Safari Cupcakes – cupcakes decorated with jungle animals made of molded chocolate. Flavors include Devil’s Food, Chocolate Banana and Chocolate Chip, all topped with bittersweet chocolate glaze. Price available upon request.
in the jungle
These cupcakes are perfect for a safari-themed children’s party. Colorful elephants, lions, horses, hippos and rhinos made of luscious chocolate will surely delight kids of all ages.
The photo below shows an order by my friend H._ who said that the adults in the party were also taken by the cupcakes. The cake base used was Chocolate Chip.
August 25th, 2008
Pistachio Cupcakes – soft, buttery cupcake with the subtle flavor of pistachios, topped with slightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with pistachio oil. Price available upon request.
nuts about pistachios
Pistachios are my second favorite type of nut meat after cashews. Shelling them may be a pain in the fingers, but the health benefits you get from eating the nuts are enormous that you wouldn’t mind having a raw finger or so. We all know now that nuts are healthful but studies have shown that pistachios are the most nutrient-packed nut. It helps lower cholesterol, keeping the heart healthy and is a good snack choice for diabetics.
So I am happy to offer this pistachio cupcake. It is soft, buttery and has an appealing natural light green color (no food coloring used!) and has a lingering taste of pistachios due to the finely ground nuts. The icing is made of slightly sweetened whipped cream subtly flavored with pistachio oil.
August 24th, 2008
Buzzy Bee Cupcake – honey cupcakes with silken lemon curd filling. Sitting atop is a soft-baked meringue “bee hive” guarded by a chocolate honey bee. Price available upon request.
flight of the honey bee
I had been wracking my brain for ideas on how to dress up these wonderful honey cupcakes. I thought of the honey-lemon Halls candies. If the flavor combination works on the candies, then it can also work on cupcakes. And it does! The lemon curd on its own is very tangy but it really marries well with the flavor of the cupcake. The “bee hive” is made of soft meringue baked just until the tips get brown. The bees are made of white chocolate with almond flaked nuts as wings. Everything is edible, except of course the cupcake liner!
August 23rd, 2008
Days of Wine and Roses Cupcake – light chocolate cupcake with grated bittersweet chocolate, a hint of cinnamon and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, with red wine-infused bittersweet chocolate ganache topped with red rose made of pliable candy. Price available upon request.
life is a cabernet
There used to be rules on how to pair wine with food but as people’s palates became more adventurous, there seems to be no more right or wrong combinations. It all depends on one’s experimentations. There is still this basic guide, though: light foods goes with light wine, and robust food goes with heavy wine.
This is also true when serving wine with chocolates. Strange bedfellows, one might say, but their combination can actually be a match made in heaven. However, this unusual pairing is not for everyone. Again, it depends on individual tastes and preferences. You should try this though and see what works and what does not.
This cupcake recipe calls for dry red wine, and I use Cabernet Sauvignon for its bold flavor which also goes well with bittersweet chocolate, one of the cupcake ingredients. If you happen to get hold of a recipe calling for dry red wine, you can either use a Zinfandel, a Merlot, a Shiraz or a Cabernet Sauvignon. Just remember, if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook (or bake) with it.
As I was mixing the batter, I tasted some and I liked it. Rightfully so, I also liked the baked product. So this was what I learned: if the cake batter tastes good, the resulting cake will also taste good.
The ganache topping also has a splash of Cabernet. I wanted to name this creation “Days of Wine and Roses” so what better decoration to put than a life-like red rose (molded from pliable candy) on top?
By the way, I think this cupcake can also be served during weddings or debuts. While I cannot change the color of the rose (alas, the candy only comes in red color), the motif can be reflected in ribbons tied around the cupcakes. You can also choose which cupcake flavor to go with this type of decoration. Kindly contact me for details.
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Some useful wine terminology:
Aroma – the smell of a wine, especially young wines
Bouquet – the complex of aromas that develops with age in fine wines; young wines have aroma, not bouquet
Dry – not sweet, except in sparkling wines, where dry means sweet
Full-bodied – full proportion of flavor and alcohol; big, fat
Legs – the viscous rivulets that run down the side of the glass after swirling or sipping, a mingling of glycerin and alcohol
Long – fine wines should have a long finish, or aftertaste
Oenology – the science and study of all aspects of wine and winemaking from the grape harvest to bottle
Oenophilia – love of wine
Oenophile – lover of wine
Tannin – a natural component found to varying degrees in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes; most prominent in red wines, where it creates a dry, puckering sensation in young reds of concentrated extract; mellows with aging and drops out of the wine to form sediment; a major component in the structure of red wines
Vintage – the year in which a particular wine’s grapes were harvested
You can find more wine terminology here.
August 23rd, 2008
Caesar’s Mint Chocolate Cupcake – rich devil’s food cupcake filled with whole Andes chocolate mint candy and topped with bittersweet chocolate glaze sprinkled with more Andes mints. Price available upon request.
homage to a great leader
My good friend D._ told me of her fondness for Andes chocolate mints so I thought of adding a whole chunk of it to my favorite devil’s food chocolate cupcake recipe. No, my friend is not named Caesar. And just who the heck is this Caesar?
The cupcake decoration started with the borders. They are really supposed to be a chain of hearts but my niece K._ took one look at it, said it looked like a Caesar and then walked away. Baffled, I went on finishing the decoration by adding more chopped Andes mints as topping. Later, I had the a-ha moment: my niece was referring to the wreath of laurel leaves that the ancient Roman emperors wore and its resemblance to the cupcake border design. Taking a cue from her observation, I named the cupcakes after the great leader Julius Caesar. Sorry, D._! Promise, I’ll just bake you some!
August 18th, 2008