10/12/2009

Merry Christmas

Hi Everyone, hope xmas plans are coming along.

I love Christmas! Busy time of year though. Got a few orders coming in which is good. 18th Birthday, Thank You cakes for local vet, Christmas Cupcakes etc.

Anyone been watching Kristie's Homemade Xmas? I love that show. So many fab ideas for Xmas and how much do I want to do Salt dough shapes! ?Takes me back!

Jobs I'm planning to do over the weekend: make candles, make cookies, send xmas cards, order xmas food shop online, make some more chutney and finish sewing bear.
Also I want to update the www.jessicascupcakes.com website. Need to freshen it up a bit, add some more pics and add some more flavour ranges so watch this space!

I'm loving the hummingbird bakery cookbook. I have done 2 recipes so far and both have been fab. Coconut and Pineapple and Strawberry Cheesecake. Yummy!

Couple of weeks ago I held a cupcake party, a girls night in one. They all had a fab time and made some fabulous cupcakes.
Next weekend is my Nephew's birthday so he will be having cupcake decorating and I'm also doing "magic" theme cupcakes for him.

I'm hoping that 2010 the party bookings get a bit busier as I love doing them.
Right must be getting on with things. Will post update and more pics soon, especially of anymore "crafty bits"!

17/11/2009

Preparing for Christmas


Well I've been getting organised for christmas! Done most of the present shopping and wrapping which i'm very pleased about. Plus made a few yummy edible gifts.


A few people wanted the recipes so thought i'd post them on my blog. Let me know if you try any!





Rachel Allen's Fudge





375g condensed Milk
450g golden caster sugar
100g butter
1tsp vanilla essence (if required or 75g of chocolate chips)

1. melt the butter then add milk and sugar, cook for 10 to 15 minutes on a low heat.
2. fill the sink with some water and place this pan on and mix this mixture with some minutes. this will make the mixture hard quickly. when grainy, its time to put into a baking tray.

3. then put this mixture on the tin and spread out about 1cm think.
4. let it cool for about 5 minutes and you have to cut the shape within 3 to 5 minutes otherwise this mixture will very hard.
I put mine in cellophane gift bags here is a link for some I have used http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk/acatalog/Cello_Bags.html



Pear Chutney

1kg (about 6) ripe pears
150g ready-to-eat dried prunes, chopped
150g sultanas
150g raisins
200g shallots, finely sliced
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
300g light muscovado sugar
1 cinnamon stick
600ml cider vinegar


1. Peel and core the pears, then chop them into chunks. Place them in a pan with the prunes, sultanas, raisins, shallots, apples, sugar and cinnamon stick. Pour in half of the cider vinegar, season and slowly bring to a simmer, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Cook for 25 minutes more, until tender.

2. Pour in the rest of the cider vinegar and cook for a further 30 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. If it’s still runny, simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

3. Divide the hot chutney between sterilised jars, place a disc of waxed paper directly onto the chutney and seal with airtight lids or cellophane and elastic bands. Leave to cool.


Chocolate Winter Bark- Delicious Magazine





225g white chocolate, chopped
350g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
200g salted peanuts

1. Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring now and then, until melted. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, in a separate heatproof bowl, melt the dark chocolate over another pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally in the same way.

2. Stir the peanuts into the dark chocolate.
Spread out on a baking paper-lined baking sheet, so that the peanuts form a single layer.
Drop spoonfuls of white chocolate on top, and swirl both chocolates together using a skewer or the end of a spoon (so that it looks like tree bark). Allow to cool.

3. Set in the fridge for about 1 hour. Break the bark into large pieces.
Again I will put these in cello bags and tie with ribbon.





Easy Strawberry Jam



1kg/2lb strawberries

1kg caster sugar

The zest and juice of 1 lemon

Place the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest into a saucepan. Place over a low heat and simmer very gently until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to high and boil vigorously for 10 minutes.
Do the wrinkle test (see introduction); if the jam has set, remove it from the heat and leave in the pan for 10 minutes to ensure even distribution of fruit and juice.

Spoon into sterilised jars, seal and allow to cool before storing in the fridge or cool place.
I cut out circles in fabric and placed over jam jars and tied with ribbon/string.







I'm planning to make some xmas decorations etc but need to get a sewing machine 1st. I'm planning to get on this weekend. So will post some updates once i've made some bits.

25/10/2009

Well firstly apologies for the long delay between posts, just not found the time to get on here.

Been busy baking, getting sorted for my new (day) job which starts tomorrow and sorting out admin.

I have a couple of cupcake parties booked now which is fab, they are great fun and seem to be popular.

Really starting to feel the cold weather now, the slow cooker is out and has been used a fair bit already. Also searched high and low today for a hot water bottle but could not find one anywhere! May have to order one online. Shops are full of these things you put in the microwave- i just want a normal bog standard hot water bottle!

Made my Christmas cake the other day which filled the house with all my favourite smells, also used some of the mixture to make christmas cupcakes which went down lovely with a cup of tea.

