Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Busy Bakers!

Eeek! So it's always the same story. We're busy busy the past month we've been busy networking, planning new fall flavors, and of course...filling orders - not bad, eh? We're excited to share some of our developments with everyone!

First up... a logo! Yes! Crumbles Cupcakery has an official logo, which we absolutely love! A HUGE thank you to our friend Jennifer Brigham in Los Angeles who designed and spent many hours and email exchanges working with us to achieve the look we wanted!

Also, we're super excited about partnering with Smooch Beauty Boutique in East Grand Rapids for their "Night in Paris" event. We're also working with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) of Greater Grand Rapids to provide the cupcakes for their Leadership Awards Ceremony!

Stay tuned to Crumbles for more updates on our cupcake journey!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Very Crumbles Wedding

It seems that in order to follow proper blog (and life) protocol the story of the first wedding catered by Crumbles Cupcakery should be rife with hilariously tragic stories of all the disasters we encountered along the way. But you see, as much as I hate to disappoint, you won’t find any of that here because our first wedding was an experience that drew very, very, very near to perfection.

Sure, it was hard work and we were full of lots of nervous anticipation, especially our first day baking. After all, this was our first big event, our first time baking in the commercial kitchen, and we had an absolutely adorable bride who we wanted to make nothing short of elated on her wedding day. But every moment of work was so satisfyingly sweet (like cupcakes!) that we fell into a groove (literally* and figuratively) at the beginning and maintained it through the end.

This being our first big display one of our first tasks was purchasing a cupcake stand. We looked at several different options ranging from cheesy and hideous (let’s be honest, there is some ridiculous stuff out there) to large and beautiful (and expensive!). In the end we decided to give the Cupcake Tree a try. As an added bonus, we discovered that Cupcake Tree is a Michigan based company, which made us all the happier to give them our business. We will definitely be returning to them in the future. It took us about five hours to decorate the stand the way we wanted and we were pretty proud of the end result.

The wedding cupcake line up featured some of our most popular flavors. The bride chose Honey Lux with a pale yellow lemon cream cheese icing (you know all about the origins of honey cake from our last blog posting and let me tell you, the honey from Risk’s Apiary & Honey House in Laingsburg, MI took this cake from good to melt in your mouth, curl your toes delightful).

She also chose one of our personal favorites, a little sinful bite we like to call It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere. Graham cracker crust, toasted coconut and key lime cake, key lime and Coquito glaze and Coquito cream cheese icing topped with toasted coconut and sweet pink pearls. Puh-lease. One bite and you could die happy.

For a chocolate option she went with Chocolate Lover’s Delight, which we topped with bittersweet chocolate ganache and sprinkled with fleur de sel. Our lovely bride requested that we not make anything too sweet so we loaded the ganache with the bitter and took it easy on the sweet. The subtle but rich smooth chocolate on top of the dark velvety cake is delicious and when you add the surprise tang of salt in each bite this cupcake goes to another dimension. We topped these with sweet little pink fondant hearts.

Last in the wedding party was a classic: vanilla cake with vanilla bean icing. The intense vanilla flavor in this icing is dynamite and the tiny flecks of vanilla bean tell you exactly what you’re getting. I love it when food looks like what it’s made from! We tinted the icing a light pink and topped the cupcakes with a single, vibrant raspberry. Simple and elegant. The bride had the cutest cupcake toppers ever custom made so we made one giant vanilla cupcake and nestled the little bride and groom replicas in the vanilla icing. So. Cute.

There is so much positive energy in this business. Just through this one wedding we met (virtually and in person) some great people. When you get a chance, or if you’re planning a wedding yourself, check out makeup artist Julie Strating and photographer Kerry Siereveld at Images of Essence.

Sometimes when you work so hard for so long on one project by the time it’s finished you are so over it that you never want to think about it, see it, talk about it or otherwise acknowledge it again. There have certainly been times when Allison and I were completely cupcaked out. But that didn’t happen with this wedding. When we finished setting up the display and loaded everything back in the car we were filled with such excitement and satisfaction that it was a little overwhelming. Once again it assured us that we are without a doubt doing the right thing by starting a cupcake business and that Crumbles Cupcakery is something about which we should be very proud.

*It is possible that while we were waiting for the cupcakes to cool we passed the time by Zumbaing in the kitchen. I cannot confirm nor deny that this actually happened, I can only say that it is possible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flavor Profile: What's the buzz in the Honey Lux?

As part of our blog posts, we would like to highlight our different flavors and what they’re about on our menu. Part of our goal is also to talk about the importance of where our food comes from, and how it plays a key role in our final product. While we’re far from being food experts or scientists, our hope is that Crumbles can do its part in spreading awareness about how small businesses can play a role in supporting communities by buying local and sustainable products whenever possible.

So, back to the cupcake at hand! In the spotlight this time is our Honey Lux. Sara was the first to try out the honey cupcake, pairing it with a light and fluffy lemon cream cheese icing. Since then, it has become one of our most requested flavors, and has earned a permanent spot on our menu. Our Honey Lux is a sweet, spiced cake - melding together flavors of cinnamon, cloves and allspice, with a touch of citrus in the mix. It is, well….frankly speaking, nothing short of luxurious.

