Thursday, 15 March 2012

The dream apron!

My sister-in-law, Adelyn, is amazing. She is the living proof that we can in fact have it all. She has two beautiful kids (Zach and Mini) who she dotes on hand and foot, works full-time in a high pressured job and still makes time for her crafting passions, such as painting, sewing and the like! I am particularly grateful for her sewing ability and creativity. I recently approached her with an idea of what I considered to be the dream apron and she made it happen. Just like that, she made it happen.

You are probably thinking, “so what, an apron, big deal”! Well it is a big deal, I mean the aprons are BIG! If you know me, you know I love, love, love 50s fashion. The big skirts, bold colours, pattern material and of course the accentuation of a woman’s curves (predominately the waist) – what is there not to love?!  So the aprons reflect my taste in clothing to the tee. The aprons are high waisted aprons (accentuating the waist but hiding all the undesirable jingly bits) and are made from bold and beautiful material. The aprons are seriously so beautiful, I just want to wear them out. I feel wearing them just at home is such a waste!

But as you can probably gather, given my eccentric nature, my dream apron would not be like any other ordinary apron. It has to be so much more than that. And it is, it really is. When I came up with my dream apron idea, I put a lot of thought into it. For instance, I wanted something practical – something an actual baker would want to use. I drew upon my own baking experiences and mishaps and soon came to the realisation that I am quite a messy and forgetful baker. I always seem to forget where I put things. One minute the tea towel and mittens are on the bench and the next minute they are nowhere to be seen. This becomes particularly problematic when the cupcakes are done and need to be taken out of the oven and you cannot find the bloody tea towel or mittens anywhere! So the solution to my problem was an apron tool belt. An apron tool belt would force me to put the things back where they belong and all my tools of the trade will never be lost again … well theoretically that is the plan!

Although I love the idea of an apron tool belt, Brendyn did point out that having all the tools on the apron detracted from the simplicity and beauty of the apron itself. He made a very valid point and although I thought the tool belt idea was the best thing since an iced cupcake, I am sure some people would share Brendyn’s views. So Ade decided to sew buttons on the aprons and make it optional as to how many tools you would like to have on the apron itself. Each apron has four buttons and therefore people can put as many (up to four) or as little tools on the apron as they like.

The materials used for the aprons were chosen by Ade, Mini and I a few Sundays ago. And I left all the dirty work to Ade, as she hand made all the aprons!

I am very pleased to inform the world, well the blogging world at least, that Ade and I will be selling these aprons at the upcoming Unwrapped on Sunday, 25 March 2012. Yes, it is only 11 sleeps away (probably less sleeps for me as I am sure I will be pulling a few all-nighters leading up to the event itself). Come see these amazing aprons in the flesh and purchase a cupcake or two!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Let's all get Unwrapped

Eleven months ago, I started this cupcake blog with the view that I would share my cupcake passion with the world. Not only would I share stories and photos of my own cupcaking adventures, but share my cupcaking experience of other bakers’ cupcakes. Here I am eleven months and one hundred and thirteen blog post later, I have been featured on a number of international cupcake/food blogs, started my own home business and have registered for my first official event.

I have always toiled over the idea of starting my own cupcake business, but I was always held back with the fear of failing (as I am sure this is what holds back a lot of people from chasing their dreams). I didn’t think that I had what it takes for people to actually want to buy my product. I knew in my heart that what I had to offer was special, but I didn’t believe it was special enough that people would be willing to part with their hard earned money for. But as time progressed and after much encouragement from family and friends, I decided to take the biggest gamble and bet on myself! So here we are, Top the Cupcake is no longer just a cupcake blog, but it is a cupcake business ‘open for business’!

I am so pleased to announce that my first cupcaking appearance will be at this year’s Unwrapped at Angelo Street, South Perth on Sunday, 25 March 2012 between 12PM to 6PM. If you live in Perth, Western Australia, please attend and support up and coming local entrepreneurs, such as myself. Come visit my stall where I will have mini cupcakes, cake pops and fondant toppers on sale. Even if you don’t wish to purchase anything, please just pop by and say hello. I would love to meet anyone who reads my blog and to share cupcake ideas (or war stories) with you!

