Monday, 19 December 2011

Christmas Blog No.1

I love Christmas! I think when you're a baker, you can't not love Christmas. It gives you so many opportunities to make delicious treats as well as amazing designs and is one of the most inspiring holidays you can get. Whether you celebrate or not; you can't deny that Christmas is good for the baking soul!

So with Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to post some of my latest cupcake and cake creations. I'm sure more will follow!

Novelty Christmas Cupcakes

Winter Wonderland Cupcakes

Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

12 Days of Cupcake Christmas - at the St Albans Arts & Crafts Market

Me with All my lovely Christmas treats!

Happy Christmas Cupcaking!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Cupcake Shop Review - 27th November 2011

Again, a month has slipped by without any blog posts. I've been so busy this last year I barely find the time to sit down and relax let alone update my blog. One of my new year's resolutions will be to write blog posts more regularly.

Anyway, last month it was my birthday and I'd been wanting to visit some cupcake shops in London for a while so this was the perfect opportunity. It's only 20 minutes from St Albans to London so it's not far!

My sister and I visited Lola's Cupcakes in Selfridges and Cox, Cookies and Cake. There are so many cupcake shops on my 'to visit' list but my little feet can only take so much walking around so we just did the 2 this time!

First up, 'Cox, Cookies and Cake' in Soho. I'd heard lots about CCC so was eager to go and see what it was like. CCC was set up by Patrick Cox, fashion designer and Eric Lanlard, reknowned pastry chef so I had high hopes. Unfortunately these high hopes were short lived as when I sampled them at home I was less than impressed.

But before I go into details, first let's see the shop and see what they had to offer. Now, the shop looks fab. It's really stylish and very 'Soho' - you can tell it was started up by a fashion designer.

The cupcakes look reasonably good and again look 'fashionable.' However, they are extremely overpriced. These ones below are £4.00 each. Now, I can understand maybe paying that for the 'boobs' and as someone who knows how much work goes into cupcakes, I don't usually complain about price. But the price HAS to reflect the quality. The decorations were all ready made and none of them had any ingredients that were that expensive to buy. So the main reason you pay £4.00 for these is the name and unfortunately, it doesn't reflect the quality you would expect.

When I got the cakes home, unfortunately they had been squished on the tubes (won't be going to London near Christmas time any time soon!!) but that shouldn't affect the taste too much! There was hardly any cake in the cupcakes. The red velvet cupcakes were half pinkish half vanilla. And the cupcakes were dry. If there's two things that bug me about cupcakes being done wrong it's a) dry and b) no cake. Literally the cases weren't even full of cake.

Luckily, Lola's made up for these. I didn't get any photos in Selfridges as it was absolutely heaving, but it's a cute little counter with a few tables in the food court and it's right next to Ella's Bakehouse which has cupcakes, pastries and cookies for sale (they looked amazing. I regret not buying anything from them!) I went with a selection of minis but in hindsight I should've gone with my own choice as most of them were just vanilla with different coloured icing. They were nice but my favourite was the one I bought separately which was a banana cupcake. It had a divine cream cheese frosting and a really light, moist cake. I would definitely go back to Lola's but I think next time I would go for the ones in the counter instead of the ready boxed ones as I think they would've been fresher. Here's me with my box of Lola's cupcakes looking rather tired at St Pancras Station.

Until next time...Happy Cupcaking!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Wedding Fairs

Hello all,

Hope you're having a good month so far. October was incredibly busy for me, I had the food festival, lots of wedding orders and lots of new customers. It was my busiest month yet which is fab but also means I didn't get a lot of time off! But not complaining, loved every minute of it!

I had my first large wedding fair on 29th October at Sopwell House, St Albans, then last week I was in the town hall for Wedding Wonderland and today I was at Knebworth Barns Wedding Fair. It's been lovely to meet so many brides and grooms to be as well as meeting lots of other wedding suppliers. It's really nice to meet other people in similar businesses.

So I thought I'd share a few photos of the wedding fairs I've done. And I look forward to doing more next year!

