Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cupcake Camp OC

This coming Sunday I will be donating about 50 cupcakes to the Cupcake Camp OC.  I wish I had more time so I could compete but with my missions trip coming up next Saturday, the move to our new home, work, and the cupcakes I'm gonna be donating my brain doesn't have any extra creative juices to spare.

Taking a look at the sponsors/donors it looks like it's going to be an amazing array of creative and beautiful cupcakes.  I'm really excited but really scared.  I wonder how my cupcakes will hold up...

Human trafficking is something I'm not too aware of.  It doesn't come up in my day to day life here in Orange County.  The selling of young girls into prostitution is something I can't wrap my head around.  With the donation of 5201 cupcakes total (not all me!), hopefully human trafficking is something that we can plant in the minds of those who live in this comfortable bubble.

If you live in the Orange County area, PLEASE come out!  The event is free with a suggested donation of $10 per person.  If you think about how many cupcakes you can sample.. this is a bargain man.  Come out and see what pros and amateurs will bring!

Come back on Sunday for photos.  I'm gonna be taking a TON.

Monday, July 26, 2010

AZ Missions Fundraiser

 Support Team AZ

These past few weeks have been (and will continue to be) the busiest I've been in a very long time.  It just seems like all the different areas of my life are colliding all at once.  I used to be really good at remembering things but now... it's not even funny how many things I forget on any given day.  Sometimes it's hard to stop and really enjoy the gifts right in front of me.


In a couple of weeks myself and four other beautiful ladies at our church will be going to Sells, Arizona on a mission trip.  Our church has been sending a team almost every summer for the past 10+ years to share the love of Christ to the Tohono O'odham people who live on the reservation in Sells.  Last year was my first time in Arizona and... it was HARD.  I HATE the heat and it was over 100 degrees every day.  But it's amazing what God can do.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Bruxie is Coming


If you live in Orange County and live in the Orange/Tustin/Santa Ana area... Bruxie is coming soon.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Swiss meringue buttercream is one of the easiest icings you can master.  It only has four ingredients:
  1. Egg Whites
  2. Sugar
  3. Butter (Unsalted)
  4. Vanilla Extract
A meringue is basically egg whites that are whipped with sugar.  Before I go into recipes just a quick breakdown of the different meringues.

French Meringue
For a French Meringue all it is is egg whites whipped with granulated sugar until it forms stiff peaks.  You can overwhip this meringue.  It'll go from glossy and stiff to chunky and back to its liquid state.

Italian Meringue
For an Italian Meringue you must cook the sugar with some water to about 235-240 degrees then as the egg whites are whipping you slowly add.  Then you whip until the bowl has cooled and the meringue has formed stiff peaks.  You cannot overwhip Italian Meringue.

Swiss Meringue
For the Swiss Meringue you combine the sugar and egg whites and cook it in a double boiler until the sugar granules have dissolved completely.  Then you whip until the bowl has cooled and the meringue forms stiff peaks.  You cannot overwhip Swiss Meringue.

Here's a general recipe I follow that I've mentioned in a previous post.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Neat Stuff: Reynolds Stay Brite Baking Cups


Our church had an event today where we provided lunch for a local homeless shelter.  Being the designated dessert person I offered to make cupcakes.  I stopped by Ralphs to pick up some ingredients and I saw these on the shelves in the baking isle.

Front 2

I was just looking at the different prints because Reynolds has finally jumped on the popularity of cupcakes and made colorful designs such as this.  But upon closer examination I saw that the inside was foil. 


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Techniques: Tempering Chocolate

One of the perks of working with a restaurant consultant is the abundance of hook ups;  from free food to access to wholesale items.  Good quality chocolate is one of those items/ingredients that are hard to come by cheap.  I  got a ginormous bag of chocolate for my various baking needs.


If you're wondering how big/heavy this bag of chocolates are, let me show you.

Callebaut 2

YUP.  22lbs.  Oh man, alive that's a lot of chocolate.  With the coming of summer I'm a little afraid it'll melt in my kitchen but I'm excited I won't have to worry about chocolate for a while.

Callebaut is one of the better quality chocolates out there.  If money were no object, the one to get is Vahlrona... but no sense in dreaming. 

So, the thing about chocolate is that if you want to... I don't know... cover a cookie in chocolate, or drizzle it onto some coconut macaroons you have to melt it down in a specific way.  If you just try to melt down chocolate without tempering it, it will stay melted for a very long time smearing anything that comes close to it.  And when it finally does dry, it'll have these ugly streaks in it called "bloom."  You'll know when you see it.  The closest thing I could compare it to is butter.  Once you melt butter down and it hardens, it's never the same again.  Chocolate is kind of like that.

