Inspiration

8 Oct

After a stroll to that glorious Dutch shop Hema today (for some craft supplies and paper drink parasols, of course), I walked out full of inspiration, and with a bag full of cupcake baking supplies – they sell colored marzipan and fondant! And it’s cheap! This is exciting news for me in Paris because, let’s face it, I’m not going to whip up a batch of fondant myself every time I make cupcakes, and surely you don’t have the time for that either. The fondant I picked up today is gelatine free, so it’s veggie and vegan friendly!

Since Halloween is just around the corner and I’ve got two big parties to prepare for, I thought I’d try a few new things. Fondant is so easy to use once it’s rolled out (all you need are some cookie cutters), and if it’s fresh it can be pretty tasty.

Just use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out your shape in the fondant:

Add some detail with frosting and sprinkles, and then if you’re feeling fancy you can always add some edible glitter too, like I did here with the star.

This Halloween cat is my favorite (I love the real version, Memphis, best):

Despite the wonky eye, these Halloween cupcakes are pretty cute. Fondant decorations have to be cut pretty thickly to avoid wilting. Even thick fondant won’t stand straight for too long if it’s very tall though. A toothpick inserted in the center will give tall toppers some staying power and anchor them to your cupcakes, just be sure to take the toothpicks out before biting into them!

Pretty proud of my finished Halloween cupcakes:

Halloween cupcakes wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without a little mood music, so I’ll leave you with Stevie Wonder, and “Superstition”…

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A Touch of Pink Pop

3 Sep

What’s the best preemptive pick-me-up before back-to-school, back-to-work fall blues hit? Add a bit of rose-tint to your world and spread the roses while you’re add it. I’m feeling as if we all might need a bit of cheer, so here it is, the formerly most-secret of secret recipes: The Bohemian Roses, or rose-raspberry cupcakes.

What you’ll need (along with the usual, oven, cupcake tins and cupcake liners):

1 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup veg oil

1 cup soy milk

2 tb baking powder (REAL baking powder, I swear by it)

4 tb brewed rose tea (with real buds, you can find this in a lot of health food stores, or if you’re in France, at Comptoirs Richard)

1/2 cup rose-water (found at most Middle-Eastern markets)

Yes, that’s right. I said rose-water and rose tea. It may sound like a lot of work but if you get your hands on both it’ll be well worth it. I find it’s best to make more tea than necessary so you can sip while you bake, and have some for the inevitable guests who’ll pop out of the woodwork as soon as your cupcakes are finished. Once you’ve steeped your tea, remove the flowers and pull off some petals to add to the cupcake batter later.

Before you begin mixing your batter, preheat the oven to 175°C and fill your cupcake tins with liners.

The batter is simplicity itself. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix the soy milk, vegetable oil, rose-water and rose tea then add the petals. Add this to your flour/sugar/baking power mix and stir until you have a smooth batter. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the cupcakes have small cracks on top (you’ll cover these with frosting later!)

DON’T FORGET to wait until your cupcakes are completely cooled before attempting to frost them.

For the frosting I like to use a simple vegan buttercream. Mix vegetable margarine and about a tablespoon of rose-water then add powdered sugar (sucre glace) until you’ve reached the desired consistency. Keep in mind: the thicker your frosting, the better it makes for decorating.

Don’t forget to add sprinkles and edible glitter.

Best served with pink champagne and some Emiliana Torrini (“Jungle Drum”) or Ian Dury and the Blockheads (“Reasons to Be Cheerful, Part 3”).

 

Wouldn’t you like one of these in your mailbox?

15 Mar

Christmalicious!

17 Dec

A chocolicious recipe for the holidays….

This past Friday, a friend of mine was asked to make cupcakes for her school’s holiday party and she in turn asked me to share a recipe and give her some tips on how to make them extra pretty – these are fashion design students, after all, so the cupcakes had to impress. Loaded with mixer, foil liners, good old American baking powder and cookie cutters, I headed over to Laura’s place to help whip up a batch of chocolate cupcakes with strawberries inside.

In an effort to simplify the shopping list, we made a vanilla cream cheese frosting, so this batch wasn’t completely vegan, but the same frosting can be made with vegan cream cheese if you’re in the states. Colored marzipan (pâte d’amande) makes for perfect, cookie-cutter-cuttable decorations.

This chocolate cake recipe is perfect, and SO easy! It’s a great base recipe and can easily be adapted with a spoonful of rum or some fun fillings.

