Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anti Melt Down Recipe;)

Me...aka..Sugar Shey
Dear Sugar Diary,

 Hi again! I have decided to share my most favorite cupcake ever.....EVER. Also..whenever that picture is at the top..from now will be to let you know a recipe will be shared..ok? Ok. So I am feeling so DRAMATIC...I woke up dramatic and held that emotion through out my what do I do when DRAMA tries to ruin my usually happy disposition? Well I BAKE...and I bake what I want. And then I eat however much I want to. LOL...and then my world is all better again and the Disney birds return to sing on my shoulder....=) and my mice help me with my chores.

Well today I baked my most favorite cupcake....and while I usually bake from scratch...this one guilty pleasure is from a BOX! Oh the SHAME! But when you eat it...all that shame goes right out the door and is replaced with a happy fuzzy feeling right in your tummy! Besides it was just for me...and saves tons of time.

I baked what I call my "Therapy" ....  I buy a brownie can buy whichever is your favorite...for me my favorite is what my mom used to make....and she always bought Duncan Hines  everything. Ok so first your going to want to make a cake can be whatever flavor you want..I choose yellow. You can make it from scratch or if your feeling stressed and on the verge of a melt down... like me to the store and BUY a BOX MIX...I promise the sky won't fall on you and no one will point a finger...well they may point ...but who cares! Your about to go make some of the best nom noms in the known universe! Remember to grab the brownie mix! Now hurry home and set your oven to 350.  Follow the directions on the boxes...once you have those all mixed and prepped...go find your cupcake pan and line it with the prettiest wrappers you have...(it me) Once your papers are all sittin' pretty- scoop a tiny amount of the CAKE BATTER into the switch over to your brownie mix and scoop some of that in on top of the cake batter..keep doing that in alternating layers till it is 3/4 of the way now your oven should be at 350 so pop em in there for let's say 12-15 minutes....I know you guys know when it is ready...but remember the brownie mix will be slightly gooey-er and the cake mix will bake up normally. By the time they are in the oven for 10 minutes you will start to smell your anti-meltdown treat. At 12 minutes they will look done but make sure you check because some of the cake batter may be slightly undercooked. Okay now that it has been almost the full 15 minutes open the oven and ...hear that? Its an angel chorus! I hear it every time! Ha ha ha...what!? I do!
Let your cupcakes cool...(probably one of the hardest things to do EVER) but wait is so worth it....Now that they are out and cooled....pick one up...they are so yum they don't even need icing or anything on top! Peel back that wrapper and sink your teeth into pure happiness....I like to eat them while sitting on the kitchen floor....right next to the warm oven.....bare feet ...and I close my eyes...I simply ENJOY. I really feel sooooo much better and calm after these! I do! If you want to go ahead and make the cake and brownie batter from scratch by all means do that...but every once in a while taking a short cut won't make the world stop turning...I pinky promise! I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as I do....Happy Anti-Melt Down Baking ya'll!;)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SO FRUSTRATING! My Top 7 Pet Peeves!

Dear Sugar Diary,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
 Sleep is no where to be found so I am my table ...something provoked  me to write...wanna know what that is?            
YUP!...the little things that annoy the beejeebees out of me about caking. Grrrr .... those little things that I can do without. Like what? 
 Let's address Wilton Letter Cutters. It is basically our first set of cutters when we set out on our quest for the basic first pieces of equipment for our passion. Those tiny little rounded letters (that look like alphabet magnets) and seem to stick to the cutter and we can never get out in one piece.....then when we finally master it and get them out all nice and neat we notice that now everyone seems to have a new font.  THESE:

 TAP IT'S!  We look everywhere for them then low and behold there they are on some site ON SALE....we do a happy dance...add to cart....wait for box....and when they arrive we look at them...and in our minds see every cake in our not so far future with beautiful funky curly letters....ahhhh..yes....but these too require mastery....Once this skill of carefully tapping your letters is mastered...yeah you guessed it...everyone has moved on....
Cricut Cake fonts! blahhhh! So again you wait...hunt and stalk every site till finally you see  it ....ON SALE! You POUNCE! You click "Add to cart" and wait.....then the box arrives you hold a ceremonious unveiling of your Cricut Cake machine even read the book and watch the video ... you think the green light is sooooo pretty when you press Power...then shreds your gumpaste...chews up your fondant or rips your sugar sheets. Great ....I could have done that for free!!!!!! Not paid almost $300.00 to get that result. Grrrr! I have resorted to using my tap its and cutting free handed letters with an exacto knife.

                            Then there is fondant.

 My most favorite medium to work with. But how about when you are working with white? Or yellow? Or pastels? How about that one spec of something that will just stick to your fondant even if your in the most sterile environment on earth? That one spec that ruins your whole day! That piece of fondant could be a mile down the road and you would look and still see that spec!!! You pinch it TRY to pinch it off...and if your like me no longer want to work with that piece of fondant , it is ruined..tainted...unclean..TOSS IT! 
Or the fondant that has dried around the trick yourself to think you can knead it back into soft manageable fondant but instead end up with lumpy dry ugly fondant...UGH!!! Toss it too!

Hummm let's see.....what else? YES! I know!! You spend 15 minutes kneading a piece of fondant into some blue...then you switch to a new piece to make it yellow and somehow manage to get BLUE on your YELLOW and it turns GREEN! That drives me NUTS!  These are just some of my biggest IRKS in caking! Oh wait how about air bubbles? Underneath your fondant!!! Doesn't that make you just want to scream???!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! lol
Ok I will stop for my blood pressure gets any higher! I have a million other things I could write about but these are my top ones....;) Now...tell me...what IRKS you ? =\

Monday, March 26, 2012

Working from Home

Dear Sugar Diary....

