Monday, March 7, 2011

Cupcakes Squared

I have done a lot of baking this week. It started with homemade English muffins on Saturday - delicious! On Sunday, I made apple pie cupcakes as an American-themed dessert for the "Around the World" ladies dinner at church. I am so glad I went to that - so many great foods and desserts to choose from and wonderful company. I decided to add that special pie touch to my cupcakes by actually baking pie crust "leaves" and placing them atop the frosted (vanilla buttercream) apple spice cupcakes. I didn't get to try the combo as a whole but Ben told me it worked great and I trust him to actually tell me the truth. Those were good but the truly noteworthy cupcakes, I made today.
It is the beginning of the Florida strawberry season and I think everyone in the house had the same idea - those big, red strawberries look delicious! That is how we ended up with more strawberries then we knew what to do with. I already was planning on making cupcakes for the show at Bethany on today, so I thought about how I could make strawberry shortcake in a cupcake. I made a whiter cake than usual to start. I then put some batter in, a layer of sliced strawberries, then batter on top. I thought this would create the sort of shortbread "sandwich." To top it off, I wanted something that gave an illusion of whipped cream but figured the cupcake could use more strawberry flavor. I ended up with a meringue-based topping mixed with strawberry puree. While the strawberries made the topping runny, once on the cupcake it stood up fine (took a few tries to top it right though). Next came tasting and Ben and I knew I had discovered something special. I found out how special later tonight.
I took the cupcakes to the show and everyone loved them. The number of people who told me how much they enjoyed my cupcakes and how good they were amazed me. Ben's reviews have always been glowing and a huge encouragement, but hearing that from other people too, was overwhelming. It really made me want to cry. It seems that making cupcakes and pastries all day is indeed a good choice for me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Here Comes the Cake

I was looking at my blog and decided it was time for a poll. I drew on my last post for inspiration. As it was about cupcakes for my wedding reception, I thought asking you all about your wedding cakes was a good idea. So let me know what your cake was like or how you want it to be in the future.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Business Adventures

The wedding, honeymoon and Christmas were over. All that remained was the reception back in California and the daunting task of creating 120 delicious cupcakes. With a day in the kitchen and lots of help from Ben, mission Wedding Cupcakes went off without too many hitches :)
We started out with a huge shopping trip, buying 3 dozen eggs, ten pounds of sugar, and 12 sticks of butter. The next morning when we went to start baking, the buttermilk we had bought just the day before was bad. A trip back to the store got our baking off to a late start. At 11:30 we started making six batches f cupcakes: 2 each of vanilla chocolate chip, spice cake with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate peppermint. At 4:30, the cupcakes and frostings were made so we dropped them off at the church, knowing we would have to come back later to frost all of them.
We spent another hour in the kitchen but when we put all the cupcakes on their trays, it was all worth it. It looked amazing! The next morning, the cupcakes were a big hit even though people hardly had room for them after a yummy brunch.
My dad asked me a couple days later if now that I had spent so much time making so many cupcakes, it was still something I could see myself doing every day. The answer was easy - YES!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Capitol Cupcakes

On Friday, I took off from the Orlando airport and arrived in Washington D.C. for five days with my sister. Holly had a great trip planned for me.The first night I was here, we had dinner in Georgetown. Of course, we had to see the legendary Georgetown Cupcake. We waited in a line that went out the door and up the street but fortunately, the late night crowd is less than the morning crowd. I ordered a pumpkin spice cupcake and bit into a beautiful piece of cupcake bliss. The maple frosting was piled high with a beautiful chocolate maple leaf placed on top. The pumpkin spice cake was a perfect pairing with this tasty frosting. I had thought that I had just about the best cupcake recipe ever. Turns out there is competition. Those California cupcake shops pale in comparison (with the exception of Violet's in Pasadena which still has unmatched flavor selection and amazing frosting skills). 
Anyway, I determined to sample as many DC cupcakes as I could (not just at Georgetown Cupcake but various shops around the city. Yesterday we came across Red Velvet. We went in to see if they had hot chocolate but while we were there we figured we may as well try a cupcake. So Holly and I split a lemon cupcake with coconut cream cheese frosting. This was a surprising and delicious flavor combination. The cake was amazing too. It had that satisfying crunch on top that comes from using a little extra sugar. 
We had planned on going to a little cafe called CakeLove in the afternoon but after delicious lunch at Busboys and Poets (gorgonzola and fuji apple sandwich with fig spread on cinnamon raisin bread accompanied by sweet potato fries), we were just too full. Maybe we will make it there later. 
I have come to the conclusion that what Cutecakes needs is a city and a truck/cart to sell cupcakes from. This leads to my poll - "Which US city is right for Cutecakes?" This is your chance to say where Cutecakes Cupcakery would flourish in a world where I could move anywhere and had money to get a cart/truck and start a business. Choose wisely. Also, feel free to submit your own options as comments on this post. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Break from the Ordinary

