Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pink Apron Beach Party Cake and Cupcakes on RM Boxes' Cupcake Tower Packaging

2009 saw the launch of a trend in cupcakes. Wedding cakes and birthday cakes were being replaced by dozens of cupcakes arranged like tiered cakes. It's a really practical evolution since cupcakes are a breeze to serve and can be made into party giveaways. Cake vendors were coming up with various ways to display theirs. There's metal. wood and glass towers being used. But how many towers do you have to invest in to serve all your clients? Thus the dawn of disposable cupcake towers.

Being ever consistent to answer to the demand, RM Boxes came up with a disposable cupcake tower kit. I was first approached by the owner Queenie Wong when they ordered a 2-dozen cupcakes tower for their booth at the Bakery Fair in World Trade Center. I was to display them in this disposable cupcake tower prototype the company is developing.

A few months later, I received another request for the same. This time, Queenie hinted that it's going to be used for a packaging photo shoot. That I should watch out for the launch. This got me really excited.

Months passed, I really wasn't expecting much. But one day, as I was visiting my favorite baking supply store Sweet Craft, I finally saw them on display. I was floored! Truly a proud moment for me.

Note: Cupcake Tower Kits are available in 3-tier and 5-tier varieties (silver, white or gold).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Grace's Dora and Friends Cake

Let me show you the very first cake I did after my extended hiatus from baking and cake decorating. This is the cake I did for my niece Grace's 3rd birthday in April of 2008. Dora the Explorer was a hit with little kids back then.

I was pleased with the job I did but most importantly the birthday girl was grinning ear to ear. Right there was when I decided I could still do it. I really felt I still got what it takes it so I heeded the siren call and took the plunge. And so began the countless long days and late nights of confectionery dreams.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Oats-Cranberry-Pecans Cookies

Things are getting a bit boring around here, no? I'm puzzled why I don't make more than a simple bar or cookie these days. Well for one, I have been feeling under the weather these past two weeks. Also, it gets really hot in the kitchen because of the summer heat.

But what are you gonna do with all the ingredients in the pantry that need to be used asap? Make cookies! So oatmeal cookies are the order of the day.

I noticed that kids these days are not too fond of raisins. Why? I love them in anything...cereals, cookies, arroz a la cubana. Well my mom hated them too and so did my brothers. I guess I'm just different.

I used my go-to oatmeal raisin cookie recipe and just replaced the lowly raisins in the recipe with dried cranberries. They made the cookies a bit more sophisticated IMHO. The color of dried cranberries is great and the taste lends a mild tartness to the cookies. I also replaced the walnuts with toasted pecans. It offers a pleasant crunch to these chewy cookies. Try it for a change.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tour de France jersey cake

I recently did a 30th birthday cake for a gentleman who loves cycling. His loving wife ordered it as a surprise. I decided to make a cake shaped like a cycling jersey in yellow.

She sent me a picture of the Tour de France logo. She wanted me to copy the logo onto the jersey but instead replace 'France' with his name. Cool idea.

I saw a similar cake with the inscription that says, "It's all downhill from here" so I put that too.

He was totally pleased so I guess it's well worth the effort.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Slightly Used Pastry Gadgets: To Sell or Not To Sell Online

I've been making sugar art for 16 years. Over time, I was able to accumulate a ton of pans, tools and gadgets. Some used very often, others once or twice.

Recently, my family underwent a major household overhaul; vowing to unload a lot of our stuff rarely used or those that have seen their prime. It's been discovered that of all 9 of us, I have the most amount of stuff housed in our storage.

So my dilemma now is whether to let go of about 50% of my stuff or hold on to them. What to do, what to do? A part of me wants to hold on to them for sentimental reasons. Most of these tools in question were bought with my hard-earned money. Others were gifts from my dearly departed Mom.

The other part of me wants to just deal with it and throw them all out. For the life of me I can't think of anyone I know who'd appreciate getting these second-hand items. A thought came to me to sell them on eBay. Great idea! Just that I don't know the first thing to do about selling secondhand items online. Getting a paypal account's hard enough!

