Heavenly Yet Beautiful Cupcakes

Starting my own cupcake company was a thrill and I learn so much. But I yearned for the calm of taking my time to create perfect little decorations and unique flavor combinations. After selling my business, I decided to focus on teaching my craft. I hope this site will inspire you to create and indulge in one of the best and most satisfying desserts...the cupcake.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wedding Archive

I just found this image of a wedding I did over the summer and thought I would share it with you. The tower measured 5 feet+. The bride wanted a tower that would make a statement. She got what she wanted!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Spot Of Tea

Okay friends, here it is. My way of making a tea cup to hold a cupcake. You can also make these to decorate a cake. Before I start, I have to warn you, these beauties take time to make. It's like making them out of clay, you have to wait for them to dry before you can decorate them.
Here are the things you will need: Gumpaste (you can also do this with Fondant), Rolling pin, Cornstarch, Box cutter (or very sharp knife), Scissors, Gum glue, Edible paint and a tea cup.

Step 1:
Start with Gumpaste, dye it the color you want (using edible paint, I use AmeriColor) or leave it white. Work the Gumpaste until it's soft. Roll it out using your rolling pin on a surface that has been sprinkled with cornstarch. Dusting your rolling pan with cornstarch is also a good idea. If you are using Fondant, replace cornstarch with confectioner's sugar. Roll out Gumpaste until it's thin, like 3 mm or less. Cut a u shape similar to the image above.

Step 2:
Place gumpaste in a tea cup. Using gumpaste glue, glue the seams and start molding the gumpaste to snuggly fit the tea cup. You can use any cup you want.

Step 3:
Using a knife, cut off the excess gumpaste from the edge and smooth the edge a bit.

Step 4:
Then tug at the Gumpaste a bit to make sure it is not sticking to the cup. But leave it in there, it needs to dry. You will also notice that at the bottom the cup is not covered. No worries, we will fix that later. Set cup aside overnight or until dry.

Step 5:
Remove gumpaste and you will notice that there is a hole at the bottom.

Step 6:
Cut out a flat circle of gumpaste and with the gumpaste glue, glue on the circle to the bottom of the outside of the gumpaste tea cup.

Step 6:
Put the gumpaste tea cup back in the tea cup and using your fingers press down along the bottom to mold. Be careful not to press to hard or you will crack the gumpaste. You can also do this when the gumpaste tea cup is still a bit soft to avoid it cracking. Let it dry completely.

Step 7:
The handle is made by rolling out the Gumpaste to a long worm like shape. Cut the Gumpaste so you are left with about 3 inches. Curve the Gumpaste to look like and S, but reversed. Cut the part that will stick to the cup so it's straight. Let the handle dry overnight or until dry.

Step 8:
Glue on handle using gumpaste glue and let it dry completely. Then you are ready to paint your new tea cup! I use AmeriColor Edible paint. You can find it at www.CakeDeco.com

Step 9 (optional):
If you want to create a dish to go with the tea cup. Roll out more gumpaste and use a small dish to cut out a round circle using a knife. Mold inside the dish so that you get all the indentations. Leave the gumpaste there overnight or until dry. Then paint!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Here We Go

Well, the business has been sold. Sad but I'm a bit relieved as now I can focus on creating without the stress of running a business and most importantly, I can focus on my new roll as a mom.
As for my upcoming posts and demonstrations, my goal is to have videos on the site. But until my wonderful mother and sidekick returns to the US, I am going to have to start with step-by-step images. I know it's not the best way to demonstrate, but please bare with me.
I took some time to figure out a good outline and where I should begin. I tossed some ideas and spent countless hours figuring out exactly what I should start with. And honestly, I just got frustrated. I want to cover everything....and now!
So this is my plan: I don't have one. I am going to just create as ideas come to me and pepper in recipes and tricks I've learned along the way. My first show and tell is going to revolve around my Baby Shower as that is coming up. The theme for the shower is Sunday High Tea. I will devote the next several posts to the items I will be having at the shower. Here are the posts planned for the next few weeks:

Gumpaste Tea Cups: Individual tea cups made from gumpaste. Each cup will contain a cupcake topped with buttercream and will be placed in individual boxes. These are going to be my favors to give out to guests.

Baby Cookies: Baby item shaped cookies to serve during the shower. Decorated with sugar and dragees.

Baby Alphabet Cakes: I saw these on Martha Stewart and just fell in love with them. I will be making these to serve to guests during the shower. Kinda like a cupcake but square!

Tea Sandwiches: I know, I'm all about cupcakes and sweets. But I thought adding a bit on tea sandwiches would be great. Especially if any of you are going to host a high tea for a baby shower, bridal shower or just because.

Tea, coffee, Hot Cocoa and Flavored Simple Syrups: A post dedicated to the beverages. There are so many things one can do to be creative with beverages. For now I am just going to focus on tea, coffee, hot cocoa and the simple syrups. I may venture into creating a champagne drink for my guests.

