TINY LITTLE TEDDY BEARS

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I don’t often take on cake orders. Mostly because I find that a lot of people have high expectations for cakes. I don’t blame them, as there are many talented bakers out there who set the cake bar way high by making miniature works of baked art. But in order to create those beautiful cakes, most of those bakers use fondant. In my personal experience, I find that fondant looks absolutely amazing but can sometimes sacrifice the quality of how the cake tastes. I strive to create baked goods that look homemade, that look delicious, and that are delicious, so I personally choose not to use fondant.

Moving on. On some occasions, I do take on cake orders. I love making custom toppers that are cute and fun. I love using fresh buttercream to cover the cakes. But most of all, I love thinking up new ways to decorate said cakes without fondant. Enter the tiny little teddy bears.

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This cake and cupcakes were created for a baby shower. As I riffled through my cookie cutter box, I found my collection of small (really small) cookie cutters. To be honest, I had my heart set on a tiny heart cutter (which surprisingly, I did not have), but instead found these miniature teddy bears. And as I tend to be quite obsessed with anything in miniature form, the rest is history.

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Both the cake and the cupcakes are a classic vanilla bean cake covered in vanilla buttercream. The cake was decorated with a simple ruffle technique and topped with a homemade “BABY BOY” topper.

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COOKIES AND CREAM CUPCAKES

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As a kid, my house-league baseball team was sponsored by a local burger joint. Whenever we won, they would serve us free ice cream after the game. Every single time, without fail, I would order a “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” cone. Ever since those days, cookies and cream has been a nostalgic taste of summer for me. Last week I had some leftover chocolate cupcakes from an order so I decided to transfer my childhood favourite flavor into cupcake form. They’re no ice cream, but the chocolate, the homemade cream filling, and the Oreo cookie buttercream definitely did the trick for satisfying my longing for the days-of-summer-past.

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Making the cream filling was new for me. I halfed this recipe for a cream filling for donuts and it made enough cream to fill 18 cupcakes. I even had some cream to spare (read: lick off my spoon in globs). It was so delicious and made the perfect filling for these chocolatey-cookie treats. For the frosting, I mixed Oreo cookie crumbs into a classic vanilla buttercream. I also licked the remaining icing off of the spoon. Zero regrets.

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These cupcakes sure did hit the spot this summer! They may not have been as cold as the ice cream version, but they were as equally as delicious. Now excuse me while I go get an ice cream cone (how could I not with all this ice cream talk?)

MID-SUMMER HAPPENINGS

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This has been a crazy summer! I have been knee-deep in baking orders for all kinds of occasions–bachelorette parties, birthdays, baby and bridal showers, anniversaries, and “just for fun” celebrations. The experience has been unbelievable, as I’ve baked over 1220 sugar cookies and 330 cupcakes within the past three months. These photos just brush the surface of the treats I’ve been cooking up around here!

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I hope you’re all enjoying your summer! I’m going to do my best with keeping things updated around here. In the meantime, be sure to check out my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/albertapearl

WEDDING BELLS ARE RINGING

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Springtime is just around the corner, which also means that so is wedding season. I attended my first wedding of the year a couple of weekends ago–a wedding that I had the pleasure of making the cupcakes for. I made two different types: earl grey vanilla and mango coconut. It was so exciting to attend the wedding and see the cupcakes in action as everyone celebrated the new marriage. I love how, as humans, we often choose to celebrate together over food. That is exactly why baking is so special to me! I made 160 cupcakes in total for the big day–my biggest cupcake order to date!

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On a different wedding note, I have also been daydreaming about the desserts for my own upcoming wedding. Call me crazy, but we will be having a dessert reception and I plan on making all of the desserts myself. I can’t stop thinking about all of the different dessert combinations to serve. I have been making mental notes, scribbled lists, and tons of little cake doodles (what do you know–my degree in visual arts put to use). It’s so fun to dream about all of these things. So fun.

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I have a few other wedding orders coming up within the next couple of months. May, June, and July are my busiest months of the year. ‘Tis the season for wedding bells to start ringing and I am more than ready with my piping bag in one hand and a spatula in the other!

MARCH

It’s March already. Can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday that I was celebrating the new year and counting my blessings for 2013. It’s hard to believe that I am already over-my-head overwhelmed with final projects at school, enrolled in summer courses, and devoting the majority of my time to carving woodblocks for the series of relief prints I’m working on. Looking back over the past few months, it’s hard to believe that I have had any time at all to bake. But alas, I have. And am I ever glad that’s the case.

I’m so thankful to have baking to keep me sane amidst all of the stress, frustration, and dullness of the student life. I love looking back at the various little baking projects I have taken on. What a pleasure it is to do what it is that I do. What a pleasure, indeed.

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It was so fun making chocolate-cashew cupcakes. I ground the cashews into a fine powder and mixed them into the buttercream, making the most delicious, fluffy, and nutty buttercream of life. It was also a blast to “blast” into outer space for a couple of hours while I made these outer-space themed cookies. Perhaps my absolute favourite moment of these past few months took place on February 5th, when the love of my life asked me to marry him. And yes, I did photograph the ring in a plate of cookies! What did you expect? I also had the opportunity to expand my cake-baking experiences by making another baby-themed cake and a birthday cake for my beautiful grandmother. On my reading week, I decided to make little “proposal” gifts for my bridesmaids, complete with nail polish, inspiration images, and a specially packaged heart cookie. Finally, one of the biggest projects I took on was an order for custom wedding favour cookies. It was a big job, but it was such a wonderful and fun experience.

These photos only encapsulate a fraction of the baking I have done over the past couple of months. It is such a pleasure to be able to create little treats that can be shared and enjoyed with those around me. As school settles down for the semester and I have a little extra time to devote to browsing, testing, and eating, I can’t wait to see what little “treats” the next few months will hold.

Happy March, everybody. Enjoy all of the little “treats” that come your way!