Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Temperamental Posts

It seems that quite a few posts that I've written in the past week or so just aren't posting. Not sure what's going on, but it sure does lead to a rather boring blog to read. My apologies! I'm really not that boring. I swear!
Our July newsletter will be going out tomorrow morning (technically, later this morning since I am somewhat of a night owl by nature), telling one and all about our new belts that I created with vintage trim that I got at an estate sale a few months back.
I'm headed out to Minneapolis for the weekend and am beyond excited to be visiting the birth land of Target. Sort of a pilgrimage, if you will. There will be NO Mall of America side trip, partly because I am not a "mall shopper" and like to support independently owned stores as much as possible -- and partly because we're not renting a car. Mainly the former. I keep hearing such wonderful things about the city and I'm looking forward to a bit of discovery. Lots of museums are in my future. Plus, we're staying at a super posh hotel, which can make even the most boring trips something to write home about.
Tomorrow/later I'm going to try and figure out what's going on with my posts... fingers crossed they're not all just lost out there somewhere!

Newsletter: New Vintage Trim Belts

Click newsletter to read the full-size version.
Now, go shopping!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Get your credit cards ready...

The Creative Cupcake Annual Bake Sale (in honor of ending our 3rd year in business) is almost ready to go! There are just a few last minute things to take care of that I should be able to finish rather quickly. It's also the time of year that I like to "clean house" so I can bring in even more new patterns and styles over the next few months.

I realized that phasing out a lot of the ribbons will leave the swatches a bit outdated, so I spent the better portion of this afternoon with my eyes glued to the Illustrator grid lines. Updated swatch cards are up -- which means these are the ribbons that we are currently keeping in stock and will not be discontinued:

Anything that we have carried in the past but is not shown is either being phased out or we have already sold out of that style/size.

Not much else to report -- just plugging away at getting things squared away. Keep your eyes out for our newsletter with all the details over the next few days.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

To Bienenstich or not to Bienenstich...

We were invited to a dinner party/game night/fun fest tomorrow and requested to bring dessert. Upon learning the hosts will be serving up some fanci-fied lavender squab, lemon scented green beans and Snooty McSnobby Potatoes, I knew I had to deliver. No simple Hi-Hat Cupcakes will do.
I thought... ah-ha! Bienenstich. [with enthusiasm] It has honey so that will compliment the squab nicely.

Then I thought... er,
Bienenstich? [with dread]
So what the heck am I talking about? It's a traditional German dessert that's name translates to "Bee Sting Cake". Basically it is a doughy-cake, vanilla cream, and more cake which has been soaked in a honey and almond syrup. Yum! See, I've eaten it many times. For me, an Oktoberfest is simply not complete without my slice of Bienenstich appropriately served to me by an adorable elderly lady in a dirndl.
Side note: I think I'm the only woman in Mr. Cupcake's family who doesn't have a dirndl to call my own. He, on the other hand, grew up with several different pair of his own leiderhosen. Feel free to make fun of him mercilessly because of this. I certainly do.
While Oma (his grandmother) surely had a recipe for it, undoubtedly it is in some box on some shelf in some room that can't quickly be found, so I go online and seek out a recipe. Since there were so many different versions, none of which seemed to be authentic in any way, I took the cake from one, the topping from another and then the filling from a 3rd -- then I Nicolette-i-fied it all into one fantastic recipe. Luckily I have everything on hand so I got started right away.

Since it had to cool for a while, I started with the filling, which I turned into an Almond & Lemon Pastry Cream. Success... and a tasty one at that! With the cream in the fridge, I turned to the cake batter, or really more of a dough.

Here's a little secret -- me and yeast don't quite see eye to eye. No matter how many times the Good Eats sock puppets/yeasty beasties explain it to me, I just cannot get my yeast doughs to rise properly. We won't even get into the Thanksgiving Parker House Roll Fiasco of 2006. I finesse the yeast, carefully checking the water temperature so I don't kill them off en masse. I bloom them with a bit of sugar for 10 minutes to get them nice and full. No luck, and this time was no different.

Plan B. I turned to my Kindred Kitchen Spirit, Ina Garten. Her
profiterole recipe inspired me to make a gigantic cake-size cream puff instead of a traditional cake. So one pâte à choux dough later, I made a spiral (some may say, beehive-esque) puff and it turned out perfectly!

Finally, the topping was turned into a Honey Almond Carmel and slowly poured over top.

A-maz-ing! Tell me that doesn't look good. I totally rocked this dessert. [By the way, have I ever mentioned that modesty is one of my better qualities?!] Now if I can only find someone to rock the mound of dishes and appliances it's left in it's wake...........

Edited to add: Since a few of you asked so nicely, I'll post the recipe tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pursue some happiness!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
-- Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

I hope you are all out pursuing some of your own happiness today (seeing as there isn't much liberty going on with our government these days). Ours includes a quick grocery store stop and then an relaxing afternoon home with potato salad and juicy burgers on the yummiest chive biscuit buns ever. Later we will walk an entire block away to watch fireworks being set off over Lake Carolyn across the street.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!