Thoughts anyone? If you have ideas, I'm all ears!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bye Bye Blushing Bakeshop

Hello my dear followers! Well again...TONS of changes. As you all know, I am expecting my little bundle of joy in January. I thought I would be able to bake but unfortunately I was told no more. The lifting and the being constantly on my feet was too much. So I have sold the business!
Honestly, the decision to sell was not a difficult one because I thought it would be hard to sell in this economy. And I probably could pick it back up next year. So I put the listing on Craigslist and within a week I got calls and emails. Some people wanted my recipes while others just wanted the brand and logo. But I just couldn't break-up my company into pieces like that. It's my baby, so to speak.
Then I got a call from this lovely young lady. After chatting with her for a while I knew she was the right person to own my little company. She is equally as passionate about cupcakes as I am. I really never thought I would find someone that lived and breathed them like I did. She came up to visit and we settled over the weekend. The coolest part about this situation is that she is planning to open a store very soon. So my dream is coming true. There will be a fabulous cupcake shop selling delicious cupcakes with the name The Blushing Bakeshop. The new owner plans on opening in South Carolina. She will also have a blog on the website. So you all must follow her journey. I know I will be paying very close attention.
So what am I going to do. Oh, no worries. I am going to continue with my blog. But it will be more of an instructional blog. I am going to do what I love to do. Create unique recipes and designs. But instead of using them to sell cupcakes, I am going to be sharing them with you.
My blog's website for now will be cupcake-goddess.blogspot.com. But that may change to something easier to remember. I hope that all of you will still follow me as I transition out of the cupcake selling business and into a show-and-tell blog.
Hope all of you are doing well.

Happy baking!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh How Life Can Change

It's been what? Forever since I have written? I feel like a big goober for not updating my little blog. But so much and I mean so much has happened. I feel like my life has been and is a walking sitcom. I have made myself a pot of mint tea and am ready to put all out there. So grab a mug and read on.
Last I wrote I was trying to raise money to open a little bakeshop. I had brought on a friend to help me raise the money as I have a huge problem asking people for money. Well we were working on it having little events and presenting my brilliant Business Plan. All was going well. My business kept multiplying and soon I found myself booked until August. Well, the end of May came and I was running around like a chicken without a head. One wedding after another and another. I was on a roll! But something felt odd. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just felt like something was missing. Then one day I fainted. Yup, landed on my carpet to awake to my dog licking my face. Being the hypochondriac that I am I called my doctor. He thought it was my iron levels as I have always had low iron. The next day I went to see my doctor and as he drew blood and said he would call me in a few days. Well, a few days flew by and the nurse called. She said my iron levels were down and that I should go have a burger or two. This was something I could totally handle. However she said that the doctor also wanted to chat with me and if I could hold. This I could not handle. In those 3 minutes I thought I had cancer, a brain tumor or maybe some freaky diseases. But nothing like that, oh no, just a little something called pregnancy. I didn't say a word. I was shocked as I was taking EVERY precaution that a normal couple can take to prevent this. But God had a different plan for us....obviously. I demanded a re-test. It had to be wrong. Got blood drawn again and the nurse called again with the same news. But this time she said, and I quote " you are extremely pregnant". I'm not sure what the difference is between pregnant and extremely pregnant, but the conclusion is the same. I am with child. Although this was not planned I fell in love with my little cupcake immediately.
Life picked up the following week but by the end of June I was exhausted. I just couldn't get out of bed. I was pooped and I looked pooped. I felt like I had ran a marathon every day. I called my doctor and of course, the cupcake was the cause. Guess the first trimester is a brutal one. But I had all booked weddings to fulfill and raising money and well, everything else. With help I managed to wrap up my wedding orders and at the end of July I decided to close up shop for the month and travel. This was going to be the last time I would be able to go on vacation and visit family for a while, so as painful as it was to leave my business for a month. I did. And I am so glad I did.
So where am I now. Well, I look like a balloon and have a little somebody twisting and turning inside me. I pretty much live in the bathroom as the only alternative is to buy Depends. Which I refuse to do. It's a pride thing. Under doctor's orders I cannot bake as much as the volume I was doing is too physically hard. So sadly I have stopped pursuing the raise and have cut down on my orders. Instead I am taking the business in a different direction for now. Don't get me wrong, one day I will open a shop. But for now I'm going to use my expertise in marketing and creativity to take The Blushing Bakeshop into another direction.
What direction is that? Well, I will be sharing everything. All my recipes, creative decorations and ideas. My e-shop will be evolving. And oh boy, it is going to be awesome!!!! I want to inspire others who want to open a shop and will share everything I learned through my journey from the business plan to pricing and marketing. Like the saying goes, if you can't do...teach!
So stay tuned and follow along as my little blog will have a lot of juicy stuff for anyone who loves to bake and entertain.
Of course, I will keep you updated on my little cupcake as be pregnant has it's amusing moments.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Every time I feel like maybe my mission to open a bakeshop is a silly one and go into one of my "what am I thinking" moments, I receive a wonderful note from a past client. It seems that the universe has a way of reminding me that what I do is what I should be doing. If clients love my products (cupcakes or gumpaste decorations) and are willing to take the time to write such touching letters to me, then I am on the right track. I thought I would start sharing these as they are just wonderful pieces of encouragement everyone should read. I am confident that if you love to bake and create quality cakes or cupcakes or decorations (or anything for that matter), responses like this one just wants you to do it forever. Now mind you, I didn't make the cupcakes for this one. I made the decorations to top her dream cake and cupcakes. 

Hi Paola!