The honey is the key ingredient for this cake to stay sweet and moist, and it takes on a warm, fragrant flavor in combination with the spices. Honey, (for both its sweetening and taste properties) has been used for centuries in baking, dating all the way back to ancient Egypt. Honey cake is also a traditional dessert served during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year and popular in many cultures around the world to celebrate holidays and special occasions.

Today, honey is used in everything from cakes and ice cream, to beer and barbeque sauce. In recent years, there has been attention around the plight of honeybees dwindling in numbers, and their importance to our environment and food systems. Companies such as Häagen-Dazs have launched websites like Help the Honeybees, which encourage people to support their local beekeepers and plant gardens. They also have a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and UC Davis, which house research facilities on honeybees. It’s amazing to think one small insect can make such a difference in our entire food system – as bakers and lovers of all food fresh and delicious, we have a whole new appreciation for these little guys! Additionally, the U.S. is one of the leading producers of honey, and in Michigan alone, over 5 million pounds of honey are produced every year! According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, this makes us the 9th largest producer of honey in the country.

So how can you do your part in supporting local, and also indulging in some of this delectable golden nectar? For delicious local Grade A honey, try Risk’s Apiary & Honey House in Laingsburg, MI (517.651.9842). You can also check out where some of your local honey producers are by state or just stop by your local farmer’s market to see what all the buzz is about!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cupcake Update

Woah! It's been an exciting few weeks for Crumbles. (So exciting in fact, we've been slacking on our blog!) To make a long story short- in the last month we've attended our first small business development classes, finalized all of our licensing, signed our kitchen lease, chosen fonts, and have narrowed down our concepts for branding and logos. It's a lot of work, but its fun and exciting, and all coming together...our dream is now a reality!

With all of our legal & licensing necessities out of the way, we're excited to be able to focus more on keeping our customers and fans updated via this blog, along with other channels such our Twitter and Flickr pages. We'll also be adding a Facebook page in the near future, feature flavor profiles, and unveil our final flavor list!

Finally, our most exciting news is that the post from Cupcakes Take the Cake was online this week. They did a spotlight of our photographs - so make sure to check it out!

As always, thanks for your support of Crumbles, and keep checking back for new updates!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Confession, Some Excitement and Lots of Cupcakes!

Somebody at Crumbles Cupcakery hasn't been doing her job. I won't mention names (it's me) but the one who is supposed to be updating the blog (me) and has slacked big time (lazy me!). Ooops!

The lack of posting, however, does not indicate a lack of activity at Crumbles. Ooooh no! A lot has happened in the last few weeks.

A few weeks ago we had lunch with a friend who happens to
be an attorney and who very generously agreed to help us
(Hi John!). I won't lie, it was a daunting experience. Of course we knew there was a lot that goes into owning a business, naturally it isn't all fun and baking, but hearing it all laid out over the course of one lunch was overwhelming at best.

After a few moments of panic we pulled ourselves together and remembered what we knew all along: starting a new business takes time and patience and we just have to slow down, plan well, be focused and take this one step at a time. We want to do this right so if we have to scale back a little then that's what we'll do.

Step number one was to file for an LLC and as of today Crumbles Cupcakery is all grown up. You can now refer to us as Crumbles Cupcakery, LLC (hooray!)!

There are all sorts of other things that can happen now that we're an LLC but they aren't that interesting and really just require a lot of phone calls and appointment scheduling so just trust us when we say that things are really starting to happen.

But that's not all! The MOST exciting thing happened today.

Have you ever heard of Cupcakes Take the Cake? Let's just say they are the Oprah of cupcake blogs. Everyone who's anyone in the cupcake world reads this blog and you just won't believe who they want to feature... yup, you guessed it... Crumbles Cupcakery, LLC is going national! When Allison and I read the email this morning we laughed hysterically for approximately five minutes straight. It's like Martha herself called us up and told us she can't live without our cupcakes. (Martha, if you're reading, you probably shouldn't live without our cupcakes. Call us!) We'll let you know when we know more but this is truly beyond awesome!

And of course, in the midst of all our hard work and excitement, we've been baking, baking and baking some more! Allison created a cupcake based on a traditional Argentinean cookie called alfajor. Let's just say they will curl your toes. With a shortbread crust, chocolate cake, swirled creamy dulce de leche and chocolate ganache, how can you possibly go wrong?

I decided to go all Smitten Kitchen and made graham crackers from scratch. They were ok but I wasn't in love so I turned them into a graham cracker crust and our new Coco Lime cupcake was born. The crust was topped with a toasted coconut lime cupcake and finished by a Coquito cream cheese icing. It wasn't perfect. It needs some refinement. But the flavors were bright and delightful and this is sure to become a summer favorite.

Oh, and speaking of curling toes, have you met The Sexy? I believe I'll let it speak for itself.

