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Complete: Wedding Cake Test-Run Two

2 May

Alright, so I haven’t posted much about my various cooking/baking adventures lately, but the wait will have be worth it (because in my mind, you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for my next post).  In case your interested, I also have another blog ‘From Here to Here‘, which is a bit more (and I stress a bit more) educational.  Because it seems that here, at ‘Osteo[pun]’ I seem to have diverged rather quickly to posting about various pies, cakes, biscuits, and other edible items, where I said that initally this blog would feature all manner of distraction.  But this is only because baking/cooking is what I most often use to distract my mind completely from my research. And I say most often… because in a few days, I will have another very fun post to share with you.  But right now it’s still a secret!

And now on to today’s post: Wedding Cake Test-Run Two.  You may remember (but if you don’t the link is coming shortly so you can read the back story) that a couple of months ago I performed Wedding Cake Test-Run One, in an attempt to discover if I could successfully use sugarpaste to decorate a cake (and successfully in this context means being able to decorate a cake to a standard acceptable for a wedding).  Well, it turned out to be a great success!  A great delicious success!  I learned a lot in the process and decided that the next test run would be to determine whether or not I could make a tiered cake without it collapsing.  I mentioned to my friend Sara (one of the to-be-weds at the wedding in question for which I am preparing this cake [and I’m aware that was a mega awkward sentence, but I am too lazy to try and figure out a better way to write it]) and she let me know that they had chosen a theme/concept for their wedding, all around the circus/fairground.  What a super neat idea for a wedding!  It immediately brought to mind a lot of really fun things you could do with a cake.  I did a few searches for some inspiration and one issue that immediately came to mind is that if you go too circus-y, it just ends up looking like a cake for a kid’s party.  I decided that I needed to pick out some strong features (colours, patterns, etc) and use this to create the circus-y feel, but still keep the cake looking wedding-y.  And so, Test-Run Two not only became a test for making a tiered cake, but also using sugarpaste on sugarpaste decorations, since I had never done this before.  I even used colours (and nice colours too, not like the mega ugly yellow from my first test-run)!

I learned a lot in the process of decorating this cake, so I know a few things that I would do differently next time, but all in all it went really well.  I drew up an illustration ahead of time and worked out the measurements for the decorations, which was something I had figured out from the last time – go in with a plan!  And then I baked!  I made a mutated Victoria Sponge cake, with blackberry jam.  And then I iced!  I used a simple butter frosting to smooth over the cakes and even up the edges.  And then I covered in sugarpaste!  I rolled out the sugarpaste and covered both the top tier and bottom tier and left it to harden over night.  And then I decorated!  This was the bit that involved the learning curve.  I am not going to go through this test-run step by step like last time – but if you have any questions about the step by step process, just ask me in the comments.  I’m simply going to post lots of pictures of the final results and you can all let me know what you think.  Any feedback is appreciated (but kind feedback is more appreciated).  You can hover over the photos for extra comments, if you feel like you need some guidance!

Huzzah!  Cake!

Look!  Tiers!

I wanted to lick it so bad!

And there's even a star on top!

Ta da!


Bottom tier: dots and bunting!

Top tier: stripes and star!

A view from the top.

Huzzah indeed!

I made this sign by hand and I am super proud!

Look!  You can see the inside of the cake!

That is the cut-out for two slices, just in case you're judging.

It wasn't there for long.

Sara came over this afternoon to see the cake (and taste test it too).   It was super yummy.  Obviously the flavour options are pretty much endless for their actual wedding cake, but I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed the blackberry Victoria Sponge instead of the traditional strawberry or raspberry – it was quite different!  We also had a good talk about ideas for the actual wedding cake: colours, decorations, tier styles, sheet cakes, logisitcs, etc!  And now we have a good idea of what I will be doing for the final cake.  The next step is that I am going to draw a few designs out based on our ideas and then Sara and Will can choose which one they like best!  Oh and of course Will gets to taste test the cake too, since I sent a piece home with Sara – so it will hopefully get the full approval by the end of the week and then we can sign the contract (by which I mean, them saying, yeah, go ahead, make our wedding cake).

Can you believe they are trust me with such an important thing!?!

It’s going to be so much fun!!!