I had the best intentions to send you a note much earlier; however, please know that this email is still every bit as sincere!  Our homemade gum paste snowflakes specially shipped all the way to West Virginia for our snowy destination wedding in February were a huge hit!  Suzanne, who baked our French vanilla wedding cake and coconut cupcakes, did an amazing job of creating my vision which was inspired by your webpage featuring your “snowy” cupcakes.  I never got to meet Suzanne either; we only communicated by phone long distance.  It was a delicious and beautiful cake meticulously decorated with your extraordinary handcrafted snowflakes which made for a very unique wintery confection.  The luminous silver cupcake wrappers along with the silver balls (ordered from you) completed the display!

Thank you so very much for your kindness, enthusiasm, and talent!  Everyone was so impressed that you had willingly shipped the delicate snowflakes to West Virginia.  The cake and the cupcakes with the addition of the snowflakes was the most perfect cake ever and totally exceeded my expectations.  

I am very grateful for your help and wish you much success with your business.  Please know that I am spreading the word!  

Ford Cupcake

I was contacted by representatives of Ford to drive one of they new Hybrids. I jumped at the chance! How cool is that? I get to drive a brand new car for the weekend. Woohoo! And what a perfect weekend for this awesome treat as I have cupcake orders to deliver. 
They delivered the car this morning and I felt like it was Christmas in May. I woke up and got on a conference call at 10am. I sat in bed in my jammies yawning through the whole thing. I then strolled out of bed and went down stairs to pour myself a bowl of Weetabix cereal. As I walked across my kitchen wiping the sleep from my eyes, I caught a glimpse of something unusual in my driveway. I opened the door and almost dropped my breakfast. There she was, a beautiful cream colored car. She looks a bit like my vanilla buttercream. The only thing that would of made the moment even better was if they had put a red ribbon on the car with a card saying Merry Christmas in May Paola. I opened the door to my new set of wheels for the weekend and was in awe on how stunning the interior was. It's really chic. Ivory seats accentuated with black. So I am nicknaming the car Cupcake, because when you sit in it, you just feel delicious.
I am taking Cupcake on some cupcake adventures and will let you all know how she does. I'm very excited about how much room this car has. I can put all my deliveries in and not have to make multiple trips. Yippee!
The car, by the way, is the Hybrid Mariner. So gas mileage is going to be a real plus!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yet Another Baby Step

I survived my investor reception. I was a nervous mess waking up on Sunday and spent my whole day swirling like a tornado trying to get everything ready. I must of rehearsed my little speech a million times every time screwing it up and starting over and over. It was bloody frustrating. However I reread all the wonderful and supportive emails all of you sent (and I will be getting that book Carmen!) and felt a little voice inside me whispering "Yes you can". And so the event started, my cupcakes looked good, the pictures I brought of some of my past orders looked amazing and my Business Plans were ready for the taking. Guests rolled in slowly which was a blessing. As each person walked in I got the opportunity to chat with them and rehearsing portions of my speech. Then my wonderful friend Tony called everyone's attention and off I went. He made it so easy for me. I didn't just stand there and vomit my speech out, but rather he had me introduce myself and talk about my company and my products. I love to talk about what I love to do, so my speech went out the window and instead, I told my story. Tony then chimed in with the financial information and asked me questions which were easy for me to answer.  They weren't rehearsed, just simple honest answers to questions I have been answering since I started my company. The evening went on and people took my Business Plans, congratulated me on a great presentation and took a couple of delicious cupcakes to go.
I just loved the people that came, all of which I would be honored to have as investors. So cross your fingers for me as this was one of many little events. But hopefully my raise will happen sooner then later. I just can't wait to open my shop...my Blushing Bakeshop.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Nervous Cupcake

Yup, I'm a royal mess today. I feel a bit sick, my stomach keeps cramping up and I'm never hungry. I can't keep still but I have yet to nosh on my nails. Why am I so nervous you ask? Well, next week is my investor reception. D-Day. This is the day were I will stand in front of a small group of individuals to tell them why they should open their check books and invest in my little company. This day is the day I have been anticipating for so long. In a tiny restaurant so kindly given to me to use for 4 hours I will showcase my delicious cupcakes (at least I know that my product really is amazing, so hopefully one bite and the check books will open up). But I realize that investors look at the financial side of things. Thank God my father helped me with that. He used to prepare business plans for billion dollar companies, so I know my plan is solid. But yet, I have a feeling that these potential investors may laugh at me. I mean, cupcakes? I'm sure there are high tech companies our there with products that can blow people's minds. And here I am with cupcakes. Although, if people knew just how lucrative this little cake can be. I just recently found out that the two cupcake shops in my area that have been up and running for 1-2 years are thriving. Everyone thought that the cupcake trend was just that...a trend. No sir! They still average 1,000-1,500 cupcakes a day. Pull your calculators out...that's about $72,000 a month (at $3.00 a cupcake)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So for all of you that want to get into the cupcake business... the trend is here to stay. Look at L.A. and NY, cupcakes still dominate. So why am I so nervous? I have the product and I have financial proof that this business of mine is a sure hit. Well, I guess I'm a nervous mess because so much is riding on this one day. I want this so bad it's making me nauseous, jittery and I haven't been able to think about anything else.
I will keep you all posted. If you pray, if you could squeeze in a little prayer while at church on Sunday, it would be very much appreciated.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I have been taking gumpaste flower classes at Fran's Cake & Candy Supply store in Fairfax VA. For any of you that are in the area and would like to take a class, please find the schedule below. Please note that these classes include everything cake and cookie related:

April 22nd:  GUMPASTE FLOWERS, Lesson 3        7:00-9:00pm                                     $45
B. Keith Ryder's series continues. Tonight's class includes making Stephanotis, Jasmine and Hyacinth Pips. Learn to make these flowers without cutters.

