Joh vs. Food – Mesa 2016

I had a work trip to Mesa, Arizona back in March.  Not my first trip there, but the first time I’ve spent my birthday away from home.

Kindly, some people from the Mesa office joined me for a little birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, one of my fave places to eat when I’m in the US.

Now, if you have been there before, you know how massive their menu is.  It’s insane the choice they give.  I don’t do very well with so many options.  One thing I did know however, I wanted cheesecake.  And lots of it.

So why not cheesecake for dinner.  I am all about #cakefordinner.  So while the table ordered salads and pasta.  I ordered cheesecake.  4 slices of it.

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Hershey’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake – 4th best

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White chocolate macadamia caramel cheesecake – 2nd best

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Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake – Ridiculously Delicious -1st Prize

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Toasted coconut S’mores cheesecake – I don’t even like coconut, but I love S’mores – 3rd best

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Gluttony.  But, it was my birthday and could eat whatever I wanted!

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Made a birthday wish – still waiting for it to come true.  =)

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Birthday Cake Bonanza – May 2015 Edition

May office birthday cake was a simple, modest cake.   Nothing too fancy here but it still evoked a sense of fun.

Vanilla layer cake with fudgey chocolate buttercream icing.  Mini M&Ms sprinkled all over on the right side.  Left side sprinkled with chocolate confetti candy.

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Happy Birthday May Babies! =)

Birthday Cake Bonanza

Birthday celebrations have made a reappearance at work after a bit of a hiatus.  This also lends to boosting office morale and is a nice thing to do.  I accepted the chance to bake up the birthday treats with a decision that maybe this time cakes were more desirable versus the usual mini cupcakes.  Of course, I never turn down a chance to flex my baking and creative skills.

If you saw my previous post:

https://sweetspellbaking.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/wilton-bake-even-strips/

you know that I tried out a new baking tool that is made to help prevent domed cake and promote even baking.  Let’s see the results.

The Wilton Bake-Even Strips have to be soaked first.  Don’t want them to burn and catch fire in the oven! I just left them to soak in the water overnight.  From my experience now with them, they can never be wet enough.  When the cake is done baking, I guarantee that the strips will be bone dry and even browned a little.

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Straight from the soak, I wrapped the strips around the pan, filled the pan with the cake batter and into the oven. IMG_7406

I baked six cakes and they all came out fairly level.  No major doming or cracking in the middle.  The strips helped to keep the edges from over baking and drying out. I like this simple tool.  If you don’t want to go out to buy these, you can achieve the same effect by cutting up an old towel or dish rag long enough to tie around your pan, soak it and bake.

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In the end I ended up with two chocolate layer cakes and two vanilla layer cakes.  I had a filling of strawberries and strawberry puree in between the layers and then proceeded to pipe them with buttercream.

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Peeps went to town on the cakes.

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It was a long week of cake work.  So tiring doing this on top of a full-time job.  But when I see looks of amazement and I hear people tell me my cakes are beautiful AND taste great, when I see them going home with slices in their Tupperware and when I have people tell me “I don’t like eating sweets, but I’m taking home the cake in this box cause I can’t believe how good it is.”  I can’t help but smile and know all my hard work was worth it.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
― Confucius