Tag Archives: cupcakes in Frankfurt

Cupcake Decorating Basics Classes in Frankfurt

9 Apr
In Frankfurt by popular DEMAND!!

 

Cupcake Decorating Basics!!

 

If you already know how to bake cupcakes and have always wanted to make them look as beautiful as those made by professionals, this is the course for you. Spend two hours with Ewa Feix from “Das Cupcake” learning how to decorate cupcakes. In this course you will:

  • choose the colours you want to work with from the provided colour palette
  • learn to pipe frosting using various techniques with popular piping nozzles
  • use professional tools to create flowers and other pretty details for your cupcakes
  • learn how to work with fondant and flower paste
By the end of the 5 hour tuition, you will have 12 delicious cupcakes beautifully decorated by you to take home to family and friends! This course is available on weekends for your convenience. Workshop fees include all ingredients. Don’t forget to bring your aprons! The class will take place in Frankfurt am Main and more information will follow once you sign up.

Please email dascupcake@googlemail.com to join!

April Class  (introductory price of €55 per class)
Saturday, Apr. 21    11:00-16:00

In the class you learn how to make all the flowers pictured above.
Styling concept and photography by Iro - Ivy Nassopoulos. Check out more of her work by searching for Domestic stories with Ivy on Facebook.

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The Creative Soul of a Cupcake Bakestress

3 Jun

I recently returned to corporate world as a great opportunity showed up on my doorstep and it is only part-time and temporary. It lets me flex the skills I already have (corporate world related) to help out a good team and an interesting project and at the same time give me some side money while I get my business going as well.  I have to say, that I am absolutely fascinated by how my perspective has changed. My values are different, my needs are different and my expectations are different. This side job gives me a direct view into how my life could be in Germany if I head back into the world of large corporations with large projects. Multi-nationals with multi-digit budgets have their advantages, but they certainly do not foster any creativity or self-expression.

Donated these for the winners of a charity auction held at my Frankfurt language school, A-viva.

A friend of mine recently told me that creative people need input as well as output. Now I never really considered myself a creative person, i.e I can’t draw to save my life! but I never realized how important creative input was until I didn’t have it. As I say in my About section, I have been debating for a long time what I want to be when I grow up…dolphin trainer, interpreter, millionaire’s wife and I was continuously on my search for another job in spite of always being employed. And now I think I have really found the secret ingredients I need to make me thrive at work. Creativity, self-expression and the immediate gratification I get when I see something come to life with my hands and have people enjoy it.

I donated 12 altogether, there were 6 chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache and strawberries and 6 chocolate cupcakes with bourbon vanilla buttercream and little strawberries cut into small flowers.

My cupcake dream has been long in the making. Thanks to German laws, I have learned what it is to be a business woman and an entrepreneur. Whereas before, I had my focus dead centre on creating and experimenting with ingredients, that has recently taken a bit of a backseat (proof in the lack of pics and entries on my blog!). And although my creativity has suffered a little, it’s nothing compared to dissatisfaction I felt before. There was always something lacking in the corporate world and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Now I can really see and feel the difference. My soul gets fed and brightens up when I make and decorate cupcake creations. But when I have to rush to a 9-7 job, exerting my energy into that, I feel low and ‘blah’.

It’s my goal now to really keep the balance. I see that there needs to be one kept as long as I have this side job and it’s of paramount importance that I don’t lose myself in the rush and in doing so lose the fire in my heart for baking.

Chocolate cupcake topped with chocolate ganache and strawberries with a small fondant primrose.

Flour in Germany, Type 405. What the hell?

30 Mar

So you walk into a German grocery store and you’re thinking, I’m gonna bake me a sexy cake, just like the ones I had in Canada. You have the recipe in hand and you stride confidently into the baking goods aisle. And you are confronted with this!

You take a little hesitant step forward and you’re completely  dumbfounded!

Not only do they NOT have cake flour but all of the bags of flour have bizarre type numbers: Type 1150, Type 1050, Type 550, Type 405.

As I prepared for my exam and read through loads of Konditor books, I found the answer! It’s completeley lame and I’m sure you will fall asleep half-way through, but at least the answer will be at the grasp of all expats, just a google search away and they won’t be left to wonder, standing in the ‘Mehl’ (flour) aisle looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

What does the Mehltype (flour type) mean?
The flour type number represents how many grams of minerals there are in 100kg of (water-free) flour. It is described in Konditor books in the following way:  If you were to burn 100kg of Type 405 flour, you would have 405 grams of ash remains. Since minerals are the only component of flour which cannot be completely burned, your minerals would therefore be the ash remains. And if you burned 100kg of 550 Type Mehl, you would have 550 grams of ash remains/minerals and so on and so forth for the other types.

