Tag Archives: cupcake Germany

Learning about Cupcake Decor

2 Nov

As I wander around in the cupcake world, gawking at amazing one-of kind creations, constantly inspired by cupcake artists from around the world, I find that I have a wonderful and passionate hunger to learn more. Since I am not professionally trained in a fine culinary school, I seek resources on my own. From little hints off blogs, to amazon book reviews, to flickr photos and step-by step YouTube tutorials.

After my cupcake course at Fair Cake in London, I realize how important it is to get hands on advice and coaching. A lot of the intimidation I felt in using fondant and flower cutters vanished after I completed two wonderful cupcake classes with Shikhita Singh. The bad thing is, is that there are barely any classes in Germany like this. For cupcakes, a grand total of none and for cakes, well there are some but they are old-fashioned in their techniques. Luckily the UK is not far away and there are plenty of talented people, like Shikhita offering classes.
Also luckily, in Canada there are also plenty of opportunities to take classes alongside the professionals. So as of now, I am already bookmarking my way and inquiring about private lessons I could sign up for while I am there. One place that has been strongly recommended is the Bonnie Gordon School in Toronto. They have an excellent reputation for talented teachers and hopefully I can get a some one-on-one lessons from one of the instructors perfectly tailored to all the new things I want to learn. Also highly recommended are lessons at Golda’s Kitchen. Here there are courses, a bit like the Wilton style ones where you learn all about sugarcraft. Hopefully I can participate in two classes and have one private lesson while I am in Canada over the Christmas holidays.

Also on my Christmas list are books! For all those people stumped about what to get me for Christmas, I am preparing a nice long list of cake design books. So books that have already made the lists are:

  • What’s New Cupcake: Ingeniously Simple Designs for Every Occasion
  • Professional Cake Decorating by Toba M. Garrett
  • Wedding Cake Art and Design by Toba M. Garrett

Everything from piping techniques to sugar flower creation; I want to learn it all. Flower cutters, edible lustre dust and flower veiners are just the tip of the iceberg for me! I want to turn cupcakes into things of art, not just those muffin-like things that sit next to the brownies. That is my mission.

Here are some cupcake creations I have been working on:

Woo hoo! I made these babies again and took some pictures with better light!

Here I am working with melted chocolate. I created Chinese characters. The word I chose was: Happiness.

Here, I am practicing covering cupcakes entirely with fondant and making fondant faces.

Reflecting on the last 6 months and cute Hedgehog cupcakes

4 Oct

As I sat there cutting out some blue and red fondant stars, I let my mind wander and realized that with this cupcake donation for the New Comers Festival, Das Cupcake cupcakes have appeared at incredibly 3 out of the 4 major festivals in Frankfurt. During these budding first six months since inception, my cupcake babies have been at the Parade der Kulturen, the Rotlintstrasse Fest and now at the New Comers Festival (all donated, my friends!) right in the heart of the old city centre, in the Rathaus (city hall). Heh heh heh..Rat-house.

Mmm, carrot cake cupcakes, made with chopped pecans, shredded coconut and grated carrots. P.S. These cupcakes don't have anything to do with Newcomers Festival order, they are just cute.

I am very proud. I mean, ok, there may have been other more major festivals, but still. Das Cupcake has really flourished with the support of friends and the Frankfurt community. I mean in the last six months:

  • I conducted recipe development over a 6-week period, with the help of focus groups and a self-developed questionnaire.
  • I attended cupcake classes in London on Cupcake Basics where I learned how to work with fondant.
  • I attended a second cupcake class in London on Running Your Own Cupcake Business that helped me to understand what was in store.
  • I organized a vanilla taste testing extravaganza to perfect my recipe which included 8 testers, 5 vanilla frosting types and vanilla cupcake recipes.
  • I sourced a creative web designer and developed my logo.
  • I sourced international suppliers. (i.e. my Mom.:))
  • I leveraged online social networks to develop my online presence via my blog, Facebook fan page and Flickr photostream.
  • I decided to make my mark with two perfected cupcake flavours and a large focus on the decor aspect of cupcake making.
  • I organized, sourced props for and completed a cupcake photoshoot (pics still to be posted).
  • I networked with some major Frankfurt-based clubs, schools and charities.
  • I spoke in front of a room full of people (50ish, the most ever!) about Das Cupcake and my cupcake dream.

I also feel extremely lucky to have to a supportive Mr. Cupcake by my side who has helped me to read crazy German legal documents, spoke to crazy German associations on my behalf to find out about all the legal stuff and developed smart excel spreadsheets (much smarter than me) that calculate cost structures of my cupcake babies. He came to support me during my ten minute speech to the room full of people and beamed his love to me from his seat in the last row. He laughed at me during my tantrums with fondant and frosting, he advised me on serious issues such as flower embossing stamps, he measured cupcake cases with me, squinting at the numbers on the ruler, brainstormed ideas for the business and helped me clean the kitchen late into the hours of the night.

Equally awesome has been June from A-viva, who allowed me to trial my cupcake recipes on her students, invited me to countless networking events, plugged my cupcakes shamelessly to passer-byers, spent evenings chatting with me about my ideas and extended her network to me, as if it was mine and allowed me to grow my little business idea, step by step, festival by festival. Thank you so much June.

To continue that warm and fuzzy feeling inside, have a look at some cute hedgehog cupcakes I made this week.

Awesome tutorial on Wee Love Baking.

P.S. Hunching over fondant and working on the cute little details such as sprinkle centres on flowers and little hedgehog eyes, has totally strained my shoulder and neck muscles. Geez, one of the perks, eh? I can imagine it’ll get worse the more fondant work I do. I just booked an appointment with the nearest Frankfurt masseuse. Hopefully this will help. I can only imagine what other bakers have to go through. Fondant work can get very physical. Phy-si-cal. Phy-si-cal. *song in my head*

P.P.S. For more hedgehog cupcake cuteness² check out my Flickr photos.