Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Early Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Early Cinco de Mayo

My friend Ashley and her BF had a little BBQ tonight. I always like to bring something including a dessert. On the menu was Carne Asada (for the meat eaters). So I went with the Mexican theme. I happened to have a whole thing of Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate around and I decided to use that. I'm a little "cupcaked out" (Not in a bad way!! Just wanted to change it up a bit that's all :-) I originally was going to make them spicy (Ash's BF loves the spice) but of course I buy the wrong spice at the store because I was cheap. Lesson learned: just spend the money sometimes! haha. I googled around for a recipe that had all the ingredients that I had around the house. I ended up making these Mexican Hot Chocolate brownies in that shape of mini cupcakes (of course lol). I topped them off with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting...mmm! *Instead of pine nuts, I did half plain chocolate and half almond (I added a bit of almond extract and chopped almonds).

Since my friend Ash is a vegan, and I didn't have time to really bake something vegan (which btw I hope to venture into that area of baking sometime soon) I picked up some vegan brownies at a local organic/vegan grocery store. They happen to sell vegan brownies (and other baked goods) from a DC bakery around here call Sticky Fingers. I tried one and they are goooood! Would never had known it was vegan.

Thanks Ash and Andrew for a delicious meal this evening :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Erin and Karl's Wedding

The big day finally came and the wedding cake was a success!

It was my very first wedding cake I've ever done. Leading up to the big day I had a cake consultation with the bride to decide the design and a cake tasting with over a dozen different flavor combinations. I was so nervous up until they cut the cake! It such an important center piece to a wedding which is added stress and nerves.

The bride ended up deciding on a three tier cake with blue flowers and swirly pipe work around the flowers on the cake. For the top, she wanted something beachy but would also reflect each others personality and things they enjoyed. And this is what we came up with...

Cake Details
Bottom Layer: Almond cake with raspberry jam filling and vanilla bean frosting
Middle Layer: Chocolate cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting chocolate frosting and raspberry cream filling
Top Layer: Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
Flowers/leaves: Gumpaste
Fondant to cover cake: Homemade marshmallow fondant
Topper details: Everything was hand made with fondant except the chairs. On her chair- Roxy towel, Diet Dr. Pepper, and a book. On His chair - MP3 player with head phones and a towel with his favorite band's symbol. Both had a pair of flip flops. Sand is made with graham cracker crumbs with a little pixie dust mixed in to give it a little shine.

Groom's Cupcakes
(and Spongebob Birthday Cupcakes one of her friends)

Cutting the cake!

All the cakes I've been making so far have been "practice" for the big day. Some things have learned in the last year about getting ready for the big cake:
1. Prepare prepare prepare! For example you can make all the gumpaste flowers and fondant accessories well in advance. Bring as many tools with you to the venue and be prepared for anything.
2. Always try a new technique. For all the cakes I have been done leading up to the wedding cake, no matter how minimal, I always tried something new - a new technique, flavor, design, etc.
3. Try really hard not to sweat the small stuff. As a cake designer we see the smallest imperfections that the client would probably never notice or have any idea. Enjoy their happiness :-)

Congrats Erin and Karl!
You had a beautiful wedding now go and enjoy that amazing honeymoon :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Barney Birthday and an Engagement Pary

What a busy 2 days it has been! I had a Barney birthday cake and engagement cupcakes on the schedule today. I prepped as much as I could during the week (making the fondant, frostings, etc.) but no matter what I'm always racing the clock, and a majority of the time run late.