April 27th: TEMPERING CHOCOLATE                    7:00-9:00pm                                    $65
Learn the abc's of tempering chocolate, pipe fancy designs and play with chocolate transfer sheets. Students need to bring a metal bowl, rubber spatula and an offset spatula.

April 29th: GUMPASTE FLOWERS, Lesson 4        7:00pm-9:00pm                               $45
Learn to create a Stargazer Lily in two hours! Intro to gumpaste class or experience in working with gumpaste is required.

May 3rd: FAT BUDDIES                                             12:00 noon- 2:00pm                       $44
Learn how to turn a cupcake into an adorable alligator, elephant, cow, frog, fish and more! All supplies included.

May 6th: GUMPASTE FLOWERS Lesson 5             7:00pm - 9:00pm                           $45
Learn how to make Cattleya Orchids.

May 7th: PETIT FOURS   7:00pm-9:00pm                            $50
Learn to make these stunning little treats. Students must bring cooling rack and cookie sheet

May 13th: GUMPASTE FLOWERS Lesson 6          7:00pm-9:00pm                             $45
Learn to make quick roses.

May 21st: MARZIPAN FRUITS                                7:00pm-9:00pm                              $50
Learn how to embellish your cakes with stunning marzipan fruits.

May 27th: GUMPASTE FLOWERS Lesson 7         7:00pm-9:00pm                             $45
Learn how to make beautiful Peonies in just two hours. Students must have taken Intro to gumpaste or be experienced in working with gumpaste.

June 3rd:  GUMPASTE FLOWERS Lesson 8        7:00pm-9:00pm                            $45
Learn to make an Iris.

June 7th: WEDDING CAKE CONSTRUCTION      12:00 noon - 5pm                         $65
Learn to create a wedding cake.

June 10th: IVY, NOCH ORANGE LEAF                  7:00pm-9:00pm                          $45
Learn to make gumpaste Ivy and Noch Orange Leaves.

June 14th: CHOCOLATE BOX                                   7:00pm-9:00pm                          $75
Students must bring metal bowl, rubber spatula and offset spatula.

June 16th: COVERING CAKES IN FONDANT        7:00pm-9:00pm                         $25
Learn to cover your cakes, round or square, in fondant. Also, students will learn how to create additional decorations with fondant. Students must bring:
                  One 9" round cake dummy  (available at Fran's)
     One 8" square cake dummy (available at Fran's)
5 lbs of fondant (Wilton's or Satin Ice/all available at Fran's)
1 pair of inexpensive stockings (not used of course)
1 cup of Crisco
1 rolling pin
8 oz confectioners sugar

June 23rd: GUMPASTE FLOWERS Lesson 10 7:00-9:00pm              $45
Learn to make a Hibiscus 

If you have any questions about the classes, please call Sallee at Fran's Cake and Candy Supply Store: (703) 352-1471

Fun Ideas

I've been a busy little bee these last couple of days. My first "tadahhhh!" is that I will be an official Farmers market vendor for both Kentlands (Gaithersburg) and Potomac. I am so excited about it. What better way to spend two days out of the week then outside meeting new people. Also, I've been experimenting with decorations and I thought I would share them with you. Below is are seashell cupcakes. The buttercream was dyed using gel coloring (Electric Blue). The seashells are made from fondant and then dusted with some dusting colors (Mushroom and Oyster). The sand is actually cookie crumbs...actually dust. I made these for Brides.com as they are working on a Summer Weddings entry. 

The next one I did for a little boys birthday party. Here, the balloons are out of plastic and can easily be removed as they are on a plastic spike. The swirls are edible and made from gumpaste. I now carry them. I just fell in love with them and thought so many people could use them for celebration cupcakes.
My videos should be coming out soon. This is my first time making them, so please bare with me. I'm sure once I have a couple under my belt, the rest should be very easy to do.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wishing Susan A Fabulous Transition

         This is Lipstick, the baby sea turtle I helped release

I just returned home from a fabulous little getaway courtesy of my wonderful guy. While there we got a glimpse of Susan Boyle's unbelievable performance on Britain's Got Talent. If you have not seen the YouTube spot....please stop reading my blog and check it out. 
I was completely blown away by her extraordinary and pure talent. As one of the judges said, it was an honor to get the opportunity to listen to her sing. 
Anyway, I believe what touched me more, as well as everyone else that watched, is her story. I love a great story just like anyone else does, especially a feel good story. As some of you may know, when Susan was born there were complications and she was without oxygen for some time which lead to minor brain damage. I think she had a rough time in school as people picked on her because of her disability and perhaps her appearance. But she had a wonderful family who embraced her and nurtured her talent. She sang in church and in school plays never believing that it would ever lead to a career. She did it because she loved it. When her mother was 91 years old, she and Susan would watch Britain's Got Talent. While watching, Susan's mother would tell Susan that she could win with her singing. And after her mother passed away, Susan took a leap of faith and entered the contest. 
When she took the stage people started to laugh. There in front of thousands of people was Susan, a 47 year old woman who had never been kissed and lived in a tiny town in the middle of England's north country. She was a bit awkward but honestly, who wouldn't be? But as the smirks and laughs slowly faded Susan began to sing. And suddenly the crowd went crazy. 
Her performance has made her the it girl, why, because she stood up and did what she loved. Not for fame, not for popularity and certainly not to prove a point (maybe for the $100,000 prize though...can you blame her?) but she got the last laugh. 
So our Susan has been launched into a new world, quite unfamiliar to her. Sounds familiar doesn't it? How you ask? Well, like Susan, I as well as many others have found myself starting a new business and entering a new world. Like the baby sea turtles entering the ocean from my past entry. Which by the way I got to release  Lipstick and Horris into the ocean last week (two baby sea turtles, names came from my guy). 
So let's applaud and wish our Susan all the luck in her journey into an exciting new world. May she continue to do what she loves and every moment. And as for all of you who are venturing into the unknown,  whether it be starting a business, starting a new job or adjusting to new circumstances....just do whatever makes you the happiest. Because Susan Boyle did just that and it has opened up her life to so many wonderful opportunities. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sick and Bored

