Tag Archives: frankfurt

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

 

 

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Business Plans and Kitchens

11 Jul

Now that the joy of passing my exams has died down a little, I have been back to the nitty-gritty. The nitty-gritty, Mr. Cupcake loves, but which I hate.

Two words:

Business Plan.

Yuck. It feels like I am back at square zero with this business plan writing not going very well. And  no business plan = no business loan. And no business loan = no kitchen and no business. Ugh.

You see, I am more of organic growth kind of girl. Start small and grow gradually, but Mr. Cupcake is all about the viability of the business and the numbers and the future targets. So this is really hard for me.

Right now I am in the thick of things trying to answer two not so simple questions:

  • Why would someone want to buy cupcakes?
  • And why would they want to buy them from me (and not my competitors, for example)?

Both very fully loaded questions and are the ones that will convince the bank to give me a loan.

As I said, things are hard going and I have not only to answer those two questions but also to crystallize my business concept on paper so that I know what I am selling and how I am going to go about selling it.

Luckily I have Mr. Cupcake for the financial modeling part of the business plan because I am hopeless with Excel but he has a full-time job so unfortunately he doesn’t have a lot of spare time to dedicate to this at the moment.

While I chip away on my business plan which needs to be submitted sooner rather than later, we are also on the hunt for a kitchen space. We are calling people and contacting kitchens to see if they want to share their space for a small rental price. Hopefully someone will take Das Cupcake on and I can work in their kitchen baking my cupcakes. We are also investigating places in Frankfurt where we can set up a small kitchen location so please let me know if you know of any small shop spaces that we could transform into our kitchen so that I can bake some more of these!

Like with everything in life. This cupcake business has peaks and valleys and although I am struggling to re-focus my energy and give this business plan an ass kicking, I will get there. There are some positive and awesome things on the horizon, I am sure of it!

Girly Spring Cupcakes

22 Apr

The weather in Frankfurt continues to be splendid and I am continuely inspired by all the blossoming flowers so today I made some girly spring cupcakes for a friend. I hope she enjoyed them!

Happy Easter everyone! Eat lots of chocolate bunnies and paint lots of eggs!

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!

Green tea Frankenstein cupcakes

21 Jun

Cupcake box = empty. Ewa = elated. Seriously, talk about support. The people at my German course are so supportive to the point that I really want to open my business no matter what little insecurities nag the back of my mind. Even if I don’t make a profit of a single penny, it would still be worth bringing my business to life for the lovely people of Frankfurt because they have been nothing but good to me. Talk about feeling all warm and awesome inside. I’m beaming!

So let me give you the run-down of how this week’s cupcake taste testing went. It was green tea cupcakes this week. I made vanilla cupcakes, filled with a homemade coconut tapioca and frosted with a cream cheese and green tea frosting. I dusted the cupcakes with some coconut flakes and placed a tiny cube of mango atop each cupcake. Once they were ready to go, I of course, tried the final product. Eugh, is all I could say. Green tea frosting-yuck! Tapioca in the middle -weird texture! Vanilla cake itself -crumbly. Crap. What a failure. I was too ashamed to snap any pictures of gross little things.

So the clock strikes 18:45 and it’s time to present my creations of the week. I walk into my German school, totally hopeless, with my Frankenstein cupcakes in tow, totally hopeless and really debating whether I am ready to set those questionnaires down and get a verbal beating. So I suck it up and put the questionnaires down, however I can’t help but announce to my testers sitting in the foyer to beware!

With my eyes locked on the first brave souls, the first bite is taken….and…the compliments begin! Huh?? “These are really good!” “My favourite so far!” And the strangest one of all, “I’ll order 12 for this Friday.” Wow. Seriously?!

So here is how I see it. Either they were trying to be super supportive even though the cupcakes sucked or they truly liked them! Either case still points to the fact that the people I am surrounded by ROCK! How lucky am I! Positive review and/or support.

Rock on, Frankfurt, rock on.


P.S. A run-down of my London cupcake workshop will follow shortly, my cupcake lovers.

Java Cupcake Recipe and some other stuff

21 Jun

There is nothing more satisfying than the feeling I get when I bring home my empty tray after a night of cupcake testing. I swing the empty container gleefully as I get into the elevator and think back about how each cupcake disappeared one by one and each person enjoyed their chosen cupcake. Some unwrap the cupcake as they go, other unwrap it in its entirety and then eagerly dig in, others eat the frosting first and still others give it a quick sniff before they take their first bite. I try not to be overly stalker-esk when it comes to watching people test my cupcakes, but it’s hard to turn away! So alas, I am the cupcake stalker!

So Tuesday night. Cupcake development night. I worked on my Java cupcakes. In other words, I used my favourite chocolate cake recipe, with a cup of freshly brewed coffee in the batter and then topped the perfectly baked cupcake with espresso buttercream and coffee-bean shaped chocolate morsel.

What my aim in this cupcake development was, to stick with my tried and true chocolate recipe and try a different frosting flavour, a different frosting method and also try a different size cupcake liner to increase the size of the cupcakes themselves.