First up I had my, I guess she's like my niece, Chloe's 2nd birthday. She loves Barney. I decided to keep it simple and stuck to the Barney theme colors - green and purple with a little yellow. Then I topped it with a big pink Baby Bop bow on top. The decor was also very simple as well. I would loved to had added more details, but time is just never on my side lol. I was happy to use my new cupcake tower for the first time! I love it :) (PS - not happy about the pics I took. I didn't realize how to change the settings on my camera until after the cake was eaten! grrr)
UPDATE: 4/19
Here is a better pic of the cake colors! Not so frickin blue like the ones I took *lol*

I also had one of my best friend's brother's engagement party. I made a whole array of cupcakes and different flavors for them. Flavors included: Irish stout w/ Bailey's frosting, chocolate cake w/ green tea frosting, rainbow w/ lavender frosting, just to name a few. I topped them all off with a fondant "O" for their last name :)

Congrats Jon & Angela!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baby Shower Cupcakes

My mom contacted me with a last minute request for some baby shower cupcakes for one of her co-workers. This is actually my first baby shower so I wanted to try something new... So I whipped these babies up ;-)
Since the theme colors were green and yellow I thought of lemon for yellow. As for the green, I've been wanting to use the matcha powder I had purchased last week, so why not green tea cupcakes? I added a chocolate ganache center too.

The decor idea was from a user on Cake Central. I used the rest of the marshmallow fondant I had from the cake I made last week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Sweetness is my Weakness"

So excited about my two great purchases this weekend!

I went to the Japanese Street Festival in DC and picked up a new cupcake t-shirt from one of the vendors there:
Speaking of Japanese things, I also picked up some Matcha powder from a Japanese market near my work. I plan to make some green tea cupcakes when I get a chance :)

And finally, I purchased a nice cupcake tower. I wanted to make my own, but I just have nooooo time :-( But I think this one is good quality and will definitely be put to good use! Hoping it gets here in time before next weekend so I can use if for the wedding :-)

Gonna be a busy week of cakes and cupcakes. Due by this Saturday: 2 tier birthday cake w/ matching cupcakes, engagement party cupcakes, and a birthday order of cupcakes!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cupcake Run

Even though I have been slacking lately, I really do enjoy fitness. (You just gotta when you're eating cakes and cupcakes all the time!!) When the weather is nice I try to run a few times a week. I even trained for and completed my first 1/2 Marathon last year! Well I just found out about this Cupcake Run in Frederick this weekend and I'm very interested. The proceeds benefit Cakes for Cause - a wonderful program that provides job training to vulnerable youth in Frederick, MD. I'm going to try my best to TRY to make it to the run, but if you're in the MD area and wanna do something for a great cause - check it out! PS - everyone who enters gets a FREE cupcake :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cherry Blossoms and Engagement Cupcakes

Every year around the end of March and beginning of April the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington D.C. And every April, Georgetown Cupcake features their cherry blossom cupcake. It's described as a "Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with cherries topped with a cherry-infused vanilla cream cheese frosting". This was actually the first Georgetown Cupcake I ever had ...and I was hooked!
Since today is one of my best friends engagement parties, I decided I wanted to try to make this cherry blossom cupcake - not only because I like it but to celebrate spring :) I made a vanilla cupcake with a hint of vanilla bean added in. Then I folded in some chopped up Morello cherries. Then topped it with a white chocolate buttercream. Overall happy with the way it turned out, but I wanna add more cherries next time.
And here are the engagement cupcakes for the party tonight. I made four flavors: cherry blossom, lemon, chocolate orange, and peanut butter cup. I tried to think of flavors kids and adults would like.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lauren's Birthday

I happened to have off today and wanted to work on some of my piping skills. It also happened to be my friend Lauren's birthday so it was a perfect excuse to make a cake :)

I really love the royal icing piped lace look - it's a white cake with black "lace"- that I have been seeing a lot on Cake Central. I decided to do my own interpretation of it. 1) I didn't want to do the exact same thing and 2) My piping skills are NOT up to par ...haha. The cake was a tall 6inch round cake with 3 layers. Almond cake with layers of amaretto buttercream and amaretto chocolate gananche. I also made homemade marshmallow fondant to cover the cake as well. I also added the gum paste flower on the side. Overall I'm happy with it, but I want to work with royal icing a lot more. You can do some really beautiful things with it :)

Happy Birthday Lauren!!