Monday, April 25, 2011

Royal Engagement Ring Cupcakes

Victorious Cupcakes from the United Kingdom shares how to make engagement ring cupcakes in honor of The Royal Wedding on 4.29.11

Vanilla cupcakes with Strawberries and Cream Filling.
Jam of your choice
500g of white fondant icing.
Navy paste food colouring

124 sugar diamonds
124 silver dragees
Edible glue or jam

Quilting too  l
Circle cutters
1. Cut 12 circles out to the same size as your cake and stick them to the top of your cakes with a brush of glue or jam. I roll the fondant so that it's a quarter of an inch thick.  Colour the remaining fondant navy and keep in an airtight bag.
2. With the quilting tool quilt the tops of the cakes.
3. With the navy fondant you coloured earlier, cut 12 ovals to fit the top of your cakes making sure you have enough room for the stones around the edge and stick them to the tops with a brush of glue or jam.
4. Stick 12 diamonds (per cupcake) around the edge of the navy fondant by using a tiny amount of glue on the point and then pressing it into the white fondant on the outside edge of the oval.
5. Stick one silver dragee in between each stone, pressing it (gently) down into the navy fondant.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Perfect Cupcake For Every Occasion!

Swirled and sprinkled, dipped and glazed, or otherwise fancifully decorated, cupcakes are the treats that make everyone smile.  They are the star attraction for special days, such as birthdays, showers, and holidays, as well as everyday goodies.  Easter--What a perfect weekend to celebrate with everyone's favorite flavor of cupcakes!  A great time to relax, spend time with family & friends and also a time to reflect on what our Lord, Jesus Christ has done.  For some it may not mean anything at all, but for me it's a HUGE Amen!  I will have a busy weekend ahead of me making a lot of orders for carrot cake and red velvet.  These are such great flavors for special occasions, and they're really popular among soo many!  I may even throw in a few red velvet ganache just to surprise everyone as well!  But I do hope that you all have a fun-filled weekend, especially for those of you in the corporate world.  And as for me-- my work week is just beginning!
                                                           Happy Easter Everyone!!
                                                            With lots of Love ~elc~

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Red Velvet but NOT the kind you're thinking..

A few weeks ago I had a special request from a friend of mine who I used to work with.  She said, "My boyfriend & I are at the I Love You stage and I want you to make something with I love you written on top."  It's very important that it says that."  I said ok, and the flavor?  Do you want Red Velvet-- that probably would be the perfect flavor. "Yes!  That's his favorite!"  So I started thinking of what I could do for her. I came up with doing fondant hearts, xoxo's, and I was able to fit that I Love You in there that she was looking for too!  This was my first time even experimenting with fondant.  I must say though for my first time I did awesome. They came out great and she was very satisfied which made me very happy.  For the cupcake I also decided to do a little bit of a twist, and not make your standard red velvet.  I threw in some chocolate in the middle to make for a gooey center.  I don't really wanna give away my secret as to what kind I used, because some things are really left better unsaid!  Let's just say this--I have ate red velvet a lot over the years but NEVER with a ganache type center.  This was a little more softer than your typical ganache.  Wow.  I don't think I can ever just eat a "plain" one again.  My husband said the same thing.  He said don't ever make it the normal way, make sure you ALWAYS have the chocolate in the middle.  This is a good signature for you.  Not that anybody else has not ever made it like this before, because you can go online and find plenty of different red velvet recipes with a ganache center.  But I just decided to be a little different this time and since it has a cocoa base-- I knew chocolate in the middle would taste pretty darn good.  I guess I didn't realize just HOW good.  Needless to say, she made a comment to me that her boyfriend said, "Baby these are the best cupcakes I have ever tasted."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Candied Sweet Potato

