Monday, March 21, 2011

Cupcakes Inspired by Marie Antoinette

In the last 2 months I have had 2 close friends who have left Seoul to start new lives.  One moved to another country in Asia and the other all the way to Europe.  I find that the older you get, the harder it is to make new long and lasting friendships.  So it was sad to see them go.  I am confident though that I will see them again even though it won't be quite the same as when we were living in the same city.

We threw a farewell party for Wani and as it was potluck I decided to bring dessert.  What a surprise! ; )  W has been very helpful in sampling new flavours and giving feedback.  I mean when you love baking, you've got to have an audience who is willing to be guinea pigs.  Also I find that whether it is cooking you enjoy or baking, you want to share with others.  So I've been lucky to have W who has been very obliging even when the result is a bit under par.

For her farewell, I decided to make Orange Almond cupcakes (recipe from Australian Women's Weekly) with Tangy Orange Buttercream.  The colours were inspired by the sweet yet extravagant styling from Marie Antoinette the movie with Kirsten Dunst.

I dropped 2 of the boxes when I got out of the car as I had to grab my daughter who tripped.  I was so upset but luckily the frosting was still quite hard as it had been in the fridge so only a few of the cupcakes were damaged.  A couple of flowers were missing part of their petal and a couple of the words were a little smudged.  The most important thing was they were enjoyed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cupcake Party for 5 Little Girls

 When my friend asked if I might be interested to conduct a cupcake making and decorating class for 5 little girls under the age of 5, I didn't have to think twice to say, "Yes".  How much fun would it be?  HEAPS.... right?  Mmmmm...  it was fun but it was hard work.

I want to break an egg too!
Preparation was simple, I baked some cupcakes in advance so they would have something to start decorating while they waited for the cupcakes 'they made' bake in the oven and cool down.  Prepare the buttercream, I used the American style buttercream which is more durable and slightly less messy, mix the colours, pack the baking tools, ingredients and bring the toppings!  

I show up early to setup and my friend's little girl, Erin who is 3 and her friend is already there waiting and as her Mum says, "They are SUPER EXCITED!"  Okaaaay.  My friend surveys my set up 10 minutes later as I cover her nice dining table with my tools and the small ones for small hands, and tells me I better have lots and lots of pink frosting!  I did have more pink frosting but she wasn't wrong when later I asked the girls what their favourite colours were, the two answers I got were Pink and Strawberry.  I had to make more pink frosting later.  I also gushed and ooohed over purple and yellow to try to get the excited about those other colours as well.

How much candy is on top of that cupcake?!
The girls were great, they helped me stir the butter and sugar, they each got a turn to crack eggs... and smash eggs, they folded in flour and then they got bored.  So we took a 10 minute break while I set up for the decorating part.  I brought different types of sprinkles, 100 thousands, little jelly gems, jelly beans, chocolate balls, rainbow chips and coloured sugar.  Let's just say the decorating part was the 'funnest' part for the kids.  They really piled up their cupcakes as you can see from their photos.  They wanted to eat one cupcake first and after their Mums said OK, they picked at their cupcakes.  5 minutes later, they still hadn't finished eating the candy and toppings they put on top of the frosting!  They must have been on such a sugar rush after.

A very pretty cupcake for you...

Look at the intense concentration - adorable.

Do you have enough Jelly Gems on yours?

All packed and ready to be taken home.  I had a fun time making those labels with my new Uchida Scalloped Egde Round hole puncher.  Someone on Amazon was very happy doing business with me. : )

Monday, March 7, 2011

Star Trek Logo Cake - This one is for the Trek fans everywhere

I didn't have to scratch my head very hard when I was planning my husband's birthday cake.  I think the picture says it all.  I was a bit tricky as I didn't want him to know that I was making the cake for HIM, so I told him that some customer is asking for a Star Trek cake and I told him that because it's soooo geeky that I wasn't sure whether I wanted to take the order! ; )

He was quite helpful when I showed him some Star Trek related cakes online and suggested the logo cake.  He then got a bit technical about which logo was for which movie or series.  At one point he even suggested I write to the customer and ask her which series her husband is a fan of.  I told him in no uncertain terms that I wasn't going to open that can of worms and I was going to choose the original logo and the birthday boy is just going to have to be happy with it.

I honestly thought that he had clued up and knew the cake was secretly for him.  I iced the cake and left the writing for when he was in bed.  I tried to stick to the slanted writing as per the title font and I piped the star out of buttercream then froze it for 15mins then transferred it onto the cake.  The cake was a lemon chiffon cake with lemon cream layers and covered with vanilla buttercream.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Princess Themed Cupcakes

You've heard it once from me before and you'll hear it again, I love decorating cakes or cupcakes for little girls.  What's not to love about candy floss pinks, tiffany blues, sunshine yellow and so many more shades of pink?

You really don't have to twist my arm to come up with ideas for a girl's party.  So when I was asked if I could make cupcakes for a little girl turning 1... oh YEAH!  A was planning a Princess themed party for her little princess turning 1 and I was more than happy to help.  She liked the marbled effect for the cupcakes like the ones I did for my daughter's cupcake tower when she had her 2nd birthday party.  At first I was a little hesitant as it's easy to make sure the portions are right for a standard sized cupcake but for a mini it is a bit more challenging to get it right.  I have to put 3 portions of batter into that tiny paper liner and we don't want to put too much otherwise the cupcake will swell too high and it'd look odd among it's fellow cupcakers. 

I don't know, I just want the cupcakes to be as uniform in size as possible.  I decided to give it a go in the end and there were some that were slightly overfilled but they weren't too obvious so they got in line just fine.  

 Here they are just swirled and waiting to be baked.

 Fresh out of the oven

  It looks so pretty inside, I just want to eat it!  Actually I did.
I topped them with little fondant blossoms cut using the PME Flower Plunger Cutter.  These little babies are a pleasure to use as the spring function allows you to push out the flowers after they are cut instead of using another thin implement to try to push them out and sometimes when you do that, you get odd little marks on the flowers which I hate.

To complete the whole Princess theme, I made a little Tiara with diamente and a little scepter/wand for the birthday girl.  Unfortunately I did not manage to get a picture of both the Tiara or the little scepter/wand but you can see it in the picture below that A kindly sent me.  A rented the cupcake stand from me and arranged the lovely display even though I am sure she must have been quite busy getting the paty ready.

A better picture of what the tiara would look like is below which was made by a friend from my cake decorating class: 

The Tiara is actually extremely delicate as A will attest to.

Here's the birthday girl enjoying her cake.  I couldn't resist, she just looks so adorable!

More cake please?