Hi there! I took a couple of days to get back here but here I am!=) My sleep pattern has been CRAZY lately. Like a baby that stays awake all night and wants to sleep all day...yup..that's me! Bakers and decorators have the craziest hours don't we??(...the sleepless nights and long hours) But I love decorating my cakes at night. When the kiddos are all asleep and the house is all nice and clean and all is quiet and calm. (I guess sleeping in the day time while my monsters are at school is a perk of choosing to stay home and I realize that not everyone has that option=(.  I usually click on Netflix....find my shows(Grey's Anatomy or I.D. or Man vs Wild)...make coffee and turn on all 7 light bulbs in my kitchen...throw on my reading glasses and get in the zone. ;) This is my actual work spot:(click on the pic to enlarge)

Welcome to my very regular a house that was built around the 1950's....and I am quiet content here. And SEE my laptop is right there too...I spend most of my day in here.....doing a whole lot of caking and keeping up with clients and a lot of YOU on Facebook. It's my space...and while it may not be state of the is mine and I love it.=) I am sitting in that chair front of the laptop..typing this. An Argentinean Tango is playing on Spotify....and I am typing this while trying to calm all the crazy scattered thoughts of cake ideas going thru my mind....I don't think it matters what your kitchen looks like at all....and I have said this before...It is the heart and passion you throw into your work....the sleepless nights....the nerves...every tear you have ever let escape because a cake isn't turning out or every happy tear because it did. I don't have a dishwasher...look again...see? No dishwasher...and a regular old oven...but where there is a will there is a way and there is SO MUCH will in this kitchen!....=) When I got into this wonderful world of intention was never to own a store front....I just wanted to bake and create while wearing my slippers....make cakes like the ones I saw on TV and online....I am not trying to be a bakery...and that is why I haven't purchased a banner or created a menu (even though I have like 23 different menu layouts saved but not completed) I don't have a pricing chart because I don't make cakes like a supermarket....I DO have a basic per serving price and cupcake prices...but my cakes are all mostly custom and novelty....and pricing is very unique to each one. I have my flavors and am always coming up with new a menu would always be changing....I have ordered business cards and I hand them out or deliver my cakes with them on there...but even that makes me feel handing a card to someone seem like I am full of myself? lol....I kinda think it makes me look that way. I bake for fun and am in love with this form of artistic makes your eyes happy and tummy even happier....I started charging for my cakes when demand grew and I needed more ingredients but a lot of my cakes have been free....especially in the beginning when I just wanted the excuse and free artistic reign over a cake ;)
I have been asked to provide weekly menus of cupcakes for the week as other fellow bakers do but having 4-5 cakes a week makes that hard. I really don't know how bakery's do it! lol...but then again  they have employees...I don't.
I don't know....I think that all this rambling is boiling down to the fact that I am content baking at home...I really am....I know I get friends saying " I wish you had a store front Shey" but a store front isn't what I want....I want to be home with my kids...bake a mom....and one day when they are all grown up I am pretty sure they will have these memories of a mommy always covered in sugar and a color stained apron....answering homework questions while holding a rolling pin or kneading fondant...or of a mommy asleep on the couch because she was too tired to go all the way down the hall to her bed...They will look at pictures of past birthday cakes and reminisce...and their friends will say things like " I remember when your mom made me a "blah blah" cake for my 13th birthday!" I want them to look back and realize I stayed home for them...but also that I was motivated enough to DO something with my time...after all where else can these be my rules? xoxoxoxoxox

Thursday, March 22, 2012

To Shop or NOT to Shop....Blahh..Who am I kidding?

 Dear Sugar Diary,
     There I am...standing in the aisle....looking at cupcake everything else imaginable for creating a new cake..
It is kinda like

I am a drug addict standing in an alley waiting for my next fix!!!
                                                                                                                                                I know I have a budget...I know that I need to buy some groceries ... I even need gas later...but the temptation is overpowering! I look at the "new" cupcake wrappers and quickly imagine a cupcake in it with it's cute little swirl hat...all dressed up....I look at the cutters and wonder.."Do I have that one...oh yeah I do! But the one with it in the package...I don't have THAT one!" I go about negotiating with myself..."Well...if I buy these ones...I can always replace that money when I make my next order..I will stick it in with the rest in my cutter basket and no one will even notice!"  Ugh! The decisions! It's horrible. I turn on the pc and try to avoid the online supply stores...but there they ARE all neatly lined up for me on the right side of my Facebook page....waiting.....taunting and making me look! So I click...and the first thing I see is "FREE SHIPPING" Awwww Come ON! Not the free shipping! =\ Then I try to justify that..."But it's FREE SHIIIIIIPPING!"  And who can resist the smile on the Amazon Box? C'mon! LOOK AT IT! It's smiling at me!
     I know you have been there too...even if it isn't cake supplies...we all have  our weakness....but for me getting a new spatula is probably as exciting as it would for any other woman to get purse or shoes. Ha!  I used to be obsessed with getting UPS boxes ..Fed Ex boxes and Amazon was soooooo exciting...then from Global Sugar Art....and the endless lists of other vendors....
     I remember the day my KA mixer arrived ....It looked like someone had just handed me the winning lottery ticket! And the day my Cricut Cake arrived ...I could swear I heard a full angel chorus!....I stared at it for hours! (Funny how it lives in a closet or under my work table..hardly ever used at all.)
I think we all do this things we need then we buy thing we want and then we buy the things we THINK we need and want.  So I have resorted to mental lists...even hand written ones and also emailing myself....GRRR....but it has to be done! At least for me....because I have been known to buy doubles and triples of things. So until I win the lotto and hire a personal shopper .... and an accountant... I will resort to the chicken scratch lists written on scraps of paper that look like trash. I think you could actually play a tune on the piano with my lists....hee hee....they are written in haste and usually in half Spanish & half English (SPANGLISH) I am a woman...and the urge to buy things is overwhelming...I did good today..grabbed only things I will actually USE this weekend! Yay me! Now I will put those things to good use and start all the prep for this weekends round of cakes....I will be back soon to bring those recipes I said I would ...for real this time! =\ Sorry about the delay! ;) Stay Focused and may your day be enjoyed !=)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Dear Sugar Diary,

