In the two and a half years since I wrote my very first article, a fair bit has changed. So here's an update on me.
1. I still wear many different hats (metaphorically speaking), but now I am a part-time baker, part-time primary teacher and full-time mummy of one gorgeous but cheeky daughter. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, which often means I'm emailing quotes at 6am or planning lessons at midnight. My daughter is generally a good sleeper, so anything that can wait until she's asleep gets done then. I love all my roles as they challenge me in different ways, constantly teaching me new things, and allowing me to express myself in different ways.
2. My addiction to pretty cupcake cases has now reached epic proportions, my cupboards are literally overflowing! So hubby has banned me from buying more cases until I make more room in the cupboards; a few large orders and I should have it under control again though. 😉 A more recent addiction is my obsession with all things sprinkles! Non-pareils, edible glitters and sugar pearls also fit into that category. I have just discovered a new supplier, so I am ridiculously excited about trying out some new sprinkle mixes!!
3. I am not reading anywhere near as much as I was when I wrote the first article, my little miss sees to that! Now when I do read, it is mostly picture story books for my daughter. Or when I find time to read for myself, it is either articles on new products/techniques for baking, or teaching related books/websites. I'm trying to make sure to schedule time in for reading for pleasure each week, but so far it hasn't been very successful. If you're a Work At Home Mum and have some tips for squeezing in reading time, I'd love to know!
4. My cookbook collection has continued to grow. Although I don't think I've personally bought a new cookbook in a few years, they're usually gifts (very welcomed gifts at that! 😉) I still love to adapt sweets recipes, tweaking and substituting until I'm completely happy with the recipe; new sweets flavours don't make it to my repertoire until I have made them several times and I'm totally satisfied with the result.
5. My personal favourite cupcake at the moment is Cookies'n'Cream. Just a hint of chocolatey biscuit with the beautifully light cupcake and creamy frosting, YUM! As for other treats, I LOVE a good chocolate and peanut butter combo, so my Chocolate Peanut Butter Slice is a firm favourite at the moment. But then there's the Red Velvet Cake Pops which have the yummy-ness of a Red Velvet cupcake in a perfect mouthful with the bonus of a chocolate coating! Or my Smiley Face Cookies, which I rarely get to make these days, but have two buttery cookies with a layer of perfectly smooth raspberry jam between them. Oh, and my Choc-Covered Oreos... I could go on forever, hahaha, but as I said above, I don't sell treats I'm not totally satisfied with, so really you can't go wrong with anything from my list! 😉
If you'd like to know anything else about me, leave a comment below!
Until next time!
So you've just ordered some gorgeous cupcakes from Perfectly Petite Treats and you're wondering how you'll display them? You're in luck, because I also have cake and cupcake stands available for hire!
Hire periods are 3 days, meaning if you pick up your order on Friday morning you will have until the Monday morning to return the stand. This allows you plenty of time to recover from your event without stressing about returning the cake stand the next morning. Extended hire is available, pricing on request.
Hire without cake/cupcake order: $15 per item for three days (plus $40 refundable bond per item).
Hire with cake/cupcake order: $10 per item for three days (plus $40 refundable bond per item).
This is a very versatile stand as it can also be done as a 3 or 2 tier stand. You can also coordinate it to suit your colour scheme by decorating the edges of each tier and/or the centre pole with thin ribbon held in place with a dot of blu-tak.
If you don't see anything that will suit your needs here, make sure to ask as I am adding to my cake stand collection all the time. I also have an array of jars and decorative items that can be hired to add interest to dessert tables and candy buffets, just ask!
Chocolate Grand Final Cake Pops are available to order now for this Saturday's AFL Grand Final. They are $3 each, with a minimum order of 6. Orders close midday on Thursday (29/9), so email email@example.com or call 53677274 ASAP to order yours. Pick-up will be from the PPT kitchen in Bacchus Marsh on Friday evening or Saturday morning. So whether you're having a small gathering of friends or the GF party of the century, make sure you place your order early to avoid missing out!
If you have a young child, you're interested in cakes, or you have a Pinterest account, you have likely heard the term 'Cake Smash', but what is it?
The cake smash trend started in America and is commonly done to celebrate a child turning 1. In it's most basic form it requires a beautiful cake, a young child and a camera... Cake smashes can also be done as a fun way to celebrate and record a milestone birthday, for example a 21st or 30th birthday.
Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a Cake Smash Session with local photographer Elisha from Here Or There Photography. Her studio in Ingliston is conveniently located less than 30km from my kitchen in Bacchus Marsh and I love supporting fellow local small businesses. I had previously met Elisha when she did a Christmas mini-session with my daughter who was 4 months old at the time, and I had admired her gentle yet confident way of positioning Miss A and catching on film the most fleeting glimpses of smiles.
