Get Well Soon Chocolate Lasagna

Baking date: April 29, 2017

Friends we met through baseball years ago have a daughter who I made Sweet Sixteen cupcakes for last year, a son the same age as our oldest who hit the first grand slam on the travel baseball team, and a youngest son who played baseball with our youngest, before our youngest moved on to lacrosse.

The youngest had to have emergency surgery in April, so a get well treat was in order. After checking with his mom to make sure their were no doctor-ordered dietary restrictions, I opted for a chocolate lasagna.

I used some of the leftover chocolate buttercream frosting from a peanut butter cake I had made the previous week to pipe on the get well message and a border around the top edge.

Here’s the finished product:

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And here’s the sweet note I received from him after dropping the dessert off and sending his mom some pictures of him from the basketball team this season to help cheer him up.

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Get well soon, Andrew!

Christmas Cookies for the Office

Baking date: December 20, 2015

My holiday gift to my staff each year is always home made goodies. Not only do I include cookies and other sweets, I also give them a gift card to a local coffee house.

This year, the goodie boxes included shortbread cut out rounds, decorated with royal frosting to look like snowflakes.  I tinted the royal frosting light blue, added on the snowflake designs in white. I topped them with white and light blue sugar pearls, as well as mini white sugar pearls and silver sugar sprinkles.

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They also received reindeer cookies. This time, I added some red sugar sprinkles to the red-tinted royal frosting noses.

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The package also include Bailey’s Irish Creme Cheesecake Balls. I substituted regular Oreos for the Tim Tam cookies. They were topped with red, green, and silver sugar sparkles after being dipped in the Godiva white melting chocolate.

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For the rest of the co-workers in my division, I included quite a spread! It was three containers full of cookies that made the trip in on the Metro with me:

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The spread of goodies included sugar cookies decorated like snowflakes. I used white royal frosting to outline and flood. The snowflakes were created using royal frosting tinted light blue. Each cookie had a different snowflake design, enhanced with light blue, white, or gold sugar pearls, silver or gold sugar sprinkles, and a few different candy decorations like snowmen, holly, Christmas tree, and the occasional blue M&M.

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It also included Bailey’s Irish Creme cheesecake balls. These were dipped in red and green, topped with more Christmas-inspired sprinkles.

Here’s the full spread of goodies, which included many of the left over decorated cookies from my cookie exchange, as well as ROLO turtle fudge, the snowflake sugar cookies, and the Bailey’s Irish Creme Cheesecake Balls:

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And here’s a look at everything up close and labeled.

It only takes a little sugar to bring smiles to the faces of your co-workers during the holiday season.

 

Monster Eyeballs Cake

Baking date: October 18, 2015

A friend of mine had been going through some medical issues. She is a four year survivor of breast cancer, so any medically-related issues take on heightened attention. After a brief stay in the hospital, I decided she and her family could use something to bring smiles to their faces.

Someone had posted a picture to my Facebook wall of a “monster eyeball” cake — people do that all the time when they see treats they think I can make. I decided that would be a fun cake to make.

Here’s a photo of the inspiration cake along with the ‘how to’:

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A new notes about modifications I made for my cake.

  • I used one white cake mix as the base and tinted half pink (breast cancer survivor). This would definitely work better with two cake mixes for maximum zebra effect, as my cake layers were very thin. I followed a tutorial on how to make a cake with zebra stripes on the inside. Picture of the result at the end!
  • The original recipe calls for a Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, but I used a regular buttercream frosting.
  • I thought a mix of eyeballs would be fun. The bigger eyeballs use Junior Mints for the pupils. It was Halloween season, so green mint Oreos were abundant and those were the base for my bigger eyeballs. I think the green added a nice monster/spooky element. And it was mint on mint – win!
  • I used red M&Ms for the smaller eyeballs.
  • My cake was only two layers, and the inspiration cake looks to be three or four smaller layers.

And one note – in my rush to get this done (on a week night!), I didn’t scrape the Oreo cookies clean once I took off the cookie from one side. That’s a step you want to think about if you want your cake to look as perfect as possible.

Here’s my cake:

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As a special touch, I piped on the word “HOPE” in pink sparkle gel around one set of eyeballs. This is a word that has very special meaning for my friend, after her battle with cancer. I piped on starbursts around the base of the cake and added a pink sugar pearl at the center of each.

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And the “zebra-like” inside:

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My friend said the cake cheered up the whole house, given the weight of her recent health situation. And isn’t that what it’s all about?