Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Crafty Corner : Layered Up!

Is there anything better than layer cakes? Pink Heart Society editor Jenna Bayley-Burke doesn't think so. Others can ride the cupcake craze, but she's feeding a family, not having a tea party!

I love cake. LOVE. There are cookie people and pie people and fruit loving people whom I thought had to be aliens until I gave birth to one such specimen. And then there are cake people.

There is so much you can do with cake. You can stuff it full of pineapple and carrots and pretend it's healthy. You can replace the butter with applesauce and well, miss the butter. You can even call it a muffin and make it breakfast. I mean...triple chocolate muffin? Nobody is fooled. But...blackberry corn muffin? GOTCHA!

My small boy shares my love of all things cake. One of our friendly families is doing 52 Cakes, an annual challenge to bake a different kind of cake each week. I'd be on board if I didn't look like I ate 52 cakes, myself, on Tuesday. So we're cake-ing on special occasions.

After a disappointing attempt at a peanut butter chocolate cake that doctored up a baked mix, we've decided to stick to homemade cakes. The boy has even learned the importance of cake flour, which I am sure will make him a lovely husband some day.

We've samples 4 different coffee cake recipes...my favorite is the traditional sour cream with nuts...his is the Bisquik version. We tried a red velvet using beet juice instead of red food coloring (since the tall boy is allergic) and need to tweak the recipe and give it another go.

Our wins so far have been a divine coconut cake, and the chocolate carmel fudge cake. Oh my, we need to make that one again!

As much as I love cake, I really love sharing the baking experience with the small boy...who is not so small anymore. I measured him, he can go on all the rides at Disneyland. I hope my baking time with him will last longer than my ability to remain taller than him.

I hope all my kids look back on their childhood and remember the crazy things we did with cake - including a build your own cupcake birthday party, and a cupcake wars birthday party - and think of their creative expressions. Maybe they'll recall how I let them once flavor and color frosting with kool-aid powder or how the could choose the cake, filling, or frosting, but not all three. (I have 3 kids, and they all get a vote - makes for some interesting combos).

My philosophy is that it's cake - how bad can their ideas really be? You can't really go wrong with cake. There hasn't been anything I haven't been able to save yet (even the not-so-red red velvet cake - hint, just don't call it red velvet cake).

Writing is like that too (you knew I was going there). All ideas are good, but they can't reach their full potential until they are mixed with other ideas and blended into something spectacular. Even things that you try and decide don't make it onto the serving plate (grape flavored frosting, anyone? yeah, didn't think so) are worth the effort of having tried them.

OK...question time! What kind of person are you?

I'm a chocolate cake person...especially with the caramel fudge filling the small boy selected.

Jenna Bayley-Burke is a best-selling author recently featured on Good Morning America. Kinda. Compromising Positions made the best seller list for Kindle for a few weeks, and GMA did their daily top ten list of Kindle bestselling ebooks and Compromising Positions made the list. But doesn't it sound better the first way? Keep up with Jenna's spin on things on her website & blog.


  1. I'm a cake person. I like anything with caramel, coconut, and chocolate. WHich makes German Chocolate Cake a big hit.

  2. I'm a dessert person. I love almost any kind except cheesecake and that will do if there is nothing else around but just barely. I think my absolute favorite is creme caramel.

    I love that you are baking with your son. I'm sure that he will treasure the memories just like I do of baking with my mother. My niece's three children are well versed in the kitchen and have been able to made their own meals/snacks for quite a while.