I am sick. Caught a nasty cold. What is a creative cupcake chica suppose to do? Rest in bed and watch TV...NO WAY! 
I was ordered to rest but my definition of resting isn't sitting around watching The Bold & The Beautiful, which would be useless since the last time I watched the show I was 19 and I'm now in my 30's. So I crabbed a large cutting board, some gelatin mix, my painting box and had an arts & crafts day. Here are my little creations. I have found the world of gelatin decorations. These are my first butterflies. I still need to figure out how to work with the gelatin.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Taking More Baby Steps

I haven't posted anything for a while and I am so sorry for that. I have been swamped. Which is a good thing. Here is the scoop on the latest and greatest.
As many of you know, my dream is to one day open a fabulous bakeshop. But in order to do that the way I want to do it, I have to come up with....get ready...$350,000. That's how much it costs to open a baking business ladies and gentlemen. The cost to lease a place, build it out, equipment, staff, permits...etc made this ridiculous number what it is. I see $350,000 all the time, I live it and breath it. It has become the permanent weight on my shoulders. When someone asks how much a cupcake is, I laugh and say $350,000. They never get the humor. 
I always believed, cocky little me, that as soon as my Business Plan was done I would release it to some people I know and voila! I would have the money. I imagined people calling me up and begging to be part of my fabulous dream. Not the case. Maybe I was a bit too hopeful and a tad over confident. Okay, I was really over confident. 
With the economy in the tank and my inability to ask people for money, this fundraising task has been a nightmare for me.  I just can't do it. It's not in my nature. I am a creative person not a finance person. And because I really really want this I came to realize that I cannot do it on my own. I have to breakdown and ask for help. And every once in a while it's okay to ask for help.  I am a very stubborn person by the way, so asking for help was a hard thing to digest. But I did it. Within a week my asking, rather begging for help was answered. What I found was that if you let people know that you need help, they start thinking not only if they can help but if they might know someone who can. And the snowball of help starts getting bigger and bigger. 
My friend Peter was the first to lend a hand (other then my family of course).  He made an introduction to a gentleman who is a finance guru. This guy who I will name T has been my guiding light in the finance world. T invited me to chat about my business a couple of weeks ago. He asked me one question, "tell me about your business" and the flood gates opened. Instead of acting composed and calm, I exploded with emotion and excitement about what I wanted to do. My dreams for my bakeshop, my hopes for my cupcake empire. I was on a mission! He smiled and in turn gave me even more to hope for. I left T in cupcake euphoria. I suddenly knew in my gut that I WILL one day open a bakeshop. 
So T was on board and assured me he would help in raising the money. In order to do this he wanted to put together receptions. Small gatherings to showcase the product and speak to people he and I knew about what I was trying to do. He felt confident that between all the people he knew and I knew, this task could be done. But now I needed to find locations for these events. My house, as T put it, was a cute idea but not what he thought was appropriate. Renting a space at a hotel would be insanely expensive. So I sounded the bells of help again and this time it came in the form of meeting a fabulous lady during an event hosted by my friend Peter. JJ is in commercial real estate and offered some of her vacant retail locations for the events. In return, if I raise the money I would use her to lease a space. And I am all about scratching some one's back if they scratch mine. So now I have the finance guru, the space and all I need now is to put the whole thing together. And that takes time. Something I have very little of.  And even after the event, I will need help to wrap things up and follow up with people and keep the ball rolling with potential investors....ARGH!  My brother came to my rescue and introduced me to a friend of his that so happens to be looking to invest some money. Yey! But he also wants to launch a business. His name is Mr. M and he's hopefully going to be the last piece of Operation Help Paola Open A Bakeshop. Mr. M and I are now in negotiation for him to join my little company and help me launch my beautiful little bakeshop that right now has a permanent address in my dreams. 