Until next time, happy cupcaking!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Wedding at the Oldest Pub in Britain - Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans

This was a lovely, homely wedding and the cupcake tower fit in very well on the bar as the centrepiece for the evening reception. A selection of Devil's Food, Carrot and Red Velvet cupcakes with little heart sprinkles.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Highly Commended :)

Just a quick post to say thank you to everyone who voted for me for the Local Gem Award in the St Albans Food and Drink Awards. I didn't win, but I cam second and got 'Highly Commended' which is lovely. After all, it would be greedy to win 2 years in a row. Congratulations to Johnny from The Pudding Stop who won and to all the other worthy winners and nominees in the Festival.

We had a lovely time at the Food Festival Finale this year - another great event. Sold out of cupcakes and only had a few cake pops left which I gave to my wonderful stall helpers so worked out very well. It's always nice when you sell out as it makes all the hard work worth while and it was really nice to see so many new faces at the festival. Making people smile is the best thing about my job!

Me in front of my stall with a cupcake St Albans Flag and little St Albans Crests. Plus my new Best of British range and Halloween cupcake stand.

Thanks for coming and see you next year!

Monday, 19 September 2011

So Much More Than 'Just' Cupcakes

As I have been nominated for the Local Gem Award in the St Albans Food Festival this year (please vote here: ) I thought I would take the opportunity to blog a bit about why I think you should vote for me.

I covered briefly about why in my previous post but I thought I'd talk a little about why I am unique and not just another cupcake company. With cupcake companies popping up all over the place now I always try to be different. I started my company up because I have a true passion for baking and decorating. And this isn't just contained to baking cupcakes. However it is with cupcakes that I specialise because they are so versatile and they are anything but boring fairy cakes. They can be anything you like. A couple of weeks a go I trialed a new flavour based on the famous Key Lime Pie and it was extremely well received!

Anyway enough of the cupcakes! Onto the OTHER products I do. Yes, I'm not JUST a cupcake company. (Is that enough capitals for you?) Every market I always have other cakey bakey products on sale. At my previous market I had yummy chocolate brownies and  delicious mini banana bread loaves. I also make customised celebration cakes, a few of which you can see below:

As well as celebration cakes, I also do tea time cakes such as mini cakes, macarons,  layer cakes and guglhupfs.

And of course there are my cake pops and push cups.

So as you can see, I am so much more than just cupcakes! And keep watching as I'm always experimenting with new flavours and products.

Vote Heaven is a Cupcake for Local Gem!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Please take 2 minutes to vote for me!

Now if you can't see from the photo ;) - I have been nominated for the Local Gem Award in the St Albans Food Festival Awards. I would really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to vote for me. All you need to do is go here:  Fill out the form, get the code and finally click on 'Heaven is a Cupcake' under Local Gem.

And here's why you should vote for me...

Heaven is a Cupcake has been established in St Albans for almost 18 months and I have a very loyal customer base which is constantly growing. This is not only because I produce excellent tasting, beautifully crafted cupcakes and cakes but because I pride myself in going the extra mile for my customers. I will always do my best to accomodate orders and make sure my customers are wowed by my products.

I work very hard to achieve this and I hope that my website, facebook and blog emphasises this. I find myself working very late nights but I do it all so that I can give YOU the best cupcakes and products possible.

I am very pleased to say that I always try to be original as possible and this is reflected through my stream of new products (most recently, the Push Cups, the BFC (Big Friendly Cupcake - a Mini Giant!) and mini loaves.

I like to stay in contact with my customers and feel through my blog & social networking I am really able to get to know them and I hope, you can get to know me. So please, take the time to vote for me and if you also feel I deserve it, please feel free to nominate for the Kate D'Arcy Award for Outstanding Customer Service.

Happy cupcaking

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Top Tips: Cupcake Innovation

With more and more cupcake & cake companies emerging every day it is important to make sure you keep innovating and don't find yourself seeking more than inspiration from other cakers. One of the things I pride myself in, and which I hope comes across from not just my blogging but my social networking and products themselves, is my cupcake innovation. By this, I mean that I am always seeking to put out products and flavours that are unique and have my own 'Heaven is a Cupcake' stamp on them. There is nothing wrong with seeking inspiration from others and in fact I encourage other bakers to network and chat with eachother - I have met many great cakers through my blog, twitter and facebook but it is important not to copy them exactly as this can harm your business and well, nobody wants to be the same as everyone else!

For example, my 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' cupcakes have quickly become my signature cupcake and are very popular amongst by facebook followers & customers. I am, of course, not the only person to do rainbow cake but I've not seen many cake companies themselves doing the same kind of cupcakes and the rainbow icing.

