Wednesday, April 30, 2008

tropical birthday cupcakes

this order was a lot of fun. not only were the ideas creative, but there was a story behind it. my client ordered these cupcakes for her boyfriend's 30th birthday party. her boyfriend had sent her clever cupcakes for valentine's day! to go with the tropical theme there were monkey, coconut, banana, palm tree, and surfboard cupcake decorations in addition to the number 30 of course and for some reason carrots. the flavours were equally as fun; vanilla cupcakes with bubblegum buttercream, vanilla cupcakes with orange buttercream, coconut cupcakes with lemon buttercream, and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.

yahoo! cupcakes

now where was i? april started off with a bang. we received a really fun order from yahoo! canada to be sent to an ad exec in montreal. the funny part is that we had sent the same exec a birthday box from google canada just a few weeks earlier.

cupcake hero: earth day

Icebox Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by clevercupcakes
i am fast forwarding to present time so that i can post my cupcake hero entry for april. then i will come back and fill in the rest of the entries i skipped..

the cupcake hero theme for april is earth day. i had planned on making a raw vegan cupcake, but before i knew it the deadline had arrived and i hadn't made anything! then it came to me. in a pinch my boyfriend's mother always makes what she calls piano cake but what is more commonly known as icebox cake. so, my entry this month is icebox cupcakes! the tie in with the earth day theme is that there is no baking involved, so in the spirit of earth day it is an energy saving dessert.

recipe: yield 5 cupcakes

26 mr. christie chocolate wafers
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

whip cream by hand (earth day, remember?) and incorporate powdered sugar. place chocolate wafer in the bottom of a cupcake liner, top with approximately 1 tbsp of whipped cream. repeat 4 more times ending with the 5th wafer. once all 5 cupcakes are done place remaining whipped cream into piping bag and pipe onto the top of each cupcake. crush the leftover wafer and sprinkles the cupcakes with chocolate wafer "earth". freeze for at least 1 hour before eating. enjoy!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

whippet cupcake

Whippet Cupcake
Originally uploaded by clevercupcakes
A whippet is a cookie that is only made in Montreal. It consists of a biscuit base topped with marshmallow and then coated in a hard shell of pure chocolate. Since the coating is pure chocolate, it is very prone to melting, and as a result is available in very few areas outside of Montreal. Many people eat whippets in a ritualistic fashion. A common method is to smash the marshmallow side of the cookie on your forehead to break the chocolate coating before taking your first bite. I am not sure this would be an apt way of eating a Whippet Cupcake though since most of the frosting will likely end up in your hair rather than in your mouth!

cupcake hero: marshmallow

Sweet Potato Pie Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by clevercupcakes
marshmallow was the theme for march's cupcake hero competition. marshmallow was a hard ingredient for me. i figured there would be alot of s'mores, coconut, and whoopie pie cupcakes, so I decided to try something different. for some reason marshmallows make me think of sweet potatoes, even though I have never eaten them together, i believe alot of sweet potato recipes call for marshmallows. for this reason my marshmallow cupcake hero entry was sweet potato pie cupcakes.


sweet potato cupcakes (adapted from martha stewart's "baby sweet potato cakes")

yield: 16 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cooked sweet potatoes (approximately 1.5 cups cooled and mashed)

1. preheat over to 350.
2. mix butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
3. add eggs one at a time and mix until well encorporated.
4. in a seperate bowl combine flour and baking soda.
5. In another bowl mash sweet potatoes with buttermilk, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla.
6. add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until just combine.
7. add sweet potato mixture and mix until smooth.
8. spoon batter into cupcake liners and bake until toothpick comes out clean (approximately 20 minutes).

homemade marshmallows (recipe from cooking for engineers website)

1.5 tbsp gelatin
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp water
1/8 tsp sale
1/2 tbsp vanilla

for detailed instructions see: .

follow instructions until marshmallows are done mixing, then put marshmallow mixture into a piping bag, poke the the piping tip into the top of a cooled cupcake, squeeze until cupcake seems full, pull tip out and repeat until all the cupcakes are filled.

graham cream cheese frosting

4oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tablespoon milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

beat cream cheese, butter, and milk until smooth. slowly mix in powdered sugar then mix on high speed until mixture has lightened up. add graham cracker crumbs and mix until well encorporated. frost cupcakes

mini marshmallows

open bag. place on top of icing.


