Hi there! Welcome to Llama in the Kitchen. I’m Jess, a mid-30’s mom of two young boys/attorney/real estate investor/health enthusiast/hobby baker. I started this blog to share my adventures in the kitchen.
When my husband and I first met, my refrigerator contained bottles of water, ketchup and grape jelly; between the two of us, he did all the cooking. However, as much as I wasn’t one to cook, I also prefer dishes without a 5-ingredient limit so after a few years of cereal for dinner, I stumbled on a cookbook (still one of my all-time favorites–Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats).
My husband has been a great supporter of my cooking efforts, and will largely eat anything I make unless it includes brussels sprouts, fish or sugar. He was traumatized with a childhood filled with forced brussels sprouts tasting, the smell of fish will make him throw up and he dislikes sweets. Perhaps his dislike of sweets is one of his few major flaws, I’m not sure how that happened but here we are, many years later, and I suppose I can put up with that one.
Fast forward a few years, and my older son was turning 3. I was almost 9 months pregnant at the time, and he wanted an Elsa cake. Of course, I did what any good mother would do, and ordered him a very expensive “Frozen” theme custom cake from a local bakery. Thankfully my husband picked it up because I would have started to cry had I been the one to go–I was so mortified. It wasn’t even close to my vision for the cake. Looking back I can see that it was a nice enough cake, but it wasn’t what I had in mind.
The following year, our nanny, who had a former life as a pastry chef, offered to make the kids’ Paw Patrol birthday cake for their 4th and 1st birthday party. Partway through she let me know that she was very good at the baking part, but not the decorating part. I seized the opportunity, and tried my hand at some fondant dogs for the cake. I thought Marshall turned out pretty well, but the rest–not so much. I think I spent about a week making that one dog. At the end of the day, she put the frosting on the cake, made the fondant and largely put everything on, but I recruited some parent friends to help me in the fondant cutting exercise and we got it done. Marshall and the other dogs ended up on cupcakes and toy dogs went on the cake.
For their 5th and 2nd birthday party, we were part of a group party and the theme was fire and ice–dragons and Frozen. I am pretty sure I made the cake, but I don’t actually remember baking it. We decorated it, with the blind leading the blind–fortunately one of the other moms was a talented architect, so she took the lead in making the cake look like a castle. I don’t think I knew about supporting the cake (it may have been two tiers) and the cake went to the party, the party got rained out, cupcakes were passed around and the cake stayed in the car. By the time it got home, the toy dragon on the top had taken a big bite out of it, but otherwise all was well enough.
The 2017 birthday season, where my kids turned 6 and 3, marked the official beginning of my cake
habit hobby. Transformers was the theme, and I made them each a cake and some cupcakes to go along with the theme. I realized at that point that I could stand at a cake turntable for hours on end, and not get tired of it. I ventured into the world of YouTube tutorials and became addicted enthralled with the world of cake decorating.