I’m back!

So, I clearly haven’t posted anything in a while.  

Life.  Crazy, right?

But I’m ready to return to the land of the living! (READ = the land of the BAKING). So check back soon for an updated site with new photos and recipes, and new posts!

See you real soon!

Hope your day is sweet.


Think Small!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

As you continue to head out into the craziness of post-turkey-day shopping, I just wanted to send a reminder that today is Small Business Saturday.



And when you are ready to strangle the person in line in front of you, just whistle Christmas carols (or whatever festive song goes along with your holiday).  It’s hard to be merry and strangle-y at the same time.

May your shopping be sweet!

Happy Halloween!

I hope you have a candy-filled and safe Halloween!

(No, I did not carve this.  I downloaded this beauty.  Thumbs up to the person who carved this, though!)

(Or photoshopped it.  Either way)

May your evening be sweet!

I can name that yumminess in 2 ingredients, Alex.

So, I know it’s been about 14 years since I last posted.  Sorry about that.  But I had to come out of hiding for this.  They are just that worth it.

I am a from-scratch kind of girl.  Not to the extent of my completely natural friend Melissa at The Baked Equation, but I like to know what’s in my stuff.

But from time to time, you just have to grab a box.

Don’t judge.  You know you’ve done it.  (Well, maybe not Melissa, but the rest of you.  Fess up).

But I was craving pumpkin and lacking time, so this fit the bill perfectly.

Here is all you need:

Yes, I know there are 4 ingredients in this picture.  You CAN make these with just 2 ingredients, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules.  And as if chocolate chips are ever truly optional, anyways.



  • 1 box Cake Mix (any kind. And only the dry mix.  Not any ingredients listed on the box)
  • 1 Can of Pumpkin (15.9oz)
  • 1-3 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)
  • Chocolate Chips (optional)


Combine dry cake mix, cinnamon and pumpkin thoroughly.  Batter will be very thick and sticky.

Add the chocolate chips.

Because the batter is so thick and sticky, I found the easiest way to get them in the pan was with an ice cream scoop.

“Look, Mom. No hands!”

And once they are all scooped out into the pan, they completely hold the shape from the scoop.

Look at those cute little spikes!

And they will come out exactly as they went in, so if you have some crazy shapes or spikes, you need to fix it or make peace with it.  Cuz it’s stayin’.


Let them sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove them carefully to cool on a wire rack.


And at this point, you can totally sell that the recipe only made 11 muffins.  Really.  It happens.  (Just make sure to wipe the moist crumbs off of your fingers first.)  The spice mix made 15 muffins.  The chocolate made 13.  (But that’s just between you and me.  There was less after quality control.  Safety first).

Aren’t they pretty.  Have you seen enough of them yet?  No?  Ok, here is another.


This particular batch was made with chocolate cake mix.  With chocolate, I used 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice to help cut through the chocolate flavor.  Last week, I used a Spice Cake Mix and only needed 1 tsp.

Wanna see those?


I found this recipe as a cake, but many suggested that it has the consistency of a muffin.  If you decide to make it as a cake, smaller or thinner works best. Everyone I saw that tried to make a bundt with this recipe was not happy with the outcome.

Regardless of what flavor you go with or what add-ins you choose, these are super easy and crazy moist.

So give ’em a try.  You’ll be making another flavor next week.  Promise.

Hope the rest of your week is sweet!







Release the Piecaken!

Some of you may have seen this picture I posted on Facebook last week:

Who knew it would cause such a fuss!  You guys flipped over it!

A friend sent me this picture (I did not make this or take the photo), and I thought it was too crazy not to be shared.  Amazing the strong reactions on both sides that this over-the-top dessert stirred up!  This, my friends, is PIECAKEN.  The sugary version of turducken.  Pie baked into a cake.  Amazing to some.  Horrifying to others.  But regardless of your position of it, piecaken did create quite the stir.

I received 7 emails from people wanting me to make this for them.  One request in particular really got my attention.  It was from a soldier in Afghanistan asking if I could make one and send it to him and his troop because the food they eat there is far from  yummy.  After much research, I learned that this would not make the trip.  But how do I ignore such a request from the soldiers who were dedicating their lives to protecting my freedom to make such a dessert?  And on Memorial Day, nonetheless.  So what’s a baker to do?

Make them in cookie form, of course!  Along with more pie and cake!

Can you see it?

And because my friend Melissa at The Baked Equation is so awesome, she jumped in and baked with me.  She made the most AWESOME Mexican Chocolate Cookies (with cayenne pepper in them!), as well as chocolate chip, butterscotch and margarita lime!  (I know, right?!)

Here they are, all packed up and ready for their trip around the world.  (And we ended up with so many it took 2 boxes to get them there!  Thanks again, Melissa!)

So while I was bummed that I couldn’t ship them an actual piecaken, I hope Jerry and the 66 soldiers in his troop enjoy a more shippable version.

Oh, and I will so be making my own version of the real thing.  But my girls have decided I need to use a chocolate pie, and maybe an oreo cookie pie instead.  No fruit in our sugar coma fest!

Want to make one, too?  Here is the recipe (posted by For The Love Of Food).  I didn’t create it.  I’m not exactly certain who did.  If you know for certain, post a comment so I can give proper credit, because this genius deserves the recognition due!

This is the “quick” version.  You can make any or all of this from scratch.


  • Two 9″ round cake pans that are 3 inches deep
  • 2 cake box mixes and the ingredients the box calls for (your choice of flavors)
  • 2 pre-cooked 6-inch pies (your choice of flavors)
  • Buttercream icing (double batch or 2 tubs of store bought)

Take one box cake and make the batter according to instructions.  Pour half the batter in a 9” round cake pan. On top of that, put the first pie. Pour the rest of the cake batter on top of that and bake it according to the box instructions.

