So yesterday was tasting testing day. I got to my German classes where there were lots of students and classmates milling around, took the lid off my box of 31 cupcakes and waited with bated breathed and sweaty hands. Very sweaty hands. As my first brave guinea pigs bit into those cupcakes and put pen to the questionnaires, all I could do was wait. Here are the results.
Completed questionnaires: 17
10 people enjoyed them thoroughly and rated them either as perfectly balanced, or almost perfect on all of the criteria.
4 people enjoyed them, however we not overwhelmed by their amazingness and rated them as almost perfect or good in all of the criteria.
3 people said they were average and rated them as good or by circling number 4 (needs improvement).
Favourite questionnaire comment:
“It was pretty good and nice to see…just something in the middle of the cake was not well liquefied (the butter, I suppose) Follow arrow–>Or was it intended? Is it supposed to be like that? Sorry it’s the first time I’ve eaten cupcakes! :p”
He he he, my homemade caramel!! Fail. :)
Future changes and key learnings:
1. Good news for future testers. No mini cupcakes, just the classic size for testing, which means more cupcakey goodness for all. I just think the baby ones do no justice for the real final product I want to promote. Plus they don’t travel well. They fall all over the container and mess up their hair a.k.a frosting. Plus I don’t have any paper liners for them, as they are not easy to locate here in Germany and you have order them online and all that jazz. Again, doing a disservice to final product’s appearance. Although taste testing is TASTE testing, the appearance still has to rock.
2. Next change for the future = more good news. I want to increase the size of the classic cupcake. When people unwrapped their goodies, I saw that the cupcakes were 50% smaller than the ones I used to make in Canada. What the hell? How did that happen? I suspect this has something to do with the cupcake liners in Germany…Anyway, I am on a mission to fix this. Bigger IS better.
3. Next learning: still gotta work on my piping. Yay, I got my frosting shiny, yay, I got it to stand tall and proud, but boo, it wasn’t consistent. Practice makes perfect and I need to continue to frost my heart out. Plus I am attending some classes mid-May to improve my skills.
4. No salt. Or maybe two families of cupcakes. More traditional and then more gourmet. I put beautiful French (damn expensive!!) hand harvested Fleur de sel on my cupcakes and there were mixed reviews. Some people got it and others didn’t. Clearly two different opinions, two different groups.
5. Questionnaire user friendliness. Hmmm, didn’t expect so much resistance to my itsy bitsy 7- page questionnaire but I guess I was wrong on that. I will look at condensing it and adding and removing some questions for future use. What I loved is that some people took it really seriously and gave tons of feedback. What I was annoyed about is how people just wanted to have a cupcake while the others around them diligently filled out their questionnaires. Don’t worry, I was strict and I didn’t put up with any shitty excuses as to why they couldn’t fill out the questionnaire. No, ma’am.
Verdict on the chocolate recipe: Definitely a keeper
Verdict on the frosting: Definitely a keeper, although will try some different recipes in the future also
You know I have to say that although the cupcakes still need more work and not everyone was perfectly pleased, I really felt the support come through on the questionnaires. Even if their were some criticisms on the salt for example, there was still a ‘good luck’ and smiley face in the comments sections of the questionnaire. And those ‘good lucks’ were plentiful. I love love loved the support and it makes me feel all warm and cosy inside, even if the cupcakes aren’t quite up to par yet.
So, 31 chocolate caramel cupcakes, 3 hours of baking and decorating and 17 questionnaires later, I feel enlightened, motivated and satisfied. That kind of enlightenment you get when you watch Oprah. That kind of motivation you get when you know you get to do something you love. And that kind of satisfaction you get when you know your doing something good.
P.P.S. Reaction to first fan review on my fan page: How wonderful it is to be supported. Five stars!! How psyched am I! *doin’ a happy dance with sweaty hands of excitement*