Special Events

 

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Good Morning everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are all spending this holiday surrounded by the ones you love, whether that is family, friends or both.  Since it is Thanksgiving this may be a bit of a longer post than usual.  I do have to share everything I am thankful for…

I am so very thankful that I have dance in my life.  This past weekend I choreographed for a show called Emerging Choreographers Showcase and it was ridiculously rewarding! (Here, you can watch the video!  http://youtu.be/aIXPC52jl_E).  I am so lucky I get to do what I love every single day.  I can’t imagine my life without art and dance because it is amazing! I am also very thankful for my dysfunctional, yet very loving family.  We may be crazy but deep down I think we all love each other! (Even if the crazy is especially prominent on holidays, we still love each other).  I am also thankful to have the friends and support system that I have around me because without them I would be checked into a mental institution, I am almost positive!  This past semester had 26 credits and almost too much going on!  I will be very thankful when I get my 2 months of winter vacation because working part time will be nothing compared to my past semester!  But I am glad that I do get so many opportunities through school.  Both my internships are amazing learning opportunities and I am so lucky that I get to be a part of them.  I think I have told you before that I teach an afterschool dance program at PS 67 in the city of Buffalo and my students are so intelligent and willing to learn, I love it.  Along with that, I am the assistant to the directors of Zodiaque Dance Company, which is the resident dance company at UB.  Through both I have learned so much!  Not to mention I am also thankful that in about 3 weeks I will be on my way to see the Rockettes (whom I idol!) in NYC!!!! And in a little over a month I will be on a plane to Arkansas to see one of my best friends! So much going on and so much to be thankful for this holiday season!

This recipe is one that I made last year around Halloween and I kind of forgot about it until recently!  It is full of browned butter (you know how I love that!) and it is DELICOUS!!! I am sorry that I cannot give credit to the original creator of this but when I wrote down the recipe I neglected to write down whom it was by.  This of course was before my blog days so I didn’t think I’d need it.  Whomever this recipe belongs to, THANK YOU!! I usually do not eat much of what I make for whatever reason and I could devour an entire cake and be okay with it.  For Thanksgiving we go to my cousin’s house for dinner and she requested that I makes “one of my delicious desserts”.  Her words, not mine! Although this one is delicious so I will accept the compliment! I saw an idea online, probably on Pintrest, of how to make a cake into a pumpkin! I thought that this would be the perfect idea for today!  So in order to achieve this I had to double my recipe to fill 2 Bundt pans.  So if you just want a 2 layer cake cut the recipe in half otherwise you will have one very tall 4 layer cake, although delicious it will probably be more than you need! So, here you go!  Enjoy this recipe and enjoy your families and friends today!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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Cake Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

Cake Directions

1.    Heat oven to 350°
2.    Grease 2 Bundt pans and set aside (if cutting recipe in half use 2-9 inch pans)
3.    Melt butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, whisking occasionally until the butter turns a nutty brown color.  The butter will start to look like it is boiling and get frothy before it browns.  Continue to whisk so that the butter doesn’t stick (ironic right?).  Once the butter is browned (you will know because there is a definite difference in smell and appearance) remove from the heat and set in a bowl to cool for about 15-20 minutes.

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4.    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and cloves.

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5.    In a separate bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and buttermilk until well combined.

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6.    Fold in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until well combined.

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7.    Once the butter is cooled, gently whisk it into the rest of the ingredients until completely incorporated.

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8.    Divide the batter evenly into the 2 pans.  (TIP:  I cut the recipe in half and made it twice to ensure that each pan was filled evenly.  I also only have one Bundt pan so I could only bake one at a time.  My grandpa once told me to never double recipes, and although I do, I feel better when I don’t.  That being said, you can double this one and I promise it will all work out.  This is just how I went about making the recipe.)
9.    Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool for 15-20 minutes before taking out of the pan. (IF using 2-9 inch pans bake for about 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.)

