The New Website!

Well I finally got our website set up and online🙂

http://www.thelittlecakebakerytx.com

I’ve also been busy getting all the paperwork done to legitimize our little operation. I got my ServSafe certification, and I’ve sent off the paperwork to register our Assumed Name in Harris County, and I’m currently working on registering a trademark for the name of the bakery. It’s crazy expensive, but I think we have something good here and the protection of a federal trademark would benefit us greatly.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time writing up our business plan and calculating our start-up costs in order to eventually acquire financing and move this business out of the house. I think as long as our annual sales are below $50k/year (the legal limit allowed for home bakers), though, we’ll just stay at home.

As for this blog, we’re definitely going to continue to post all of our delicious cupcakes and share them with our readers. We have a lengthy list of test kitchen cupcakes to make, so stay tuned for updates! Right now we’re working on snickerdoodle and cinnamon roll cupcakes🙂

Thanks again to everyone for reading and subscribing!

Angel Berry Cupcakes!

For Memorial Day I wanted to create a new cupcake to celebrate the holiday. I knew I wanted to use fresh berries and whipped cream to create the red white and blue, and a coworker had been bugging me for the longest time to make an angel food cake, so I decided to oblige her.

Angel Food cake is a cruel cupcake to make. I hated the idea of separating a dozen eggs and only using the whites, but I figured out that I can prevent the waste by making my yellow cake at the same time since it uses an equal number of egg yolks. How convenient!

Aside from the fact that I have to make another batch of cupcakes to keep from wasting ingredients, I can’t use my mixer to mix everything together. Once I whip the egg whites, I have to bust out my spatula and fold in the dry ingredients 1/4c at a time until my arm falls off, or all the ingredients are incorporated, whichever happens first.

I also had to spend my afternoon testing cooking times. As it turns out, you can’t test angel food with a toothpick unless you want a deflated cupcake. Not only that, but the top browns within 5 minutes in the oven, so they look done long before they are. I ended up stealing a cupcake every 5 minutes to eat and check for doneness. This method didn’t work out so well because 5 minutes is a long span of time for angel food apparently. They went from eggy and raw to overcooked within two tastings. Not only does overcooking angel food give you a gnarly crispy texture, but it also shrinks them like crazy. Angel Food requires a very precise bake time, so I split the difference between eggy and overcooked and adjusted my cook time for the next batch.

I also learned that angel food cake doesn’t rise very much at all. So if you fill the liner 2/3rds, then you get 2/3rds of a cupcake. So I had to overload them to get a decent size and shape. I could say that I’m ashamed to admit this is my first time making angel food, but after tasting these beauties, I’m absolutely thrilled with the result.

I topped the fluffy cakes with fresh whipped cream and delicious blueberries and a raspberry, then dusted them all with powdered sugar for a little panache.

It’s a tiny gesture to celebrate the memory of our fallen soldiers and veterans, but it’s the best thing I know how to do🙂

Angel Berry Cupcake

Revised: Coconut Rum Cupcakes!

I got an order for coconut rum cupcakes earlier this week that I delivered this morning, and I know I’ve already posted my coconut rum cupcakes, but since then I’ve made a couple revisions to the recipe. I decided to use Bacardi Gold instead of white rum, and I took out some of the toasted coconut in the cake to help it rise a little more (if you look at the last picture of the coconut rum cupcakes, the cake didn’t even rise to the top of the cupcake liner). Well both revisions worked like a charm – the gold rum gave the cake more of a rum flavor than the white rum did, and it helped turn the cake into a darker golden color. And by reducing the toasted coconut in the cake, it allowed it to rise beautifully. Below are the before and after pictures. The new version got RAVE reviews by the customer and the people he shared them with. I love when my customers are happy🙂

coconut rum cupcake before

Before

coconut rum cupcake

After


If you want some, and you’re in the Houston area, call 281-671-4221 to place your order!
$40/dozen for regular, $50/dozen for jumbo. Free Delivery on orders of $50 or more!

2 Stage Method vs. Creaming Method

A lot of people ask me how we get that amazing texture in our cupcakes. And while most people know that I’m pretty stingy with our secrets, this is something I don’t mind sharing with other potential bakers. Some of you are familiar with the two methods, and you probably have a preference, but I wanted to discuss the two methods and identify their key differences.

The most popular method is the creaming method – this method is used for cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. The process starts by creaming together the sugar and softened butter. What this does is perforate the softened butter to create little pockets to allow for even distribution of the dry ingredients into the butter, which helps the cake become lofty as it bakes. After creaming the sugar and butter, the eggs and flavoring (i.e. vanilla) are added, and any remaining wet ingredients are then added, alternating with the dry ingredients.

