April 19, 2016

Delicious Vanilla Cupcakes With Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

So, this full-time chef job of mine has been a huge blessing to Jarryd and I. Huge!
Let's back up a little. I have always loved baking over cooking. In choosing between the two, I'd choose the former for sure. This is for several reasons.
One is because baking is so "by the book" and I'm very much a "by the book" person who strives for perfection. Either I want to do it perfectly or I won't do it at all. With baking there is no messin' around {except for the spilled flour all over your counter and the greasy butter fingerprints on your measuring spoons).
Also, cooking is all about speed and doesn't require much patience; baking on the other hand is a slower activity, in most cases at least. And it requires great patience as it can involve many repetitive tedious tasks, like decorating cupcakes for instance.

Once I decided I wanted a career in the culinary field {about four years ago}, I applied to bakeries like crazy. I didn't know it at the time, but bakeries are so hard to get into. :S

When I was living in Ontario I landed a job at a bakery--BUT only as a deli worker, slicing meat for eight hours straight. (My right bicep was huuuuge!) A few months into the job, after some convincing of "hey, I'm currently in culinary school and would love some extra hands-on experience in your bakery", I landed a few shifts in the back-of-house bakery. And I just LOVED every second of it.
I loved icing the wedding cakes, glazing the strawberries, filling the eclairs, and piping the buttercream frosting onto the cupcakes. I even didn't mind working at the counter and filling the little boxes with whatever delectable treats the customers' hearts desired. I realized then and there--and also within attending my pastry classes--that baking was what I wanted to do and LOVED to do.

Fast forward to getting married, moving to the US on a visa, and needing every penny we could, the baking thing kinda went out the window. Jarryd and I could hardly afford buying groceries, so how could I justify spending money on baking supplies? (Hmm...should we buy a roll of toilet paper or a bag of sugar? Haha!) :P

Now, approaching the two year mark of marriage {by God's provision, alone} Jarryd and I are now DINKS. Double-income-no-kids. ;)
It sounds like a lot of money, right?! But when you add paying off debt, bills, and taxes into the mix, it's as if the money was never there in the first place. Sigh.
Fortunately, we have a few extra coinage to spare and it's with these coins that I have FINALLY been able to buy baking supplies! This is such a HUGE blessing!! {Thank you God!!}
It makes me so happy that I can finally pursue my baking dream, which then makes Jarryd so happy because he sees me so happy--and let's not forget that I hired him on as my official taste-tester. So, hence all of the happiness going around.

About a month ago the two of us set out and went on a sort of "baking haul". We bought decorating tips/nozzles, piping bags, flour sifter, offset spatulas, cupcake liners, baking ingredients, a giant portable cupcake carrier, and other little goodies! It was THE BEST!

There is my little collection of decorating tips/nozzles. A few are from my culinary school kit, some are past christmas gifts, and some are brand stinkin' new! They're just all so fun to practice with.

So anyway, now on to the CUPCAKES!
One fine Saturday evening I tied my apron around my waist and got to baking. In regards to flavour, I decided to start with basic and simple: VANILLA.
I DO have a KitchenAid stand mixer now (it's pink!!) but I made these cupcakes well before that purchase. So, this is my humble hand mixer {wedding gift!}. Don't be fooled. It is KitchenAid brand so it gets the job done. Plus it's cute and pastel yellow. ;)
OH we also bought a new muffin tin from Kohls--on sale too!
Thankfully, the cupcakes themselves turned out perfectly.

