I Am Baker

three quick photography tips


Food Photography Tips

I just have to preface this with, I think you already know these tips.  I think everyone already knows these tips.

There tips are along the lines of “DA” and “common sense” but when I started using using a DSLR everything about it was terrifying, and the photography was so overwhelming that these little details were completely lost on me.

The only reason I am sharing them here is because I did not know these tips until someone mentioned them in casual conversation.  But when they did, it changed my life!


Most DSLR camera’s come with a handy dandy little red dot on the body.  There is also a little red dot on the lens.  When you are putting a lens onto your camera body, if you line up the red dots they will fit perfectly into place.

How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

As you can see my camera is a Canon, I have heard that on Nikon it is a white dot.

I did not know this for the first year of using my DSLR.  I would struggle with it every time! Seriously embarrassing.


I remember the first time a saw a professional change their lens out.  They put the lens cap on the lens first, removed the lens, then put the back lens cap on.  They looked at me and said, “It’s that back elements that matter, right?”  Yes, yup sure right.  I totally knew that!

How to insert a lens for a DSLR camera

I totally did not know that.  Here I was babying the front lens, not even realizing I was damaging the back with improper handling.

So now I make sure that when a lens is not on a camera there is a lens protector (cap) on both ends.  I also do not ever touch the back elements.  If there is dust or dirt, I very gently use a Q-tip or simply blow on it.


Ok, so this last one is more about shooting pictures than the mechanics of your camera, but it was one of those things that you hear and it changes everything about how you shoot.

I was watching a CreativeLive series and heard the photograph say, “Set up your shot, get your “hero” shot.  Now the fun begins.”  After he had gotten the picture he needed for the client, then he went in and changed angles, lighting, props.

When I did this for the first time, it totally opened up a whole new world of creativity and inspiration.  It’s like taking pictures suddenly got really interesting again.  I have found that some of the ‘after’ shots is what I use in my Instagram feed, as they tend to be my favorites.  I just like the fact that it’s a bit different, a bit more personal, and a lot more fun.


"marry me" cookies! So good, they will propose!

I recently posted these “marry me” cookies.  After I got the shot I wanted (a tall stack) I tried playing with it a bit.

Marry Me Cookies

This specific shot never made it to the blog post (although a brighter and sharper version did) , but as a photographer I got a sense of satisfaction in trying something new to me.

So there are my totally obvious tips.  If you are looking for some real photography tips check out these guys:

Food Photography Tips for Bloggers from Cookie + Kate

10 Items That Can Improve Your Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

Serious Eats Guide to Food Photography from Serious Eats

Tips for Food Photography from Pinch of Yum

10 Things I’ve Learned About Food Photography from The Pioneer Woman

Our Approach to Food Photos from smitten kitchen

I Am Baker

to all my email subscribers… PLEASE READ!

Hello sweet readers!

I just wanted to reach out to you and inform you of a few changes here at i am baker.

I have switched to a new email subscription company, and I hope you are loving the emails as much as I am!  Reliable and pretty, I could not be more thrilled with how well things are going.  Please do let me know if you see or experience anything that is not to your liking.

As far as the content in my emails, that is changing dramatically.

i am baker header

I actually have four separate sections of i am baker.  One is of course, i am baker, where I share everything baking.  I share my world famous Rose Cake or Chocolate Chip Cookies or Cupcake Decorating Tutorials or the Perfect White Cake or even how to make a Surprise-Inside Cake!

The PERFECT White Cake recipe!!

perfect white cake recipe

 i am mommy header

Then is i am mommy.  I am a mom to five kids ages 9, 7, 5, 3 and 1.  Being a mom is a large part of who I am and how I identify myself.  I laugh (mostly at myself!) and share pictures and parenting trials and frog sex and travel adventures and sometimes even glorious savory recipes!  My Homemade Chocolate Milk is one of the most popular posts on iammommy and a family favorite.  And here are some Homeschooling spaces that I dream of!

Homeschooling Room!Homeschooling Room Ideas


i am author header

I also have i am author, where I share about authoring a blog (with tips, tricks, hints and rants) and authoring a new book, surprise-inside cakes.  I also have a press page where you can read about everyone who has reviewed or talked about surprise-inside cakes!

i am servant header

Last but not least, there is i am servant.  One thing I have never really focused on in my blog is my faith.  I am a believer, as in I believe in the Bible and that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. Joyfully, I am starting to grow this section of my blog with more posts and guest posters!  (If you are interested in being a contributor, please shoot me an email! manda2177@gmail.com )

I know that we all come from different walks of life and different faiths, and I have always been respectful of how others believe. I believe that every person has value and that we all have something to offer and share, no matter what you believe.


