desserts, general information and events

my entry for Bake My Cake 2013: an epic graduation cake.

entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

(Setting: early Summer in the American Middle West. Shannon has been up for hours planning the day, doing some grocery shopping, and has just returned from the gym. A thought occurred to her while on the treadmill – a rare happening – and she can’t wait to tell the one person she knows will be excited about it.)

Shannon: (slams outside door and sets her things on the counter) Lottie? Lottie!


Shannon: Lottie? Hello?

(more silence)

(A slight fear creeps in to Shannon’s heart as she wonders where her sheep is. She goes quickly to Lottie’s new home and rings the bell.)

bake my cake 2013.

Shannon: (hesitantly ringing doorbell) …Lottie?

Lottie: (muffled) …Mmmmmrrrrrpphhhhh…

bake my cake 2013.

Shannon: Are you in there?


Shannon: (opening door, seeing Lottie) What the…? Sweet Lord, Lottie; it’s almost noon.

bake my cake 2013.

Lottie: (after some unintelligible muttering) Is it time for our vacation yet?

Shannon: Noooo…remember what I told you the other night? We still have a few things to take care of before we leave. That’s kind of why I’m here.

Lottie: Did you bring coffee?

Shannon: (sighs) No. But if I make you some, can we discuss one of the projects we have? It’s for Movita.

Lottie: Movita??!?! Is she coming?? Please get me coffee; I want to look my best. Is she taking a sabbatical from school? Did they kick her out?

Shannon: NO! Lottie, seriously, focus; I told you this. She’s graduating!

Lottie: WHAT? Already?! So I guess that mixer incident didn’t count against her…

Shannon: I guess not; I’m pretty sure everyone in the class made their fair share of mistakes.

Lottie: Yeah, but I mean, that was a pretty big mistake, no?

bake my cake 2013.

Shannon: (with growing impatience) Lottie, I was wondering; when was the last time you did anything in a mixer? Or like, with your day

Lottie: Oh, okay, fine, that’s really nice. I don’t even have opposable thumbs. Or thumbs in general. I can’t believe you would even say something like that when I’m not even capable….

Shannon: You’re right, I’m sorry; that was uncalled for.

Lottie: (in a huff) …uh, yeah.

Shannon: Listen, I came here because I need your help: I’m trying to figure out what to make for Movita’s graduation cake, and I just can’t think of the perfect thing. It’s almost deadline time, and I still have nothing. What do you think?

Lottie: Hmmm…hey! What about fashioning a giant stand mixer out of cake and throwing a scale model of Movita into it!

Shannon: Well, you know, I actually did think of doing that, but there’s no way I could execute that properly.

Lottie: Right, you’re right; because you’re sort of a hack anyway and you haven’t been to pastry school…

Shannon: Yes, that’s why. Thank you for that.

Lottie: What about a scene from her future Sprinkle Toes bakery?

Shannon: Unfortunately, I did that one already. I loved that cake.

Lottie: Right! You know what I loved about that cake? Those tiny pastries. Remember those? You decorated like, what was it, 7 million Cheerios or something in royal icing and sprinkles? That was pretty epic. You lost to a 12-year old girl with that cake, right?

Shannon: Why yes I did, Lottie. And I’m probably going to lose again this time, but that’s not the point, is it. So do you have any other thoughts?

Lottie: Well right now, my thought is that you should make me a few of those cereal donuts again…remember how you saved the leftovers for me? Those were delicious. You know, I wonder if you could make like, tiny cinnamon rolls like that too. Have you ever had Waffle Crisp? Those things would make some excellent cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Do we have any of those around?

Shannon: Seriously, Lottie, I need your help; I can’t think about making you breakfast right…wait. Did you just say something about Waffle Crisp and tiny cinnamon rolls?

Lottie: Yes; finally you listen. I said them in the context of “go make me some for breakfast.” I’m hungry.

Shannon: You just gave me an idea.

Lottie: Oh good heavens…

 entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

There’s a lot that I can’t do, people. I can’t fly a plane, visit haunted houses, or bungee jump. I blame most of that on an overabundance of imagination, which gets the best of me in most frightening situations.

The benefit of a runaway imagination? This cake. That personality trait, paired with the ability to enjoy doing a lot of tiny work at once, is the reason this cake stands before you today. Because I may not be normal, but I’ve learned how to harness my particular brand of crazy and use it for good.

This is my entry for Movita’s Bake My Cake 2013 competition. She’s graduating from baking school after a year filled with a good amount of tears and frustration, but ultimately tons of success. She did great, just as I knew she would, and she deserves a huge celebration in her honor. Even if she hadn’t graduated, she would still deserve it, because she’s awesome. I’m proud to call her my friend, and am continually amazed at what she has achieved.

