Sunday, September 28, 2008

I love David Archuleta!

OK I'm going to digress a little here! Those who know me are well aware of my fascination with the super-talented 17-going-on-18 year old singing sensation of American Idol fame, David Archuleta. I love his amazing angelic voice and highly admire his charming and down-to-earth personality. So when the chance came to finally put my two loves together, I jumped on it with passionate enthusiasm!

Who would have thought I can finally say 'cupcake' and 'David Archuleta' in one sentence? The project - a heartwarming thank you gift for an awesome radio station that dedicated a week to all-things David Archuleta. David's fans (me included) decided to show some appreciation to Flyfm - with flowers, cookies, TQ cards and of course, some cool cupcakes.

So it was with some 'fangirlish' drive that I came up with this neat design - personalised 'star' cupcakes for the djs, and a special message. Of course, I have to put David on the cupcake (albeit a cartoon rendition - credit goes to a Canadian fan Andrew who created the now-infamous David cartoon illustration), and the wings logo of Flyfm. I have to say the chocolate cartoon David and Flyfm logo were a labour of love, but it was definitely worth it - the djs blogged about them and a couple of David Archuleta fansites have featured them! Wow - maybe David A himself saw them too?

I have to thank dj Steve (there he is with Adam and Hafiz, having some fun with the cupcakes) and Jules for being so complimentary about my cupcakes, and of course, for showing some love for David A! Here's the links to their blogs:

Steve's blog

Jules' blog

Kiddy Party Favours

Cupcakes make fun and fantastilicious favours - especially when creatively packaged. So I'm loving the see-thru dome covers which shows off individually-packed cupcakes! Neat, mobile and pretty - they make lovely favours for kiddy parties, weddings, what have you.

This selection was made for a 4-yr old's birthday party! So I used fun toddler-friendly designs made from fondant and candy choc, and of course flavours are kiddy faves such as PB Choc and Passionana! Especially love the buttercream gerberas with choc bumblebees!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Have a Daisy Day!

"Have a Daisy Day" - that was the cheery message I stuck inside each of the press giftbox containing a daisy cupcake! I decided to post about this 'blast from the past' - a project I was pretty proud of from last year - when I received this really nice photo from my customer. Again, I may be good with cakes, but most of the time my customers take better pictures than I ever could!

I was asked to create press gifts for the Marc Jacobs Daisy fragrance launch - the brief required it to reflect the fragrance. I took one look at the bottle (pic above) and knew exactly what I wanted to create. The fondant daisies were more tedious than I thought though, as the centers had to be delicately painted with gold petal dust. This project was pretty daunting too at the time, as I made individually-boxed deluxe cupcakes as gifts, and additional smaller ones to serve up at the event. This meant a whole week of cutting, shaping and painting lots of daisies .... in that early part of my 'cupcake career', it was quite stressful indeed!

What I love about the whole creation is actually the makeup of the cupcake itself. It reflected the 'notes' or 'bouquet' of the fragrance - vanilla as the cake flavour, a dousing of jasmine syrup, then a light filling of homemade strawberry conserve topped with a grapefruit buttercream swirl! I wonder if anyone noticed on first bite though, haha!

The photo above was from a later related event - a party at the Marc Jacobs boutique in Pavilion Shopping Centre. I just thought it did justice to my handiwork! I was told later that some guests actually thought they were for display and not to be eaten! Anyway, I felt honoured to have been able to create cupcakes for a well-known international brand.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Babylicious 'Fullmoon' Cupcake Giftbox

I remember I had babies in the days when the best personalisation offered with 'fullmoon' giftboxes are crudely rubber-stamped names of your newborn. I ended up choosing the best-tasting supplier and consoled myself that at least the food inside was delicious.

For the uninitiated,'fullmoon' gifting is an age-old chinese or rather Malaysian-nyonya tradition of announcing the birth of a baby with gifts of symbolic food - red-dyed eggs, 'angkoo' (steamed glutinous rice 'cake' with a mungbean filling), curry chicken and turmeric glutinous rice. Of course modern moms would more than gladly do away with these fattening and not-so-pretty selection in favour of something appropriately pretty and babyish ... thus the cupcake option.

Pretty decorated cupcakes are perfect for baby-themed celebrations. Everyone coos at buttercream prams and booties, babypink fondant blooms and the new symbol of babyhood - the yellow duckie! Perched on top of delicious cupcakes, these are almost too pretty to eat!

So I started to offer it as a 'fullmoon' gift idea to friends and customers ... with a twist. That is to have tradition and beauty in one box! The giftbox thus consists of 4 pretty cupcakes, plus some of the classic symbolic food such as red eggs and preserved ginger, and sweet potato 'angkoo' - all deliciously homemade. Meanwhile, omitting curry chicken diminishes the anxiety over it turning bad if not delivered on time.

Being particular about presentation, I also made sure the boxes had the ideal trimmings and the all-important baby profile card! Basically, everything's handmade with love ... as I would for my own baby. The end results - proud parents are usually thrilled to bits, and many have told me that their lucky recipients totally loved them as well.

These are premium giftboxes, and are priced at rm27 per box (complete with computer-generated baby card with baby pic), minimum order of 10 boxes. For parents who prefer the handcrafted hand-embossed baby profile card with sticker photo as shown, an additional rm2.00 is charged per card.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Action Cartoon Cupcakes for the Boys

Oh boys will be boys, and they do want the most 'non-pretty' decorations on their birthday cupcakes - as long as it is their favourite cartoon or action character. So I took on daunting tasks earlier this year - recreating edible Spiderman and Pokemon characters!