Made some sex and the city girlie style cupcakes for a 40th which worked out well, loved the colours- see below






Also have a done a few simple poured fondant cupcakes



This week not many orders to do apart from some wedding samples which is probably a bit of a blessing seeing as this week I am starting my new day job with Nationwide. Wish me luck!

21/09/2009

Monkey Madness

Monkey Island was my favourite ever game when i was growing up. And They have remade it! Very excited to get my hands on this!!!

18/09/2009

Sugar and Spice and all things nice



Well Derren Brown did not manage to stick me to my seat so am able to post an update!

Today I have made some garden cupcakes and some sweetie cupcakes and must admit i did eat one myself too!!!








I had a delivery of some new sprinkles today which is exciting!!! I know very sad that i get excited by sprinkles! Trying to build up my collection so if you have any good sprinkle sites let me know!

Tomorrow I have girlie cupcakes to make and also some baby boy christening cupcakes. Looking forward to doing them as the customer has come up with some nice designs.

I'm also sorting through all my cake decorating things and getting some kind of order together, sprinkles in one drawer, cutters in another etc! We are in the process of looking for a new house and I'm dreaming of a bigger kitchen with lots of space!

I really need to get a better camera so I can take some more professional looking photos of my cupcakes. I see others and they look fab. I also want to get my website done professionally in the next month or 2 so watch this space!

I am now as of today on my garden leave from my job that I was made redundant so using the time to try out some new designs, recipes, looking at new suppliers, sorting out admin, do some marketing etc. If anyone has some nice cupcake recipes for me to try let me know :-) I'm going to do some sticky gingerbread ones and some lemon meringue cupcakes too, will let you know how they turn out.
Happy Baking xx




15/09/2009

It's National Cupcake Week


Well i've been quite busy the past few weeks so sorry I have not posted for a little while.


I've done wedding cupcakes, tea party cupcakes, birthday cupcakes, thank you and just because cupcakes.

It's National Cupcake week so this Saturday i'm at Small Tot's nursury in Banbury with my cakes to try and spread the cupcake love, pop in if you are around. I also have some birthday cupcakes and Christening cupcakes to do this week.










I also want to try out some new flavours of cupcakes this week so if you have any suggestions get in touch!

Today I heard the news that Patrick Swayze had passed away. Very sad news, Dirty Dancing is one of my favourite films. My thoughts are with his family.

Wedding cupcakes- Lemon, Vanilla and Strawberry



Chocolate and Vanilla Mix

Cupcakes for Hen Party


12/08/2009

Some new pictures






Finally managed to get some more photo's up.






I've been busy today updating the website, ordering supplies, working out html scripting for my blog etc. And i'm looking forward to a nice cup of tea which i've been meaning to have the past 4 hours. How time flies....



Cupcakes for a 30th birthday




Fairy Cupcakes

Dinner Party Cupcakes

11/08/2009

Where is the summer?

Sorry i've not updated for a while, been a busy bee.

So where is the summer weather? I hope it perks up by the end of the week as we are going camping! Fingers crossed!

Orders have been slow coming in, need to get out there a bit more. I'm going to be at Smart Tots Nursury in Banbury on the 19th Sept selling cupcakes at their open day and also to celebrate Nationa Cupcake Week 14th-19th Sept.

This week i'm going to contact a couple of local cafes to see if they would like to stock my cakes, also want to try and push the parties a bit more.

13/07/2009

Party time!

Well last week was busy with the orders which was great and another lot of happy customers.

This week i'm focussing on getting the ball rolling with doing cupcake decorating classes. Insurance etc is all sorted now just need to purchase right equipment. Aprons, bowls, spoons, party bag things and then marketing. Will be providing for kids parties and also adults. Girls night in with wine and nibbles and i bring everything you need to make some yummy cupcakes.

So if you know of anyone wanting something a little different for a party tell them about Jessica's Cupcake parties!!

06/07/2009

Busy week


Well this week i have quite a few orders in which is fab, i'm hoping it continues!!


On the cards are golf cupcakes, some ukelele and glider cupcakes, horse and blur cupcakes and some 18th birthday ones! See people always ask me don't you get bored of making the same thing over and over but this goes to show each customer is different and i just love getting a new design through.


Found some new cupcakes boxes which are the same as i use now (sturdy ones) but pink!! Check out http://www.cupcakeboxesuk.com/


Starting to look at what cake decorating courses are available so i can branch out into some elaborate big cakes. If you know of any good courses let me know.


Pic of the day today is of our two gorgeous kitty's Daisy (white one) and Molly

16/06/2009

Summer is here!

Apologies for the 2 week absence, had nasty bug that was going around.

Got some vanilla cupcakes to make tonight for a lady at work, pretty girly design. Also going to a networking event tomorrow night so want to take some to that.

Weather has been so fab, everything seems so much better when the sun is out. BBQs are my favourite, with cupcakes for afters!!

