Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cake: Professional vs. Semi-homemade

Last night, we celebrated my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary! Sixty years! I can't even wrap my head around how long and wonderful that is.  Mike and I have been together over 11 years, and married almost 2. We have been together for about 1/6 of the time my grandparents have been.  I can't imagine what 50 more years of memories, hardships, triumphs and celebrations will feel like.  I can only hope that we will be blessed enough to find out! Happy Anniversary Grandma and Papa!

As with any celebration, especially in our family, there is cake! We've been getting our recent cakes from Sugar Bakery, in East Haven, CT.  There cakes are big, festive, and delicious.  There is an assortment of frosting/filling/cake options, and they always come out so polished and professional looking.

Last night's was a chocolate buttercream frosting, with chocolate cake and a raspberry mousse filling.  It was delicious, and HUGE!  Other flavors we have tried in the past were strawberries and cream, cookie dough mania, and death by chocolate.  All beautiful and decadent:

I was spoiled and had 2 at my birthday party! 

So there's definitely a place in my heart for celebratory bakery cakes.  On the other hand, I love to bake...and although buying a gorgeous cake from the bakery is easy and festive, it's just as special to make one yourself.  

One trick I love to use is semi-homemade recipes.  I often with start with a box mix...I know, the horror!  Stay with me though.  By using a box mix and sprucing it up, you can still claim it as homemade and have time to do your hair and make up for the party--> Win/win!

All kidding aside, one of the best reasons to use this semi-homemade strategy is that you can get super-creative with your cake options and fillings.  I know I'm more apt to try something cute and challenging with the frosting/filling/shape/decor of my baked goods if part of the prep is simplified. This is a great site, One Good Thing By Jillee, that I've used for tips/tricks to spruce up a boxed cake mix.

Some of my favorite options for cake + filling + frosting combinations are:

One last note before you get up to your elbows in frosting and flour...I use a variety of recipes for my frostings and fillings, and often play around with buttercream or cream cheese.  Because the cake mix itself is already from a mix, the fresh frosting and add-ins help to revive and highlight the cake.  Happy Baking! 

What's your favorite cake/filling flavor? 

Do you have any semi-homemade tricks or cheats worth sharing? 

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