Complete: Wedding Cake Test-Run One

5 Feb

I have been lacking in posts recently, mostly because I have been poorly for a while and so have not completed many fun projects in the past few weeks.  However, I made up for *all* of that with this one super fun project!  Our friends are getting married this year and when they came over for a visit a few weeks ago and the conversation moved on to their wedding plans, I (awesomely) (stupidly) decided to mention that I was going to try making a fancy cake soon (daaamn you Ace of Cakes, piquing my curiosity).

I also mentioned that if this attempt went off well, then I could make them a wedding cake as a present, if they wanted (and trusted) me to do so – for one of the most important days of their lives.  Bless!  I decided that it would be better to try a test-run sooner rather than later, so they could decide sooner rather than later if this could actually work.  I shall work through my weekend process in steps below, but if you are really curious I’ll let you know now… overall result: not so bad!

Step 1: Start with a nice and tidy work station, with all of the tools you shall need to bake a cake!

But not for long, muah ha ha ha!Step 2: Zest, zest, zest… lots of zest.  Why?  Because I made a lemon sponge cake, with lemon syrup drizzle!

Lemmmonomnomnom.Step 3: Make yer cake batter.  I used a recipe for a lemon drizzle cake from one of the Great British Bake Off recipe books.  I wanted to make a lemon cake, but I also wanted a nice dense cake to work with, to minimise how much it crumbled and how much it would compact under the weight of sugarpaste (having never used it before, I was going for fool-proof).

Lemon drizzle cake recipe (Great British Bake Off w/ alterations).Step 4: ‘Make’ lemon drizzle syrup (sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest).  I could have just drank the whole bowl.  I settled for a teaspoon though.

Step 5: After the cakes were baked and cooled, I evened off the tops and then liberally applied the lemon drizzle.  I think with deeper cake pans, this could (largely) be avoided.  But hey, you work with what you have.

Step 6: Because I was not going to start the next part of the cake making (constructing and decorating) until the next day, I decided it would be an awesome idea to try and make candied lemon slices, since I had loooads of lemons in the house.  I followed what appeared to be a pretty standard internet-wide recipe: boil the heck out of lemon slices, plunge in ice bath, simmer for ages and ages in a sugar water combination, let cool on a parchment covered wire rack.

Yum?Step 7: While the lemon slices are cooling, play around with sugar water combination that you have put on high heat on the hob and make various hard candy disasters and stick everything in the kitchen together. Don’t burn yourself… feel awesome.

Not your average old people sweet!Step 8: Oggle your pretty creations.  Try to convince your stupid brain exactly how molten hot these slices are, to avoid picking them up (again) with your fingers (and trying to eat one) (again).

Sugary lemony bittery deliciousness!Step 9: Sleep (because this was all done late in the day, begin again the next day.)  Delicately cut the two sponges in half (hahaha, what was I thinking, they are sooo thin) then layer between each lemon curd and a lemon cream (whipped double cream, marscapone, lemon curd, and lemon zest).

It needs a little trimming! :)Step 10: After refrigerating to help solidify the layers, ice with lemon buttercream frosting to smooth it out, fill any gaps, and give a surface for the sugarpaste to stick to (something that is recommended on many instructions).

And now it is a little more even(ish).Step 11: Forget to take a picture of it when it is just covered in plain sugarpaste, with no decoration.

Step 12: Decorate!  I divided the cake into four, as I wanted to try different styles and techniques of decoration.  Side 1: Dots!

Dots, dots, dots.Side 2: Stripes!  I think it looked nicer with only the white stripes, because although the picture doesn’t show it, that yellow icing is a mega-ugly colour… I am going to have to play around with the colour options.  A drop of red might make it a bit of a nicer yellow, less harsh.  I think the next time I will try to do sugarpaste stripes though, of varying widths, instead of piped icing stripes.

Stripes, stripes, stripes.Side 3: Candied lemon slices with sugar dots (obvious hint: lemon slices are covering up the one sugarpaste smoosh I made).

Lemon slices and sugar dots.Side 4: Hideous decoration.  What I learned: don’t paint really flourescent yellow colour directly onto sugarpaste, because you can’t get it off, get a finer piping nozzle because the no.2 isn’t fine enough and looks like a child decorated your cake, practice daisies on a board before doing them on cake, don’t free-hand a cake (quarter) on your first go… have a design drawn out.  But despite all that, meh, I guess it’s not so bad.

