Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where have I been?

I don't know... I really can't recall where I've been since my last post. But who reads this anyway? Let's see... major accomplishments have been my Twilight cake...

Now, when I say "accomplishment" with this particular cake, I mean it's what I've had the most raves on. It was really fun to make. 

I read the first book and I genuinely enjoyed it but when I read the 2nd and half of the 3rd, I was ready to vomit. I couldn't bring myself to finish the series because they were awful and I loathe not finishing what I've started but I wasn't able to do it! I've told my friends who are bona fide "fan-pires" my feelings towards these books and of course the were appalled and they tried to convince me otherwise. My only argument is, is that I've read great books and I have pretty high standards, even for fantasy books! Fantasy is my favorite genre!

Anyway, moving on... about the cake. It was actually one of the easiest cakes I've made. I made the feathered tulip and chess pieces days ahead so it had time to dry and harden. I piped the "Twilight" on the cake free hand and it came out better than I expected. Piping is one of my weaknesses so I was proud of how it came out. The girl who received the cake loved it and I'm happy she did. I wish I was there to see her face when she saw it because she is a total "Fan-pire". She tried to hold off on the cutting-of-the-cake as long as she could! 

Lastly, I won 1st place at the Iron Cupcake San Francisco Challenge! The challenge was breakfast.

The description of the challenge instructed cupcake engineers to come up with a cupcake with what you have for breakfast in mind. The only thing that came to mind was my regular order at Starbucks, "Triple white mocha, extra hot!" So, that is what I made. White chocolate mocha espresso cupcakes made with Starbucks espresso and they came out delicious. I'm glad many people agreed!

For those of you who are ever in the San Francisco area, check out Leland's Tea Company and have a cup. Many of the teas that I've had so far are delicious and I've never had a tea experience like what I've had at this place. Nothing fru fru about it just yummy tea and great people. I recommend the Tiffany's Blend.

Now, I'll probably be M.I.A. for a while again because for reasons I will be publishing when is time is right. For now, happy baking!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My first trip to a cupcakery!

I know, it's been a while. I have just been busy busy busy and now that school is going to be starting in less than 48 hours I'm going to be SUPER busy. So, what is this blog about you ask? Well, like the title of this post, I went to my first cupcake bakery yesterday and I bought some cupcakes. I  put those baby's up to the test. Well, my test so please take no offense if you know what bakery I'm talking about...

My significant other and I went to the Cupcake Craving in Sacramento. This establishment also has another location in the city and I decided to go to this one because it was near the mall and I had some business to take care of there. Okay, not important. Cupcakes, important. 

Like I said, I've never been to one of these so I didn't know what to expect, size-wise. It was in the corner of the plaza and it was pretty tiny from the outside. I walk in and it's still pretty tiny. The wall behind the display case had a hole cut out so you can see where all their magic happens. I like that. I like how customers can see what they do and their back area was pretty huge. You can tell they bake a lot, just look at all their cupcakes! you can count how many different flavors they had and I limited myself to only 5.

Flavors: Champange, dulce de leche, chocolate mint, s'more galore and red velvet.

This had a strong mint flavor to it that stayed for a while. The cake was really light and fluffy. Not like a chiffon or sponge but you could tell that they use cake flour. All of the cupcakes I had were like this. Again, I am not a big fan of mint and chocolate but this was tasty. 

S'more galore... This was my first time eating a s'more cupcake. It was a chocolate cupcake filled with marshmallow, then dipped in chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crushed... graham crackers? Very chocolaty which is good because I love me chocolate but it needed more marshmallow filling. Everyone knows it's all about the marshmallow when it comes to the s'more so this little taste of heaven didn't do the s'more justice. Although it did suppress my chocolate demon!

I was excited to eat this. Dulce de leche. Vanilla cupcake filled with dulce de leche buttercream, topped with dulche de leche buttercream then drizzled with dulce de leche. That's alotta dulce de leche, huh? Sounds like a lot but you can only taste a hint of it. I wasn't too thrilled about the buttercream in the middle but don't get me wrong, this was yummy. My boyfriend also liked this one more than the others. I'm still trying to figure out what kind of buttercream they used. It wasn't the heavy American buttercream that the other cupcakes had, it was lighter and fluffier. I'm thinking it was a SMBC but I've never tried that so I'm not too sure. It looks like I'm going to have to try and make it one of these days. 

Red Velvet. Hmmm... Cake texture, great. Taste? I'm sorry, none. I liked the cream cheese frosting though! I haven't tried anything better than there's. 

Champagne! I was also excited to try this one. Sadly, I couldn't taste the champagne. I could tell it was there but it wasn't strong. It was so subtle that if I wasn't concentrating so hard to taste it, I wouldn't have known it was a champagne cupcake. I would have thought it was a very yummy vanilla cupcake. 

