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If you're not already following Amanda Rettke's blog, I am Baker, you're missing out on some pretty drool-worthy recipes. Not to mention that her Instagram captions will make you actually laugh out loud. Rettke has no formal baking training, but can masterfully whip up a delicious dessert that'll have people clamoring for seconds — and she wants you to know you can, too! Since starting her blog in 2010, she has learned to get creative and improvise in the kitchen.
Ahead, she shares the three must-have items that every home chef should own.
1. Rotating Cake Stand
Even if you only consider baking a hobby, it's worth finding a rotating cake stand ($25.99, Amazon). Not only will it allow you to beautifully display your creation, but rotating the cake while applying frosting makes it much easier. "I use it literally every time I make a cake, even if it’s not extravagant decoration," Rettke told us.
When shopping for a rotating cake stand, you need to decide if you want a plastic version or something made of a heavier metal. The former is lighter and easier to transport, but metal offers a smoother turn, which is helpful when frosting. You could also go with wood, but that would require more care when washing. The size of the stand can also vary. Something large will take up more room in your cupboard, but it means it can hold a cake big enough to feed everyone at family gatherings. Lastly, you should consider the design. Cake stands with ornately decorated sides are a beautiful way to display your baked goods, but they can also make it harder to slide the cake on and off it. So many choices! But whatever stand you choose, your cake will be the real star of the show!
2. Small Offset Spatula
A rotating cake stand, plus an offset spatula will make frosting the cake a breeze. This useful kitchen tool ($4.37, Amazon) looks similar to a solid spatula (meaning it doesn't have holes like a slotted spatula), but it's a lot thinner. The blunt end of the spatula makes it ideal for icing a cake or spreading batter evenly in a pan. "A small offset spatula is essential, and they’re a few dollars!" Rettke says.
3. Food Coloring
Rettke is also a big fan of McCormick's food coloring — just in time for Easter! "Their neon colors ($3.48, Walmart) are so perfect for all of the Easter decorating," she says. "And, you can keep them in the pantry [and they’ll] last forever, for every fun holiday." When we met Rettke for this interview, we actually got to test drive McCormick's neon food dyes and create some tasty Easter treats under her watchful eye.
We started with Bunny Butt Cupcakes, delicious vanilla cupcakes topped with a marshmallow bunny diving headfirst into a bed of sweet frosting grass colored with McCormick's regular assorted food dye ($3.48, Walmart). The white chocolate feet and cotton tail made of frosting covered in nonpareils are almost too cute eat!
Next up were Easter Egg Cakes, a sweet that exemplifies the I am Baker ethos. It saves you time and stress by using store-bought pound cake and frosting (your guests never have to know!). First slice the poundcake using an egg-shaped cookie cutter ($7.99 for a three-inch and four-inch set, Amazon). Then comes the fun part: pour the frosting you've dyed with food coloring over the eggs (and maybe lick any leftover frosting straight from the bowl). Finally, dabble a mixture of cocoa powder and water over the eggs with a brush to give them a speckled appearance. The process required a bit of trial and error, but we were able to eat all the eggs that didn't make the cut!
Head over to I am Baker for the full recipes, plus many more. After all, you deserve a little something for all your hard work organizing this year's Easter egg hunt and hosting brunch. And for even more sweets, check out Rettke's book, Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion — With a Little Something Extra Inside ($19.60, Amazon).
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