolate spider web, I just prefer it.

*These are the jars I buy.  Also, I used  these candy melts.  Just popped them in the microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate was completely melted.

IMG_9122.spiderwebinstructions

I grabbed the jar with my left hand, then slowly moved the rubber band from the jar to my wrist.

While the chocolate is sturdy, if it ever broke it was when I was removing the rubber band.  So be careful during that process!

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Seriously that easy.  Less then ten minutes from beginning to end!

I also piped out BOO! and a pumpkin and other fun stuff for the kids.

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While the words are fun (you know I am so excited to do jars with red velvet Christmas greetings in them!) I think my kids liked the spiders best.

Ok, ok, so did I.

But if you happen to have arachnophobia, don’t ever google “spiders in jars” like I did and slowly torture yourself looking at huge creepy crawly heinous beasts while trying to find a template for your jar design.

IMG_9322.halloweenspidercakeinjar

But do grab yourself a spoon and tell the kids to ‘break’ into their jars.

They are as fun to eat as they are to make!

 

*Linked to an Amazon Affiliate page.

I Am Baker I Am Baker

St. Patricks Day Cake

The smiley, happy, silly rainbows on this cake are totally inspired by those amazing frosting covered sugar cookies you get at the bakery. Or at least, at the grocery store bakery that I would frequent in my youth.

Those cookies were the only thing that made shopping trips tolerable for my mother when I was young. The promise of just one of those delectable cookies was enough to exhilarate my senses and make me… well… behave.

Its funny how sugar still triggers that emotional response in me today!

Anywho… here are some over the top, crazy, supposed to make your heart happy rainbows.

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All of those rainbows are pure sugar highs… courtesy of my favorite buttercream recipe of all time.

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Since this is a St. Patrick's Day cake I actually made hundreds of gold coins for the base of the rainbows. I just made my homemade sprinkles, only bigger. But since I made them bigger they were taking forever to dry and I got impatient.

Hence, fluffy frosting clouds.

Next year I will plan better.

I mean, I probably wont, but I can pretend.

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And then, because it seems to be physically impossible for me to make a cake without a surprise inside, I decided to add a shamrock.

Seriously… I made so many impulsive choices on this cake! I dont know what I was thinking.

Like instead of a bright green jolly shamrock, mine is really, really dark. I thought it would be a fun to make Nigella's Guiness chocolate cake (beer… St. Patrick's Day… it seemed like a good idea) and then just add a little bit of green so it wouldn't be IN YOUR FACE green.

Like with this St. Patty's Day cake.

I will show you what I mean.

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Its dark.

And mostly resembles a shamrock.

At least it tastes fantastic!! (white cake recipe here)

This was one TOUGH cake. I really dont think a tutorial is possible because I need a full year to forget how much work it was.

Sorta like having a baby. Which I will be doing in 17 days. (scheduled C-Section)

TMI for a baking blog???

Sorry. :)

I Am Baker

National Pancake Day- Eight Amazing Pancake Recipes!

Today is National Pancake Day!

*heart skips a beat*

I love pancakes. Truly. Just adore them! Cant get enough of them.

However, this is a baking blog and I don’t really bake my pancakes. So why bother you with my obsession?

I thought I would jazz things up a bit.

Make pancakes mini-cakes! We like cakes right?

I started out with ‘orange’ size pancakes.

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But quickly moved to silver dollar size. I love the petits four type style they lent themselves to.

I did blueberry and strawberry mostly.

But also did a plain version which was still super tasty! (of course, adding mini chocolate chips didn’t hurt!)

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The recipe is simple.

I made my favorite from scratch pancakes but decreased the sugar serving by 1/2 cup.

I then mixed up a bowl of my glaze icing and poured it over the mini stacks.

For the strawberry I added the tiniest bit of pink food coloring as well as a little blue to the blueberry glaze. You can also add strawberry extracts or naturally flavor the glaze if you want too!

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I didn’t do it this time, but I next time I am going to substitute the milk with warm water. I think it will add a nice warm, creamy texture to the hot pancakes.

Some of the cakes sat for a few minutes while I was preparing others, and I loved how the glaze started to harden slightly, almost creating a little sugar shell around the pancakes.

It almost looks like a little layer cake. *joy*

It was so fun making little pancake cakes!

I kept thinking of new things to try and incorporate… maybe next year!

And this is my version of a strawberry short cake… strawberry pancake shortcakes! :)

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*****

And just for fun… here are some pancakes I have made in the past.

I told you I am a bit obsessed.

 

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Patriotic Pancakes

Red Velvet pancakes with buttermilk pancakes covered in blueberry syrup and blueberries.

Rainbow Pancakes

Buttermilk and Flax Seed pancakes with food coloring added.

Check out this post to see why these pancakes caused such an uproar!

leaf pancakes

Leaf Pancakes

An easy pancake recipe just cut into leaf patterns with a touch of food coloring. Kids loved these!

 Pumpkin Pancakes

These are AMAZING.  Seriously, once you have had them you will be craving them!

Halloween Pancakes

Easy and fun

And Zucchini Pancakes!

These are so light and fluffy, you will never know they are packed full of delicious zucchini!

Can you tell my photography has changed over the years?  Yikes!

So what fun ways have you jazzed up pancakes? Are you going to celebrate National Pancake Day?

I Am Baker

Valentine Ring Cupcakes

I love a good cupcake.

And I love a cute personalized cupcake. Not necessarily with names on them, but just a personal detail for the recipient… something that lets them know the treats were made especially for them.

Cupcakering1

I made these for my boys.

I am kidding.

Maybe.

I have always loved those little rings that the big chain bakery's put on cupcakes but never wanted my kids to choke as they were sucking the frosting off.

Yes, I have bought cupcakes from a store for my kids. And sometimes I buy Betty Crockers Classic White frosting and eat it out of the container with a spoon.

Shame spiral.

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Anywho, I went nuts and made a ton of these little rings. They are CHOCOLATE! Just some candy melts I put into a disposable pastry bag and piped out. (well, I melted the chocolate before I piped them, but I am sure you figured that out)

For the part that slips on your finger I piped out a circle then "glued" it to the base using more chocolate.

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Little hearts and circles embellished with glitter or candy pearls.

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Red glitter.

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Pink hearts.

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Now, if you love white cake and want the best white cake recipe… you should really try this one. I know it says its a white wedding cake, but who wouldn't love a little 'wedding' cake in their Valentine cupcake?

Its the day of LOVE right???

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And my favorite buttercream recipe of all time. Yes it has shortening in it. I would prefer pure lard but apparently that is not recommended.

Just sayin.

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A whole plethora of ring embellished cupcakes for the kids.

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My only advice is, share them with someone you love.

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This is one of my loves.

Who would you share a cupcake with this Valentines Day?

I Am Baker

Valentines Day Baking Ideas

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Valentines Day creations thus far.

I lovelovelove making theme specific desserts, and especially love the red and pink girly-ness of Valentines Day!

Valentines Petits Four (tutorial)

Petits fours
Pin It

Heart Cake & Heart Cake Tutorial

Heart cake

Valentines Cookies

Cookies vday

Valentines Day Coffee Sugar Cookies

Coffee sugar cookie

Valentines Day Brownies

Brownie

Edible Cake Box and Valentine Cookie Puzzle

Valentines cake

White Chocolate Dippers

Chocolate

Easy Valentines Cakes

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Valentines Brownie Dessert Pizza

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Rose Cake & Rose Cake Tutorial

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Here are some of my favorites from around the web! (This little linky is closed, but if you have a favorite Valentines Dessert you want to share feel free to leave it in the comments!)