Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Favorite Tips From Cupcake Reality Shows

Over the years I have learned some great tips from cupcake reality shows that have completely improved my own cupcake baking. I am not a gourmet baker at all, but I am good at following recipes and I know that making the smallest adjustment can make my cupcakes turn out even better.

I am going to share a few of the tips I have learned. They are simple things that will make your cupcakes even more amazing.

Tip from: Cupcake Wars

Add espresso to your chocolate cupcake batter to give it a more intense chocolate flavor. You can add a couple of tablespoons of liquid espresso up to 1/2 cup. Since all recipes are different you may need to taste your batter and adjust the amount you use.

Tip from: The Cupcake Girls

Make sure all of the ingredients that go into your cupcakes and frosting are at room temperature. This one made a huge difference in my own baking. My cupcakes turned out more fluffy and more consistent. Eggs, milk, butter, cream cheese, and other cold ingredients should all be at room temperature before mixing and baking. Not only does it make everything easier to blend, it will make your cupcakes more light and fluffy.

Tip from: DC Cupcakes

The girls on DC Cupcakes suggest using Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. This is the king of all vanillas and is perfect for all types of baking. It's a rich and creamy vanilla and will make a big difference in your cupcakes flavor. I like the madagascar bourbon vanilla by Nielsen-Massey Vanilla. You can find this brand in fine grocery stores, culinary supply stores, or at Williams-Sonoma.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also sells vanilla bean paste, whole vanilla beans, vanilla sugar, and other cooking vanillas (shown below: Mexican, Madagascar Bourbon, and Tahitian). They also carry hard-to-find extracts like rose water, orange blossom, and more.

I hope these simple tips help you as much as they helped me. Happy cupcake baking!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cupcake Wars Top Recipes

Picture from Food Network

Do you love Cupcake Wars and you want to get your hands on the recipes from the show? Cupcake Wars has the Top 70 Cupcake Wars Recipes posted on their website. Now you can make delicious cupcakes like Mint Chocolate Chip and Fresh Mint Buttercream, Pretty in Pink Strawberry Champagne, and Pumpkin Spice with Brown Butter Buttercream.

If you want to narrow your search, you can find the winning recipes from season three, here, season two, here, and season one, here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cupcake Decorating Classes

Picture from Butterlane Cupcakes

Do you want to learn how to decorate beautiful cakes or cupcakes but you aren't quite ready to sign up for culinary school? Check out your local craft store, grocery store, or high school. Yes, high school.

In my area (Salt Lake City, UT) there are several places to take classes to learn how to decorate cakes and cupcakes and they are pretty inexpensive. Michael's craft store offers Wilton Cake Decorating Courses (click to see class descriptions or find a class in your area). A local grocery store, Harmons, holds cupcake decorating classes every once in a while. We also have a restaurant and culinary supply store, Gygi's, that teaches classes like gluten-free baking, how to make sugar-art gum paste flowers, and other decorating classes. But, did you think to check at your local high school for cupcake decorating classes? Our school districts have continuing education programs where adults take classes in the evening for enrichment, career development, or just for fun. Granite Peaks Lifelong Learning offers cake decorating, gluten-free baking, cake pop making, and cupcake decorating classes. They range from one to four sessions and cost $15 to $39 per class (includes all sessions).

So, if you just want to learn the basics about cupcake decorating, check your local craft stores or schools.  Also, don't forget to check out your local cupcakery - more and more are starting to offer cupcake decorating classes right in their stores.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Cakery Fakery

Don't the cupcakes in this post look good enough to eat? Well, don't do it. They aren't edible. They are adorable cupcake creations by The Cakery Fakery. The creator of these faux cupcakes calls them "cupfakes." She stated that she is a terrible baker so when she feels like making cupcakes, she goes to Home Depot instead of the supermarket for her ingredients. They are all fun, without the fat. 

The are the actual size of a cupcake but are heavy enough to be a paperweight. They would make a "sweet" desk accessory. The Cakery Fakery sells them online and has a lot of choose from. You can find their Etsy site, here. Also, you can find their blog, here, or follow them on facebook, here

Something else that is pretty sweet, The Cakery Fakery donates 10% of all sales to the St. Judes Children's Research Hospital. I love that!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Cupcake Girls

How did I not know about the reality cupcake show called The Cupcake Girls? Not only did I just find out about them, but they already wrapped their second season. Heather White and Lori Joyce, best friends and co-founders of Cupcakes by Heather and Lori, can be found on the WE tv channel (click to check your local listings). I caught two episodes today and totally fell in love with the show. The girls are funny, business savvy, and very charming. During the show you follow them through the trials and triumphs of running a successful cupcakery - they have six shops to be exact, all located in Canada.

Do want their recipe for Cherry Glazed filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting? Click here.

To follow The Cupcake Girls and find out what they are up to, you can find them on facebook, here. To follow their business, Cupcakes by Heather and Lori, click here.

To find out about other cupcake shows on TV, click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Miette: Recipes From San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop

Miette, San Francisco's most charming pastry shop, now has a cookbook. This hard-cover cookbook has over 100 recipes and 75 color photos of the sweets you can purchase right at the shop. Check out the scalloped edges on the pages, isn't that adorable? You can pick up a copy of this cookbook, here. You can also visit Miette's website, here.

I am really excited that I am going to San Francisco in a few weeks and will be able to visit this charming pastry shop. If you know of any other cupcake shops I should try between Reno, NV, San Francisco, CA, and Napa, CA, send me an email (besides Kara's Cupcakes, Miette, and Sift Cupcake - they are already on the list).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Heaven Cupcake

I just got around to watching all the shows I recorded last week on my DVR while we were out of town. One of the shows was Cupcake Wars and I was so surprised (and happy) to see that one of the competitors was from Salt Lake City, UT. Erik from Heaven Cupcake competed against three other cupcake bakers trying to become the next winner of Cupcake Wars. He was one of the final two standing but didn't end up taking the grand prize because of a couple small issues - some cupcakes weren't decorated competely and not all of his cupcakes made it to the display table. Oops! I think he still should have won.

To view some of the recipes from this episode or find out when it will re-air, click here.

Heaven Cupcake is a cupcake delivery service. For information, click here. To find them on facebook, click here and Twitter, here.
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