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Cake Challenge

Well, the competition came to an end on Sunday. I drove out to Burke VA to pick up my creation a bit early. I didn't win anything but scored pretty high I thought for my first competition. I got a whopping 46 points out of 50.  I did especially well in the creativity and color categories. 
This cake was a huge undertaking. I have never worked with fondant before and for good reason, the stuff is like Play Dough and covering a cake with it is not an easy thing to do. I had to patch up so many spots that I was forced to create a very artistic crack on the side of my cake. I figured...pots can crack, so why can't mine have a crack strategically placed where the fondant wasn't exactly perfect. The sugar flowers were key. And I was very grateful that my gumpaste classes came to good use. I spent nights making God knows how many Jasmin blossoms and leaves. My mother and partner was the one to credit for the beautiful Sweet Peas (naughty little flowers those are). But I had to add a little cupcake love, so the roses were cupcakes and I piped on the petals...yes, with no help. I thought I did a fabulous job considering I had never piped a rose petal by petal before. The little clay pots also had a cupcake inside them.  I made the pots by using my cupcake pan and turning it upside down. The shape of the cups was perfect to cover with fondant. The soil was made by pulverizing chocolate cookies. It looked so real that it made the cake a tad unappetizing. I worked and worked on this cake noticing imperfections and tried to solve them as best as I could every step of the process. In the end though, I walked into the competition like a proud peacock. I did the best I could and the end result was beautiful, maybe not perfect, but beautiful and made with a ton of love.  The experience helped me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to. And that gave me more confidence that I can do this. This being my cupcake business. I can really do it if I just put my mind to it. I love what I do even if it means staying up until 1am making 150 cupcakes for a bridal shower and looking like a big old mess in the morning. So.... I am signing up for the next competition in May. I already thought of my next creation. Now I just have to find a place to teach me how to cover a cake in fondant. 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kickin Some Cake Booty!

After 3 weeks of working on gumpaste flowers and trying to work with fondant, the cake for the contest was officially completed last night. I am also officially exhausted so I am keeping this entry short and just showing everyone pictures. I will rest my brain and complete a more detailed entry this week.
Quick description: 8" cake covered in gumpaste with chocolate crumbs (dirt) topped with 5 cupcakes frosted to look like roses and an assortment of handmade gumpaste flowers (Sweet Peas, Jasmin Flowers and leaves). Little pots were made from fondant and then a cupcake was inserted inside. Topped each with chocolate buttercream and rolled in chocolate crumbs. Gumpaste flowers and lady bugs were added to each. Grass was made by dying coconut shavings and placed on top of chocolate rice krispies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fresh Like a Spring Daisy

I am working like a dog trying to get ready for the Cake Show on March 21st and 22nd. Yes, on top of taking on my first wedding cake, I thought I would add more grey hairs to my head by submitting a cake for the Capitol Cake Show. Of course, I am not entering in the Master or Professional Division. I'm not THAT crazy. I am comfortably submitting my cake for the Division B which is one step above the Wee Ones (teens and kids) Division. So I will competing with moms and amateurs and that gives me some peace of mind. But the redhead in me wants to kick some cake booty. So I am putting together a very unique cake. I think I am the only one that is submitting a cake that has cupcakes on it. I dunno, but I think I am the only one. I won't ruin the surprise of what I'm doing yet. Once I'm done I'll take a picture and post it. Anyhoo, I am making a ton of sugar flowers to the point that my fingers are getting sore. Since I have not been able to finish the instructional videos (because this cake show has taken over any free time I have had), I thought I would post a small instructional entry on how to make a sugar daisy. It's easy IF you can get yourself to a cake supply store or Michael's and buy necessary
 items. Here's what you will need:
1. Gumpaste (you can buy this already made at Michael's)
2. Daisy cutter or any multi petal cutter 
3. Crisco
4. Cornstarch
5. Yellow food coloring
6. Wire stem (available in the floral design area of any arts and craft shop)
7. Veiner (not necessary, but a great little tool)
8. Glue (you can use honey or mix some powder gumpaste with 
a bit of water, usually 2 to 1 powder to water)
9. Ball roller (available at Michaels or from Wilton.com)
10. Aluminum foil
11. A plastic cutting board and if you have a dense foam board (like what one uses to kneel on when gardening...but new and clean, obviously)

First things first. Above are the items you will need. The stems with the centers are made using gumpaste and yellow food coloring. The roll a small ball in your hands and flatten it out on the plastic board. Take the wire and bend one end and heat the end with a lighter until it's glowing. DO NOT TOUCH IT, you will burn yourself big time. Insert the wire into the flat side of the yellow dough and hold it steady for 20 seconds. Then insert the other end of the wire into a foam board or an apple works well too. Let it dry for at least an hour.
Using a rolling pin, roll a grape size ball of white gumpaste on your plastic board. Please rub a bit of Crisco on the board first so your gumpaste doesn't stick. If the gumpaste is sticking to your rolling pin, rub a little cornstarch on it. The gumpaste should be rolled out until it's thin, like  2 mm thin or less.
Take your cutter and place it on the gumpaste and press really really really hard. If the cutter is digging into your hand, please put a paper towel in between your hand and the cutter. Wouldn't want you to land your daisy cut hand in the emergency room.
Peel the excess gumpaste from around your cutter...GENTLY! 

Now, if you have a veiner like the one above, fabulous. If not, take a dull knife and run the knife down each petal without cutting the petals. You just need the indentation of the knife. If you have the veiner, place the flower in the veiner 
Squeeze gently, or press down gently.

Remove top of veiner and peel the flower off gently.

Place your flower on a dense foam board. 

Using the ball roller, carefully rub the petals to smooth out the lines a bit and thin out the edges. 

