Three words: natural. purple. cupcakes. When my dear friend Alex asked me to make cupcakes for her sister’s engagement party, I jumped at the opportunity. Alex was pretty easy to please – all she requested was that the frosting be vanilla and purple. I am not opposed to using artificial food coloring when it is needed, but I always love a challenge to make something 100% natural. So, I did my research, pulled up my sleeves, and worked up a batch of natural lavender food coloring. It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally got it! Here is the result:
Voila! This was made with two shades of lavender-colored vanilla frosting, and the frosting was piped over the cupcakes to look like hydrangea flower petals. Gorgeous! These hydrangea flower cupcakes can be done in any color, and would be perfect for a bridal shower or wedding. They would even make a sweet Mother’s Day gift. The natural purple color could be deepened even more by making it as blueberry frosting (which would go perfectly with our lemon cupcakes!). Oh, the possibilities.
Alex has a fabulous blog where she writes and posts photos of the fun, crafty, pretty, and inspirational things in her life. We have teamed up to offer a B. Michelle Bake Shop giveaway – visit Alex’s blog here to enter to win a free 6-inch cake or 1 dozen cupcakes of your choosing from B. Michelle Bake Shop (enter by March 1). Put her blog and my bakery together and great things are bound to happen!
More naturally lavender-colored cupcakes (got a little creative with the leftover frosting!). These cupcakes were a thank you gift for a certain someone:
Alex – I hope the cupcakes were a hit and that your sister’s engagement party was a huge success. Congrats to your sister on her engagement!
B. Michelle Bake Shop has a brief break in filling orders, so to fill the void, I am going to take the chance to post about a thought that has been rolling about in my brain for a few months, but is not directly related to cake! If you read on, I hope you find it interesting, and hopefully inspiring? Let me know your thoughts, either way.
A few years out of college, I’ve had the chance to hold at arm’s length and evaluate the experiences, relationships, and ideas that formed during my college years. I was super fortunate to live in an old, homey on-campus house with a group of 50-or-so women – it was a tight-knit community where I met most of the friends I am still in touch with today, and where I learned about and became passionate about whole, natural foods. College should be a memorable point of any person’s life – it’s one of those times where you can really look into yourself and discover what you are really passionate about. But this is a key point: no person should feel entirely defined (or define others) by a single aspect of their lives. People have responsibilities and things they have to do, as well as talents, hobbies, and passions. Through college, I met a diverse range of people with different backgrounds, ideas, personalities, and aspirations. Most of the people I met were fun, friendly, respectful, and accepting – but I also met some who judged others through a single lens. Namely, people who seemed to disdain others who chose to enter conventional sources of income – desk jobs, medical jobs, etc. Which reminds me of this Portlandia clip – “She’s making jewelry now”. Have you seen it? It is hilarious – seriously, one of my favorites (along with “Put a bird on it!”). If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here:
Some people are lucky to turn their passion into a lucrative (or not) career – which is great! But it’s also fine, too, that others work in a cubicle all day, or clean up festering wounds on sick patients, or teach great kids but still have to face a snotty, bratty bunch every day. There are so many jobs in this world that somebody has to do – and we do them because this translates to a paycheck that puts food on the table and a roof over our head. But on top of that day job, every person has other things they “do” – knitting/crocheting, woodworking, music, jewelry-making, photography/film, painting/drawing, stationery-making, writing, blogging, baking, you name it! After sitting under a fluorescent light and tapping away at a computer all day, on my days off I have found it enormously therapeutic to turn flour, butter, sugar and eggs into a beautiful, edible creation.
I suppose this was my light bulb moment after a vacation to Italy last summer. Italians do not define themselves by their day job – they do what they love, they have fun, and they take life easy (you haven’t lived until you have heard an Italian say “Don’t worry!”). Case in point: I met an Italian woman who worked in the financial industry – after the economic downturn in 2008, she quit her job and translated her passion for kayaking into a kayak excursion business on the Amalfi coast. She admitted that she doesn’t make nearly as much money, and has to deal with finding a different source of income during the winter season, but she has no regrets and gets to be out at sea on the beautiful Amalfi coast nearly every day. Inspired by the culture and people I met in Italy, I took a long look at what I like to do and what makes me envious of others. I realized that I love making cake – and I love feeding people cake. So that is how B. Michelle Bake Shop was born. The main point I am trying to make is this: if you haven’t found a creative outlet – do it! Seriously. It can be anything. Life can take a toll so much so that all we can do at the end of the day is veg on the couch and gripe – which is totally necessary on some days, but don’t let the rough patches sap out every opportunity to enjoy your life. Learn something new, challenge yourself, notice the small things, do what you love, share your passion with others, and support and encourage others to explore their own talents. The inspiration and pride you find in your hobbies will hopefully give you a fresh, optimistic outlook on life.
Whew! Now that’s done, place an order for a cake so I can stop with all this sappy, inspirational talk!
Hello friends! I was so thrilled when I was asked last December to make cupcakes for a gender reveal party. Of course, I am always excited to make treats for someone’s celebration, but knowing the gender of a baby while the parents have no idea added an extra element of excitement! I was so afraid that I would let it slip in our messages about delivery details (I am AWFUL at keeping a secret! But no slip-ups occurred, so all was good).
With a gender reveal party, the gender of the baby is revealed through pink or blue frosting that is used as filling for the inside of a cake or cupcakes. Ashley and Josh requested lemon and vanilla cupcakes – yum! We also created adorable question mark cupcake toppers for Ashley and Josh’s party, and used pink and blue chevron cupcake liners for extra festivity. Is the anticipation of what they are having killing you yet?!?
The vanilla cupcakes are frosted with vanilla bean buttercream and topped with white chocolate curls. The lemon cupcakes are frosted with lightly sweetened lemon whipped cream and topped with chopped, candied lemon peel. The pink frosting in the middle of the cupcakes is vanilla buttercream (colored pink naturally, of course!). A cake would also work for a gender reveal party, if you or someone you know is interested!
Congrats Ashley and Josh, and congrats to little Jhonen on the up-and-coming sister!