I remember the first time I walked into Gigi's cupcakes I really didn't know what to expect.  The first 2 cupcakes I ever ordered was the hunka chunka banana love & candied sweet potato.  This was the beginning of February and I was looking for a good cupcake shop to order some more cupcakes for Valentine's Day as a surprise to my husband for our dessert! Well let me tell you, despite the fact Yes--they put entirely TOO much frosting on their cupcakes, I was very happy with the sweet potato one along with the too much frosting they had put on.  I love anything banana so that was a no brainer, and I couldn't wait to try that one as well.  I was soo curious about this other unique flavor though I just couldn't resist.  My plan was to give half to my husband and try his banana half.  Well I ate the whole thing and wanted like 3 more after.  I said, "Sorry hunny I just couldn't stop, so I guess I'm not gonna try yours because that wouldn't be really fair."  I still to this day have not had the chance to try their hunka chunka banana love.  People talk about how good carrot cake cupcakes are and I don't deny that this spice cake has such an addicting & alluring flavor that you could just keep eating them.   Seriously though--try a candied sweet potato anytime you see one on the menu.   Honestly, I like them BETTER than carrot cake.  It is a very similar recipe, but it's cake is made with fresh sweet potatoes, the cream cheese frosting has more of a stronger cinnamon flavor in it and topped with candied pecans & toasted mini marshmallows, you really can't go wrong.  Sweet potato in a cupcake you might ask?  I'm telling you-- It's soo moist the cake melts in your mouth and ALL the flavors come together as they should in a cupcake.  I could eat this flavor ANY time of the year, it's divine.  Period.  I haven't had the chance to make it yet, but trust me I am looking forward to it!  Oh and I did go back to Gigi's for Valentine's Day.  I ordered a chocolate salted caramel & white chocolate macadamia.  Both too were very good flavors.  But NOTHING like the candied sweet potato ;-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top 5 Cupcake Bakeries in the U.S.

So as I am sitting here drinking my coffee, I am wondering who the best cupcake shops are in the country.  I have been to one of these famous boutiques and at the time I didn't realize why they were so popular until now. I went into Baked of Charleston, SC while there with my Husband for our Anniversary. I was craving a cup of coffee with a mint chocolate chip cupcake, so I got the Grasshopper!  On a Saturday, the line was out the door and it took me a good 15 min. to get through it. So the even bigger question. Was my cupcake good? Yes it was pretty good. My only complaint--it needed more toppings. I guess I am so huge on that, because when I am making these divine cakes I'm always conscious about how many goodies I can add to the top to really make it ALL come together.  I just wish they would have put a lot more chocolate chips on than they did. In fact there might have only been a couple just for a garnish from what I remember.  Would I go back--Yes, only because I like to try and compare and see what I can do BETTER than other cupcakeries, now that I am in the business. 
I would love nothing more than to see my name ~eye love cupcakes~ by Jamie
in the Top 5 someday. Now, I just have to wait patiently for that right time to come so I can open up my own cupcake shop in one of these great cities of the U.S.... San Fran or Charleston maybe?

Baked  Baked was founded by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito who came from the world of advertising---Matt was a producer while Renato was a graphic designer. Their thoughts were never too far from cake and coffee, and slowly (even unbeknown to them) the idea for Baked was born.

Lewis wanted to open a bakery that celebrated American desserts beyond the cupcake, while Poliafito had always been hankering to open a neighborhood cafe, so together they scoured New York City for the perfect location. They found a small, storefront church in the largely industrialized and gritty section of Brooklyn, and together with Rafi Avramovitz, set about building their inspiration. Finally, after many long delays, they opened Baked in 2005 on the shores of Red Hook, Brooklyn with just a few ovens, some mixers, and an espresso machine.

While Baked is also well-known for its cookies, biscotti, homemade marshmallows, bars, tarts, pies and brownies, its cakes are also mouth-watering delights. They are old-fashioned with a twist of innovation. Cake varieties include classic coconut, tart lemon layer, green tea, grasshopper, caramel apple, Coca-Cola Bundt, chocolate malted, dark chocolate layer with vanilla icing, double-dark all chocolate and sweet-and-salty, just to name a few.

Crumbs Bake Shop  Crumbs is famous for its Signature size cupcakes. At each of its bake shops, it offers more than 50 varieties baked fresh daily and a new cupcake of the week every Monday. Crumbs also offers a variety of delicious cakes, from Red Velvet to Vanilla Cake and Chocolate.
Made with the finest ingredients, Crumbs' cupcakes remind us that the best things in life are simple. Crumbs offers a selection in three different sizes: Classic, Signature and Taste size cupcakes. "Classic" cupcakes are the largest variety and are sold individually. The medium sized cupcakes, "Signature", are sold individually in stores, and can be ordered online in increments of six. Customers can create their own individual six packs or choose a pre-selected assortment. The smallest size, the "Taste" size cupcakes are offered by the dozen in single flavors and pre-selected favorite assortments.

