Tag Archives: cupcake order

Edible Butterflies ─Mmmm, tasty.

27 Sep

My friend asked me to bake these only one night in advance, so I did my best. My friend requested some cupcakes for his wife, whose birthday it was, to bring them in for her colleagues at work. Sound familiar??:) He wanted blue and he wanted flowers, so off I went. I made super simple flowers and decided that blue flowers called for blue butterflies and I had a special trick up my sleeve.  Blue edible paper. In Germany, you can’t get most baking accessory things and it’s frustrating so you just gotta get creative and source out cool local stuff.
I found this cute edible paper in my local grocery store and I have these cute punches from the local craft store. Put two and two together and you get a big win. Ever since, I saw cute little accents on ShamsD cupcakes, I knew I had to have them. So I have been staunchly committed to rolling out my fondant super-duper thin to get my little baby dragon flies and baby butterflies. But ever since my Trusty Apprentice brought back some white edible paper and now since my discovery of COLOURED edible paper, I am in love with my punches. So cheers, to punches big and small and to no more torn fondant stuck everywhere!

You can gently crack the edible paper to create the “flying butterfly” effect. Cooooool.

I also am in love with my chocolate swirls. Talk about perfect frosting consistency. That is the key. I will tell you right now. I frost my cupcakes right before delivery which means I refrigerate my frosting until the morning of. Now if you don’t let the frosting come to room temperature again (as when it is first made) then you are in big trouble. Although the frosting comes out through the piping tip, JUST, it is very difficult to handle. It slides all over the flat iced surfaces of my cupcakes. It comes in bursts and then stops mid-swirl. That is the trouble with firm frosting which hasn’t been out of the fridge for long enough. Once it is at room temperature, I always recommend a quick whirl with the hand mixer. Yeah, I know it gets things all dirty and covered in chocolate icing again, but it’s worth it to get it to that whipped consistency all the way through the entire batch of icing.. This ensures that the entire batch of frosting takes on a equal temperature.
I hope the perfect chocolate swirls and blue edible paper were enjoyed by all!

P.S. The words frosting and icing are interchangeable. Two different words, same exact meaning. And I thought Deutsch was hard!

Cupcakes for an Expat

15 Sep

Going to events in and around Frankfurt has given me the opportunity to meet many new people. I recently attended American Citizens Information Night and besides the abundant supply of American goodies like bagels and Mountain Dew, I met a lot of friendly, open and kind expats. There is just something very wonderful about the immediate comfort you get from a fellow expat when you know you can speak English really quickly and they will still understand all your subtle jokes and innuendos.

As luck would have it, I got the chance to bake for one of those lovely people I met that night. Anita is an avid fan of cupcakes, an expat like me and also understands the etiquette when it comes to providing cake on your own birthday. So she requested my help to sweeten up her colleagues in the form of 1 dozen French vanilla cupcakes and 1 dozen Belgian chocolate cupcakes. She is a big chocolate lover, so I obliged by using my best chocolate cocoa. Her favourite colours include teal, blues and greens so I used those colours as accents.

I decided to include one cupcake blanketed fully in fondant as a bit of an ode to hello naomi who is a big inspiration to me. There is something very clean and professional about a cupcake with a fondant finish. I do try to keep fondant to a minimum, but I have seen this fondant covering done many times and I thought it was about time, I try it for myself.

With these fondant-blanketed cupcakes, there are different methods, however the one I used includes a buttercream layer under the fondant blanket. So if you are not a fan of the fondant, you can simply peel it off and you still have your normal cupcake with buttercream frosting to bite into. For a good how-to tutorial, visit CakeJournal. Word of warning, use recipes that guarantee you a nice domed cupcake. The key to adding a fondant top, is to have a domed top to begin with. If you don’t have a domed cupcake and instead just create the dome out of buttercream, when/if the buttercream melts, your fondant will lose its shape as it will have no dome to hang onto and could slide off into a gooey mess.

The ‘full fondant blanket’ over a cupcake is very popular across the globe, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the UK, however interestingly enough, I recently heard that in America, cupcakes are taking a new direction in becoming more healthy ─with more vegan cupcakes for example. Highlighting this point, a vegan chef recently won the $10,000 prize on Cupcake Wars showing that traditional ingredients could be on the way out. Healthier options such as apple sauce, coconut milk and agave nectar are substituting traditionally used items such as butter, milk and refined sugar.

Personally I like to get the best of both worlds and that is why I try to achieve a balance in my cupcakes. I love the beauty and sophistication of fondant covered cupcakes but can appreciate that it should be kept to a minimum and that cupcakes don’t need to overwhelmed with sugar. This is why I chose to do this single cupcake as an accent so that the details of fondant art can be aesthetically inspiring and not sugar-overload off-putting. We shall see what the response will be like from the Germans as I introduce them to the world of fondant.

The cupcakes themselves turned out beautifully with the extra special chocolate cocoa powder and needless to say, chocolate cravings were satisfied, yet more German cupcake addicts were born and all was right in the world.

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!

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!