Anytime any of these sections of my blog are updated, you will get an email.

It is my goal for you to get one email a day, five days a week, covering everything from the perfect chocolate chip cookie to the trials of motherhood, to the basics of blogging, to the awesome privilege that serving God is.

Let me say that again, ONE EMAIL A DAY, FIVE DAYS A WEEK.  I want you to know that fully so there are no surprises in your inbox!

I want these emails to be a welcome addition to your day and for you to feel comfortable and blessed by them.  If for any reason you do not want to receive these emails, please feel free to unsubscribe!  I will not be upset nor hurt nor hold any grudges.  I want you to be here because YOU want to be here, and for no other reason.

This blog is a community.  We have laughed, cried, celebrated and grieved together.  I hope you will consider continuing to grow with me!

If you want to subscribe to get emails to iambaker, just CLICK HERE and we are all set!

I Am Baker I Am Baker

this and that

I have been baking up a storm and have so many new designs and recipes to share.  So excited!  Think you can guess what is in this cake?  It’s coming to the blog soon!

surprise inside cake

Since I have been getting quite a few inquires of late I thought I would create a blog post to answer them all.  If you have any additional questions after this, please feel free to leave a comment!


First off, thank you so much for being interested!  If you are in the US you can buy it here.  If you are outside the US, I have this page that shares where most folks can purchase.  If you do not find your country, please let me know.

***Surprise-Inside Cakes is on sale right now on Amazon for $16.50, which is almost half off the cover price!


Yes, I most definitely will!  But for now I have this PRESS page that lists any current giveaway’s for the book.  That will give you many, many more chances to win!


Only if you live in Minnesota!  :)  We are doing some local signings soon.  If there is a demand in the future I would be more than happy to!

Other Fun Stuff:

I am having a contest on Instagram!  Take a snap shot of you with your Surprise-Inside Cakes book and post it to instagram.  Use the hashtag #surpriseinsidecakes and you will be automatically entered to win a $50 giftcard!  You can enter up to five times if you own five books, so could potentially win as much as $250!

Instagram Contest Surprise Inside Cakes


Winner will be notified on Instagram.  There will be one winner every week for the next five weeks!

I am now an instructor at Craftsy!  (Learn more about it here.)

Decorating from the Inside Out

I would love for you to see first hand how I create my surprise inside cakes.  And just in case you like that Rainbow Heart Cake that is on the cover, I make that cake in the class!!

We have gotten really good feedback so far, which is such a relief to hear.  Having people enjoy it and actually learn something was the goal, and it seems that they are!

I hope you will join in the fun!

And lastly, did you want to get your copy of Surprise-Inside Cakes signed?  If you send it to me I will sign it and return it to you!

Amanda Rettke

PO Box 261

St. Francis, MN 55070

Please indicate who you would like to made out to and if you want any specific message.

THANK YOU all so much for your support!  I am so humbled by your kindness and willingness to buy the book.  It means the world to me!



I Am Baker

surprise inside cakes is NOW in stores! (and an exclusive invitation)

My book is officially on sale!!!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

photo credit susan powers

If you could see me right now… I am shaking my head back and forth in disbelief.  This whole process has been so humbling and scary and yet rewarding.  I am not a “go-getter” by nature,  I tend to just let life happen around me and if it’s good, then all the better.  But this, this I had to work for.

Colin Powell says is best.  “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

What a labor of love!!  I am so thrilled with the book and hope you are too!

If you have not yet ordered your copy of surprise-inside cakes, now is the time!!


Ordering through Amazon is a great way to save money… as it is only $16.50 versus $30 in stores.

Candle Rose Surprise Inside Cake from iambaker.net

 photo credit Susan Powers

Hint: The CANDLES are part of the surprise… they are cake!!

I do have a couple of signing events coming up!

Magers & Quinn on March 20th at 7:00pm

  • I will be sharing some sweet treats!!

Kitchen in the Market on March 28th at 5:30pm

  • This is an EXCLUSIVE event with limited capacity, so you will want to reserve your spot now!  In addition to drinks, treats and interactive cake decorating, you can also win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!
  • Click HERE to make sure you get a spot!

I would really, really love the opportunity to meet you and to know what your baking passions are.

As always, thank you all so much for your love and support.  Oh, and if you have your book,  be sure to look for the cake that I dedicated specially to my blog readers!!

I Am Baker

international orders for ‘surprise-inside cakes’!

