hello cupcake

hello cupcake
cupcake heaven

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cupcake Survey Exposed

Yep! Me too. I belong to one of those mom "support group" organizations. If you're a mom, than you know how helpful, insightful and just plain fun they can be. No kids, no husbands, moms only. Well, at least most of the time. Every now and then, the family is invited. This weekend, we had a moms only event. I hosted the affair at my house. It was really nice. We enjoyed food, wine, desserts (cupcakes, of course!)chatter. About 25 women or more attended. Of course, we conversed about husbands, children. Although they weren't invited, there simply is no escaping the subject. Since, it was at my house, I gave my family specific orders, "the ladies will be arriving around 2pm- should be over at 5pm, please quietly exit through the back door". But, kids will be kids. My eldest, who just looooovvvves the ladies. Yes, it's started already, pray for me....and he's only four! Inquisitively, he crept around the room to get a glimpse of the mommies "lady friends", as he calls them. I felt like I was watching an episode of backyardigans "Le master of disguise". The only thing missing were his comrades: Pablo, Tyrone and Uniqua. It was funny to see him so curious. Before long, they were off to funplex. And, it was back to the "women's club."

I decided to turn the meet & greet (that was the official name), it's where old and new members come together and "meet", into a focus group. I couldn't resist. With 82 yummy cupcakes adorned on a five-tier tower waiting to be indulged...what better time, than the present. Especially since, The Cupcake Craze (that's my gourmet cupcake company- as if you didn't know) will be launching soon. I definitely seized the moment, once again. Meet & greet, eat some treats while you're at it tell me what you think. Perfect- right! I passed out the surveys. Gave my little spiel on the cupcakes, seven different flavors that were on the cupcake tower. Gone-poof! I'm pleased to report. Even before, the survey was distributed, my analysis of the "cupcakes gone missing" were a tale tell sign. Clearly, someone like 'em!

Let the taste test begin! The ladies filled out the anonymous surveys--exposing their honest opinions. Was I really ready for the truth? Will it hurt? Ouch. Two people, even included their names. Bold. I read those last. Never could take criticism, even constructive. Could this change my feelings about the group? Maybe next time, I'll invite my husband and kids for support. Perhaps, we'll form our own "moms, two kids and one husband group" Huh, that'll show them.

Soon enough, I learned my posse wouldn't be necessary. The surveys were WONDERFUL!!! Raved reviews....

"It made me want to dance"

"The presentation, and such rich flavors"

"Moist cake, soft and yummy"

"Soooooo tasty!"

"Good flavor! beautiful presentation"

Bring on the cupcake awards!!! So, glad I had that idea. Stay tuned for more to come...

Thanks again, Mommies

posted by Nicole Friday for the Cupcake Craze

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cupcake Re-shoot

Who knew? Last weekend, we did a photo shoot for my website. Not the self portrait. For the cupcake flavors. "We", as in me and him (my hubby) figured, why hire professionals with all the training we've amassed from various job related industries and a few recreational classes, why not "do it ourselves"? We identified the roles. Made sure we were comfortable. And, proceeded to pull together the cupcake shoot. The M & H (me & him) team included a food stylists, art director, editor and photographer. In today's world, that's about right- four jobs/two people. Guess we weren't too far off!

Without a doubt, we were committed to getting the perfect shots. We shopped craft stores, economically-friendly retail suppliers, department stores, we even managed to rediscover useless items in our basement. So, we thought. The kitchen pantry was like a kid in the candy store, or in this case a cupcake shop. Whatever, wherever we could find something, anything that could be a prop was a prop. We were thrifty at best.

Thank goodness, my husband had long ago invested in a "good" camera. A professional camera. With some recreational classes, a few "I'll take this job and use it as a resume builder", some props and egos aside. Shoooooot...we were set!