  I just logged into my Facebook Fan Page and saw that we made it to 900 likes....that feels like I just won something. It means that 900 people have at some point stumbled onto my page and gave it a second thought....even if they didn't keep up with it or whatever it was still a moment that they stopped by and liked it.=) I am happy now that more "cakers" have joined and it feels nice to have people that relate to you. I also LOVE the people that get on to just "look" at cakes and leave nice comments. They boost the moral over here and make me feel like what I do is liked. I even appreciate the ones that leave not so nice comments....they make me work harder. I don't spam them or even delete them...I leave them there...they are a reminder that in life you can't please everyone and that is never my intention.

I received a call and an email from the city...complimenting my cakes and letting me know that they are watching and they even knew I had over 500 likes.....They also said that they are proud to have me in town ! Wow! I felt proud for a brief moment then reminded myself that I make cakes...and that in this business being humble is the only way you can grow. Humble....the definition of that is "Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance." I never take myself seriously....never. There is no difference between me and the next mommy/baker. I am sure we want the same things....for our families to be healthy and happy and for a chance to play and practice  our cake passion.

I am a mom and my fiance's best friend before all else.....then when those duties are fulfilled I throw on my super hero costume (which is a plain white apron I think I bought for like $2.99 at Wal-Mart on a sale rack)....It makes me feel like I am on Food Network Challenge...Like I am actually wearing the RED chef's jacket and then that's when the narration my head..."Our returning Challenge Winner, Shey Jimenez, coming all the way from Sierra Vista, A.Z. to defend her title.....Today's challenge will be ..... blah blah blah cakes for a mystery client....." LOL...ok ok ok....maybe I am crazy.... maybe I daydream way too much....but isn't it fun? hee hee.....

I don't know...I think that all this caking gets to you but in a fun way...maybe it's from breathing in too much  powdered sugar dust...I never think I am better than anyone....I always look at other cakers creations in awe...wide eyed...and always wonder " much talent!" I wish I could have started this earlier in life....I love how many young people are getting into it! This world is in for a treat with the amount of young artists getting better and better at this craft. Such new and fresh ideas... It makes me so happy and excited.

So This blog entry was all over the's probably because I just typed my in an actual diary....=) I am excited for the things that may come my way....but I will always remain humble...I will once again thank all my "likers" and say that I hope I can continue to make things that are appealing to eat and look at....also I hope that you are all inpired by my limited knowledge and if I don't know the answer I always find someone who does;) So...with this I say Ciao! (In about 15 min my monsters get home from school with big appetites! ;) )
    I will post again soon and bring along my recipes to share! <3

Quatre Quarts~

Dear Sugar Diary,

  11:50 pm .....I have no work to do right now but still can't sleep! I am in bed with Project Runway on TV....sunflower seeds to coke zero to sip and a million ideas running through my mind. This ever happen to you? You know you should sleep...but exciting things are going through your mind so you sit up and start writing them down? That's me.

Dreams....they are meant to inspire and motivate...but sometimes it's also enough to make you shake with fear. I made it through this past weekend ...

1) 2 dozen Cupcakes for the Wells Fargo Employees
2)6 dozen cupcakes for our Sugar Skull Allstar competition winners
3)4 dozen cupcakes for a clients son's birthday
4) An ATV style cake
5) A two tier first communion cake
6) a two tier  paint splatter cake with a dozen cupcakes
7)Baseball Cap Cake
8) and the super fun Burger cake =)

I was super spent ...especially after delivering the Communion Cake to Tucson...but I did get to go to Micheal's so it was worth it! I got some really cute cupcake wrappers and some very useful cookie cutters. =) My family went with me and we had fun shopping and people watching. When we finally made it home I fell asleep....FOR 12 HOURS!

I called my mom the next the day....and we had a good chat....she told me to slow down...take it easy on the orders....but I had to tell her how I looked at it....I told her that for now I am loving the rush and the creating and for me it works right now...It makes me feel productive....I may not be saving the world but I am putting smiles on faces and that in turn puts a smile on mine. OH! AND....I came across a new recipe...a pound cake recipe that I had to try....I made half of it to test and it was delish! Yay! So here is that recipe before I forget! I like saying the name of it in a french accent...ha ha ... "Quatre Quarts!" I see the adorable Ratatouille in my minds eye..he he he....

You will love this pound cake especially for sculpting ! I did. And it tastes buttery...I love buttery! =) I love a cake that you can cut into with minimal crumbs when your trying to get a specific shape. This cake is that cake.;) So now the time is 12:52am and I think my eyelids are trying to tell me they would like to be closed....I will try to get you the other recipes I "discovered" this past weekend....some I haven't even tried out yet but I will! I will do my best to report back to you! Nite nite friends! Stay warm and cozy! =)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Clemes Cake

Dear Sugar Diary,

     I finally BEAT Mr. Procrastination! I baked the St Clemens cake=) I will try to explain and describe it as best I can......

  The process was simple...the ingredients were very basic. I mixed it for about 10 minutes because I kept thinking I missed an ingredient. The batter is very thick...I didn't anticipate that but I went with it. As I zested the orange and lemon the aroma was so delicious I just wanted to do it all around the house =) Such a crisp clean smell! Mmmmm...

The inside of my mixing bowl...with the orange zest sitting on the batter...

