Thursday, August 19, 2010

Poet Trees Cupcakery is in bloom.

Today is my re-birthday. Three years ago today I went under the knife at the same time across town my dear Melissa lost her precious bebe boy Maverick. I respect her decision to carry him to term eventhough she knew he'd only be in her arms for a very brief moment. Little did I know that my own decision would be a complicated filled with an induced coma, respirators, pain, infection, stomach ulcers, feeding tubes, extreme nausea everyday for three months straight, humiliation and yet full of "mat-carriers" when I needed them most. One full month in the hospital far away from home and another month at home hooked up to IVs was worth the end result---no more insulin injections---no more pills. They say it's the easy way out--oh, how wrong they are! Kind of ironic that a diabetic would start a cupcakery.

I cannot wait for pumpkin season to kick in...I love Fall--autumnal bliss. I am longing for a trip to Appleworks with my babies. Ayden will slide down the barn slide about 100 times and I'll be right behind him. lol Hopefully, this year it will not take Lily two hours to pick out a pumpkin and it won't take me an hour to get through the line to pay for my apples. Oh, how I LOVE Rome and Golden Delicious apples. Apples with peanut butter or apples with cheddar cheese--oh so heavenly...This Fall, I have a feeling that I will have a TON of orders for apple cobbler, s'mores, and these lovely pumpkin pie cupcakes which will result in many visits to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, but hey, I'mnot complaining. Ladies, they say that pumpkin has a 'nice' effect on men's libido...let's test that theory out.

Now, if I could only acquire a nice house with a 'real' kitchen where I can park my lovely Chocolate Kitchen-Aid mixer that Eddie restored for me. Thanks Eddie! Ray Skillman has a gem in you and your mad paint and design skills!! lol

So, we've been trying to move out of this retirement village (well, it used to be one). lol I must say that I don't like the games that realtors play and I have been played the last few weeks bad. We almost had a lovely 1920s cottage home in Plainfield with a matching two-story playhouse in the backyard that the girls would have loved. The listing realtor used to live in it during her college years with her best friend but it belonged to this friend's father. We knew from viewing it that there was a high probability of roof damage--although, the owner marked on his disclosure that he did not know of any problems with the roof. There are two layers of shingles up there and BIG patches in the ceiling...We made our offer on the condition that the roof and foundation would pass inspection and if not, he'd pay to repair or replace the roof. The seller flat out refused our offer, cursed out his realtor (his daughter's friend) and fired her. She was then free to disclose that he knows that there is roof damage but feels that he will get someone to pay him cash for this home---and with no mortgage it would not be required to pass an inspection. We were blessed not to get that house though...And, I won't even tell you about the Jamestown, IN cottage home--pure disaster and a horrible lingering mold smell but one hell of a kitchen with a side-by-side commercial refrigerator, hickory cabinets and Brazilian cherry floors. The landscape was beautiful and the inside was a wreck! The owner (before he lost it to the bank) had a drinking problem and would start many different house projects without finishing the last.
Everything inside was torn up.

We found another house (two bedrooms) just outside of Avon relatively close to both our full time jobs. Big enough for the two of us (and, well Dub and Sav too) right now. We can't even start the adoption process until we've been married a year. Oh, if I could just travel back in time to four years ago and smack Mark upside the head before the snip-snip! WHAT was he thinking!?! So cheap to do yet SO expensive to reverse.

