Friday, 28 October 2011

Think quick, think pink!

Like most girls, I like the colour pink (as you could probably gather from my blog page). For a good period of my life, I liked pink so much that I only wore pink. How I wish I was joking. Everything had to be pink! When I tell people this, they simply just laugh it off because they must think this was a phase I went through as a child. But what these people do not realise is that this phase was for a decent chunk of my life when I should have known better. In fact, this phased started from when I was 16 to about 20. Yes, I was a 20 year old who wore only PINK. For instance, check out this pink ensemble:

Please note the glitter pink top, pink skirt, pink shoes and to top it all off a pink scarf, of course! This photo was taken when I was 16 (at the start of the pink craze). I looked cute, in a pink over the top sort of way.

This post is not supposed to be about my love for pink, but instead something far more important. In Australia during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness is promoted. At a national level, the profile colour for Breast Cancer awareness is PINK!

Every year without fail, one of the departments at my work organises a bake sale to fundraise for this great cause. To assist in the fundraising, I made pink cake pops. Yes, I made cake pops over cupcakes – I am clearly a bad person!

But not just any old bland cake pop (because I am not bland and have never been called bland … well that is not true, but that is a story for another day). The cake pops were pink on the outside and guess what … pink on the inside.

So in order to make the pink cake mixture, I did have to use pink food colouring. As you know, I prefer to use as little food colouring as possible in my baking, since it is not very good for you (Yes, I realise how ironic this statement is, given I am the picture of health who eats an abundance of fast food and baked treats on a regular basis). However, this was for a good cause, so I was willing to comprise.

So think quick, think pink and support Breast Cancer Awareness. In my case, think quick and do not wear so much pink!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Making the circus sexy!

Last weekend I had a bake order of 100 cupcakes for a 30th birthday party. Like every good party, this party was themed, more specifically the theme was 'Burlesque Circus'' Initially I was a little concerned about how the heck I was going to decorate the cupcakes to theme because tet's be honest, it is not the easiest theme to make into cupcakes.

However, after extensive internet research and talking to the client, things started to come together. Everything had to be black, white and red and the cupcakes were no exception! Chocolate, vanilla and red velvet cupcakes were made for the occasion.

A few weeks ago I had to travel to Singapore for work (work-work, as in my real full time work), so while I was there I visited a baking supply store. I brought a pack of cute mini Noah's Ark animal cookie cutters which was mighty handy for this bake job! I used the lion, elephant and pony cutters as these animals are particularly circus relevant. To dress up the animal toppers because they looked pretty boring at this stage, I added little fondant props to them. I had the lions balance on a little stepper, elephants dressed in a black and gold cloaks and balancing on a ball, and ponies with cloaks and head pieces.

Since I had the circus toppers covered, I had to make some toppers to cater for the burlesque theme. Naturally, the first things that came to mind was corsets, shoes, fans and boobs! I thought that boob toppers would be some what controversial, and being the bland person that I am, I decided to be a little less controversial and a little more main stream, so I decided to make sexy legs instead. That is, I used the cupcake frosting to make a skirt like effect and had the sexy legs come out of the cupcake (I saw this idea on The Cupcake Blog a few months ago and instantly fell in love and knew I had to make it).

On the day the cupcake order was due, I still was not entirely happy with the cupcake plans I had drawn up. I thought the cupcake display was missing something. Then WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAM it hit me - make a large cupcake circus tent to sit at the top of the cupcake tower. So I got to work early that morning to bake and put the cupcake circus tent together. I used fondant to decorate the tent with red and white strips. Even after it was decorated I still was not satisfied. I used the remaining coloured fondant to cut out letters stating 'Burlesque Circus' and used glitter to jazz it up. And still I was not satisfied, which is some what unusual because shiny glittery things usually makes everything better (which Brendyn has come to learn in recent times)! Still not 100% satisfied, I had to put my thinking cap on, after much thinking, I came accross this thought: I should make a sexy silhouette of a lady doing acrobats from the circus tent top to fill in the space. And that is exactly what I did.

