Friday, September 24, 2010

**New Flavour** Coconut

This flavour tastes like Pina Colada but without the alcohol.  Coconut shreds are actually used quite often to cover a Red Velvet cake that has been frosted with Cream Cheese in America.  Although I haven't tried it yet on a Red Velvet, it looks really nice ie. must taste good.  Or I would hope.  Admittedly Coconut is not for everyone but this flavour is quite subtle with a Italian Meringue Buttercream infused with a subtle flavouring of coconut milk and coconut cream.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My First Cupcake Stand at the SIWA Coffee Morning

4 days ago, I went to the Seoul International Women's Association Coffee Morning and set up a table to sell my cupcakes. I am a member of SIWA and was encouraged to sell some cupcakes there to get some publicity for my little cakes. I hadn't done this before but really relished the idea.

Here's Yoko helping me set up
Here we are all good to go
When I was in school, we had Canteen Day once a year where each class would bring things to sell in a sort of bazaar where parents and students buy coupons and use those to buy whatever goodies they wanted to during that day. I used to love bringing food or drinks and selling them. I think that started my appettite for sales which grew into a enjoyable career for me.

These were how the individual cupcakes were packed when someone bought one

I found these small chubby tumblers in Saero in Bangsan Market
I did a lot of work to prepare for it including scouting for packaging items for my mini cupcakes and getting durable (and nice looking) boxes that can hold 1 and 2 cupcakes. Yoko a friend who lives 3 doors down came to help me prepare the night before and also helped out at the event. She was fantastic! I think I made more sales when I wasn't even at the table!

The Lookbook was created to give people an idea of what I can do so it was filled with pictures of the cakes and cupcakes I have made in the past
This is me posing with my cupcakes. I was conscious that people were watching while I was taking numerous photos of the table (I was the only one doing it) and then of myself. How vain right? But I wanted to capture the moment

The cupcakes got a lot of attention and I think we had the prettiest table amongst the other 20 vendors who were there simply by the nature of what we were selling. I created 3 flavours and made a dozen of each. A new creation was the Chocolate Cherry Truffle cupcakes which was a Valrhona Chocolate cupcake with a Chocolate Cherry Brandy Ganache center and frosted with a Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Buttercream. It was then topped with hand-shaved chocolate curls and a red rose petal dusted with sparkle. It was decadent, rich and so SO fragrant. The Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting was very popular and the Strawberry cupcakes weren't too shabby with a large floret buttercream frosting and a shiny pretty butterfly sitting on top.

Chocolate Cherry Truffle Cupcakes

I also had 6 boxes of 6 mini cupcakes which sold out. They were Chocolate with Chocolate Buttercream, Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting and Vanilla with Vanilla Fluffy Frosting. People thought they were "so cute" in their little egg carton boxes so they were gone in a flash. They make great gifts and favours as well. I can always customise the flavours to suit your occassion in case whoever is reading this may be interested in ordering. Hee hee.

These are the adorable mini cupcakes with the sample box on top
My OH, Maddog said I should have made more just the night before. But that was 11pm and I didn't have the time or energy. Like Donna Hay says, "Beautiful food tastes better." So I hope it was fantastic for everyone who took some home.

**The Mini Cupcakes Nesting were featured on the CutestFood blog on 23 September 2010**

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My First Appearence on the Cupcakes Take the Cake Blog

I was so uber excited to find out that my bridal shower and moustache cupcakes made it on the most popular cupcake blog around, Cupcakes Take The Cake!!!  When I first started to decorate cupcakes, I had always aspired to have a cupcake featured on that blog and I cannot believe it has happened so quickly. 

I ran around the room waving my arms in the air going, "EEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" 

My kids thought I was acting really weird.  

But who cares?!  It's the kind of encouragement I needed.  My husband is probably going to give a big sigh when he reads this as he will probably be thinking, "Great, as if she needs more encouragement.  We're in for even more late nights now".

Giving the Oven a Break

It’s been a tiring few weeks with orders every week (fantastic), replacement cake decorating classes for when I will be away starting next week and making sure the kids are entertained. A few late nights in a row can really wear on a person and I must admit I don’t ‘recover’ the way I used to. Age… can’t run away from it.

I’ve been having good fun and stress (the Thomas cake) baking and decorating. I think the most memorable moments had to have been seeing the first Moustache face come together for the Moustache cupcakes and when we were covering the Thomas & Friends cake with fondant.

