Posts filed under 'Chocolate'
Laptop Cupcakes – cupcakes topped with edible miniature laptops. Price available upon request.
geeks love cupcakes, too!
I had everything ready. Three dozens of New York-style blueberry cheesecakelettes, boxed and ready to be picked up by a client. And then came the rain that wreaked havoc on Metro Manila and submerged parts of it in knee-deep to neck-deep floods. There wasn’t even a typhoon, just monsoon rains gone wild. Long story short: client did not pick up the cheesecakelettes as scheduled and didn’t even bother to call for cancellation which would have been fine by me. I thought maybe her area got flooded. Or something grim happened because she wasn’t answering her phone—I just hope not. Or maybe … oh well. At least my family’s tummies were sated!
What further lifted me out of the doldrums was this order from A._ who asked me if I can make a cake and cupcakes for her boyfriend’s birthday. I remembered that around the same time last year, A._ ordered Ebony and Ivory cupcakes (version 1 and version 2) for this boyfriend. Hmm, that’s one lucky chap!
A._ didn’t have a theme yet and my design suggestions included a star, moustache, chocolate curls and sports-related toppers. A._ told me the boyfriend is on the “geeky” side so perhaps a laptop or tablet design is apt? She also sent me a caricature of the birthday boy. After some research, I decided to make edible laptop toppers for the cupcakes and the caricature for the cake.
Of course the edible miniature laptop must be a Macbook! I have been a Mac addict since I started working for a business newspaper after college—the newsroom only used Macs. When I moved to another job, I was fortunate to have a Mac as my work computer. Naturally, I bought my first computer from Apple.
These toppers gave me a hard time but being a glutton for punishment *wink* *wink*, I carried on. I used chocolate modelling “clay” (from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe) as I am averse to fondant. I was tempted to use marzipan but A._ was on a tight budget. The chocolate worked so well and after several laptop toppers later, I got the hang of making them. Do I put the logo or not? I thought about it hard but in the end, I could not resist, so there.
And the cake looked like this:
I was worried that the laptops might become “unhinged” while in transit. Fortunately, everything was in good condition come party time, as A._ said.
I thoroughly enjoyed this challenging project and I was truly overjoyed when A._ later reported that everyone loved the treats—sweet! Thanks, A._ for not forgetting.
September 6th, 2012
Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie Cake and Cupcake Project – cake decorated with the iconic image taken from the animated movie “Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie”. Accompanied by cupcakes with Mickey and Friends toppers made of chocolate. Price available upon request.
I have had lots of inquiries about a Mickey Mouse-themed cake but sadly those would-be projects never pushed through. I bought a Mickey and friends chocolate mold so I will be ready in case someone inquires. And then R._ came along.
Her baby was about to turn one and the party’s theme was the vintage “Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie.” Finally! Out came the chocolate molds from our cabinet, yipee! R._’s one request: can the cake be banana or carrot so her son can eat it? Hmm, this baby surely knows what he wants!
As with my usual method, I made the cake topper with chocolate. R._ wasn’t too particular whether the topper is standing or not. I thought it would be better if it was a lay-on because the finished image was fragile. I added a white chocolate background frame to make the image pop. It did more than that—it gave it a rather 3D look.
Making the letters using the Disney fonts was challenging. Several letters broke before I got the hang of making them. Come decoration day, more got shattered! I started over again and changed the color from red to yellow which really worked well.
R._ was kind enough to share photos from the happy celebration. She later told me that everyone loved the banana cake and cupcakes. In her exact words: “The cake and cupcakes got so much raves, impressed sila (guests were impressed)! And so yummy pa!”
Thanks, R._ for letting Sublime Sweets be part of your special event. Thanks also to my cousin J._ who was our common connection. As shown in one of the photos below, there is a vintage Mickey Mouse figurine beside the cake. J._painted it!
July 17th, 2012
Despicable Me Cake Project – cake decorated with edible minions from the movie “Despicable Me.” Price available upon request.
of minions and men
My good friend and former classmate L._ commissioned me to do a cake and cupcakes for her daughter’s birthday with “The Hunger Games” as theme. I began crafting a mockingjay out of marzipan as cupcake topper but L._’s daughter changed her mind and decided to just serve pizzas to her friends on her birthday. Instead, L._ asked me to do a cake for her son who was graduating from high school. The theme this time was “Despicable Me.” Her son wanted the minions as decorations. Hmm, methinks this family is movie crazy; and I mean that in a good way!
I have spare marzipan from a project gone kaput so I was happy that this will be put to good use. Since the cake was a graduation gift, L._ suggested that the minion be garbed in graduation toga and cap while holding a diploma. I said yes to the cap and diploma, no to the toga because it will hide the minion’s distinct costume. L._ agreed.