   Take the stem and add a little glue to the flat part of the yellow center. Poke the stem through the center of the flower and slide the flower towards the yellow center. Press gently so the center sticks to the flower. Then use a bit of aluminum paper to create a disc to support your petals. I usually add a bit of gumpaste under the aluminum disc so it won't slide down. If you want double petals, make another flower and glue it to the first set of petals. Remove the aluminum disc first obviously and add it back to support your petals. This flower takes 24 hours to dry.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I guess business is cyclical. I was slammed making cupcakes for both my coffee shops and clients. Then, all of a sudden, I got slammed with online orders for my cupcake wrappers and cupcakes got a bit slow. It's weird and a bit scary. That's the one thing I cannot get use. I worry that all of a sudden people will stop ordering my cupcakes and that will be that. With a corporate job I never had to worry.  I had a task to do and I did it, every day with no interruptions. I never thought for a second that I would run out of things to do. But with my own business, I'm at the mercy of others. I don't particularly like that. The good news? I have several weddings booked this year. 
And I am making my first wedding cake...gulp. Far cry from a cupcake, but I know I can do it. I've been taking classes at Fran's Cake and Candy Supplies on how to make gumpaste flowers and my instructor has been sharing tricks of the trade on wedding cake making. Doesn't seem that difficult. So when a bride called asking if I could make a wedding cake using the same recipe I use for my cupcakes, I said suuuuuuuuurrrrre. When I hung up the phone I paused and thought, what on earth have I gotten myself into? So I need to practice. And what do I decide to do? Enter a cake decorating contest. I swear, I just keep getting myself into things I pray I can do. My instructor convinced me to do it. There's a huge cake decoration show/contest on march 21st and I am officially entering a cake/cupcake creation. I figure, if I do well then my client's wedding cake will be a cake walk...so to speak. And, hundreds of cakes will be there so I will have examples all around me. And according to Keith (my instructor), they have classes one can take during the day. I plan on attending as many as possible. 
Anyway, other than that, business has been a bit slow these last few weeks. I'm a bit nervous about the whole thing. So I took my extra time and started to expand my cupcake wrapper line. So much so that I got blisters from using the scissors for hours. But the wrappers look great. I've scattered some images of them but all of them are on the E-Shop portion my site. I made A LOT of them. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Little Darcy

To celebrate St Patty's Day, I took it upon myself to create a new flavor exclusively for ACKC (one of the coffee shops that carries my cupcakes).  When building the flavors for my new cupcake, the last thing I wanted to do was create a basic vanilla cake and slap some buttercream on top that has been flavored with Bailey's. That was too simple and certainly in my view,  expected. 
So I tinkered in the kitchen one evening and created a deep (and I mean deeeeeeeep) chocolate cake. So packed with chocolate that the cake was black. When they came out of the oven I was a bit taken back by them. They looked so morbid, so dark. But when I bit into one....I almost passed out. The cake was so unbelievably moist and the taste was dark and rich. I had two. Okay, maybe 3.
I then thought to myself about some Easter eggs I used to have when I was a little girl.  The ones that oozed gooey sweet deliciousness. I wanted the same experience for this cupcake. To find the ideal recipe, I sat on the floor of my room surrounded by all my recipe books. I searched and searched for the best filling I could find. I then came across my Great Grandmother's hand written recipe book that is starting to fall apart. In there I found an English custard recipe. It was simple and sounded divine. I made it trying to interpret the measurements as the recipe came from her Grandmother and they didn't have measuring cups back then. So eggshells of milk turned into 3 cups of milk. I also added cornstarch to make it a bit thicker and I added Bailey's Irish Cream. I love Bailey's but I wanted to use it creatively.  The custard came out insane. I really think it should be bottled. 
I assembled the cupcake piping in the chilled custard and then pondered the buttercream. I mixed a bit of Bailey's into the buttercream but then added a swirl of chocolate syrup and salty caramel. I didn't mix it in, but rather left it so you could see the swirls when the buttercream was piped on top of the cupcake.
Let me just say that eating this little piece of heaven was euphoric. Below is the recipe, you all must try it:

Chocolcate Cake:

2/3 cup of Hershey's Dark Dutch Combination Chocolate Powder (this is a new product from Hershey's. You can find it in your grocery store, I used a finer chocolate that I get from my distributor but it is very similar to this Hershey's Dutch product)
2 cups all purpose flour
1  1/4  teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1   2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup Hellmann's Mayonnaise (sounds weird, but trust me, it makes a fabulous cake)
1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1   1/3 cups water

Preheat oven to 350
Mix flour, chocolate, baking soda, Baking powder in a small bowl
In a large bowl mix sugar, eggs, mayonnaise, vanilla and water. Slowly add the dry mix slowly into the wet mixture (use an electric hand held beater)
Pour into cupcake cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

3 cups whole milk
8 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (if you want the custard thick, if not, leave this out. I added it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

Heat milk in a heavy sauce pan over heat until hot, but do not boil it! Whisk eggs in a heat proof bowl along with sugar, cornstarch and salt.
Add a bit of hot milk to yolk mix (about a 1 cup). Then add the remaining milk to the egg mixture and whisk whisk whisk. Transfer the bowl to the sauce pan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wisk. Add the Bailey's slowly. Cook and stir until the mixture thickens.
Put the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add vanilla and butter and mix in well. Let the custard cool and place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the custard (touching it) so it doesn't develop a skin. Chill it in the fridge for at least an hour or two. Using a piping bag and tube tip, pipe in the custard into cooled cupcakes. If you don't have a piping bag or piping tips, take a melon baller and make a deep well in each cupcake and fill each cupcake with the custard. Tap the cupcakes so the custard settles in evenly. 

