Delicious Recipes + Review of Sweetapolita


Over Easter break I discovered the fantastic blog of Rosie Alyea, author of Sweetapolita. Before ordering the book, Justin and I attempted the scrumptious Meringue Dream Cake – a cake that combines yummy meringues with a delicious dark chocolate cake. Aside from the rabbit, the cake was the highlight of our lunch that day!

When I received Sweetapolita last Friday, as with all cook books, I had to find the perfect recipe to make that night. Justin was tired from work, so if I wanted to make something, it had to be me doing it (for the most part, that is). While meringues, sprinkles, and milkshakes took the cake (haha) for being the easiest and requiring the fewest ingredients, I ended up settling on the Buttermilk Cake. With a total of eight ingredients and confectioner sugar topping, I assumed this would be one of the best (read: easiest) recipes for me to begin with without the need for grocery shopping. When going to the grocery stores takes a minimum of 20 minutes, at 7PM at night after a long day of work, you avoid getting back in the car even if it means cutting the recipe in half – which is exactly what we did. Using Justin's brain power (I trust his more than my own.), I basically managed to throw the recipe together in about 30 minutes. We then threw (yes, threw!) the cake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes (rather than the 20-22 minutes suggested) while we ate dinner. Given my baking skills and Justin's tiredness, the cake came out far from perfect. The center wasn't all the way done (we did one cake pan rather than the suggested 2 since we had cut the cake recipe in half to begin with), but the cake was fantastic when served with ice cream!

After messing up the Buttermilk Cake recipe and still getting good results, we moved to something a bit more difficult – the Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake – feeling the desire to give the book another shot at glory. After having spent a month making delicious sweets beginning with the book Cookie Love, as well as making the Meringue Dream Cake, and the Buttermilk Cake, it was time for us to go shopping and stock up on baking ingredients. We spent $40 at the store on flour, milk, eggs, sugar, baking powder, etc, etc… It was quite the investment, but then again so was the cake we were about to make. It took us between one and two hours to put this confectionary dream together, but we did it! One step at a time… We began at 4PM and did not finish until 8PM with dinner included. The cake ended up being light and fluffy with a similar consistency to that of Angel Food Cake. And the icing? The icing was a kid's dream! Tons of sugar! None of the people who ate the cake with us (all adults) could finish simply because it was soooo sweet! (In the future, I would make the cake with a less sweet icing, but that's just my opinion.) The inside layers of the cake included an eggless sugar cookie dough which was a fun touch! My step-grandmother was so thrilled that she immediately began writing down the 4 page recipe! In fact, she wanted me to include in this review that this recipe is her very favorite cake recipe that she has ever had in her (more than) 70 years of living! (Quite an accomplishment!)

While I have really only shared about the experience in making Sweeapolita cakes, the book actually offers tons of other recipes that I can't wait to try in the future! The sweets are all very colorful and fun, and the author provides tons of information for getting the recipes just right. Justin loved that she used weight measurements in her recipes saying that this little detail made it far easier to get the recipe just right. He did comment that you need to read the recipe in full before attempting it though. Sometimes the recipes contain unexpected surprises (cookie dough in the icing?) and sometimes the pictures aren't accurate to what the authoress indicates in her recipe.

Just so that you can get an idea of what else to expect in the book, let me list off a few of my must-bake recipes for the future:

• Coney Island Cheesecake (NYC peeps: Is this really a thing? It looks delicious!)
• Edible Chalk and Chalkboards (Fun idea for kids!)
• Pink Candied Carnival Popcorn
and
• Campfire Deluxe Cake

FYI: Best Friends For Frosting shared the Pastel Vanilla Birthday Cake recipe if you want to check it out. :)

Have you seen this book or read Rosie Alyea's blog?



Now for the fun part.

I have some spatulas, measuring cups, and a $5 Amazon gift card to give away! Want a chance to win?  Share something food or baking related with me. It can be absolutely anything – a story of cooking with your children, a favorite recipe, a baking or cooking tip, or anything else you can think of! Then enter the rafflecopter below. You will have two weeks to enter and you can enter as many times as you want! There will be 7 winners in all with one winner receiving the Amazon gift card. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


* Participate in the A-Z blogging challenge with me! You know you want to! :)
** I received this book for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
*** Giveaway is sponsored by me and not Rosie Alyea, Swwetapolita, the publisher, or anyone else.

