I have the most awesomest friends!

I love my peeps!  I've made some wonderful friends over the past couple years through various online endeavors.  I've even gotten the opportunity to meet a few of them in person!  Allow me to gush for just a second about my friend Marisa...

When I first started selling jewelry on Etsy, I joined a wonderful group made of mothers.  While getting my feet wet, I asked for some constructive criticism from the other members and the lady from Elegant Snobbery volunteered to give me some pointers.  It helped a bunch.  So I paid a little bit more attention to her shop and her blog (in fact, I spent an entire afternoon reading every single one of her blog posts no I'm not a stalker, I swear).  We figured out that we had quite a bit in common and became buddies.  When we moved to TX and I realized that she was only 5 hours away, it wasn't long before I was scheduling my first visit!  I'll be darned if it wasn't even better hanging out in person, besides the fact the our girls got along famously!

I think that her art is so wonderful!  It's bright and cheery, whimsical and just plain CUTE!  So when she said she wanted to do my logo, I very happily accepted!  I knew it was going to be great, but I think she went way beyond!
I mean, seriously, have you ever... I've made up a "rough draft" of a business card and I think it looks wonderful (the jpg image I saved is bad, so I'm going to attempt photographing it or scanning it)! I'm going to start working on a menu and some stickers too!

On a little side note, I shipped some cupcakes to Marisa to test the shipping method I came up with and, well... unfortunately it was a mess, but she assured me they tasted good! So, I'm back to the drawing board on shipping. Fingers crossed that I've found another possibility.


This changes everything...

You wouldn't think it possible for a single cupcake to have a profound effect on ones idea for a cupcake business. Well, let me tell you IT HAS! My hubby requested that I make cupcakes for one of our friend's birthday. He was very specific in what he wanted... banana walnut cupcake, with rum syrup (from a cake I make) and brown sugar butter cream. I figured that a little drizzle of homemade caramel sauce wouldn't hurt! So this, my friends, is the master piece!

Before I get to why this cupcake could be changing up my ideas, let me tell how difficult it has been lately to name my cupcakes. The idea is for each one to be named after an actress or movie character from the 40's and 50's. I was doing research on actresses to pair the right flavor with the right lady. My firs few worked fine, but lately nothing has been working. So enter the above cupcake. It was dubbed "The Drunk Monkey" by the birthday boy. I don't think there has ever been a more perfect name for a cupcake!

So, now I'm rethinking how I want each cupcake described. Maybe I'll start taking suggestions as to what they should be named. I'd love to have my friends and family involved in this process!


Messes and Successes - it's a mess this time

It's hard for me to come to terms that during testing, all recipe tweaks are not always gonna work.  I learned that in a BIG way yesterday.  I made raspberry cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes in the morning (both new recipes) with the plan of frosting the raspberry with whipped ganache and the chocolate with peanut butter frosting.  I've done the ganache before and it came out perfect and my first pb was just a little too stiff.  Well, between being on the phone for about 3 hours getting applied for private insurance, running the oldest to the dentist and eye doctor AND running a few errands for the hubby, I wasn't able to frost until after dinner.  I was tired and unmotivated, but was planning on testing out the shipping method I discovered (gotta love Google) and had to get the frosted cupcakes in the freezer for an overnight chill.

The ganache had been in the fridge pretty much all day and was hard as a rock.  So, I figured I'd start with the pb and adjust the amount of cream to make it smoother.  So, I WAY over compensated and ended up with frosting that was entirely too soft.  It tasted fine but was lacking in the pipeability department.

I figured the ganache would be ready by the time I was said and done with the pb. Not so much. I should've let it sit for a bit longer, but I really wanted to just sit myself! I thought maybe if I whipped in a touch more cream it would help... NOPE! It was so stiff and grainy looking. I was so frustrated and had ganache everywhere.

So it's back to the drawing board! In the words of the wise Dory... "Just keep swimming".

A little note on taste and flavor combo - I'm having a real hard time with a chocolate cake recipe that "speaks" to me. The 3-4 I've tried have been just ok. The ganache REALLY overpowered the raspberry, so I think I'll give it another go with whipped cream frosting.


The business of starting a business

I think I tend to be overly optimistic. I knew that it wasn't going to be easy getting babee cakes going, but I really didn't think it was going to be this hard. There's so much more to it than I thought. It's like having a full time job doing this, between driving around and making phone calls.

I spent the morning driving downtown around a one block radius desperately trying to find the building for the SW TX Women's Business Center. Ummmmmm, the address that they had listed as where they had moved to didn't exist. After parking in a random parking lot and making several phone calls. I finally got a person. She told me to just send her an email requesting to speak to a counselor and she'd get me set up in the next couple weeks (insert chirping crickets). So I did and now I wait.