So, that was my trip and I'm glad I went. Whenever I'm in Sacramento again I'll be stopping by for more =)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello, Holiday's...

So, I've been busy this past week. Not only baking but getting ready for the holiday's period. My boyfriends and I just finished our shopping today and tomorrow will be our anniversary that we won't be able to celebrate outside of our home because we are broke. I said we BROKE! I hope the smiles on Christmas morning are worth it! haha

Even if we do celebrate at all tomorrow, I still have to stay up and bake a couple of cakes for some friends. They all want the Rosie cake! I wish they would ask for something else. I don't know what but something different and one of kind. Like this cake...

A friend of mine specifically asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and frosted with mocha whipped cream frosting. Then she gave free range in decorating it. I came up with this all on my own. I made the chocolate leaves all by myself with rose leaves that I picked from our garden and cleaned. 

This Rosie cake they all want all looks the same. A lot of people I know don't want to broaden their cake or cupcake horizon. They don't like to try something new and it is a bit annoying, really. Oh well, it's what they want... I wish they would ask for some cupcakes already! ANY cupcake, I don't care even bacon ones (which is still a little bizarre to me. It must be some kind of fad at the moment). I make really yummy ones, too!

So anyway, enough of that. I stopped by one of the few bakeries here in Stockton while I was shopping to stock up on baking supplies. It's a Dutch bakery and my best friend used to be employed there a couple years back and she used to rave about their pastries a lot. She also told me how the owner was baking day in and day out without a break all the time. I felt sorry for the guy because he didn't have anybody there to help him. He really SLAVED over his baking creations. 

Last time I was at that establishment my mom had dragged me there (without me knowing I was going there) because her best friend from someplace was visiting her sister who was married to the baker, and she was in town so my mom wanted to see her. I guess the baker is married to a Filipina. We walk in and it is really small with a good selection of baked goods. We went home with free goodies by the way. 

So, here I am again and I guess they expanded. It looked like the tore down a wall and just made the place bigger. This time there were about 10 people working and they looked like they were all related... to the baker's wife. I guess they made it in to a family business instead of hiring people like my best friend like they used to. 

And here is what I walked out with...
From the left, German chocolate cake, and two French chocolate macarons. They sell macarons in Stockton??? haha

The taste test? Man, I really hate giving bad reviews because I know people do try but these lacked something. Taste. I was really disappointed with both of these. I love German chocolate cake and this almost made me give it up completely. Let's see, it could have done with less topping because there was a lot of it and I didn't taste any cake. The French macarons were also disappointing, no taste! And the person who sold it to me didn't know what I meant by Parisian macaron when I asked for two. He had to have asked 4 other people what I was talking about even though I was pointing right at it. It was like he didn't believe what I was calling it. It's okay. Wasn't his fault. 

Carrot cake, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and mocha cake. Bland, bland and bland. Ugh. The rest of my family didn't even want to finish it and my family loves their sweets. The only thing that I appreciated was the carrot cake but then again it had waaay too much frosting. The red velvet just tasted like cream cheese frosting which was too sweet and the mocha cake didn't have anything mocha-ey about it. It was sweet and that was it. No taste, no taste, no taste! 

You know, I've have had a chocolate mousse cake from them a year ago and it was soooo good. If you wanted a reason to like chocolate mousse, there's was it because it was so moist and the mousse was incredible. I still remember putting it in my mouth and falling in love but this experience was anything but. I have also had their danishes and they were just as yummy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I don't know what happened. Now I'm wondering if it's the same owners...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Copy cats...

Aw man... this isn't going to be a very long post. I just need to vent a little...

They say when someone copies you, it is the best compliment but please, if you're going to steal my ideas, please give me some credit? Not going to point fingers here all right?

Let's just get back to baking new kreations =)

Happy baking!

24 Karat Cupcakes

I made carrot cupcakes/cake for the first time ever and I'm pretty dang proud of myself. Why did I decide to make them? Well, let me tell you...

I was at a grocery store a couple of miles away from my home and there is this bakery/cafe in the same shopping center. I remember when I first got my
 license, the first thing I did was look for a job because my parents never gave me any allowance, not because they couldn't but because they loved me enough not to give me money so easily. So, anyway, this bakery was the only place that I really wanted to work at because it was a bakery and it was a cool, chill place to hang out at but I was 16 and they didn't hire me because I had no work experience and such. Oh well, fast forward...