With Miss A now 8 months older, I looked forward to professionally recording some of her animated facial expressions, and of course catching her first taste of cake.
The cake I made for the shoot was a Vanilla Cake made with natural sugars in place of refined sugars, and a cream cheese frosting. The only refined sugar in the whole cake was the edible 1 topper (made with white chocolate and sprinkles) and a small scattering of edible confetti. As Miss A had only had the tiniest amounts of refined sugar before this, I wasn't too keen on giving her free range with an entire cake, so the natural sugars were a nice compromise in my view. Did she actually eat much of the cake? In fact, yes, I was surprised by how much she ate. She LOVED rubbing her hands in the frosting and licking it off her fingers, then once she found the cake inside she was grabbing fistfuls and shoving them in her mouth! This all made for great photos which Elisha captured beautifully.
Elisha let me take a few behind-the-scenes photos for the purpose of this blog post, and I think it also helps to illustrate the difference in quality between an amateur with a smartphone (me) and professional quality photos.
Throughout the whole session Elisha made sure to maintain a warm temperature in the studio, which along with her calm and reassuring demeanour, ensured Miss A felt comfortable. Elisha also tirelessly entertained her to ensure she was smiling and facing toward the camera when needed. Since receiving the disc of images from the session Elisha's talented eye for the perfect shot has continued to amaze me, and I'm beyond happy with the final images.
For the remainder of 2016, I am offering a special deal of 10% off the price of Cake Smash cakes (sugar-free or regular) to customers who are booked in for a Cake Smash Session with Here Or There Photography. Simply let me know you're booked in with Elisha, then once I have confirmed I will update your quote for the 10% discount. Easy!
Here Or There Photography can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hereortherephotography or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/here_or_there_photography. Let her know I sent you! ☺
UPDATE: Almost a year later and these are still among my favourite photos of Miss A. I'm so glad to have this special keepsake to look back on!
Tips from my Top Tip Tuesday Facebook posts will be archived here to make them easier to refer back to. If you have a topic you'd like me to provide tips on just leave a comment below!
If picking up your order it is best to transport the cake box in the (empty) boot of your car on a non-slip mat. This is much safer than the back seat as it is more level. Even better, have your order delivered and save yourself the hassle!
Cake and cupcakes usually taste best at room temperature. Check whether your order requires refrigeration, if so remove the cake from the fridge 30 minutes before serving for maximum flavour!
Displaying Cake Pops (26/4/16)
Cake pops can be displayed in a myriad of creative ways. For some added colour why not use glass vases filled with jellybeans to suit the theme, then poke the cake pop sticks in. For an extra touch tie a bow around each vase in a complimentary colour with a tag to show what flavour the cake pops are.
Storing Leftover Cake (3/5/16)
On the off chance you manage to have some cake left over (not very likely, but it does sometimes happen!), the best way to store it is to remove any decorations and wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap. If your cake contains perishable fillings (cream cheese, etc) or your home is hot and/or humid, you can place the leftover cake in the fridge, otherwise it is fine to store at room temperature.
Planning a Dessert Buffet (24/5/16)
When planning a dessert buffet always choose quality over quantity. Aim for a combination of quality cupcakes, decorated cookies, cake pops, chocolate covered Oreos and/or lollies in your selected colour scheme. By using an array of pretty cake stands, platters and jars to present them in/on, you'll maximise the visual impact without going over the top.
Dessert Buffet Signage (7/6/16)
An important element of a good dessert buffet is signage. Guests like to know what's on offer before they make their selection. This can be as simple as place cards describing the various desserts, or as elaborate as little blackboards on mini easels. There are even customisable sets that you can download and print to match any colour scheme. Think about what will best suit your theme (and your budget) and go for it!
Cake Smash Cakes (23/8/16 - 6/9/16)
Cake smashes generally look most effective with vanilla cake with coloured frosting or coloured cake with white frosting. Avoid red or brown cake or frosting as they don't make for very pleasant photos once smooshed all over baby's face...
With Cake Smash Sessions it is best to choose either elaborate background/decorations with a simple outfit, or an elaborate outfit with simple background/decorations. You want the focus to be on the child and the cake.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but buttercream frosting is more effective in Cake Smash Sessions than fondant. A messy baby is pretty much guaranteed
Displaying Cupcakes (3/1/17)
Cupcakes have the most visual appeal when displayed on a stand to add height. Specialised cupcake stands are ideal, but stacked cake pedestals can also be stunning. Try mixing and matching different stands for an eclectic feel.
