Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Post: Heather Baird of SprinkleBakes

Have you ever fantasized about having coffee with your favorite TV/movie star, author or sports personality?  You know, where you sit across the table, casually discussing this and that, whispering sweet recipes...

I've had that fantasy, too.  I've been following a blog for a while now.  My family has heard me for months talking about her recipes.   Just when I think I know what she's capable of, I see a new post and it blows my little mind.

I think she had me with her Triple Salted Caramel Cupcakes. 

I've always loved baking and making sweet things, but somehow, this blog really inspired me.  It made me want to try things I've never tried before.  I've always loved photography, but her blog made me look at food in a whole new way.  I guess I look up to her as a wise Sugar Sister.  I "liked" her Facebook page and followed along, finding her to be one of the sweetest people around.  She answers the enthusiasts questions, takes the admiration humbly, and still makes everyone feel like she's just another enthusiast - enjoying what she does for the sheer enjoyment!

If you're a fan like me, you can imagine how I felt when I got up the nerve to ask her for a guest post and she agreed.  I literally ran to the living room and told my hubby,

"I JUST WON THE SUGAR LOTTERY!!!!!"
It happened!  And I'm sharing it all with you.

Gosh, I've pinched myself so many times already to be sure it's for real, but please meet Heather Baird, the award-winning blogger of SprinkleBakes!

My Stunning Mentor and Sugar Sister.

She's about to become even more famous with the upcoming release of her first book, SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist

It is due to be published on May 1st, 2012 and you CAN pre-order it here!


The cover alone makes me GIDDY!

You want exclusive?  How about a peek at the inside flap? 

You can hear me squealing, can't you?
She's here to graciously answer my starstruck questions AND share a recipe with us!  I know, I'm totally a groupie.  In a good way!  Well, let's go, shall we?


ST:  I'd  love to hear what inspired you to begin blogging about baking, how your other hobbies (food photography) and such have come to play, and mostly how has expressing yourself in this way been so satisfying?

HB:  My creative outlet has always been painting, but at the time I was having a serious case of artist’s block. I decided to take a break from art and try something new.  I have always loved to bake, but just before I started blogging I had fallen in love with decorating sugar cookies.  I even had an Etsy shop for a short period of time selling flood-icing sugar cookies.

The blog was created on a whim, mostly to share these treats (visually) with friends and family.  I soon found myself drawn to other food blogs with creative recipes and beautiful photography.  That’s when I began to develop my own recipes and study food photography techniques.  I found the process as a whole - from baking to decorating to photographing –satisfied my every need to create. 

ST:  When did you start blogging?

HB:  I started blogging in late 2009. At the time, I had no idea it would become such a source of enjoyment and creativity.

ST:  What is your favorite ingredient?

HB:  That’s a tough question!  One year ago the answer would have been matcha green tea powder.   I still love matcha, but my current favorite is Valrhona chocolate.  I love using it in chocolate cake.   

ST:  Is there anything in the baking world that you are NOT a fan of making/eating?

HB:  I love to eat petit fours and cake pops, but I’m not a fan of making them.  It’s the dipping.  I want a smooth and uniform surface but my end result is less than perfect.  They still taste good, so I’m not too mad about that.

ST:  It's clear through your blog and Facebook that you're reaching a lot of people and making a lot of fans.  What's that like?

HB:  It’s great!  I love connecting with other baking enthusiasts.  I learn so much from them.  They make me a better baker.

ST:  Is the upcoming cookbook changing the way you blog?

HB:  For the most part, no.   I’d like to think my voice and the tone of the blog is still the same, but my recipes are formatted differently.  Going through the book editing process has taught me how to more clearly articulate my recipe directions. 

ST:  What's the most rewarding thing you've made/shared and why?  

HB:  I have a few memorable treats on my list, but one that stands out is a Tiramisu made from scratch.  The mascarpone cheese, lady fingers, zabaglione, pastry cream… all from scratch.  And you could taste every ounce of care that went into it!  I thought my husband was going to faint after he took the first bite.  It was delicious.  We were both sad when it was gone.  

And I'm sad that our chat is over, Heather!  But OMG I can't wait for you book release!  Thank you, Classy Lady.  You've made my sweet dream come true!  


Special thanks for this recipe, too!  How did you know that my Sprinkle-Baker-In-Training and I LOVED Strawberries?


Photo & Recipe Courtesy Heather Baird, SprinkleBakes.