NOTE: i am normally a bit leary of encorporating vegetables into desserts, but o have to say these were delicious, possibly the most moist cupcakes I have ever tasted. also, while i thought i was being original there ended up being at least 3 other sweet potato cupcakes in march's competition.

baby shower cupcakes

the end of march brought a large order for baby shower cupcakes. the bib and footprint designs had been used in previous orders, and to that we added two new stamped designs of a baby outfit and baby carriage, as well as one of my favourite new designs; the pacifier. since the gender of the baby was not known our client chose gender neutral pastel colours. all 5 dozen cupcakes were vanilla with vanilla buttercream filled with whipped cream. the cupcakes were a big hit!

" i just wanted to thank you for the cupcakes. they were absolutely gorgeous and actually even exceeded my expectations. the display was the talk of the shower and was truly incredible to look at as well as eat!"

montreal fashion week 2008

Near the end of March we had the honour of serving our cupcakes at the m0851 Fashion Show and Press Lunch as part of Montreal Fashion Week. Our cupcakes were being served along side Neige Ice Wine so we developed some new flavours that would pair well. After much taste testing which involved eating cupcakes and drinking ice wine (it's a rough life but someone's got to do it!) we decided on: vanilla cupcakes with maple frosting, apple cinnamon cupcakes with vanilla frosting, and my favourite cashew cupcakes with mascarpone frosting. the frosting was tinted to match the colours of the m0851 spring line. our cupcakes were a big hit, even with the models and on top of leaving with the satisfaction of a job well done, i also left with an awesome swag bag!

brown betty teapot cupcakes

at clever cupcakes we pride ourselves on making every effort to accommodate any special requests we receive. these cupcakes were ordered by a client in montreal who wanted to bring cupcakes to her mother for her birthday in ottawa. her mother collects brown betty teapots and doesn't like anything too sweet. what did we come up with? reduced sugar chocolate cupcakes with raspberry italian meringue buttercream topped with handmade fondant brown betty teapots and matching flowers.

easter cupcakes!

after all the green cupcake baking was done for st. patrick's day orders it was onto pastel colours for easter. i say out with easter egg hunts, in with easter cupcake hunts!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

birthday cupcakes for young and old alike

many people in march marked milestones with clever cupcakes. one lucky little girl enjoyed our cupcakes for her third birthday party. the same week a woman celebrated her 50th birthday with our cupcakes. people often play it safe when it comes to choosing cupcake flavours, but for this party they went all out. there were vanilla cupcakes with coconut icing, coconut cupcakes with chocolate icing, chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing, and peanut butter cupcakes with vanilla icing.

a clever cupcakes wedding

Wedding Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by clevercupcakes
march also brought our first order of cupcakes for a wedding. they were classic cupcakes, not from our creative line, i figured they deserve a post because it was a milestone order. they were simple, elegant, and according to the bride, delicious.

"i just wanted to say thanks for the cupcakes you did for our wedding on March 15. they looked great, they were delicious and everyone loved them."

introducting the birthday box!

with march came a phone call from google canada asking if clever cupcakes offered anything special for birthdays. since the whole concept of the business is coming up with clever solutions, the birthday box was born; cupcakes decorated with "happy b-day" in a box with balloon and candles. we soon began offering the birthday box as an option on all orders.

i almost forgot!

there was another reason february was so busy! a large food service company contacted me about providing cupcakes for a cafe that they run at one of the mcgill university residences. i ended up scoring a contract to provide cupcakes 5 days a week for the rest of the semester.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

cupcake hero: liquor and baby cupcake hero!

as if february wasn't busy enough i participated in not one but two cupcake hero competitions.