104 comments:

  1. Ooh. Such lovely pictures. I haven't done any baking in a while but I once did a wedding cake for my sister. It took me a long time to want to do another cake. It turned out well but was a ton of work and pressure. (If I screwed it up, my little sister wouldn't have a wedding cake!)

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    1. Wow, that would be quite a challenge to do a wedding cake! I can imagine that would be a huge task!

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    2. I can't even imagine doing a wedding cake! That would be a ton of work and pressure!

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    3. That is pretty amazing to do a wedding cake. It must have been fun and a little stressful, but worth it in the end!

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    4. My sister does wedding cakes also, once I remember she make one when it was warm out and it kept sliding sideways. It was for her son so no money was exchanged and it did look great.

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    5. My gosh, I am a dedicated baker, cranking out a cake or cupcakes every single week (at least); and I still wouldn't have the guts to do that. I bet everyone remembers it so fondly.
      ******************
      {in the contest I am Margot C__ on the Rafflecopter}

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    6. I used to work in a bakery and got to do a lot of wedding cakes. I'll be honest, it's a lot of pressure, lol. Knowing your work can turn a perfectly lovely woman into a bridezilla is scary stuff!!

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    7. Wow, good for you! Hope it came out great!!!

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  2. I love to bake, not cook so much so this sounds wonderful to me! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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  3. My daughter loves to help me in the kitchen so we are always looking for new products and things to try! Baking seems to be our specialty!

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    1. I would love to bake a wedding cake I love cake

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    2. It is fun to have your kids help out in the kitchen

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    3. My oldest bakes with me, too. Messes are fine, the fun and bonding time is priceless.

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    4. When I would bake with a 3 year old, we always began the process outside on a picnic table to lessen the mess. Cleaning cushioned furniture is a pain, but if you miss the bowl and get egg everywhere outside, you just spray it off! Clean up is so easy! (Just don't mix ingredients under trees and keep an eye out for bugs…)

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  4. I love to bake my favorite is peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! Trisha Burgess

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    1. Bailey Dexter My daughter loves these too!

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  5. I loving baking cakes from scratch. I'm planning to back one on Saturday.

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    1. Yum, baking from scratch is the best!

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    2. I made one yesterday :) Homemade spice cake!

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    3. Oh yum! That sounds so good!

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    4. Cakes are my specialty and favorite of baking, too!

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  6. My favorite baking tip is to substitute apple sauce for some of the oil in cake recipes. There is no difference in the taste of the end product.

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    1. I've heard of others doing that but I've never tried it myself…

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    2. I do this too! Been doing it for 5 or so years and it's great!

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    3. I substitute applesauce for oil in cake & muffins in equal amounts & they turn out wonderfully moist!

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    4. I love to substitute Butter for almond butter

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    5. i have heard this and it sounds much healthier!

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    6. I like doing this too. I've also been using coconut oil for a substitute for so many things too!

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    7. I also like doing this, and no one knows but me, tastes great.

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  7. I love to bake homemade breads, like spiced pumpkin bread.

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    1. Yum! Pumpkin bread is delicious!

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    2. Pumpkin is a favorite of mine, I would love to try Pumpkin Bread - I'm sure it is awesome!

      kimberlybreid at hotmail dot com

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  8. Love baking, especially experimentation! Swapping out ingredients and flavours to create something new!

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    1. You are more adventurous than I am. I usually follow the recipe to the letter. This is a good reminder that I need to be more creative and experiment a little.

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    2. I am the same way. Experimenting just makes it more fun for me.

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  9. One of my favorite recipes is home made apple cake. My husband loves it and it is always a hit when I take to to gatherings.

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    1. Do you have any recipe suggestions? I've never made apple cake, but I would love to try!

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    2. I've never tried an apple cake. Would love to see a recipe!

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    3. The very first cake I ever learned to make was an apple cake from a local Amish group's cook book. My mom still has the book and you can see my childish writing in it as I was trying to figure out how to double it.