The frosting flavour was nice. The feedback from the peeps was that it was a bit on the sweet side and so I may have to work on that. I loves the shine to it and I used way less than the recommended amount of sugar, so I think I am on the right track. I love the fact that my frosting skills are definitely improving. Look at that smooth, smooth swirl, baby! Not at all of them were identical which is what I am after, to get that professional look, but I am getting there.

I also tried a new frosting method this time too. Instead of piping, I am trying out a more circular look, à la Sprinkles Cupcakes. I like the clean, domed look on each cupcake. I intend to practise this some more and see if I can get that real poshed dome, as opposed to the lopsided one I have going on now.

The next trial on these guys was increasing the size of the cupcake liner which worked to an extent. Unfortunately each cupcake hole (for lack of a better word!!) in the tray was about 1cm too small and the liners just kinda of folded in onto themselves but alas, such are the trials and tribulations of a Cupcake Queen Extraordinaire.

Alongside all my baking, I have been in talks with a website designer. I am pushing that part of the project also. I had a good meeting with him last Friday night. A nice Columbian guy who’s been in Frankfurt for 10 years now is really artsy and creative. You can see some of his work here: http://www.ariasmedia.de/

I am excited to get some photography done and work with him on the website development. Ideally, I would like to have something ready for June 26th which when I showcase my cupcakes at the Frankfurt Cultural Parade. I haven’t told you guys about that yet, have I?? A-Viva (the school where I have my Deutschkurs) invited me to crash their booth and sell my bad-ass cupcakes! So overall, the goal has been to develop the recipes until then, hopefully get a website up and running and then distribute my business card and generate some business! Sounds simple, eh? Well, we shall we what happens! I am super excited though to participate and just pray for good weather.

That is all I have this week. No profound revelations or moments this week, but I will be sure to keep you in the loop when they do happen! More exciting battles to come, I’m sure! Next weekend I am jetting off to London for a 2 day cupcake decorating workshop! Woo! Please no volcano explosions Mr. Eyjafjallajökull!


P.S. I invite all readers to find a better word to describe the ‘holes’ in the cupcake baking tray!

The Beginning

14 Jun

So the dream begins to take life. Yesterday I baked my heart out for my first cupcake testing day today. Leading up to my 2am baking session, the work day was a whirlwind and I didn’t get home until 19:15. At which point I began to prep my ingredients, consult the recipe every few seconds and finally bake my cupcakes. Alongside baking, I was also cooking. I totally overbooked myself and scheduled my first cupcake recipe development baking on the same night as an advice night with a good friend of ours who has set up his own business. He is totally the creative type and we chatted and brainstormed for hours. He came up with tons of good ideas for promotions and he really questioned me about my motivations and key drivers behind starting my cupcake business. It was really enlightening because I had never really formally formulated why I wanted to start this business. So he gave this homework assignment. I have to answer the following questions:

Why do I want to live this idea?

How will I live this idea?

What parts of me are in this idea?

Stay tuned for my journey of self discovery. Luckily, while preparing dinner earlier, I managed to cook all the cupcakes, so those were done and dusted. So after dude left at ridiculous o’clock, I started to make the homemade caramel that went into the middle. It was a beautiful process although I was a bit overly paranoid about burning the sugar since I don’t have a candy thermometer, so the process was slow and careful and slowly but surely, the sugar turned amber and started to smell heavenly and I took it off at just the perfect time. Easy does it! is what I say. I added some homemade heavy cream (i.e. what you get when you find double cream (48%) and whipping cream (36%) in Germany and then combine the two to get some percentage in the middle 40ish% (percentage for heavy cream), see how good I am at math!) and viol(insert symbol)à! Homemade caramel…I quickly poured the caramel into little wells inside my perfect chocolate cupcakes. Hey, wait, I never told you about the chocolate cupcakes. Well there are two secret ingredients in there my friends: a cup of freshly brewed coffee and vegetable oil. One to accent the chocolate flavor and the other for moistness. Mmm mmm, good. So it was already 1:30 in the morning and I still had the ganache icing to do. And I did it. I got a blissfully shiny chocolate icing to frost my chocolate caramel cupcakes with…however the frosting would have to wait as I decided to call it a day come 2:15am…I fell into bed and fell into an anxious sleep wondering if it was time to get up and frost cupcakes already and finally woke up, thinking of butter. And what time the grocery store opened so I could get more if I ran out of frosting and had to make more that morning.

My long night and my early morning filled with anxious thoughts about butter and frosting and then onto thoughts about the cupcake testers not liking my cupcakes after I put so much work in, (yet they still looked amateur) really made me realize that this is what having your own business is like. You put yourself out there, you work damn hard and your mind is never free of business improvement ideas. Is this what I really want? That question was unexpectedly answered, as I packed the freshly frosted cupcakes into my car to take to the taste testers and my car filled up with the glorious smell of chocolate. How rich, how decadent. Yes, I am really going to do this.

P.S. How many parentheses did I use in that second paragraph!??