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.

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.