Housewife Tales, Part 2: Baking

Monday, April 05, 2010

Last week I made an entry about all the foods I've been cooking. They've been delicious, but decidedly uncute. To balance this, I have also taken to baking.

Now this is a hobby. It works out reasonably well because I don't actually like to eat most of this stuff, so I get to pawn them off on other people. In fact, the only thing pictured that I've actually eaten is the shortbread cookies, which I confess I didn't make. I did fall in love with them though and made thumbprint cookies during our next baking-themed get-together.
Dispite the glory that is all of the above, I am not a super creative person, and it takes a lot of browsing for me to get an idea of what I'm going to bake. My inspiration comes from several main places...

Cake Pops by Bakerella
The first time anyone sees a cakepop, they are instantly amazed. Cakepops are brilliant and adorable, and I only know how to make them through the guidance of Bakerella. I've made cakepops several times and have been getting requests for more. The rainbow "cakeball cake" above is just a bunch of cakeballs stacked (much easier than putting them on a stick I think). The instructions for the Hello Kitty cake pops can be found on Bakerella's website right here.

All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray
This book is so cute and filled with so many kinds of cake. It also educated me on the differences between the different kinds of flour, and each recipe comes with an interesting little anecdote. There's a kind of cake here for all tastes, and all skill levels.

A word of caution: You need a mixer for most of these recipes. Or at least you probably need one, unless you're insane enough to beat eggs and whip cream by hand. I'm not.

Fairy Cooking by Rebecca Gilpin and Catherine Atkinson
Yes, this is a cookbook for little kids. I don't care; it's cute and the recipes are great. Not all of them are baked goods, but all of them are cute. For my oldest friend's bridal shower I made four things, all of which I found in this book. They were super adorable.

And, being that it's a kids' cookbook, all of the recipes are easy. Cute, easy, and tasty. Win, win, and win.

Hello Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
I feel like you should have to pass some kind of psychological evaluation before being allowed to own this book. Attempting these creations is not for the feint of heart. Totally worth it though--every single idea in here is endlessly cute. You will not find baking recipes in here, just dozens of adorable decorating ideas for every occasion.

These are best accomplished with the help of friends. The chocolate owls above took three people three hours to decorate. But look at how cute they are! There's also a second book out, which I must soon get my hands on.

Perfect Cupcakes
This book reminds me very much of All Cakes Considered, except on a smaller cup-sized scale. Same concept though: a wide variety of flavors, mostly with simple but cute decorating ideas. You won't see any decorating tips like those from Hello Cupcake, but sometimes simple is perfect. And you can never go wrong with pink frosting.

I also invested in two dozen silicone cupcake cups, which I love. People keep getting confused and throwing them away though, which leads to a scolding from me. I picked up a dozen round cups, six flower cups, and six butterfly cups (pictured above) all four $4 at Target. Seeing as they're often ten times that price, I was quite thrilled. The best part is that the cup, being that it's not paper, remains a bright color, which compliments the decoration on top. Finding baking stuff in the dollar section of Target is almost my favorite part of any holiday.


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