Strawberry Cream Cake
Yield: one triple-layer 8-inch cake, or one double layer 9-inch cake

Cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
3 oz.  package strawberry flavored gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree
      
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease three 8-inch round cake pans (or two 9-inch) with shortening and line with parchment. Grease parchment; set aside.
  2. Cream together the sugar, strawberry gelatin and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.  Whisk together flour and baking powder in a separate bowl; stir into the batter alternately with the milk.  Add vanilla extract and strawberry puree; mix until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting/ garnish:
8 oz.  package cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tbsp. strawberry flavored gelatin
3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
½ cup fresh strawberry puree
1 1/2 pints whole strawberries
1 cup white chocolate shavings
  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter and gelatin in a medium bowl; beat together on high speed with an electric mixer.  When well combined, add the powdered sugar; blend on low until the sugar has been incorporated.  Add strawberry puree.  Mix again on low; when fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat the frosting until lightened and well combined.   
  2. Frost cooled cakes using an off-set spatula.  Press white chocolate shavings into the sides of the cake.  Refrigerate cake if not serving immediately.  Bring refrigerated cake to room temperature before serving.  
  3. Rinse and pat dry whole strawberries.  Just before serving, place the strawberries (stemmed or unstemmed, your choice) upright around the top edge of the cake. 
Note:  Leftover frosting can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.  Use it within 8 days – it is delicious and very pretty on vanilla cupcakes.

Photo Courtesy Heather Baird, SprinkleBakes

   

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the interview and I love that cake! Heather always has such great recipes!

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  2. I love Heather and this cake is gorgeous!! I can't wait to see her new book!!

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  3. This looks delicious, such a beautiful colour- one question though, is strawberry flavoured gelatin that same as strawberry Jello? or gelatin crystals?

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  4. A great interview and guest post! Congratulations on the book.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Hi Loulabell - it is the same as strawberry jello.

    Thanks!

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  6. Great post, very interesting. I love the cake slice shot and as always looks amazing,
    Take care...

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  7. Wow, this looks delicious. I can imagine your excitement when she said she would do a guest post with you! SprinkleBakes is by far my favorite blog, she is so creative!

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  8. Aww lucky you, you must have been very excited!

    I think SprinkleBakes has some of the most inventive recipes and creations out there - and I am most amazed by Heather's constant onslaught of creativity. I guess I should have learned how to paint better during my one high school art class, huh?

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  9. i know isn't she the best?
    love her!
    great interview!

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  10. WOW! What a great post! Great interview!

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  11. I follow SprinkleBakes- the best blog out here!!! I am 13 and I LOVE baking things. However, maybe its the eating part that I enjoy. Whatev. Not about me. That cake looks DELISH!!

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  12. Oh this was such fun to read and learn a little bit more about Heather. Great job. I too am a huge fan and am looking forward to getting her book come May! ~Lili

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  13. What a gorgeous cake and the color in divine. Heather is one of the most talented bloggers out there. I can't wait for her book to come out.

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  14. Congratulations on winning the Sugar Lottery :) What a sweet interview and a lovely peek into Heather's new book. That cake is too pretty for words and that spoon with the strawberry pattern on it is too cute.

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  15. I love her blog too - all the recipes are just incredible! How have I not seen those salted caramel cupcakes before? HAVE to make them, and can't wait for the book to come out!

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  16. I love everything about sprinkle bakes and my hands are itching to make this beauty and devour it as soon as i can make it :D. Hats off to the baking diva. Thanks for another great recipe

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  17. I am giddy about Heater's book coming out! This strawberry cake is beautiful, just like Heather:)

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  18. I'm over to visit, per Heather's recommendation! :)
    I can see you are going to be a great blogger, if your mentor is the wonderful Heather of Sprinkle Bakes. Good luck to you on your blog -- you will have wonderful luck, having the same name as your idol. ;)
    Best,
    Gloria
    P.S. I'm your newest Follower!

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  19. I am a huge fan of Heather as well. Love all her creations.

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  20. I made this cake for easter, and it was delicious. The texture was firmer than I imagined, but my dad thought it made it even better. The frosting? To. Die. For.

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  21. Just lovely! We are lucky enough to have strawberries year-round here in SoCal - I have to try this!

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  22. Hi!! Firts of all, i just love your blog and all the recipes!! :D But... I made this cake a last week, but the cake was not pink and it was a bit soft! what did I do wrong? thank you! *

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    1. Hi there, I'll forward your comment onto SprinkleBakes to see if Heather has any suggestions! Thank you for the comment on the post! :-)

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  23. Thanks for sharing the interview and I love that cake! Heather always has such great recipes!

    Atlantic Homecare

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  24. thanks for sharing.

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Play nice in the sandbox, please!