How a Broken Wrist Leads to Business Decisions

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock or missed it, I’ve spent the last 8 or so weeks recovering from a broken wrist – The day after Hurricane Irma, I was helping with clean-up and fell off a ladder, breaking both bones in my right wrist, straining my left wrist, bruising my ribs, acquiring a lovely case of road rash on my legs, and losing the nail from my big toe.  Yay, right?  Aside from lots of whining and feeling completely useless, those weeks gave me a lot of time to reflect and to make some business decisions for both Bake with Rho and Rhonda Bakes.

Pink Peonies in progress (Sugar Art)- Bake with Rho

Pink peony bud

First, let me say that I am not closing down Bake with Rho – I have a ton of fun with it, and I plan to continue hosting LIVE sessions on Facebook and sharing recipes.  I’ve found that after I got over my initial hysteria, I enjoy hosting the LIVE sessions, so I will continue to do them as long as folks continue to watch them.

One thing I’ve done in the last weeks, and even more so in the last 7 days, is take a long, hard, look at where I want to be in my cake career and what I need to do to get there.  In case you haven’t noticed, I can have a hard time focusing – I like every single shiny new thing, and while that makes for a lot of fun for me, it’s expensive and it’s not advancing my dream of an eventual retail space.  So I’m working with a group of like-minded folks to work on serious goal management in 2018 and I’m making some decisions about “how” to integrate the two entities so that they compliment each other.

Pink Peonies in progress (Sugar Art)- Bake with Rho

Pink peony – 5 petals

Bake with Rho will become the “behind the scenes” look at Rhonda Bakes.  I’ll post videos and images of projects that I’m working on, such as the Peony that you’re seeing interspersed throughout this post.  I’ll still be doing LIVE sessions with great recipes and techniques that I know you’ll love, but I’ll also be making sugar flowers, creating cakes for portfolio shots, and looking for new recipes and techniques to try.

I’ll also be publishing a schedule that will get sent out to subscribers letting you know what’s coming up so that you can join us for the recipes that interest you most.

I’ll be asking for your ideas and I want to know what you want to see!  You know how much I love experimenting with the new stuff, and I’m always on the lookout for inspiration – Give me some!

I’m not the best blogger on earth – I typically just type in my own “voice”, and while I want the content to interest you, I also now that I have a ton of friends out there who are so very good at this, it amazes me and intimidates me all at the same time!  I’ll be sharing some of their stuff here, because if I’ve managed to entertain you at all, they’re going to blow your socks off, I promise!

“But what about Ana?!”  Friends, Ana is always here, she’s always involved, she’s my sanity checker and my voice of reason.  I’m going to convince her to participate in a LIVE or two – I need to get some “guest stars”!  Actually, there are some amazing Greek recipes that she has that we could try if I can talk her into it – Not necessarily all sweet, some are savory and as someone who’s had Yia Yia Julia’s lemon chicken soup, I can tell you they’re fantastic!

Pink Peonies in progress (Sugar Art)- Bake with Rho

Pink peony – 10 petals

So the peony you’ve seen throughout the post is my own brand of physical therapy – My only worry when I broke the wrist and was trying to decide on surgery was if I would still be able to “cake” – Working on sugar flowers takes a log of wrist and hand movement and while my hand is absolutely killing me today, I was able to do everything I needed to keep on creating – I can’t tell you what a relief and how grateful I am that I can still do what I love.  I just need to do it smarter.





Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part 2

Without further ado, we’ll jump into part two of Top Tools for Home Bakers!  I already gave a list of the bigger tools that are a great start to a home baker’s arsenal, but let’s not forget the smaller items that no home baker should be without!  These items are things I find myself reaching for constantly – some are obvious (measuring cups, anyone?) some maybe not so much!  None of the are super expensive, and certainly won’t break the bank if you’re adding to your collection an item or two at a time.  Of course, if you enter the Shopping List contest every month, you have an excellent chance of scoring a $20 Amazon Gift card to help pay for some of these little goodies!