Buttercream (This is not my usual recipe, this one is simpler and faster):

2  cups butter
5 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream (or more if you want it more potent)

Cream butter in a bowl using a hand held electric beater
Add sugar slowly mixing it in (if not you will be wearing most of the sugar if you use the electric mixer on full blast)
Add Bailey's and mix well until smooth. You can add more Bailey's, sugar or butter to taste. If you like it really sweet, add more sugar or add more butter if you want it thicker...etc.

Gently add  a tablespoon of chocolate syrup and caramel (ice cream syrups work very well) and pipe on the buttercream.

Try to only have one. But it's hard to resist. I suggest a coffee to go with the cupcakes.

I named this cupcake Darcy because I knew a girl named Darcy, she's as sassy as this cupcake. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Do You Do That?

I have been working on the How To videos and here is the first ones:

Making & Working with Buttercream
Rosettes & Piping Petals
Potted Cupcakes
Decorating Cupcakes & Cupcake Towers


Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh Bob

As my little venture has been moving along, I have been connecting with other people that are in the same position as I am. One of those people is my new friend Bob. Bob contacted me while I was still working for my old job. We exchanged emails a bit but I was too busy to really see how we could work together. 
Bob creates amazing cupcake and cake stands. I have been frustrated by the lack of design and color in cake and cupcake stands offered in stores, so Bob's work was very much appreciated. I wanted to incorporate his products with my cupcakes but I just didn't know how to go about it. It took a layoff, a week in Mexico and several conversations with Bob to figure it out. And with my new eShop on our website, Bob's stand have a new home and will be accessible to anyone who wants to buy them. During my first week as a full time Cupcake Goddess, Bob and I exchanged design ideas. He has the talent and I know what clients want. So get ready because Bob and I will be launching an exciting line of cupcake stands and cake stands on my website. 
Above is one of his original creations. Fun right? Much more interesting than plastic discs stacked on plastic rods right? Wait until we release the others!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What To Do On A Cold Day

Baking for the day is done, delivery was made early today and I can't be bothered to make myself presentable and go out. So what to do. After watching mindless TV for an hour, I caught my craft bag peeking out of my closet. I pulled it out and started looking through it. I had a burst of creative juice and it was bubbling inside of me. I took my fancy scrapbook scissors out, my funky paper and my hole punchers. Off I went. I made a mess of my floor. Which reminds me that I must allocate some time to clean my home. 
I was so in the arts and craft zone and nothing, not even the phone distracted me. Three hours went by and I was spent. I looked up and noticed that the sun was going down. I wanted to capture my masterpieces and rushed downstairs, grabbed a piece of white paper, my nifty camera, my box of dummy cupcakes and my new treasures. I open the door and ran outside to set up my little photoshoot. OMG it was cold. I dropped everything and ran back in to put on some shoes. Yes, I ran out in socks...shows you that I was still in my zone and hadn't made it back to realty yet. I put on my stylish Crocs and a scarf and ran back out. I quickly placed my cupcake dummies in my new cup wrappers I made, snapped some pictures as I shivered. I made it to 10 minutes and then my fingers went numb and I just couldn't stay outside any longer.
 Burrrrrrrrr...it's really nippy and bloody windy. There's nothing worse in my opinion. Anyhoo, here are some quick shots, maybe a bit blurry as my hand was shaking from the cold, of my new wrappers that will be on the eShop of my site soon. Thoughts? Too much? 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Baby Steps

There are certain things that happen when one decides to become a full time baker. For one,  your level of fabulousity goes down...big time. My daily uniform includes sweatpants, some old white tube socks, green Crocs, my boyfriend's old t-shirts and a bright orange bandanna with frogs on it from when I was 12. My designer garments and shoes I use to strut down Connecticut Ave in have started to collect dust which depresses me so much. Especially my red Gucci stilettos I got for a steal at DSW. My hair, well, it permanently resides in a bun. Make-up, ha ha...none. The oven and mixer don't care if I have dark circles or a blemish here or there. So why bother. I wear what I wear because I learned the hard way that buttercream gets everywhere and red velvet batter stains.  I bought a cute apron in hope of keeping my self proclaimed fabulous style intact while I go through this transition. But the apron lasted a week and anything that it didn't cover was ruined. 
The transition has been a complete transition both lifestyle wise and mentally. Just yesterday I participated in a local event for brides. It was a great event. I met some wonderful people and everyone that tasted my cupcakes came back for seconds, thirds and fourths. The funny thing was that just a month ago I was the one attending events and sampling vendors' products. Now I am a vendor. I found myself joking around with Pam the bartender who had a booth next to mine. We gabbed all night about the attendees, the event and life itself. It was fun to be on the other side. I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. 
My entry into the world of entrepreneurship is going well. I have had to make sacrifices like my wardrobe. But overall, so  far so good. Now I have to figure out health care and all the other details I used to take for granted when I was employed. Baby steps...I keep reminding myself....baby steps.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I am going through all my archives and found these. I made the footballs using a mold and peanut butter chocolate. The client was thrilled, and it was so easy to make.