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    4. 4 c sliced apples, I have used several types and all are fine, 2 c sugar, 2 c flour 1 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 tsp cinnamon 2 eggs well beaten 3/4 vegetable oil 2 tsp vanilla 1 c nuts (optional) Mix apples and sugar and let stand while preparing dry ingredients Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until well blended, combine with apple sugar mixture, add eggs, oil and vanilla mix until blended, add nuts if desired. Bake at 350 in 9 x 13 greased pan for 50 minutes.

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    5. Thanks for sharing the recipe Michelle! Can't wait to try it! :)

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  10. I like to bake muffins and cupcakes.

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    1. I like to make them too and easy cleanup!

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  11. I am not that great of a baker but i really enjoy trying :)

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    1. Keep trying, that's the only way you'll improve!

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  12. I love baking! I have a severe allergy to peanuts so baking from scratch is a must. No boxed mixes for this girl, lol. One of my favorite tips for baking? substitute apple sauce for the butter/margarine in a recipe. It makes it nice and moist and just a wee bit healthier!

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  13. I love baking cakes & muffins from scratch!

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  14. Bailey dexter I bake from scratch every day! First I love it and now my family has to be gluten free!

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  15. Hmmm, now I'm in the mood for cake! Or brownies! I think I'm going to have to make brownies now!

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  16. My daughter has a food allergy, so I have to bake from scratch for her. Good thing I love it!

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    1. Same here - my son has a food allergy, and that's why I got into baking regularly.

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  17. I just started baking with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and i love the taste and texture it brings to my baked goods.

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    1. I'll have to try that. I've heard about the apple sauce substitution, but this tip is new to me. :)

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  18. My favorite cake is white cake with vanilla buttercream, like the grocery store birthday cakes. I don't know why I like such a boring flavor, maybe it's a comfort from my childhood?

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    1. Ha - that's my favorite too. That's the only kind of cake I ask for on my birthday.

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  19. I love to bake and try new recipes, especially unique ones.

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  20. This past weekend I made my first real attempt at cake decorating! I made a sheet cake, cut it into a cross and piped roses all over it for my niece's 1st communion :)

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    1. Oh wow! That sounds amazing! I'm sure she will love it. :)

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  21. I've been introducing my 3-year-old son to baking, and he LOVES it. We're doing simple things for now, like banana bread and blueberry muffins.

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    1. It's fantastic that you are getting him into baking at such a young age! That's a skill he'll have for the rest of his life! :)

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  22. I love baking and trying new recipes. I love meringue and recently made pavlova for the first time. So of course I was really interested in the meringue dream cake recipe you linked to. It sounds amazing!

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    1. Let me know if you try it. I thought it was fantastic, but I'd love to hear feedback from others! :)

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  23. Love to use my kitchen aid mixer to make cakes for birthdays and special occasions.

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  24. I love to bake and try to share that love with my 2 girls!

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  25. Learning to crumb coat a cake before frosting it was a life changing moment!

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    1. This is definitely a game changer! Takes frosting a cake to a whole different level AND takes away the headache of crumbs in your frosting!

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  26. i enjoy baking cookies and spreading icing in the middle to make cookie sandwiches! we held a bake sale at my university to raise money for our club and the sandwiches were a hit!

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  27. That looks like a great recipe book especially since I love to make desserts. :)

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  28. Man oh man....that cake looks soooooooo good. I need to stop being so lazy and start baking again. I used to bake bread, cakes, muffins....I don't know what happened.

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    1. Baking is so time consuming. It really has to be a choice. I can understand how you would get busy and quit baking. :-/

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  29. When I was first learning to bake I made some cupcakes and forgot to add the flour. I never made that mistake again! lol

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    1. At least you didn't use salt instead of flour! Or worse – salt instead of sugar! I almost did that once. So glad my husband caught it!

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  30. My all time favorite dessert is chess cake - yellow cake mix, cream cheese and confectioner's sugar, a recipe from my mother-in-law!

    kimberlybreid at hotmail dot com

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    1. So is there a secret to this? Do you just mix it all together and bake it for the time on the box? I need more details! :) I'd love to try your recipe. It sounds so easy!

