Elissa Bernstein, 17, Baking Goddess

Elissa Bernstein, 17, is the author of the blog 17 and Baking. Most people can bake a batch of cookies, but can you make a birthday cake that looks like a cello? Girl has got some skills with the flour and sugar. Hailing from Seattle, WA, Elissa beautifully documents her baking adventures through words and photographs. In between applying for colleges, interning at a 4-star restaurant, and baking up a general storm, the busy high schooler took some precious minutes out of her schedule to answer a few questions.

I Heart Daily: Favorite go-to dessert? Elissa Bernstein: There are a couple desserts in my collection that I adore and make all the time. My non-chocolate go-to cake is Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. It's moist but sturdy, has a beautiful texture and lemon flavor, and can be whipped up in no time. I've used it for my Rainbow Pride Party Cake and my Cello Birthday Cake.

IHD: How did you get your internship at Seastar Restaurant? EB: My school convinced Seastar to take on an intern, but I had to send in a cover letter/resume and interview before they chose me. Every night in a gleaming professional kitchen is surreal. My most thrilling moment was being asked to bake cookies for the Seastar chefs. It was nerve wracking and even stressful, but in the end it was worth it.

IHD: Between writing, baking and photography, you have many passions -- what would be your dream job? EB:My dream job is to be a freelance writer, writing for a newspaper like the New York Times, a publication like National Geographic (since I'm also passionate about different cultures and travel), and maybe even a food magazine like Bon Appetit!

IHD: Why baking and not cooking? EB:I'm actually very intimidated by cooking! I grew up in a family of excellent cooks, but I didn't seem to pick up the passion. I love the preciseness of baking, and I can't resist anything sweet. More than anything, baking makes you friends -- sharing is an instant way to bring a smile to someone's face.

IHD: Twinkies: Disgusting or delicious? Explain. EB: I don't want to sound like a food snob, but I'm not a Twinkie fan. I think a homemade Twinkie would be delicious, but I'm not sure what chemicals or ingredients are in the store-bought ones. Luckily for me, I've finally figured out pastry cream, so maybe some Twinkies are in my future!

Thanks Elissa! Make sure to check out her blog 17 and Baking -- it's a sugary inspiration.

photo credit: Michelle Moore