Eww, ugly piping decoration!Top: It looks a bit manic when you can see all four designs at once!

Topsies turvies (spelling much)?Step 13: Clean up the massive mess you’ve made all over the kitchen (sugarpaste, food colouring, royal icing, powdered sugar, etc).  Cut into the glorious creation that is cake in order to complete the mandatory taste test!

Nommm!Step 14: Admire. Eat. Feel slightly ill, because I’ve only just finished a huuuge piece of pie for my tea.  But you could theoretically eat your slices of cake when you’re not already hugely full.  However, it’s awesome with a cuppa.  I’m just sayin’.

It was gone so fast!Ian and I both agreed that we liked the various dot sides best – they looked elegant and simple – and bet they’d look good over an entire cake layer.  Any thoughts?

Dots and sugar dots!I think this was a pretty good result for my first go making a ‘fancy’ cake (ie, using sugarpaste).  I can already tell that if I had any of the right equipment then it would have been waaay easier.  For starters, I didn’t have a big enough rolling pin for the sugarpaste so it was tricky to get it all rolled out, no spacers to get it rolled evenly so I substituted 4mm knitting needles, no sugarpaste smoother so replaced with a hand (my hand), etc… it is a good thing that improvising kind of works in the kitchen (if you are not fussed on not having a perfect cake).  I also think that I would make royal icing fresh, as the stuff I was using was from a batch I had made a while ago and the texture wasn’t great, but that was just me being lazy towards the end of the process.  I could go on and on about all the lessons I learned from test-run one, but that would be boring.  Buuut, the next time I make a cake, I will know what to do to make it even awesomer!


Sorry for the crazy tense-shifting instructional style of this post, it’s late, and I’m tired, and thirsty.  Oh, Ian just brought me a glass of water.  I’m only tired now.

Holiday Noms

31 Dec

I made a few select holiday sweets this year, which I have not posted about until now because they were given as gifts and I wanted to keep it all a bit hush hush.  However, I am so proud of them that I shall share them with all of you lucky folks now, just in time for the New Year so that you can begin planning for next year.  Hahaha!

I will tease your imagination and senses by first showing you a picture of the most fun kitchen implement – the syringe!  I used it to (attempt) to fill some of my chocolate-raspberry truffles with Chambord.  It worked okay, but it would work better if I planned ahead and left a tiny space in the centre of the truffles, in order to increase the booze to truffle ratio!  I did not take any pictures during the ‘making of’ process, but it was easier than I expected for my first try.  I can post the method if anyone likes (which reminds me, I have to send a pie recipe from an earlier post to a friend still… damn my awful memory… but yay for actually remembering now – better late than never).

The best kitchen tool... a syringe!All of the truffles I made were the same delicious flavour (chocolate-raspberry), but I had plain coated ones (dark or semi-sweet cocoa), chocolate drizzle ones, and extra boozy ones (in the pink papers, to distinguish).  They were MEGA-chocolatey, so I am glad that I made them relatively small (three of them fit comfortably into a fairy-cake paper).

They look like fuzzy little teddy bears... delicious teddy bears!The chocolate hardened nicely, but I think next time I would try tempering it to get a nice shiny gloss, like the pros do, you know?

Does it get any better?I also made shortbread.  Shortbread is like the simplest cookie ever, but I had real difficulties being confident in mine.  I guess when a recipe has less ingredients (three in this case) it is even more important to get everything just so, in order not to screw it up.  I made mine a little thin, which didn’t bother the taste any, but the texture was better for tea-dunking than just nomming.  I decided to mix up the gift biscuits by making some chocolate coated ones and some royal iced ones (with little snowflakes, ooo).

Plain, chocolate, and iced!This one here is a close-up of my mad skills.  Although that was not perhaps the best snowflake I accomplished, I swear!

There were a few pesky air bubbles that surfaced!Next is a picture of the already seen gingerdead men.  I used a cookie cutter and then a stamp on the reverse to push in the skeleton design.  I then used royal icing to pipe their little bones, which was harder than I expected, but made easier by my slightly gloopy royal icing texture.

Teeheehee!I also made little personalised (roughly) gingerbread men (or people, if you are über PC) for some now extended family members of mine (I am not sure what the right terms are, as I don’t think you use aunt/uncle/cousin-in-law).  I even made some little Christmas accessories, like hats or baubles!  The first batch went to the various Boageys/Thompsons.