The Creaming Method generally produces more lofty cakes, but more loft usually means bigger texture in the cake, with bigger air pockets. This is especially true when using all purpose flour (which I never recommend for cakes). The creaming method also takes significantly more time to complete than the 2-stage method, which increases the production of gluten in your batter, and gluten creates tough, dry cake. The creaming method also requires the use of another bowl to hold your dry ingredients prior to mixing.

The method we use is the 2-stage method. I think most professional bakers use this method, however I have seen plenty of bakers on Cupcake Wars on Food Network still using the creaming method. It all depends on your recipes, and your own personal preference.

The creaming method starts by putting all of your dry ingredients into your mixing bowl – sugar, flour, salt, baking powder/soda, powdered milk, whatever you use that’s dry. Turn the mixer on and let the dry ingredients incorporate while you prepare all your wet ingredients (butter, vanilla, eggs, milk, oil, whatever you use that’s wet.). Butter should be room temperature, or at least soft, but contrary to popular belief room temperature eggs and milk don’t make any difference over cold eggs and milk in the final product (Not to mention it’s not safe food handling practice to allow those items to come to room temperature before using them). I first add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and allow it to incorporate well. While it’s mixing I mix together the rest of my remaining wet ingredients – eggs, dairy, vanilla, etc. – in a small liquid measure (since we have to measure the liquids anyway). With the mixer running, I add about half the wet mixture to the dry mixture, scraping down the sides as it mixes. When that becomes incorporated, I add half of the remaining wet ingredients, scrape the bowl, then add the last half of the wet ingredients. With a final scrape, all of the ingredients should be well incorporated and you can stop the mixer. Don’t over mix!

We prefer the 2-stage method because it takes about half the time, and we don’t have to dirty up all our bowls to make cupcakes. Our only dishes are the mixing bowl, and the measuring cups we’d be using anyway. It also results in velvety, slightly denser cupcakes with a small crumb, and virtually no disappointing air pockets. The quick incorporation of ingredients helps prevent the formation of long gluten strands, so the cupcakes are very tender and soft.

So if you have a killer cupcake recipe, try both methods and see how it changes your cupcakes – you might be surprised at how well one method works over the other.😉

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Cupcakes!

My cousin Traci flew in last week, so this weekend I offered to make her some cupcakes. Traci is one with undeniably particular taste buds, so all the cupcake flavors I suggested were shot down without hesitation. So I finally just asked her what her favorite desert on the planet is, and she said the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake at T.G.I.Friday’s (I don’t know many people who would disagree with that, either lol).

So on Saturday I started work. I decided to start with our regular vanilla cake, and fill it with a cream cheese frosting. I used about 2 inches of vanilla bean to flavor the cream cheese, along with a tiny bit of extract to help it out. Then I made a white chocolate mousse with Ghirardelli white chocolate, a little cream cheese for tang, and some whipped cream to lighten it up. And finally I topped them off with a little fresh whipped cream. I originally intended to make a vanilla bean whipped cream, but at $6/bean – it seemed like a silly way to increase the cost of our cupcakes. So I did without.

Vanilla bean cheesecake cupcake

I absolutely believe this is one of our best cupcakes to date. The flavors play on each other so well, and the final product really does taste like the vanilla bean cheesecake from Friday’s, but with a nice cakey twist🙂

Our Official Logo

Thank you everyone so much for voting! After tallying all the votes, design A won by a landslide. I also took in some feedback and critiques about design A to make improvements and make it more appealing as a bakery logo.

So, here it is – our official logo🙂

Little Cake Bakery Logo 2        Little Cake Bakery Logo

It’s much less industrial than the orange on gray. The pink color may change a little bit when I find a Pantone color for continuity purposes. But other than that, this is what you can expect to see🙂

Now I can begin work on the website, which I hope will go live sometime this summer. I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted🙂

Thanks again for contributing to our bakery! We’ll be sure to do something extra crazy special for you guys when we open our first storefront😉

Vote for our logo!

So Bethany and I finally agreed on a name for our little bakery “business.”

The Little Cake Bakery🙂

It’s simple and short, easy to remember, and simply states what we do. I also appreciate the fact that it works on two levels – we’re a little bakery, but we’re also a bakery that specializes in little cakes.

So here’s where we need your help. I’ve drawn up two logos so far and I want to know what you guys think. I’m curious to see which style you like better. We haven’t decided on colors yet (I only used orange because it’s my favorite color), but I think I have two good logos here and want to see which style gives you the impression of a more appealing bakery.

Voting is simple – leave a comment with “A”, “B”, or “neither” to let us know which you like best.

Thanks for your input!

A)
the little cake bakery

 

B)
the little cake bakery 2