Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hello, Cupcake!!...Class at Sur La Table.

So back in April, I posted about how I managed to snag a spot at the Sur La Table class with Hello, Cupcake author Karen Tack. There were only 17 spots, it turns out, I feel lucky I got one!!!

The class was tonite and it was AMAZING! For those of you unfamiliar with Karen's book, check out I totally recommend it..but the jist is that you take everyday candy and fun things and use them to decorate cupcakes. The book is not so much a recipe book for baking as it is for decorating. Though it does actually have a recipe section in the back for cupcakes and some frostings if you so desire...though they use pretty much boxed mix and ready-made frosting almost exclusively for ease of use. After tonite and seeing how these pretties are really more about the decorating than the eating...I can see why.

Karen and her partner for the book, Alan...actually food styled (Karen) and took all the photos (Alan) for the Baking book from Dorie..and as a member of Tuesdays with Dorie, I had to tell her how amazing I think the pictures are in that book considering I DROOL all over them every week !!!

Tonite we made a Westie, a shark, the slumber party, the spaghetti & meatballs and a sunflower patch with M&M ladybugs!

The funniest thing is that some of these are SO the spaghetti and meatball took all of 3 minutes to decorate. The other ones were more detailed, esp the Westie which takes a regular cuppie and a mini cuppie and puts them together with lots of 'fur' and other goodies. Since the light of our lives is actually a Westie pup, this cupcake was one that I was really excited to make. Turns out Karen had a Westie too, hence the inspiration for the cupcake.

Westie Supplies

The class was very interactive and instructional, it ended up being almost 3 hours...and it was so amazing to be able to meet and talk with Karen and ask her baking and decorating questions and just sponge any knowledge off her that she was willing to hand out. She's super friendly as well as very positive with the help, and the class just flowed so easily.

Karen Showing us Spaghetti

I took a lot of pictures but here are the best ones..and I was lucky enough to get one with Karen as well...aren't we cute?! So thanks Sur La Table for offering this amazing class and Karen for doing it. Her next one is in SF tomorrow...and we told her to try to get over to Kara's Cupcakes for some tasting if she could!! Though their cuppies have nothing on Karen's decorating skills for sure.

I look a little dazed and excited..don'tcha think??

When I filled out the little blue 'evaluation' form on the class, it asked what other classes I'd like to see...I said 'The next version of this class!'. I am ready for was so fun.

My little area on starting.

My cute little girl sleeping.

For those is a short version on how to do the Spaghetti & Meatballs because it's the easiest to explain with words and relatively few pictures.

The spaghetti is just piped string frosting...the meatballs are Ferrera Roche hazelnut balls, you know the ones that come wrapped in foil? The meat sauce is just strawberry low-sugar jam! Shaved cheese is just white chocolate. Get a cupcake, and a freezer-strength Ziploc bag with a zipper and you're set to go. If you have tips you can use those too, this would just be your regular tiny round tip.

Cut a tiny 1/8" snip off the corner of the ziploc, you want to get spaghetti...not angel hair OR lasagna noodles. Then using a swirling up and down quick motion, pipe the spaghetti all over the cupcake, covering it entirely, even if you have to go over some areas two or three times. It's okay...spaghetti can be messy!

Then when done, unwrap the 'meatball' and drop into the jam bowl, cover with spoon and coat with jam. Use spoon and pick up meatball with some sauce and drop on top of the cupcake...pressing down slightly with the spoon so that your meatball 'adheres' to the cupcake. If it doesn' WILL fall off, mine did at first, oops!

Then take a grater and some white chocolate and shave some 'cheese' on top. Whala, done. Wasn't that easy?!?! Max visual impact, relatively little fuss. Apparently, people go crazy for this stuff.

Check out the Hello, Cupcake blog...where they have fun contests and tips on decorating...they seem to be having some formatting issues with their blog, so you have to scroll down a bit to see the content.

Westie steps... it takes two cupcakes but honestly I think it'd be just as cute with the mini as just the 'head' with no body!

(btw sorry my pictures are not all the right colors...we only had bright yellow lights in class so a lot of pictures look yellow!)

Thanks Karen and Sur La Table for a WONDERFUL class, I had a blast playing around for 3 hours last nite. I absolutely loved how the class was setup, we'd do a cupcake then wander back to the 'demo' area and then volunteers would clean up all our mess. Can I get one of those for home too???

Oh and we got a discount in the store for 15% for taking the class...I did some 'shopping' afterwards too...yay for fun new cooking goodies. I need a bigger kitchen.


Miranda said...

How FUN! I am so bummed that I missed out on this one. I am glad you had a blast :)

Jess said...

You made some incredible cupcakes! I saw the authors at a book signing a few weeks ago but wasn't able to make the local class. Glad you had fun!

Gigi said...

Very cute! The sunflower is a beautiful cupcake! I am so glad you had a great time. It looked like a lot of fun.

CB said...

I am SO jealous!! I wanna take a hello, cupcake class. How did you find out about it in your area? ps. you look too cute in your picture!

Kelli said...

so dang cute

Kbg said...

How cute is that Westie??? They are all really nice, but that Westie is just over the top.

Thanks for sharing the experience and your photos!


Janna said...

They all look great, Mara! Yay!
I love the Westie, of course, because it makes me think of sweet Pony.
My other favorite is the sunflower,but I want to see the shark too. Where's that picture?

Mara said...

miss Janna...the shark needed some serious braces...i also didn't get a good picture of it..but i will email the wonky one i have to you. :D it also fell over during transit to the office and ate half of the Westie's nose.

thanks for all the sweet compliments!! i would def make the sunflowers again. the shark not so much, the spaghetti and meatballs is EASY but a lot of people were 'visually bothered' by it, it looks SO real! and the Westie..of course i loved it.

Shari said...

Wow, this looks like a fun workshop!

The Kitchen Vixen said...

SOOO JEALOUS! I just received this book as a gift and I cant put it down! You did a great job!

Mo said...

I think this entry has given you the most comments, yeah? It's official, you are PROFE now!

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Dude! So lucky!

My cupcake carrier came from the ABC Distributing catalog. A friend of my family gave it to me for my birthday last year. It holds 27 cupcakes (strange number huh?), and I love it! Mine broke too, but my mom fixed it with zip-ties! :)

Anne said...

Oh that looks like so much fun! I just got the book for mother's day and can't wait to make something from it.

I love the pictures, too, especially the Westie step by step. I'm jealous you have a little Portia... I want to name a baby that!

Brentwood Kitchen Shopper said...

This looks like so much fun, and you are so creative!

Bumblebutton said...

What fun you must have had...and I love the meatballs! In a post I made about the butterfly cupcakes from the book, you wondered about the brand of candy melts I used (and did not like the taste of). They were, in fact, Wilton. But those butterflies sure looked purty. I'm jealous you took this class, and then got to go shopping!

SUGAR B said...

I like your spaghetti and meatballs better than the ones at Cupcake Camp 2. Ew.