Looking at drumming up extra business, credit crunch is hitting hard! Advertising is so expensive though so trying other means for now.

Got some Hollywood style cupcakes to make for a 30th Birthday party which should be fun. Will post pics once they are done.

Right i must get baking.

And remember: A cupcake a day keeps insanity away!

25/05/2009

End of a great Bank Holiday Weekend

The weekend has gone too quickly! But it has been a fab one. Had a lovely BBQ at our friends and the weather was fab. And a bit of shopping which is always good.

Baking wise have done peanut butter, oreo cookie and coffee cupcakes. Made a slight change to my peanut butter ones by spreading peanut butter on top of the cake before putting on the frosting, was extra yummy! Have not yet made the red velvet cupcakes, will be doing those this week.

Things have gone quiet so need to fire up the marketing. Am looking into doing a farmers market. Think that would be a good way of getting the local people aware of me.

Think i am also going to have to fork out some money to get advertised in places too. Everything costs money! Need to also try more local deli's to see if they want to stock any cupcakes.

15/05/2009

The Weekend has landed

Thank god it's Friday!!! Day job done and now for some serious work! Cupcakes!

Got a few to make as a sample for a local farm shop tomorrow. Hopefully they will put in a regular order. Just trying to work out pricing. As I obviously need to charge less than what I would a normal consumer as they need to sell them on. That's a thought for this evening.

Other things to do this weekend:

  • More work on press release
  • Costings of new recipes
  • Order more business cards
  • Sort out business bank account, had the form for a while now...
  • Buy some fabrics for taking pics

Going to make some Red Velvet Cupcakes this weekend as would like to add it to the range. Below is the recipe i have got hold of, it's the one from Magnolia Bakery in NYC. Enjoy :-)

Ingredients
-3 ⅓ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
-¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
-2 ¼ cups sugar
-3 large eggs, at room temperature
-6 tablespoons red food colouring
-3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
-1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 ½ teaspoons salt
-1 ½ cups buttermilk
-1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
-1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

Frosting:

-1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
-1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
-5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Grease and lightly flour three muffin tins. Place cupcake papers in the tins.
-To make the cake: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
-In a small bowl, whisk together the red food colouring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
-In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overheat.
-In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. -Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
-Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake each tray for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting:

-In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes.
-Add the vanilla and beat well.
-Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy.
-Cover and refrigerate icing for 2 to 3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using.
-When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting liberally on the cupcakes.
-Makes 36 cupcakes.

14/05/2009

Time for Tea

Today i made some "tea party" style cupcakes. They turned out ok. Pic below.


One annoying thing is the white sugarpaste was very sticky and just wouldn't play ball when using my daisy cutter, it was getting stuck everywhere!


My new texture mat arrived today so was excited to use that. Still waiting for a few bits to be delivered to try out some new styles.


Have also been looking at getting car stickers done with my logo and a vinyl banner for when i do fayres etc.


There are so many things i want to do including planning a big launch party but with the day job as well it proves a bit more difficult. Looking forward to the day where i can focus on my passion fulltime-bring on the lotto win!!!!




13/05/2009

Marketing Magic

Trying to focus on marketing at the moment. In the words of Bridget Jones I've been "fannying about with press releases".

Looking to write a couple and distribute with the hope that someone somewhere will want to do a piece on me!

Want to try cream cheese frosting, have always used buttercream but quite a lot of people have said cream cheese is yummy so of course i must sample them! Might throw some strawberries in :-)

Have to say I'm really impressed with Twitter. As a business tool it's fab. I've met lots of contacts and people doing the same sort of business and can share hints and tips. Fab. Check out my Twitter http://twitter.com/JessicasCupcake

Here are a couple of pics of some cupcakes I've made over the past couple of weeks (Next thing is to get a better camera and light tent for taking better pics!):


These were for a Royal Mail Team Meeting





For a Man Utd Painter and Decorator


Selection of Lemon, Strawberry and Vanilla Cupcakes

12/05/2009

The first post!

Welcome to my blog. This is my 1st ever post after deciding to join the blogging world.


I run a cupcake bakery from home and it is something I'm very passionate about. There is something really special about the cupcake. It's such an indulgence and can come in many guises and is something I love to play around with and come up with creative ideas. Also the satisfaction i get from seeing people's eyes light up when they see and taste them is great. Especially when you have the opportunity to help a couple create a magical wedding by working with them to create the perfect cupcakes.


Today I've been ploughing through the internet looking for new suppliers and have ordered some bits from http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk/ and http://www.cakecraftshop.co.uk/


Made a batch of lemon cupcakes with lemon curd filling today. Half for an order and half for the boyfriend to take to football for an after match treat. A much more excited welcome than an orange!


Tomorrow plan to try out some new decorating techniques if my new tools arrive.


Have seen some fantastic wedding cakes on http://www.maisiefantaisie.co.uk/
I'd love to branch out to bigger cakes in the future but think i'll stick to cupcakes for now!