We have received so much encouragement, support, advice and enthusiasm from our families, friends and colleagues since all this started. Allison and I are both deeply grateful. The road ahead will not always be paved with royal icing (hey, I'm not here for my hilarious jokes!) but all of the bumps will be much easier to tackle because of all of you. From Crumbles Cupcakery, LLC (!), thank you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Baking Along....(full speed ahead!)


This week, Crumbles is in the process of some exciting developments! We’re going to check out commercial kitchen space and our hope is to have it secured by the end of the week. The facility we’re looking at seems like a perfect fit: they’re local, friendly, and seem flexible in being able to accommodate our needs as well.  Best of all, they seemed really supportive of the idea of leasing out their space to a small business. If all goes as planned, we’ll then be scheduling an inspection from the Department of Agriculture to obtain our food license, at which point we can go officially public! This week is also our appointment to meet with a friend who will be helping us set up licensing and all the other legal good (and necessary) stuff we need to know.  We’re also in the process of booking and have been approached for several events for the summer!

Over the Memorial Day holiday, we parted ways and agreed to report back any cupcake  developments or new ideas during the time with our families. While out east visiting mine, I also took a little field trip to New York City to do some cupcake R & D. After consulting with a local friend from the city, I ended up going to a cupcakery smack in the heart of mid-town. This place is a pretty impressive operation – they ship nationally and have stores in four states; not necessarily the aspiration of our shop, but interesting to visit, nonetheless.  

Sara and I have also continued to try out new recipes, experimenting with different flavors and ideas. So…our favorites of the past week?  By informal vote (i.e. taste-testing by our co-workers, a most loyal and willing crowd!) Rum cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream (Sara’s delicious creation) and Vanilla-Barfi cupcakes. (I know, I know……we’ve gotten a little pushback on the name, but the result was pretty awesome and well received).  Also discovered a new love for raspberries, chocolate ganache and a fleur du sel combo. This week we’ll be trying out something new, the results of which I’m sure you’ll be informed of soon! Keep checking our twitter and Flickr  accounts for the latest updates.  

So that’s all for now…stay tuned as we bake on full speed ahead!



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Piece of (Cup)Cake!

Crumbles Cupcakery had a most eventful week. It was a smashing success (if we do say so ourselves).

It's exciting, reaffirming, and invigorating how fast all of this is happening. Just this week we found a friend to help us with branding and a logo, met with another friend who talked told us
 about her recent experience with GROW, and made an appointment with yet another friend who volunteered to help us work out all the legal matters that go along with starting a business. It really does pay to know people! Even though it's only been a few weeks, I think Allison and I can easily see this dream turning into a reality. 

We also rocked out our first large order this week and would you just look at that Boston Cream Pie cupcake?! So. Darn. Cute!

I was a little nervous about getting the timing on these cupcakes right - I wanted everything to be fresh without spending 24 straight hours in the kitchen! As usual, I worried for nothing. We were organized and efficient and with a little teamwork we got everything done. No problem! We cannot wait to hear how the cupcakes went over at the shower. Hopefully there was nothing left at the end but crumbles!

Oh, and Allison made these to-die-for placecards to describe the cupcakes. Aren't they perfect?

There is so much joy in cupcakes. Allison and I agree that every 
moment of baking, filling, mixing, beating, whipping, and tasting is a pleasure but nothing beats seeing others enjoying our little labors
of love. 

With a little good fortune, a lot of hard work, and pinch of dedication there will be much more of this fun to come!  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Cupcakery is Born

This is the story of two girls, a dream, and a blooming cupcake business.

It all started on a Tuesday when those two girls, Allison and Sara, began to daydream while working in a trendy new coffee shop in downtown Grand Rapids (Madcap Coffee Co. in case you're wondering... sadly they don't have a website). We worked together for over a year, sharing an office but more importantly our culinary adventures, both sweet and savory. We both love to cook, we both love to bake, we both love to see the joy our food brings to the people we love, we both envision a bigger future for ourselves. We can so, totally, do this!

So we got to work and are beginning to build a cupcake empire (or at the very least a cute little bakery that produces beautiful, delicious, and blissfully delightful cupcakes). We're pleased you're here to follow along as we chronicle our journey.

This weekend we are making one of our first official orders for a wedding shower. The cupcake menu will include:

- boston cream pie - a golden vanilla cake sliced and filled with velvety vanilla custard and topped with a rich chocolate ganache and bright red cherry (look out Boston, Crumbles in on the scene now)

- strawberry cupcake - a light, fluffy vanilla cake filled with homemade strawberry filling and topped with a smooth strawberry cream cheese icing

- Irish Car Bomb (or, the famous Irish O'Cupcake) - this cupcake is very special and tastes out of this world. We'll make a chocolate stout cake filled with a whipped Irish whiskey chocolate ganache and stopped with a creamy Irish cream icing. It definitely tastes as good as it sounds!

Much, much more from Crumbles Cupakery is sure to come. For now, find us here, here, and of course, right here where you are!

Let's get baking.