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10. Let cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • ½ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners sugar

Frosting Directions 

  1. Brown the butter as you did in the cake recipe.  Place in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat and cook until brown and nutty whisking occasionally.  Set aside and let cool completely before moving on.  This will ensure that your frosting doesn’t get hard and remains a work-able consistency.  Once butter is completely, and I mean completely, cooled you can move on to the rest.  (Believe me I am impatient but I promise you will be thankful you waited!)

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  1. Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.  Whisk together until combined.
  2. Add in the brown sugar and mix until the brown sugar is fully incorporated.
  3. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and mix on low until incorporated.  Speed up the mixer to medium or medium-high until the frosting is fully mixed. (I added in food coloring to make my pumpkin color at this point but you can call yours done!)

To decorate the cake I proceeded to fill it as if I was just making a layer cake.

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Then I frosted the outside like I was frosting a layer cake and I used my cake spatula to create indents to look like a pumpkins.  The top has green frosting and then brown vines.  Be creative with your cake and see where it can take you!

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ENJOY! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday Night Party

I am glad that I get to post some delicious cupcake recipes, however I wish it was under different circumstances.  Tonight is a farewell party for a family friend of mine.  He will be headed to Afghanistan for the second time since joining the military.  Although this is not something I wish to be happening, I respect him and all the others that our defendng our country overseas.  It is extremely brave and honorable of him.  As a result, there is a farewell party tonight for which I volunteered to make cupcakes.  I have been wanting to be creative lately and I will unfortunately not be able to make the party because I made a commitment to babysit my baby cousin weeks ago, so I decided to get fancy and make filled cupcakes.  The first is a Lemon Meringue Cupcake which turned out great if I do say so myself!  I found the recipe on Pintrest of course.  The other cupcake is a Chocolate Cupcake filled with ganache and topped with carmel frosting and a Rolo.  I made the cupcakes and fillings and let them sit overnight which worked out well.  Also each recipe made 13 cupcakes (which was perfect because I wanted to try them before I gave them away!)

Although I will be missing the party, I am excited to spend the evening with one of the cutest 2 year olds I know; and  I pray that he comes home safe and sound from Afghanistan!  I hope he enjoys the cupcakes and his party!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

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Cupcake:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cupcake pan with cupcake paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg, milk and vanilla and mix until combined.  Turn the mixer off, add in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix the ingredients together until combined on medium speed.

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Fill each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes.

While the cupcakes are cooling on a wire rack, make the filling!

Filling:

  • 1 egg and yolk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions

In the top of a double boiler beat egg and egg yolk together.  Set over simmering water. Beat in the lemon juice, sugar and butter.  Stir over medium heat until the mixture is the consistency of pudding.  Allow to cool before putting inside the cupcakes.  I made the cupcakes and filling and then let the cool overnight before using them and it worked out well!Image

While the filling it cooling now it is time to take a small paring knife and cut a hole in the middle of the cupcake.  **Make sure not to cut all the way down the cupcake.

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Fill a pastry bag with the lemon mixture.  I used a round tip for putting the filling inside the cupcake but I don’t see it being necessary since you already have a hole cut.

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Once the cupcakes are filled it is time to make the frosting.

Frosting:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 tbsp water

Directions

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together all the ingredients.  Over simmering water heat the mixture to 140 degrees.

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Remove the mixture from the heat and place in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whisk on high for about 5-10 minutes or until white and soft peaks form.

Using a small spatula, spread the frosting onto the top of the cupcake.  Once each cupcake it topped, place on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the tops turn golden brown.

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes

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(I used my trusty Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake recipe)

Cupcake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).

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Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.

While the cupcakes are cooling make the ganache.

Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz. chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

In a sauce pan, heat the heavy cream until hot (NOT boiling).  Pour over the chocolate and whisk until melted.  Let cool completely (or set in the fridge overnight).

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the ganache on medium speed until lightened in color.

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Just like with the Lemon Meringue cupcakes, cut a hole in the cupcake before filling.