Since I wasted so much time on getting the giant cupcake circus tent right, I had to bake the 100 cupcakes against the clock. Flour, sugar and eggs was flying everywhere. Once all the cupcakes were baked, they were all packed into the car to be delivered and set up at the party venue. I left the kitchen in what can only be described as an absolute freaking cupcaking mess! I got to the venue on time for set up and put together the finishing touches. It all came together quite nicely.

To celebrate my first real BIG cupcake order, Brendyn and I went out for dinner after delivering the cupcakes and I ordered myself a mean lychee cocktail. Being an Asian I get tipsy somewhat quickly and easily, so after the one cocktail I was red in the face and feeling somewhat "relaxed". This made coming home to the cupcake explosion that occurred in the kitchen some what easier. I happily cleaned the kitchen in my tipsy state and spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching Saturday Night reruns with the Batman.

Not too sure whether I personally made circus sexy, but my cupcakes sure did!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Triple the salt, sugar and fun!

 A few weeks ago one of my best friends, koko butter, was back in town! To celebrate this momentous occasion, I made a cupcake in his honour. As he is sickly sweet and has a sickly sweet tooth, I knew I had to make something involving caramel. So I made something that is currently a massive craze in the USA (and I think has been for quite some time), salted caramel cupcakes. But not just any salted caramel cupcakes, but TRIPLE salted caramel cupcakes.

I followed a recipe published by a follow online baker blogger, Sprinkle Bakes. Here is the link to the recipe.  The triple salted caramel cupcakes were somewhat difficult to make as there was so many components to the cupcakes! The salted caramel cupcake base, the caramel cupcake filling and the salted caramel cupcake frosting. And it was particularly difficult due to the fact that I burnt the caramel cupcake filling twice. After having burnt the filling the second time, I was beyond caring and decided to use the filling anyway as is, in its burnt state and all!

So was it a HIT or a MISS? In my opinion, it was just too sickly sweet. I could barely eat one. However, koko butter did love it and I guess that is the most important thing (other than me of course)! Other people who had one also found the experience some what enjoyable. Because I am selfish, I doubt I would make this cupcake again, as I didn’t like all the components together. Having said that, I will definitely make the caramel cupcake filling again! It tasted like sticky date pudding sauce and we all know my love for sticky date pudding.

The below photo was taken the day after I had made the cupcakes. Yes, I served a day old cupcake – fo’ shame! Special thanks to my sexy hand model, Sarah. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah …


I have gone cake pop crazy! I have been making cake pops left, right and centre. Does that mean I have been neglecting my love for cupcakes? Absolutely not, I have been making just as many cupcakes as I do cake pops this week. The cupcakes have been nothing special, just my ordinary top deck mini cupcakes. So not exactly blog worthy!

So what makes cake pops blog worthy oppose to cupcakes? Well, earlier this week I was criticised for making girlie cake pops. So I thought to myself at 12AM, how does one make cake pops more masculine?! And the most masculine thing I know is BATMAN as my husband is Batman (just quietly). However, at this stage Batman was fast asleep, while I was busy making the world a better place one cake pop at a time.
I used my usual Nestle white chocolate melts with a few drops of yellow food colouring to cover the cake. Initially I coloured the white chocolate using Wilton’s colour gel but this caused the chocolate to set too quickly. So quick in fact that I could not even dunk one cake pop in! So make a mental note, food colouring is the better option oppose to colour gels when it comes to cake pops (not to mention cheaper too)!

The little black bats were made from my trusty baking companion fondant. I used a silicon (my second trusty baking companion) mould to form the bat shape.

That’s right peeps, I made cake pops manly! Haters don't be hating!!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

A cupcake a day...

A number of schools in Australia and the USA have banned cupcakes in an attempt to fight obesity. As a former obese child and avid cupcake lover, I am outraged by such news. If cupcakes are no longer permitted at schools, how am I going to show off my cupcake creations and where on earth am I going to get my cupcake praise fix from?! Totes devo.

Furthermore, doctors are suggesting we should not consume more than one cupcake a day. Apparently a regular size cupcake can contain anywhere between 250 to 600 calories. Well, my response to that is: they are just so DARN TASTY! Everything we consume contains calories, you might as well make those calories count and eat something delicious. And so what if it contains an extra calorie or two!

