Thursday, February 17, 2011

Im a rebel...and I blame Billy Idol....

So Juggling Act sent me a new recipe....shame on her! Doesnt she know that if she sends it to me Im going to have to make it? Of the frustration of it all.
Today's cupcake?
Hot Chocolate Cupcake

Today you will need the following for the cupcake batter:
The frosting is listed below.....
yields 12 normal size cupcakes
your oven will need to be set to 350*

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk

step one: in a small bowl add the flour, the cocoa, baking soda, and salt and set aside
Step One: Dry Ingredients

Step two: in the mixer beat the butter and sugar till smooth and creamy
Step 2: Butter and sugar

Step three: Beat in the eggs and vanilla and allow to mix till fluffy

Step three in action......

Step four: on low speed add the flour and milk. Alternating between the two. Starting and ending with flour.

Step four in action

Step five: Spray and line your pan. And evenly distribute the batter. I use a cookie scoop. Even and consitent.

Ready? Set? ....................

Step Six: bake for 20 to 25 minutes....( side note to readers, i never use a timer for my home baking , so the time guideline is what was on the recipe. I go by the product vs the timer. Timers can be wrong.)


After the cupcakes are done and cooling comes the frosting. Now this is where I had to improvise.
Let me start by putting the icing recipe on here.

2 cups 10x sugar
1/4 cup shortening
2 Tbsp + 2 Tsp milk

1 1/4 cup mini marshmallows
3 or 4 candy canes

I followed the recipe as is. I will admit I was a little skeptical about it. The ratio of sugar to shortening seemed to high. But I thought just follow it and fix it later. Well I made it and what was in the bowl was thick enough to use as spackel or glue. Even added some extra milk. Didnt help. So here is what the recipe said to do to finish and then Ill show you what I did when I said screw this., Im doing it my way. :)

The recipe said to take 2 Tbsp of icing for each top and to spread around. making sure its coated. Then to take 8 or 9 of the marshmallows and stick on the top. Cut the candy canes into pieces long enough for straws.

So this is where the whole Hot Chocolate Cupcake comes into play.

But like I said I wasnt happy with the icing. I like fluffy and creamy. So heres what I did. I wasnt going to waste the icing that I made. So I fitted a bag with a small star tip. Threw the icing into it and did the same with some chocolate fudge icing I had floating around in the cupboard.

and this is what i ended up with.....

Ive got this absolute love for black and white themes.

The cake was phenomanal in my opinion. And Im happy with the way they turned out. Best of luck if you follow the recipe to the original instructions. But happy baking if you decide to be a rebel and do it your own way.

Sugar kisses,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A mile a minute..............

Have you ever had a period of your life where everything happens so fast you forget to breathe? But its not something bad...its something great!!! LOL. Channeled my inner Tony the Tiger for that one. An idea that is so near and dear to yourself has so many aspects and yet each one of those aspects are seeming to come together almost flawlessly. This week and a half has snowballed from one thing to another. And not ONE aspect of it is bad. I am working harder and more passionately and am so in love with what Im doing that I forget that I should be absolutly terrified! That maybe Im just dreaming. That Ill wake up on the floor with Matt laughing at me cause I fell off the bed. But the thing is, its not a dream. However. it is. A dream to be my own boss. To do what I want to do. How I want to do it. And not have to answer to the higher ups who think they know everything but dont have the slightest clue as to what my job entails. The only thing is, im not having this fantasy anymore. Cause its my reality. Wicked Confections has been launched. Mine and Juggling Acts creation. Something we both love and adore. And i couldnt be happier.....actually I could be. If i had a cupcake in my

Sugar kisses,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Stitch in Time

So today is a Lilo and Stitch kind of day. You know that one movie that no matter how crappy you feel you know it will cheer you up? Well Lilo and Stitch is my movie. Todays not bad. Im just worn out a little.
There's been a ton going on the past week or so. Juggling Act and I are starting our own side business and its happening fast. Which is very good. Just alot of work. Plus that and trying to be there for my boyfriend and making sure the house is taken care of. And work. Although there Im kind of lucky. The whole unemployment and part time job is kind of to our advantage right now.

So what have I dont lately? Well brownies and cupcakes are kind of a staple in my house. I live with my boyfriend and two of his friends. One Girl...Three Guys. Sounds like a soap opera gone wrong. Of course when has one gone right? lol.

So a week or so ago I made cupcakes. Jugging Act and I were getting together later that day and I try not to come empty handed. Something my mother instilled in me. :) So chocolate cupcakes it was.

Chocolate Cupcakes. Please dont mind my oven. Havent had a chance to self clean it.