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In a pastry bag with (or without) a tip, insert the filling into the cupcake.

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Now it is time to make the Carmel Frosting for the cupcakes.

Frosting: (adapted from Baking with Blondie)

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 6 T milk
  • 3-5 C sifted powdered sugar (depending on how thick consistency you want)

Directions

In a saucepan, melt the butter, then stir in brown sugar and salt.
Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes (careful not to burn), stir occasionally. Remove from heat and add milk. Stir with a whisk until fully combined.
Return to heat and slowly bring to a boil again. Remove from heat. Bring to room temperature.
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 In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add caramel mixture, and slowly add in powdered sugar about a 1/2 cup at a time. If frosting is looking too stiff, stop adding powdered sugar and maybe add in a little milk. If frosting is looking too thin, keep adding powdered sugar to your desired consistency.
Finally, it is time to top the cupcakes with the frosting.  I decided to add a rolo to tie the whole chocolate and carmel theme together!
Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Grandma!

July 21, 2013CakesCookiesSpecial Events

Happy Birthday Grandma! July 23rd is my Grandmas Birthday and as a family should, we get together and celebrate.  What better way to celebrate than with some cake and some cookies?  Well it started off with a cake that my mom was going to make but she also had to clean the house so when company comes over tomorrow they don’t think we live in a tornado zone.  She’ll hate me for saying that, but come on!  Who out there really keeps their house spotless every single day of the week?  I would like to know how you do that.  Anyways, so I told her I would help her out.  And while I was at it I figured I would make cookies for my uncle because he’s not such a big cake fan and I like pleasing everyone.

The cake recipe I found in the good old trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook.  This trusty stead is a must in anyone’s kitchen.  I don’t care if you can’t boil water or if you are the Executive Chef at Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Betty Crocker is a great tool.  The Black and White Cookies came from the Gale Gand book, Butter Sugar Flour Eggs.

Growing up, my Grandpa and I would watch Gale Gand on the Food Network all the time.  After he passed away and we went to clean out his side of the basement (well he took up the whole basement with all his craft supplies so we cleaned out pretty much the entire basement) my mom found this book and set it aside for me.  Over the winter I made a recipe for my Grandma that had been book marked and she loved it so that is why I chose a recipe from this book again.  Not only does Gale Gand know what she is talking about, but it also holds a lot of sentiment to it.

I usually don’t like getting sappy and sentimental, but this occasion deserves it.  I owe a lot to my Grandpa for starting my love for baking.  He also is the reason I give most of my baked things away.  We used to bake cookies for neighbors and the mailman all the time.  Now I bake them for my neighbors and my friends and in this case, my family.  And to be honest theses cookies frustrated me a lot because they aren’t completely circular but it doesn’t really matter.  In the end it’s really just the thought that counts.   (But sometimes it’s hard not to be a perfectionist)

 

White Cake

 

ImageIngredients

  • 2 Cups All- Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla (a little secret, I almost never measure.  I guesstamate!)
  • 4 egg whites

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease  and flour 2 cake pans (a 13×9 inch or two 9×1 ½ inches).

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix for about 30 seconds on low speed the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening, milk and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl consistently.  Then increase the speed to high for 2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Add in the egg whites and beat for an additional 2 minutes on high.

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Pour into the pans.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes.  (With the pans I used I only had to bake them for 20 minutes)

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Once the cakes are completely cooled, frost with the Vanilla Bean Frosting (below).

Vanilla Bean Frosting

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Ingredients

  • 7 ½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla beans

 

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attatchment beat the butter on medium until lightened in color.  Stop the mixer and add in the sugar, vanilla bean and vanilla extract.  Starting on low and gradually increasing the speed to high.  Mix the ingredients until combined.  Once combined beat on high for 3-5 minutes or until lighted in color.

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To decorate the cake the way I did, put a thin layer of frosting in between each layer of cake.  Then dirty ice the cake so that there is a thin layer of frosting all the way around.

