By now, most of us have recovered from the sugar high of the holidays — unless you're a friend of Marlo Morris, in which case, that could be a permanent condition.
The Rochester baker is unlike any I've encountered, and certainly the most passionate about her craft.
"I absolutely love what I do," she said.
Nothing she makes is ordinary. A simple cake with frosting? No. She forms cakes into the shapes of purses, animals, buildings — whatever.
"When I am baking, my creative juices flow," she said. "It's also a great stress reliever."
How do you reach that level? Artistic ability, focus, passion, imagination and always seeking a challenge. Those are words she uses to describe herself.
"I was surrounded by excellent bakers growing up, and I also loved — and still do — cookbooks and magazines. I looked at pictures of amazing baked goods and knew I could do that, too," she said.
In her 20s, baking took a more serious turn when she shared her goods at work.
"I did outrageous things like paint chocolate over maple leaves, peel off the leaf and use the chocolate version to top a cupcake," she said. "I began to really challenge myself."
As a newlywed, she became even more involved, focusing on certain items relentlessly.
"I especially got into making fortune cookies, which I spent hours, even days, on. They had to be absolutely perfect," she said.
She also became intrigued with French macarons long before they were trendy.
"[The macaron] is a finicky cookie, and I failed over and over until finally I got them the way I wanted, at one time working eight hours straight. They really are a basic cookie, but the beauty of them is you can color them and dress them up with any sort of filling you want," she said.
Cake pops are another item she perfected. At one time, friends called her "the cake-pop queen." As if she needed more to do, she decided to make chocolates, and one holiday gave boxes of her creations as gifts. She made over 1,000, including fillings.
"After two years, I quit," she said. "They were way too time-consuming, and chocolate is really a craft all its own."
Next was cupcakes.
"I love doing these, because there are endless varieties you can make with different batters, frostings, flavors and spices," she said.
She briefly entertained the idea of a cupcake shop.
Morris is best known for her cakes, especially her purse cakes, which look just like Chanel, Burberry, Coach and Louis Vuitton bags, down to the clasps and chains. These take hours, sometimes days to create. Visit her Facebook page, Marlo's Baked Expectations, to see some of her creations.
1/4 pound butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (add to buttermilk; it will foam up)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons buttermilk (don’t forget the baking soda)
3 mashed bananas
Note: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 5 tablespoons of milk.
3 sticks softened, room-temperature butter
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4-5 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans.
In mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
Add wet ingredients and mix, then add dry ingredients; combine well.
Pour batter into pans and bake 40-50 minutes. While cake bakes, you can prepare buttercream.
Mix cocoa and icing sugar together in separate bowl. In mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy and pale in color —about 5 minutes (it will go from yellow to white).
Add the rest of your ingredients — start off slowly so the sugar/cocoa mixer doesn’t explode. Once combined, increase speed to high and whip until fluffy.
Once your cakes are cooled completely, you can frost and enjoy!
Post Bulletin food writer Holly Ebel knows what’s cookin’. Send comments or story tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.