Archive | August, 2010

Cupcakes for a friend and A Red Ribbon Rose tutorial

30 Aug

Last Monday I had the pleasure of baking some cupcakes for one of my best friends in Frankfurt. We met each other in our Beginners German class and didn’t exactly hit it off. But after bad first impressions and one tram ride later, we actually found out that we could be ‘bestie’ material after all. So here we are, nearly 12 months after the fact and we are in fact besties. She celebrated her birthday this week and I made her some chocolate cupcakes to bring to work and share with her colleagues. This leads me to one definitely bizarre tradition I’ve found in Germany.

On your birthday, in Germany, YOU have to bring the cake. On your own birthday, YOU have to either buy or bake a cake and bring it in to share with your colleagues. All is good in when it comes to cake, but shouldn’t your friends and colleagues be THE ONES surprising YOU with the cake? I ask. Anyway, a little bit of cultural differences aside, cakes and cupcakes are always a good idea-well, that is if you want people thinking it’s your birthday.

For her birthday, I made her favourite –my Belgian chocolate cupcakes and decorated them simply with some cute ribbon roses. I have wanted to make these roses for a while and after a few tries, I finally got the right thickness and shape.

And since I like to keep things fresh, I thought I would post a quick ribbon rose tutorial in this blog post for those captivated by these cute little guys.

Note: Make these at least three days in advance so the fondant has time to harden.

Check out the captions underneath each picture for further instructions.

To make a red ribbon rose you will need:

a pinch of fondant about the size of a large blueberry
a pinch of gum tragacanth
red food colouring
ruler (if you are a perfectionist)
a square (8cmx8cm) cut out of a plastic sandwich baggie (if your hands are warm, the fondant can stick to you)

Step 1:

Pinch off some white fondant and treat it with some strengthening powder by kneading gum tragacanth into the fondant. This will ensure that your rose hardens and keeps its shape. CMC powder is a synthetic version of gum tragacanth and will also do the trick. The size of the fondant you pinched off determines how much gum tragacanth you will use. The rule of thumb is 1 tsp per 250g of fondant, so it’s really just a pinch for small amounts of fondant like the one we are using here.

Step 2:

Next add the food colouring paste. Red is notorious for having a bittery taste, so use it wisely and just for small fondant decorations. i.e. cute ribbon roses

Step 3:

Knead red food colouring paste into the fondant. When kneading, I don't use latex gloves and so I do get red food colouring all over my fingers. A good hint here is, work with light colours, like pink and white FIRST, so as not to mark lighter colours with your red finger tips. Washing yours hands often helps, but not fully, especially when using white fondant which is very easy to stain. So if you are making pink and red ribbon roses, make your pink ones first.

Step 4:

Once a smooth colour appears, pinch off a small bit red fondant, about the size of a blueberry.

Step 5:

Roll a thin sausage in between your palms that will measure about 4cm. It can be a little pointy on the ends.

Step 6:

Take a square you have cut out from a plastic bag and flatten the sausage. I use the square piece of plastic baggie to keep the fondant from sticking to my finger during flattening, however you don’t NEED a square piece of baggie. Make sure that the width is only about 1cm if you want your rose to be short, cute and stubby like mine...if you want a taller rose, ignore the 1cm rule.

Step 7:

Ok, getting close now. Roll the flatten sausage, ensuring that from that very first rolling motion you create a tight roll as this will create the centre of your rose. What is also cute is if you don’t roll in a perfectly straight motion, but instead a little unevenly across the edges as this gives the rose a bit more dimension.

Step 8:

And there you have it! One ribbon rose.

I hope you enjoyed my 8-step tutorial on making your very own fondant red ribbon rose.

Have fun!

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A Sneak Peek at what is Up and Coming for Das Cupcake

27 Aug

I spent last weekend bargain hunting for props which I want to use in my upcoming photoshoot, being put together by me and by none other than my Trusty Apprentice. We are joining forces as the best food styling duo to hit Frankfurt to snap shots of some my wonderful cupcake creations in action as they model some of my hand-made fondant décor.

It's what food stylists do when checking spaghetti readiness.

Here is a sneak peek at some of the bargains I scored at the Flohmarkt (flea market) by the River Main.

Cute little treasure chest I found at home.

Candle holder and plate to double as cake stand.

Some other props from around our household. Jars and ribbon.

And, of course 2 pounds of gummi bears. Just because in Germany you can get these kinds of crazy amounts of Haribo.

Find out how 2 pounds of gummi bears will be used as a prop by checking out the upcoming photoshoot pics in the coming weeks!

We Eat With Our Eyes

2 Aug

The thing I love about giving cupcakes to people is that I get that same wonderful feeling you get when you are giving someone a present. That excited anticipation you feel as you hand over the present and you can’t help but have a huge smile on your face because you know you did your best to find the coolest gift and you can’t wait for them to open it. I get that feeling EVERY time I give a box of my handmade cupcakes that I have spent hours over, preparing every last detail. There is also that little nagging anxiety that creeps into the back of my mind, just like when you give a present, that they may not like what they get when they open the box. You just hope you can please them with the final product. There is of course the additional anxiety that your cupcakes will not stay intact on the drive over to their new homes and end up melting into an unforgivable heap of frosting. Hopefully I will chill-out over time and those nagging feelings will subside, but as of right now I am still a bundle of excitement and anxiety as I hand over my cupcake babies to family and friends.
The best part for me is actually the decorating part. I love working with fondant and making cute pretty decorations. I equally love creating puffy great swirls to add the decorations to.

This week, I was watching some culinary video and the guy on there said that we eat with our eyes. And from now on, I think that will become my motto. Something just registered in me when I heard that. I know that I personally have bought many things before just for their appearance. I know, I am THAT shallow. Funnily enough, not like that with men though.:)

I think that making a beautiful product, that tastes as beautiful as it looks is my ultimate goal. My swirls are not quite equally perfect nor have I perfected the art of fondant, but those are my goals. And I love working towards goals and I look forward to achieving these ones. My thirst for the cupcake world continues to grow and I look forward to a time when I have cupcake orders coming out of my ears! Yes, it’ll be tons of work but that satisfaction I will  get is unbeatable!