 Then I scooped it out into a greased and floured 9 inch square pan....I knew I didn't have enough to make it all the way to the edge but since I was just wanting to test FLVOR and not appearance I didn't let it bother me....but my OCD kicked it and I kept trying to make it go all the way to the placed it in the oven and kept an eye on it baked for 23 minutes on 350. Immediately I was shocked by how far it looked like bread! But smelled like oranges and lemons. =) 
Doesn't it look like bread?
Since the edges weren't squared I decided to use a ring and cut the center out into a little 4 inch circle. I let it cool and decided that it is too late to start some lemon i would just dust this one with powdered sugar .... and let my kids tell me how they think it tastes.
This is a close up of the's a large crumb...somewhat dense.

I dusted it using a stencil of some flowers....just to give it some visual appeal....but by this time I was kicking myself for not whipping some cream or making the lemon curd. Nothing new! =\ But it is mid night now and I need to bake some other things before morning!
   So this is what it looked like in the end....mind you it took all just under an hour!

You can smell the citrus...that is undeniable....and the crumb is ok....I will have to go back and re do this with some kind of filling....the taste is good..That's what the kiddos said..I think it could have been sweeter.but then again...maybe it was just the fact that I have very little experience with citrusy type cakes....I would definitely use this recipe again....for a get together with family or friends because the prep and bake time is so short. Raspberries would make it even more cheerful;) So I am happy with it overall...I am also glad I finally got over the "let me try it another day" thing! I finally did it and got that out of my system....until the next time a recipe calls out to me! ;) Good night friends! May you all have peaceful dreams.=)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cupcake Week =)

Dear Sugar Diary....

This morning has been a good one so my baking done and am now relaxing with some music that has rain in the background...sipping on some coffee and letting the breeze come in through my kitchen laptop is in the kitchen...;) It is a nice clear 70°F here in the mountains and that makes for a beautiful day.

As I baked the banana strawberry cupcakes...I couldn't help think of when I was a kid. Eating ice cream and not caring as it melted down my arm.....I had no urgency to find a napkin or wet wipe...that was my mom's job. I just enjoyed the cold flavors and made a happy mess. These cupcakes filled my kitchen with the smells of banana split ice of my mom's favorites next to plain old chocolate. That led me to the idea of baking these cupcakes but next time I will add chocolate to it somehow. ;) I made the banana nut batter and after scooping them into the cupcake wrappers I added a slice of strawberry so it would bake into the cake.  There is something about how cooked strawberries candy!

Here is how I placed the strawberry slices...before I baked the banana cupcakes.

And this is how it looked after I baked them...=)
This is how they looked finished...topped off with some real strawberry buttercream. =)
      Yesterday I made the Creme Brulee cupcakes....and I can't help imagining a story with each flavor I bake....I imagined being in some fancy French Pastry Shop surrounded by the posh french accent....and the smells of caramelized sugar and warm pastries.
These are some Creme Brulee I made last year....
These ones are the ones I made yesterday for our winner...she commented and said---------------------------------->

You have out done yourself, this is the best cupcake I have ever tasted of yours so far. My daughter is asking for another one lol. Sooooo yummmyyyyyy!!!!

     And the day before that (Monday) I made some Peanut butter/ Chocolate cupcakes. That made me think of happy messy chocolatey hands (the kind they always seem to get just when you dress them nice) my kids would hold up so I could wipe them clean when they were small.;)
                             They also reminded me of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.And here is the comment I received from the winner of these :"Omg, those cupcakes are the most delicious things I have ever had! My daughter said she is in love with them and I agree. My sister says you can make her frosting anytime (she don't do frosting). THANK YOU SO MUCH! Everyone in my home is enjoying them. You truly are an artist! I know where I'm getting all my cakes from now on." ~Leah Baltrus

It feels like I won something instead of them....those comments make me feel like somehow the Cake Gods smiled down on each and every cupcake and gave it their I want to go ahead and try the St. Clemens cake...and hopefully procrastination won't get in the way this time;) Happy Baking friends....=)


Dear Sugar Diary,
Yes...we CAN!

        We CAN BAKE it!  Cakes....cupcakes....pies....anything! I have often looked at a recipe and instantly categorized it as "too hard" or "too many steps".....and then file it away for another day....then almost always kick myself for not trying it when I had the time and ingredients. Today I wanted to bake two things....I wanted to try a Blueberry Meringue Roulade ... I didn't have any blueberries....and a St. Clemens Cake...which I had EVERY ingredient for! Somehow I allowed myself to file it away...  and now I wish I had tried it.....Later on I got an email with a request for guessed it....a CITRUS CAKE! Really?! It would be my luck! Sheesh! So tomorrow I will attempt it....and if all goes well...(and even if it doesn't) I will report back how it all went down;)

I would like to share the recipe I have for this cake because it just seems like it would be a delicious cake for spring or summer.....citrus and lemon...AND the best don't have to sift or set anything aside to be added later! You just mix up all the happy little ingredients in ONE bowl..pour..bake...and PRESTO! DONE! Now that's my kind of recipe! =)

                                               St. Clemens Cake Recipe:
3/4 cup of soft margarine
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups of self rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 huevos (eggs) ;)
powdered sugar (for dusting the cake)
Put all of that in a mixing bowl and mix it smooth.
Now grab a good sized lemon ...and zest it...all of it!
Then grab an orange and do the same thing into your mixture and mix it all up.

Now pour that into two greased and floured 7 inch pans ...SPANK the bottoms to make sure you get even cakes and any air bubbles pop em in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes until it has risen nicely=) Let it cool and dust it with the powdered sugar and VIOLA! You have a cake! If your not in a rush I bet some lemon curd filling would delicious! You can make it at home or buy it... I suggest you make it....I know I know...if your pressed for time just buy it ...but really you gotta try to make it at least once! =) It's so yum. don't know how to make lemon curd? Well why didn't you say so?! here is that simple recipe.....
                       Lemon Curd Filling (Alton Brown's recipe)

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 stick butter, cut into pats and chilled
Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1-inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Measure citrus juice and if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture and whisk smooth. Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon. Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container and cover by laying a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. 

