Cupcakes and More!!!
Ok, it’s obvious to see, I’ll admit it, I have been very lax when it comes to posting on this website. Between work, shuffling kids from here to there, and baking, I am lacking the motivation to add new and interesting things to this site. Quite some time ago my computer crashed and I lost the software needed to upload pictures. Reminder to self…get that fixed! But, I am happy to say, there have been some new developments in the baking world of Sweet Nellie’s!
First of all, I am still baking the fresh, from scratch square cupcakes from which this little home based business was founded. However, I have branched out to cookies and brownies! I have a mean chocolate chip cookie that I call, “my secret recipe cookie”. However, recently I saw a very similar version on-line. Hmm…I guess I will still keep the recipe a secret and if you can scout it out…good on you!
During Christmas, 2012, my daughter and I branched out and tried our hand at decorating cookies! I have always been amazed at the talent and detail that goes into decorating cut-out cookies. We started with snowflakes and learned how to make royal icing, tint it, outline and flood the shape, and then add embellishments to make a gorgeous cookie! In February we had a Chinese exchange student stay with us and we decided to make heart shaped cookies. She had the best time decorating the cookies. We practiced making dots, swirls, used glitter, and pearls. Her fellow students were quite impressed when she brought them to school.
Am I selling these yet? Well, not quite. While I think they look great, I feel like I need a little more practice. I will try to get some pictures posted of these cute things and then let you know when they will be available for ordering.
I am always wondering if cupcakes are “on the way out”. I try to read “industry” news when I can to determine their staying power. I hate to say, but even though they will always be a great addition to parties and events, something different is on the way to being the new trend in desserts. I thought it was going to be cake pops, but they just haven’t taken anyone by storm. This past week I was in New York and my very fashionable and “in the know” sister-in-law presented us with a gorgeous box of macaroons. She said they are all the rage and that “no one” is buying cupcakes anymore. I have never had an interest in macaroons. Maybe it is because I don’t like the name. It sounds nutty and I don’t like nuts in my desserts. Well, my sweet as pie 2-year old niece handed me one to eat. A nice green (of all colors, green. Unless it’s natural, I don’t like green food). I politely put it back in the box, which was ok since we were all family. Two seconds later she placed it back in my hand again! Being the nice aunt that wouldn’t want to make a two year old upset, I decided I had to eat the green macaroon. It was delicious!!! I think I could be a fan! Look for a picture of some homemade macaroons soon!
People often ask how I get my cookies all the same size. I will let you in on my secret…an ice cream scoop! Did you know they come in several different sizes? Now they even make them and CALL them cookie scoops. Look for them at your local kitchen supply stores.
While I am at it, I thought I would also share that people are often amazed at how pretty Sweet Nellie’s cupcakes look and comment that they never could make the frosting look so attractive. It’s actually much easier than you think. There are oodles of icing tips to choose from and each one can make a cupcake look amazing. It takes about 5 minutes to get the hang of it and it actually is much quicker to frost cupcakes with an icing tip than “the old fashioned” way of spreading in on with a spatula. While the recipe will determine the quality of the taste and ultimately the “sale” the icing adds so much to the overall presentation. Try it…you may find a new passion!
Welcome to the website/occasional blog of Richmond’s ONLY gourmet square cupcake…Sweet Nellie’s.
All the information you need to order cupcakes is contained within these pages, but you can “like” us on Facebook for more frequent updates.
If you are in need of cupcakes for a special event or just because…give me a call 804.822.1832!
Many people ask me how to make smooth and creamy frosting…in particular, you want buttercream frosting that doesn’t harden up to soon. After a lot of reading(thank you blogging ladies!), and by trial and error I have come up with some tips to help you.
Buttercream frosting is by far the most widely used frosting. It is easy to make and has a wonderful taste. The ingredients are basically the same(powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and a liquid) for vanilla based buttercream, but there are some tricks that make ordinary buttercreams stand out.
Here are the tricks I have learned:
1. Use the best butter you can afford. I advertise that I use excellent quality butter and I stick to it because, even though they cost more, I feel it makes a difference. Some to try: Plugra and Kellers(which are shipped from the same company) and Kerry Gold. Usually one of these is on sale so I use which ever is on sale.
2. Take the extra time to sift your powdered sugar. I tend to buy a name brand powdered sugar but I don’t know if that is necessary if you are sifting it. Sifting the sugar prevents that grainy taste you sometimes find in buttercream frosting.
3. If you are not doctoring up your buttercream with other great spices or flavors, an excellent quality vanilla makes a big difference. Again, get the best you can afford. The vanilla I use cost about $17.00 per bottle, but it seems to last forever.
4. Many recipes call for adding milk to the frosting. I kick it up a notch and add whipping cream. More fat, but not that much..who’s counting at this point
4. Finally, and this is something I recently started doing over the last 6 months. I have been changing my ratio of butter to powdered sugar. I have several recipes that call for 1 stick of butter to 4 cups of powdered sugar. The frosting really taste quite good, but every now and then I would try a recipe that would call for a lot less sugar. I realized that it makes the frosting stay creamier for a longer period of time and tended to solve the problem of the icing harding up too soon(all icing is going to harden up eventually, especially if placed in the refrigerator). Now, I tend to use two sticks of butter to about 4-41/2 cups sugar.
There you have it…a few of my frosting secrets. Hope this helps as you gear up for the holidays where baking is a non-stop event, yes?
One more thought about frosting. I do like a buttercream that is soft and smooth, but I actually prefer to refrigerate cakes that are iced with cream cheese frosting. Do you feel the same way? Of course, you risk your cake drying out faster, but I know that when I make my carrot cupcakes filled with a pecan cream filling and topped with cream cheese frosting, they don’t last too long anyway
Hello square cupcake lovers! Although this is still a work in progress(probably will always be a work in progress!) I am happy to provide a new and more attractive website for Sweet Nellie’s!
Over time I will be populating all the menu items with descriptions and pictures of all the cupcakes flavors that are available, instructions on how to place orders, a gallery of photos of Sweet Nellie’s custom orders, frequently asked questions about cupcakes, how to store them, etc. and a little information about who and what is behind these cute cupcake confections.
On the home page I will occasionally be adding snip-its about the world of cupcakes and anything that comes to mind. While I will keep my cupcake recipes top secret, I am always trying new recipes so I will post my favorites here. Also, on the home page I will be updating when and where I will be selling cupcakes and what flavors will be available.
Please subscribe to the blog so you will always have the info. needed to get your Sweet Nellie’s -Richmond’s ONLY gourmet square cupcake! You can also “like” us on Facebook!
If you are in need of cupcakes, right now or in the future…give me a call 804.822.1832!