I also had my first overseas order. This was from a family friend who heard about my cupcakes from my Aunt. She liked Red Velvet and was a big fan of Coconut so those were what I was tasked with. I am always… did I say always? Yes… ALWAYS happy to bake Red Velvet cakes or cupcakes. I just love the incredible flavour and the deep intense red colour! Paired with Cream Cheese Frosting it’s really a cup of heaven in your palm. I’ve tried several different recipes and tweaked the recipe to get it to the right kind of dense crumb and flavour.

I’m off on holiday soon and I will miss my mixer, oven and the feel of the piping bag in my hand but I will be back mid-October and hopefully be back to baking and decorating for you again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cupcakes at SIWA Coffee Morning

If anyone is interested to sample some of my cupcakes without making a huge order, I will be at the SIWA Coffee Morning this Wednesday, 15th September from 9.30am - 11.30am at the Grand Ambassador Hotel, Seoul.  That day is also their enrichment classes sign-up so if you are interested to join SIWA and sign up for some of their classes, come by.  

I will be bringing along 3 flavours of cupcakes including one from my Indulgence range - Chocolate Cherry Truffle.  It is a little on the decadent side but oh so rich and flavourful.  Valrhona Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Cherry Brandy Ganache truffle centre and frosted with Ghiradelli Chocolate Buttercream.  

Those on a diet beware.  Resistence is futile.

You will also be able to sign up for a 'Cupcake Decorating Basics' class with me in December.  This is a 3.5 hour class for up to 5 people to learn some techniques to create cute and classy cupcakes.  More details will be available at their Tour and Events table.  

See you there!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mini Cupcake Tower for a 1st Birthday Party in Seoul

2 weeks ago I had the opportunity to be a part of a little boy’s (Super J) Doljanji (1st birthday party). Instead of just the traditional Korean rice cakes for the occasion, his mother wanted some mini cupcakes to be a little different.

Since it was a kid’s party, I wanted to go for something colourful, so we worked out the colours of the cupcake liners and frosting colour to pair it with so that it would compliment the colour theme for Super J’s party. The cupcakes were Vanilla with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting then topped with sprinkles or 100’s and 1000’s. I also made fondant letters spelling “Super J” which I planned to put on top of 6 cupcakes on the top most tier.

When I got to the party with my Mom and my 1 year-old, I quickly got to work assembling the 3-tier dessert stand and arranging the cupcakes. While I was trying to do s, my daughter was being very unco-operative and insisted on having a cupcake. She already had 6 the night before and 5 that morning!!

To appease her, I had to give her one and my Mom had to try to distract her with the balloons (that lasted a minute) so I could get back to the cupcakes without toppling the whole display. It looked very attractive when it was all set up but I must admit I was a little nervous arranging the cupcakes. The pressure was on as there were already some guests there and they were watching. I was chanting in my head, “Don’t drop the cupcake. Don’t drop the cupcake”.

These little babies are just nibbles. I saw several people having 3. They just pop into your mouth and they’re gone. We erred on the side of caution and more then doubled the amount of cupcakes to the number of guests and I think we estimated well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thomas the Tank Engine: Special Customised Kid's Birthday Cake in Seoul

I know, it's a long title but it makes it easier to come up on related searches in Google (hee hee).

I had the pleasure of creating a Thomas and Friends cake for a special boy who was turning 2 last weekend.  His Mom contacted me after reading my article on the Korea4expats website (Yes, that was a shameless plug) and requested for a Thomas and Friends cake.  Her son is a big fan of the show and has many engines and toys.  She sent me a sample of the kind of cake she wanted and after some discussion, we settled on a 9"/24cm 1 tier cake in Orange and Chocolate flavous lightly layered with chocolate buttercream. 

It was then frosted with Orange Buttercream made from fresh orange juice which had been reduced to a syrup.  Finally came the fondant and the decorations.  I've always liked the chocolate and orange Jaffa combination so it was nice to see the chocolate and orange layers as I put the cake together.  

Here's the completed cake before we put the toys on board

I had other cake orders for that weekend so enlisted the help of two friends who came over to my place and helped me with the decorations.  Between the 3 of us we spent 7 hours just on the fondant decorations!  That is not including the time it took bake, assemble and frost the cake (twice!).  That took about 5 hours.  I frosted the cake twice, the first time was just dry icing it as I was worried about it drying out and the second layer was for the fondant to adhere.  Based on the feedback from Chi who ordered the cake, the cake tasted good but the buttercream frosting could have been a little thinner.  Got to keep that in mind for the next one!