The second batch went to the (other) Atkins!

And the next holiday meal is tonight, for New Year’s Eve (I like that I just though of all the above treats as a meal, hahaha).  We shall be having Greek – various mixed vegetable skewers, chicken and prawn marinated skewers, potatoes, haloumi, and salad.  Sadly, I did not make any desserts, but we have loooads of chocolates and biscuits in the house, so I figured they’d do (although no more of the above pictured sweets, as we have already finished all of the ‘testers’ and ‘extras’.

Pudsey Cake

17 Nov Ta-da!

I spent a part of this afternoon and evening making a cake for a Children in Need bake sale tomorrow at Ian’s work.  If you aren’t from the UK, Children in Need is the BBC’s charity that helps disadvantaged children and young people across the country.  Once a year in November there is an appeal show to raise money for the charity, with celebrities singing, dancing, and doing all sorts of things.  In the build up to the live appeal show there are loads of activities and events that happen all over the place… including things like this bake sale!  You can read more about Children in Need here, if you have a few minutes spare.  And now, the picturepalooza of my cake-making process and all of its beautiful disorganisation!

I used a new recipe this time around for the cake batter, but only because I couldn’t find my Mum’s recipe.  I know it is in my e-mail somewhere, because she sent it to me in January 2009.  Yeah, that’s right, I have a memory, too bad it doesn’t extend to where I put the recipe or the e-mail with the recipe attached to it.  I made a few alterations to this new recipe (less sugar, more cocoa) because I prefer my cakes richer and not so chocolate-y sweet.

A great big bowl of delicious cake batter!

The batter ends up quite liquidy at the end, because you add boiling water to the mixture to keep the cake nice and moist.  It literally pours into the cake pans!

This is my favourite baking item, thanks Andy and Adela!

It pours so quickly, because it is so liquidy, that I actually slightly over-filled the cake pans for the first round of baking, but it isn’t really a problem (as you will see later).  I figured it was better to deal with slightly bigger than desired cakes than to try and remove liquidy batter from cake pans back into the mixing bowl, which would have ended in disaster.

I may have slightly over-filled the cake pans for the first round of baking.

I baked the cake for about 30 minutes on 160°C.  Because I was baking two at a time, they ended up a tiny bit wonky as the temperature in our oven isn’t even throughout (but again, not a huge deal).

Pavlov's dog would have drooled.

Next, I made the frosting (or icing).  I made a chocolate butter cream, again, slightly changing the recipe to include more cocoa, because originally it just tasted like powdered sugar – more like a royal icing than a buttercream frosting.  It is delicious and cocoa-y now though!

Cocoa buttercream frosting!

After all of the cake layers (I baked six in total) were cool, it was time to assemble the cake.  The first and most important step is the cup of tea to keep the star baker going!


The second step was to remember to take the sheets of greaseproof paper off the bottom of the cake layers.  I don’t normally use greaseproof paper for something like this, but because I was having to use the same cake pans multiple times in order to get all the layers done (two pans, six layers, you do the math), it meant I could remove the cake from the pan without it being entirely cool, but not have to worry about the bottom sticking to the pan.

Step 1: Remember!
After that, I had to even up the wonky cake layers so that they would sit right for the final product (otherwise the entire cake would end up uneven and fall apart, which is not the best way forward).

Step 2: Even

But like I said earlier, it isn’t a huge deal, because one) it is really easy to do and two) it means you have extra bits of cake that you can eat right away (Ian especially liked this step)!

3: Extra Bits

I decided to use a Quality Street tin from last year for putting my cake in – it has the right size base (lid) and it isn’t a massive problem if I don’t get it back – because let’s be fair, we’ll have another fifty million in our house after next month, like every other person in the UK.

Step 4: Base

The first layer of filling to add was a layer of cream.  I used hand whipped double cream (mostly because I was too lazy to get the food processor out and there was only a little bit of cream to whip), unsweetened!  I never add sugar to my cream for dessert, because I find it makes the whole thing overly sweet, which isn’t nice.

Step 5: Cream Layer

Then, and this bit is important, add the next filling layer of fruit (raspberry conserve in this case – and conserve always, not jam or jelly, because again it is less sweet – the tartness is delicious again the cream and cake) to the bottom of the next cake layer!

