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Blowing out birthday candles boosts bacteria to disgusting levels

Birthday cake lovers, beware. If you’ve ever taken part of the classic birthday ritual — you know: dimmed lights, loud singing of “Happy Birthday” followed by candle blowing — you’ve participated in a very disgusting tradition. Researchers at Clemson University recently conducted a study to find out whether significant bacteria is transferred to the cake when someone blows out their candles. Mimicking a traditional child’s birthday party, participants ate several slices of pizza before volunteering to blow out candles on top of an ordinary birthday cake. A control group cake had no party-goers blow on it. Then the two were compared. Researchers found that the cake where the candles had been blown out had more than 1,400% more bacteria than the cake that was left alone. Interestingly, people blew greatly varied number of bacteria — some didn’t transfer any, and some, for whatever reason, transferred a lot. (Maybe a germaphobic researcher out…

Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for gay couple

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a heterosexual couple. In 2012, bakery owner Jack Phillips turned away David Mullins and Charlie Craig because he said heterosexuality was against his religious beliefs. The official ruling for the case — Masterpiece Bakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission — was 7-2. In 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission decided that Masterpiece Bakeshop’s rights had been violated, and in 2016, the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative nonprofit, petitioned for the Supreme Court to take the case. According to CNN, The Supreme Court’s ruling held that the commission showed hostility toward Philips’s religious beliefs. The case was one of the most anticipated of the year. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who represented Phillips said in a statement, “Jack serves all customers; he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that…

Easy banana bread recipe in under an hour

Banana bread is one of those recipes that shows up in nearly every cookbook thrown together by professionals and church ladies alike. It’s such a great recipe because it’s easy to switch out just about any ingredient you want to meet your dietary requirements (or if you happen to be short on an ingredient). Replace half the flour with whole-grain flour, use brown sugar instead of white, margarine for butter, chocolate chips for the nuts, or substitute almond milk, buttermilk or even water for the milk. You can combine ingredients in a stand mixer, hand mixer or even with a fork by hand. Pretty much everything in a banana bread recipe is negotiable — except the baking soda. You don’t want to toy with that. But try whipping up a loaf with this easy recipe on a cold winter day. In no time, your house will smell like fresh, homemade banana bread.…

Easy chocolate hazelnut, pumpkin brownies

For an easy way to make brownies, try this flourless pumpkin, chocolate hazelnut recipe. It’s seriously the most moist dessert I’ve ever had. It’s sort of a cross between cake and brownies, but whatever you call it, you’ll love this sweet treat alone or served with ice cream and walnuts in a sundae. All of the ingredients go right into the blender, so there’s nearly no clean-up. It tastes mostly of chocolatey hazelnut, but if you want more fall flavor try adding cinnamon or nutmeg. chocolate hazelnut Pumpkin bread Makes 1 loaf Ingredients 1 1/4 cups chocolate hazelnut spread 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 eggs 3/4 cup pumpkin purée  1 1/2 tsp baking powder  1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional) 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional) Directions Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray the inside of a loaf pan with cooking spray, set aside. Add chocolate hazelnut spread, cocoa powder, eggs, pumpkin purée, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into blender…

Pumpkin recipes perfect for fall

Autumn is the best time to get back in the kitchen. The fall flavors are delicious, the aromas are blissful, and our appetites are basically craving anything pumpkin. It’s hard to go wrong when a fall recipe calls for a can of pumpkin and the usual suspect companion spices — cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The combination invokes pleasant memories of back-to-school, football games, Halloween and hayrides. Try these four cool weather pumpkin recipes and enjoy the season. Hearty Pumpkin Oatmeal Yields: 2 servings Hearty pumpkin oatmeal is a seasonal take on a classic cool-weather breakfast. The chopped dates and walnuts along with the crunchy apples will make this a household favorite. Ingredients 2/3 cups pumpkin 1 cup rolled oats 3/4 cup water 2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground cloves pinch of salt 1 cup milk of your choice 1/4 cup dates (6-7), chopped 1 apple, chopped 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped Directions…

Behold, Beyonce’s Birthday Cake is a black and gold beauty

In traditional Queen Bee style, Beyonce celebrated her birthday recently with a cake to top them all. On Wednesday, Philly-based Cake Life Bake Shop shared a photo via Instagram of a stunning, multi-tiered black and gold geode cake, and two smaller, yet equally delicious looking, birthday cakes. All three cakes were adorned with small details of crown and bee cookies — a truly custom cake for pop music royalty. The largest cake was honey lavender-flavored, covered in black fondant. White and yellow sugar crystals were perfectly placed to create the illusion of a sparkling geode. The three tiers were then topped with a gold crown fit for a queen — reminiscent of the headpiece the singer wore during the 2017 Grammy Awards. According to Philly Mag, the bake shop had no idea who the cake was for, until the shop co-owner, Lily Fischer, did some digging and traced the order to one of…

Groom’s Cakes You Have to See

If you’re attending weddings this year, chances are you’ll come across a groom’s cake on display next to, or near, the traditional wedding cake (okay, the bride’s cake). You may be wondering where this custom came from. Well, back in the day of Victorian England, favors were simple. Guests were sent home with a slice of wedding cake. During that time period, single female guests would take their piece of cake home and place it under their pillow. Legend said, the ladies would dream of their future hubby that night. This is where the name “groom’s cake” came from. But brides and grooms had to buy a second cake to make sure there was plenty to go around. The extra cake was kept in the kitchen and would have to be sliced, boxed and wrapped to go — adding additional costs to the affair. Brides and grooms realized that if they were going to spend…

Apple and Pizza Top List of America’s Favorite Pies

Millions of people around the world indulged in pie last week to celebrate the mathematical concept of pi (the Greek symbol used to represent 3.14159). The Harris Poll also celebrated by asking Americans about their favorite pie. As usual, apple pie reigns supreme (12%), but pizza comes in a close second (10%) and is, by far, the favorite type of pie among men ages 18-34 (25%). The most popular pizza topping in America continues to be pepperoni. 7 in 10 say the pie filling — not the crust — is the best part. Pie vs. cake When it comes to dessert overall, Americans are nearly evenly split, with a slight preference for cake (52%) over pie (48%) – particularly in the South, where about 6 in 10 prefer cake (61% South), but not in the Midwest where 58% of adults prefer pie. Women (56%) and young adults ages 18-34 (66%)…

Ent-icing dessert designs by local cake artist

Cathy Burnheimer is turning the cake world upside-down. Her innovative cake designs push the boundaries and defy gravity. “We’ve done chandelier cakes that have hung inverted,” said Cathy Burnheimer. “One was at the Omni William Penn for a wedding. It was a five-tier cake that hung from the chandelier.” The Omni William Penn is a 23-floor hotel located in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The grand hotel has been host to many visiting luminaries including John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Mick Jagger and Ewan McGregor—just to name a few. Brides and grooms and other “high society” events regularly rent the famous balconied Grand Ballroom. The hotel was designed in a Renaissance Revival style—which means ornate, Classical details everywhere and tall, interior arches. Impressively decorated ceilings and cornices set the scene for a formal affair. (If you’re lucky enough to visit, be sure to look up!) “To have the Omni as my inspiration…