Oh My ...all this lemon zest talk is making my mouth water! i can't wait till tomorrow ...i really want to try this out! =) I hope you all enjoy trying it too! Please let me know if you make it and how you liked it! Oh and one last thing.....if you don't like powdered sugar on cakes...whipped cream works great for citrus-y flavors. I feel heavy buttercreams don't let the flavors sparkle. ;) have fun! And remember "WE CAN BAKE IT!"
                                                       :Sugar Shey:
HI! This is me! and WE SO CAN! ;)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Children make your life important. "

Dear Sugar Diary,
  Earlier  this evening I had a moment ... I was laying in bed and my youngest son came into my room and laid beside me. He put his arm around my neck and said " Mom...when are you going to teach me to make fondant?" I looked at him and smiled...."Well how about I teach you when you are sure you won't try to eat it all?" He giggled and said he wouldn't eat it and could I please show him. I asked him why he wanted to learn and he said "Well day your going to be old and you won't be able to make cakes anymore and I want to make them for you." INSTANT LUMP IN MY THROAT! My eyes teared up and I told him I wasn't going to be that old any time soon and we still had time to learn and experiment together. He seemed satisfied with that answer and headed off twords the living room to watch TV. As I heard him settle into the recliner I started to think about the birthday cake he made me last November....It was one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen in my life ! He made it 100% all by himself and he is only 8yrs old. I stood in the kitchen while he baked it  but other than that he did it all by himself. I only coached him while he MADE buttercream from scratch.....and while he decided if he was going to make a white cake or yellow decided yellow cake because he said separating the yolks from the whites was too much work...hee hee.....=) Of course I took pics the whole time ....I was in awe that he was so committed to this mission....he really wanted to make me a cake for my birthday! And he said he had watched me enough to know what to do..... of course as any mother would.. I had my trusty cell phone camera ready.....
He made the cake batter with instruction.....

His cake came out beautifully!
He used the left over batter for cupcakes=)

Then mommy let him use the "big guns" for making some buttercream.....

Now it was time to color his batch of buttercream....

Such concentration!
Yays! The fun part ...DECORATING!!!!
Wow! He even wanted to write a message!

The most beautiful cake in the whole wide world!
 I felt so special! Look at it! Isn't it amazing?! I mean I know it was made by an 8 year old and all....but when I look at it I see the heart in it...the concentration and the way he sticks his tongue out when he focuses on is one of the cutest things ever! He did an amazing job and this is his FIRST cake ever! He stuck some animal print candles in it and ran and got the rest of the family and they sung me Happy Birthday....his little face looked so proud and he was standing 8 ft tall! The cake was then cut and we all had a slice and he was so worried....asking over and over "How does it taste? How is the buttercream?" That's when I couldn't help think he had the makings of a baker....he was so worried about how we were liking it. ;) We all assured him it was delicious and that he did a great job. He turned to me and said " Mom one day when I am bigger I am going to go to school and learn things and teach you since you didn't get to go." I cried. I cried the happiest tears ever. I told him that sounded like a great plan! So later that day we went out to dinner......he left the table and I followed him with my eyes.....he went over to a server and said something......I saw the server smile and walk son returned to the table smiling.....2 seconds later the server returned with a cupcake and in it was a lit candle....They sang Happy Birthday to me once again and again my son's eyes twinkled. he made my 33rd birthday the best birthday ever! I still have that cupcake.....i couldn't eat it and I couldn't throw it away. It is 4 months old now and the candle snapped in half and is being held in place by the wick. But I won't ever throw it's one of my most prized possessions.

   I know that sometimes our kids can be a pain in the neck...they can try our patience and make us want to run away or scream...but moments like these make all the not so great moments seem...well not so bad! I hope that he DOES continue to want to bake....I hope that he really does go to school and teaches me a thing or two....but in the end I just want him and my other two kids to be HAPPY. Whatever they choose to do I hope they choose wisely...I always tell them that my job doesn't feel like a job at is what I love to do even if I found it a little late in life.....the important thing is I found it . And I leave you with this .... a quote from one of my favorite women....

                              "Children make your life important. " 
                                                                             ~Erma Bombeck


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Three instead of Four and more Bananas!

Dear Sugar Diary,

   Phew! What a weekend! Sorry I skipped out on you but now I am back and rested and that makes for some coherent writing.=)
   Well..this weekend turned out to be a 3 cake weekend instead of 4 .... we had a date change situation which worked out great for me! So I made 3 cakes.......
                                                Perry the Platypus cake
                                                  High Roller themed cake
                                                Safari baby shower cake

I had a ton of fun making these ....I am a solo baker and it took me 2 days to get them all sleep....but every second is worth it.  I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I finish one and start the next. Perry was all banana cake.....I LOVE banana cake so I would like to share another recipe with you....=)

                                                    Banana Cake Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 cups bananas
  • tsp lemon juice  
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking SODA
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 1/8 cups of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk  


  1. Preheat oven to 275°. (YES! lol 275°..NOT 350°!!!!! Don't worry...IT WORKS! =) )
  2. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. (You can always double and triple this recipe for bigger cakes....=) So just make enough for your sized cake. )
  3. In a small bowl, mix squished bananas with the lemon juice set it to the side for now...
  4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt..set that aside...for now too...
  5. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter & 2 1/8 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then stir in 2 tsp vanilla.
  7. Beat in the flour mixture a little at a time  with the buttermilk.
  8. Stir in banana and lemon juice mixture.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until the trusty toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Take it out of the oven and put directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. This will make the cake very moist. Don't skip this part! Its very important! ;) 

    Now after the 45 minutes in the freezer take it out and pair it with your fav icing and even sprinkle it with walnuts if you like walnuts...or whatever you like...shredded coconut is good too=) But my favorite is peanut butter buttercream! Yay calories! Ha!

