Orange Gumdrop Cake

In December and January I feel I must eat as many California oranges as I can. I can picture them; sweet, juicy orbs hanging from the California trees, absorbing the vitality of the sunshine in which they bask. Hey, in the middle of a Minnesota winter, I’ll take California sunshine anyway I can get it, even baked into a cake.

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This cake is one of those baking stories where I tempted fate and dared myself to succeed in an arena where winging it almost always leads to failure. Succeed I did according to my nephew who exuberantly declared this to be, “The best cake I have ever had,” my son who asked for a second piece, and my daughter who knowing the story behind the cake confidently whispered, “It’s good mom.” Continue reading

Chocolate Chip Cookies and an Unexpected Snow Day

Chocolate Chip Cookies. If you are a baker they are most likely either your nemesis or your claim to fame. Even if you’ve developed the perfect recipe, entirely your own or tinkered with someone else’s to give it your own flair, you’re most likely tempted to make one more recipe from a blog or Pinterest or a newspaper clipping. You do still read actual paper literature, don’t you? There’s a scientifically proven difference in intelligence between those who read turnable pages and those who turn their pages with just a finger, but I digress.

Cookies and unexpected snow days. How pleasant when they happen to coincide. Another digression, don’t you just love all these gadgets with spelling tools that allow you to correctly spell words like digress and coincide without looking them up in a dictionary? I’m much too easily distracted. Let’s move on.
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The best pie of 2014

Sometimes I get an idea and let it simmer for a while. This gives me the time to decide if it’s really worth the time and energy to pursue it. Other times I get an idea, all the ingredients are right there, the kitchen’s a mess anyway and I have the time. Those times are sheer joy and I jump in with abandon whenever they come. This pie, my favorite of 2014, is the tasty outcome of just such a moment. The idea hit when I was in the middle of the busiest baking time of the year, the week before Thanksgiving until the week after Christmas.

You want to know what the pie is, right? You want the recipe, right? Okay, okay, I’ll share just because I’m nice like that! Cranberry Custard is my favorite pie of 2014 and as far as I know, it’s an original idea. I checked all over the internet to find a pie like it and I really couldn’t.

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Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies

Oh my goodness! I cannot believe I made these and that it was my idea. This was my worst idea EVER. My day had been perfectly easy and relaxing up to the point that I volunteered to make these. I had even given myself a homemade facial and cleaned the kitchen myself, because I wanted to. It was that kind of a day because in two days we go on vacation. You know how hectic the two days before vacation are, right? I needed to relax so I could get ready for vacation – makes sense.

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Mountain Dew and Doritos Cupcakes

I amazed and horrified myself by making cupcakes with a boxed mix, but it was for a good cause. My very first graduating nephew is having an open house and I am making his cupcakes, all 12 dozen! I only have one picture of these cupcakes because to tell you the truth, I didn’t expect to ever tell anyone about them. Surprise, they were a hit! I decided you might want to know since it was actually difficult to find more than one recipe for Mountain Dew Cupcakes or Redneck Cupcakes when I was searching online.

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Accidental Molten Chocolate Cupcakes

What’s a baker to do when she’s making cupcakes for a wedding, accidentally doubles the sugar during a recipe conversion and ends up with 6 dozen overflowing tulip lined cupcakes? If she has some experience and a sense of humor, she will remain calm, rename them “mini molten cakes” and give them away as fast as possible because they are so stinking good she would be tempted to eat several dozen herself!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer Cake

You know the old saying,

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Well, this week life handed me molten chocolate cake instead of chocolate cupcakes. I had 21 dozen cupcakes plus a cutting cake to get done for a wedding so I was recalculating my recipe to make more cupcakes at one time. I also had a little bit of a fuzzy brain for various reasons. I double checked my calculations and through my fuzzy brain I kept thinking, the sugar amount cannot be right, check it again. After three times, I got tired of trying to decipher what my fuzzy brain was saying and I made my cupcakes. Being the thorough person that I am, I proceeded to fill the cake pans, pop them in the ovens and also filled 5 dozen beautiful Italian tulip liners with the rest of the batter so that I could start on my next batch. 15 minutes into the baking of the cakes, I knew I had made an error in my recipe, but I was committed to making all 5 dozen cupcakes and the cakes that were already baking in the oven.

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