Sharon Thompson's Tidbits: Cake bake-a-thon in need of volunteers

swthompson@herald-leader.com,Sharon ThompsonFebruary 13, 2013 

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

Sweet Blessings will celebrate its second birthday with a 24-hour bake-a-thon.

Volunteers will bake and decorate 40 birthday cakes for children in need. The event begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday and ends at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church, 180 East Maxwell Street.

Sweet Blessings creates specialty birthday cakes for children ages 5 to 14 who are facing life-threatening illnesses or poverty. Each cake is handcrafted in a special shape or designed for that child.

"The past two years have been absolutely amazing," founder Ashley Gann said.

Sweet Blessings delivered its first cake on Feb. 26, 2011, she said. Last year it made cakes for 611 children; last month 86 youngsters received cakes.

The nonprofit organization recently partnered with First Christian Church in Frankfort to open a second location.

Sweet Blessings has received national attention, including the "Making a Difference" segment on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and being a Classy Awards finalist for best new charity in the South. Locally it was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the Lexington Leadership Foundation and was a finalist for the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross's Hero Award.

"Of course, better than any honor or award is knowing how much Sweet Blessings has touched the hearts of children and families in need," Gann said.

To volunteer or make a donation, to Sweetblessingscakes.org .

An emphasis on cheese

Wine + Market, 486 West Second Street, is offering two classes this month. Call (859) 225-0755 or go to Wineandmarket.com:

■ Cheeses from Spain will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 25. $12.

■ Scott Shrefler, a certified cicerone from Schlafly Brewery in St. Louis, will lead a beer and cheese pairing seminar at 6 p.m. Feb. 28. $15.

Bourbon appreciation

Woodford Reserve is offering an opportunity to learn about crafting and appreciating bourbon at its Bourbon Academy on March 9.

Master distiller Chris Morris will lead the class, which will include a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery, an interactive demonstration of using grains to make mash, charring of a barrel and two tastings of whiskies and bourbons. Chef-in-residence Ouita Michel will present a flavor wheel demonstration. A bourbon-inspired lunch is included.

The class will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $225. Call (859) 879-1953. The distillery is at 7855 McCracken Pike, Versailles.

All-you-can-eat soup

The Kiwanis Club of Lexington will hold its 17th annual All You Can Eat Soup Day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 7 at Calvary Baptist Church, 150 East High Street. The menu features homemade bean soup, chili, vegetable soup and skillet cornbread. Cost is $8.

The $1 dessert table will feature homemade desserts and as desserts donated by local chefs. Dessert table proceeds will go to the Harrison Elementary School Backpack Snack Program. Harrison's choir will perform at 11 a.m.

Bread baking for kids

Representatives from King Arthur Flour will visit three schools in Lexington to teach more than 600 students in grades three through seven to bake bread.

The Life Skills Bread Baking Program will be presented Thursday at Breckinridge Elementary and Southern Middle school, and Friday at Meadowthorpe Elementary.

After the presentations, students will receive ingredients, including King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, to take home. They are encouraged to bake two loaves of bread — one for them to keep and one to bring back to school for donation to God's Pantry and the Catholic Action Center in Lexington. Go to Kingarthurflour.com.

Flavor's in the wood

CloverFields Farm and Kitchen near Hardin Springs is infusing fruit woods and hardwoods with sorghum to be used for grilling and smoking.

Sweet Smoke grilling/smoking sticks add sweet, caramel-y flavoring to meat and vegetables. Bags are $25 and include six pieces each of specially chosen persimmon, sugar maple and wild cherry wood. Recipes for julep brisket, sweet smoked vegetables and smoked apples are included. Go to Sweetsmokesmokers.com.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com

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