    I hope you all try this one and if you do let me know how you liked it. I really love how the kitchen smells when I am baking his one and my kids all trickle into the kitchen and ask "Whatcha maaakin?" ;) Well I am writing and watching a lasagna I have in the I better say bu-bye for now....before dinner is burned! =) See you all here next time...TFL!<3

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Dear Sugar Diary,
        I am actually writing at NIGHT! lol..I usually do this early in the A.M. but today I have been super busy....prepping for the weekend. It's been one of those moments where I ask myself over and over .... WHY?! lol..Why did I book myself through the weekend!!?? ....Well because even though I may complain and become stressed and be "Lil' Miss Frowny Brow"...deep down inside it's what I want to be doing the most! ;) So...yesterday I was in my "I miss the island" mode....pretty much unable to really focus on my I stopped and gathered my thoughts.......I was raised everywhere..but home will always be a mix of Puerto Rico and as I was daydreaming about the beach is an actual photo of the beach not even 5 minutes from my mom's house:
   It is called "Los Amadores"  in Camuy, Puerto Rico. I went there with my family many many Sundays to just pass the time and watch my brother dive off of a cliff straight into the ocean. Drinking coconut water straight from the coconuts...literally! My mom was prego with my lil sis and would get cravings for them! My brother would climb up the palm tress and knock down the coconuts for us.=) Great times! I look at my surroundings now and they are such a contrast to that....I now live in Arizona and it is all mostly desert....dry..windy...and HOT...but even these things can be tied into baking.....How? Well flavor wise! I can pull from my culture to come up with bright bold flavored bakes....and also the flavors that Arizona has to offer.....especially the Mexican Treats! A friend introduced me to "Cajeta" for example. It is very similar to Puerto rican "Dulce de Leche" .....but creamier.
   A while back I was having a tough time deciding on specific flavor profiles....because let's face it....we can have developed and mature palates but no one person has ever tasted EVERYTHING out for me it was a time to experiment. I bought fresh fruits I would not normally eat...and tasted them..alone , together and with other foods. But that still wasn't I then researched and found this awesome list some genius put together for people like me!! I posted it on a a page on Facebook...and now I will post it here for you:

                        Fruits, Herbs and Spices that Pair Well Together:

Almond pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, cherry, coffee, fig, honey, orange, peach, pear, plum 
Apple pairs well with: caramel, cardamom, chestnut, cinnamon, cranberry, currant, ginger, hazelnut, mango, maple, rosemary, walnut     
Apricot pairs well with: almond, black pepper, caramel, cardamom, ginger, hazelnut, honey, orange, peach, vanilla, plum, Sauternes, wine  
Asian Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey, macadamia, nutmeg, raisin, vanilla
 Banana pairs well with: brandy, caramel, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, dark rum, ginger, hazelnut, honey, Madeira wine, mango, molasses, papaya
Blackberry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, champagne, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, lemon, other berries, peach, plum, Port wine
Blood Orange pairs well with: almond, cardamom, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, fig, ginger, honey, other citrus 
Blueberry pairs well with:lemon verbena, other berries, cardamom, mango, lemon, hazelnut, ginger, fig, lavender, other citrus, 
Carrot pairs well with: anise, brandy, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, walnut 
Cherry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, nectarine, peach, plum, Port wine, vanilla 
Chestnut pairs well with: apple, caramel, chocolate, coffee, pear, vanilla 
Cilantro (coriander) pairs well with: apricot, berries, cherries, citrus, nectarine, peach, plum, tropical fruit 
Coconut pairs well with: banana, Brazil nut, caramel, chocolate, citrus, Kaffir leaf, lemongrass, pineapple, other tropical fruit
Cranberry pairs well with:  apple, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, mango, mint, pear Currants, Black and Red, pairs well with:cassis, chocolate, citrus, dark rum, Port wine, sloe gin
Elderberry pairs well with:apricot, fig, honey, lemon, mandarin, other berries, peach, plum 
Feijoa pairs well with:banana, berries, cinnamon, citrus, mango, vanilla 
Fig pairs well with:almond, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, pear, Port wine, vanilla
Ginger pairs well with:almond, apple, apricot, banana, berries, Brazil nut, caramel, chocolate, citrus, coconut, grape, hazelnut, passion fruit, peach, pear, pineaple, plum, tropical fruit
Gooseberry pairs well with:citrus, hazelnut, honey, other berries, white chocolate
Grape pairs well with:brandy, chocolate, citrus, ginger, raisin
Grapefruit pairs well with:basil, black pepper, caramel, citrus, mint, rosemary, thyme, tropical fruit, vanilla 
Guava pairs well with: citrus, coconut, huckleberry, kaffir leaf, pineapple, strawberry, tropical fruit  
Hazelnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, berries, caramel, cherry, chocolate, citrus, fig, mandarin, peach, pear, plum
Kaffir Leaf pairs well with: banana, citrus, coconut, lemongrass, tropical fruit, watermelon
Kiwi pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, cherry, citrus, coconut, mango, tropical fruit
Kumquat pairs well with:berries, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, persimmon, plum
Lemon pairs well with:apricot, berries, black pepper, cardamom, cherry, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, prickly pear, tropical fruit
Lemongrass pairs well with:cherry, berries, citrus, coconut, ginger ,guava, kaffir leaf, coconut, tropical fruit, vanilla
 Lime pairs well with: apple, berries, cherry, ginger, papaya, plum, strawberry, tropical fruit
 Lychee pairs well with:citrus, ginger, gooseberry, tropical fruit, vanilla
Mandarin pairs well with: cardamom, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, fig, ginger, nutmeg, tropical fruits, vanilla, star anise
Mango pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, caramel, citrus, coconut, melon, Sauternes, tropical fruits, vanilla
Melon pairs well with: berries, champagne, citrus, lemongrass, lemon verbena
Orange pairs well with:almonds, basil, berries, brandy, cherry, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, coffee, cranberry, fig, ginger, grape, hazelnut, mint, nutmeg, persimmon, pineapple, vanilla
Papaya pairs well with:citrus, black pepper, lime, mango, tropical fruit
 Pear pairs well with:almond, apple, caramel, chestnut, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, hazelnut, Port wine, vanilla, walnut
Persimmon pairs well with:apple, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, kumquat, pear
Pineapple pairs well with:basil, caramel, cilantro, coconut, macadamia, rosemary, rum, tropical fruit
 Plum pairs well with:almond, cinnamon, citrus, chestnut, black pepper, hazelnut, honey, Port wine, vanilla
Pomegranate pairs well with:apple, citrus, cucumber, mint, tropical fruit
Prickly Pear pairs well with:citrus, lime, tomatillo, tropical fruit
Raspberry pairs well with:apricot, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, lemon, nectarine, other berries, peach, plum, rhubarb, thyme, vanilla
Rhubarb pairs well with:apple, apricot, berries, black pepper, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, strawberry
Strawberry pairs well with: apple, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, coriander, mint, rhubarb, vanilla
Tomatillo pairs well with:berries, citrus, mango, prickly pear, tropical fruit 
Walnut pairs well with:apple, apricot, banana, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, rum