Things to know:

  • Essentially the higher the flour type number the more minerals you are have in your flour.
  • Flours with a high flour type (1150, 1050) will always be darker (more wholewheat) as they contain more of the husks from the grains and will always be higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
  • Flours with a low flour type (405) will be whiter if not completely white, will contain a teeny portion of husks and will be poor in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Type 405 is finest ground flour you will find in Germany. It has the highest starch content which makes it ideal for the baking of cupcakes and cakes where you want a finer crumb.

The most commonly used flour type in Konditoreis (confectionary and baked goods shops) in Germany (often cited in many of my books) is Type 550 which has a high protein content and as you will read, is mostly appropriate for breads. I would say that this is exactly the reason why Germany cakes are more like pound or coffee cakes with a denser crumb and a more compact texture.

Here is a little excerpt I found online that echoes this difference between 405 (starch-rich) and 550 (protein-rich) type flours a bit more:

“Flour contains starch. Different types of flour contain different amounts of starch. The starch content of the flour depends upon what type of wheat made that flour. Hard wheat contains high levels of protein, making its flour excellent for breads, while soft wheat contains high levels of starch, making better flour for cakes. Soft wheat makes cake flour, having a very high starch to gluten ratio, which bakes into a fine, crumbly cake texture. The interplay between protein, starch, sugars and other added ingredients helps determine the final texture and taste of the baked product.” Source

So now you have been introduced to the world of flour in Germany.

If you are still with me, as I was googling around about flour in Germany, I came across the Rosenmehl website. Rosenmehl is a flour brandname and as I looked at their website, I stumbled upon some recipes that they advertise alongside their flour selection. And low and behold, gosh darnit I think those Germans are comin’ around. To CUPCAKES.

On a final note: Cake flour. Nope, there is none to be found in Germany. Here is a fabulous post from i am baker that you can use to make your own. Corn starch in Germany. Check. All purpose flour. Check.

Here is a cupcake recipe I found. They’re German cupcakes so no promises, but have a little gander for yourself.

German’s version of Carrot Cupcakes

Now you didn’t think I’d leave cupcake picture-less did you? Here are some cupcakes that I made for friend of mine’s birthday.

Citrusy lemon, poppy seed cupcakes with blueberry buttercream.

Vanilla cupcakes filled with fresh full raspberries and topped with a swirl of vanilla buttercream.

Cupcakes for Paris and in Paris: Berko Cupcake Review

14 Feb

One thing I learned on my travels while on my cupcake tour in Toronto was that the majority of bakeries in Toronto use swiss meringue buttercream to frost their cake. Unlike the basic buttercream (a combination of powdered sugar, butter and extract), this buttercream recipe melts normal granulated sugar (much like the flour based one I tried) so that the buttercream is smoother and doesn’t take on that grainy taste from powdered sugar. Afterall my vanilla cupcake trials, I revisited this swiss meringue buttercream and I really love it. Click here for the recipe.
We went away to to visit friends in Paris and I thought that this was the perfect opportunity to try out Swiss Meringue Buttercream on picky Parisian palettes. I baked two dozen chocolate cupcakes and made a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to go on top. I packed my cupcakes on the train and headed for Paris with Mr. Cupcake. The cupcakes were received with rave reviews. Score!

Knowing my weakness for cupcakes, our friends suggested that they would take us to their local cupcake bakery on Sunday morning before we left for Frankfurt. On Sunday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed to Berko. And here is what we found.
The cupcakes at Berko were much smaller than mine, only about half the size. They only sold this one size of cupcakes for €2 each. They had a huge selection! But what we quickly realized when we ate our cupcakes, is that in fact their huge selection is only in the frosting. The base of all the cupcakes are either vanilla or chocolate and the difference in flavour you get is from the frosting rather than the cake itself. Here are the cupcakes we chose.

From the left: Raspberry-vanilla with white chocolate glaze, berry vanilla with fresh berries and berry coulis, chocolate cupcake with chocolate chip cookie chunks

It was definitely quite busy in the shop for a Sunday morning. There plenty of Parisians getting their cupcakes fix. Most of them took the cupcakes ‘to go’.

We arrived in Paris with cupcakes from Frankfurt and we settled in for a journey back to Frankfurt with some Parisian cupcakes.