Being the health conscious person that I am, I feel obliged to listen to doctors’ recommendations.  So, if we are only allowed one cupcake a day, I am going to oblige. From now on, I am only going to eat one cupcake a day, one GIANT cupcake that is (like the one I made for my Cupcake Picnic). The giant cupcake is at least 50 times bigger than a regular size cupcake, but nevertheless it is after all just ONE cupcake.

You know what they say, a cupcake a day keeps the doctors away!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

(Cupcake - Cup) + Pop = Yummy CAKE POP Cuteness

Cake pops are so much fun. If only they were easier to make, I would make them all the time. These little suckers are just so fiddly! But the end result makes it all worth it. Little cake balls of yummy cake pop cuteness on lolly pop sticks! What more could a person want?!

Blogger and baker extraordinaire, Bakerella, came up with this fabulous idea. If you would like to learn how to make cake pops, watch the link below. Although it looks somewhat straight forward, be warned, it is seriously harder than it looks.

On a separate note, how kick arse is Bakerella's kitchen! 

From my various attempts of making cake pops, I have made a number of improvisations to the recipe and methodology. For instance, instead of using candy melts (which can be quite expensive – and as you all know, I am a closet stingy Asian) I use cooking chocolate (which is a heck of a lot cheaper!). I tend to use the Nestle Chocolate Melts which you can purchase in the cooking aisle of most grocery stores. From my extensive research of making cake pops, all of TWO times, I found that using white chocolate with a little bit of colouring to decorate the cake pops is sufficiently easier than using milk chocolate. The milk chocolate once melted, is incredibly thick and leaves the cake pops looking somewhat clunky. Yes, clunky is a word. So in my opinion, white chocolate is the way to go. It is cheaper and easier to work with.

Also, once I have rolled the cake mixture into shape, e.g. balls or cupcakes, I like to leave them in the fridge for about 10 minutes before sticking the lolly pop sticks into them. I found that if I do not put them in the fridge, when I stick the lolly pop sticks into them they tend to break and crumble, leaving me somewhat sad and frustrated. So to avoid this, leave the balls in the fridge before sticking the lolly pop sticks into them. Once you stick the lolly pop sticks into the balls, put the balls back into the fringe for a second time for another 10 minutes.

As you know, I made three different cake pop designs for my Cupcake Picnic: spring themed cake pops with butterflies and flowers, cupcake cake pops and pink sprinkled cake pops. To decorate the spring themed cake pops I used my all time trusty baking companion, fondant! I made the fondant butterflies and flowers earlier that day. It made very cute cake pop decorations.

Well, you know what they say, practice makes perfect! Ah, best go make a batch to perfect the art that is cake pops. I mean, really, I am doing it for the greater cake popping good.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

George Town Cupcakes, I heart you long time!

 I do not need another reason to love George Town Cupcakes any more than I already do! But after this weekend, my love and respect for the ladies of George Town Cupcakes have grown exponentially. Not only do their cupcakes look amazingly tasty, but they are also so creative with what they do with the cupcakes. For instance, their cupcake bouquet of flowers. As you would remember from my previous post, I love presents that you can consume! So a bouquet of cupcake flowers is a win-win in my opinion. Flowers that you can eat – genius!

I attempted my first cupcake bouquet of flowers and my goodness it was diabolical! The cupcakes that sat on the top of the bouquet manage to keep shape and stick to the cupcake base. But the cupcakes that were on a slight angle were impossible to ice! After much effort, I managed to ice all the cupcakes (even the cupcakes on a slight angle). It was not my best icing work, but it was what it was. However, only to discover minutes later that the icing started to drip off the cupcakes and onto the table. After three attempts of trying to ice the cupcakes again, I just gave up and let the forces of gravity get the better of me! By the end of the party, three cupcakes loss their rose icing. FML (for the record, I do not mean fluffy, moist and light)!

The original plan of action was to make two bouquets of cupcake flowers for the cupcake picnic, but after realising how difficult it was to actually make, I decided to only make one. Thereby leaving one of two ceramic pots cupcakeless and looking somewhat sad.

Ah well, you win some, you lose some. In this scenario, three of my cupcakes lost their rose icing! I take my cupcake hat off to the ladies of George Town Cupcakes – you are amazing!

