Sunday, January 31, 2010

That's Sweet!

I'm really happy with the way things are taking off for me with the baking business. I guess you could call it a business since I managed to work out my first paying job yesterday! My friend Leah, who has an awesome website, met up with me yesterday to talk about this new part of my life. We had a great discussion about finding something in life that you're really passionate about, finding something that you love to do and watching it flourish in no time. It was really great to talk about what I've been doing lately and share my interests with a friend.

Leah has 3 daughters who share birthdays super close to each other and she's having a joint birthday party coming up this weekend for the girls. She asked if I would be interested in making 3 cakes for their birthday party, each with their own theme. So I will be making a Pokemon Cake, an Elmo Cake and a Disney Princess cake. This should be a lot of fun because each of these designs are so different that I'll really get some good experience making each one. I already have some ideas put together and they are going to be so cute!

Since things are moving at a good pace I thought I should maybe think of a creative name for my "business". So if you look up at the top of my blog, you'll see that the name changed to Le Petit Treat. I like it, I think it's catchy and it works with what my focus is, small, cute desserts. Of course, if people want me to do other things like cakes and pies, I'll gladly try my hand at it! I'm currently in touch with someone who will hopefully be making a cute logo for me and so you'll be seeing some blog changes in the near future here.

Thanks for following my journey and definitely let friends know that I'm here. The more people that know, the more I get to bake, the more I get to bake, the more people get to enjoy the happiness of baked goods. :) And who wouldn't want that?

I'll leave with a cute cartoon I found online:Photo credit

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Falling in love with baking...

My love for baking began when I discovered these from Bakerella. I never considered myself much of a baker. I love cooking because with cooking you can add a hint of this and a dash of that and just experiment. There always seems to be a way to fix a mistake if you are cooking. If you are baking, not so much. It's so meticulous, everything must be measured out to the exact teaspoon and if you add not enough or too much of any given ingredient, your cake may end up like a giant hockey puck. Ahem...**you know who you are**. My extension of baking went as far as the Toll House cookies that you take out of the package and stick in the oven, even then I messed those up once.

I decided to pursue something outside of my limits one day. My mom's birthday was coming up, which is two days after Valentine's day. She loves chocolates and she loves cake. So why not put the two together? Well, Bakerella did and I tried my own hand at her design.

I was quite impressed with my handiwork seeing that just a few short months ago I couldn't even bake those Toll House cookies without burning them. Yikes! But this was the beginning of my baking infatuation. Over time I began to try newer designs, all inspired by my role model, Bakerella of course. Soon the truffles became a big hit and I was finding a demand for my goodies. I started taking them to work and then getting asked if I could take special orders for occasions like Mother's Day, Baby Showers, Wedding Showers and the like. Who wouldn't want to make some money off of a hobby that they love doing?

Baking is therapeutic for me. I've always been very creative and I never quite found my niche, but once I began this adventure in baked goods I realized how much I loved using my creativity to make edible art.

Tomorrow is a big day for me. I have a meeting with an acquaintance (new friend) that is a chef at a very nice Tapas Restaurant here in downtown St. Louis. He saw some of my stuff just by seeing the few pictures I had on my iPhone and said he was interested in meeting with me to talk about putting my truffles on their dessert menu. He said that they were looking for some fun new desserts that had some personality to them and that he really liked what I could do and said he'd love to pay me to make some weekly for the restaurant. You have to imagine the shock when I realized he was completely serious about this and now I have a meeting with him tomorrow.

I spent the night trying to perfect my truffles and come up with a trendy design that would kind of have some sort of coherence with the feeling of the restaurant. I'm pretty pleased with my work and looking forward to hearing what they have to say. Either way, no matter the outcome, I'm going to continue my baking endeavors and see where it takes me. I'm feeling quite positive about this path in my life.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When Cats eat Cupcakes.

From my previous post, most people could tell that it took me quite some time to bake those robot cupcakes and put them together. The last thing I wanted was for our cat, Xander, to get into those cupcakes and have a feast. Well, that's what he did. There was an error in communication and the room that I had closed off to protect the cupcakes from his fierce kitten hunger was opened while I was asleep and overnight Xander when to town on one of the cupcakes.

The culprit.

You see that maniacal look in his eyes. Yeah, he's guilty.

The damage:

I was quite angry. Angry is a nice way to say it. But, I composed myself, took a deep breath and went up to Walmart to get some more cake mix to fix the ONE cupcake. And that I did, I made one more cupcake. Thankfully I had leftover fondant to cover the cupcake, or else, I probably just would have left an amputated robot. Josh, in his efforts to make me feel better said that Xander was just trying to encourage my hobby because I had all that leftover cake that I turned into other treats. I think Josh was just glad to have extra goodies around.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Now I talk like a robot

I wanted to do something special for Josh's birthday and also my friend Rachael's birthday. We are having a little get together tomorrow night and I wanted to have some baked goodies for the festivities. I wanted, of course, to do something creative for them. I found some ideas online and finally found one that seemed like it would be a lot of fun, definitely a challenge, but definitely fun.

After some exploring I came across this design by Hello Naomi. She has a lot of great ideas, you should check her out. I completely fell in love with this robot design.

They are so adorable, but the process was very tedious. It took me all afternoon. I made everything from scratch except the cupcakes themselves. I'm not superwoman.

I bought Josh's favorite flavor cake, Dark Chocolate and whipped me up some cupcakes.

I decided to try my hand at making homemade fondant. I've used Wilton before, and to be honest I found it to taste pretty blah, and then I used Satin Ice, which tasted much better but it's quite expensive. I would have paid about 25 bucks for Satin Ice and I paid about 7 bucks for these ingredients. It was a really easy recipe but quite messy.

First I took 16 oz. of Marshmallows and melted them in a microwave safe bowl with 4 Tbsp. of water for 2 minutes and then stirred until all the lumps were out. Then I gradually added 3 lbs of powdered sugar and kneaded it to the Marshmallow mix until it became a doughy consistency.

As I worked with the fondant I had to continue to add the powdered sugar because it was still quite sticky. I then rolled it out on a mat covered in powdered sugar and used a round cookie cutter to create the circles of fondant to top the cupcakes with.

To keep the fondant on the cupcakes I simply frosted the cupcakes with some buttercream frosting as a glue so the fondant would stick.
I needed quite a few different colors of fondant for the robots so I separated out some fondant and colored the fondant with food coloring gels. The gels caused the fondant to get sticky again so I had to keep my hands powdered with the sugar in order to keep it from getting out of control. I then put it into the baggies and refrigerated it for about 10 minutes so it would harden a bit.
Next, I took a paring knife and began to cut out the individual shapes for all of the robots. This was quite time consuming seeing that the parts are very particular but it was fun giving each of the robots character. To get the colored fondant to stick to each other I brushed a little bit of water on it so it would be adhesive.
Many thanks to my parents for letting me use their kitchen. Our little apartment kitchen would have made me insane trying to do this project today. I was quite a happy camper having that extra counter space to spread out.
After about 5 hours of hard work, I finally had the finished project. I think they turned out fantastic and will be a huge hit at the party!
The fun thing about these robots being on cupcakes is the fact that you can mix and match their body parts to create new robots. This was definitely a fun project and I'm really pleased with the outcome.

"Meep meep bo beep meep."
Translated, that means Happy Birthday Josh and Rachael.