Welcome to Cupcakeland!

I’ve slowly but surely been getting back to my baking roots this year. Not long after I moved to Portland I went gluten free, then paleo, and pretty much gave up everything I learned about baking in culinary school. It was too expensive to experiment with paleo baking and honestly things just aren’t as much fun without real flour, butter, and sugar when that’s what I had been baking most of my life.

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So when my health issues finally subsided and I was able to eat gluten again without getting sick, I slowly started baking again. I don’t think I realized how much I missed it until now, but baking was always a creative outlet and a stress reliever. Being back in the kitchen, trying out recipes, and making delicious things for people I love just makes me happy.

Getting asked by my boss to back some treats for my coworkers this week was the perfect opportunity to bring back and old favorite recipe. Chocolate stout cupcakes were a staple when I ran my pastry business in California, and after some deep internet digging I finally found the tried and true recipe I always used.

I felt so good to do something familiar, like I could reach back in time to when my early twenties were full of days being covered in flour and nights drinking my sorrows away with my friends at the bar. I was so sure in those days that I would some day have my own bakery, where I could serve cupcakes and cocktails. Honestly, I still have this fantasy sometimes, especially when I’ve been staring at my computer for 8 hours and having all the creativity sucked out of me at my day job.

So will these few batches of cupcakes be the turning point I need in my life right now? I’m not sure. But I do think it’s cracked something open in me that makes me realize I need a constant creative outlet in my life. And tomorrow I’ll get to express myself even more at I make these cupcakes look extra beautiful before taking them to work on Tuesday. I hope I can create a little wow on my coworkers first day back at work after summer break. 

If this book was a dessert - As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew

In one of the many career paths I've experienced in my (almost) 30 years of life, one of the most fun and challenging was being a professional baker. Sure, I worked in restaurants and did some work as a pastry cook, but the place I excelled the most was as a baker. My last baking job had me churning out around 80-100 cakes a day. That's what happens when you work for one of the busiest wedding & specialty cake shops in all of Orange County.

While my career focus has now taken a new turn in my pursuit of becoming a librarian, I still love baking. So rather than write a "normal" book review, I thought I would start a fun feature called "If this book was a dessert" where I compare a book I read recently and the dessert it most closely matches. (I'll also try to include yummy recipes whenever I can!)

A few weeks ago I finished listening to the audio book, As If!: The Oral History of Clueless as told by Amy Heckerling and the Cast and Crew by Jen Chaney. It was a fantastic book to listen to, and had me both laughing out loud and mentally stashing away cool facts to share with friends.

Amy Heckerling wanted to make a happy movie, and if you've ever seen Clueless you know that's true. But this book does a great job at showing fans that the happiness and fun going on in front of the camera was also happening behind the camera. The cast and crew became so close in the few months it took to shoot the film, and it's still something they all look back on fondly.

If you grew up in the 90's, watching Clueless at countless sleepovers, then you will love taking a trip down memory lane as they discuss everything from the cast auditions to the fabulous costumes. Jen Chaney does a great job with interviewing a wide variety of people that made Clueless possible. You can really see the hard work and love that went into making this movie happen.

So now you're wondering, if As If! was a dessert, what dessert would it be?

A Pink Lemonade Chiffon Cake of course!

What could be more Cher and happy than a yummy pink cake? And as Cher says, "Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good." I believe eating a big slice of cake is definitely a good way to draw attention to your mouth. ;)

Btw, if I could still eat gluten I would totally be making this cake tonight. I need to adapt a gluten free version so I can enjoy this while watching Clueless!