When opportunity knocks

I've been keeping quiet about some things that are brewing on the cupcake front. Normally when I get excited about something I tend to shout it from the rooftops! Seeing as making this work is EXTREMELY important to me I've been handling this with a "cautiously optimistic" attitude.

I found a very interesting ad on Craig's List at the end of August when I posted my own ad in hopes of finding someone to rent kitchen time to me. It was one of those "that sounds too good to be true, but it can't hurt to try" kinda of things. The ad was for a guy wanting to add cupcakes to compliment his idea for a coffee shop. Well, I jumped real quick on responding (even though the ad was around a month old). I waited... and I waited... and then I pretty much put it out of my mind. THEN... lo and behold, I get an email on Sept 15 saying that he's interested in sitting down and discussing a business arrangement with me. I'm pretty sure my heart stopped beating for a couple seconds. I responded back that I was VERY interested in seeing what we could work out. Then it was quiet again for a little while. Then last night he sent me info on the retail site he's looking at renting and said he'd be ready to sit down and talk soon. So, being curious, the hubby and I took a little trip to scope things out...

Tucked in the corner, but stands out from the rest of the businesses.

It has a HUGE patio area, perfect for some bistro tables!!

Planter boxes on the front, leaded glass in the door, the arched wood trim...

This place is PERFECT!!!! It's adorable, in a great neighborhood, had a packed parking lot when we were there at 10am. I think I was pretty close to squealing! It's going to need LOTS of work on the inside for it to be ready, but it's pretty darned close to what I pictured in my mind what the perfect place would be.

So, now to get a meeting set up to discuss if we are really interested in working together. I'll be bringing the hubby along to help with questions I forget, general business stuff and to keep me from getting too excited and agreeing to something I shouldn't!

Knock, knock... You better believe I'm answering the door!


Twilight zone

No, I'm not talking about the Stephanie Meyers books. I'm talking about the mess I've been making trying to get my website going by myself. It's harder than I thought. I'm starting to feel a little lost!

I moved over to Wordpress thinking it would be a piece of (cup)cake. Well, it's far from it. The free blog is fairly simple, but I already know my way around Blogger pretty well. The problem came when I registered my domain name and got hosting. I'm using the Wordpress software to power the site, but for the like of me I can't get the hang of it.

I finally decided that I was gonna have to buck up and actually pay somebody to design it for me. I'm a bit on the impatient side and am getting a bit antsy that I haven't gotten any responses from the few designers that I've contacted. I'm trying to keep calm, but I have a thing with instant gratification (which is why I taught myself, via Google searches, how to do most of what's this blog). So, I'm taking deep breaths and hoping for a response soon... from someone...

In the meantime, I thought I'd share the results of my very first birthday party. It was for my friend's daughter who just turned 7. She requested chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting, so this is how it turned out...

I found a tutorial here on how to make the stand. I think I'm gonna work on something that I can take apart and reuse. I've got lots of ideas brewing!

Still waiting...


New home

I've moved over to WordPress in the attempt to make a few changes to my web presence... It's not going as smoothly as I thought it would, but I hope to get things figured out soon.

If you're looking for me, click here!


Difficulties and new ideas

I'm having a hard time finding a kitchen to rent.  Between places that have been closed for 2 years and people not returning my phone calls, I'm coming up empty handed.  I have discovered that if we lived in Dallas/Ft Worth, Austin or Houston I would not only be able to find a kitchen, I would have options!!!  Alas, we're here in San Antonio and have to come up with something else.  I'm really not ready to jump into a full retail, store front right now.  It's expensive (VERY expensive) and requires a pretty big commitment as far as a building lease.  So, we're looking into a fully mobile kitchen.  A concession/vending trailer fully outfitted with a kitchen that can go where the people are!  I'm excited and terrified at the same time.  Excited because I'm pretty sure there's only one other mobile cupcake bakery in San Antonio, so there's not a ton of competition!  Terrified because a fully mobile kitchen means that I have to drive a big honkin truck and trailer around and be able to get the trailer on and off the truck... Ummmm... YIKES!  This is looking like it's going to be the most cost effective way to go, so I better brush up on my big honkin truck driving!  We're still doing our homework and I'm still trying to find a kitchen, but we're headed in the right direction!


Pick me!! Pick me!!

Voting is now open for the Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge!   I'll love you forever if you go vote for me!  Click the link and look for this little guy!


How NOT to ship cupcakes

I made another attempt at shipping cupcakes this week.  I actually remembered to take photos this time.  I think I was just to anxious the first time.  I got photos from the recipient and it was another EPIC FAIL.  Even with my fancy new "dry ice" packs, which apparently were still cool.  I'm trying my hardest to keep shipping costs as low as possible, but I think I'm gonna have to beef up the cupcake/coldness protection, which means more cost.  Here's a little pictorial...

Spicy chocolate and chai!

Fancy ice pack!!

Wrapped and ready to be boxed!!!

How they arrived (so sad)...

I really did have high hopes for this.  I'm starting to wonder if it's just going to be best to stuff them in a disposable container and give up on them arriving pretty...

Back to the drawing board!


DIY vanilla extract!

