I'm watching CNN, and I just don't have it in me to blog about MY week. I don't want to be disrespectful. I am lucky, and I now know it more than ever.
I have my 7-year-old daughter. I get to hug her and love her and give her Christmas presents. I am so so sorry for what happened, but it sure does remind me how much I have and how much I don't realize how quickly it can all be taken away.
That being said: I've decided to put the blog in YOUR hands this week. If you've ever wanted to ask ME a question about ANYTHING, I'm ready to answer. Just put it in the comments below (yes, they are restricted, but I will publish any LEGIT question) and I will answer ALL the questions during the week on this SAME post when they come in.
*FULL DISCLOSURE: I mean ANY question ya GOT. Lemme have it! Baking, parenting, Las Vegas...WHATEVA. ASK AWAY!
Now, I guess we'll see who actually reads this blog....
p.s. Cakes and Cupcakes 'O the Week will be shown NEXT Sunday...
AND HERE COME THE QUESTIONS:
1) Lovin all the stuff you do! So question: Those Leboutain cupcakes were fierce! Did you pipe all the plaquettes or were those printed?
Those were images provided by the PR company for Louboutin!! We printed them and put them on fondant discs and sprinkled the cupcakes with disco glitter. We delivered them to their two stores in Las Vegas. HERE they are:
The flavors were Cookies and Cream, Red Carpet, and Caramel Corn.
2) What's your buttercream recipe??
I'm actually going to answer this one...SORT OF. All I can say is that the recipe I have changed 100% when I got my commercial mixer. The paddle is SO HUGE that it can't help but be smooth and creamy. So, if you've been at your house trying your best to copy it...it's not YOU. It's your MIXER!!!
3) How do you get your cupcakes to crown up so well? I've never been able to get them to do that when I bake (except back in the day when I used box mixes, an I know you're not doing that). Mine will start to crown, but then they spread out and look more like a mushroom than a round cupcake!
This is a tough one...it's all about specific amounts of ingredients and the mixer itself. Cake HATES to be mixed hard. It likes a gentle touch...so when you accidentally go a little hard or too long, it gets MAD and decides to dense up. The perfect amount of liquid vs. dry are essential too...including baking soda. So be DILIGENT about amounts (we use a scale when baking commercially, and that is VERY helpful for accuracy).
Scooping the batter into the cup is also the culprit. Fill it with an ice cream scooper for uniformity about 3/4 full.
One other thing: once we got our 20 qt. mixer EVERYTHING changed. That paddle on that baby puts the perfect amount of air and magic into everything...
4) What is your favorite line of bakeware for the home baker?
Honestly? Anything that is nonstick works for me. Airbake for cookies at home always worked great. I use only commercial non-stick pans at Retro.
5) What brand of icing coloring do you use?
We use Bakers Preferred gels. They are highly concentrated and AWESOME.
6) How in the heck did you guys do the chocolate ganache/white buttercream wedding cake? I've been staring at it for weeks and can't figure it out...
VERY CAREFULLY we pour and move the cake so it evenly distributes the chocolate (the board is covered in tape which we take off after the fact).
7) Lastly, how did you figure out the chemistry for your recipes - did you read thousands of cookbooks or was it all trial-and-error?
YES and YES. I've baked for YEARS, so I know my stuff for my personal recipes of cookies and pies, but buttercreams and cakes for Retro were ALL trial and error and LUCK.
8) What do you use to flavor your cupcakes and buttercreams?
This question is TRICKY...I can't tell you everything, BUT I can tell you IT IS WHAT IT IS. Apple Cider IS apple cider. Pink Lemonade IS pink lemonade....
9) Is there a specific brand of extracts and flavors you prefer?
Yes, and my lips are SEALED.
10) What did you do for advertising when you first started out?
As much as I try NOT to pay for advertising, you HAVE to when you first open to spread the word!! We have a local, neighborhood, mailer paper called "The View," and we placed weekly ADs for our first year making sure people knew where we were and that we were open.
ONE TIP: in the later ADs I featured some of our most regular customers in photos with their favorite cupcakes. It was a huge hit. People showed it to their friends who told their friends who told their friends....
Nowadays I don't pay for advertising. I work VERY HARD at making sure every order is right and delicious so the word-of-mouth spreads. I also tweet like a FIEND and Facebook when I can. This little blog helps too...
11) How do you make the butterscotch ganache?
It's VERY simple: melt butterscotch chips with heavy whipping cream to the consistency of your choice...keep on stirring.
12) Do you gamble? If so, what's your game?
OOOH! A VEGAS question!!! The answer is that I USED to gamble when the slots took actual coins. In fact, Brian and I had quite a little system that actually WORKED, and we'd make $5 to $50 every time we went (high rollers, I know)...but since they changed to tickets it's just not the same, so we stopped. I miss the clinking and the old school games. The games now are so "video-gamey" that I barely understand what's going on. I like a 777, if ya know what I mean.
Also, I've NEVER played table games. They make me very nervous. I can't count in my head very quickly, so I don't want to get yelled at!