L._ was with her entire brood when I met up with her as I delivered the cake. There was D. _, the man of the hour, looking all grown up. I once made his birthday cake when he was not yet a teenager and now he is heading to college! Harry Potter was new back then so naturally the cake I made for him had Harry riding his Nimbus 2000 and chasing the golden snitch. How time flies. Or as English poet and essayist Henry Austin Dobson said, “Alas, time stays, we go.” How true.
This was a fun and challenging project. Even my niece and nephews gave their stamp of approval upon seeing the finished cake. Congratulations D._ and good luck as you embark on this exciting chapter of your life!
And now on queue: a cake for L._’s daughter who is graduating from middle school this June. Her theme? A 9GAG meme. Challenge accepted!
April 18th, 2012
Ladybug Cupcakes – red velvet cupcakes decorated as whimsical ladybugs, with cream cheese frosting tinted red and dark chocolate ganache. Price available upon request.
I just succumbed to the latest cupcake trend that is red velvet. I found a recipe that I liked, baked it and got positive feedback from those who tasted the cupcakes.
After I posted the photo of my Red Velvet cupcakes in my Facebook page, one of my classmates in elementary contacted me. My batch was having a post-Christmas party and the themes were red and black and ladybugs. M._ asked if I can decorate my red velvet cupcakes as ladybugs. Sure, I said, no problem. I was happy to oblige.
I tinted the cream cheese red. The “black” head was dark chocolate ganache. The spots, as well as the eyes were chocolate chips. The smiley mouth was also made of chocolate. I thought about putting antennae but M._ and I agreed that the ladybugs were fine sans the appendages.
The cupcakes were to be giveaways and the most cost effective packaging available were the dome-shaped plastic packaging. Lined up atop a table, the ladybug cupcakes looked like an army of little aliens wearing space helmets, waiting to be sucked inside their mother ship!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay and join in the festivities. Word was that everyone enjoyed their dessert. Some of my classmates told me even their children enjoyed the whimsical treats. Thanks M._ for lobbying for my cupcakes!
March 16th, 2012
Red Velvet Cupcakes – moist, crimson-hued cupcakes with a bit of cocoa and a hint of cinnamon. Topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and decorated with red squiggles and chocolate sprinkles. Price available upon request.
paint the town red
For the longest time, I held off baking red velvet cupcakes because they were foreign to me. It wasn’t a popular flavor in the Philippines while I was growing up. I only learned about these cupcakes when I got a Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook and found the recipe there. The cake in the photo didn’t look red at all and that killed the cake’s mystique for me.
When the cupcake craze sprung again in recent years, people started raving about the red velvet flavor. I still didn’t get it. I dismissed it as some ordinary cupcake tinted with huge amounts of red coloring. I wasn’t impressed with a slice my sister gave me of a cake she bought from her favorite bakery in Brooklyn, NY. Because that was my first taste of the cake, I could not compare it to another and to my tastebuds, it was mediocre. To understand people’s fascination with it, I did a little digging. It turns out that there is more to the cake than just red food color.
Important components of the cake—a bit of cocoa, vinegar, oil, buttermilk—create a chemical reaction that results in the reddish hue of the cake. To intensify the crimson shade, bakers added red food color and the rest is history. There are reports of the dangers of artificial food dyes so some bakers use red beets as coloring but the redness in the cake is not as vivid as those that has the food color. Besides, extracting the juice from the beets is laborious so most bakers tend to use the bottled food color or gel.
I started baking this type of cupcake about three years ago when a client asked me to do a wedding cake. Her motif was aqua and red. I immediately thought of baking blue-tinted cupcakes. I came across a red velvet cake recipe from James McNair’s Cakes and used blue gel color instead. The resulting cupcake was delicious but the color turned out greenish blue. Not a pretty sight. I ditched that idea and just put the blue on the white chocolate glaze and cupcake topper made of marzipan. But that’s another story.
I didn’t bake any red velvet cupcakes again until last December. I used the gel color in the first batch but somehow I couldn’t get the right red shade. The cupcakes were a deep pink so I just used the bottled food color. I liked Mr. McNair’s recipe because it has a hint of cinnamon. This ingredient isn’t in the traditional recipe but cinnamon and cream cheese frosting to me is a heavenly pairing. The frosting I use is also not too sweet as there is a bit of lemon juice added to temper the sweetness of the confectioner’s sugar. This recipe also does not have vinegar and uses butter instead of oil.
When I served these during our New Year’s eve street party, our neighbors were quick to compliment me. They really loved the cupcakes and said they were the best. Aww!
*Red Velvet Cocoa Cake photo from Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook
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to eat or not to eat …
Okay, granted that food dyes are toxic, aren’t they in almost all of the processed foods that we consume daily anyway? They are in cereals, candy, gelatin mixes, sauces, fruit juices. If you know you have an intolerance to food dyes, then read food labels and avoid consuming such. But if you feel fine after savoring one piece or so of a red velvet cupcake, then by all means indulge. It’s not like you are going to finish a dozen everyday. But then that’s just me. It’s still your call.
March 16th, 2012