(Photo taken from

Monday, July 12, 2010

Keun Oppa's Ice Cream Cupcake

Ice Cream Cup Cake 3

Ice Cream Cup Cake 2

My oldest brother, Steve, loves ice cream cake.  I made this ghetto ice cream cake 3 years ago.

Ghetto Ice Cream Cake

I just took the Sarah Lee's pound cake and cut it up, smushed it into a cake pan then layered ice cream on top of it.  Haha.. it makes me laugh.

So for his birthday this year I knew I was going to make an ice cream cake of some sort.  I remember seeing this ice cream cupcake at Cold Stone's the other week that had a chocolate cupcake wrapper with cake in the center layered with ice cream then topped with whipped cream.  It sounded like a great idea... so I jacked it!

Normally, I try not to use box mixes but Ghirardelli makes pretty awesome brownie mixes.  Any time I can cut down my prep time I'm all for it.

Brownie Box

Friday, July 9, 2010

Neat Stuff: Wilton's 101 Cookie Cutters

 Cookie Cutter Box 2

My love/hate saga with Wilton continues...

I was looking for cookie cutters with the alphabet in it.  Considering how many decorated cookies I've done in the recent years it's amazing I haven't invested in them before.  The closest craft/baking store to my home is Michael's.  A lot of the products they carry are extremely over-priced in my opinion but when you're strapped for time... you make due with what's available to you.  Thankfully, there are coupons online that float around that are about 40%-50% off on one item.  I search these coupons out before I go so I do end up saving some money.. which I'm ALWAYS a fan of.

Cookie Cutter Box

This box has 101 cookie cutters ranging from cute bunny heads to Christmas related ones to animals to the alphabet and numbers.  As I was looking at this, I noticed something...

Cookie Cutter Box 3

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bottega Louie - Los Angeles


There are some people out there that don't like the idea of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  Me... I go back and forth.  While I dislike the idea of letting people you haven't spoken a word to since you last saw them in your sophomore math class over 10 years ago about some dream you had about being in Lady Ga Ga's video (I actually did have a crazy dream about Lady Ga Ga last night but it's waay too cracked out to tell), I also see the benefits.

The other week I was looking through my feed on Facebook and came across a photo of a box full of colorful macarons from Bottega Louie.  Someone from my church was there with his family and decided to post a photo up.  I immediately commented on the photo:

"Buy me a box!!!! I'll pay you back!"

After a few texts back and forth Yung bought me a box.  The next day at church, Yung's wife Hyo Soon handed me this bright red bag.

When they bought the macarons they had mentioned they were going to be out for a little while before heading home so Bottega Louie gave this insulated bag to keep the macarons nice and cool.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Father's Day: Fruit Tart

 Fruit Tart

As a continuation from the last post, I also made an 11" fruit tart for Father's Day.  My parents had some people over because their kids weren't in town to celebrate Father's Day with them.  Desserts aren't what they're into because most of the things I make are "too sweet."  With the extra guests over and berries being in season I thought it would be a great idea to make a fruit tart.

Unfortunately, I didn't own a large tart pan so I went to Bed Bath and Beyond because it was closer to my house than Chefs Toys which would have been undoubtedly cheaper.  Thankfully, I had a 20% off coupon.  As I browsed through their baking section the only tart pan I found was an 11" coated tart pan by Wilton.

Tart Pan

Friday, July 2, 2010

Father's Day: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes 3

My dad LOVES steak.  So much so that whenever it's any special occasion, whether it has anything to do with him or not, he suggests we celebrate with steak.  So when Father's Day rolled around we made the thing he loves the most to eat.  

Strangely enough, I've somehow managed to make some awesome garlic mashed potatoes.  I don't really cook (yes, really. Just because I bake doesn't necessarily mean I know how to cook) so I don't really know how this came about.  Well.. no, I take that back.  It probably stemmed from the fact that ever since I was little, I've always loved mashed potatoes.  I'm actually ashamed to admit that I used to buy the box kind and eat it whenever I wanted some.  Jamie Oliver would cringe..

One element I love about cooking, though I don't do much of it, is the freedom to do whatever you want.  Love cheese?  Then add more cheese.  Love crunch in your creamy mashed potatoes?  Add something crunchy.  To me, there are less rules in the vast world of cooking than in baking.  With baking, there are firm rules and chemistry that makes things rise and stay risen, moist but stable, and crunchy but chewy at the same time.  It's a big mystery to me so I stick with a recipe and rarely deviate from it.  But when I started attempting to make my own mashed potatoes all I knew was I wanted it fluffy, garlic-y, and delicious.  Here's a rough estimate of the recipe I use:

Nadia's Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Yields.. A LOT. Maybe about a gallon.