Tools for Bakers - Scale

A must-have for scratch recipes!

If you’re planning to up your game at all and want to start trying out some of the great from-scratch recipes that are out there (one of them coming from me in May!), then you definitely need a reliable kitchen scale.  It needs to measure both ounces and grams, and as evidenced in our LIVE session with the Delicious Fudge Brownies & Baileys Facebook LIVE session, it needs to be easy to switch between the two!  I use my kitchen scale all the time for measuring ingredients and for measuring batter when I add it to pans so that I can be sure I’ll have even layers!  I just this second ordered myself this Accuweight Scale from  Check it out!

Cooking Thermometer

Tools for Bakers - Laser Thermometer

I just ordered one today!

I am not one of those people who can use the “ball stage” method of determining the temperature of candy.  My talents do not lay in dropping a tiny bit of sugar into cold water and deciphering if said sugar turned into a hard, soft, or I don’t even know what other form of “ball”.  Being one who knows my own weaknesses, I knew that a candy thermometer was a must in the kitchen – how else would I ever be able to make amazing treats like salted caramel toffee or Italian merengue buttercream?  I wouldn’t, that’s what.  So I invested less than 20 dollars in a thermometer.  I prefer an instant digital read and I also am jonesing for the laser thermometer that I ordered this very morning!  (yes, it’s been a busy day already!)

Oven Thermometer

Tools for Bakers - Oven Thermometer

Get in my oven!

If you don’t have an oven thermometer, please invest the less than $10 and pick one up.  Oven temperatures vary.  They truly do.  If you’re baking a beautiful, and sometimes pricey (hello pink champagne cake!) cake, you really want to take the best care of that baby as possible!  You only put it in the oven when you need it (otherwise it gets all burned and grungy, don’t ask how I know this!) and it may show you surprising things about your oven’s temperature settings!  Rubbermaid has one for about $6.50, get one now!


Baking Hardware

  1. Pyrex Bowls – If you don’t have the 3-piece Pyrex Mixing Bowl set, I want to know why.  Seriously, they are one of the most-used items in my kitchen – I’ve had them for at least 15 years and they’re so versatile and useful I can’t imagine my life without them. As I’m out here on Amazon buying some other goodies, I’m honestly thinking about picking up another set!
  2. Whisk – If you’ve watched me live, you know I loves me a good whisk.  I have several – I even have this ginormous one I bought but have never and probably will never use.  One whisk stands out in the crowded drawer in the kitchen and that is my Oxo 11″ Balloon Whisk.  I love it, I use it constantly, and I want about 10 more.
  3. Measuring Cups and Spoons – I’ve pretty much decided that the “liquids and solids measure differently”, hence the glass measuring cups for liquids and the standard measuring cups for dry is an old wive’s tale of some sort.  I’ve tested this with both liquid and dry ingredients, and I can’t see a difference.  However, I do still like to have both kinds on hand  Now, I “collect” measuring cups and spoons, I have some that are absolutely gorgeous, but not very practical – No matter how many sets I have, I still go back to my stainless steel Oxo measuring cups and spoons.  Of course, for liquids, I have the 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup glass versions.  Anchor Hocking has a 3 cup set for less than $15.00!
  4. Spatulas – Silicone spatulas are something that you’ll want to keep on hand and you’ll want plenty of them.  I’m not a huge fan of “spoonulas” – I like my spatulas with crisp edges and of course, I always love the ones with designs on them, like my bunny spatula in honor of my husband!  Of course if you’re not into paying about 8 bucks for a single spatula (it’s a sickness, I tell you!), then look for an option that offers a set of spatulas for less than $10 , like these AreaJD 3-Piece Full Silicone spatulas.

