23 January 2009
It's All Good Inside
My husband celebrated a birthday about a month after we met in New York. At that time, I was working in advertising, had crazy hours, traveled A LOT and barely kept any "real food" in my cupboards. But I decided I wanted to impress him by making a cake. I had eaten boxed cakes in college and for some reason was compelled to turn to Ms. Betty Crocker to make this one. I probably figured it would save me a lot of time and effort. Did I mention my husband is French? And one of the biggest food snobs I have ever met? Suffice it to say, I did impress him and his friend visiting from Paris with my cake....in the worst possible way! While my husband was tactful enough to push the cake around his plate to make it look like he had eaten it (while saying nothing), his friend, Nico, was much more vocal in his opinion, which is translated loosely to something like "But what eez zees 'm*rde'? Cherie, it eez so easy to make a quatre quart or a tarte tatin for ze birthday. I have my wife call you with zee recipes."
Suffice it to say, I hung my head in shame and swore off cake mixes for the rest of my life. Though I know there are lots of folks who swear by them and can cook up some pretty tasty concoctions using them. It was actually thanks to this experience that I ventured over to Peter Kump's and signed up for pastry classes. To this day, whenever I think of taking shortcuts, I think of Nico and his famous pearls of wisdom!
It is on very rare occasions that I actually am present when a customer eats one of my cupcakes (and I do very much enjoy the first-hand reactions. If I can't be with you, please do send me feedback -- good or bad -- when you have it; I'm always looking to make a better cupcake). Recently, an American gal tasting one of my cupcakes said, "This is delicious. You really made this all by yourself? You didn't use a mix?" Which in this context, I took as a compliment. But I did want to take this opportunity to mention that here in Little Miss Cupcake's kitchen, I strive to use only the best ingredients I can find. This means, real vanilla from Madagascar beans, real butter, bio flour, eggs from free-range chickens, whole milk, Valrhona chocolate, fresh fruits and herbs -- yes, that is real lemon and orange zest in my Lemon Tart and Orange Mignon cupcakes, etc., etc.
All my cupcakes are baked fresh within 24 hours of delivery (normally same day unless you have requested an early morning pick-up) and I make everything from scratch so you are guaranteed the freshest, most delicious cupcake when you eat it.
Now IMHO, part of the wonder that is a cupcake is eating something that takes you back to childhood and I love dressing up cupcakes with whimsical colors and assorted pearls, sprinkles and the like. True this stuff has artificial colors and I try to be mindful of that since lots of my cupcakes are in fact consumed by kids. I am always happy to decorate without and spare you those artificial additives so if you don't want them, no problem. No worries...it's all good inside!
For Every Occasion, A Cupcake. And these featured today are for Matilda's 2nd Birthday! Happy Birthday, Little One! I've been singing Waltzing Matilda all morning as I prepare these (the Dan Zanes version, of course!). BTW Matilda's mom said never mind about that artificial stuff and dress 'em up!