C'mon, admit it. We've all accepted jobs we reeaa--lly didn't want. Thank goodness- right! At the time, couldn't see past those lack of zeros in your pay check, and all that filing- ugh!! But, baby steps are necessary. Thank God, for walking shoes 'cause I walked on out of every single one of those resume builders. Now, my experience includes, art director, stylist, editor, booker, and yes still gofer. Some things are hard to avoid.
Who knew? I surprised myself with all the knowledge I gained during my tenure. This weekend was proof. Call time: 9am. Location: Studio Spencer aka "our house". We shot in the sun room. Why? By default, it's the sunniest room in the house. Since neither of us are skilled in lighting technique nor do we own any equipment, it was a no brainer. We used color boards from a local arts and crafts store to create the mood. A couple of forks from the kitchen drawer, some lemons, mini marshmallows, basically, anything that could be transformed into an aesthetically appealing prop, was part of the ensemble.

My chameleon capabilities were often shared with my hubby-food stylist, art director....dare I put on the photographers hat. Not a chance. Photography is hard to fake- either you got it or you don't. And, I don't. I'm comfortable in my skin and confident enough to know when to step away from the camera. Of course, I know what works and doesn't, but the actual functionality of the lens, flash...blah-blah-blah- nope, not me.

Overall, it was lots of fun. We even played a game of who could grab the most fallen crumbs off the cupcakes. I got it first. No, that was mine. Hands off! Forgetting this was a family affair, we almost pleaded, "LET GO OF MY CUPCAKE"!!!!!!!! Focus here. We jumped around the room, playing an ol' time baby game of peek-a-boo with the sun. Whom by the way, was really uncooperative. Now...we needed a professional. Unfortunately, neither of us had ever taken a lighting class and, NO it was not part of the resume building gigs. Boy, were we sorry. Needless to say, we were at the mercy of the sun rays. After we had enough of "Catch Me If You Can". We wrapped the shoot. Then, it was editing time. After hundreds of snaps, we managed to come up with TWO really strong photos. TWO!!!!! Can you imagine the disappointment. For a second, we thought maybe we really didn't know???? No, we figured, we really did, and that's why there are RE-SHOOTS! Thank God for cheap labor!

posted by Nicole Friday for the Cupcake Craze

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a new flavor resolution

Ahhh- a new year!!

For some, it means out with the old, in with the new. The resolutions pour in every day, hour, and second in January, by mid-February, close to all or at least most are simply forgotten. Hmm-what was my "new years'" resolution again? Dedicated, we vow to give-up this, that, and the other, but some things are not up for discussion or compromise. For me, well--I'm sure you can guess what that is... I mean, really! I only talk, bake, eat, dream about cupcakes 365 days of the year. I, clearly, have noooo plans of committing myself to rehab. And, give up the craze? Eh-eh, can't do it. Frankly, I'm enjoying the high.

Like many, I consider this the most celebrated time of the year..start fresh, a new beginning, new dreams etc... It's a time to rejoice for yet another chance to do-it-all-over or just do more of "IT". In my case, doing more of "IT", sounds more fitting. While many are reciting the polite ritual "happy new year," my one liner is presented a little differently. The title seems to sum up an entire season of tasty treats.

Here's a snapshot into my year...

Classic chocolate and vanilla in position to my right. Red velvet swirled a mile-high with a cherry kiss sitting pretty and sassy off to the side. Coconut cream adorned with a bouquet of white coconut flakes on top. Sweet potato, as sweet as she can be, with her toasted marshmallow coat hanging back. Lemon Meringue moist and tangy awaiting her cue, and Apple Walnut Crumb sizing up her admirers.

With all gourmet players in place, anxiously awaiting their big debut, they are fancifully decorated and ready to be served. At that moment, I step center stage and joyfully shout "happy cupcaking to everyone." That's "IT". Simple, sweet and no fuss. It's all about the presentation, that's the big sell.

So, there you have it, scenes change, flavors emerge and I do more of "IT" again and again. For the next 300 + days, I continue to rehearse my short narration with different cast members, but all very sweet and perfectly sized. Like I said, giving up the cupcake craze is definitely not part of my 2010 new years resolution, quite the contrary!

posted by Nicole Friday for the Cupcake Craze
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