I go in, looking for cupcakes, and they only sold one kind. Carrot. I haven't had carrot cake in so long but I remember liking it. I bought one of those and a cup of tiramisu which was deeeeelicioius. I can't wait to make a cupcake version. My mascarpone in the fridge is dying to be made in to one. I didn't get to take a picture of the cupcake because it had sprinkles, orange ones, and I really really hate sprinkles. I already thought the cupcake was going to taste bad because of those stupid sprinkles but no people, it didn't. It was the best carrot cake that I've ever had and I was determined to create my own one day. It was perfectly matched with this tangy cream cheese frosting and along with the horrid orange sprinkles, it was also sprinkled with walnuts. The only problem I had with the cupcake was that it had raisins in it and NO I am not a big fan those either but that was okay because I didn't even taste them.

Last night I was craving for a piece of cake, which by the way, worried my boyfriend because the last time I craved something we had our son nine months later, haha. It was my fathers birthday yesterday, too and normally we would always have leftover cake but not this time. I made the cake version of Rosie's Cupcakes and everyone killed it. There wasn't even a teeny slice left which is a great compliment but I WANTED CAKE!

So, today I wanted to make sure there is a little something sweet a hand when someone in the house wanted it. My mother made a comment saying her doctor told her and my dad to lose weight and my boyfriend leans in to tell me that I'm killing my parents. hahaha. Hey! It's not like I'm forcing those cupcakes down their throats! But... I should find a healthier way of giving them sweets... I just don't want to look to Splenda to do that.

Here they are...

I named them 24 Karat Cupcakes because the recipe I used to make them made exactly 24 cupcakes. Normally there would be about 15 or thirty. Always a couple extra where I would have to bake the extra batter after the first batch but not these! Okay, People, I'm giving you the recipe. 

I try not to use other peoples recipes but I just had to try the one by Alton Brown. Now, I didn't follow his recipe exactly, I never follow any recipe exactly because I try to make it my own and I'm glad I didn't this specific time because it came out better then that bakery's cupcake.
I believe what makes a cupcake is all in the frosting. If you don't have a great frosting then you have a crappy cupcake, just chuck it out the window because it is not worth eating. The problem I had with this one? The frosting was all wrong. I used this recipe... Bobby Flay's Frosting for Red Velvet cake. It was gross. That is all I have to say. And I read the reviews! Most of them loved it so I tried it and I added some cream cheese to it. Nope. Nasty stuff. Well, next time I'm just going to use my mascarpone cream cheese recipe for it and then it will be perfect =)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Friday... Another Lesson...

So, I'm just sitting here, surfing the web, waiting for my son to get up so I can get him ready so we can go to my boyfriend's sisters house for a little soirĂ©e they're throwing for their nice and my son. I don't want to wake him up because... well... if any of you have kids and you woke up your little ones from their slumber, oh...my... God... forget about having any peace for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I just got done with my sister's cupcakes that she wants to bring to her Christmas party. I decided to use AP flour instead of cake flour this time to see if there was any kind of difference between them. I knew there was going to be some but it was a BIG one. I like my cakes a little on the light and airy side but these came out more dense then I would have liked them, more dry also. Dense is perfect for chocolate cakes, which I made for the cupcakes so it was all right but the lesson here is that the flour makes the difference. I'm sure all of you groovy bakers knew that already but I'm the kind of person that needs to see it to believe it. In this case, eat it to believe it. 

Anyway, I had left over white chocolate buttercream so I used on the cupcakes. White on black. Nice.

Iron Cupcake SF # 1 Aftermath

Man, did I have a good time at Iron Cupcake SF. I met some pretty cool cupcake lovers like myself and I got to eat their yummy ummy cupcakes. I also got to meet Chelsea who put together the whole thing together and she is so awesome. I don't know if she reads this but just in case she does, "Thanks, Chelsea! We'll see you next month!" 

I didn't quite leave Stockton early enough so my buddies and I could check out the other cupcakeries in Frisco. We traveled down Union Street looking for this certain bakery but couldn't spot it because it was so tiny but I caught a glimpse of it as we decided to just head to Leland Tea Company's for Iron Cupcake because we were running late. Dang it. Next time. 

So, we get there and Leland's is so cute. I wish we got there earlier so I could have tried their tea sandwiches. I had their Tiffany's blend which was so delicious. It's an English tea with milk and honey and I'm so ordering that again. I wish I could have taken a picture of the bathroom because it was adorable. It had like a French countryside feel to it. I love cute bathrooms. 

Judging starts and everyone was invited to eat and judge cupcakes. Even the customers who didn't know what was going on were invited. The more the merrier! I love watching people enjoy cupcakes.

I hope to get to know everyone more next time. It was my first time so I didn't know how to approach people but the ones that I actually talked to were really nice. I hope I don't forget their names... that would be so embarrassing.

Oh, and one last thing...

I GOT SECOND PLACE!!!! WOO HOO!!! I'm proud of my cupcakes and I'm glad people liked them. I don't care if I got any place, just as long as people got their piece of cake.

Check out my Flickr site for pictures of the event!

"Let them eat cake!" - Maria Antoinette