love bake create

Pop some bubbly January 30, 2013

Filed under: Birthday celebrations — lovebakecreate @ 10:04 AM
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First, I want to send my appreciation and a huge thank you to everyone that viewed and liked my post last week. I was absolutely floored by the response that little squirrel got!

This week my best buddy Krysti-Anna had the joy of turning 28 and on the 28th. Meaning? Champagne birthday! There was really only one way to celebrate; cake.

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A lot of learning came with this cake. Such as the importance of making the bottle proportionate to the ice bucket. And taking more time to cut out numbers to make sure they’re both straight, and that I’ve cut off the blue I’ve used to outline the numbers.

There were a few really cool techniques I played with that turned out quite well, like the ice cubes. 100% sugar! They were made by boiling white sugar and white corn syrup and heating it to 260°F (hard candy stage) then pouring them into greased ice cube trays. I made two batches, the first one being the blue. I wasn’t sure how much food colouring to use and it seems I may have over compensated. The second batch wasn’t coloured and the sugar turned out a little yellow (naturally happens). Enter my dad and his brilliant idea; put all the “ice cubes” together in a metal pot and shake to break them up a bit. It roughed up the ice and made it more natural looking, plus left me with loads of “shaved ice”. Love it!

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The bottle was made out of rice krispies and to cover that and the bucket, I tried a new kind of fondant. Made of marshmallow. That’s right. Those delightful fluffy balls of sugar that go over the camp fire. Super easy too! All I did was melt marshmallow in a pot, then take them off the heat and add equal parts of icing sugar. It can be rather frustrating when mixing since you just keep adding more and more icing sugar. Also, you will need to use your hands at one point. Take my advice; cover your hands in either shortening or (what I used for a bit of flavour) coconut oil. When I say cover, I mean COVER! Keep adding more icing sugar. Eventually it will look and feel like play dough.

One downside is that marshmallow fondant doesn’t have the same non-tacky quality as regular fondant which means you need to use a lot more icing sugar when rolling it out, otherwise it will stick to EVERYTHING!

I did play with a few of the final details by making a “custom” label and squishing the “seal” with the top of a wine bottle and adding the initials K.A. (for Krysti-Anna).

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I have to admit, the foil top is not edible. Sad, I know, but I didn’t get a chance to track down gold dust, so gold foil had to do a stand in.

The best part was the delight on Krysti-Anna’s face when she saw the cake and the then said she didn’t want to eat it … it was too pretty.

That’s the beauty of making things that are edible; it forces you to live in the moment and enjoy things while they’re there. Everything, no matter what, has an expiration date. So while it’s around make sure to love it, drink it in, live in the moment and above all …



Sweet and simple birthdays September 21, 2012

Filed under: Birthday celebrations — lovebakecreate @ 4:48 PM

Last year when my dad turned * discernible age ending in a zero* years old Eric and I had just moved to the east coast and were just getting settled into our new surroundings. We didn’t manage to make our way back to Winnipeg and had to settle for well wishes over Skype. This year, when he turned *discernible age plus one* years old and had a new grand daughter to meet, Skype wasn’t going to do. This, I saw as an opportunity; I was going to make one fantastic theme cake for my dad, complete with real looking but edible ice made out of sugar and iced cakes that looked like beer cans. I drew up a plan. I made a list of ingredients that had to be bought. I presented my plan to my loving husband who would surely exclaim how awesome the idea was and offer his support in any way possible. His response to my plans?


So much for support. “Why not make something tasty and simple?” I shot back with the fact that it would be tasty. And simple? My dad deserved more than just ‘simple’. Nope, I was dead set on making a beautiful cake my dad would be proud to say was his, made just for him, by his daughter. Funny how plans have a way of being flipped on their heads.

Now would be a good time to draw attention to the fact that Eric and I became first time parents in July, being blessed with our beautiful daughter Ella. It’s also a good time to mention that Ella is being sustained on breast milk. That she gets from me. Any time she demands it. And does she ever DEMAND it.

With the party being on Sunday afternoon, I waited until Saturday to start baking all the cakes. The plan was to bake two 9 inch pans of Chocolate Coffee cake, a pan of chocolate cookies and vanilla cupcakes. The Chocolate Coffee cakes did get completed, using the recipe below, adapted from a recipe found at


  1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar or 1 1/2 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup apple sauce

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt


  2 eggs

1 cup strong brewed coffee (instant works very well and has a good bitter taste)

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup oil (olive oil gives a nuttier taste and canola lets the coffee and chocolate come out)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your pans. I used two 9 inch round pans, but you can use any pans you like.
  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients or everything on the left hand side of the page (minus the apple sauce if you’re using that version). If there are any clumps of sugar or cocoa, put the mixture through a sifter or use your hand to break up the lumps. Yes, it’s tedious but totally worth it when you don’t have big bitter lumps of cocoa floating in your cake.
  3. Make a well in the middle and pour in the rest of the ingredients. I usually crack the eggs into a measuring cup before pouring them in, just in case some bits of shell fall in.
  4. Mix everything together for at least two minutes or until everything is combined and you have a very runny mixture. (Electric mixer is the easiest here.)
  5. Pour the mixture into your pans and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The mixing, pre heating and pouring into pans should take maybe 15 or 20 minutes, half and hour if you’re really taking your time. It took me about 45 minutes thanks to a feeding pause. The baking was also perfectly timed. If you can imagine me sitting in the kitchen feeding Ella as I guide my dad in checking if his birthday cake is done. The man helped to make his own birthday cake. It was at about that moment when Eric’s suggestion kept echoing in my head. Simple. Tasty and simple.

The next morning, decorating was attacked as a team effort. Ella was fed until she was drunk off breast milk and promptly snuggled into her stroller at which point Eric carted her off for an hour long walk. I was free to create something beautiful. Simple, but beautiful.

First order was to mix up some whipped cream. Using electric hand beaters, I whipped the cream, adding hazelnut coffee creamer for added flavour. The ratio was about 1 cup whipped cream to 1/4 cup coffee creamer but you can adjust it according to your sweet tooth. The tops of the cakes were cut to be level surfaces and one was placed onto a stand and covered with about a quarter of an inch of whipped cream. For a little extra something, I cut up a package of Kit Kat and sprinkled them onto the whipped cream. After putting the second cake on top the whole cake was covered with whipped cream.

To decorate the cake, I blended two more packages of Kit Kat to something that looked like course sand and then used my hand to cover the sides of the cake.

I did have to go around the cake several times, gently putting the crumbs on, just to get the coverage I was looking for. Also, since it was already on the stand, I had to use my spatula to brush off the extra crumbs that fell and piled up at the bottom.










My mom offered a brilliant last minute detail by running out to the garden and picking out some edible flowers. The purple ones are pansies and the orange one (my favourite) is a Nasturtium.








Since this was a birthday cake for my dad, I wanted it to actually say “Happy Birthday”. Originally, I had planned on using food markers to write on the cake, but that wasn’t possible because of the whipped cream. Instead I used raspberry flavoured Plate Scrapers. As you can see in the photo below, it is a bit runny and does make the lettering look like it’s bleeding. Not the ideal look for a birthday cake, but might work quite well for Halloween baking.


Bleeding lettering aside, the cake was very moist, even a couple days after the party. A few people commented that it tasted like there was alcohol in it (which there was not) but that was likely because of the hazelnut flavouring. I was just happy that my dad enjoyed his birthday cake.

The smiles were because of my mom demanding that we smile.

Simple. Definitely sweet. Perfect for my first cake while tending to a two month old.

Until next time,

Happy baking!