I’m not going to lie: I really want to win this time. I’ve been in three other competitions of hers: Bake My Cake 2012 (with the cake Lottie was referring to); Pumpkin Carve-Off 2012, in which I made Lottie a home she has since rejected in favor of a vintage dollhouse; and Ginger 2012, where I didn’t even make the first-round cut because a gaggle of professionals showed up with ginger-Buckingham palaces to beat me. I have never won, but I almost have; I really think maybe I can pull it off this time, but I need your help. Voting happens this Monday, June 18, and I would love it if you would cast your vote. For me (just to be clear). I mean, you could vote for someone else and I’d never know it, and that’s okay too. You just vote for the cake you like best, but I want that to be my cake.

entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

This cake is my first attempt at Momfuku confetti cake hack. So many people get deterred by the sheer amount of work that goes into the original, so I’m trying to find an easier way to get similar results. The first try was good, but not perfect, so I’m heading back to the drawing board with it. The frosting is the original confetti cake frosting, because that’s delicious and in no way difficult to make. Finally, the cake is covered in tiny handmade cereal donuts (Froot Loops), cinnamon buns (Waffle Crisp), and cookies (Cookie Crisp).

And this is what a 6-inch cake looks like covered in wee pastries.

entry for Movita's Bake My Cake 2013: her graduation cake.

To sweeten the pot a bit in the hopes of getting your vote, I’m also going to do a donut tutorial for you. I’ll show you a step-by-step on how to make these donuts; it’s not difficult, but I’ve made them so many times by now that I can tell you the best way to go about it, if you’re interested. I’ll have that for you tomorrow. For now, please head over to Miss Movita Beaucoup’s blog, wish her a happy graduation, and take a look at some of the other cakes competing for your affections. You can read the note I sent her along with this cake, which includes many other explanations as to why it even exists.

See you tomorrow with my donut tutorial and a plea for your vote. I want to win this time, people.

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  • Reply movita beaucoup June 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

    There are no words!! Wait… I’ve never been at a totsl loss for words. Let’s start with: Lottie’s house is nicer than mine. Also, I feel that spending some of her formative weeks at my place have given Lottie a certain… snarkiness that I really appreciate.

    Lady, baking school wouldn’t have been the same without you. Heck, this cake is making graduation week just that little bit sweeter! One day, I will come visit you and Lottie. Maybe we should plan a blogging conference*… we could invite some of our favourite friends in blogging. Katherine would come, of course, and I’d make you both a cake. (The two of you will be, in all likelihood, the inaugural inductees into the Beaucoup Hall of Fame – marking your persistence in my competitions.) We’d need to bring along Jen, Kim, Natalie, Mellissa, Amy, Jennie, Lan… and so many more dear friends that the list would go on for ages and ages. Aren’t we lucky?

    Thanks again for the cake, friend. I really do love it.

    *It should be noted that when I use the term “conference” I really mean: lazing around with food and drink. We all deserve it.

    • Reply shannon June 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      I feel like Lottie really encapsulates a certain yes, snark. I enjoy it quite a bit, and i just assume it’s sort of how we would talk to each other a little if we lived together. in the BEST way.

      That’s the best idea ever: i would LOVE to call something a food conference and have us all sit around and eat and be lazy with drinks. I’m in. Like i’d pay money for that. And the mere mention of being inducted (with Katherine, no less!) into the Beaucoup Hall of Fame makes me dizzy. Do the actual Beaucoups get to vote on that? Would we then be considered honorary Beaucoups??!?! Oh i do hope so.
      We are – all kidding aside – SO lucky to have everyone we have. i could not agree more, and that probably crosses my mind at least once a day. We have an incredible community. for. sure.

    • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats June 16, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      We really do need to create our own blogging “conference!” Sheep are of course invited.

      • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:36 am

        omg can you imagine! that’s like, in my five-year strategic plan for the blog. Although mr. table would like to note here that “making money” with the blog is seemingly NOT in my five-year strategic plan. 🙂
        Totally bringing the sheep. any farm animals or whatever, really.

  • Reply Amrita June 15, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I shall vote for you! Good luck, dear 🙂
    That cake looks delish. I love sprinkles so, so much. I haven’t had a slice of cake in so long, I dream about it on most days! I just don’t want to make a cake myself because I will eat it all…

    • Reply shannon June 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Thank you, Amrita! I love these little competitions, and thank you very much for the luck. 🙂
      It was really good: i want to hack it better so i can really get the momofuku confetti cake taste (only easier), so at this point i’m just hoping that it’s possible.
      Cakes are difficult like that: so much fun to make and eat, but if you have to live with one…danger zone. I know.

  • Reply Kimberly June 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Simply amazing.

    All of it.

    The cake. The story. The adorable photo of Lottie’s sweet face. THE CAKE!

    You, simply put, rock.

    Good luck, Shannon … you have my vote!

    • Reply shannon June 15, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Aw, thank you very much, Kim! I feel like it’s my way of disguising how TOTALLY AWFUL i am at frosting the sides of the cake, but whatever works. 🙂 I was happy to do it.