Currently, Crumbs has locations in California, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Magnolia Bakery  In an episode of Sex and the City, "Carrie" and "Miranda", the characters portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon, sat on a bench eating Magnolia Bakery's pink frosted cupcakes, as they discussed Carrie's love life. Magnolia Bakery hasn't been the same ever since. The neighborhood bakery located in a residential section of the West Village of Manhattan, is now a New York institution. Tourists from all over the world go to the Magnolia Bakery, often waiting in a long line that winds its way around the block.
There's a reason why Magnolia Bakery has had staying power. Its baked goods, especially its cakes and cupcakes, are home made and absolutely delicious.
Open since 1996, the bakery is often credited with starting the modern day cupcake craze with its signature pastel-colored buttercream-frosted versions. Magnolia Bakery specializes in classic Americana baked goods including red velvet cake, icebox cake and banana pudding. Magnolia prides itself on tradition and quality and strives to satisfy loyal patrons while maintaining the integrity of the brand.

Sprinkles  Sprinkles is a favorite of Hollywood stars from Tyra Banks, Russell Crowe and Paris Hilton to Katie Holmes, Oprah Winfrey and Teri Hatcher, all of who proclaim love for the sumptuous treats. "I love Sprinkles Cupcakes," says Banks. "I am addicted to them." Ryan Seacrest is a fan, too. "These are not just cupcakes, they're a lifestyle," he says. Barbra Streisand once sent a box of Sprinkle's cupcakes to Oprah Winfrey. Oprah enjoyed them so much she ordered enough to share with her entire studio audience. Sprinkles is also known for its star topped variety served at Oscar parties.

Sprinkles evokes the memory of European bakeries flooded with the smell of baked goods and awash in natural light, with a modern touch. Its cupcakes are baked in small batches throughout the day, so that they will be as fresh as possible for Sprinkles' devoted customers. The cupcakes are handcrafted from the finest ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests.

Its original store is two blocks west of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, but today, Sprinkles has six additional locations in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Newport Beach, Scottsdale and Palo Alto. More locations will be opening soon in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Kansas City, London, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.

SusieCakes  The Los Angeles, Ca.-based company was launched in 2006 by Susan Sarich. The inspiration behind the company's founding was Sarich's childhood in Chicago. Each day, she used to arrive home from school to a warm kitchen filled with the smell of baking and treats fresh from the oven. Her two grandmothers, who were also neighbors, loved to bake, from frosted sugar cookies to Whoopie pies and chocolate layer cakes.
To this day, Sarich is captivated by what those desserts symbolized. "Baked goods are hallmarks of happiness," says Sarich. "Whether we're celebrating a holiday or a specific event, we want them to be as unique as the day." It was a combination of Sarich's sweet tooth and nostalgia for the homemade desserts of her childhood that led her to open SusieCakes.

SusieCakes' cupcakes are known for their "frosting filling." Flavors include chocolate chocolate, luscious lemon, strawberry, peanut butter, fluffy coconut, and vanilla with pastel-blue vanilla frosting. The most popular cupcake is SusieCakes' Southern Red Velvet.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

10 Most Popular Cupcake Flavors!

It's pretty safe to assume that if you're reading this article, you're a fan of cupcakes -- and it's a good time to be one. In recent years, these versatile, tasty treats have gone from being inexpensive, easy-to-make confections given away at children's parties to trendy desserts enjoyed by hipsters around the world.
Today, little cupcakes are a big deal. While many restaurants and eateries have been forced to shut their doors due to the recent economic downturn, business in specialty cupcake shops is booming. The reason for cupcakes' recent surge in popularity is simple: They're relatively inexpensive and grant people a few bites of indulgence, even when money is tight.
In this article, we'll walk you through the 10 most popular cupcake flavors and explain the reasons behind their appeal. When you're done with the list, you'll know how to order like a pro from the most popular cupcake boutiques.
Despite how tame you may think vanilla is, the flavor has exotic origins. Vanilla comes from plants that grow in tropical areas, and harvesting the prized vanilla bean is no easy feat. After a long and complicated process, the end result is the immensely popular vanilla extract.
Chances are you've had a vanilla cupcake at one time or another. As you probably already know, vanilla is one of the most common flavors found in candies, pastries and various sweet treats. In fact, like chocolate, the taste of vanilla typifies sweet desserts and confections for many of us, so it's not surprising that these cupcakes are so popular and easy to find.
Vanilla cupcakes usually consist of a sweet white or yellow cake with a thick layer of creamy white frosting. They line the shelves of local bakeries and grocery stores and will almost certainly appear on the menu of any specialty cupcake shop you visit -- you can even pick one up at Starbucks. Some say the cupcake is a fleeting trend, but regardless, the vanilla flavor is here to stay.

