Tag Archives: cupcakes Frankfurt

Visiting the Dr. Oetker Kitchen Studio

13 Jun

As my prize in the Dr. Oetker Dekorideen Wettbewerb (competition), I was lucky enough to be invited to bake at the Dr. Oetker Studio in Bielefeld in one of their courses. I had an all-expenses paid trip and was able to bring three people with me. So I chose Mr. Cupcake and the Cupcakes-In-Law, Mr. Cupcake’s wonderful mom and dad.

I was welcomed by Marjana, one the people involved in organizing the competition and her passion for her work and positive energy was really lovely to see and to be around. It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet her. She took care of everything from the first call to the expenses list and I really appreciated all of her hard work in making my visit a great one and of course the bag of awesome Dr. Oetker goodies was an awesome surprise!

So the task for the day for us four and the 10 other people on the course was to bake!! We all received a recipe each and had to make it from scratch using all the ingredients laid out at our stations. So that means, yes you did the math right, 14 sweet goodies to trial at the end!

In pulling recipes, out of a bucket, Mr. Cupcake got a wonderfully yummy recipe for Sweet Hot Dogs. With some angst at the beginning and unsure of his moves in a kitchen, surrounded by flour and sugar, he gained more and more confidence by the minute and the results showed! Yummy sweet soft dough buns, filled with custard cream, chocolate cigars and kiwi and grapes as décor.

I, on the other hand, pulled out a cake recipe. A departure from my cupcake-making days and a healthy challenge. The recipe produced a very delicious simple vanilla cake with a focus on working with marzipan and molding the cake into a ladybug. Here is my finished product.

Vanilla sponge cake topped with a whipped cream with little chocolate shavings folded into the cream.

Here is Mother-Cupcake-In-Law using the glittery gels a.k.a. Glitter Pens from Dr. Oetker.

Here is the finished product of Father-Cupcake-In-Law.

Mr. Cupcake was actually one of the first people on the course to finish his recipe so he was delegated a second, this time savoury recipe to prepare. A tomatoe and red pepper soup, filled with feta and roasted pinenuts…mmmm..mm, good! With a side of puff pastry savoury sticks covered in bacon bits finished by the assistants at the course. Sorry no pictures of these as these were gobbled up pretty darn fast!!

Here are all the wonderful baked goods. I have a nicely soup-lined belly at this point and am ready to dive in!

Click on the picture if you would like to see a bigger version.

They were all very excellent and so fresh. We were allowed to take as many of the leftovers of each as we wanted. So we took a lot!

After four hours of baking, we took the train home to Frankfurt. Loaded up with Dr. Oetker goodies and freshly baked desserts!

It was a rockin’ course and I would highly recommend the trip. Here is a link for more information on their course schedule. They are always updating their course selection and so there is always something new to learn!

Thank you once again for all your votes, you guys. The support was overwhelming and the prize was very much enjoyed by all!

Spring Cupcakes in Frankfurt

12 Apr

Spring has arrived in Frankfurt. The cherry blossom trees are fragrant and in full bloom, the sun is shining giving your skin an early April glow, the banks of the Main River are packed full joggers, friends BBQing and people chilling out on blankets in the grass. And alongside all of these spring joys are spring cupcakes in my kitchen of course!

So when a friend of mine asked me to bake some cupcakes, I knew that these cupcake babies had to welcome in spring in all its glory.

On these cupcakes I combined two things I have wanted to try out for ages.

1. Using crushed Oreos to mimic ground/soil.
2. The Wonderful World of Royal Icing.

There so many wonderfully talented and creative ladies out in the blogging world and after getting inspired by their spring creations, I just couldn’t resist trying out my hand with some of their designs and tricks of the trade.

Here are my Oreo-soil cupcakes with carrots and grass inspired by CocoCakes in Vancouver. Her style is one of kind and every time she accomplishes this under-stated beauty in all her creations that is executed through simplicity. So inspiring.

The next lady which finally pushed me over the edge into taking the plunge into royal icing and sugar cookies is Callye at The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle. As soon as laid my eyes on these super adorable bunny ear sugar cookies, I knew that I would finally be making sugar cookies. I mean how could I resist? Callye is just so purely creative and I love that. She has recently taken sugar cookies to the next level and made awesome 3-D creations like these sugar cookie nail polish jars. I mean, her creativity is amazing and she shares so many tricks of the trade which is so wonderful for beginners like me who muster up the courage only after viewing the tutorial 17 times. Her great work never ceases to amaze me and I loved that I was able to combine sugar cookies with cupcakes!