It's good to do the 'classic' flavours, as I call them, such as Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon etc. but it's also good to develop your own recipes and flavours. My Apple Strudel cupcake was inspired my Oma who hailed from a tiny village in Southern Austria where home baking was an important part of everyday life. She passed away in March but I am pleased that her heritage and memory lives on through me and that she was able to taste (and put her stamp of approval!) on my apple strudel cupcakes.

Another of my original recipes which I developed through my love of milkshakes are the Cupshake range - so far banana, strawberry and chocolate milkshake flavours. My strawberry cupshake recently won the 'Strawberry Tea Recipe Competition' on

As well as keep my recipes original, I like to make sure that I am always producing new designs and bespoke cupcakes - unique and delicious, that's my motto! A year a go I started making floral cupcakes and had seen some beautiful cupcake bouquets in pots but I wanted to do something a bit different, so took my inspiration from flower bouquets themselves. This led to my popular cupcake bouquet baskets...                 


I have since seen other companies doing these so it must mean that they are good ;) But I am pleased to say that I hadn't seen anyone doing them before hand.

New products

As well as continually produce unique flavours and designs for my cupcake, I am constantly expanding and improving my product range. You can NEVER stop improving and learning  new techniques, anyone that says otherwise is either very naive or lying!

Another of my products influenced by my Austrian heritage are these mini Gugelhupfs...

And I have LOTS of other ideas so stay tuned and finally, don't be one of those cupcake companies who is the same as everyone else - keep innovating and keep being you.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Top Tips: Food Photography

I don't post recipes of my own on here very often now due to some people not being able to have their own ideas, so I thought I'd start posting a kind of cupcake top tips about how to best improve your own cakes and in this case, any kind of food really!

My first top tip focusses on the way you take photos of your products, and this really can be applied to any product: Take the time to take good photos!

This is one of the easiest things to get right and yet one of the things I see so many businesses (cupcake or otherwise) getting wrong. Now, I am by no means an expert in taking photos but alongside baking it is probably one of my biggest hobbies. Before I started taking photos of all my cupcakes, I would take photos of EVERYTHING (and still do!) so I've had a lot of practice of seeing what looks best and which settings to use.

So here are a few of my top tips for taking good photos of cakes/food. Firstly, take photos in front of a clean, blank background. Don't take it next to a mixer, or with flour all over the place. If you have a shop, designate a photo taking area. This may seem like an obvious thing but so often I see businesses uploading photos of their cakes with lots of other equipment in the photos. You want to make sure your product is the centre of attention and not have any other distractions. If your products don't look good, people won't want to eat them. Anyone that says otherwise is wrong! The aesthetic appeal of food is just as, if not more, important as the taste (but obviously the taste has to be good otherwise they won't come back!)

Here I've just used a plain, clean teatowel and the plain wall in the background to take a photo against. Light colours are best! Secondly, always use natural light whereever possible and don't take a photo in a dark place. These are all things you can do with a simple camera.


The first photo was taken in a dark area, whereas the second photo was taken outside in nice natural light. And it makes all the difference!

The great thing about digital cameras is that you can take hundreds of photos and not waste any film. So take lots and from different angles, different rooms, different backgrounds - see what works best. Don't put out bad quality photos, it just makes your product look bad. If you are serious about your business I would recommend investing in a good camera, it doesn't necessarily have to be top of the range but you can get a good camera with lots of easy to use features for a relatively low price now. I have a Canon 500d and I love it :)

I leave you with this photo of my icecream cone cupcakes. I hope this blog was helpful!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Busiest week yet!

Hello cupcakers!

It has been an extremely busy week so I thought I'd share with you some of my latest orders and the biggest challenges I've faced yet as a home baker and they all happened in the same week - typical!

On Saturday 6th of August I had a wedding order to fulfil for Hanh and Alex who were having their wedding reception at the beautiful St Michael's Manor in St Albans. They had a cupcake tower of vanilla and lemon cupcakes topped with rose swirls and individual handmade roses. Their top tier cake was made by a family member and finished off their tower beautifully.

Here are a few snaps of the finished product.