So many people from around the world have asked how they can order my new book, surprise-inside cakes.  I get positively giddy thinking about people from all cultures and walks of life sharing in the beautiful experience of baking cakes together.

Below I have listed links to how specific countries can order.  If you do not see your country listed, please let me know in the comments!






Livraria Cultura

Livraria Saraiva



HarperCollins Canada












Amazon Deutschland





Amazon Italy







Librerias Gonvill


American Book Center


New Zealand



Fully Booked

National Book Store




South America



Amazon Spain





Orell Fussli

United Kingdom


Amazon UK



Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

I Am Baker

surprise-inside cakes book trailer!

I dont know about you, but I lovelovelove when a book has a trailer.  I dont care if it’s a cookbook or a thriller or a documentary.  There is just something in me that loves the quick fix and anticipation of more.

That being said, here is mine.


I hope you like it.  And if you don’t, do not tell me because I am an insecure mess! ;)

Thanks for watching and be sure to get your copy now!!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

Apple: http://goo.gl/yxbknv

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/fmylI5

IndieBound: http://goo.gl/vq6CsU

Books-A-Million: http://goo.gl/HrRbnS

Google Play: http://goo.gl/HwbxbL

Kobo: http://goo.gl/3fRK0f

HarperCollins: http://goo.gl/EZE1nH

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

I Am Baker

surprise-inside cakes and a HUGE giveaway!


Today is one of those days that I live for as a blogger.  As much as I love sharing new and fun creative cake designs, one of the things that I enjoy most is getting to give YOU fabulous gifts!

Today, in celebration of the upcoming release of my book, surprise-inside cakes, KitchenAid and I are offering one lucky reader this.

Kitchen Aid Mixer

Quite possibly the most beautiful KitchenAid® Stand Mixer I have ever seen.  This is the Professional 620 6-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer and is valued at around $900.  It’s a piece of art that one lucky reader is going WIN!

Another lucky reader will have the chance to win a $100 Gift Card to Nordstroms!

Nordstrom Gift Card

And then… as if those two amazing prizes weren’t enough… TEN lucky readers will win a copy of my book!!!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

(photo credit Susan Powers)

YOU get a copy and YOU get a copy and YOU get a copy and YOU get a copy…

(In my best Oprah voice)

To be entered to win simply CLICK HERE and you will be all set!

I Am Baker

surprise-inside cakes available for pre-order!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover


The whole reason I started the “i am author” tab on the blog was because of this little book right here.

For three years now I have been baking and creating and designing and writing and photographing and stressing and waiting very impatiently for it to all come together.

And that is finally happening.

My new book, surprise-inside cakes, is a book full of so many things.  There are of course cakes with jaw dropping designs on the inside, but there are also personal stories and reflections from my life.  Even though I have a blog and have been sharing my life with you all for many, many years… this book is a deeper glimpse into my story.

I have truly never been so raw and real and vulnerable as I have been through this process.  And yes, I know its a book about cake, but for me it seems so much more.

There are more people to thank than I have time for, but I certainly hope I got a majority of them in the book.  I wish I could name each and ever reader by name, as you are the ones that have supported and encouraged me when I needed it most.  But just know… its you.  I am so so thankful for you.

I hope you will enjoy the book.  Here is where you can order it.  Order one (or a few, its a great gift for your loved ones) now!  The release date is March 11th.

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

Apple: http://goo.gl/yxbknv

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/fmylI5

IndieBound: http://goo.gl/vq6CsU

Books-A-Million: http://goo.gl/HrRbnS

Google Play: http://goo.gl/HwbxbL

Kobo: http://goo.gl/3fRK0f

HarperCollins: http://goo.gl/EZE1nH

I Am Baker

How to Embed a Live Google+ Post Into Your Blog Post

I got a few inquires about this Chocolate Chip Cookie blog post that I thought I would just write about it.  It could not be easier!

How to Add a Live Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Open up your google+ account and locate the post that you would like to share.

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Next let your mouse hover over the down arrow in the upper right hand corner of your post.

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Click on it and a drop down menu will appear.

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Scroll down to “Embed post” and click that.

It will bring you to this screen:

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.netCopy that code into the bottom of your blog post. (Or where ever you would want it to appear)

Thats it!  People will then be able to interact with your google plus post directly from your blog!

I was taught how to do this by Jamie Dorobek from C.R.A.F.T. just this past weekend.  She spoke at the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp, which was such a fabulous experience!

Wanna see it in action?  Just click on the +1 below! :)

If you want some advanced instruction, I found this post on the Google Developers.