For awhile now, I have been wanting to make an actual cake. I love cupcakes and they can be made to look pretty amazing but nothing really compares to the look of a beautiful homemade cake sitting on a cake stand. I took out the trusty Southern Cakes book and with some internal debate and a bit of outside help decided on a lovely fall flavor combination - pumpkin raisin cake with lemon cream cheese frosting. It sounded like a carrot cake but with pumpkin instead of carrot. But it didn't taste a whole lot like carrot cake once it was done.
After the cakes were baked and cooled and the frosting made, I got to play with some of my new cake-decorating toys from IKEA. I used the wire cake cutter to make a beautiful four-layer cake rather than just a boring two-layer. Stacking the layers was a bit of a challenge but with the help of Ben and a couple spatulas, I managed to stack each layer on top of the one beneath it. I then covered the whole cake with frosting and put chopped pecans around the side and a couple candied lemon slices on top. It looked beautiful (hopefully I can put a picture up here soon).
The only thing left to do was to eat it. We had to wait until after dinner for that, but it was well worth the wait. The lemon n the cream cheese frosting brought out the pumpkin so well. A great way to experience the tastes of fall.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

SHOWing off

Today I made cupcakes for the Reflect show tonight. It was an all day ordeal but definitely worth it. I started making a basic yellow cupcake with a vanilla bean buttercream. Sounds simple, right? The catch is that I made 20 cupcakes into depiction of the shows banner - a twitter bird with hills in the background. I wasn't completely satisfied since spaces were still left between the cupcakes. To cover those I probably would have needed a thicker buttercream and more of it. However, it was still recognizable and received a good reception. I was able to break in the cake decorating kit I got from Ikea which made me happy.
While the first set of cupcakes were in the oven, Ben and I worked on the next batch - chocolate and heath bar. I hadn't tried a chocolate before and normally don't like chocolate cake so I knew this was risky. To top those off, we tried a new frosting recipe from Cooks magazine (the same place I got my cupcake recipe from) and rolled the edges in Heath bits. We were in a hurry so we quickly picked up the kitchen, loaded the cupcakes in the box and hopped in the car. Transport was a little tricky, but we managed.

I set up a little table complete with business cards at the show and prepared to sell cupcakes that I'd never tried before which was a little risky. Unfortunately, less people were showing up than expected. Halfway through the first performance, Ben and I decided to try a bit of our work... and it was AMAZING. I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but those chocolate heath cupcakes were incredible. In the end, most of the cupcakes got eaten. Although many were given away for free,  I consider Cutecakes Cupcakery's first event a success!
Be sure to check out the new poll on the left side of the page. In the spirit of the show, I want to know how many of my readers have a Twitter.

show flyer and my rendition of it

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Opening Cupcakes

Yesterday was the San Jose Sharks season opener - the beginning of a hockey season which will hopefully last to the end of May or June. To celebrate this important occasion, I made Sharks cupcakes. When I say Sharks cupcakes I really mean there were sharks on the cupcakes. No half-hearted aqua and black sprinkles here, we went all out.
Unfortunately this meant I was still making cupcakes when the game started so I moved my work-station to the table where I could watch and frost. The sharkheads had a little more difficulty than the penguins staying on the cupcakes, but they came out looking just as great. I finished them just as the third period started and we ate them while cheering for the Sharks as they battled the Blue Jackets in Stockholm, Sweden. In the end, my amazing cupcakes carried the Sharks to a 3-2 victory and a great start to the season. Go Sharks!