Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cupcake Mishap!!!

I was making a batch of vanilla cupcakes for my cousin today when, not even half way through the baking process, my oven just decided to conk out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My First Ever Clients for Valentine's Eve!

I was super excited to deliver the goods to my first ever clients: my aunt and uncle!

Yesterday, they celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary here at the compound. Kuya Ric ordered 60 pieces of assorted cupcakes to be served as one of the desserts during the party. A few days ago, we discussed it casually and settled on a good number of cupcakes to serve during the party. I was set on serving the cupcakes straight from the box until I realized that this was not going to be an ordinary party. Quite a number of guests were invited to the anniversary party (mostly Kuya Ric's from the John Van De Steen male choir), and I only found that out when a caterer started hauling their equipment.

It was a good thing that I went to a cake box supply store somewhere in Sta. Mesa a few days ago where I was able to purchase a cupcake tower. I did not really intend to use the tower for this event, but when I found out what was going to be happening that evening, I was glad I bought it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Patissier's Prayer

I wrote this about two years ago, and published it first on Facebook notes. I would like to share this to you once again.

I need to say this prayer, more than ever.

***I feared for my cookies, my cakes and mousses, so I wrote I prayer for them. For all the hardcore bakers and pastry chefs out there. =) ***

Dear God, I'm baking today
Please let everything go my way
My clients are picky, they want only the best
And they will settle for nothing less

But should my delicate buttercream break,
let the mixer at high speed do the trick
And if my meringues suddenly deflate,
I pray they won't protest against my dense and heavy cakes

I pray that my mousses hold up against the weather
If not, a little gelatin and a lot more prayer
I pray my macarons grow their little feet
Otherwise my menu will not be complete

I pray my chocolates will temper to a snap,
or else my pralines will look like crap
so will my tarts, my bombes, and my cute petit fours
without shiny chocolate, everything's a bore

I pray my souffles will rise as high as they could
Or else my guests will get pudding instead
I pray for all my desserts to be good
Because if a blogger is dismayed, then surely I'm dead

I guess that's it, Lord, I've covered all the bases
I just want to put a smile on people's faces
I pray I won't fail at any of my tasks
If I do, then biscotti, a cigarette, and a whiskey flask!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New York Cupcakes, Lobsters and my Frosting Issues

I love my buttercream recipe. With a little tweaking and some help from my friend Denieza, I was able to find the balance between flavor and texture.

However, I still can't find a way to make my frostings look like this. I just think they are so pretty!

Billy's Chocolate Cupcake
Photo from Billy's Bakery

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Christmas came very early this year!

Santa's timing was waaay off when he sent me this last week:


I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship. I am looking forward to mixing batters, kneading dough, creaming butter, and whipping frostings with you.



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Elbow deep in cupcake frosting

Yesterday’s testing ended better than it started.

Feeling rather sick, I began the day making different batches of frosting for the cupcakes that I baked off earlier in the week and played around with a few recipes I had from my previous jobs and a couple I found on the internet.

One recipe in particular caught my attention. It was a traditional American butter-based frosting that called for 6 to 8 cups of sugar to a bar of butter (which is about 227 grams or half a pound). SIX TO EIGHT CUPS! From the get-go, I knew this recipe was going to be too sweet, especially for a Filipino clientele. To me, it even seemed unhealthy to be putting that much sugar in frosting. But a lot of the reviews online mentioned this frosting recipe to be “one of the best they’ve ever tasted.” So I kept an open mind and tried the recipe out, but I cut the recipe in half because if I use that much sugar, I would not have any left for the rest of the frostings I was yet to make.

My impressions were right. This frosting is just waaay to sweet. It holds great under warm weather but it tastes awful. I could not taste anything but pure sugar. So I decided to cut the sugar by half. Even when I cut the amount of sugar by that much, I still found the recipe too sweet. But I thought that maybe the sweetness would be tolerable if it was enjoyed with the cupcake base. I assembled a few cupcakes and had my cousins taste them. They weren’t too crazy about the sugary frosting either. So I went back to my kitchen extremely disappointed because I was already running out of ingredients and this misstep would cost me a few more ingredients that I needed for something else.

I also ran into a few problems with the dulce de leche that I made the day before. When I spread it on the tops of my banana walnut cupcakes, they refused to stay on top of the cupcake and made their way down the sides of the cupcake. I was so frustrated that I almost called my friends to let them know that there was not going to be a taste test that evening. But rather than waste all the effort I’ve already exerted, I moved on to the Red Velvet cupcakes and the cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Banana Walnut Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche

The frosting recipe was pretty easy and manageable. And I found it to be smooth and tangy, which I liked. I piped them on to the cupcakes and was finally happy with at least one cupcake. I also finished baking off the chocolate chip cookies that I promised to let sit in the fridge overnight. I found a solution to the burnt bottoms of the cookies by doubling the pans I baked them in and taking them a tad early to keep them chewy. After taking photos of the cookies and cupcakes that I managed to assemble and decorate, I got so tired I didn’t even finish the chocolate frosting for the chocolate cupcakes.

Then, I slept. I slept for a good hour on the couch with my apron still on and with frosting glued to my forearms. I was only woken up by a call from Lyn saying that they’ve arrived in front of the house and ready to test the cupcakes.

I was so surprised with their reaction with the cupcakes. They actually liked the vanilla frosting on vanilla cake, the one I found too sweet. They found it so good in fact, Charo called it addictive. They enjoyed the Red Velvets too, but they found a strange taste that they described as ‘uncooked batter’ which they actually found pleasant. They also liked the banana cupcakes but suggested that they could do without the dulce de leche frosting. They were finally happy with the chocolate chip cookies as well, and Lyn kept on hinting I give them a bag to take home. I was only happy to oblige, as I was elbow deep in cookies and cupcakes and I did not know what to do with all the leftovers. 

Because Karrie and Ian couldn’t make it to the tasting, I also sent a few cupcakes for them to taste. They wrote down their observations and I was able to read them today.  Karrie was okay with the Red Velvets but found the frosting not tangy enough. She also said that while they tasted good, it does not fit the memory of the Red Velvets she had before (I suddenly regretted not trying the Red Velvets when I was going around in NYC last year). Ian also found a weird taste he could not describe (I think this maybe the ‘uncooked batter’ taste Charo found in the cupcakes).  Then again, Ian always manages to find something wrong that hardly ever matters just to irritate me, so I’m not sure if I’m counting this one. =p  Karrie really enjoyed the vanilla frosting, which made me think twice about abandoning the recipe entirely. Maybe a few tweaks here and there would make it enjoyable for people with a sweet tooth and the sugar-intolerant (?).

At the end of the day, we made progress with the recipes despite the shaky start. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Tomorrow, I have a date with Lyn to take a look at KitchenAid mixers at Focus Global Inc. in Mandaluyong, the official distributor of KitchenAid mixers in the Philippines (YAAAY! I’m super excited!) and maybe decide on the best model to buy. Again, any sponsors? Send me an email! Better yet send me a cheque!

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