Pumpkin-flavored foods are extremely popular during the fall and winter months. The pleasant taste of these large orange fruits appears in everything from pie to beer, so it should come as no surprise that pumpkin cupcakes are all the rage leading up to Halloween and throughout the holidays. Although they're typically available for just a few months out of the year, pumpkin cupcakes are extremely popular. It's not unusual to find them at parties, grocery stores, bakeries or even on restaurant dessert menus.
When sitting down to devour one of these tasty treats, you can count on a pumpkin cake base, but the choice of topping is up to the baker. You might find a traditional, sugary icing that may or may not taste of pumpkin, or the cake might simply be glazed. Cream cheese is a very popular and common topping. By the time Christmas dinner comes around, if everyone's tired of pumpkin pie, pick up a dozen pumpkin cupcakes and serve them for dessert, instead.
There's something comforting and nostalgic about a steaming loaf of banana bread. Banana cupcakes taste a lot like banana bread -- only you probably won't be eating one for breakfast. These surprisingly popular desserts are more common than you might think, and like their pumpkin-flavored cousins, they go well with a variety of toppings and icings.
Anyone who has tried a banana split knows how versatile these mushy yellow fruits can be, so when they're the star flavor in a cupcake, the possibilities are nearly endless. Banana frosting is always a good choice, as is strawberry, raspberry or any other berry-flavored icing. Of course, just about any type of chocolate frosting is delicious when topping these little yellow cakes, but if you're in the mood for something really different, try adding a dollop of whipped cream. It's simple and delicious!
Coffee-flavored cupcakes may sound bizarre to some people, but they make perfect sense when you think about it. After all, there's coffee cake -- even tiramisu contains a distinctive coffee taste. Coffee made the jump from a pick-me-up drink in the morning to a popular dessert staple a long time ago, so don't be surprised if you see coffee cupcakes sharing shelf space with their chocolate and vanilla counterparts at your local supermarket or bakery.
Coffee is featured prominently in desserts because it goes well with just about anything that tastes sweet. Therefore, there are a myriad of possible frosting options for coffee cupcakes. Chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, almond, raspberry -- really, any flavor that might go with a cup of joe is a possible contender for the cake or icing part of your cupcake. Even if you take your cup decaf, you have nothing to fear; decaffeinated grounds can easily be substituted into any coffee cupcake recipe.
Let's face it, just about everyone loves chocolate. And no wonder -- many of the compounds contained in chocolate cause receptors in the brain to chemically induce feelings of pleasure. Chocolate is eaten by people all over the world, and for many of us, dessert and sweet treats are synonymous with the flavor.
Perhaps the main reason that chocolate cupcakes are so popular is because they use a winning combination: chocolate on chocolate. However, just because chocolate cupcakes have chocolate cake and frosting doesn't mean they're all the same. A rich dark chocolate cake spread with creamy white chocolate icing differs significantly from a milk chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache. It's all chocolate, so you know it's going to be good, but it doesn't all taste the same.
Biting into a lemon cupcake isn't anything like sinking your teeth into an actual lemon. Although there will be a definite bit of tartness with the cupcake -- the amount of which is determined by the recipe -- the overriding sensation should be sweet. In fact, that's what makes this variety so popular. People who like a little sour with their sweet have found an answer to their dessert dilemma after years of passing up chocolate and red velvet cupcakes. Lemon cupcakes have really gained popularity in recent years, and you'd be hard-pressed to walk into a specialty cupcake store and not find one.
Lemon cupcakes typically consist of a yellow, lemon-flavored cake with sweet but slightly tangy yellow frosting. If the combination of lemon cake and lemon frosting is too tart for your taste, ask for an unfrosted cupcake with just a light dusting of powdered sugar for a subtle dose of extra sweetness.
                                                               Peanut Butter
When you think of peanut butter, cupcakes probably aren't the first thing that comes to your mind. However, peanut butter cupcakes have become quite popular in recent years, and, like many of the other cakes featured in this article, they aren't too sweet, which makes them extremely versatile and likeable.
Since you're starting with a nutty, slightly savory cake, you could just build on that by topping it with peanut butter frosting. To take the decadence up a notch, add chocolate. If you feel like going for something more unique, try mixing up some banana or honey frosting for an unusual treat. Or, if you're just looking to sweeten up an old childhood favorite, try forgoing frosting altogether and simply adding a few dollops of grape jelly to the top of the cupcake -- it's like a bagged lunch and trendy dessert in one!