What?  Why on earth would I want to make my own vanilla extract?  Cause I'm a foodie nerd!  I really enjoy attempting to make something that most people would normally just buy.  Besides, have you seen the prices of vanilla extract??  I mean the REALLY good stuff...  I didn't imagine it could be too difficult, it's just alcohol and vanilla beans, right?  I armed myself with Google and went on a search for directions.  I came upon this post on Chocolate and Zucchini and decided to give it a whirl.  Upon reading all the comments, I decided to do a mixture of liquors.  It turned out to be a good decision since I only had half the amount of one on hand!

I found another use for paper liners, they make really cute jar toppers

Vanilla Extract

2 fat vanilla beans
1/2 C vodka
1/2 C dark rum

Get a glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid that will hold one cup of liquid (mine was formerly a maraschino cherry jar).  Pour boiling water into it, let rest for 10 minutes to sterilize, and pour out the water.  Slice the beans open lengthwise to expose the seeds (I cut mine in half first to fit into my jar better). Tuck the beans in the jar and fill with the vodka and rum. Close the jar, shake it a few times, and place it in a cool, dark cabinet.  Let the jar rest in there for 8 weeks, shaking it again once or twice a week, or when it crosses your mind. The mixture will become darker and darker.  You can start using your extract at the end of the eighth week.  You can add additional liquor as you begin to use up the extract.  Be sure to give it a shake after adding.  As you use vanilla beans, you can add the empty pods to the jar to keep the extract going.  It will be a never ending supply of goodness!

My little jar has been hanging out for close to 2 weeks now. I've got the day marked on the calendar that I can start using the extract. See... I told you... foodie NERD!


Crafty Cupcakes

I'm constantly visualizing what the inside of my storefront will look like.  I imagine a shop filled with vintage treasure and handmade goodies, styled with bright colors and a very kitschy feel.  In the meantime, I've got my kitchen decorated with cupcakes all over.  Photos, paintings and drawings cover the walls.  I've made cupcakes out of socks, thrifted fabrics and containers.  I've turned tea cups and saucers into cupcake display plates.  Then there's my cake stands, created from thrifted plates and candle sticks.

There was a blog post on Oh Mandie about a week ago, where she discussed making a wreath out of cupcake liners.  I proceeded to freak out and then decide I simply must make one for myself.  I found a wreath (with some UGLY paper on it that I promptly ripped of) at the thrift store for 45 cents and then discovered a cake supply shop in town that had these lovely papers for 40% off (there's orange on them... nuff said).  I really like her suggestion to use straight pins instead of hot glue (hot glue and I DO NOT get along).  I scrunched and pinned and scrunched and pinned some more...
And... TA DA! I haven't quite decided where to put it, so I just took some quick photos of it on the table. I dug through my (VAST) button collection and found this beat up old metal button for the center of the white paper flower!

I got a package in the mail last week and squealed in delight upon opening it! My mom has been crocheting and knitting like a mad woman and these little cuties found their way to my house!
And look... they are interchangeable! You can mix and match the tops and bottoms!!!!

Exciting news on the business front... I am officially Food Manager certified and babee cakes is a registered business with the county. I'm still searching for a kitchen to work in. I sent some emails out last week and haven't gotten responses yet, so I think some phone calls will be made this week!


Fun design stuff

You may (or may not) have noticed that I changed things a bit on the blog. I had to put my new logo to good use! You'll also notice a new addition on the side bar. There's a little pdf sneak peek of what my menu will look like!!!

Speaking of my AWESOME logo, I made business cards straight away after I got the file!
I LOVE them! I deleted my phone number for this post. I love you all dearly, but didn't think it would be a great idea to post my digits for the world to see.

I've got ingredient pricing lined up for this week and then I hope to get in touch with at least once place to possibly rent kitchen time. I really need to get down to the courthouse and register my business name, too.

OH YEAH! Last week I got my TX food handler certification! I think there's one more food related certification I need, but I'm going to hold off until I find the kitchen. I feel like I've made some real progress!


I love a challenge!

I've seen this in my blog hopping and figured it was high time I participated. The Sweetest Kitchen hosts a monthly Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge. I voted in the first two and when I saw that the challenge for this month was a memory, I knew I had to play along. I've been wanting to make red velvet cupcakes for some time, but they kept getting pushed aside with all of the other recipe testing I've been doing. This presented the perfect opportunity for me to make them. These cupcakes are ALL about memory for me. The recipe (originally made in cake form) is my Granny's. Anytime there was cake to be had at a family function this was always at the top of the list. It's been my birthday cake request for the LONGEST time. Let's just say that I refuse to eat red velvet unless it is made from this recipe. What's makes it so special? Well, it doesn't have much to do with the cake, but EVERYTHING to do with the frosting. Hang on for a sec, while I hop up on my soap box... CREAM CHEESE FROSTING HAS NO BUSINESS ON RED VELVET CAKE (yes, I was just screaming at you)!!!!!  I've gone so far as to do research on the subject, getting irritated by the claims that cream cheese frosting in "traditional".  While most people do use cream cheese frosting on their red velvet.  It's SUPPOSED to be topped with, what my Granny called, white sauce icing.  Which is basically a cooked roux mixed with butter and sugar.  It ends up looking a bit like whipped cream.
This batch was shared with my friend Lisa and her coworkers and also at my hubby's work. I was told that these were the best red velvet that anybody had ever tasted. I owe it all to my Granny (who I'm sure is smiling down on me during this baking adventure)!!

Here's the details on the challenge prizes!
The winner of September’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:
Thank you to all our prize sponsors!

For more info on participating in the challenge click here

Voting starts on the 21st and ends on the 26th at The Sweetest Kitchen!