I went simple this time around. I learned that when 3 guys want something sweet it had better be quick and easy. So box it was. To be honest. There is nothing wrong with a mix. You can gurantee consistency and you would be suprised to learn how many bakerys dont use scratch baking. Cause of the consistency issue being more important.

So while the cupcakes were in the oven I started on the icing.

Yup....its pink. Been in a pink mood lately. Think its Valentines Day being right around the corner thats doing it. So the icing is done and cupcakes are cooling...time to decorate.

I was just going to do the simple swirl top but when at the store I picked up Reeses pb hearts. So i decided to use them. They were so cute! The guys immediately scarfed up three or four. To the point it caused the lights to flicker in the kitchen they downed them so fast. Lol. And this is what happens when you turn your back for a second......

 This would be my boyfriend taking a lick...needless to say he had to eat it. Which he wasnt sad about. Wonder

So today is a hang out session with Juggling Act. Making brownies for tonight. Making cupcakes Saturday morning for work that night. Dinner with Matt, Juggling Act, hubs and monkey on Sunday. And possibly doing Tux and Gown strawberries as well.

But right now I think Im going to crash for an hour or so and watch some Lilo and Stitch.......
cause I need some Coconut Cake and Coffee.

Sugar Kisses,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2 cakes from the past.............

This is the wedding cake I did for my cousin Ryan and his new bride Val.
The color blue was in her dress.

                                                     Eeyore for a friend's girlfriend.

These are just two of many cakes I have done. I will start taking more pictures now that I have an awesome computer to actually save my pictures.

When life hands you lemons...make Lemon Chiffon Cake!

Listening to Frank Sinatra as I write today..I heart Frank!
I woke up today with the biggest urge for French Toast. Luckily I had all supplies in house so why not? The boyfriend wasnt complaining So I got to work. A cold day called for French Toast, homefries and a huge mug of English Breakfast tea. I was munching on my fries when I realized how much I love being in a kitchen when I don't have to be.
My full time job of 3 years let me go New Years Day. I was an Assistant Manager at a local restaurants bakery. That where I met my bestie Juggling Act. I started off as a packer and the cake decorator and worked my way up.
When I was told that they wouldnt be asking me to return at the end of our yearly layoff period, I was upset and angry. As any normal human being would be. Initial panic cause of the way the economy is.
But then I realized that it wasnt personal, no matter how much it felt like it. It was business. I cost them too much. Plain and simple. So I went home, cried about it for about an hour. Called the bestie. And then realized that Im going to be just fine. I still had my part time job at a kitchen supply store. And with my experience, I could find any job I wanted. Both bosses told me I would have letters of recommendation from them and great referances as well. I wasnt going to panic.
Now I have the time to rekindle my passion for baking. I can do it for fun and with love. Ill be honest. Working at a restaurant where you make the same thing everyday is too boring for me. I understand the consistency aspect and food cost and all of that. Still was getting boring for me. I would zone out during half my day, or listen to an audio book in my work room. And still be able to have a great and consistent product.
I think since I am off for the next 3 days and there is about a ton of snow outside, Im going to research cake ideas, cupcake ideas and candy ideas as well. I am 28 years old and although I have had amazing opportunities in my life I need new ones. I love to bake and decorate. To be able to manipulate a cake into a shape and decorate it is what I love to do most of all.
Now its time to challenge myself. Time to do great and amazing things. And I started with French Toast...

Sweet kisses...
Monkey cake for besties lil year old already! Where did the year go?


