CiCi's cupcakes

CiCi's cupcakes Recipe:
12 oz flour
1 cup imagination
Endless creativity
Welcome and enjoy my Blog :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Personalities Portrayed!

Can a preference for a certain cake type reveal much about somebodies personality?
Apparently so!

An in-depth discussion with a group of male colleagues over lunch and they came to the following conclusions:
  • A male admitting a liking of a lemon drizzle cake apparently reveals he is in touch with his feminine side - I think it may have been the choice of words "fluffly", "light" and "delightful" when describing the ideal lemon drizzle cake more than the actual choice of cake itself.
  • A passion for a fruit cake can uncover a great deal about somebodies true age. Seemingly fruit cake is more desirable as a person ages because lack of teeth does not become an obstacle to mashing down a soggy fruit cake. It must be noted though that these comments were aimed at a very age conscious bloke on the verge of a mid-life crisis!
  • If you like ginger cake - this can be taken as an obvious sign of your hair colour!
  • Carrot cake - again, it's quite obvious if this is your cake of choice then you are a red-head.
  • If you're partial to fudge cake - this can be taken as a sign of your sexual orientation, but only is the fudge is packed in a box
After consideration of these comments, I decided not to draw conclusions about a person from the type of cake they choose to eat, but rather chose a cake that touches on one aspect of that personality!

I took this as a challenge to bake and design individual cakes to suit the various personalities of the team I work with.

First up - I did bake a lemon drizzle cake. This was for the guy who is in touch with his feminine side and not afraid to admit it. Using words such a light and fluffy doesn't make him less of a man! This also reflects his competitive side as he can be a bit of a "sour" puss with a face like someone who just sucked on a lemon when he doesn't get his way!!

Secondly, I baked some blueberry muffins. Rather than a soggy old fruit cake - I felt this was a younger, "hipper" alternative for the age conscious fruit cake lover. It still has fruit, but the lack of sogginess meant that teeth were in fact a requirement for eating this cake! Hopefully, this will

Two cakes were the extent of my creative efforts that night!
Stay tuned for more individual personality cakes!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Heart Cupcakes

February 14th.
Saint Valentines Day.

A day to celebrate martyred Saints of ancient Rome!??

The romanticisation came centuries later when poets invented stories about the various Valentines (martyrs).

So this Valentines, rather than a gift of chocolates, flowers or cards to support the Hallmark holiday and rather than commemorating the traditional celebration of martyrs, I decided to pay tribute the poetic geniuses whose creativity transformed St Valentines Day into the lovey-dovey, soppy-woppy day it is today.

I put my own creative skills to the test and designed some heart themed cutesy cupcakes!

The first batch were a double chocolate variety with a soft chocolate ganache centre. The 82% cocoa chocolate and a recipe hiccup resulted in double the amount of reccomended chocolate being added - too much chocolate is never a bad thing!! The chocolate ganache was made with chocolate of a slighly lower cocoa content to give a nice contrasting flavour between the two chocolate varities. The addition of a generous helping of double cream ensured that these cupcakes were pure heaven. Piping the ganache into the centre would have been easier if I had done so straight off the hob rather than letting the chocolate cool, but the end result was absolutely delicious none-the-less.

The second lot were a simple vanilla with a hint of lemon rind. I decided to dish these into miniature cupcake cases to add to their cuteness! The miniature size meant a swift 8 minute stint in the oven and the timer pinged signifying the readiness.Yummy!!!

Round three in the mixing bowl was an easy batch of chocolate chip cookies. A heart shaped cookie cutter ensured these babies were fitting to to my Valentines theme.

The decorating, as always, was my favourite part. Vanilla buttercream with simple lemon and a hint of red food colouring looked perfect with my love heart sweet cupcakes.

White rolled icing topped with hand rolled love hearts in shades of red and pink completed my Valentines baking efforts.

They looked the part, but there was still the taste test to pass. They were good enough for my pallet but how did my colleagues feel???

After I returned home with an empty cake tin, several people came back for second helpings and one guy even declared his love for me, I can safely sat they passed!!

Happy Valentines Day everyone :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas time affords a cupcake designer maximum creative control.
Snowmen with cute little sugar scarves and rolled icing top hats...
Santas faces carved from marzipan decorated with fluffy white icing beards and tasty santa hats...
Christmas trees embellished with sugary sparlkley delights and dusted with a fresh spinkly of icing powder snow...

