24 December 2011

Joy to the World

I'm just packing up my last few boxes of cupcake orders for the year. Lucky me, I am now officially on vacation! First up for me is to bake a cake for our holiday dinner at my sister-in-law's house tonight. Yes, it's true, even though I bake almost every day, I never tire of it. But enough about me, this post is for you. Wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy Holiday season! Thanks for all your love and support this year. See you in 2012!

21 December 2011

Give a Little Bit, Give a Little Bit of Your Love to Me

Xmas Box

The elves and I (God, I wish there was a team of elves!) are sending out 68 boxes of Christmas cupcakes just like this over the next 3 days to lots of nice little boys and girls in and around Paris. Maybe if you have been very good, you will be getting one! Don't like your chances? Then, leave me a comment below (or on the French version of my blog) telling me the flavor of your favorite cupcake and you will be entered to win 1 of 2 boxes just like the one above!

Note, contest is open to anyone anywhere but you must be able to come pick up your box of cupcakes on 24 December between 10H-12H30 at a Paris 75017 address(metro: Courcelles or Wagram). Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you. 2 winners will receive 1 box of 6 assorted flavor cupcakes with holiday decorations. Good luck!

17 December 2011

I Got Cat Class and I Got Cat Style

Meow Birthday Cake

Well, Hello Miss Kitty birthday cake for a 3 year-old. Hope she loves it as much as I enjoyed making it! Chocolate-hazelnut layer cake with fondant Kitty.

Love Is In the Air

It may be cold and rainy and grey here in Paris but springtime revisited my kitchen this week as I prepared this 3-tiered wedding cake for a young couple's wedding. The pastel fondant butterflies covered the cake and 170 matching mini cupcakes in the wedding colors. The cake is made of 3 different flavors: top tier - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang red velvet, middle tier - La Vie en Rose and bottom tier - Vanilla Lovers. My sincere congratulations to P & C on their wedding day.

04 December 2011

We're Back on the Train, Oh, Back on the Chain Gang

This past week I had a bit of a flashback to a former life and wow, was it weird. I worked a job for a client who was attending a European food ingredient trade show. I was engaged for 3 full days, most of which were spent on my feet (or stuck in traffic as I did the daily commute out near Charles De Gaulle airport), decorating cupcakes for people who visited their stand and talking up the company. My client has a broad international presence and so they had representatives there from all corners of the world - as far away as China, thought most of them were from Europe. All week long, I heard people babbling in a multitude of different languages - it was pretty cool - and the people I got to know over the 3 days were a really nice bunch.

The experience made me realize that I don't for a single second miss the business side of working in the corporate world. One of the drawbacks of working alone though is that you don't have any co-workers and there's something to be said of the camaraderie you share with them.

I saw some pretty cool stuff while at this show. There were a number of businesses selling all sorts of chocolates, sugar candies, sprinkles, marzipan, vanilla beans and other spices, etc. I had a 20-minute break each day in which I scoured the floor gathering brochures and contact info for potential suppliers for my shop.

I also saw some pretty disturbing stuff. As a mom, I am constantly reading the labels of stuff I put on my table. I obviously am aware that a lot of foods these days are engineered - colors added to make the food look more appetizing, stabilizers to prolong their shelf life, etc. But I also came to the conclusion this week that food manipulation is a lot bigger business than I had thought and there are so many additives going into the stuff we are eating.

I was a bit shocked by the number of bakery businesses that stopped by the stand looking to purchase preservatives and other gums, emulsifiers, etc. Maybe I am naive but for me, cakes are made with things like eggs, butter, sugar and flour - these give the cake their texture, their taste, their appearance....not chemicals. Or maybe it is the years living in France that have spoiled me - I know my baker downstairs has his team arrive every morning between 3-4 to bake up fresh croissants, baguettes, Paris-Brests and the like. I'd be really shocked to learn they were adding chemicals to their baguette to make it taste more fresh or stave off mold and bacteria growth.

I've always been a big proponent of baking with preservative-free, natural, fresh ingredients. I am aware that some of the other cupcakeries in Paris don't. Some use synthetic flavors in their cupcakes rather than using real fruit, nuts, freshly prepared caramel, etc. or they buy pre-made industrial genoise for their cakes. I really think you can taste the difference in the finished product. Now I am not trying to get all militant here - I'm just trying to make a point. On the Sugar Daze menu, I have only one cupcake that is made with a synthetic flavor and that is my Cotton Candy cupcake. I'd love to be able to provide a more natural version of this one day so I can't get off completely guilt-free for the moment! I'll be working on this though - that's for sure!

It was a busy week in addition to the trade show. Pictured are some of the orders that went out. Note: my calendar is starting to fill up for the holidays so if you are planning on serving cupcakes for a Christmas or New Year's party, please do get in touch now.