If you don't want to spoil the look of your cake by adding candles on top, make sure to ask when ordering for the candles to be added to the cake board. This way the birthday boy/girl has the opportunity to blow out the candles without detracting from the aesthetic of the cake.
Acrylic Cake Toppers (17/1/17)
Acrylic cake toppers are a stunning way to personalise cakes or cupcakes for your special occasion, and also add visual height to your cake. If care is taken to pack them away safely, toppers can also be saved for future occasions.
Cutting Cakes (24/1/17)
When cutting cakes for serving it is advisable to make light markings with the knife to guide where you will be cutting. This helps to gauge whether you will have enough pieces rather than running short at the end. Also make sure to wipe crumbs off the knife blade with paper towel between cuts to give a cleaner edge.
As you all know, my speciality for large cakes is buttercream frosting. Yes, I do occasionally make fondant covered cakes, but my real passion is buttercream. But why use buttercream?
1. Buttercream frosting tastes so yummy!
With fondant covered cakes the icing can sometimes be the part that some people pick off and leave on the plate, it has a very sweet taste that some people find unappealing. Whereas with a buttercream covered cake the corners and outside pieces are often the first to go, everyone wants the extra buttercream frosting!
2. The buttercream flavour can be paired with the flavour of the cake
This adds extra scrumptious-ness. Some examples of flavour combos are Chocolate Mud Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, White Velvet Cake with Cookies'N'Cream Frosting or Chocolate Mud Cake with Mint Frosting.
3. Buttercream has a more pleasant texture than fondant
Fondant has a chewy texture that can also have a dry, hard outer layer which some people find unpleasant. Buttercream has a soft, smooth and creamy texture, sometimes with a very thin crusting layer (so that the buttercream can be touched lightly without leaving a mark, making the cake more easily transported).
4. Buttercream is less expensive than fondant.
In terms of ingredients buttercream is less expensive, which can lead to a less expensive cake depending on the design of the cake and decorating time required. Of course an elaborate design in buttercream will require more time and therefore cost more, but a simple design of rosettes can be very visually effective and cost effective too!
Having said all that, fondant does have its place and its purpose. Cupcakes can be decorated with buttercream and have a fondant topper for extra decoration, also fondant decorated cupcakes have a thin layer of fondant over a thick layer of buttercream. I also use fondant to cover decorated cookies.
I hope this gives you some insight into the benefits of using buttercream on large celebration cakes. However, if you have your heart set on a fondant cake, please ask and I may be able to accommodate. If the cake you want is outside my skill-set will happily pass on the details of other local cake makers who specialise in fondant covered cakes.
If you have a function or event coming up that requires cake or cupcakes - let's be honest here, what event doesn't! - I recommend considering the following 6 questions before requesting your quote to help the process run as smoothly as possible.
1. When is your event and what type of event is it?
Letting me know your event date straight away will ensure that I am available for that date. Once that has been checked, knowing the event type, be it a birthday party, wedding, engagement party, baby shower, christening, cake smash, etc will assist in creating a design to match the event.
2. What is your budget?
This might seem like a trick question but letting me know your budget from the get-go could save you a lot of time. If the cake or cupcakes that you have in mind are outside your budget I will discuss different options such as a smaller cake or fewer cupcakes, or less elaborate decorations and do my best to fit within your budget.
3. How many people are you catering for?
Whether you are ordering a cake, cupcakes, cake pops or any treat from the range, knowing how many people you plan to cater for will help you when placing your order. For cakes, see the blog post '3 Points to Help with Ordering the Right Cake Size' (April 2015). For other treats, you'll need to consider what other food will be served and whether you plan to allow for one of each item per guest or whether guests will choose one item total.
4. What is the colour scheme or theme of the event?
Matching treats to themes or colour schemes is one of my favourite parts of baking treats. If you have a theme already in mind, be sure to mention this when requesting your quote. If you haven't decided on a theme yet, but plan on having one, please discuss your ideas with me so I can make your initial quote as accurate as possible (a final price would then be discussed once the theme/colours have been finalised).
5. What flavour/s do you have in mind?
Knowing which flavours you would like can save you time when requesting your quote, but if you are unsure I can make some suggestions to suit your event. If ordering cupcakes, 2 flavours can be chosen if ordering more than 30 cupcakes. Please understand that multiple flavours for small orders is not cost-effective and therefore is strongly discouraged (and will incur a surcharge). Click here to see the available flavours.