I designed and decorated them all this year!

The cakes themselves were a basic triple chocolate (my favourite!). Ingredient preparation, mixing and oven time was minimal. Decorating took approximately 6 hours.. but the result was worth all the effort! They were definitely my most impressive output to date and unfortunately I didn't think to capture the beauties on camera.

So instead of providing the photographic evidence, I will attempt to describe the delight and joy of the cupcake recipients - my new work colleagues. I introduced my workmates to my love of baking during our annual Kris Kringle. The looks of disbelief on their faces when I presented my home baked delights was a better gift than the lovely Cow Slippers my Secret Santa bought for me. They were thoroughly shocked and it took several attempts to convince them that I genuinely did make them myself!! Their faces and smiles were worth it :)

The cupcakes were washed down with plenty of tea and coffee as we unwrapped gifts ranging from blow up boyfriends, shovels, and disco-balls. And after second helpings we all left the canteen satisfied and smiling.

Another days baking done :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Trick Or Treat??

Trick or treat? This year treat......

I LOVE Halloween! It's the one time of year you I get to be super creative and its an excuse to buy some outrageous fabrics, get the sewing machine out, pull on the creative hat and work your magic pulling together an awesome costume!! I love home-made costumes as you can guarantee nobody will have the same as you and I always love the reaction I get when telling people "Yes I made it myself!!".

So my first Halloween in Switzerland didn't have the same excitement. No party means no requirement for costume! So I decided to put my creative skills to some good use and make some goulish Halloween cupcakes instead. 

As I knew the decoration would take hours, I was quite lazy and made two varities - vanilla and chocolate. I took a trip to sweet shop in Metalli where I put my creative vision to the test when deciding which sweeties to buy! Think strings of liquorish for spiders legs, green and red jelly beans for evil looking eyes and some coloured marzipan to mould some spooky shapes!!

While the cupcakes cooled, I got decorating. There were  some centipedes on display, some marzipan witches, headstones with chocolate writing and a wide selection of horrific looking characters.

I brought them to work on Monday morning and the reaction was just as exciting as telling people about my homemade costumes and I got an even bigger buzz when I explained to people "Yes I made them myself!".

Happy Halloween!!!
Ciara x

Cupcake anyone??

I miss Sunday evenings at home baking! I miss shopping for ingredients, finding cute cake decorations and cupcake holders and last but not least I miss tasting the final delights!

So on Friday afternoon I was propositioned to prove that this baking I speak so fondly of was in fact a reality and not just a figment of my imagination. Of course I saw this as a challenge and decided to prove to my colleagues that my status of Cupcake Queen was well deserved!  Visits to Migros and Coop directly after work proved futile. How does one translate self raising flour into German? 

A quick trip home and with the help of google translate I was back en route to the shopping centre armed with a lengthy shopping list of goodies.Of course, all my baking equipment is sitting pretty in Ireland so I had to buy everything from cupcake holders to trays and seives. After spending a small fortune I returned home satisfied with my purchases!

I finally decided on three different flavoured cupcakes:

  1. Naturally, chocolate features on this list so I decided on double chocolate chip with dark chocolate frosting.
  2. A coffee and pecan variety also tickled my fancy.
  3. And finally, a simple vanilla and white chocolate.

I started with the vanilla, followed by coffee and finished off with the chocolate. Each variety was allowed to cool while I made the frosting. I am no stranger to chocolate frosting as this is my speciality. I tried the coffee variety on several occasions too so this was straight forward enough (lesson for next time - allow the coffee to chill before adding to butter so as to obtain a less greasy frosting). The white chocolate and vanilla proved a little challenging though. I'm not sure whether it was insufficient chocolate, too much butter or too much milk, but there was nothing that could be done to thicken it. It tasted spectacular but looked unimpressive!

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my return to the world of baking. I was pleased with the end result and am now determined to perfect my vanilla and white chocolate frosting.

Looking forward to tucking into these in work tomorrow...

However, one slight logistical challenge - how do I transport 32 cupcakes to work??? Maybe if I eat some more, there will be less to carry!!!!

Will check back in tomorrow to update on how many made it to the office!

Auf Wiedersehen,
Ciara x