Earlier this year, I took a decorating class with my daughter who was home from college for winter break — just so I could spend some time with her — I really had NO interest in baking and/or cake decorating . . . at that time. Anyway, I brought some of our “creations” into my office and as a result, a co-worker as if I would do the wedding cake for her son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law. I was still stuck on trying to figure out how people made cakes that didn’t come out of a box but somehow “SURE” slipped out. Thankfully, I had a month to practice . . . so I worked on recipes and fondant daily until I figured out how to make delicious cakes from scratch and roll out the fondant to an acceptable thickness. Of course, for the wedding, she wanted whipped filling with fresh fruit so I had to make the cake “last minute.” No problem, right? Truth is, I was so nervous that I thought I’d spend the money and take a class on the day before the wedding so the instructor could help me cover the cakes so there were no buckles or air pockets AND, more importantly, to help STACK the cakes, which she did. The moment I moved the cake into the car to transport it, however, it began to shift and by the time I arrived home the entire cake had collapsed on itself. So, on Friday night, I had to start over from scratch. Run to the store to re-buy ALL the ingredients and at 1:00 a.m., it still wasn’t done or presentable. I had a brainstorm at 6:00 and was able to complete the task and present the family with a beautiful (for my first time) cake that was DELICIOUS to boot. Since January of this year, I haven’t stopped baking — it has become my passion and while I work full time doing billing and HR at a law firm, I bake upwards of 3 cakes per week for a variety of events. I make a point of using only top quality and organic ingredients whenever possible and pride myself in creating beautiful and delectable works of art. The best compliment I’ve received is that my work is beautiful but tastes even better!!!!! Below is the recipe I used (found on the Internet) for the wedding cake and one that I use ALL the time as a base for all the fun flavors I’ve been experimenting with . . .

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons Rodelle Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick baking spray or coated well with shortening or butter and floured, taking care to remove all excess flour.

Cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add to butter and shortening mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract.

Beat batter on high about 5 seconds to fully incorporate all ingredients. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well.

Evenly distribute cake batter between cake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.