The first one we tried was raspberry-vanilla with a white chocolate glaze. This one had a fresh raspberry on top and a cheeky fresh raspberry inside. The vanilla cake was very good but it did have a disappointing empty air pocket inside.
Next we tried the berry vanilla. It was the same vanilla cake base and it tasted very delicious. Not to sweet. Inside the cupcake there was also a fresh raspberry. The frosting was a whipped cream frosting (again, not too sweet) and the berry coulis in the squeezy thing was a delicious touch. Overall, a very delicious cupcake and I would go back for more.
The chocolate cupcake was disappointing. We picked the basic chocolate one with chocolate chip cookie chunks in the frosting. The frosting here was a buttercream, unlike the white chocolate glaze and whipping cream on the previous cupcakes and it was damn sweet. You could feel the sugar granules and the flavour of the chocolate wasn’t deep or chocolately at all. I couldn’t finish the cupcake.

 

Here you can see the shade of the chocolate. Very light. I prefer a deep dark chocolate cupcake.

2 outta 3, ain’t a bad score and I wouldn’t mind going back to sample some more of their flavours. Berko’s vanilla cupcakes were lovely afterall and that is sayin’ something as I feel that is one of the hardest flavours to perfect. Lord knows I am still working on mine!

Overall it was a fantastic time and I love experiencing cupcakes from all over and checking out the range of flavour combinations or creative ways of presenting the cupcakes. It’s always such a rush of inspiration!

Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes Put to the Test: Part I

16 Dec

Sorry, I have been a little MIA this week. I have been busy baking goodies to give away as Christmas pressies and organizing things for my trip to Canada. I am going home for the holidays and have organized many exciting CUPCAKE activities while I am there. Cupcake activities, you ask? I am excited to say that I have booked some lessons with some of the best cake designers in Canada! First stop: private lessons with Lori Hutchinson a.k.a. The Caketress. Next stop: Pickering, Ontario, to learn all about peonies, roses and orchids from Lisa Bugeja of Flour Confections and the last and final stop: Toronto, for a cupcake tour! I can’t wait to sample the works of fine Canadian bakeries all over T.O. Now I just have to plan a route! So look out for lots of my new sugarwork creations and cupcake gorging!

This week I tried a new chocolate cupcake recipe. In endeavouring to continue to extend my cupcake knowledge and trying to perfect my recipes, I went back to some good old fashioned cupcake testing. I trialed a new chocolate cupcake recipe, this week, alongside two new frostings, vanilla and chocolate.

This recipe comes from the very talented Chloe Coscarelli who competed on Cupcakes Wars (tv series in America where bakers/chefs compete to bake the best cupcake) and won with her vegan chocolate cupcake recipe. I have already written about the trend towards healthier cupcakes and so I decided to give cupcakes, ohne (without) eggs and dairy milk a whirl!  I have to say that they were awesome. They had the depth of a great chocolate recipe, the fluffiness of a true cupcake and a nice bonus of crunchy cupcake tops (but very moist and soft centres) which I rather enjoy and which are perfectly flat for decorating!

Cupcake Wars winning recipe in my kitchen.

Even as I eat these guys today (over 24 hours later) they are still wonderfully moist and full of flavour. Gotta love that in a recipe! So I would absolutely recommend this vegan cupcake recipe. No need to be scared of baking without the dairy products you are used to. Look mom, no eggs!

Now onto the new frostings. Both with a flour and milk base and so in complete contrast to my non-dairy chocolate cupcakes.

After you create a pudding-like mixture from flour and milk, you cool it and once it’s cooled you mix it with butter. The great part about this frosting recipe is that there is no powdered sugar (only gradulated sugar that gets melted) in it so you don’t get that granuley bite in the frosting. The frosting is smooth and silky and not overly sweet from powdered sugar. It has all the benefits of a swiss meringue buttercream but without the complications that come with egg whites which is pretty nice.

I found that the chocolate frosting was much smoother and easier to pipe. I loved the deep flavour it had from using cocoa powder. The chocolate frosting is real a winner in my books as it also stands up well all day long. No sinking; the swirls remain intact.

The vanilla frosting on the other hand, had a lot of bubbles and it was hard to pipe. It came out in fits and stops and so my swirls turned out pretty ugly. Oh well. I put little red flowers on and am hoping no one will notice. The frosting itself, is very delicious and also not too sweet. The first time I made this vanilla frosting last week, it turned out beautifully smooth and it was easy to pipe. The main difference between last week and this week was that I worked with it the same day, whereas with this one I waited until the morning so maybe that was the issue. If it was,then it definitely loses points for that.

Lots of air bubbles and ridges in the swirl. :(

The thing I am finding out about baking is that consistency is so important. Not only literally in terms of the frosting piping consistency itself, but consistency in re-creating time and time again the same beautiful frosting. It’s a real trick of the trade and the mark of a true professional in their trade when they had get those consistent results. I am not there yet but am hoping that with enough experimentation, practise and patience, I will make it. Make it in Frankfurt, baby.

Stay tuned for the cupcake tester responses! Eek! 5-page questionnaires are back!

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.

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!