Baking marathon begins!

These cupcakes were from a couple of weeks back:

The birthday girl wanted bunnies and unicorns and magic fairy dust. Couldn't do the unicorns, but I had the bunnies left over from the Easter cake, and I tried to use Pop Rocks for the magic fairy dust but they started popping as soon as they hit the frosting so were pretty flat by the time they got to the party. Some of the bunnies got roasted on the birthday candles.

This is today's cake, for a graduating student going to med school:

That's a caduceus next to her name, not a squished bug. I'm not unhappy with the cake but my piping is pretty lame.

I have a birthday cake due on Saturday, and feeds-60 cake for a retirement party next Friday, and I was asked for a Key Lime Cake for the week after that. The birthday cake is for a one-year-old, so that's very special, with a father and guests in the restaurant industry, which is kind of terrifying. The mother is nervous about giving her baby sugar for the first time (toddler go zoom!)

I was asked for both the birthday cake and the retirement cake to use cage-free eggs ($4/dozen; regular eggs are about $1.85), organic milk ($4/half gallon; regular milk is $3-4/gallon), and organic butter ($6/pound; regular butter is $2-3/pound). I wasn't planning to use organics for the rest of the ingredients but I'm wondering if I should mention that…? or go ahead and get the organic sugar…? I'll buy mixes before I give up my White Lily flour–they run $5/one layer, so $10-15 for the entire cake, with milk and eggs on top of that.

So please, weigh in–organics: help or hype? I have to shop for the birthday cake tomorrow.

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8 Responses to Baking marathon begins!

  1. Laurie says:

    I can't help you with the organics question, I just had to come over and say, DNA piping, that's really cool!

  2. Artzy Lady says:

    Oh come on… organics for a cake? Cake is supposed to be frivolous and decadent… I say skip the organics all together!! I do like your DNA strands. LOL!

  3. snoringKatZ says:

    I think you don't need to worry about organics for the plant-based components. But it's nice to think the beastie bits are relatively happy and healthy compared to their standard production farm cousins. On the other hand, maybe someone has some pesticide sensitivity issue.Do they have organic White Lily? I see an accommodation on the horizon!And cake DNA rocks!!!PS: That schedule sounds whelming. Does Peg get a day off ever?

  4. mariser says:

    concur on the madness of your schedule, Peg. whoa. and baking is not even your day job!my $0.015 re organics: since sugar is a highly refined product, whether it is organic or not makes little difference. I agree with sKatz that the biggest impact is on treatment of beasties, thus organic milk, eggs, butter. in re flour: more than being organic is the level of processing – unbleached >> bleached.

  5. Oh, honey, *you* comment on the madness of *my* schedule? Goodness!
    Well, the mother was willing to pay extra to cover the ingredients, but the butter threw off my recipe something awful, so I used it but I'm not happy about it. I'll get more cage-free eggs for the next cakes, since it was requested, and I'll use the organic milk, but it's back to store brand butter for the rest of it, because I don't have time to figure out how to make it work. Sorry cows! your butter is too rich for me.

  6. Thanks for your .015 cents! Alton Brown told me to stick with bleached flour for baking (at a book signing–he wrote it in the cookbook he signed for me) so I stuck with the regular dry ingredients.

  7. snoringKatZ says:

    I've never used organic butter before. I have heard from a friend that it takes a while to get used to using turbinado sugar, though. I imagine the butter must be kind of different, too.On the other hand, I don't bake much ;)Once my schedule opens up some, I may try again. I can bake bread. That pretty much is the extent of my skills. Maybe I should make birthday bread from now on! We all know how well my cake attempts have gone – that's why I leave it to the talented pros like you!PS: Still LOVE the DNA!

  8. Lurkertype says:

    The organic milk doesn't bake up any different, but I find it's worth the premium if you're drinking it straight. It is so much tastier — milkier — that I can drink 2% or 1% instead of whole. Plus, it's easier on the digestion and other systems b/c the moos don't get any antibiotics.Wheat's wheat, though — it's "cruel" to get cut down whether you're organic or not, and it's all free-range!

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