Phew! I hope you enjoyed that extensive list! It sure does come in handy for those days when you just feel like trying something you have never done before...or even to spruce up an old fav. =) Whatever your need I am sure this list can help fill in some gaps. Well thank you for reading..I will be off on the beach in Camuy , PR[in my head] and daydreaming about fresh coconut water! Stay hungry my friends! =)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Dear Sugar Diary,
  Hi! =) Today I woke up super early ...showered..did dishes and had some coffee...I am now ready to begin my day. =)

 I received an email asking about SMBC [Swiss Meringue Buttercream] I promised I would I will use this blog to do so;) While all the craze now is SMBC I have found through trial and error that sometimes you will want to experiment with it for different is great on a cupcake...and as has a creamier more buttery texture than traditional buttercream though both can be modified accordingly. =) SMBC is simply in my humble opinion ... YUMMIER. And the clean up is half of what you do for regular buttercream=) . Here is the recipe:

  • 5 BIG egg whites
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract(or whatever flavor you want!)
I place the sugar ,egg whites and salt in the bowl of my stand mixer and place that over a boiling saucepan of water ... I beat the mixture till its warm and the sugar is all dissolved. You can feel it with your fingers to see if it is still grainy. Then I put the mixer bowl back on the mixer and start to beat it at medium to high speed with the whisk attachment till I see it start to form peaks but not DRY DRY want it to look shiny and smooth still. Whisk it for...let's say....8 to 10 minutes to be safe....or  until it is "peaky" and cool. =) Now your gonna wanna add your butter...try to do it a little at a time and add the vanilla too. Keep mixing till it is silky and lumps at all. And viola! You have yourself some SMBC! It will freeze well for up to a month or so and keep in the fridge for no more than 3 days in a bowl with a lid! Keep the air out!. You can change this recipe to chocolate smbc just by adding about 4 1/2 oz of chocolate(semisweet melted and cooled) into buttercream at the same time you add the vanilla extract.
 I have a feeling that once you try it you will be wondering why you hadn't sooner! I did. Besides you don't get a film of dusty powdered sugar everywhere! =) If you have never tried it before TRY IT TODAY! You should be able to get the ingredients together without a trip to the store....but even a trip to the store is worth it! =) Have a SWEET day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Mix Up

Dear Sugar Diary,
   This past weekend was great....had two orders and the rest time of the time to relax with my family.  But this weekend also was a first. It was a moment that you wish you could change but you can't even if you try as hard as you could. I misplaced an order. YUP.....misplaced an order!!!!! I had the Mops cake to do for the fundraiser and a Curious George Cake to do for a birthday party.....and there was also another cake...a request for an XBOX.

 I had just uploaded the pictures of the Curious George cake when I received a message online was short & said " Hi Shey, is my cake ready?" I thought it was a joke ...that was my first feeling "This must be a joke".....I looked & looked at the name and it didn't ring a bell at all.....I wrote back...."I only had 2 cakes for this weekend...=(" The person then wrote " The Xbox cake." My heart sunk....I felt sick...I frowned...why? Because I remembered!!!!! I remembered I had talked on the PHONE with someone a month earlier and scribbled everything down on a piece of random paper .... that paper had been put on my freezer with sketches of other cakes and not on my email stack ...=\. My whole business is run through email is rare that I get a phone call..or even meet a client...emails are good because it is the first thing I check when I wake up and I can go back as many times as I want to check the details ..etc.
  I felt mortified....I wrote her back and apologized....I tried to tell her I could still make it that Saturday but just for a different time ...or I could discount her other order she placed for May.....she simply wrote back "Nevermind and cancel the cake for May." OH MY GOD! My first super angry customer!!!! What will I do???? How will this be fixed? I couldn't blame her for being angry! I wrote back " Ok no prob...and I am so sorry for the error on my part" I couldn't think of anything else for the rest of the night.....I wanted to find a way to make it up to her...but I knew if she was angry nothing would really be I tried to accept the fact that one missed order in 2 years (since I started) wasn't as bad and that maybe I could make something as a treaty and show her that I am not irresponsible...I just made a mistake! But she doesn't know me & now I worried that her impression of me was forever ruined. Things like this weigh heavy on me. BUT....later on that night she wrote me again....