The last design was mine. Yay! I am sure I have seen grass piping all over the Internet but hey, the daisy and the ladybug TOGETHER on grass piping, yeah, that was ALL me. I bet it’s been done a hundred times, I know! But hey, maybe not yet in Germany? Oder (or) in Frankfurt? Maybe I am the first! Either way they are damn cute!! Shame about the lighting and shadows though!

Enjoy spring and there will be more spring cupcakes to come!

Crafting Couture Cupcakes with a True Cake Artist: My lesson with Lori Hutchinson

11 Jan

OMG. I have just finished my private lesson with Lori and I know that this is why I want to make cupcakes. Lori Hutchinson a.k.a The Caketress makes one of a kind cakes in Canada and by one of a kind cakes, I mean spectacular masterpieces in every sense of the word. Even though she is a total cake rockstar, she is completely down-to-earth and made me feel comfortable throughout the entire lesson. We really had a blast.

Lori was just the cake designer to bring out my love for design. I headed to Toronto’s Bonnie Gordon School of Confectionary Arts for my lesson. This fabulous school offers a wide variety of programmes from 6 week designer cake certification courses to business essentials courses. Lucky for me, they also coordinate with cake designers and offer private lessons. Lily, who is the general manager at the school was extremely professional, quick to respond and gave me all the information I needed as I had to organize my class from Germany. I would highly recommend a course at Bonnie Gordon’s school if you are ever in the Toronto area.

At first Lori and I started with a classic haute couture cake decorating class. Lori showed me how to create her classic ruffling and texturing and spoke about how we would apply these techniques to our model cakes. When she noticed that I had brought cupcakes and buttercream as models, she totally revised her lesson for the day and embraced my cupcakes. She got out all kinds of tools, even her hot glue gun and starting designing ribbon dresses on my cupcake cases. How totally genius. I was psyched to be in the same room as her. Check out this total awesomeness. Now that is a couture cupcake!

All these case designs are pure handcrafted by Lori and they look magnificent. I say: cupcake wrappers are out and fancy ribbon is in!

While she took to the cases, I worked on the fondant designs, cutting out black butterflies, kneading colours into fondant and choosing colour schemes.

This beauty I handcrafted on my own.

Even though Lori and I collaborated, she was really the creative genius behind the final designs but the fantastic thing is that as each cupcake came to life (mostly from Lori’s momentum) I knew that every single design was also “me.” And let me tell you, working with a creative genius rubs off and I cannot wait to incorporate some of the stenciling and stamping which I love with some of the stuff I learned from Lori.

So with a stock of 24k gold in tow, I return to Germany completely inspired by and elated with these cupcake designs.

New in Germany-Cupcake mix in a box! A review.

30 Nov

Ok, so it’s official, cupcakes are touching the hearts of the Germans. They have expanded their reach to all corners of the world, from North American to the UK, from the UK to Australia and New Zealand and I think they are about to find a cosey place in the Germany.

Here we have Exhibit A:

Himbeer-Vanille (Raspberry-Vanilla) Cupcakes from RUF. Still need to work on that spelling. No hyphen, guys.

These guys here stood all by their lonesome next to all the Dr. Oetker instant pound cake mixes so I just had to bring one home with me. So only one lone flavour available on the shelves at the moment, but it’s a start! And at €2.49 a pop, not bad. So here is how things went down.

Unlike the packages in Canada, this package comes with everything you need for the cupcakes, ohne (without) the fresh ingredients that is. It comes with the cake mix, the flavour mix for the frosting, white chocolate shavings for garnish and even cute pink cupcake cases.

Once you add the egg and oil, you whip everything together for two minutes and then the Teig (batter) is ready for the oven. With a bake time of 25 minutes, you have time to prepare the frosting.

You mix the raspberry flavoured powder with cream cheese and again within two minutes it is ready to use. As we already know, Germans are scared of the unhealthy stuff, so the frosting is at a minimum. Just look at how little frosting there is! Maybe a cup for all the 12 cupcakes! I later in fact discovered the reason behind scant amounts of frosting on these cupcakes. Approximately 48 hours after the cupcakes were made, the few remaining ones that had the swirls of frosting got really soggy tops where as the ones with less were fine. Vielleicht (maybe) this has something to do with cream cheese frosting as a rule (I’m no expert), but it was gross and I threw the soggy topped cupcakes away.

So how was this German cupcake mix? Good. Not great. The cupcakes were nice when they first came out of the oven. Fluffy and moist, but then something happened and by the following day, they were dense (like the McDonald’s ones) and quite heavy from the moisture in them. The frosting was fine, I mean again, it tasted like stuff they put on the McDonald’s cupcakes except with the tang of cream cheese as the base. The cupcakes certainly aren’t so impressive and no I would not buy them again (ugh, I hate dense cupcakes) BUT the Germans have to start somewhere. Alongside the few cupcake shops sprinkled around Germany, this is definitely a step in the right direction. I would love for cupcakes to go mainstream here so I could introduce Germans to the wonderful world of fluffy cupcakes, Canadian style.

My Favourite Blogs

24 Nov

The good thing is that cupcakes are as much my hobby as they are my blossoming business. So I can always justify splurging a little bit more than you normally would on your hobby, because it’s important, you know, for the BUSINESS. And well it’s also ok to spend a bit more on your business because it’s for a dual purpose, it’s also your hobby.
So let’s just say this was my logic as I added item after item into my online cart this weekend. Tee hee. One for me, one for the business. Two for me, one for the business.
My Spanish Importer Extraordinaire shall bring the goods from the island to the mainland in the next week and I shall be ready to impress with my new cupcake fashions.

And while shopping for cupcake paraphernalia, I made a discovery which I want to share with you all. Silicone is back in, baby. Silicone moulds are all the rage. Easy to use, multi-purpose and re-usable, of course. I’ll introduce you to the world of silicone just as soon as I get my hands on my new goodies next week!

Also this last week, I was honoured by a fellow blogger with the ‘Lovely Blog Award’ The lovely, She Whisks, from Whisk Whisk Whisk shared the love and gave this award to me.

And now I get to pass on the torch to 15 blogs that I love to stalk. So here are my faves:

Spain in a Cupcake (currently running a Christmas give-away!! Check it out!)
The Cupcake Blog
A Piece of Art Everyday
Cupcakes Take the Cake
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
Pioneer Woman
Whisk Kid
17 and Baking
Cupcake Project
i am baker
Bake at 350

Take a little break from work and enjoy!

Cupcakes + Blog = Awesome

16 Nov

Ok, so as if baking cupcakes wasn’t cool enough, now cupcakes are leading me to new friendships. One awesome offshoot (great word, people should use it more often) of writing a blog is that people read it. And not just your mom or your brother but also cool people; cool people that could be cool friends.

This month I met Alma who is living in Frankfurt and loves to bake. She introduced me to all her favourite baking accesory shops in Frankfurt and places where you can buy lots of amazing inexpensive cake stands. Tiered cake stands, people! In Frankfurt, under 20€! An amazing find that would not have been possible without the lovely Alma. We also headed to Hugeldugel (HILARIOUS name for a bookshop) and took pictures of recipes in cupcakes books…He he he, so illegal but we will buy the books later! Promise! Alma makes awesome cupcakes so much so they have even been featured on Cupcakes Take the Cake. If you don’t believe me, take a look for yourself.

Now, I didn’t think I could meet any more cool baking English speaking girlies in Frankfurt, but I was wrong! Tonight I just got home from a date with Cati who loves all things baking AND cooking. We had a blast talking about about the Kleinmarkthalle and all the wonderful ingredients that you can find all around Frankfurt. We drank white Sangria in a small Spanish bar in Frankfurt and completely lost track of time as we divulged secret family recipes to one another. With Cati’s help, I think I am actually brave enough to tackle cream cheese frosting again. You can get a taste for her baked goodies on her Facebook page.

I love meeting fellow bakers and Frankfurters and I can’t wait until we all can get together and bake, try new recipes, learn new tricks and basically eat awesome cupcakes and cookies all day long. Ah…I do live a hard life here in Frankfurt.

Now for some cupcake porn. I donated these for an event that my very good friend had organized. They were very well received and some people even ate two! Woo hoo! That means my less sweet buttercream is working.:) I also got the chance to practice my sugar crafting. I made Calla Lilies, one large pink flower with some left over petals I had and I used some wafer butterflies that I just received from the UK.

Hand-made fondant Calla Lilies on chocolate cupcakes.

Wafer butterflies although affectionately referred to as ‘body of Christ’ butterflies.

And if you are a fellow baker or bakeress in Frankfurt and want to join our little growing network, don’t hestitate for one second to get in touch! You will be welcomed with open arms..and cupcakes!

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.

Chinese Cupcakes and Macaroons

26 Oct

I sit here writing, perfectly content, as the smell of baking coconut envelops my apartment and my batch of macaroons turn their lovely shade of golden. When I am not baking cupcakes, I begin to have baking withdrawal symptoms and so I have taken to baking batches of fudgy brownies, crispy cookies and now macaroons to fulfil that desire for baking. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore cupcakes and will remain the Cupcake Queen, however it’s nice to whip up something quick and different. I bring my goodies in weekly to my Deutschkurs which I recently returned to full time. The free goodies are always received in the same way. First with hesitation: ‘Oh, no thank you, I am on a diet.’ Then: ‘Well maybe just one.’ To be concluded with: ‘Do you have anymore??’ It’s a cute little cycle and I am developing a great reputation and learning lots of German everyday in my full time course. I have gone back to hone my German language skills since I want to develop my business in Germany, so I really need to become fluent on my cupcake journey.

Recently, the language school held a Chinese themed party and I was the bearer of cupcakes. It took me a while to come up with a theme for my cupcakes but in the end I did good. I made chocolate, green tea and strawberry cupcakes and all were well received.

Sorry about the bad lighting. Stress from chocolate buttercream + late evening hours = crappy cupcake photo.

The chocolate cupcakes nearly gave me a heart attack as I tried a meringue buttercream as I would like to have a less sweet alternative in my repitoire. Well working with egg whites and hot sugar is never fun and my buttercream came out very soft, which I don’t personally like. The flavour was similar to a chocolate mousse and luckily everyone loved it. Another hit were the green tea cupcakes, the people fell in love with the cherry blossoms. The strawberry cupcakes were served with a creamy and not so sweet frosting, perfect for the German pallet. The only problem is that this whipping cream-based frosting reacts with food colouring and makes the fondant creations bleed onto the cupcakes. Not ideal. After all the stress with the soft chocolate buttercream and the bleeding fondant, I was really stressed for the delivery. I thought that the cupcakes were not up to my standards. Luckily I stuck around at the party and saw people take their first bite of my (ugly) cupcakes. No one noticed the bleeding, no one noticed the soft buttercream, no one noticed my ugly version of Chinese candy melt characters. They just came back for more! They wanted to try all the flavours!! It was so euphoric! I just love to see people enjoy my cupcakes, but I get so stressed, uptight and self-conscious leading up to that first bite.

I used a narrow piping nozzle and melted red candy melts to create these Chinese characters. The character means 'Happiness'. I hope!

I really gotta learn how to chill out. Either way, I learned a lot and am happy that my Chinese friends were happy.

Late night inspiration: I heart fortune cookies.:)

P.S. Mmmm, I have just taken out my macaroons and there is nothing like the sweet and delicious smell of baked coconut just taking over your senses. Just imagine these sexy beasts on cupcakes!

Cupcakes in Fall

19 Oct

I have been dying to give an ode to the beautiful fall season in Frankfurt especially after the chocolate leaves left me less than impressed. My love for fondant work continues so I decided to make some autumn themed fondant creations.

I started with leaves, the quintessential symbol of autumn. I imprinted them using embosser sticks. On the embossing sticks I added edible lustre paste by mixing the lustre dust with a little bit of water. I brushed this paste onto the embossing stick and created an sparkly imprint on my autumn leaves creating simple but sophisticated fondant leaves.

I created a pumpkin very easily by creating a small ball, adding a small stem of brown fondant, scoring it with a toothpick and wrapping some green vein made of fondant around two toothpicks to give it its curl.

To complete my autumn set, I made baby acorns, using a tutorial I found online. Let’s face it, baby acorns are much cuter than regular-sized acorns.

Four simple vanilla cupcakes, topped with a smooth, creamy frosting and all dolled up to celebrate the season. I hope these were enjoyed by their new owners!

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.