Doing cartoon characters meant a lot of research and printing tons of cartoon pics for the pattern to be traced out. I remember having to negotiate with Mitch to select the simplest 4 Pokemon characters that were at least 'doable'!

While Spidey was all buttercream piping, Pokemon marks my first foray into a painstaking drawing technique using candy chocolate (compound choc). This is pretty sweet chocolate but allows me to create cartoon-like decorations that are fun and perfect for kids! It's always nice to discover new decorating techniques and different styles.

Now I wonder what these boys will want next year .....

Dreamy Cream Cheesecakes!

Dreamy and creamy ... that's how I love my cheesecakes! I've said my first love (cakes, that is) is mousse cakes, yet I have a craving for cheesecakes more often than I admit. In fact, I love all types - Japanese souffle, Boston-style, mousse (chilled) or NY-style in all it's denseness!

I remember when I first tackled a cheesecake recipe and it turned out grainy and crumbly ... in the days when I can't tell a 'bain-marie' from Marie Curie. Well, I've moved on, and have finally baked the cheesecake in the perfect texture and taste to my liking! Thanks to Rose Levy Beranbaum of Cake Bible fame, my cheesecake is an adaptation and though it is quite different from the original Cake Bible recipe, the Cake Bible indeed provided the 'understanding' so to speak.

So here is the creamiest baked cheesecake ever - not crumbly or crusty - sinfully rich and meant to be savoured in small servings! I love fruity cheesecakes because I think the fresh tangy berries and fruits balances the richness of the whole indulgence - hence my all-star flavour: "Racy Raspberry"! Racy Raspberry is topped with a delectable spread of ruby red homemade raspberry conserve or - when in season - the deluxe version gets a generous pile of glazed fresh raspberries.

Two other great flavours that I love to bake is the Durian Lime and Banana Toffee Crunch. All these premium cheesecakes feature luscious toppings that brings a new flavour dimension to the cheesecake itself, and a light frosting of light whipped white choc ganache adds the finishing touch. Oooh.... dreamy indeed!

I usually bake these as treats for my friends (or myself) rather than customers simply because they start at rm90 for a 9" cake (approx 1.8kg). But for those who have tried them ... second or even third helpings are a must!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Birthday Cupcake-Cake for Pretty Girls!

Birthday themes for young girls never stray far from the colour 'pink', flowers, some hearts maybe, and pretty butterflies! Everything nice... as the poem goes!

So whether it's for a precocious 4-year old or young ladies approaching their sweet teens, these cupcakes put a smile on their faces. I particularly like the little fondant bluebirds - they add a 'fairytale' touch befitting a princess indeed!

And for musiclovers, I did play the 'Happy B'day' tune on the piano to get the notes right, but have to adjust the bars and omit time signatures to fit the notes! Now if only I can insert a little gadget in the cupcakes to actually play the tune! That would be pretty awesome indeed!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bye Uncle Yee Thong

From a bunch of office buddies for their fave 'uncle' who was leaving the company.

I put each of their names on one cupcake, and the design theme was 'Paul Smith' - apparently Uncle Yee Thong's fave designer brand! I tried to recreate the signature Paul Smith wave design in the eclectic designer's palette. Hopefully, 'Uncle' loved my take on Paul Smith!

Incidently, I was told everyone was a little 'reluctant' to eat their very own cupcake! It was like a personal dedication as it had their names on it!

Little Erin's 1st Birthday!

Pink, pretty and everything nice - I love creating these oh-so-pretty cupcakes for sweet little babies like Erin!

This is one of my typical 16-pc birthday cupcake-cake - a perfect size for small celebrations, and adaptable to 25 or 36pc squares, or 20/30pc rectangles ... depending on the number of persons in the party. The upside? Great portability, fuss-free, more flavours in one 'cake' (I usually propose a 2-flavour combi)... all you need to do is bring extra little boxes to conveniently pack home the leftovers (if any)!

I was really happy with the design I created for this particular 'cake' - it's one of my faves. The idea came from a cute baby card I spotted at my fave scrapbooking haunt - Papier - a line of baby laundry drying in the sun! I added a trail of yellow duckies at the bottom, complete with bubblebath and all! All little kids love yellow duckies, don't they?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sweet Surrender!

Right on the dot of my 40th birthday, I received a surprising call - a journalist expressed her interest to interview me and write about my cupcakes! Apparently, her editor - Poh Lin had the opportunity to try some and thought they were heavenly! I was absolutely flattered!

So in a frenzy, I toyed with the various types of cupcakes I think will make a good impression. I finally decided to show off my decorating skills since there will be lots of pictures! So I proceeded with piped roses, a new set of piped designs themed along the lines of 'Spring Brocade', and my lovely fondant butterflies. I also did a set of 'Party Petites' - my petite size party bites cupcakes (more on that later).

Then, I remembered my luscious cheesecakes - the journalist must taste it! So I made 2 - Racy Raspberry and Durian Lime.

On the day of the interview, I felt really fluttery! I took out my fave silver tier tray, some of my best china, and brewed a pot of rose tea... kind of an English afternoon tea.

I have to say, both the journalist and photographer (Kamariah and Lim) were the nicest people ever... and I was really glad they loved the cakes. And the article... wow, it came out earlier than I expected (a slew of phonecalls came in even before I had a chance to flip thru the paper) - a full colour double-page spread! I felt soooo honoured! I totally loved it (except maybe the large photos of my face plastered on it! - would rather if the pics were all of the lovely cakes!)

In any case, my sincere thanks to Kamariah, Lim and Poh Lin ... and to NST of course! This was my best birthday present ever!