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Julie and Julia

So I am starting a blog. Something my best friend is doing as well. Actually she has had one for awhile. To be honest I never saw myself having one. And I'm not jumping on a bandwagon. I'm doing it because I love to write and thought this would be a good outlet for me.
So I begin......
You're probably thinking what does my title of Julie and Julia have to do with anything?
Ill tell you, it's an amazing movie. And a book as well. The movie reminds me of the passion that I have as a Pastry Chef. The movie "Chocolat" does as well. Not to mention Johnny Depp (yum). The movie Julie and Julia though follows a lot of facts about Julia Child. And a girl named Julie. Julie is like you and me. A career woman. A girl trying to make her marriage work through all the ups and downs. And someone with a passion for cooking. Julie decides to take Julia's book and choose one recipe a day and make it. I'm not gonna say anymore because if you haven't seen it I don't want to spoil it. I recommend it.
In a way I'm Julie.However, I went to school to become a Pastry Chef. I found out this week however that the college I went to, Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, is going to be closing soon. This upset me greatly because of the Chef's that I had. They were amazing individuals. They knew their craft well and were diligent in the teaching of it. Chef M teaching us how to make sure our kitchen is in tiptop shape during production. (This amazing woman also served our country in Iraq.) To Chef T. a little Italian man who taught us plate presentation. To Chef K the only man I have ever seen temper chocolate and not manage to get one little spec on his pristine white uniform. (I've got to learn how to do that. I always look like I took a bath in it.) Chef P teaching us to work as a team. And then Chef W. our Dean of Studies. He competed on Food Network Challenge. That was awesome to watch him on TV. To all the teachers I had for classes. These people were amazing. I loved learning from them. Their experiences of their lives being told to us as lessons of what to do and what not to do. They are my Julia Child. They may not have been famous as Julia but the things they taught me come back at sometimes the strangest times. I amaze myself sometimes at what I remember.
I also met some of my closest friends there. We used to joke about the Art Institute kids. Said if we had a fight who would we think won? A paintbrush or a knife. We won. Goofy stuff. I think a bunch of us are gonna road trip out there to say our goodbyes. I hope that the Chefs I had that are still there are able to find somewhere amazing to use their skills.
Baking is part of my life. Has been for 12 years already, and since I'm only 28 that's a long time. Lol. I feel like a lil ole lady when I say that. I started when I turned 16. I started as a cashier at a buffet restaurant. Then I moved into prep and hot side then bakery. It was love at first cake. I loved the smell after you opened the oven and rolls came out. I loved mixing the dough. I loved making the sticky buns. I loved it all. I left that place because of a manger. I don't believe in yelling at employees in front of guests. No matter who it is or what position you had. I wasn't the one being yelled at but I left soon after I witnessed the whole incident. By this time I graduated high school. I didn't know what I wanted to do. So I kept working. I figured I rather work then blow money at a college when I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I worked stock in a grocery store as my next job. I learned the ordering process, the rotation, a most importantly speed. I worked on an all guy crew. I had to prove myself everyday. That I could out throw and that I was strong enough and fast enough to play on the same team. I'm glad I had that job. Those guys made me work and every job I have had since then was a piece of cake.
Then came the opportunity of my life. The first one. A coworker and her daughter had become friends with me. Courtney has said about going to culinary school and said I should go as well since I was always bringing brownies and cookies and stuff in for the guys. No. I wasn't trying to bribe them. But these were guys who threw freight and got hungry real quick. Hungry working guys didn't fare to well for me. So I calmed them down with peanut butter cookies and Oreo bars and whatever else I fancied making. Worked like a charm. My coworker said she was leaving for PA Culinary in a month or so and that I should apply an see if I get in. I went home and talked to Mom and Dad. It was a green light from them. So within a week I had gone from stock girl to future culinary school student. Had the acceptance letter and all.  A month later I was all packed up and ready to go. I remember my first kitchen with Chef H. His bad joke of taking the dill dough.  I was fortunate in a lot of ways. I was older then pretty much everyone in my class. I was 20. They were mostly 17-18. Fresh out of high school. Most of them had no idea what they were getting into. I already had 2 years of restaurant experience under my belt. I knew 99.9% of the equipment in the kitchen. A few odds and ends I didn't. I fell more in love with baking. First cycle was bread. Second was breakfast pastry and French pastry. Third was cakes and pie. Fourth chocolates and candies. Fifth was plate presentation. Sixth was advanced. that was sugar sculptures and chocolate work and finally a 3 tiered wedding cake. I am proud to say I earned a 98% on that one. I wish I had a picture to show you. then came the externship. I applied to and was accepted to Walt Disney World Resort. I was offered a 6 month externship instead of 4 months. I left for Orlando July 2,2004. I spent 6 months working for the Mouse. And I loved every second of it. I was selected by my Executive Chef to work at EPCOT for the annual Food and Wine Festival. I was the only Pastry with 5 Culinary chefs making up the rest of the team. It was our job for 6 weeks to ensure that whatever Chefs were coming in for the weekend had everything they needed. We had lists in advance from either them or their Sous Chefs. And those lists had to be prepped by the time they arrived on Thursday night. We then assisted them on their setup, preparation and serving of 1000 people every Saturday night. Those were some of the best memories I have. I have been fortunate in meeting Alan Wong, Mario Batali, Keegan Gerhard, Cat Cora....and others. So many chefs in 6 weeks. Watching them in their element was astonishing. I will never forget those 6 months especially those 6 weeks.
I came back to Pa for one reason. My parents live here. Im an only child that misses Mom and Dad way too much if Im gone for too long. The food in this region is sadly a lot of the same. So my best friend and I decided we are going to try and start our own little business. cakes and cupcakes. No Ace of Cake, Cake Boss stuff. just the simple home baking professional blend that I love.
Julie and Julia...a movie about a two regular women. One inspiring the other. My chefs inspired me. I hope that with the college closing they will be just fine. They were the inspiration for my life. They were my Julia and I wish them well.  Because I love baking....and this is only the start of my journey......

Sugar Kisses,