Perfect Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups pure (unsweetened) cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder (attention Parisians: use real baking powder, not levure chimique! You can buy it at Thanksgiving or The Real McCoy)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup veg oil (or substitute one apple, pureed, and 1/4 cup veg oil if you want to be “healthy”)
  • 1 cup boiling water

What you need to do:

Fill your cupcake tins with liners and preheat the oven to 175C/350F.

Mix all the dry ingredients together until the entire mix is milk chocolate colored. Add soy milk, veg oil and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the boiling water and stir until mixture is smooth. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Then put them in the oven!

Laura Silva, baking her first batch!

Bake for 9-12 minutes for mini cupcakes and 12-15 minutes for full sized cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

To fill your cupcakes:

Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes, then using a piping bag or decorating syringe full of your jam/Nutella/cream, insert the tip into the middle of the cupcake and squeeze in as much filling as you want. You could also slip in bit of strawberry, as we did for these. Allow the cupcakes to cool COMPLETELY before you try to frost them.

Frosting:

1 (8oz) package St. More or Philadelphia

3 -4 cups powdered sugar (sucré glace)

1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Mix together all ingredients until the frosting stands in a peak. The frosting needs to be quite thick (and very sugary sweet) in order to make sculpted decorations. You’re ready to frost! If you don’t have piping bag or syringe, you can fill a ziplock bag with frosting and cut a small tip off of one end.

Cupcakes make wishes come true…

4 Oct

Cupcake Camp Paris was a huge success. Yesterday afternoon, over 500 people passed through le Comptoir Général on Canal St. Martin to taste some of the THOUSANDS of cupcakes on offer and all-in-all over 6,000 euros was raised for Make-A-Wish France. I’m so proud to have participated in such a great event!

Of the many cupcakes on offer at Cupcake Camp, my absolute favorite was Petite Charlotte’s lemon meringue – and it was so very pretty too.

This lovely golden treat should go well with some Blondie.

Choco my Zest

28 Sep

New flavor – Choco my Zest. It’s a lime cupcake with a raspberry center, dipped in dark chocolate. Never thought that lime and chocolate could mesh together? Well hopefully no one else did either, since I’ll be entering these in the “Most exotic flavor” category (and hoping to win) at Cupcake Camp Paris 2 this Sunday. Wish us luck!I think these flavorlicious cupcakes would go best with some Florence + the Machine (her remake of “Addicted to Love”, to be precise)

That’s electric snazzy

27 Sep

I shall dub them The Snaz, and they should definitely be devoured delicately while listening to Cindy Lauper (or Debbie Gibson circa Electric Youth).

The stars were cut out from marzipan and then painted with food coloring and edible gold dust (hard to find in France, but easy to ship in from America or England!). I think I’ve found my cupcake soulmate.

Of Literature and Cupcakes

13 Sep

Wow, what fun we had on Friday at the Cupcake Decorating night at the American Library in Paris, and what amazing cupcakes everyone came up with. We had chocolate to dip them in, fondant to cover them in and marzipan, frosting and sprinkles to use on top. Check out some of the prettiest, and funniest cupcakes made by the teens at the Library:

For those of you who want still more cupcakes, Cupcake Camp Paris is coming up on Sunday, October 2 at Le Comptoir Général – one of my favorite spots for brunch as well.

Le Comptoir Général: 80 Quai de Jemmapes

For more info about Cupcake Camp, visit http://cupcakecampparis.blogspot.com/

Making Your Cupcakes Pop

8 Sep

Getting ready for a cupcake decorating workshop tomorrow and thought I’d share some tips:

Never frost a hot cupcake. Be patient.

Use things to already have in the kitchen: cake can be molded into new shapes and dipped in chocolate. Actually, cupcakes themselves can be dipped in chocolate.

Mrs. Clause Rocks

M&Ms (or smarties) make for great designs.

Don’t underestimate the power of flowers.

Ginger Von Rabbit

Wanda and the Grandmas

Frosting can be flavored and colored fantastically with . . . kool-aid!

Stars of Consume's music video for "Paris dans ma poche"

Tempered chocolate makes for great accessories on top of any cake or cupcake. More on tempering chocolate later, now I’m off to lick my fingers then head to bed.


…with a cherry on top

4 Sep

Mmmm… after several weeks of summer spent on the East Coast, I’m still craving a banana split. These’ll have to do for now. (And, oh yeah, they’re vegan…)

Goes best with: “My name is trouble”, by Keren Ann