Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bakingdom’s Best of 2011

by Darla

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

-Neil Gaiman

There may be no better or more beautiful sentiment for the New Year than those words, and I mean them truly, for you all.

I had a lot of fun last year, sharing the top 10 posts of the year with you guys, so I thought I’d do it again this year.

This time, I have 10 of your favorites, plus two honorable mentions.

#10. Raspberry Meringue Kisses

These are wonderful. Easy, tasty, and lovely to look at. I never thought I liked meringues before; I’ve had store bought meringues in the past, and they were…meh. But these homemade meringues were like little bits of heaven…flavored with raspberry.

And what really makes these amazing is the chocolate filling. It adds so much to them, and takes them from great to truly fantastic. I love the contrast of texture between the crisp, flaky meringue and the rich, smooth chocolate. Plus, raspberry and chocolate are so perfect together, they should grow on the same plant!

#9. Caramel Apple “Pumpkins”

These were a last minute whim that I decided to make after receiving a grab bag of candy that had some orange licorice wheels in it. I haven’t had any luck finding more orange shoestring licorice again, but I have since discovered that they look lovely with green, and black makes them into great Halloween treats!

#8. How to Make a Vertical Layer Cake

I made myself a vertical layer cake this year for my birthday, after seeing i am baker‘s great tutorial. I was thrilled with the results. Cutting into this cake was like opening another birthday gift. And you’d be amazed how easy it is to make.

Honorable Mention: Gryffindor Apron

My first honorable mention for 2011 goes to my post about my Harry Potter Gryffindor Apron. Since it wasn’t a food related post, in any way, I’m bumping it from the top 10, but since it was extremely popular with you (so much so that I am now selling aprons in my own Etsy store), I decided to include it anyway.

#7. Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

I made these one day because I wanted a cinnamon roll, but I wanted a cupcake, too. What’s a sweet toothed girl to do? Make cinnamon roll cupcakes! I always feel like saying that my own food is delicious probably sounds conceited or false, but there is no denying these…they are one of the most wonderful cupcakes I’ve ever made.

I mean, come on. They have cinnamon swirl filling. And cream cheese frosting. AND coffee icing. Coffee and icing, and cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes…all in one?? Count me in. :)

#6. TARDIS Apron, Weeping Angel Cookies

I’ve never been able to determine what was more popular in this post… My TARDIS apron…

…or the creepy Weeping Angel cookies.

The comments seem pretty split, so maybe it’s just the fact that they’re both Doctor Who themed. After all, there’s almost nothing better than some Doctor Who action.

Honorable Mention: Honeyduke’s Cotton Candy Cupcakes

These cupcakes are my second honorable mention for 2011 because a lot of their popularity could be tied to the fact that I gave away a Harry Potter apron that day. :) Even if people only stopped by for a chance to win the apron, though, I hope they tried the cupcakes, because they’re wonderful.

#5. Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccinos/Cupcakes

I was completely obsessed with Starbucks salted caramel mochas this Fall. Completely. I knew that if I didn’t find a way to make them myself, I was going to be bankrupt by Christmas. It was totally worth the time and experimentation it took to make this tasty coffee. I don’t even like coffee…so you know it’s good.

I couldn’t stop there, though. I had no choice. I had to turn my favorite Starbucks latte into a cupcake that is completely irresistible. And they are…they shot up to my number one favorite cupcake. EVAH. These are cupcake heaven. Heaven, I tell you!

#4. Rainbow Heart Layer Cake

This cake was kind of my least favorite cake. I mean, I love it. I think it turned out beautiful, and I personally like the way I decorated it, but it scared the crap out of me while I was making it. For real, I thought it was going to be a catastrophe. Thankfully, it wasn’t, and you seemed to like it an awful lot, so I guess I worried for nothing. But it still scares me. ;)

#3. Homemade Corn Dogs

The hubster and I have been making this corn dog recipe for almost 10 years now. The kid loves them – he almost always asks for them for his birthday dinner. I decided to share them with you shortly before the Fourth of July, because I think they’re a great summer dinner, and you guys got super excited about them. And I’m so glad, because they’re truly wonderful. And they can be made vegan/dairy free and gluten free. Yay!

#2. Star Trek Sugar Cookies

I can’t even pretend that I wasn’t blown away by your reaction to my Star Trek cookies. I mean, I loved them. Just looking at them made my heart smile, but I had no idea that you guys would love them so much, too. And seeing them pop up on amazing sites like Boing Boing, Neatorama, and the Today Show blog left me stunned for days. I love that my nerdiest foods are also my most popular. You guys are awesome.

#1. Hogwarts House Pride Cake

The fact that my favorite cake was also your favorite cake makes my year! :)

I made this spice cake for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2. I wanted something that represented Hogwarts, because I knew that the school was the setting of a great battle in the movie.

I have such a love for Hogwarts. I know it’s pretend and I’ll never get to go there, but I think it is one of the most wonderful places in the world.

Besides the banner across the top of the cake (with lyrics from the school song), and the house banners, I made the inside of the cake representative of all of the Hogwarts houses, too. I used the same basic idea as the vertical layer cake, above, but instead of switching up the cake colors, I used colored frosting for the contrast. The result turned out to look remarkably like the house scarves, and it made me so happy! It was the perfect treat to enjoy before seeing the very last of the Potter films.

Thank you, everyone, for a fantastic 2011! I am so looking forward to 2012, when my family will be transferring to a new home, the kiddo gets his driver’s license, and the Hubster and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. There are great things to come this year, and I hope we can share it together.