6. Will you require delivery?
Picking up your cake from the Perfectly Petite Treats kitchen is free, but perhaps you'd prefer the convenience of delivery? If you are placing a large order and would like help to set up the treats at the venue, then delivery is definitely the way to go. This can be particularly useful for weddings, engagement parties or desert tables at parties. Please bear in mind that I am located in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and delivery charges will vary depending on the distance travelled.
Confused? Don't be. If you are having difficulty answering any of these questions while planning your event, please contact me and I'll do my best to discuss the details with you to help you get a better idea of what you would like to order. I look forward to hearing from you!
Whilst the majority of my orders are for cupcakes, when clients want a large cake I often get asked "What size cake should I order?". Hopefully I can make your decision easier with the following three points:
How many servings do you require?
The first point you need to consider is how many guests will need to be served cake. This may be the entire guest list, or if the cake is to be accompanied by cupcakes and/or other desserts, you can likely reduce the number of servings quite considerably. For example, a cake that is part of a dessert table as pictured below would cater for a lot more people than one that was the sole dessert for an event. Also, if the cake is to be served after a full three-course meal (at a wedding for example), fewer people are likely to require cake.
How large would you like your cake slices to be?
As a general rule most function centres will slice cakes either in 'party' sized portions or in 'wedding' sized or 'finger' serves, with the latter being the default option. Party serves are usually 1.5 inches by 2 inches, whilst wedding or finger serves are 1 inch by 2 inches. Wedding serves may seem small, but are usually sufficient, particularly when following a meal. If your function centre will be slicing your cake and you would prefer party serves rather than finger serves, be sure to let your function manager know.
Perfectly Petite Treats generally recommends party serves for birthdays, Christenings, baby showers, etc. If you would prefer to slice your cake into larger serves, you will need to take this into consideration when ordering your cake and order a larger size. The chart below may help when it comes time to cutting your cake.
Do you want your cake to be the centrepiece of your event?
If you wish you cake to be a focal point and make a statement, you may need to order a larger size than the actual number of servings you require. This has the added bonus of increasing the chances of having leftover cake for you to enjoy later!
Another option to help your cake look larger and become more of a centrepiece is to purchase or hire a cake stand. There are MANY different sizes and styles of cake stands available, so be sure to look around to find one that will be a perfect match for your cake.
Has this helped you in deciding 'What size cake should I order'? Are there other points you think I should add? Either way, leave a comment below to let me know!
If you're planning on ordering a cake you might also be interested in reading my The Benefits of Buttercream article.
So, I decided to make my first blog post a 'getting to know you' (or perhaps more accurately: 'getting to know me') to help you find out a little more about the person behind the Perfectly Petite Treats brand. To keep it short and sweet I thought I'd tell you 5 things you might not know about me (some baking related, some not).
1. Before starting up PPT I was a full-time primary school teacher. At the end of 2013 I finally decided to listen to all the people who told me I should sell my lovely cupcakes and transitioned to casual teaching and part-time baking. I am also a Phoenix Trader and do tutoring, I wear many different hats :-)
2. I can't resist buying pretty cupcake cases. Every time I enter a cake decorating shop I always, without fail, purchase at least one pack of cupcake cases. This is quite concerning for my husband who wonders where I manage to store them all (the picture to the right shows only the petite size cases, I have about half as many again in the large size). I LOVE being able to go to my shelves and pick just the right cupcake case to match a special occasion. And if I don't have one to suit? Well, that's the perfect excuse to buy even more! ;-)
3. I am an avid reader and will sometimes finish a good book in a weekend (obviously I don't have kids, or I doubt that would be possible). My reading tastes vary from young adult fiction such as 'The Hunger Games' series, right through to romance such as those by Jodi Picoult, and thrillers such as 'Gone Girl'.
4. I have a very large cookbook collection, but I usually tweak sweets recipes to suit my tastes. Some recipes don't even partly resemble the original by the time I'm finished. (Meals on the other hand I follow the steps and ingredients to the letter. I'm weird that way...)
5. My personal favourite cupcake flavour is Pink Champagne, mostly due to the lovely pink colour and decorating potential, and partly because I get to drink the leftover champagne :-) In terms of other treats, my favourites vary each day. Some days I prefer the light Orange and Macadamia Slice, others I need the chocolatey richness of a Chocolate Cake Pop. It all depends on my mood.
Thanks for reading my first blog post. If there's something you'd like featured on my brand new blog, please leave a comment below.
Perfectly Petite Treats is owned and run by Krystal Conlan, a 33 year old home-baker. All products are freshly baked from scratch in her home-based council-approved kitchen in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.