Do you think that is a good idea? Any tips will certainly help this clueless soul.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache Topping

Don't you ever get one of those days when only deep dark chocolate will do? When you try every bit of remedy like eating sweets all day but the craving just won't go away?

I was recently hit with one of those cravings so I made a half batch of moist chocolate cupcakes which I decided to top with dark chocolate ganache. I wanted to sink my teeth into this cupcake even before I got the chance to photograph it. I was almost tempted to forego the gumpaste flower decor so I could indulge right away. Well good thing I was able to restrain myself.

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups refined sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup very cold water

Preheat oven to 350F.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Stir in cocoa powder and coffee into cold water. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar at medium speed for 10 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add vanilla extract.
Add flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture.
Divide batter into paper-lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350F for 18 to 20 minutes.
Cool completely before frosting.

Makes about 20 3-oz. cupcakes.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

For the ganache topping, simply heat 1/2 cup cream to simmering then pour over 2 cups chopped dark chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. You can use it warm to top your cupcake or let it cool before whipping to use as a frosting. Your choice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine Cupcakes

Sweets for your sweet? Surprise loved ones and friends with a batch of delicious Valentine's Day cupcakes and watch them swoon.

I made mine with two flavors: red velvet and moist chocolate. Iced with a swirl of meringue frosting and sprinkled with pink and red nonpareils, each cupcake is topped with a red fondant heart. Sweet! Don't be surprised if you get a kiss or two.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Warm Apple Walnut Muffins

Doesn't the smell of Christmas just transport you back to your childhood when everything was simple? When you're on a school break and looking forward to stuffing yourself with food and opening presents?

The smell of apples in the kitchen does just that. Ahh, to be young and worry-free...

Apples always seem to be around in abundance during December. A Christmas tradition that we in the Philippines just can't shake. A far cry from the Martial Law era of the '70s when there was a ban on importation and apples were scarce and a luxury. But now they are available year round and more so during the holidays.

So what do you do with all those apples after the festivities? Apart from apple pie, I also love making apple walnut muffins. Baking these makes our kitchen smell like Christmas, so homey and festive.

This is one of those recipes you can make without a mixer. Have a bowl and a whisk ready and you're set.

Eat them warm from the oven for breakfast or cold for a midnight snack and heave a happy sigh. These muffins keep well, too, frozen. Just pop in the microwave for 30 seconds for a quick breakfast-to-go.

Apple Walnut Muffins
(Makes 12 to 15 muffins)

3 large apples
1 1/2 cups refined sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 medium eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

1. Peel apples and chop into small pieces.
2. Top peeled apples with sugar and let sit for about an hour. (This will prevent the apples from getting dark and watery.)
3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and melted butter.
5. Pour egg-butter mixture into apples and mix well. Add walnuts and raisins.
6. Fold in flour mixture. Do not overmix.
7. Divide batter into paper-lined muffin pans.
8. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.
9. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Note: This recipe also makes an excellent wedding cake covered in fondant; truly festive.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm back...hopefully for good

Quitter, procrastinator, stuck...these words echo in my brain as I try to remember the exact reason why it's been many months since my last post.

Well let's just say life took me in a slightly different direction. I needed some income so baking for blogging was replaced with baking for dough. I put up a Multiply account for Pink Apron and was able to get some clients online.

It's been a colorful ride so far of dozens of children's cakes, party cupcakes and the occasional wedding cake. I learned about the latest tv and movie cartoon characters. I also learned the latest trends in the wedding industry.

But why not blog about the party cakes you make you might ask. Whilst it would certainly make for an interesting blog I'm afraid that multi-tasking has not been my strongest suit. I haven't been able to bake, decorate, take a picture of and deliver cakes then blog about them at the end of the day.

But all's not lost. I'm trying to make it happen. I have a few posts up my sleeve that I think you'll find interesting. With fingers crossed I hope I can be back to posting regularly. I miss blogging and I kinda miss the quiet it brings since no one ever really comes here for a visit. At least not that I know of.

So to you, dear void, I hope I'm still welcome. I can't quit just yet. I'm still very much interested.