Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cupcake Heaven

So, I'm an avid Food Network fan and I especially love watching competitions of all sorts...so when "Cupcake Wars" started, naturally I blocked out that time of day to curl up infront of my tv. So much so, I even got my 7 year old daughter and my 2 year old son watching it with me. The whole concept of cupcakes as opposed to cakes and/or other desserts is sooo modern and chic. Not to mention, it's also a fad these days....everywhere you turn, small cupcake bakeries (and even cupcake vans) can be found.

So, I headed out on a quest (ok, a trip to downtown) to taste these cupcakes (it was a business trip but I had cupcakes on my mind) to see what all the hype is about (yes, I thought I'd take one for the team). I had joined Flirty Cupcakes on facebook and was rather impressed by their ability to run a cupcake business out of a van with facebook and twitter being the only marketing tools. Their flavor names are as catchy as their logo is funky. "McDreamy", "Devil in Disguise", "The Curious George", and "CBFF" to name a few...They park their cute little van on an intersection, update their twitter and facebook with their location and voila!!!! You've got cupcakes! Heaven on Wheels right?!?!...

....well...even thought the cupcakes were moist and the frosting  was just the right amount of sweet, I must say, I wasn't truly impressed. It tasted alot like cupcakes that can be made at home minus the $3.25 pricetag...It definitely filled up my sugar void, don't get be wrong...but it didn't meet expectations...

Next stop was going to be the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes (the founder of which is one of the judges on Cupcake Wars)..After finally finding the location between Rush and Michigan amidst all the construction and traffic, I held my breath, crossed my fingers and walked into a chic, stylish, and modern cupcake boutique (no, I can't call it a bakery and you'll see why in a moment).

....does this look like the outside of a bakery?!?!...I don't think so... :)

The aroma of the freshly baked cupcakes, along with the endless rows of everything that's good and pure (yea, I get carried away ;) was waiting for me...

...see, told ya :o)

They dont have fancy names for their cupcakes and doesnt look like they spend alot of time decorating their cupcakes but I have to admit..I've had my share of fine desserts all around the world but when I tried their "Vanilla Hazelnut" , "Red Velvet", "Milk Chocolate" cupcakes, I was in heaven!!! They truly hit the spot...

The moistness of the cupcake and the sweetness (but not too sweet) of the frosting neatly covering the top of the cupcake is an experience that can be described in words but it SHOULD be felt by cupcake lovers all around the world...I promise you it won't be your last time going to Sprinkles. Now I know why the founder of Sprinkles and the judge of Cupcake Wars, Candace Nelson, is so critical of the cupcakes on the show..she REALLY knows what she is talking about..

Go try it for yourselves :o)

So, here's

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Very First Wedding Cake

So, despite my minimal caking experience a very kind-hearted client came to my door and asked me to make her special day sweet with one of my cakes. Imagine my excitement, until I realized what I got myself into ;). She was a super easy going bride. The only requirements she gave me were 1) she wanted the base to be tiffany blue; 2) She wanted the cake to be 4 tier and square shaped; 3) She wanted a white ribbon to go around the edge of each tier; and 4) She wanted cala lillies on the cake. The display cake was going to be fake except for the tier they were going to cut.

So, I dove in (head first) and started with the cala lillies.


 Next, I rolled out my fondant to match the tiffany blue color so I could start covering the tiers. After doing alot of research and playing with a lot of color combinations, I finally decided to use Wilton's sky blue food coloring to achieve the correct tiffany blue color.

My Handy Helper (my 2 1/2 year old son)

 Moving on.....I started stacking the display cake and covering it in fondant. I must say that this was the hardest part of the entire decorating process (atleast for me!!). Rolling fondant in large quantities was definitely tough and to get it to be JUST the right size was even tougher..Oh, I decided to top off the 1st tier with a bow!

Before I show you the final version of the cake, I must tell you that the flowers I made were used to hide the "not-so-glamorous" parts of the cake but it turned out to be a symmetrical and artistic design. The pictures are also hiding the flaws really well...

Now, for the final moment...drum roll please..................................................

And, now, the cake at the venue..yes! it really did make it to the wedding :o)

I learned alot from this experience. There are many things I would do differently, or not do at all, next time around but the hard work definitely paid off coz the bride loved it!!!!