I Am Baker

HUGE announcement!

You love cake.  You love finding new recipes and baking and decorating and licking frosting off of spoons.

But most especially, you love the shocked, delighted, even elated look on people’s faces when they see the beautiful cake you have created just for them.

Balloon Surprise-Inside Cake!

photo by Susan Powers

Does that describe you?

If it does, today is your lucky day!

Bunny Surprise-Inside Cake!

photo by Susan Powers

I wrote a little book called Surprise-Inside Cakes and it truly has something for everyone.

There are wonderful recipes for basic cakes, there are amazing designs for the INSIDE of cakes and there are beautiful frosting techniques for the OUTSIDE of cakes.

Opposite Cake from Surprise-Inside Cakes!

There are cakes that are as easy as opening a box and baking. This is the Opposite Cake which is perfect for anyone who loves chocolate, vanilla and a perfectly simple stunning cake!

Cowboy Boot Cake from Surprise-Inside Cakes!

There are cakes that involve molding and shaping cake like a fine sculptor does his finest piece of art.  This is the Cowboy Boot cake which I happened to make for a very special famous friend!

Vampire Cupcake!

There are cupcakes, for special occasions that require something a bit simpler.

There are treasured stories and secrets and embarrassing moments that I have never shared on my blog or elsewhere.

Sunset Surprise-Inside Cake!

SUNSET CAKE photo by Susan Powers

This book is worth every cent of the $30 cover pricetag.

But I just found out the price changed!

I think you will like the change though.  It went from $30 down to…





The entire book.

Yours for less than 2 dollars!

You can purchase the book on Amazon with the click of a button. It has been painstakingly designed to perfectly accommodate your mobile device.  (This is the e-book version, not the hardcover.)

Surprise-Inside Cakes-Rainbow Cake

You can finally find out how I made the famous Rainbow Heart Cake! For just pennies!

Also, this is a GREAT time to buy Christmas and Birthday gifts as well as everyone in your life who loves to bake!  You can easily buy a Kindle book for a friend, just click on “Give as a Gift” .   There is also the option to chose the delivery date of your ebook gift, so you could have it delivered on their birthday or any holiday! (They will have no idea that you are getting the huge discount!)  What a fun birthday “cake” to get!

AND… if you do choose to purchase an ebook for a friend and want to give it for a gift, I will send you an autographed name plate.  (Just in case you want something to put in their actual stocking!)  Email me at manda2177@gmail with your proof of purchase and a mailing address.

Vertical Layer Rose Cake!

Vertical Layer Rose Cake… this is a Patriotic Cake (red, white & blue) in the book!

Click HERE to get your copy now!  (My apologies, but the sale is only good for Amazon USA.)

Surprise-Inside Cakes on Amazon

Your support and kindness through this process has meant the world to me.  You mean the world to me.  Your generosity floors me!

I would like to thank you, even if it is in a small way.  For every person that buys a copy and leaves a comment telling me so, I will enter you in a drawing to win a $50 gift card.  Personally sent out by me with a thank you card.

That is a pretty good Return on Investment if you ask me. :)

Thank you so, so much!


I Am Baker

6 Things to Do TODAY to Help You Grow as a Blogger

How to Dominate Blogging

I have been blogging close to 10 years now.  While I am still a small fish in a big pond, I have learned a few tricks that help me to stay sane, keep perspective, and enjoy what I am doing!

I thought I would share a few of them with you!


PInterest Boards

 Create a Pinterest board of pins only from your blog.

Make it the FIRST board on your Pinterest page.

This is a great for a number of reasons:

1. It is a great reference for you.

2. Send this board to a brand!  Let them see your photography style and what types of foods you create and share.

3. Share this board with your readers across all avenues of social media.  Let them know that your blog is a great resource!

4. Other bloggers are often looking for content to share, make it easy for them to see your content!

Better yet?  Create a Board with YOUR BLOG NAME: Sweet, YOUR BLOG NAME: Savory, YOUR BLOG NAME: Christmas, etc.

Already have one?  Pin 10 items from your blog today, even if they have been pinned there already.  Since Pinterest changed it’s algorithm, you are no longer slamming your feed with personal pins and won’t be potentially annoying your followers.

Extra tip: If you love a specific brand and want to work with them, create a board of content pinned from their site.  

Comment on others blogs!

Like, pin, tweet, or comment from 10 blogs today.

Pick 10 people you admire.  Tomorrow pick 10 people whose blogs you have never commented on before*.  The next day pick the first 10 bloggers who show up in your twitter feed. Click the heart on 10 pins.  Comment on 10 pins (when they are pinned directly from the bloggers site), retweet 10 tweets from people you respect.  Go and look at 10 twitter accounts and find something to reply to.

Interact with your peers. Let others know you appreciate their talents and creativity.  Venture outside your blog theme (may it be food blogging, fashion blogging, etc.) and explore other worlds of blogs.

Supporting others makes you feel good about yourself, and when you feel good about yourself your joy is reflected in your writing and creativity.  Its a vicious cycle of joy. ;)

A great option is to also reply to every single comment on your blog this week, even if to just say thank you.

*A great way to find new people is to look in the comment section of blogs you like.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake & Cupcakes

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake & Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pick a popular post and update it/reshoot it.

1. Write a new post with more details and insight into your life. (Your readers want that!)  Make a note at the end of your post stating, “Updated from the original 2008 post (link to post)”

2. Remake it with a twist. (i.e. If it’s cake make it into cupcakes.  If it’s salad, add avocado and sesame seeds.  Small changes!)

3. Make it and re-shoot the images.

I find that when I am in need of a little inspiration the best place to go is my own blog.

Candy Corn Cake

Candy Corn Cake

Do photography different.

Set up your shot as your normally would and shoot the images you need for your blog post. (so you are technically done ‘working’)

NOW START HAVING FUN!  Add a weather vein to your image (cheryl from tidymom.net did this and I love it), add a glass of wine or a really fun polka dot towel, change your lighting entirely (dark and moody anyone?), bust out the macro lens and go CLOSE, take a bite of the food, have a child holding it, or even add some fun filters in the editing process.

The above shot was a total after-thought.  I was actually sitting on the floor looking up and it and just snapped a picture!

Join a blogging community.  

Ask around.  If you can’t find one, make one.  Having the support of others who do what you  do is essential.

Blog for YOU.

Don’t feel like you have to blog for the season or the temperature or an age group.  Share what is true to you, to your voice.  If you are making Christmas cookies in July, post it!  The beauty of the internet is that everything is always in season.

Set personal goals.

It is important to know why you are blogging.  If it is for money, for fame, to share recipes with long-distance relatives or to finally put to use that culinary degree, just be honest with why you are where you are.  Once you know your motivation (the combination of desire, values, and beliefs that drives you to take action), it is easier to set goals.

And here is a bonus tip:

Make Blogging FUN!

Brenda, Amanda, Kate, Laurie, me, Zoe (yes, I look deranged.  Still haven’t figured out the selfie!)


Find a way to enjoy what you are doing. If it means inviting a local blogging friend over and having a cooking afternoon, or setting up a coffee date with a blogger you admire to talk shop. Think of your favorite meal and blog it. Buy yourself a new prop. Use an ingredient that inspires you. Remember why you started blogging in the first place; you had (have) a passion (and talent!) for what you do.

To Recap:

1. Dominate Pinterest

2. Rock out Social Media

3. Redo Something

4. Photography: Change your brain around

5. Them

6. You

and FUN!

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!