Decorating Hardware

  1. Offset Spatula – a must for getting a great finish on your iced cake!  If you don’t have one already, I recommend getting this set of three.
  2. Bench Scraper – A bench scraper is a must for a perfectly smooth finish!  Make sure you have one that’s completely flat, like this one from Norpro.
  3. Cake Torter – I can’t torte a cake with a knife to save my life.  It’s one of those skills that I’ve promised myself I’ll work to improve, but in the meantime, a cake torter is a lifesaver!  This one from Wilton works just fine and is inexpensively replaceable if it inexplicably breaks, like mine did!
  4. Turntable – The turntable is by far the most expensive item on this tools list, but if you invest in a good one, it provides a smooth turn, sits high enough to be comfortable and will last forever!  I have the Ateco Turntable, but lately I’ve heard wonderful things about the Fat Daddio’s version as well.  You can’t go wrong with either choice!
  5. Disposable Piping Bags – Who wants to clean out re-usable piping bags?  Not this girl!  All that greasy buttercream….  ugh.  I always use disposable bags now, and it’s made my life so much easier!  I keep two sizes on hand, the 12″ and the 16″ – I buy them in boxes of 100 and they last for quite a while – To start off, a box of Ateco 12″ disposable bags costs less than $15 for 100.
  6. Piping Tips – You’ll want some basic piping tips and supplies for borders, simple flowers, and fillings.  A starter kit can be had for $12 and then you can add to your collection as needed.
  7. Cake Pedestal – Do yourself a favor and invest in at least one pretty cake pedestal.  You worked hard on your gorgeous cake or cupcakes or brownies (or whatever delectable things we come up with!) and it deserves to be shown to it’s best advantage!  Don’t throw that beautiful confection on a dinner plate, show it with pride on something equally lovely!  There are great resources for cake pedestals that I use, Homegoods, Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Ross being just a few.  Homegoods especially.  They typically have a great selection at any given time, and they’re much more reasonable than getting them anywhere else.  I won’t divuldge the number of cake pedestals I have, let’s just say it’s extensive and leave it at that, ok?

All in all, I’ve provided you my list of the 20 top tools that I use all. the. time.  Of course, I add to them constantly, and I’m just a sucker for new and interesting things to try (please don’t come and look in my kitchen cupboards), but if you are just starting out or looking to up your game, I highly recommend making sure you have these in your kitchen.

Is there anything here that you don’t have but want?  What’s the one tool you can’t do without?  Share in the comments!


Shopping List Contest Details – Enter Every Month!

Each month, we here at Bake with Rho want to give away a token of our appreciation to one of the members of our community.  Every month we have a contest to win a $20 gift card from!  I just delivered the very first one and it felt amazing (Congratulations again, Debbie)!  I can’t wait to do it again in April!

Talk on the street is that the contest is a little confusing!  That’s my own fault, friends…  I got so excited about the idea of a contest that I never actually put all the relevant information in on place for you, and I’m going to do that now!  So please accept my apologies, and read on, valued community member!

Before explaining the contest, I need to explain how production for Bake with Rho actually works – You see, we are planning in advance and filming in advance and I know that can get confusing – So I’m going to run through it really quick – Let’s talk about May (which will be the subject of the next contest).

How the Shopping List Contest Works

  1. We start planning the projects for May in February or March.  That means that any new recipes are tested (and tasted, yum!) and that I’ve worked out a basic schedule in my head.  All of the projects for may were finalized in mid-March.
  2. On the 8th of April, Ana will drag her butt over here and we will spend the entire day filming, taking photos and then have a celebratory drink when we’ve finished.
  3. On the 15th of April, I’ll send an e-mail to subscribers with the shopping list for the ingredients for the May project.  (THIS appears to be where it’s most confusing) because it will be called “May Shopping List”.  That’s because I’m giving you the list early so that you can get ready if you like!  Entries are due by 4:00 PM on the 20th of April.  The dates don’t change, only the Months.  So every month month on the 15th a shopping list will be sent and all entries will be due by the 20th.
  4. At about 5 or 5:30 PM on the 20th, I’ll go LIVE on Facebook and announce the winner!
  5. A lovely Bake with Rho Amazon Gift Card will show up in your e-mail by the next day.

Contest Requirements

Of course there are some rules for the contest – I don’t think they’re burdensome, they’re just necessary!

  1. You must Like the Bake with Rho Facebook page.
  2. You must be subscribed to the Bake with Rho Newsletter.  There is a nifty little box you can fill out at the top of the right column of this page.  There is also a Sign-up button on the Bake with Rho Facebook page.  Important:  You will receive an e-mail asking you to confirm that you really want to subscribe.  If you don’t confirm, you won’t get the contest e-mail each month.

    Bake with Rho Contest Sign Up

    Bake with Rho Contest – How to Like and Subscribe

  3. Members of my immediate family are not eligible to win (you’re already winners!).   Honestly, it’s not fair since I may let a little information slip in general conversations.
  4. If you don’t know the answer, guess!  When I review the entries, if no one has guessed at least two projects correctly, I’ll do a random draw of all entries.  If two or more people have correct entries, then I’ll do a draw from those.  Someone is walking away a winner every month, why not you?
  5. While entrants can win multiple times, you can’t be eligible to win twice in a row.  We want to share the love!

If you have trouble seeing e-mail from me, please add me as a “Safe Sender” in your e-mail or check your Junk and mark my message “Not Junk”.  The easiest way to “authorize” mail from me is to simply add “” to your contacts list.

If you have any questions at all, please let me know by commenting here or on the Facebook page and I’ll answer you as soon as possible!

Good luck, everyone!  I can’t wait for the next round!




Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers – Part I

Welcome to part one of my Top Tools for Home Bakers!  The right tools for the job are essential for success and often we go a little overboard (I know I do) when stocking up on tools and pretty much anything baking-related!  But if you’re starting out, you can definitely invest in an assortment of tools that should help you finish most baking projects and won’t break the bank!

This is the list of bigger investments – the ones that perhaps you can’t go out and buy all at once – perhaps you need to plan for some of them, I know I did!  But spending wisely in the beginning will save money in the long run, I promise!


Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer (or both, if you’re a lunatic like me)

Tools for Bakers - KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Love these beauties!

I think I would die without my mixer. Ok, perhaps that’s a little dramatic, but I can promise you that I would cry real tears if anything were to happen to one of my precious babies. Having a great quality stand mixer is a huge help in doing so many things in the kitchen and they’ve become really affordable in recent years. My recommendation is to get the right mixer for the job – Not everyone needs all the bells and whistles! Trust me, getting a good 5 quart KitchenAid will serve most home bakers just fine!

Tools for Bakers - KitchenAid Hand Mixer

Absolute Workhorse

Of course, if a stand mixer is just out of your price range right now (and we’ve ALL been there), I’d recommend getting the absolute best hand mixer you can afford. Again, I recommend KitchenAid, because they are beasts and last forever! That yellow mixer in my kitchen (you’ll see it in the videos) is about 13 years old and I have never once had a problem with that lovely lady!

8” x 3” Round Cake Pans

If you invest in any baking pans, I would strongly recommend making your first investment in 8” x 3” round pans. Most recipes that you find are written for the 8” pan, and if you get the 3” deep version right off the bat, you’re not going to have to buy them a second time (like this girl) when you realize that you want to get a full 2” tall cake and don’t want to mess with parchment or risk spill-overs.

Tools for Bakers - Magic Line 8x3" Round

So Versatile!

I discuss it in my first video – I prefer Magic Line pans or Fat Daddios. Magic Line is truly my favorite, as they have sharper edges than any of the other pans I’ve found. This is incredibly helpful when covering cakes.   It’s just a personal preference of mine, but believe me, I have about a million pans of all shapes and sizes and the Magic Line are just my favorite. Ok, so I probably don’t have a MILLION pans, but maybe 500,000.