"Ms. Shea
Sorry about all the confusion, I didn't realize I had to email you the order. I was upset earlier because I had no cake. I would still like to order a graduation cake if, it's not to late."

HALLELUJAH!!!! I was so happy! Then she asked for my cell again but before I had a chance to answer she called! I talked to her and I am not gonna lie I was scared! lol...for real! She explained she had no idea that she could have sent an email...(a friend told her about me) and she wasnt mad anymore and we chit chatted and everything is ok once again!!! I have very bad anxiety over things like this....she also ordered a new cake and the graduation cake! I am so grateful. And I guess the moral of this story is "Honesty IS the best policy!" I didn't try to cover up my mistake....I told her the truth....and she appreciated the fact that I faced up to that. So friends....if your ever in the predicament of a botched order...just apologize..face it head on and hopefully things will turn out just right. In this case they did. Thank Goodness! =)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sweet Sweet Sugar!

Dear Sugar Diary,
    Sugar. The one ingredient I use the most.  I buy more than 7 to 8 bags a week. In all of it's forms. Granulated...Raw...Powdered...White...Brown...Flavor Infused...liquid...etc. I stir..mix...break down...sprinkle..pour...knead...and cut sugar. A week ago as I stirred it into my coffee I wondered .."Where did it come from?" Who found this marvelous ingredient/preservative? So I researched a little & found that in 327 BC, Alexander the Great discovered the sugar cane!! Sugar was (for a very long time) considered only for the noble classes in Europe...can you imagine not having sugar in your life only because you weren't a noble? But I guess that even in ancient times you couldn't miss what you never had. ;)
  Then upon more reading & countless wonderfully informative websites I found out that "sweet" is the only taste humans are born desiring....hummm..interesting.....& very logical...I mean if your a mommy & have breast fed ... you have probably also been curious about what our own breastmilk tastes like & the first word I always used to describe it was SWEET..then warm. lol...then I read that breast milk offers the "smarter sugars"!!!
 [Lactose is the main sugar in breastmilk. The body breaks it down into two simpler sugars - glucose & galactose. Galactose is a valuable nutrient for brain tissue development. Anthropologists have demonstrated that the more intelligent species of mammals have greater amounts of lactose in their milk, & human milk contains one of the highest concentrations of lactose of any mammal milk. Cow milk & some cow milk formulas contain lactose, but not as much as HUMAN milk.]
 I am no historian or anthropologist...BUT...I guess that means that even before Alexander the Great "discovered" sugarcane, us mommies were already giving healthy doses of sweet smart sugars to our babies! =)  Score! ;)
I think back & remember the stories that my family would tell about life in our hometown of Camuy, Puerto Rico....working the Sugar Cane fields.....I also remember being given pieces of sugar cane as a treat to gnaw was a very long time ago.....but I remember . =) How different this world would be without this wonderful white sweet discovery! It would be a rather sour..bitter...salty one!  Oh! In 2001, scientists found sugar in outer space! Yup! So maybe even the cosmos have had a need for it....;) I mean once you get a taste for sugar there is no turning back right? (hee hee) So to conclude this rather "school essay" on sugar ....I will leave you with this..."Only when you have eaten a lemon do you appreciate what sugar is." ~ Ukrainian Proverb.
Have a sweet Sunday! Ciao!;)~SugarShey<3

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stay Hungry My Friends!

Dear Sugar Diary,
"Above all, you must fight conceit, envy, and every kind of ill-feeling in your heart."                                                                                 
                                                                                                    ~Abraham Cahan

    Today I start with that is vital information for the person that wishes to succeed in life. In anything. I moved to this town 4 years ago. I quickly learned that small town living has it's perks but many downfalls too. The fact that 43,888 people live in one small area (153.46 sq mi) makes way for pettiness on a level I can't even begin to describe. I think that maybe the thin mountain air makes everyone prone to mood swings. But that is just my theory. (lol) I have lived in many places and almost always in a big city....and in 33 years I have never experienced the level of ill will I have felt and seen in this town.
   In caking you always try to come up with new innovative ways to present strive to be on the cutting keep up with trends....Ombre...Petal....Ruffle cakes....You spend hundreds of dollars buying tools...materials....etc. You spend countless hours organizing your treasures...and then re organizing them... hours upon hours looking at cake. Scrutinizing it. Kinda like a jeweler looks through his loupe at an exquisite diamond.  You watch tutorials others have graciously put out there with that same awe a person watches a ballet or an art exhibit.....and you practice till your hands cramp and your eyes cross. You bore your family with cake talk...You come up (with what you think) is an original toy with this idea and run to the internet to see if it has been done....99.9% of the time ...IT HAS. So lets face either keep everything to yourself or like what your heart dictates. Listen to your inner voice and not the hateful emails...listen to your own creativity and not the mean comments that you hide in your spam folder. If people are taking precious time to be rude or mean it only means one thing....YOUR DOING IT RIGHT. ;)
 I am an optomist....I happily cake from the confines of my little kitchen...I don't have time to "keep up with the neighbors" and I definitely do not have time for non sense....not from adults anyways ..seeing as to the fact that I have 3 children and get enough non sense from So if you know me you know that most of the time I am easy going and real. I won't indulge in small town gossip ....come on people .... it's of the happiest foods on cream goes with it and sprinkles and whipped cream and all of the yummy things you can think of. Once you learn to get over yourself and accept the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people everywhere doing what you do you will begin to feel the camaraderie instead of competition.   I am Shey....I can't be anything else....I don't try to be anything other than Shey. ;) And I am the best Shey there can be. How do I know that? Because in the estimated 6.998 billion  people that populate our great planet I am the ONLY one. ;) I hope this lifts your spirits if you are down....look in a mirror and see the perfection that is YOU! Stay Hungry My Friends! FOR CAKE! =)