Some of my fondest memories are baking cookies with my mom and mom-mom. I learned pretty early on that I could make anyone smile if I gave them a cookie, and the satisfaction that I’ve gotten from baking has grown stronger over time. Like many bakers, one of my first projects in the kitchen was to solve the mystery of the flat chocolate chip cookie. They just never seemed to look like the ones on the bag of chocolate chips. It was that hunger for perfection in the things that I baked that kept me in the kitchen. The stillness that I experienced in combining ingredients, and the joy that I shared with my family over a slice of cake is what fueled my passion.
In high school I got a job as a cake decorator at an Italian bakery. I had been decorating cakes for a while at home, and when a new bakery opened in town I walked in and declared myself a cake decorator. The owners gave me a bowl of buttercream and a few layers of cake and asked me to show them my skills. I got the job- and spent every moment there soaking up as much knowledge as I could absorb. I ventured to New York City for college to study business and worked for a short time at a NYC cupcake shop. While I always dreamed of opening a bakery, I had set my career sites on real estate and personal training.
After graduating I created Baked By Dan in 2012. I began working with a local restaurant and caterer and started sharing pictures of my custom cakes on social media. For years I pounded away in my home bakeshop, making hundreds of cookies, brownies and cupcakes for the restaurant, all while baking and designing custom cakes for my clients. In 2017 I began live streaming some of these cake projects on Facebook and my life has become fuller, sweeter and more exciting ever since. I never would have imagined that my childhood obsession with baking would have brought me so much fulfillment. It is my hope that the recipes I'm sharing here can bring you joy, in your kitchen, and that this joy can be felt by those around you.