my entry for cupcake hero: liquor was cuba libra cupcakes. i would like to claim that i baked these cupcakes after Fidel Castro stepped down, but alas it is purely coincidence. one of my favourite drinks is a cuba libre. i suppose it may be because i only drink them at the beach on a carribean island, so you'll have to picture the sound of the ocean when eating these cupcakes. since Ccnada does not have a trade embargo with cuba it is a very popular vacation destination for canadians. cuba libre cocktails are a popular drink at all the resorts and consist of coke, rum, and lime.


rum and lime cupcakes

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
3 eggs
2 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp
3 zest of limes

put lime zest and sugar into food processor and pulse until well combined. mix sugar and rest of dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. add butter and let mixer run until butter is broken down into pieces no larger than a pea. meanwhile add approximately 1/4 cup of the milk. once butter is combined add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and rum to remaining milk and add mixture slowly will the mixer is still running. scrap down the sides, add sprinkles to batter, and mix until batter is smooth. bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean (between 18-22 minutes).

rum and coke buttercream

1 can of coke
4.5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup trans fat free crisco
2 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla

place coke in a saucepan and reduce over medium heat until volume has decreased to 1/4 cup. place powdered sugar and in bowl of mixer and pour the hot reduced coke over top. add rum and vanilla. mix at high speed using whip attachment until mixture is cooled to room temperature. add butter and crisco then whip at high speed for 10 minutes.

NOTE: while these cupcakes are delicious they didn't quite turn out as close to the cocktail as I had hoped. i need to find a way to get the buttercream to taste more like actual coke.

my entry for baby cupcake hero was vanilla confetti cupcakes with grape kool aid buttercream frosting. my baby cupcake hero entry could have gone either way. i was thinking wholesome ingredients, but then I thought nah, babies only have one first birthday party! so I decided to go fun and artificial all the way. nothing pleased me more as a child than having sprinkles on top of just about anything, and grape drink just seems to be one of those flavours that as is associated with childhood, so i decided to use both in my baby cupcake hero entry.

vanilla confetti cupcakes

- add 1/4 cup of rainbow non-pareils to the batter of any good vanilla cupcake and bake.

grape kool aid buttercream

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 single serving grape kool aid packets
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup trans fat free crisco

place powdered sugar and kool aid in bowl of mixer and pour boiling water over top. mix at high speed using whip attachment until mixture is cooled to room temperature. add butter and crisco then whip at high speed for 10 minutes. add optional blue food colouring.

frost cooled cupcakes and let the smashing commence!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

let the creative juices flow

february was a crazy month! on top of our valentine's day flavours,

and our donation of 500 cupcakes to be sold at the V-Day Mcgill presentation of the Vagina Monologues, it was also the month that our line of creative cupcakes really started to take off. there were orders for baby showers, sporting events, kid's birthday parties, grown up birthday surprises ordered from the US, and even teacher appreciation days!

perhaps most exciting our cupcakes were mentioned on slashfood twice!

Food Porn Daily: New York Giants cupcake

Super Mario Bros. Cupcakes are almost too cute to eat (...almost)

Monday, April 21, 2008

cupcake hero: coffee

january's cupcake hero deadline arrived just in time for my boyfriend's father's birthday, who just happens to love coffee. my entry was caffè moka cupcakes; espresso soaked chocolate genoise cupcakes topped with mocha italian meringue buttercream frosting and filled with cinnamon whipped cream.


chocolate genoise cupcake: yield 24

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch of baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted

preheat oven to 350. beat eggs and sugar over double boiler for 5 minutes. remove bowl and beat egg mixture using handheld or stand mixer on high speed until completely cool. sift together dry ingredients then gently fold dry ingredients into cooled egg mixture. fold melted butter in last. gently spoon batter into cupcake liners and bake for 12-15 minutes. cupcakes are ready when then spring back to the touch. do not over cook!

espresso syrup

1 cup of espresso
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

dissolves sugar in hot espresso. let cool. add vanilla.

mocha italian meringue buttercream

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
5 egg whites
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 cups butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp espresso powder

place sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and boil until reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees). in the meantime beat eggs, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. slowly pour sugar syrup into egg whites and then whip on high speed until mixture has cooled completely. add butter and beat again on high heat for 5-10 minutes. mixture will separate at first but them come back together. mix in vanilla, cocoa, and espresso.

