Tag Archives: cupcakes Germany

Cupcake Courses for 2016 in Frankfurt

24 Feb

One of the things that I love equally as much as baking is meeting fellow bakers in Frankfurt and teaching them all I know about baking the most perfect cupcakes. For about 2 years now, I have had at least 3 weekends a month booked with students from all over Germany coming to Frankfurt for my classes.

The most popular one is the one where I give away my vanilla raspberry cupcakes recipe and teach my students how to make swiss meringue buttercream. In this class there is also an introduction to working with fondant and gum paste and I teach how to make little daisy flowers and lady bugs.

cupcake class frankfurt germany

In addition to learning how to work with fondant and gum paste, the students also get to try out professional piping tips that give you that beautiful bakery swirl! We practice piping techniques and learn how to colour buttercream.

A close second, is the decoration course where you learn how to put the perfect fondant dome on a cupcake and how to make a beautiful rose bud.

IMG_2171

Student’s work after my step by step demo on how to make a rose bud in one of my classes.

I run all my courses from my baking studio and additionally I have a longstanding partnership with the Genussakademie which is a culinary school here in Frankfurt. My courses are bestsellers on their website, and every course is fully booked.

genussakademie frankfurt cupcake class

Here is a picture at the Genussakademie in Frankfurt. This is the Fressgasse location, located right next to the Apple store in Frankfurt. Here is a work station set up for my cupcake baking class.

genussakademie cupcakes in frankfurt

For each station, there are 4-5 participants that work together to bring the cupcakes to life. As the first step I go through the written recipe step by step with the entire class and then they make the cupcakes themselves at each station while I come by and help and ensure they are on the right track. The best way to learn is by doing it themselves.

This year I have introduced a new course, called Pralines. This means I teach you how to make your own box of truffles. Using traditional praline making techniques and new ones, I show you techniques and tricks to give you the confidence to work with chocolate. You learn how to temper chocolate, how to make ganache -3 ways, how to use cocoa butter to paint patterns, how to use chocolate foil transfers, and how to make two different types of fillings. I am really looking forward to this one!

I also run cake pop courses where you learn my chocolate cake recipe and a sharp edges courses which means working with a big cake, learning how to fill it and working with ganache as a medium to get those sharp fondant edges!

genussakademie fressgasse cupcake class

Here is the set up for newest course which I exclusively offer at the Genussakademie -the mini cake course. In this course you learn how to make a mini cake and the techniques you would use on a big cake. There is tons of ground to cover in this course in just four short hours but that is why I have developed the sharp edges course which I offer at the Ewa Feix Akademie as a follow up to to the mini cake course. The sharp edges course is 7 hours long and does include lunch!

All the courses are in German. After 6 years of living in Frankfurt now, with a thick English accent I do my best and communicate with all my participants in German.

For more information about my courses at the Ewa Feix Akademie and to sign up, click here: http://dascupcake.de/ewa-feix-akademie-2

 

 

Making cupcakes with the talented Tracy from Cotton and Crumbs

22 Mar

I have swooned and oohed and awed at the amazing sugarcrafting talents of Tracy for the past two years, printing images of her cupcakes and studying those roses and rose buds and even attempting to have other sugarcraft teachers teach me how to make that rose.

So when I heard that Cotton and Crumbs was running a class, I jumped at the chance to find out how to make those perfectly swooping and utterly perfect sugar roses.

A picture of one of Tracy's designs, taken at her workshop, showing off her beautiful work.

Flying to Birmingham, back to my old stomping grounds, I was glad to be back and see that while so much has changed so much had also stayed the same since my university days.

The class itself was wonderful and I would highly recommend it. We spent 6 hours creating beautiful cupcakes and Tracy kindly and generously shared all the wisdom she has gathered through the years. Everything from the content of the contract she put together for her customers to curving the petals at just the right angle to achieve those drool worthy roses.

A divine lunch was served complete with classic crustless sandwich combos, I had so dearly missed like cheddar and onion and egg salad. To round out the perfect lunch we enjoyed scones covered generously with clotted cream and jam and I ate no less than 5!!! Let’s just say that fifth put me over the edge and I felt a little nausea after my over-eating!! Oops!

Here is Tracy showing us different techniques.

How to achieve the perfect dome:

Perfect Sugar roses:

Two-toned fondant ribbons:

Lots of pearls of wisdom, dutifully noted:

So with my last Lucazade in hand, I boarded the flight, with a box of cupcakes balanced in the other. Here are the babies, from the class which travelled all the way back to Frankfurt via a stopover in Amsterdam!

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
Sweetapolita
Bakingdom
A Piece of Art Everyday
Cupcakes Take the Cake
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
CakeSpy
Bakerella
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!

Cupcakes for Munich and in Munich

9 Nov

This weekend Mr. Cupcake and I drove down to Munich to celebrate a friend’s birthday and as part of the gift, I also brought along a foursome of cupcakes for the birthday girl. I decided to try a recipe that Mr. Cupcake’s mom makes in the form of a cake. As with all German cakes, this one is easy on the sugar and big on the healthy ingredients. This recipe calls for fruits and vegetables in the batter, but is still wonderfully light and fluffy like a true cupcake. As soon as the two words: ‘fluffy and light’ came out the mouths of this recipe’s testers, I knew I had given birth to a new cupcake baby, even if it does have a certain green vegetable in it.

For the topping I made a milk chocolate ganache which was too runny unfortunately. It was my first time using milk chocolate with hot cream and the glaze came out too thin. Either way, the milk chocolate was the perfect accent flavour with the zucchini and nuts in the cupcake. Even if the surface was a bit bumpy due to the nuts, I know that with a second coat of less creamy ganache, all would have been right in the world and although the appearance wasn’t the smooth finish I was after, I was delighted with a new wonderful flavour combination.

After enjoying my cupcakes with the birthday girl, Mr. Cupcake and I headed to find cupcakes in Munich and we found some here.
Donuts & Candies is primarily a donut place but I found out that they also do cupcakes. Four simple flavours, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and another berry flavour, I believe . Unfortunately there was no fresh fruit in sight and the berry flavours were topped with berry candies. I only purchased a vanilla cupcake for trialing purposes and here is what we found:

  • Extremely solid and waxy McDonald’s-like frosting covering a dense de-frosted muffin-like cake.
  • To be honest the frosting wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t too sweet and tasted extremely like white chocolate. The bad points were that it was quite waxy on your teeth and did not even dent when the cupcake fell over in the bag.
  • The dense bottom was not rich in flavour and rather plain. It was also quite dry as the cupcakes are kept refrigerated.
  • Overall, I would go back for the delicious donuts but not for the cupcakes.

After eating it, I explained to Mr. Cupcake my very real concerns. I have now eaten quite a few bad cupcakes in Germany and it seems that an excellent cupcake is hard to come by. And if Germans, start to get bad impressions about cupcakes when they try one at a local McDonald’s for example, then really the cupcake trend will never truly pick up. They will become jaded by bad cupcake experiences and wonder why they should ever buy any. So here is my solemn oath to all lovers of cake (soon-to-be-cupcake converts): Never fear, fluffy, light, deliciously deep in flavour cupcakes are on their way. And there’s more. They will look as glorious as they taste. As I learn the craft of sugar decor, I promise to bring creative and mesmerizing little pieces of individual art to each little bite of goodness.

So stay tuned as I hone my skills, perfect more recipe and bring these cupcakes into reality post by post.

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!