Step 6: Fruit Layer

Then you simply stack the cake layer on top of the bottom one and begin the process again!

Step 7: Stack (Carefully!)

And voila, three cake layers, stacked, with cream and raspberry between both layers!

Step 8: Repeat

I then used my frosting, which was now a good texture (although it did need mixing once through before using) to make my cake look super professional, by filling in all the gaps and uneven bits with delicious cocoa-y goodness.  The key is to make sure you put lots of frosting on your knife and apply generously to the cake before trying to spread it – if you are too conservative you’ll just end up tearing the cake and ending up with all those little unattractive bits of cake floating in your frosting.  I mean, it’ll still taste awesome, but it’ll look messy.  Well…  more messy.

Step 9: Make it look professional, through the means of filling gaps with frosting.

Then, because it was for Children in Need I added some polka dot decorations!  I used Chocolate Buttons, Milky Buttons, and Smarties.  I am sure they will all have fallen off by tomorrow morning, but it’s the thought that counts.  Again, if you aren’t from the UK…  Pudsey (the bear mascot for Children in Need) loves polka dots!

Step 10: Decorate appropriately (Pudsey loves polka dots).

Look!  With a clean table behind it, it looks like of pretty.  Or maybe cute.  Yeah, it’s a cute cake.


How pro is that finish people?  Just look at it!  But not too close.  Let’s keep up the illusion that I am a master baker.

Polka dots!

Now, I did come across a tiny problem, which was since I made a massive three layer cake, the Quality Street tin lid (base) was now way too small to consider using it to contain the cake… on its own.  I improvised with some cardboard and made it foodgrade by covering it with aluminium foil and then fixing it to the Quality Street tin!

The Quality Street tin wasn't *quite* high enough to cover the cake!

It’s a perfect fit!  Just don’t be surprised if the edges of the cake are a little smooshed when it comes off at the bake sale table tomorrow.  And you know, don’t let anything hit the side, because it’ll collapse and crush the cake.  Also, when you carry the cake, be sure to hold it even from the bottom, otherwise the cake will tip over and because the lid isn’t fixed to the base, the whole thing will fall off.  But you know, other than that… it’s perfect!

It's like magic!

Now, if you’ve been paying attention, you will have remember previously I said that I made six cake layers.  But I’ve only used three so far, for the Pudsey cake!  So what did I do with the other three?  Well, once people learn that you are making a cake, they want some.  But if it is for a charity bake sale I can’t really send it off to Ian’s work with a few pieces missing.  Therefore, I made another (smaller) version of the same cake (minus the decorations).  Voila!

Practice makes perfect... maybe I should have practiced with this one first!

This one also looks pretty good.  I think maybe I should have made this one first, in order to practice before making the Pudsey cake.  But this one was also easier because the cake layers were smaller.  However, it is less cute.

What a lovely little cake.

Despite it being low on the cute scale though, it was pretty high on the delicious scale.  I had a normal sized piece, to test it out.  Ian only had a little piece because he was already pretty full from all the extra bits of cake I gave him earlier!

Triple layer chocolate cakes *always* look good.

The first piece is always a little messy when it is served, but this one didn’t come out too bad, if I do say so myself.  By tomorrow, all of the layers will have settled a bit more, which will help too.  However, the cake itself came out so light and fluffy and moist.  I will definitely use that (modified) cake recipe again!

It's a little messy, but hey, who cares?

This last picture is my pro shot, like if I had a cafe, I would put this picture in the window to entice you all in through the doors to buy my cake at an extortionate price.  How much would you be willing to pay?

It looks like a 'rustic' pro cake.

As an aside, when I was planning this Pudsey cake, I decided I wanted to put some polka dot decorations on it.  However, for whatever reason I was having a really hard time coming up with what I could use for the coloured polka dots.  I knew that I could use Chocolate Buttons for some brown dots and Milky Buttons for white ones…  but what about all the other colours?  I actually wandered around the grocery store for ages, up and down the home baking aisle and then up and down the confectionary aisle before I finally thought, maybe I should stain some Milky Buttons with food colouring.  When I asked Ian later on if he thought that would work, he said, “Why don’t you just use Smarties?”  Then I felt like a bit of an idiot, because that should have been really obvious, but then this afternoon I was curious to see if you even could stain Milky Buttons with food colouring.  So obviously, I tried!  I used a paintbrush to colour them over with the food colouring, and because I only had red in the house, it looks like I tried to kill something in the next picture…


Then I blotted them off and it had kind of worked, but they were still white in places, so I repeated the process and it worked pretty well after that!

