This post is all about creativity. I wanted to share some of the super popular cake trends going around right now. I've put together a little visual list of my favourites below!
I can't believe it's almost Christmas. Again. I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with this time of year. The good? Warm drinks, family gatherings, delicious baked goods, Christmas trees and my birthday! The bad? I'm not a fan of the the cold. I only like to see snow falling on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Once December has past, I've pretty much had it with the winter. Lets not focus on the negative! This post is all about the positive--Christmas favourites! And I mea, Christmas baked goods, of course. I have compiled a little list below of my all time favourite holiday goodies that help to remind me of all the good things happening this time of year.
1. Shortbread Cookies
I know what you're thinking... boring. Just like sugar cookies, shortbread cookies are somewhat overrated, but, they're a classic, especially for Christmas! When I was young, my mom would make dozens of her famous shortbread cookies and I couldn't get enough. We would top them with green and red sugar sprinkles and they were always baked to perfection. Just the right balance of crumbly meets melt-in-your-mouth. She would make so many that we were eating them well into February and March. I never complained. Sadly, she doesn't make them much anymore, but I'm thinking I may need to dig up her recipe and give them a shot this year!
2. Fruit Cake
You either love it or you hate it. Fruit cake is filled with tons of dried fruits and nuts and it's pretty boozy, so, what's not to love? My family is divided--half of us love it and the other half, not so much. Fruit cake reminds me of my Nonni. Her recipe is the best and it is true what they say, it really does get better with age. My dad recently found one in the back of our freezer that was dated from 2010. Even though it was seven years old, it was so damn good. I've perfected a recipe of my own that's a little less fruity, and a little more cakey. It's on my holiday menu this year! Check it out here. ^_^
Panetone also reminds me of my grandma. She's been making panetone for as long as I can remember and she always puts a mini one in our Christmas gift bags every year. They are moist and fluffy with a hint of citrus and raisins. Obviously the best right out of the oven. Believe it or not, I actually love the store bought panetone, too! (The right brand, of course). There's something about the flavour that I just love. Not to mention, it stays chewy and fresh for so long. I haven't tried making panetone on my own, but it's definitely something I've been meaning to try. Now that I think about it, I should ask my grandma for a lesson!
Whether it's gingerbread cookies, gingerbread loaf or gingerbread cake, I love it. I'm a huge fan of the flavor combination of molasses with all of the wintery spices--cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, all spice, cardamom. There's just something about gingerbread that screams Christmas. Gingerbread is to winter what pumpkin is to fall. Definitely.
5. Candy-Cane Cookies
This one sounds a bit vague, but I am thinking of a very specific cookie. The cookie is made up of two pieces of cookie dough--one red, one white--that are twisted together and formed into the shape of a candy-cane. Every year around Christmas time, my old neighbor would bring over a tin of her homemade cookies. My brother and I would fight over these candy-canes. We didn't care about anything else in the tin. I don't know why we never tried to make them ourselves. We should have asked our neighbor for the recipe. Unfortunately, she moved last year, so it looks like we have no choice but to make them if we want to get out fix this Christmas!
Yesterday was my mom's birthday. We planned an extravagant meal for her, so time was pretty tight. Against my better judgement, and because I know she doesn't really like sweets, I picked her up a cupcake from the local grocery store so she'd have a candle to blow out. It was a good idea right up until the time that we started eating it. Oh my god, it was so awful! It may have sounded good and looked decent, but the taste was just gross! This disappointing experience inspired me to write this post. Why should you ask a baker to make a cake for your next special occasion when you could just buy one off the shelf? Well, here are my 5 reasons to make you think twice…
1. It tastes better!
A cake made fresh always beats a manufactured cake hands down. Who knows what they put in those cupcakes at the grocery store anyway! If it's mass produced, you have to be a little bit weary. When you order from a local baker (like me! ^_^) you are always getting better ingredients, a fresher cake with a longer shelf life, and the option to choose from a variety of flavours.
2. It's personal and means more
Custom-made cakes are so much more than just writing the name of someone on top of a cake. Custom-made cakes are just that--they are custom. They're not made for just anyone and usually no two are exactly the same. Cakes can be themed according to hobbies and interests, different colours and accents, and can include florals and other special decorations. The sky is the limit!
3. Everyone will talk about it
Cakes create memories and are part of important events and occasions. The custom-made cake that you order for your next party will be the center of attention and your guests will be impressed. You want people to be talking about how amazing the cake was, not leaving the party trying to forget it.
Yes, custom-made cakes are more expensive, but they are worth it. Grocery store cakes are cheaper, this is true, but they don't represent value since they are mass-produced with artificial ingredients. Custom-made cakes take a lot of time and attention to detail, but they are worth it because the outcome is something delicious, special, and one of a kind!
5. It will be made with love
When you order a custom-made cake, you know that someone has spent a considerable amount of time planning and working hard on it. A personalized handcrafted cake, for a few hours before it’s eaten, is a work of art!
So next time you’re tempted to stop at the grocery store, think about the person you are buying for, or the party you are organizing and remember these tips! A little time and effort and your guests will enjoy a cake that tastes really good, is personalized, grabs everyone's attention and is made with love!