I don't know about you but I have barely made a dent in my Christmas shopping this year. Sure, I've had a pow wow with Santa and he knows what the kiddies have asked for. And thanks to the internet, I've done some relatively painless shopping for assorted nieces and in-laws. But I've been so busy in recent weeks, I haven't given much thought to what darling husband will find in his stocking Christmas morning. Not to mention how to answer his standard question any time a big day rolls around, "What do you want for Christmas/your birthday/our anniversary/insert other festive event here?"
So, here friends and readers (and DH who occasionally reads this space), I am dropping some big hints for Christmas and also offering some help for those of you who have a special baker in your life with my first annual top ten list of gift ideas for the cupcake afficionado:
10) Cupcake themed artwork Etsy store: Everyday is a Holiday at Jennysbakeshop! offers whimsical, vintage-bakery inspired original artwork in the form of ornaments, wood plaques, paintings and other materials. Brighten up your kitchen, Christmas tree, bakery, or other space with these delightful creations made from scratch on the Jersey Shore. As store-owner Jenny says, "Fill your walls and your life with cupcakes!"
9) Gear for Your Little Cupcake
Let your kids promote your love of cupcakes with these adorable hand-made items from Daisy Roots and Wonder Threads. We've already got a pair of these cute cupcake booties from my friend, Tania, who imports Daisy Roots to Paris. Now if my girl would just get off her duff and start walking, but that's another story....I think I am going to have to splurge for the matching onesie! I figure that that way after she has finished eating her trillionth cupcake of the day, I can explain away the frosting and crumbs that inevitably wind up all over her clothing as "part of the design!" ;)
8) Baking Threads
Speaking of cupcake-themed clothing, why not get your older tots in on the action with these adorable Mother and Daughter aprons from Jessie Steele. So cute, I could just eat them up! Too bad my daughter is too young to wear the child version, much less help me cook...though she loves eating the results. My son, on the other hand, LOVES to lend a hand (and lick the bowl). We'd make such a sweet pair in these, don't you think? Okay, just checking to see if DH REALLY reads this! ;0
7) My Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker
My friend's sister told us about My Girl Gourmet and their fabulous products. At first I wasn't sure if this was for real. Their ad and music is a bit corny, but check out that frosting twirler! What I wouldn't do for one of those. Promising to bake up cupcakes in just 30 SECONDS! this is destined to be the Easy-Bake Oven for a whole new generation of cupcake bakers.
6) Cupcake Dress-Up
If this stuff wasn't impossible to find in France, it would be much higher on my list. But for now, I can only daydream as I peruse the online catalogues, and hope that someday soon, Fancy Flours, Country Kitchen Sweetart and others of their ilk will start shipping overseas. Cake Jewels, Disco Dust, Edible Gold Leaf and Glitter, Filigree Cupcake Wrappers and dozens of themed sprinkles, quins, toppers and sugar pearls. Oh man, is my mom going to kill me when I send her a box of this stuff to bring on her next visit over! Hope she's up to playing Santa one more time.....
5) Cookbooks A-Plenty
Now my husband would say, "Do you really need another cookbook?" And my answer is "YES!" Browsing through cookbooks is one of my favorite past-times. It doesn't mean that I am going to make every dish in the book, but I like the pictures and the different ingredient combinations, etc. Nothing is more beautiful than a cookbook about cakes and cupcakes and here are just a sampling of a few I have on my to-buy list (sorry for the NYC cupcake slant y'all but you know I gotta stay true to my roots!). The Cupcake Cafe Cookbook from Hell's Kitchen's finest; The Confetti Cakes Cookbook: Spectacular Cookies, Cakes, and Cupcakes from New York City's Famed Bakery; Baked: New Frontiers in Baking from the folks over in Red Hook, Brooklyn; and Hello, Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make (okay not NY but their stuff just looks so gosh darn cute).
4) Pastry Tips
I am pretty much self-taught when it comes to decorating cupcakes (you can probably tell by my lop-sided buttercream swirls) but I am fascinated by all the tools of the trade. And for some reason, I just always want more! I have been using the same 5-6 tips and tired old pastry bags for the past few years and nothing matches -- I've got plastic and silicone and metal, etc. What I'd really like is a professional set, one with lots of variety that I can play around with. Or better yet, have someone come over and show me just how to pipe those buttercream begonias and leaves. So, I figure the first trick in mastering this stuff is to have the tools. 'Nough said.
3) Chuck's All Star Cupcakes
These are simply awesome! Anyone who likes cupcakes should own a pair (they also come in pink). About 3 years ago, the Converse craze really caught on here in Paris and just about everyone from the age of 15 - 45 adopted them as part of their de rigeur "cool" uniform. We've always been partial to Puma's in our family but for these...let's just say I wear a size 7 1/2! Available at PiperLime and Journeys Shoes.
2) The Cupcake Courier
I already own one of these but the Cupcake Courier is quite simply the best thing to happen to cupcakes since, well, cupcakes! If you know someone who bakes and enjoys bringing their baked goods anywhere outside the home, you gotta get them one of these...pronto! it has quite literally changed my life. No more worry about how many cupcakes you can fit in a box without smushing them, no more worry about losing a cupcake en route. It's a fantastic product and (of course) not yet available in France. But a lovely woman at the Cupcake Garden in the UK, who I believe is the only current distributor on this side of the pond, made sure mine was shipped out promptly for its voyage on the Eurostar to my eager waiting little hands.
1) Cupcake Bling
Yup, that's right, you heard me. Bling, as in Bling! Studies show that bakers who wear bling while making and baking cupcakes turn out faster, richer, moister, more palate-pleasing desserts than those who don't. I'm sorry? You've never heard that before? It's a fact! I swear it! Scout's Honor! So, whatever tempts your sweetie be it Cartier, Tiffany's, Bulgari or in my case, Van Cleef & Arpel's Magic Alhambra collection (BIG hint here), why not go and show them who is the Sugar Daddy in your family!
Hope you enjoyed this list and that it helps make your holiday shopping a little sweeter. Wishing you all a sinfully rich holiday season!