I really loved the colours of these and the wrappers in particular - they are very popular wedding wrappers!
My next wedding and my biggest challenge yet was on Thursday 11th August, again at the lovely St Michael's Manor and was for Binanti and Darren. Now, originally Binanti asked if I could do her cupcake favours and of course I was very happy to, but she was having trouble finding someone to do her wedding cake. It seemed there weren't many cakers willing to make a piped rose swirl cake! So I said that I would have a go at doing her a sample cake and she could decide if it was what she wanted. I made it very clear that I've never done that sort of thing before but she was desperate! I made her the sample cake ( a vanilla pound cake with vanilla buttercream) and the happy couple were thrilled with it, I'm pleased to say. So she put her faith in me and I'm pleased to say all the hard work paid off....

Thank you to Binanti and Darren for having faith in me! And I'm very glad you weren't disappointed. Now amongst these wedding orders, I was also planning my sister's 30th Birthday Cake (a 3 tiered wonky cake, getting ready for my Saturday market in the St Albans town hall (sold out again!) AND fulfilling all my other regular orders for birthdays/anniversaries/cravings! So as you can see, I didn't get much time to rest (which is great for business, but not so great for my M.E.) luckily I have had the day off today...well sort of, I still have a sample box to make later and have been answering emails/sorting photos all day but in comparison to last week - it's a day off.

I will leave you with a collage of some of last week's orders. The rest have been uploaded onto my Facebook page . Also want to say a very quick thank you to everyone who has been so supportive to me and my business. You guys are fab so thank you :D

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Welcome to Miami! HIAC Does Florida Pt2

Sorry about the gap between posts, still jetlagged ;) Originally we were going to stay in Miami for 2 nights after Key Largo but we decided to go to Key West instead and just swing by Miami on the way to the airport. We will definitely have to go back to Florida as there are so many places to go and things to do that we couldn't possibly fit it all in in the time we had and also because, y'know - it's awesome!

So our next stop on the cupcake tour was The Buttercream Cupcake and Coffee Shop. It was a very sweet shop on Sunset Drive and the cupcakes were all beautifully presented. They had a range of flavours which were mostly traditional such as Vanilla, Choc, Choc-Orange, Choc-Vanilla etc but also some more 'interesting' flavours like Pistachio (which I bought) and Lime. As we were planning on visiting another cupcake shop afterwards and due to the fact we were flying home that evening, I settled on just 2 cupcakes - Pistachio and Red Velvet. As you can see, the display was FULL of cupcakes (just what you'd expect from a cupcake shop, but believe me I've seen some recently who shall rename nameless which was less than full and very disappointing!!)

Outside the store with my recent purchases. Not a good pic of me but focus on the shop ;)

Both the cakes were very light and because I was so full from eating the next cupcakes, they actually survived the 9 hr flight home as well. I liked the pistachio one best because I *think* the Red Velvet one had buttercream on whereas I prefer cream cheese on mine. However, the sponge was light and red velvety and it was red! One of the things I've noticed about some cupcakeries over here is that they just can't get Red Velvet ones right. It is tough and not one of the easiest to do but one thing that it must be is RED. I saw a Red Velvet cupcake this week that was brown...Easiest part to get right, right? Apparently not!

Next up was LA Sweets  and I think this was my favourite cupcakery of the tour (just check out that homepage!) It was really roomy and light inside and I loved the display. Their speciality is mini cupcakes - perfect for someone wanting to try as many flavours as possible. But again, I showed restraint and just picked 6! Here I am trying to decide on which ones to go for!

I went with the cupcaker's recommendation for 2: their popular Red Velvet and signature Guava. And I can see why they are their most popular. The red was a really bright red, it was light, fluffy and had cream cheese frosting. Yum! The Guava I had never tried anything like before and it really did taste like Guava. It was a really fruity, tropical taste but not overpoweringly so and even had a tiny piece of Guava on top.

My next favourite was the Chocolate Raspberry, it was divine! Moist, dark chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache and a drizzle of Raspberry sauce. The last 3 I tried were a little sweet for my taste but couldn't fault the sponge - Vanilla with peanut buttercream, Dulche de leche and Caramel Cheesecake.

Don't they look beautiful!?

Here I am with my purchases outside the front

And that concludes my cupcake tour of Florida - thank you Florida, you've been great. I can't wait for my next tour...which state should I visit next?!