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!