Well, we have been going back and forth with counter-offers in between having to deal with their realtor who isn't the least bit pleasant and has a reputation amongst other agents of being a b*tch. I viewed the home by myself and asked for a second viewing so Mark could see it. With him working nights, it makes things difficult. Their realtor wasn't returning my realtor's phone calls. So, I took it upon myself to email her and explained that Mark works nights and if at all possible, could she please ask the seller if Mark and I could view it around 9am that next day (Sunday) so Mark could stay awake and go from the end of his shift at 7am. I told her that I didn't want to inconvenience the seller as I knew she was 8 months pregnant but I was running out of options with Mark's work/sleep schedule. I asked her to please call my realtor or myself back. She merely wrote me back telling me to have my realtor call her office for a late viewing. In the meantime, she called my realtor and told him she didn't appreciate me contacting her and trying to negotiate a price on the house. Whoa! I NEVER once mentioned PRICE! I asked strictly about viewing the home and made one comment about how the seller had a lovely home. That's it. When we got to the point of making an offer (of what we were pre-approved for), she told our agent that she "didn't have time" to present our offer to the seller that next day and needed an extension of an additional 24 hours. And, now, after much bartering with our mortgage broker, tapping ourselves out and depleting our 401Ks to make our down payment and the difference for what the broker cannot extend us, she is continuing to play games. The seller countered and only lowered their price by $1k. That really was not reasonable considering this is a buyer's market and quite frankly it was out of our grasp to offer more. The most we can do is offer $1400 less than their last counter offer which I think is pretty damn good--not-to-mention I caught a lot of crap from my parents and Mark for going even that high. When we submitted it, I told the agent then that it was our final offer. We can't possibly go any higher. Their realtor called yesterday and said we needed to give our "best and highest" offer because now they have "multiple offers." Well, I'm sorry, but my last offer was the best and highest--take it or leave it. There are a lot of houses on the market right now. Their house is lovely but we could find one just as nice elsewhere. It really makes me wonder if there really isn't another offer or if there is, it is a low-ball offer and she is just trying to bleed us dry to pad her pockets. So, we have until 9am today to hear an answer and I looked up some potentials and told my agent to line up these 5 other houses to view this morning and afternoon. I have no qualms about moving back to Johnson County or to live near the parents in Morgan County. I would have truly appreciated their home and the love they put into it but after dealing with inadequate lawyers and voluminous Grand Jury cases all day, I wasn't in the mood for the games.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Went through about 12 sticks of butter making these puppies but general consensus is that they rock! They have an egg-less cookie dough center and frosting that tastes like cookie dough. Already piling in the orders. And, as you can see---another satisfied customer! lol He couldn't get Mammy to pile it in his mouth fast enough.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Rikki!

The request from my bf Rikki's co-workers (or at least Asa) was red velvet cuppycakes but with regular buttercream icing and topped with cinnamon red hots. Well, Asa may be a little disappointed but I made red velvet whoopies following the recipe provided from They just didn't taste right without the cream cheese really does make the flavor pop. I decided to make blue velvet ones too with cream cheese frosting and then one I know Rikki will enjoy---Dirt Pudding. I threw in some Hostess with the Mostess too with blue filling.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blue Hurricane & Strawberry Daiquiri Cuppycakes

Mom and I came across a 5-pack of drink mix for rum drinks. The Blue Hurricane cuppycake was my first try through that pack. I started with a basic white cupcake mix....added the Hurricane mix, rum extract, coconut extract and coconut creme filling mixed in the batter...added a few drops of neon blue food coloring and royal blue Wilton food coloring to make the blue color pop. The frosting was a bit of an experiment too...made my butter cream with shortening and sifted powdered sugar but at the end added heavy whipping cream and beat the crap out of it. To the frosting, I added more Hurricane mix, rum extract and the coconut creme filling. Because of the coconut in the frosting, I was limited as to icing tips to use for piping on the frosting. I tried rimming the bottom of the frosting in blue sanding sugar. Topped with a candy lime wedge and added the umbrella for ambiance. Tasted just like the drink and had people thinking it was made with real rum. lol Next up to bat will be the Strawberry Daiquiri Cuppycake...
Same concept as the Blue Hurricane....started with a basic white cupcake mix then added the Strawberry Daiquiri mix, rum extract and strawberry filling that I use in my peanut butter cuppycakes. I used the same butter cream frosting made with the whipped cream and added more of the daiquiri mix, rum extract and the strawberry filling and just a tad of red food coloring. The frosting was spot on--tasted like the drink. Batter needed a tad bit more of the boozy taste though.

I made a double batch of the white cupcake mix this time so I halved it before baking the Strawberry Daiquiri Cuppycakes...then made Cookies n' Creme Cuppycakes...

Placed one Oreo with the top wafer removed in the bottom of the cupcake liner...Added chopped up Oreos to a white batter mix and topped with butter cream with Oreo crumbs folded in. Sprinkled with more Oreo crumbs and topped with the wafer removed from the beginning. Yummy! The folks at church will get to try these out at our Gathering Dinner tonight. ;)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Whatchamacalit Cuppycake!