Dots, dots, dots...

Once they dried out, the colour came up pretty good.  But I tasted one and because of the amount of food colouring I had to use to get the colour to ‘stick’ they ended up tasting pretty bitter, so I decided not to use them.

But are they edible?

But, if you ever need some edible chocolate (if not entirely tasty) polka dot decorations in colours other than brown and white and for whatever reason you cannot get Smarties, then it totally works (with some patience).

All in a row, little e-number dots.


9 Oct

Gobble, gobble, gobble…

As you (may) know, I am Canadian.  And/but as you may (not) know, I love Thanksgiving.  It is definitely one of my favourite weekends of the entire year, so even though I live in the UK, I still make a point of celebrating Thanksgiving… usually through the medium of turkey and always through the medium pumpkin pie.

[Side note: There is a really great open letter to pumpkin flavoured seasonal treats over on McSweeny’s.]

I make pumpkin pie using my mother’s recipe, which *gasp* doesn’t actually require pumpkin!  You can generally substitute squash for pumpkin, if there is none readily available and it tastes just as good (gosh mum, I hope your okay with me spilling your recipe secrets all over the interwebs).  However, earlier this year I discovered a UK company that imports foodstuff from North America so I splurged and bought some Libby’s pumpkin for my annual pie.  It’s not because I’m anti-squash… I did that last year and it worked great, but if you can get your hands on some Libby’s it come pre-cooked and pre-mashed (which, to be fair, isn’t that hard… but I’m waaay lazy).

I will now tempt your taste buds with pictures of my baking masterpiece.  I am still not the best pastry baker, but I plan to rectify this by baking lots more pastry based dessert – because practice makes perfect!  So you can excuse my uneven edges and undercooked base in this instance.  You can track my pastry progress as I post more baking adventures.  Unless it never progresses…

Pumpkin pie... it's all glossy and shiny and oozy and delicious looking!

Yeah, it's cracked on top, so what?  Want to fight about it?

It totally looks like Pacman.  Mmm...  Pacnom.

You look so good slice of pie.  I want to eat you all over again.  Or maybe your pie sibling...

Where did it go?  In my belly!

This year, in addition to pumpkin pie I also baked an apple torte.  [Edit: The apples for this fabulous torte were kindly given to us by Ian’s work colleague Peter, who has apples coming out of his ears – previous apples received have been used to make apple/stawberry crumble and apple/rhubarb crisp.]  It is a wonderfully Autumnal dessert (and yes, a dessert can be Autumnal).  If you have never had it before, it is basically a loose and crumbly pastry base, a sweet and creamy cheese filling, topped with cinnamon sugared sliced apples, and toasted almonds.  Droooool…

What a gorgeous looking apple torte!

I totally didn't burn the top of the torte... it's just enhanced golden brown.

It shall henceforth be known as Pactorte.

Delicious layars of pastry, cheese, apple, and almonds.

It would appear that we both thoroughly enjoyed that torte.

I think pumpkin pie and apple torte are great desserts for people who whole-heartedly love delicious desserts, but may not have the sweetest of the sweet tooths.  They have great complex flavours, wonderful rich textures, and best of all they go great with a cuppa!

I also went all out and cooked a proper Thanksgiving dinner including: turkey, mashed tateys, turnip, carrots, brussel sprouts, gravy, aaand cranberry jelly!  I realise this is what most proper English housewives makes each and every Sunday for dinner (minus the cranberry jelly), but I am so totally not there yet (and really have no desire to be, sorry husband).  But I digress, suffice it to say, following this exemplary example of my culinary skills, I had one very happy man in the house (and I don’t look too upset about the whole meal either), I just hope he doesn’t get too used to it!

They should have sent a poet.

I know the way to his heart.

I know the way to my own heart!

I would say that this year’s Nomsgiving was a great success.  To further prove my point, while I was adding the photos to this post, Ian got up to get himself seconds of pumpkin pie.  I have an official convert in the house.  And me?  I am already excited for the next turkey based holiday meal…