Monday, 3 October 2011

One thousand cupcakes, anyone?

It has become quite the routine now that when Monday comes along, I realise that I have not blogged all week. I know my fall back excuse is that I am always so busy with work, family, friends … blah, blah, blah, whatever. But this week I do have a legitimate excuse, I was busy planning my cupcake picnic! Not that I need an excuse to organise a cupcake picnic, but the reason behind this event was to celebrate my birthday (many, many months ago).

The original plan was to host the party at Kings Park as I thought it would be a fabulous spring day. Turns out I was wrong (very rare occurrence, may I add), as winds and possible rain was forecasted to begin in the afternoon. So sadly, I had to move the party to my humble abode. In hindsight, it was probably the better option as I was able to bake ample cupcakes and did not have to worry about transporting them.

For this grand event I made one giant cupcake, one large bouquet of cupcake flowers, one hundred cake pops and ONE THOUSAND mini cupcakes (10 flavours to choose from).

If you would like to view more photos, I will be uploading photos on to my facebook page later this evening. Thank you to Bernie and Michelle for their mad photography skills!

The cupcake choices available on the day were:
1. Chocolate base + Chocolate frosting = Chocolate Squared
2. Chocolate base + (Mint + Chocolate) frosting = Mint Slice of Heaven
3. Chocolate base + Vanilla frosting = Top Deck
4. Chocolate base + Coffee frosting = Cocha Mocha
5. (Chocolate + Raspberry) base + Raspberry frosting = Berry Berry Chocolate
6. Vanilla base + Vanilla frosting = Plain & Simple
7. Vanilla base + Strawberry frosting = Strawberries & Cream
8. (Vanilla + Raspberry) base + Raspberry frosting = Berry Berry Vanilla
9. Strawberry base + Strawberry frosting = Strawberry Shortcake
10. Coffee base + Coffee frosting = Coffee Kick

All in all, it took just a little over 24 hours to plan. Brendyn and I went shopping for the ingredients and decorations the day before the big event at about 10AM. After the marathon shop, I got stuck into the decorations: pink streamers, cupcake flavour cards, cake pop stands, etc. Then started work on the cake pops. These little suckers took forever to make. They are just so darn fiddly! I started work on them at about 6PM and did not finish until about 12AM. This included baking, moulding, decorating and packaging! This is the point when I realised that I was in big trouble - I needed (yes, and for the record I NEEDED to, not WANTED to, NEEDED) to make one thousand cupcakes and I had not baked a single one at this point and guest were due to arrive in 15 hours. So instead of going to bed, I baked my giant cupcake and decorated it, made the bases of 200 cupcakes and made the cupcakes for my cupcake bouquet. I went to bed at 4AM and got up at 6AM to start the baking process. The next 9 hours was complete mayhem. I was in a complete state of cupcake crazy. Flour, sugar, eggs, milk was flying everywhere. There was not a clean spot in the kitchen. By the time the first guest arrived, I literally put the finishing icing touches on some cupcakes.

Was it worth it?! ABSOLUTELY! I love throwing parties. No matter how painful the organisation process is. I just love it. Give me a theme and I will make it happen. Yes, it is necessary to theme parties! Parties MUST have themes. Otherwise, how would your guest know what to expect? For instance, how would my guest have known to expect this upon arrival:

Very BIG thank you to all my wonderful friends who made it to the cupcake picnic. I had an absolute blast (sincerely, I did) and I hope you did too! You help encourage a little girl’s dream come true. It just shows what can be achieved with a little determination, one kitchen aid, one oven, little to no sleep and one crazy person. This was a win for all the little people in the world who have a dream that people said could not
be achieved! Me (in a lack of sleep state) and my one thousand cupcakes laugh in the face of those people.

I suppose I should also thank Brendyn for allowing (and helping) me to achieve my crazy dreams and for always being two steps behind me with a sponge cleaning up my cupcaking mess. He does this not because I ask him to, but he knows that if he does not clean it, I would probably leave it (yes, I am a little grub)! Oh and suppose because he is an all round good person. I have said it before and I will say it again, what a man!

Over the next couple of days, I will blog more specifically about the various items I made for the cupcake picnic of the year (possibly the only cupcake picnic of the year)!