A very good friend of mine had a birthday yesterday. It just so happens that her favorite candy bar is the Whatchamacalit Bar. So, I decided to try to come up with a cupcake recipe that would compliment the flavors in a Whatchamacalit bar. I started with a devil's food batter base...topped with peanut butter batter...a piece of the candy bar in the center and a piece of soft caramel. After baking, I dipped it in ganache and then frosted it in peanut butter buttercream frosting. My brother-in-law, Mike, was the first to taste test. I heard no complaints. lol When I presented Jen her birthday cupcake she could not get over the smell. She said "it smells exactly like a Whatchamacalit Bar!" My only regret is that I didn't make more so that I could actually try it! Dang nabbit. lol

Tonight I am working on a sausage and apple cuppycake. More details to follow...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Maple Pig Cuppycake. I tried to get Kim to try this one a few weeks ago but she didn't seem interested until she saw someone on Cupcake Wars tried it. Now, it's a HUGE seller and the people at work fight over it!! Mini cuppies that I made for a Bake Sale: Chocolate Coconut (tastes like a Mounds Bar), Dirt Pudding (another one I can't get Kim to try), Hostess with the Mostess (I think the colored icing works better and am glad to say that Kim is starting to use colored icing on hers)--I started coloring my filling too and I'm using the actual Hostess Recipe that came in one of the Hostess Recipe books I bought on eBay.
Oreo, White and Boston Cream cuppycakes. Check out my sucky piping skills--NOT!lol

My girls loving their Toy Story PB&J cuppycakes---I use strawberry jam filling unlike Kim who uses Raspberry filling. It has seeds in it which doesn't work for my diverticulosis.

My husband trying my Boston Cream Pie cuppycakes. He doesn't seem to mind my lack of decorating skills. lol

Backing up a bit...

I decided to back off the intership a bit...had a bad experience Friday at the bakery. The experience has stopped being fun. The owner is still very green when it comes to running a business. I studied Business Admin. at college and my family has ran businesses so if I give you some suggestions, you may want to take them. Sometimes it takes an outsider's perspective to see areas where you could improve. I want the owner to succeed because she seems like a good hearted person but I have a few issues and forgive me for venting but #1. Don't be rude to FREE help. And, #2. Find what you are good at and stick to it and look for ways to improve it.

I was learning four new recipes that day and was in the process of panning out the batter after 4p. Keep in mind that the bakery closes at 6:30p and she refuses to sell day old cupcakes but here we were making a chit load of cupcakes late in the day. Apparently, I was too pokey for her liking (how is that possible?!--I work like a tornado in a kitchen) and she told me to let the other intern pan out the batter and for me to move to the Icing Station. But, that didn't really help either seeing as I didn't know the icing recipes for these 4 new cupcakes either. So, she was going to have to stop and teach them to me as well. Well,---she did but she ended up pretty much icing the cupcakes herself too because she didn't care for my piping skills and her cupcakes "would be served at parties and need to be perfect for presentation." Here's my take: write down your dang recipes! And, use exact measurements and provide your useful tips to follow. At some point you HAVE to delegate in your business. Personally, I don't think my piping skills suck. You can see the pictures of my homemade cuppycakes and the piping on them.

So, rather than going into the bakery Saturday to help her on her busiest day, I baked cuppycakes at home and donated them to a charity for Cancer Research and spent time with my husband and family. I would have hated to be a hindrance on her bakery and have been in her way. It was rather sad really. I gave her eight hours of my day off from the bank---and my feet were flipping killing me! I had completely jacked up the one hour foot massage that my lovely friend Jen gifted me earlier that day. And, it's not like she's ever given me a schedule or hired me like she said she would do...just show up and work when you want to.

My other suggestion to the bakery owner would be this: you sell cupcakes well. You do not, however, have a good history of selling bread. My friends have even commented that it does not taste fresh and it is crumbly--and expensive. Your boyfriend is using your main oven to make this bread all morning and into the afternoon. This is causing you to get behind on baking cakes that still need to be cooled and decorated. And, because you fall short on time, you do not decorate the cakes to the customer's liking or give the extra effort into decorating them as you promised the customer you would do "if you had time to get elaborate." You have to WOW your customers in this day and age to get repeat business. And, if you promise to deliver by a certain time--try to be early but most of all--BE ON TIME! If you really want to sell the bread, you need to tell your boyfriend that he needs to come in early like a normal baker (i.e. 4am) and get his bread baked and then move out of the way so your baker can have the use of the oven by 8am to bake cakes and cupcakes.

I am happy to report that she revisited the hours of operation and has posted new hours of 8:30a to 6:30p Monday thru Friday--3p on Saturday but closed on Sunday. It wasn't helping to open at 10a. You are a bakery---one that sells doughnuts and danishes. People do no want to have to wait until brunchtime to get their doughnuts and danishes. They could easily go to another bakery, Krogers, Marsh, Krispy Kreme. So, now that you have set the hours, stick to them. Your customers need to see that you are reliable. If you say you'll be open, then be open. One of my favorite local BBQ restaurants advertised that they were open on Sundays. Twice my mom and I stopped on a Sunday afternoon to eat lunch there and they were NOT open. So, in my dictionary, they became unreliable and I will no longer go out of my way to patronize them.