  • Reply Dana Staves June 15, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Wow! I’m super impressed – that cake is awesome, and those little pastries are completely adorable! You have my vote!

    • Reply shannon June 15, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Dana, i tell you, i would make those little pastries, cake or no cake. it seems slightly ridiculous, but they are kind of a blast to make. And also? they smell super good. I mean, Waffle Crisp. *yum*

      • Reply Dana Staves June 15, 2013 at 9:03 pm

        I bet! They’re super cute, and I just want to give you mad props for saving some of them for the cake. 🙂

        • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:40 am

          So cute: like i wish i could convey how adorable they are in real life.

  • Reply mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry June 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I heart this cake SO MUCH! Way to bring it sister! I’m conflicted now – I want to win… but I also kind of want you to win…. But to be clear, I want you to win a teensy bit less than I want me to win. So it’s a dilemma for me. I’m pretty sure I’ll get over it by Monday though. 😉

    • Reply shannon June 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      YES!! Thank you, Mellissa! I’ll say this: your cake is stunning; and the feeling is mutual because of that (only in the opposite direction). I suppose if we both vote for each other or for ourselves, it cancels our votes out anyway, so mostly, i’m just happy we both are in the competition together. 🙂

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook June 15, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Perfect. Creative. Outstanding. Impressive. Floored. Love this story. Love this cake.

    • Reply shannon June 15, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Love. Your. Comment. Thank you, Abbe! Certainly as fun to make as it looks.

  • Reply Monica June 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Shannon, you have my vote! You absolutely deserve to win. This is such a cute cake, so much detail! I love how whimsical it is and I’m willing to bet it tastes delicious too. Plus, I am really, really interested in seeing how you make the teeny donuts. I just LOVE those colorful tiny donuts so much and would love to incorporate it into a cake for my son one of these days. Good luck!

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats June 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    aaaaaaaaaaand i die. as in dead. dead dead dead. and i love it.

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:41 am

      that’s the cereal devotion talking. it’s like you’re possessed. 🙂

  • Reply Faygie June 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I absolutely love how your cake came out!

    And that little people doll house? I used to have one of those, and I miss it so much. Toys now just aren’t the same.

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:39 am

      you know, the little people stuff circa late seventies and early eighties is my ABSOLUTE favorite; it’s like all we had. Toys really aren’t the same now at all; even the Little People stuff has changed, and i prefer the old stuff much better. It’s why this poor kid is going to ask me someday why all her toys were either from my own collection or from eBay and hardly ever new (“because things were better in the seventies and eighties! that’s why!”) 🙂

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats June 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    hehehehe, love your conversation with Lottie 🙂 She sure was helpful…but i mean, how could a sheep created by Movita herself not know Movita. I’d say you got this one in the bag. And I can’t wait for your cake and donut tutorials!

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:37 am

      she’s pretty on it in terms of ideas and/or telling me what to do and/or letting me do all the work while she sleeps in her bed. I love her. And if by “in the bag” you mean “i should have put my cake in a bag and thrown it in a river for how badly i lost”? you are so right. i had this one IN THE BAG. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley June 17, 2013 at 11:41 am

    As soon as I saw the scene directions, I knew Lottie was sure to follow! I totally cheered for it. She’s really turned sassy with time, hasn’t she? And demanding – make me coffee, make me breakfast, take me on vacation…seriously!

    As for your cake, epic is definitely the word to describe it! The fact that you’re tinkering with a Milk Bar recipe is awe-inspiring. Rock it! The sheer amount of fine detail work you did for that cake is equally amazing. Way to harness your “particular brand of crazy” (ha), though I wouldn’t call it crazy. Just focused and able to execute. Bam! I’m totally voting for you (already did, in fact, since I read this on Monday) because this cake is jaw-dropping, thoughtful, and absolutely incredible! Fingers crossed!

    • Reply shannon June 18, 2013 at 5:28 am

      Lottie does have some sass to her, and i’m assuming that’s because of who made her, for sure. Such a prima donna sometimes, but i love her. how can you not, right? that face!

      Thank you: i wish i had better news to report on the Momofuku cake hack, but i’m going to work on it. I don’t think it’s difficult to make from scratch, but i know it puts some people off. i think cake mix cakes and homemade cakes differ greatly in two big areas; texture (cake mix cakes are always softer and more “flyaway” than homemade versions) and that ever-present “box mix” flavor profile. If you’ve ever side-by-sided a box mix versus scratch, it’s like both vanilla and chocolate and all their incarnations carry a distinct underlying flavor/sweetness and aftertaste. the other flavors – like the fruity and spice ones – tend to have the vanilla undercurrent in them. It’s difficult to get rid of, and i may not be successful at it, only because you can hack a thing only so much before it just is easier to make the scratch version, you know?

  • Reply A Birthday Cake Round-Up - Rhubarb and Honey September 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm

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