Wasted Hairday Apparel

I then decided that I might as well stop in the Small Business Administration office and see what info I could gather. Luckily it was easy to find and not busy and I was able to actually sit down with a real live person! After about 30 minutes of conversation, I think I ended up a little less confused. I know I want to register as a LLC, but I also have to file a DBA with the county courthouse. He gave me the address to the office where I find out what licensing I need. I almost went straight there, but it was going back to where I had just come from and I had to go pick up paperwork from the pediatrician and had a doctor's appointment myself. Glad I didn't go, when I got home I got on the computer and found out that licencing office had moved... So, I'm going to just plan on making another trip downtown next week.

I'm kinda stuck with my business plan right now, but there's a workshop next week that I'm hoping to attend to help with working out the kinks. I think the next really important step is locating a kitchen that I can bake in. No matter what I do with all the legal aspects of forming the company, if I don't have a certified kitchen to bake in it does me no good.  So it's time to step up the search.


It's the little things...

I really am easily amused.  Especially when it comes to anything baking related.  I found a restaurant supply store recently and decided to browse yesterday and these are the wonderful little treasures I found.
An open star tip, a closed start tip, a big round tip, a coupler (that lets you use different sized tips) a REALLY nice piping bag. I probably could have spent most of the day in there!!

I meet with the career counselor today. I'm interested to see what info she's found out for me. I decided to take some of the carrot cupcakes I made to her office with me! You never know who may be a potential customer!


babee cakes is born (in my head anyway)

Elegant Snobbery

I realize I was quite vague in my last post about what my idea entailed, so I thought I would elaborate for you now.  Obviously from the name of this blog, I've chosen babee cakes as the name of my business.  Why all lower case letters and two e's at the end instead of a y?  Because nobody ever accused me of being normal, and I like it that way!  I thought this name for the business would be good to indicate the notion that cupcakes are "baby" cakes.  This, in turn, led me to a slogan.  "Good cake comes in small packages".  Then I started thinking that babee cakes sounded like it could have been a slang term for women in the 40's and 50's.  That's when a giant light bulb went of in my head.  I'm a bit vintage obsessed as it is and I thought it would be fun to name each flavor after an actress or movie character from the 40's and 50's.

I drew up (ahem...traced from some of my cupcake photos) a couple logo samples, but I'm not sure I love them.  Then, there's the issue of adding color and getting them scanned into the computer.  Lucky for me I have a VERY talented friend (the insanely talented lady responsible for the print above) that has offered to design my logo!  Just about every room of my house has one of her prints hanging on the wall.  I can only hope that one day I'll be able to decorate the walls of my store front with some of her art!

So, what happens next?  I get laid off from my job, present the idea to the career counselor that was provided to me (who just so happens to think it's a FAB idea), start doing my homework as to what all I need to get this started as a cupcake catering business, begin writing a business plan and (the best part) keep recipe testing!!!


Laying the groundwork

The Black Apple

I have been subjecting friends, family, co-workers (mine and my hubby's) to the trial and error of recipe testing. I will say there has not been too much complaining going on! If it doesn't taste good, well then, nobody is going to buy it. I have very specific ideas in mind for the flavors that I will have available, but I'm always thinking of new things I want to try.

What really got me going on this whole idea, was a comment by a wonderful new friend I made at my former job (I neglected to mention in my first post that I was recently laid off after being back to work full time for only 6 months, another reason I'm really pushing for this now). Ms. Joanne shares my love of baking and we "hit it off" straight away in the food department in general. After bringing in some cupcakes to share, she pointed me to the website of a local cupcake shop and said that she thought I could compete with this place. That's when I spilled the beans about wanting to do this for a living. I would sit and daydream about what it would be like, how I would decorate my shop (sometimes when I was supposed to be working, sssshhhhhhh...) I never really let myself get past the daydreaming.

A few months ago, my mom was in town while I was recovering from surgery, and the subject came up. We sat for a good 2 hours bouncing ideas back and forth and the REAL framework for what I wanted started coming together. We're talking a business name, slogan, logo ideas, flavor combos, what to have available on a daily basis, flavor of the day specials, seasonal flavors and even what I would do with what cupcakes didn't sell at the close of business. I even went so far as to decide that each flavor would have a personality and a name. By this time, I was completely consumed and determined to make this happen.


The journey to a cupcakery

I have been obsessed with baking for a long time. I'm fairly certain that this comes from my Granny! Baking relaxes me and just plain makes me happy. There's been more than one occasion that I have baked for the sake of baking and wasn't even interested in the eating part. That's not the case with cupcakes, however!

I got caught up in the cupcake craze when most people considered it to be over. That's generally how I "follow" trends though. That's ok with me, because I think think that people will always love cupcakes. I'm mean honestly, what's not to love. Individual portions, perfect size, no fork required and easy clean up.

So I decided that I want to be the owner/operator of a cupcakery! I know that this is not something that will happen overnight or be easy in any way, but I KNOW I can do this! I'm using this blog as a means to collect my thought, share recipe hit and misses and HOPEFULLY take you on the journey to my dream.

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