Take the next box cake mix and make the batter according to instructions on the back of the box. Pour half the batter in a 9” cake pan. On top of that, put your second pie. Pour the rest of the cake batter on top of that and bake it according to the box instructions.

Once both cakes are done, wait until they cool and then assemble and decorate cake as normal.


So there you have it.

Whether you find piecaken incredible or disturbing, I hope your week is sweet!

Game Night!

I was invited by Nicole at Sugar & Stitches to take part in a Game Night cookie fest with a wonderful and talented group of ladies.  I was so excited just to be included with such an great group of cookiers!

When trying to decide which board game to do, I asked my 7-year-old daughter.  She, of course, immediately said Candyland.  Sure, I thought.  That would be fun.  Lots of colors.  I can use sparkles! It will be great!  So I sent my selection off to Nicole and all was well.

Until, of course, I actually took the game board out to look at it when it was time to do the cookies.  LESSON LEARNED: Don’t take cookie advice from a 7-year-old.

But at the end of the day, they were (hair-pulling-out) fun, and I once again got to use sparkles!  And lots of them.  So how can that be bad, right?

Lolly!  Juggling gumdrops.  Don’t we all wish we could?

Princess Lolly.  I have a crown just like this.  I just wear mine on special occasions.

Queen Frostine.  I think I’ve been called that a time or two in my life.

This is Mr. Mint.  He suffered a tragic Royal icing transfer removal incident.  It required extensive surgery.

And you gotta have the little gingerbread game piece guys.  These shorts would never meet dress code at out school.  Just sayin’.

Here are all of the players in our Game Night.  Check out these AWESOME cookies!!

  1. LIFE and Jenga by Nicole, Sugar & Stitches
  2. Skip-Bo by Cassie, Creations by Cassie
  3. Candyland by Tara, The Shaky Baker
  4. Card Games by Cristin, Cristin’s Cookies
  5. Magic: The Gathering by Jennifer, Not Your Momma’s Cookie
  6. Mouse Trap by Sherrene, The Sugar Tree
  7. Trivial Pursuit by Heather, Twins Plus One Goodies

Thank you again Nicole for including me in the fun! (Sorry I was so late =)

I hope you enjoyed our cookie party.  May the rest of your week be sweet!

PS.  Please forgive the stellar photography.  Long story.  =)

May the Fourth be with you

Hi.  My name is Tara.  And I’m a Star Wars fanatic.

I have been a fan since I was a kid.  I could play the Empire Theme on piano and clarinet by the time I was 9.  (Not both instruments at the same time, of course).

As a twisted fate by the universe, I married a Star TREK fan.  (I know.  I know.) I try not to hold that against him.  The worst Star Wars movie (and we all know that’s Episode I.  Sorry, George) is 10x times better than the BEST Star Trek movie (is that an oxymoron?).  Just stating fact.

So I love this day to honor the real #1 Sci Fi space series.  Admit it, you must.


May the Fourth be with you!


The next “big thing”



And the winners are……….

If you are one of the winners, please email me at tara@theshakybaker.com with your mailing address so I can get these mailed out to you!

I will keep checking my stores for more.  If I find more, I’ll share those, too.  =)

Thank you to everyone who left a comment!  Hope your weekend is sweet!


So, did you know that these are the new rage in cookie decorating?

Thanks to Callye at Sweet SugarBelle they are.

These babies make the best icing bag holders.  The BEST.  And for $1, you can’t beat the price.  (Sorry, Wilton).

Problem is, they seem to be selling out everywhere before bakers can buy them.  But lucky for you guys, I live in a small town where people here don’t know the wonders of the $1 popcycle maker.  So I went down today and cleaned out the shelf.  Bought every one they had.  The cashier thought I’d lost my mind.  If only she knew how right she was.

Now, I need to share them with you.  Want one?

I am going to send 2 packs to four (4) different people.  INTERNATIONAL INCLUDED!!  If you want them, just leave a comment ON THIS POST.  I will randomly select four people to win.  Simple as that.

But ya gotta act fast. I’m going to mail them out this Friday, so I’m only leaving it open until Thursday, May 3rd (yes, tomorrow!) until 9pm CST.  Then I will draw 4 winners and drop them in the mail.  I have to act fast, because you really need these.  Your cookies could depend on it.

Make sure you leave contact information so I can get in touch with you if you win!

Good luck!  And I hope the rest of your week is sweet!

Not how I planned to start Spring Break

So, this is completely not baking related.

At all.

But, another love for me is sports.  Not all sports, mind you.  Just the good ones, like football, basketball and soccer.

With that in mind, it has not been a good sports weekend in my house.  My NCAA men’s college basketball bracket is officially dead.  I picked Missouri and Florida State to go to the championship, and 2 rounds in, they are both gone.  Didn’t they know that they were in my bracket??  I mean, surely that would have been motivation enough to put on a better defensive show in the last 2 minutes, right FLORIDA STATE??

But alas, they obviously missed my memo.

Then, after days and days of hopeful anticipation, we found out that Peyton Manning completely snubbed us and chose to go to Denver.  Really, Peyton?  It’s cold there.  And haven’t you heard their slogan before? MILE HIGH city?  That means it’s really high altitude.  Hard to breath.  Cold.  Messes with baking instructions.  Obviously, he didn’t really think that one through all the way.  And Shoney’s in Tennessee offered him free pancakes FOR LIFE if he became a Tennessee Titan.  I mean, who turns that down?


So, I guess we are doomed to another mediocre year with Hasselbeck.  Sorry, Matt.  You are probably a really nice guy and all, but I’m just keepin’ it real.

I think I need to go bake something.

Thanks for letting me vent.  Hope your week is off to a sweeter start!