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  31. I have been baking since I was a little girl so I grew up to become a pastry chef! I went to culinary school in my early twenties and I have been baking and loving it ever since! (Almost 15 years now!)

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  32. I love to bake but they never look very fancy. My sister is the talented one in our family she makes beautiful cakes.

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  33. Ok two tips I learned for making the best chocolate chip cookies. First one is instead of using butter or shortening use both half and half. Second tip is to take out the cookies right before they look done they continue cooking on the baking sheet. You will have perfect cookies.

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  34. I love baking too but I'm not a great decorator. Oh well, it always tastes good so who cares?

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  35. cassidy ciazza morelliMay 3, 2015 at 4:14 AM

    I sneak spinach in my kids brownie mix and add canned pumpkin to pancake mix. They've never complained :) and they get those veggies in :)

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  36. Tip: Use the paddle attachment on a stand up mixer to shred chicken in seconds.

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    1. I've never heard of anyone doing this before. That's an awesome idea that I'll have to try! :)

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    2. I have never heard of this, but it's so obvious once you mention it, and so brilliant!
      ******************
      {in the contest I am Margot C__ on the Rafflecopter}

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  37. I've been trying to bake more often, this would be great to win

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  38. I love baking! It's one of my favorite things since I was young. My favorite ingredient is coconut oil and my favorite kitchen 'thing' is my whisks. I love whisking haha.

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  39. This cookbook is lovely. I'd love to enter (but am in Canada) so not going to. I love that your grandmother said it was the best cake she had ever had. That is quite the accomplishment.

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  40. I love to bake, especially cakes and pies. Some of my favorite cakes to bake is Red Velvet, Key Lime, and Caramel!
    parris_shirona@yahoo.com

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  41. I've been baking a lot with coconut oil lately, not cakes so much as muffins. It's pretty great and the stuff doesn't end up tasting like suntan oil at all.
    ******************
    {in the contest I am Margot C__ on the Rafflecopter}

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  42. My mom moved to a different state to help my brother with his daughter. She informed me she has no measuring cups and a lot of basic supplies. Needless to say, her baking and cooking adventures are interesting. If I win this prize, I am sending it to her.

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  43. When I was in elementary school, my mom had her own cake decorating business. All that homemade cake and when it was my birthday, all I wanted was canned frosting!

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  44. My favorite cooking memory was helping my mom make a wedding cake. It was so much fun!

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    1. Wow! I'm shocked she let you! You probably learned so much from that experience! :)

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  45. Some of my fondest memories are of helping Mom with the daily baking. She made everything from scratch. Bread, rolls, deserts. You name it, she made it

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  46. My favorite cooking memory is learning to cook with my grandma on a wood burning stove.

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  47. I love the smell of fresh cookies!

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  48. I have been making a lot of cakes and a lot of icing, and I just can't bring myself to use Crisco in the icing. Yes, that's what they mean when they say 'shortening'. I just don't like the mouth feel of it. It is true that my buttercream can be a bit soft though. What to do?
    ******************
    {in the contest I am Margot C__ on the Rafflecopter}

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    1. When we made the vanilla pastel birthday cake for the review of this book, my husband refused to use Crisco in the icing. The icing was delicious anyway. I have no idea what a good substitute would be to keep icing from being too soft is. Maybe someone who enters the giveaway (or reads this comment) will know? :)

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    2. Mandy, I am baking today (brother's birthday) and fortunately it's a cool day because I;m only putting butter and milk in this icing!
      ******************
      {in the contest I am Margot C__ on the Rafflecopter}

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  49. I have noticed when baking chocolate chip cookies that the balance of salt is really important, no salt butter is a must then measure the salt you put in.
    ******************
    {in the contest I am Margot C__ on the Rafflecopter}

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    1. Awesome! I had never considered this, but I can definitely see how it would influence the end result. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  50. I have found that in many cake recipes, the egg can be replaced by 1/4 cup mashed bananas. So, people with egg allergies, rejoyce! It's easy to have yummy, and easy to make, cakes!

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    1. Seriously? That's both awesome and crazy weird. I'll have to try it just to see for myself! :)

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