cinnamon whipped cream

1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

whip cream. add sugar and cinnamon.


once cupcakes have cooled pour 1 tbsp of espresso syrup over each and allow to soak in. Fill cupcakes with cinnamon whipped Cream. frost with mocha italin meringue buttercream. enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2008

creatve cupcakes

the new year marked the launch of our line of creative cupcakes. the basic premise? you dream up a cupcake design and clever cupcakes can make it a reality. it wasn't long before we received our first creative cupcake order. our client wanted monkey themed cupcakes for a birthday and as with our classic and wholesome lines, clever cupcakes delivered.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

cupcake artists: butterfly competition

shortly after joining the cupcake artists group on flickr i noticed a post by zalita announcing a competition. i decided to enter, just for fun. i honestly thought i had no chance at winning against all the beautiful creations from the true cupcake artists in the group. below is a photo of my entry:

butter fly cupcake

much to my surprise i ended up winning the competition! thank you zalita for sending me the prize of a set of wonderful jem cutters all the way from south africa!

cupcake hero: mint

in december i got wind of a montly online cupcake competition run by quirky cupcake. i just couldn't resist entering. the theme ingredient for the month of december was mint, and my official entry was a laura secord inspired frosted mint cupcake: chocolate cupcakes filled them with chocolate mint cream frosted with white chocolate ganache infused with fresh mint leaves.

laura secord is the most well known candy shops in canada. it is in just about every mall in the country and has been around since 1913. one of their most well known chocolates are the frosted mints. these chocolates were the inspiration for my entry.


1- chocolate cupcakes

any good chocolate cupcake recipe will do.

2- chocolate mint cream

1/4 cup pasteurized liquid egg whites
11/4 cups transfat free shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp pure peppermint extract
1/2 cup cocoa

whip egg whites to soft peaks. add shortening, sugar, milk, cocoa, peppermint. whip until well combined.

3- white chocolate ganache infused with fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 fresh chopped mint leaves
8 oz white chocolate chips
Few drops of green gel food colouring

add chopped mint to heavy cream and bring to a boil. remove from heat and let sit for 2 hours. bring mixture back to a boil, strain out leaves, and pour over white chocolate. add food colouring and mix ganache until smooth.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

media blitz

in december clever cupcakes was contacted to have our wholesome cupcakes featured on the CBC television show Living Montreal. to celebrate the occasion i made a batch of CBC logo cupcakes and brought them along to the station. the staff of the show was so impressed that they actually ended up including them in a second segment of the show later on in the week.

around the same time an online video magazine also contacted us to do a spotlight on our cupcakes. the segment was filmed, but still hasn't appeared on their site. i am kind of relieved because it was rather nerve wracking being interviewed. here are a few of the cupcakes that were decorated for the shoot:

a clever cupcakes christmas

i apologize for the deluge of posts on my first day blogging, i have a lot of time to catch up on! here are some cupcakes made around christmas time. the eggnog cupcake design is still one of my favourites.

cupcake portraits

as a child i had a doll house that i loved to play with. i don't actually remember having dolls, i just remember constantly re-modeling. i had samples of linoleum and carpet that i used to cover the plain wood floors, and i would always move the doll furniture around in the hopes of achieving the perfect room layout. the doll house itself is long gone, but in a box in the basement i found some of my favourite doll house furniture which i saved all these years. many months back now i decided to use the furniture to display my cupcakes. the result was the cupcake portraits below:

blogosphere, here i come!

the recent and sudden death of my beloved laptop has made me realize that i am horrible at keeping a proper record of anything in my life, including my cupcake recipes and designs. luckily, i have been using Flickr for the last year so i did not lose all of my photos, and my memory is pretty good so most of my recipes are stored somewhere in the network of connections in my brain. the stories behind each of my orders however are becoming fuzzy, so i figured i would take this opportunity to make a blog to keep track of all the stories behind my orders, and to thank everyone who has placed an order in the past. it will also give me a place to display the cupcakes that i have entered in various online competitions, and to include the occasional baking related rant. for my first entry i thought it would only be appropriate to post a picture of my very first fondant cupcake: