Tag Archives: cupcakes Germany

Strawberry and Mango Cupcakes for Mr. Cupcake’s Mom

12 Oct

Last weekend I had the pleasure of baking cupcakes for Mr. Cupcake’s mom’s 60th birthday. It was a perfect October day, full of sunshine, a cool breeze and beautifully coloured trees. There were over 60 guests so we were surrounded by the fun and tradition of close family and friends.

Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream (in the front) and mango buttercream (in the back) pre-decoration.

I decided that strawberry and mango cupcakes would be on the menu for dessert. Strawberry is a big fruit favourite and I felt mango was a nice slightly exotic complement. I went with fruit cupcakes as I thought they presented a nice colour scheme and would be familiar to all the generations present at the party.

Mango cupcakes with flower accents.

For the strawberry cupcakes, I used strawberry fruit puree in the vanilla cupcake batter and then enhanced the true strawberry flavour with a strawberry buttercream that had chunks of strawberry rather than just the puree. I then stayed with the strawberry cupcake batter and added a naturally coloured mango buttercream on top.

Strawberry and mango cupcakes with full fondant decor. Oops, I went a little crazy with the lemon yellow food colouring paste. Remember: coloured fondant dries a shade or two darker. Of course, I had been told that already, time and time again.

The strawberry cupcakes were a definite hit whereas the mango ones still left something to be desired. The mango flavour was not as intense as I would have liked it. The cool thing about this whole experience was that the restaurant owner/master chef loved my cupcakes and even gave me loads of contacts where I can purchase supplies in Germany. He even brought out the fruit puree which he uses, providing me with the brand name and where I can get it so that I can achieve a more intense mango flavour in future batches. Did I ever tell you that I love Germans? So awesome. I love it when people share their information. And it inspires me to do the same. There is just something so organic about people exchanging information and something so sad about people desperately holding onto their recipes and knowledge.

So as I find out cute little tricks, I promise to share. Like with the edible paper and with the ribbon rose making. If you feel like a little cupcake challenge, let me share this great link with you for fondant figures. Have fun crafting fondant into little 3D creations for your cuppies!

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!

Autumn-inspired Chocolate Leaf Tutorial

24 Sep

Fall is already in full swing in Frankfurt and out come the fall boots and heavier jackets. I was feeling inspired by a cake on Clockwork Lemon so I thought I would take chocolate leaves, inspired by autumn colours to the world of cupcakes, so off I went to collect some. After running into some technical difficulties (the leaves were too high to reach), I managed to find some other trees with lower hanging leaves.

To make chocolate leaves you will need:

Washed and dried leaves with nicely visible veins
200g of white chocolate
Wilton food colouring pastes ─colours of your choice
Small bowls or shot glasses
Teaspoon or pastry brush
Backpapier (parchment paper)

I brought home my colourful collection and this is what I did.

Step 1:

Wash leaves and pat them dry. Ensure when you collect the leaves, you get ones with really visible veins.

Step 2:

Melt white chocolate using the double boiler method (i.e. melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering hot water).

Step 3:

Divide up your melted chocolate into little glasses or small bowls.

Step 4:

Using a toothpick, add food colouring paste to the white chocolate. Please don’t use liquid food colouring, otherwise the chocolate will seize up on you. This is when the chocolate you are melting suddenly becomes grainy and firms up, looking like a dull, thick paste and you can longer work with it.

Step 5:

Make some nice autumn colours. Using the Wilton buttercup yellow created a really nice autumn yellow. I also added it to the red and the orange to also make them more golden-y.

Step 6:

Using a pastry brush or the back of teaspoon also worked very well, apply the coloured chocolate to the back of the leaf, where the veins are most visible. I found that using bigger leaves and at least 2-3 applications of chocolate worked best. The smaller leaves didn’t work so well, the big leaves where too big for cupcakes however the medium leaves were juuuust right. And by three applications, I mean, put them in the fridge for drying after each application and reapply the next coat onto the dried chocolate. Let the chocolate covered leaves dry on Backpapier (parchment paper) in the fridge.

Step 7:

Take out them out of the once the last coat has dried. Overall, the drying of each coat takes about 5-10 minutes. So after about 30 minutes your leaves should be ready. I left my leaves in for another hour after that just to harden them up even more. So after this hour and half, take the leaves out and gently peel the chocolate off the leaves. The key word here is gently! Gently people!

Step 8:

Decorate your cupcake with your handmade decor.

I gotta say, this was a lot of work, and these pretty little leaves are seriously sensitive to any kind of heat, from your hands, the air or light. I am not sure whether it would have been different if I had been working with normal chocolate and not white chocolate as I hear white chocolate can be very temperamental when things are added to it (i.e. food colouring paste). So I don’t know how long these would last if you didn’t refrigerate your cupcakes. I don’t think I want to find out actually. A bit too much hassle and stress in hoping they survive and not crumble into a million pieces for my liking!

Overall, an interesting experiment, the results were a little disappointing but it’s always nice to try a new kind of cupcake decor, even if it didn’t create quite the WOW factor I was looking for. On the other hand, if YOU come up with better results, do send the pics my way!

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.