The next day after church, I started on my FAVOURITE part of the baking process--decorating, applying the finishing touches, styling, and photography.
 Anyone who knows me, knows that pink is my FAVOURITE color, so I had to choose pink for the icing. No buts about it! I wanted to a try a two-toned icing for the cupcakes--so I went for two shades of pink: a light pink, and a very very very light pink. ;)
Mmm...this is vanilla buttercream frosting, my friends. Personally, it's my all-time favourite time of icing. Why? Because of the butter of course.
Here is how the two-toned vanilla buttercream frosting turned out. It is quite subtle, but it's there. I think next time I would create the two colours with a greater contrast because I want the tones to be more noticeable. But that's what this whole cupcake day was for--to practice, and to see what I liked and didn't like! :)
 As for the green one in the centre, I was originally going for a light "Tiffany" blue--my favourite shade of blue, but on the journey there, I decided that I REALLY loved the light minty green, so I kept it. :)
 Food styling and food photography are incredibly fun. When Jarryd watches me take all the photos, rearranging everything in every way possible, he just doesn't understand. But once he sees the end photo, it all clicks for him. Hmm...maybe my wife's not so crazy after all...
Here are all of the pink ones! We have begonias, roses, rose bouquets, and chrysanthemums!  
This rose cupcake in particular was SO much fun to do. Oh my word, I would love to do a thousand of these rose cupcakes. (Maybe one day?) :)
 I finally put my old cupcake stand to use.
 How fun is that swirly mint green one on the top tier? It's icing to cake ratio is INSANITY (I could never eat that much icing on one cupcake), but it's so adorable!!
 I didn't want to post this photo but Jarryd made me do it.

 Two of my favourite things: Cupcakes and Starbucks!! :)
This one is my absolutely favourite photo of them all!

The thing with making all of these cupcakes is that the recipe made 15+ cupcakes...meanwhile there's only 2 of us. They were too pretty and were made with too much love to just toss in the freezer for safe-keeping; so I decided to put a post up on Facebook {with the picture above} asking if any local friends and family wanted a free taste. I remember saying to Jarryd what if nobody wants any?! How awkward would that be?!

But after I pressed that "post" button, the response from people was incredible and more than I ever imagined. I mean, I thought that the cupcakes were good, but I didn't think they were amazing!

Isn't it funny how we undermine our skills? At least I do. I think to myself, oh anyone can ice a cupcake. It's easy. I often forget that yes, it may be an easy task for me, but to someone who has Pi memorized or can construct a house in their sleep, it may be something unfathomable to them.

I ended up giving all the cupcakes away--and could have given out more if I had more, but ran out! Delivering them was fun too because I got to visit with some amazing people who I hadn't seen in a long time! <3

If you're familiar with the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman...one of mine is "Words of Affirmation". An encouraging and genuine word or two about my personality, skills, appearance, ANYTHING means the world to me. It makes me feel so loved. So when I got such an overwhelming response on Facebook about my cupcakes, I felt...really really good. :) And encouraged, and almost purposeful. 

I never want to forget any of the encouraging words my friends and family gave me, because they truly meant everything. I feel like God has created a spark in me in regards to my love for baking; I'm not sure what's gonna happen or where it could take me. All I know is that it's there and I feel like God keeps nudging me in different ways. I'm seeking God's wisdom in this, along with help and advice from those I trust.

Much is unknown right now, but what I do know is:
  • Baking is one of my favourite hobbies.
  • I absolutely love using a piping bag.
  • If I had the opportunity to continue my Culinary education and get a degree in Baking & Pastry Arts, I totally would.
  • My husband's eyes light up when he sees my baked goods comin' out of the oven {and he says he's not much of a sweets-guy. Pffft}!
  • I love sharing my baking with my loved ones!!

Sooo, we'll see, my friends, we'll see! :) Thank you for reading! I appreciate you all!!


  1. I like the photo Jarryd made you post. Jarryd knows best.

  2. I love your blog. And I love these cupcakes even more. It takes real talent to make buttercream flowers like this, and you surely have it. Stay sweet xoxo

  3. Sorry i missed tasting your creations, they looked so yummy. Maybe next time!
    Love the blog! Keep posting dear heart, you are very good at this!

  4. Its so ironic to read this article after what we were talking about the other night! Girl keep pursuing that talent. You are amazing!! My daughters birthday is in two months- lets talk! ;o) Christina

  5. I LOVE your cupcakes - they are gorgeous!! The next time we're together, you need to teach me some of your mad skills!!!! <3 And, I love your kitchenaids! The pastel yellow and pink!!!! And yes, Jarryd knows best! :D