For more information about Unwrapped, please visit any of the following:
Twitter: @unwrappedmarket

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bad Aunty Tina!

The last couple of weeks I have been absolutely chocker block with work, my real full time work that is. I feel as though I have been operating at 1,000 miles per hours (not that I actually know what 1,000 miles per hour would feel like as I am based in Australia and we measure speed according to kilometres)! Nevertheless, I am sure you get the point I am trying to get across – I have been busy! But never too busy to bake, just too busy for everything else. 

Two weekends ago, was the second birthday of my little niece Olivia (from Brendyn’s side of the family). I honestly cannot believe she is already two! My goodness time flies. Livy’s parents organised a lovely picnic at the park with family and friends to celebrate this wonderful occasion. As I am sure you probably would have guessed, I volunteered to bring cupcakes. Being the lover of themes that I am, I requested a theme to work with and the theme I was given was “animals”.

So I made the usual animals (nothing out of the ordinary): butterflies, cows, dogs, elephants, giraffes, horses, lions, penguins and polar bears - you name it and I made it! At first I was a little nervous that the “animal” theme was not specific enough and that the cupcakes would not all come together and make a specky display, but I was wrong. Once all the cupcakes were arranged together in the cupcake display, it looked pretty darn good (if I don’t say so myself). And at the top of the tower, sat a personalised Princess Livy cupcake!

Given how busy I have been lately, this was an extremely last minute bake job. I felt like a terrible Aunty Tina leaving such an important bake job to the absolute last minute! On the morning of the party, I was STILL making fondant toppers. Some toppers didn’t even have time to dry. Insert ashamed face here.

Today is the birthday of my little baker Amelia, she turns four today! And sadly, I am not in Perth to celebrate her birthday or to make her birthday cupcakes. This not only makes me terribly sad but makes me a terrible Aunty Tina. I am hoping to make it up to her by baking cupcakes for her to bring into school and share with her kindy friends next week. She has also asked me to volunteer at her school, to run a cupcake decorating class with the kids in her class. Of course I said yes but I must admit I am a little fearful of 40 plus kids with cupcakes, icing bags and fondant! I am sure I will have loads of funny stories to share, so watch this space.

Happy Birthday my Mini Mousey!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

She's got PERTHanality!

I get star struck very easily! In my opinion, there is nothing better than seeing a celebrity. This is probably the sole reason why I am on twitter, just so that I can get one step closer to celebrities! I know I sound like a creepy stalker, but I assure you, I am not. So take my word for it.

Much to my surprise, after dating Brendyn for a few months, I discovered that his sister, Ashleigh, was an Australian Hockeyroo player. Although I had never played or watched a game of hockey in my life (the extent of my hockey knowledge was the Mighty Ducks movie), I was very excited by the prospects of knowing a celebrity. But not just any celebrity, a Perth personality, a Perthanality! So yes, I have a celebrity for a sister-in-law. Haters, don’t be hating …

Last Saturday some of the Hockeyroo players organised a fundraising event to help them “Chase Gold” for the upcoming Olympics. Naturally, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to bake (and to also help out my sis-in-law of course)! So I volunteered to donate a batch of cupcakes to be auctioned off to raise funds to assist the girls chase gold.

I wanted to make something quite spectacular for my sister from another mister celebrity, and with that in mind, I decided to make personalised cupcakes of each Hockeyroo player. Each topper is made from fondant and is therefore 100% edible. As I didn’t have a cookie cutter shape mould of a sport jersey, I had to free style it and cut the jersey shapes out by hand. Originally, to save time, I had planned to draw on the girls’ number and skirt with a green edible marker. But the green edible marker left a horrible streak of colour and the colour was not consistent. So let this be a lesson for you all, edible markers are not designed for colouring in fondant! Being the perfectionist that I am, I decided to colour some fondant green with Wilton colour gel and individually cut the numbers and skirts out for each topper by hand. So as you can imagine, the toppers took a heck of a lot more time than I had planned.

Nevertheless, despite the minor hiccups, the cupcakes turned out looking pretty smick and the night was a great success. The cupcakes were auctioned off for approximately $220 (AUD). I also got a great plug from a VERY tall Perthanality, channel 10 news reader, Tim Gossage.  All in all, it was quite a successful baking adventure!