Fondant bow.  Train tracks were made from rolled fondant and then pepero sticks were spaced out on top.
Before we started on the fondant decorations, I drew out the scenery on a piece of paper so my friends knew what I was trying to go.  We made apple and orange trees, mountains, clouds, bushes, leaves and a cheeky little sun.

Do you like the cheeky sun peeking out from behind the mountain and bush? 

At around 2.30am we were already pretty zonked and the conversations went something like this:
Yoko: "I need some more apples."
Gerry: " Wani, just give her some more apples, Dammit!"

You had to be there for it to have been funny, I think.

Here's Yoko putting the finishing touches on the Apples and Oranges

Anyway, we were all pretty pleased with the cake and couldn't wait to see it with the trains on top of it.  In my rush to get out of the house to deliver the cake, I forgot to bring my camera but Chi who ordered the cake was nice enough to take some photos for me.  Here they are!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Moustache Cupcakes: Cute and Cool at the Same Time!

When I got an email a few weeks ago with all the details for an order of cupcakes, I was excited (as I always am) but as I read on, I realised it was a request for moustache themed cupcakes. My first reaction was, "HUH? Ok read that again". Nope I did not read wrong especially when there are accompanying sample pictures. My next reaction was more cautious, "Okaaaay..."

John, the person requesting for them had a lovely story behind why he wanted the moustache cupcakes. His wife really loves cupcakes and they had been looking at cupcakes on the internet and they both really fell for a particular batch that they saw. So for his birthday, he planned a surprise moustache themed birthday party for her! He's such a sweetheart isn't he? I bet he got LOTS of brownie points with that.

Here they are: aren't they cute?!

After a series of rapid fire emails, we hashed out the details. John decided on Snickerdoodle flavoured cupcakes (think cinnamon flavour)and I suggested a Fluffy Vanilla Frosting as a bed for the fondant faces. These will provide a more stable base for the fondant faces which can weigh a little compared to Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

Then I created 3 faces for John to choose 2. When initially thinking about styles of moustaches, I immediately thought of Magnum P.I. or Tom Selleck as is his real name. I grew up watching that show and really had no idea why some women liked him and his moustache! (Still don't see the appeal) I am more of a Aragorn from LOTR kinda girl IF I was going to go for someone with a bit of facial hair. Hee hee.

I also thought of Mario from Super Mario Bros, then there was Mr Potato Head. He's a real sweetheart that one. But in the end created three based loosely on a cross between Mr Potato Head and Tom Selleck and Captain Hook from Peter Pan. He settled on the one with a moustache inspired by Captain Hook (blue) and tweaked it a bit, as well as one that I designed based on my memory of a certain maths teacher I had back in secondary school (pink)... right down to the side-parted hair! Mr. Lim that one was for you.

As I started cutting out the fondant faces with my trusty double sided plastic round and scalloped edge cutters (bought them from this seller on Amazon), I was hoping that I will be able to draw the blue face well. The kneading of the fondant into gumpaste and colouring plus cutting them into the right shapes took over 3 hours.

For the hair and moustache for the red face, I started off with chocolate ready-made icing by Bakels which really cut down the time I would have spent trying to make white fondant black! Still, it took me another few hours to form the moustache, cut the hair and assemble them onto the face. I left the drawing of the eyes and the moustache for Blue the next day as I wanted them to dry out properly too.

The moment I drew the eyes on Red, I was like, "Awwwww! So cute!" The eyes really made the whole face look real and Blue was just cool. The weather now is very hot and humid. I can't refrigerate the fondant faces and I was really concerned that if they were placed on top of the frosting, the humidity and the moisture from the buttercream would make the faces droop. This was a real concern of mine as the faces were firm but not rock hard. They were meant to be eaten after all.

Here they are all packed and ready to go

So after a late night email to John, I packed the fondant faces separately in a tupperware in between layers of baking paper so they don't stick. Partially to test it and also so John will know how to place them (ok so maybe I just wanted to see how they looked - hee hee) I put 6 of the faces on and beamed with pride. ^_*

I got an email from his wife the next day who was really happy with the party and said the cupcakes were the highlight of her moustache-birthday-party.

They also got on the CutestFood blog for 30 August! AND

The most popular cupcake blog Cupcakes Take the Cake on 7th September.

Here are some pictures that John sent me of the cupcakes when they arrived and were assembled. I am so impressed with those Moustache party packs!