                                                                Carrot Cake
Carrots have been a principal ingredient in European sweet cakes since the Middle Ages. The reason for this is simple: Carrots have more sugar than just about any other vegetable.  Even if you have an aversion to carrots, you'll probably still like carrot cake cupcakes. They're like regular carrot cakes, only smaller. These sweet orange and white treats consist of a miniature carrot cake with a cream cheese-based frosting. If you're out of frosting (or don't like cream cheese), you can also eat them plain.
Carrot cake cupcakes epitomize the reason cupcakes have become so chic recently, as they offer a taste of indulgence without the temptation of an entire cake. You can find carrot cake cupcakes in most cupcake specialty stores and in many bakeries and supermarkets.
                                                                 Red Velvet
Like carrot cake cupcakes, red velvet cupcakes are big treats in miniature form. Instead of ordering an entire red velvet cake, why not choose a portion-controlled red velvet cupcake, which you can eat in about five or six big bites? This variety is moderately decadent and easier on both the wallet and the waistline than a full-sized cake, a fact that has helped red velvet cupcakes become virtually synonymous with the modern cupcake movement. It's a trendy, grown-up flavor in a kid-sized form that appeals to sweet-lovers of all ages. In fact, red velvet cupcakes often outsell all other flavors, including such traditional favorites as chocolate and vanilla, in some specialty cupcake stores.
Aside from size, red velvet cupcakes don't really differ from their full-scale brethren. The little red cakes are smaller, but otherwise identical, to full-scale red velvet cakes, and they are topped with the same cream cheese-based frosting.

                                                   Chocolate and Vanilla
Forget the fads -- chocolate and vanilla cupcakes are timeless. These scrumptious desserts combine the two most essential sweet tastes into an unbeatable concoction that's always in style. You can find chocolate and vanilla cupcakes everywhere from the trendiest cupcake shops to elementary school cafeterias.
Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes might only consist of two flavors, but they've got countless variations. A light vanilla cake with dark chocolate frosting provides an entirely different taste from a milk chocolate cake slathered with creamy vanilla icing.
You can't go wrong with these two classic flavors, regardless if you're mixing up a batch straight out of a box or are about to devour a carefully concocted treat made from the finest ingredients.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How did these pretty little cakes become so Popular?

The first mention of a cupcake recipe goes as far back as 1796. Amelia Simms wrote a recipe in “American Cookery” which referenced, “a cake to be baked in small cups”. However, it wasn’t until 1828 that the actual word cupcake was used by Eliza Leslie in her cookbook “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats”. One fun fact about early cupcakes is that they were baked in teacups or ramekins before the invention of the multi-cup pans we use today. Cupcakes also started to become popular because they saved time in the kitchen and were generally easier to bake than larger cakes. Some theories suggest the term cupcake was derived from the easy to follow early 1-2-3-4 recipe. The recipe was measured: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs.

Here’s a fun fact: Cupcakes can be referred to as fairy cakes in Britain or patty cakes in Australia.

We have a Holiday: December 15th is National Cupcake Day!

Here are some more interesting facts you may not have known about this tremendous treat.
  • Interesting Fact: Cupcake liners do more than make it easy to remove them from the pan. Traditionally, sides of tins are greased for easy removal, but also floured because the batter needs to have something to cling to. A cupcake liner takes care of both.
  • Fun Fact: On August 15, 2009 broke the world record for largest cupcake ever made. The cupcake was 1,224 pounds, 4 foot tall by 10 foot wide, and had 2 million calories.
  • Fun Fact: One of the most popular cupcake bakery's in the U.S. is Crumbs in New York City. They have reported the highest earnings in cupcake revenue in 2010!