Not everyone is culinarily gifted when it comes to baking. And trust me, I understand.

We all want to be Martha Stewart this time of year. The Food Network and mommy guilt get the best of us. Dusty mixers and aprons see the light of day. Tragically, it all too often ends in tears and kitchen disaster. I know.

Steaming in my garbage can are three gritty, greasy batches of failed
fudge
— a ridiculously over-ambitious effort at seasonal kindness that
cost me $25 in butter, sugar, vanilla, gourmet chocolate and potato
chips (don’t ask).  Not to mention Marshmallow Fluff in places Fluff should never be.

So here’s Plan B. Which maybe should have been Plan A: Call in the professionals.

The elves at Sift Cupcakery are currently taking orders for the world’s cutest desserts, uh, ever.  For $45, you can get a dozen painstakingly designed cupcakes in either a “holiday” or “Christmas” theme. We’re not talking about a few sprinkles and a plastic Santa — but tiny works of holiday art. Chomp into a skiing snowman,  gingerbread house, cup of hot cocoa, a frosting tree, the Grinch or perfect peppermint candy.

New seasonal flavors include Snickerdoodle, Mr. Man (gingerbread with cinnamon cream cheese frosting), Peppermint Twist (Red Velvet with peppermint frosting), and Knock Your SOX off (think Boston Cream Pie). Sift Cupcakery, 7582 Commerce Blvd., Cotati, 707.792.1681.

bouche.jpgChloe’s is offering an authentic Buche de Noel, a traditional French pastry “yule log”. Alas, this delicious little cord is filled with vanilla sponge cake, chocolate butter cream and chocolate ganache. Meringue mushrooms and chocolate bark make Marc Pisan’s one of my favorite. Ever. The cake serves 10-12. Chloe’s French Cafe, 3883 Airway Drive, Santa Rosa, 707.528.3095, $34.75. Call ahead.

What are some of your favorite local holiday treats? Let me know!

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