Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mas margaritas, por favor!

I think it's safe to say that a refreshing margarita makes for a great happy hour at the end of a busy workday. Naturally, a refreshing margarita cupcake is a great way to bring happy hour into the workday, don't you agree? Bernadette did just that when she ordered a batch for her coworker's going-away party at the office after these festive little party starters caught her eye. She was introduced to Carrie Cakeaway through her husband, Brian, who coincidentally works with my assistant and sampled a couple of cupcakes at la Carrie at Robin's going-away party.
From zesting fresh limes to busting out the tequila (and maybe reserving a half shot for the baker), these cocktail cupcakes are a lot of fun to make. Like the original batch and tasting true to the classic margarita, these cupcakes feature a tequila-lime cupcake base and a zesty lime pastry cream filling -- all topped with tangy, lime-infused cream cheese frosting, a freshly cut lime wedge, a generous sprinkling of course sea salt (to capture the salt rim of a traditional margarita), and a little straw for one's viewing and sipping pleasure. Well, minus the sipping. Maybe.Thanks so much for your order, Bernadette and Brian! I hope these were a hit at the party -- or shall I say, fiesta :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cocktail cake challenge

So if you've been following this blog, you'll know that many of my creations pack a slightly naughty punch, spiked with spirits, liqueurs, wines, and even champagne. In particular, I pride myself on my cocktail cakes customized to taste just like their namesakes. Whether it's a stiff Manhattan or sweet Lycheetini, creamy Mudslide or fruity Margarita, no cocktail lacks the potential to be transformed into layer cake and cupcake form. Imagine my surprise when Karen requested a birthday cake for her roommate, Carolyn, that had me stumped for the very first time -- a cake inspired by the Amaretto Sour.

Yikes! I needed to blend the robust almond flavor of Amaretto with the tartness of Sweet and Sour mix without ending up with something tasting like it had far too much going on or, worse yet, had gone bad altogether! I was concerned that the nutty almond and tart lemon flavors would compete against rather than complement each other, and so chose to highlight these flavors in separate components of the cake. Boy, am I glad I did because I feel confident calling this Amaretto Sour Cake a big, boozy success tasting true to its namesake:
Here we have two cake layers rich with almond flavor (and we wouldn't expect any less with our healthy pour of Disaronno Amaretto), filled with sweet and sour lemon custard, and frosted with a tangy cream cheese frosting flavored with pure almond extract and more Disaronno. Thin almond slices were toasted in the oven to bring out their essential oils and nutty flavor before being pressed against the sides of the cake. And what Amaretto Sour would be complete without a maraschino cherry? Or sixteen...
Take a bite and you'll find yourself sipping on an Amaretto Sour, with almondy, sweet, and sour flavors blending in harmony -- but don't forget to chew!
Thanks, Karen, for ordering. I hope Carolyn had a happy birthday and that everyone enjoyed the cake!

And a friendly reminder to all: Ditch those steins and shotglasses and bring out the forks and plates because Carrie Cakeaway, your friendly cake bartender, is at your service ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Babycakes for a baby shower

Filled with oohs, ahs, and plenty of love and warm wishes for the glowing, expecting mom, baby showers are lovely celebrations and perfect occasions for cupcakes -- particularly of the teensy variety. My assistant and I were thrilled when Joy requested a batch of mini cupcakes for her friend, Jaclyn's baby shower, sharing with us a copy of the invitation to the "Bollywood Baby"-themed shower for inspiration. And inspired we were!

The word "Bollywood" sent my head reeling with possibilities, from a tangy mango and yogurt combo for mango lassi cupcakes to even a cashew and curry walk on the savory side. The fact that the shower would be held over brunch inspired me to craft a cupcake tasting just like a steaming hot cup of spicy Masala chai. With Joy's stamp of approval, my assistant and I whipped up this batch of Vanilla Chai Latte Babycakes:
Made with strong Masala chai, milk, and plenty of aromatic spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, ground ginger, and clove, these petite cupcakes were rich with chai flavor. And topped with a floret of vanilla cream cheese frosting speckled with chai spices, these babycakes were something of a tease: "But we're too cute to be eaten!" I hope that didn't stop any of the guests from indulging in these one-bite wonders!
Thanks so much, Joy, for trusting us with such an important order and for giving us free rein to design a cupcake matching the Bollywood Baby theme. I hope everyone enjoyed the babycakes as much as my assistant and I enjoyed making them. And congratulations, Jaclyn!