9” x 13” x 2” Cake Pan

Tools for Bakers - Magic Line 9"x13"2" Quarter Sheet

You’ll use it again and again

While you’re at it, get a good quality 9” x 13” x 2” pan as well. This one is a must-have for sheet cakes, and for the home baker, it should be sufficient to start out. At this point, I wouldn’t worry too much about half sheet and full sheet pans. Instead, if I were truly tempted in indulge in another size, I’d invest in a 9” x 9” x 3” pan to go along with the rectangle. This seems to be the pan size that’s preferred for many brownie and bar cookie recipes, although I don’t know why in the name of all that is holy anyone would want to make that few brownies. WHY?

Cookie Sheets

Tools for Bakers - Cookie Sheets

Must. Buy. More.

Ahhhhh….   Cookie Sheets – so versatile, so necessary! I have 4 high-quality, heavy cookie sheets. I just found these on Amazon and I may need to get me some!  They have a lip on them and they are NOT those crazy air-filled ones. Personal preference, but I have never liked those things and my cookies and other goodies don’t bake as I’d expected when I’d tried using them. Just a regular old cookie sheet works – I like a sheet with some heft to it, not the less than stellar version that you get in that “250 pieces of bakeware for $10.00” box, but a more heavy-duty version. They may cost a little more than 4 cents each, but they will last forever and a day and if you use Parchment paper (and really, why wouldn’t you?) they stay close to pristine!

Cooling Racks

Cooling Racks – not terribly exciting but oh so necessary! I remember the days of cooling cakes on a dishtowel on the counter when I was younger – Did anyone else do that? We cooled cookies on paper towels or something similar – we didn’t need any of that “fancy cooling rack” nonsense, not us! Then I got older – I moved out on my own, and a rebel was born – I can remember almost furtively buying them and bringing them home – As the years passed I became proud of my racks! I showed them off – I encouraged others to buy them – I gave them away whispering, “The first one’s free” –

Tools for Bakers - Cooling Racks

Come to mama!

Cooling racks are an important part of the baking process. Allowing the air to flow all around your delicious treats cools them more quickly, but it also prevents them from getting soggy and no one wants a soggy cookie! I have found my version of the perfect cooling rack – it’s a grid, rather than a grill and I have about 10 of them. SO useful –

Look for more of Rho’s Top Tools for Home Bakers later this week!  In the meantime, do you have any favorite “go-to” tools in the kitchen that are regulars in your baking arsenal?


Are You Ready to Bake with Rho?!

Well aren’t we just giddy with excitement!  Are you ready to bake with Rho?!  Ana and I are definitely ready to make some kitchen magic happen in the coming weeks!

In the past few weeks, we’ve been working hard to bring you a site that feels like a community.  Our goal is to have a place where you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing your own creations.  We want to keep a casual atmosphere and we’re committing to answering your questions, seeking your feedback and helping this site to evolve over time.

What You Can Expect From Us:

  • Casual, informative videos that teach at least one project a month.
  • Constant improvement – Don’t even think that we don’t know how much we have to learn about the video process!
  • A monthly contest with a $20 Amazon Gift card prize.
  • Answers to your questions – We’ll be checking comments and posts at least twice a day, making sure that you get answers to your questions and aren’t just hanging out there.
  • Respect for your e-mail!  Yes, we have a mailing list and we ask that you join it – No, I can’t see a point where I’ll be sending more than 2 or three mails a month.  I also will never sell your e-mail address, because that’s just tacky!

What We Need From You:

  • Like our Facebook Page and Share posts that you find interesting, fun or informative.
  • Subscribe to our E-mail List and participate in the monthly contest!
  • Share your own creations on our Facebook page, we want to see what you’re doing!
  • Let us know if there’s anything special you want to see, we would love to have you, the community drive the selection of tutorials!
  • Remember that you’re on this adventure with us!  We’re still learning a lot about video and photography – We’re practicing like crazy and each month we’ll be better and better –

Ana and I are so looking forward to getting to know each of you!  Introduce yourself here, or head over to the Facebook page – we want to know who’s on the journey with us!