Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spotlight on my assistant

So, you know a little something about me -- that I love creating cake concepts (especially when cocktails are involved), that I'm the voice behind this blog, and that I'm imaginary. Well, what about the assistant I'm always referring to? Her identity has been a mystery for over a year and a half now -- maybe it's time to share a piece of the limelight. I am a figment of her imagination, after all. So here goes:
Flash back: My assistant -- let's call her T (oh, you didn't think I'd give everything away all at once, now did you?) -- took notice at an early age when her mom would bake the same rum bundt cake for social gatherings and potlucks. Rave reviews poured in time after time, and when T finally had a taste of this "grown up" cake, she understood why. Melt-in-your-mouth moist and distinctively rummy -- no one could have guessed that this potluck rockstar had humble roots in a Duncan Hines box.
Fast forward. T becomes known throughout middle and high school as the "bundt cake girl" and college as the "cupcake girl" -- consistently arriving to potlucks and birthday parties with cake in hand. Pillsbury is her best friend, Duncan Hines is a close second, and Betty Crocker a jealous, neglected third.
Fast forward. T moves to San Francisco for work and falls head over heels in love with the city and greater Bay Area. Occasionally homesick, she bakes to remind herself of home in L.A. Inspired by some incredible baking blogs, she decides to start her own. As she ponders the waning popularity of the homely, old-fashioned bundt cake and rise of the cute little cupcake, I, Carrie Cakeaway, am born!
Fast forward. T discovers the beauty of baking from scratch and refuses to turn back (save once in a long while for the rum cake that started it all). She bids farewell to cake mix and welcomes fresh, locally produced ingredients into her kitchen. I dream up an assortment of cake creations, while T executes -- baking, decorating, and delivering layer cakes and cupcakes -- learning every step of the way.
Fast forward. T's friend surprises her with a gift certificate for a baking course of her choice at baking arts in SOMA. She's thrilled, as she's done most of her learning on the job, through the internet, and never in a kitchen classroom with a live instructor. She picks a beautiful June weekend to take the "Pretty Cupcakes" class (naturally), which is where she decorates the garden-themed cupcakes you see here.
Thanks for your continued support in our cake endeavors and kitchen adventures! Stay tuned, as I continue to work and innovate with my dear assistant, T. Who knows? I might share a bigger slice of the Carrie Cakeaway limelight before the next year-and-a-half mark ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Showering the bride with cupcakes

You know you're a great friend when you surprise a bride-to-be with cupcakes (for a future filled with sweetness, of course) and you ensure that they're mini-sized so she'll have no problem fitting into her wedding dress on her big day. Now that's thoughtful, and that's exactly what Sunny did for her friend Joy (who incidentally had surprised another friend with my chai mini cupcakes during her Bollywood-themed baby shower -- what a lovely chain of celebrations and cupcake-gifting!)Three different flavors, two dozen each, and the miniature size requirement called for a delicate touch and speedy execution (mini cupcakes are done baking in no time and must be immediately released from the pan unless you want burnt bottoms -- and who wants a burnt bottom?!). Fortunately, there was also a lot of room for creativity and fun.
First up, margarita cupcakes for the bride-to be: a tequila-infused buttercake with tequila lime cream cheese frosting, topped with a tiny lime wedge and sprinkle of sea salt to taste just like the first sip out of a margarita glass. Look how petite these are!
Next, Sunny requested that my assistant and I include a cupcake featuring both chocolate and some German beer to celebrate the groom's German roots. I needed something strong enough to stand up to the cocoa, and my assistant -- ever the beer enthusiast -- chose a dark, malty dunkelweizen. Take a chocolate cupcake infused with dark beer, add a swirl of cream cheese frosting with dunkelweizen notes, and you've got yourself a wallop of flavor in a cute little package.
Last, but not least, what's more suitable for a springtime bridal show than champagne? I brought out the bubbly for this champagne-infused vanilla cake topped with creamy champagne buttercream and a sugar-coated grape half. Pop! Clink!
Congratulations, Joy! I hope you and all of your guests enjoyed these one-bite wonders, and that you have a beautiful wedding day. And thanks again, Sunny, for thinking of me for this very special occasion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baby on board

Today, I state the obvious -- babies are as cute as they are precious, and there's so much to adore about them:
  • Baby laughs -- don't you just melt when a baby laughs?
  • Toothless smiles -- probably the only instance in which toothlessness is adorable
  • The way they wrap their hands around your index finger and squeeze
  • How peaceful they look when they're sleeping
  • The unmistakable baby smell most potent at the top of their heads
The beauty of baby showers is that they foreshadow all these joys-to-come for the glowing mom-to-be. Candice graciously coordinated a baby shower for her coworker, Breda, who is expecting a baby boy. What better way to celebrate than with teddy bear cupcakes?
Two dozen rich chocolate cupcakes (to satisfy any chocolate cravings) with creamy vanilla cream cheese frosting tinted baby blue and topped with a sweet little Teddy Graham. (By the way, it's been too long since you've had a Teddy Graham. They're as good as you remember them to be, so go get a box, stat! Trust me -- I know these things).
Anyway, I digress. Congratulations, Breda, and thanks again, Candice for choosing me for this very special occasion!