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