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With a 1M tip, and moving in a circular pattern, create little roses to cover the cake.  (I promise it’s not as hard as it looks)

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Black and White Cookies

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Ingredients (for the cake)

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup cake flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt

Ingredients (for the icing)

  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions (for the cake)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with wax or parchment paper.

Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs, milk and extracts and mix to combine.  Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients to the sugar-egg mixture and mix to blend.

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Using and ice-cream scoop (I used one half the size to get more cookies), scoop the dough onto the pans.  With the back of the spatula spread each cookie into a circle.

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Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and let cool on a wire rack.

Directions (for the icing)

Stir the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla together until smooth.  Transfer half of the icing into a separate bowl and add the cocoa powder stirring until smooth

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Turn the cookies over to the flat side.  Spread white icing on half and chocolate icing on half.  (I did the white icing first, let it dry and then did the chocolate icing because otherwise I wasn’t sure how I’d hold the cookie)  Let the cookies sit at room temperature for a least 30 minutes before enjoying!

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Hello!

I made this recipe a few months ago, but it is a must have! Also most recently I injured my knee and have been couch-ridden so it can heal (If you know me, you know how much of a challenge this is for me.  Sitting still is the worst form of torture).  I so badly want to get up and dance or go running but that wont be happening for a little bit.  So to fill my time I decided to make a blog.  My room mate and I have been talking about making them for a while and finally I saw the other day she made one so I decided it was time for me to create mine too.

For my very first post I decided to provide a recipe for one of my tried and true recipes.  I have been using this recipe to make most delicious chocolate cake I have ever made.  It is off of Hershey’s website and is their “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake. It is moist and full of chocolatey goodness.  My family loves to eat and cook but we are also very health conscious people so I try my best to take recipes and make them “healthy”.  For my Grandma’s birthday this year she requested a chocolate cake.  I of course turned to my trusty Chocolate Cake recipe (https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recipe-details.aspx?id=184).  I also had to keep in mind that my Grandpa is diabetic so creating a sugary frostings and fillings were a little out of the question.  So I decided to create a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting, filled with fresh strawberries (and some mini chocolate chips).  I think everyone liked it, there was no cake left because almost everyone got seconds! Since my family is very large (it’s large for a Polish family, there’s about 25 of us) I decided to just bake one batch in a 9×13 pan.  If you bake the batter in a regular 9-inch round pan you will end up with 2 layers. So here it goes…

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For the Cake:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used a cup of whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup AP flour)
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions

  1. 1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. 2 Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. 3 Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

While the cake cools it would be the perfect time to cut up the strawberries for the filling! I used about 2 pints but it also depends on how much filling you like in your cake.  I used a sharp knife and cut the strawberries quite thin.  This way there wasn’t a hunk of strawberry in ever bite.  It blended well with the cake.

For the Frosting:

  • 1 pint of whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer and the same attachment) pour in the whipping cream.

2. Starting on low speed start whipping the whipping cream.  (If you start faster you might be bathed in whipping cream from all the splashing that will go on).  Once the whipping cream starts getting frothy, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.

3. Keep whipping until the mixture starts to get thicker.  Then increase the speed to medium and keep whipping until soft peaks form.  (DO NOT over whip, you will have butter!)

Assembly:

Cut the cake in half horizontally (you don’t have to do this if you have 2 rounds, unless you wanted a 4 layer cake). Spread a thin layer of whipped cream on the cut side so that the strawberries have something to stick to.  Place the thinly sliced strawberries on the cake.  Once the cut side of the cake is covered in as many strawberries as you’d like, sprinkle about a 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips (this is optional, it just added a little extra something to the cake).

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Place the other half of the cake on top of the strawberry layer.  Start by frosting the sides of the cake and then move to the top.  Decorate with sprinkles or writing and a border (if you want to get fancy, I am lucky enough to have access o piping bags and tips).  Enjoy!

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