Happy New Year!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria December 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm

What a great year! I am so happy I found your blog. Happy New Year to you!

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2 Rachael S December 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm

that Harry Potter apron should get more than honorable mention it is so amazing!!! I cant wait for you to add more to your etsy shop :)

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3 Kelly December 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Wow what a great roundup, your pictures are amazing!!! :)

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4 Rachel December 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I just wanted to say thank you! Sense I have found your blog, I have started baking sooo much more, I loved it before but now I have so much energy with it (its my peace with kids screaming around me… LOL) I have decided that I am going to try and take this baking somewhere, I have no idea what I will do.. have no idea how to start.. anyway just Thank you for doing what you love bc you have inspired me to do the same! Btw the Hogwarts cake.. LOL I rocked it.. its my Birthday cake for now on!
Happy New Years!!

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5 Debbie December 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

I’m so glad the meringue kisses made it into the top ten. I’ve made them so many times, I probably single-handedly bumped them over the number eleven slot.

Happy new year! Can’t wait to see what’s in store next year.

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6 Cassidy December 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I love that so many of these are Harry Potter related treats! Your love for HP is what I adore about your blog. I did make the cotton candy cupcakes, yum! Can’t wait to see what delicious treats are in store for 2012!!!

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7 Anna December 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm

everything looks amazing! i’ve just discovered your blog and i love it. can’t wait to see the new recipes you’ll post in 2012
xx
Anna

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8 Kieli Heart December 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Definitely a great year =) Who would have known that a picture of a rainbow cake on Tumblr would have led me here x3 Thank you so much for being you and having this awesome blog. Here’s to another year of wonderful treats from you! ♥

~ Kieli ~

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9 sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more December 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm

How amazing! I so have to pin some of those.

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10 Paige December 30, 2011 at 1:37 am

I made two of these!! (#7 and #10) And both were thoroughly impressive. Carry on, everything you do is fantastic!

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11 Choc Chip Uru December 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm

What a beautiful year your blog has had – I just want to want everything on this screen – and I love your novelty aprons (I live for dr who)
Best of luck in the new year!

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12 Mattie December 31, 2011 at 12:45 am

The meringues are my favorite, they are SO easy to make and they look and taste amazing! I was never able to find raspberry extract where I live so I’ve taken to using almond extract instead. They turn out great every time!
The cinnamon eclairs are a close second.. I loved that the actual eclairs were spiced (they’re usually pretty bland in other recipes), and the pastry cream was simply delicious.
I’m not a huge fan of the regular cakes with loads of food coloring as the main decorating element.. too gimmicky, not subtle enough. I did love the Hogwarts cake though, but I know I’d never try that one at home!
Happy holidays and thanks for all the work you put in, it’s much appreciated!

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13 nicole {sweet peony} December 31, 2011 at 9:55 am

happy 2012 darla! thanks so much for all of the wonderful recipes you shared this year! i’m so looking forward to next year :)

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14 Erin @ Making Memories December 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Look at all your amazing creations!!! They are wonderful!

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15 sweetsugarbelle December 31, 2011 at 10:41 pm

YOu are amazing. Can’t wait for you to amaze me more in 2012! Happy New Year, Darla!!

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16 T January 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

The chicken and dumplings soup is my nominee for the best recipe of 2011. We’ve been living on its deliciousness for the last two months as one bout of winter crud after another has swept through the house. Even when you’re so sick you can’t eat – you can eat that chicken and dumplings. I had never seen a recipe for simple dumplings before either. You’re right: They’re easy and incredibly good, especially after they sit in the leftover soup in the fridge overnight.

The Devil’s Food cookies are my second nominee. Not all that easy, but soooo good! (And they freeze beautifully, so I can keep them around for a while.) I made them with mint buttercream and crushed peppermints for Christmas.

Thanks for the beautiful, instructive website and the great recipes.

T

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17 Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm

First. OMGosh! That Hogwarts Cake!!!
The scarf colors – to die for.
Very nice job.

Next, I somehow missed the Homemade Corn Dog recipe the first time. But, I’ve pinned it now. we’ll be making these soon. (There’s a local hot dog joint that’s been getting way too much of our green stuff lately.)

One tip:
Alton Brown fills a glass about 3/4 full of the batter then dips a dog on a stick to coat it. Sounds like an easy method. I’ll be trying that.

Have a very happy new year!
~

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18 Maria January 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

What a treat to see the best of the best! I always can’t wait to peruse your next post – and the pictures…oh dear, the pictures! DROOLsome.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Maria xx
http://www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

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19 Angela @ The Dancer Bakes January 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I keep pulling your blog up to show my friends and family that intense rainbow heart cake…and then I inevitably end up staying on the blog for hours, admiring the nerdy posts and drooling over all the treats! Congratulations on a fantastic year, and thanks for further inspiring me in my own baking pursuits :)

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20 Kate January 4, 2012 at 10:48 am

LOVE your posts – even though HP is “done” please please please keep the Harry Potter recipes coming, I can’t get enough of them!! :)

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21 Rosie @ Sweetapolita January 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

What an incredible year you’ve had, dear Darla! I have no idea how on earth I missed those Star Trek cookies, among others. I love everything you post, because all of your creations look beyond yummy and are always laced with a quirkiness that is so you. I’m so glad I can call you my friend, and I can’t wait to see what awesomeness you bring us this coming year and every year after! Happy 2012! xo

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22 Lior January 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hapuy new year dear Darla!!

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23 Laura February 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Haha those start trek figures just made my day! Great post with wonderful pictures :)

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