21 November 2010

Don't Push Me 'Cause I'm Close to the Edge

I really am trying not to lose my head these days. I should know by now -- this is my third holiday season in business but I find these last few weeks of the year feel like everything is on speed. Including me (though that could be more of a sugar rush from the batter and buttercream I am constantly sampling!). I'm not griping though - I am incredibly grateful to all my customers who keep me employed at the best job I have ever had!

It has been non-stop madness for the past few months, I've barely had time to catch my breath. But I love every minute and find that I put out some of my best work under pressure. Like my old advertising job, I have many deadlines to meet as a baker. The difference though is that I can't ask the client for another day to analyze the data or another week to give the creatives time to finesse the work. No, when the day of the party arrives, I better make damn sure my cupcakes are ready to go when the client arrives, and it isn't always easy. Thank you to everyone who has believed me in over the years; I am grateful for your support!

When I first started out, I sometimes had up to two weeks to get ready for a job. Which was great since I make the majority of my decorations myself from scratch. Over time as order volume has picked up, that period has condensed to the point that I often am making them only hours in advance and in many cases, just before I get ready to put them on the cupcakes or cakes which when you want a nice 3D effect, makes things tricky. I am always grateful for the extra time to get ready for an order but if it's not possible, no worries, me happy!

I'd love to tell you more about the goodies you see here today but I don't want to use up too much space since I have a recipe I want to share (which was especially requested by some friends looking for a traditional holiday cupcake). Pictured are some Black & White birthday cupcakes for a fan of the group, MUSE; a Caramel Dolce communion cake topped with sugarpaste daisies and ribbon; a giant milk chocolate cupcake covered in white chocolate ganache frosting for Daphne's communion (which I had so much fun making!); a Vanilla Lovers horse birthday cake; a tower of assorted cupcakes for a baptism; one of my Jumpin' Jack Flash pumpkin cupcakes and some turkey cupcakes I made for the show 100% Mag on channel M6 which will air this coming Thursday in honor of Thanksgiving with my one of my favorite bloggers: La Mom. Thanks everyone for the challenges of coming up with these designs; I am always grateful for the smiles my cupcakes put on my clients' faces.

Oh, and did I mention the development of my first, real website is underway so I have also been busy writing the content, getting it translated for the French version as well as baking up lots of extra cupcakes to be photographed for the site!?! A big thanks to my friends and family who are providing feedback on this project, and to the folks at Aleberry Creative who have the design and technical skills to pull this together; I am gratefeul for your help.

But I digress.....many moons ago I worked over the holidays for my Jamaican friend, James, who I met at Peter Kump's. He was my partner the day I made my first arc-en-ciel tart which we covered in every fruit imaginable and it was the start of a beautiful friendship. We created many desserts together including the pumpkin spice cupcakes which I feature on my menu as "Jumpin' Jack Flash." I made a batch a few weeks ago and as I sat down last night to write this post, I realized that one of my recipe books has gone missing! I have a feeling it got lost one day in the shuffle somewhere between my home and kitchen! This is one of my seasonal recipes and I have to admit, I don't know it by heart. I could probably work up an approximation of the recipe while tinkering in my kitchen, but that's not going to help you get ready for Thanksgiving. Thanks everyone for your patience! And thanks to good friends and family who are willing to be a part of my culinary adventures. PS: I'd be ever so grateful to the random stranger who may have found my erratic scribblings in a "CatDog" notebook which doubled as one of my recipes book if you could please contact me to arrange a return!

Thankfully, I tasted some amazing pumpkin cupcakes at Cupcake Camp London a few weeks back and when I asked the baker for the recipe, she referred me to the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook. Thank you Belle of Belle Bakes - I am grateful for your generosity! I'll be making a batch of these for my daughter's class this Thursday and hopefully will be able to track down that notebook in the meantime! Hope you enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What are you grateful for this year?

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

For about 15 cupcakes:
1 cup flour
¾cup sugar
1T baking powder
1½ teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra
pinch of salt
3T unsalted butter, room temperature
½cup whole milk
2 eggs
6½ oz pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 325. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and butter in mixing bowl and beat on slow until well combined.

Add eggs to the mix scraping sides. Mix in milk. Stir in pumpkin until evenly dispersed.

Spoon batter into baking papers ⅔ full. Bake 16-20 mins in preheated oven or until cake bounces back when touched. Let cupcakes cool slightly before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely. When cupcakes are cool spoon the Cream Cheese Frosting on top and dust with cinnamon.

For cream cheese frosting:
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar
3T unsalted butter, room temp
4oz cream cheese, cold

Beat sugar and butter together until mixture is well mixed. Add cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn mixer up to med-high. Continue beating until frosting is light and fluffy. Do not over beat, it will quickly become runny.

Related Posts:
Turkey Cupcakes from Paris
A Thank-Filled Weekend
In Preparation for Turkey Day
La Mom on TV

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