I don't make them very often, and I certainly don't drive out of my way to buy them.
But when an opportunity to eat a really good cupcake falls into my lap, I'm sure going to take it.
Do you watch Cupcake Wars on Food Network? I watch it with my daughter religiously. She wants to be a pastry chef when she grows up, so she is fascinated by the baking competitions on FN.
We were recently excited to watch a show with one of our local cupcake bakers, Brady from Ollie Cake here in Phoenix. His episode was the Miss USA one, if you are a fan.
I was fairly confident he'd win, because his cupcakes were praised for their flavors throughout the competition. Still, we were a little worried at the end when we thought he wouldn't get 1000 cupcakes on his display before time was up. But, he made it, and was in fact, the winner of the show that week!
Recently, Brady put on a little class at Whole Foods, called Baking with your Children. He demonstrated some easy ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen, and talked about his time on Cupcake Wars.
Since my daughter is an aspiring chef, we already put most of the tips into action. But here's the most important thing I came away with, and am passing on to you-
Just let them do it. You could do it faster and with less mess, but they aren't going to really learn unless they get to do it themselves (with appropriate guidance for their age).
I did ask him if it was hard to get the 1000 cupcakes on the display, and he told us about a little trickery from the producers-- he said even though he had cupcakes frosted and ready to be placed, they made him hold it back until 15 minutes were left on the clock "for more drama". Those TV producers! So tricky.
Brady demonstrated his Orange-Scented Chocolate Campfire Cupcakes from the show, and when the demonstration was done, we got to eat one! They were delicious! It was the most moist chocolate cupcake I have tasted, and I loved the slight taste of orange throughout the cupcake. Orange and Chocolate go so well together!
You can find the recipe here, at Ollie Cake's website, and though it's long, it's fairly easy and straightforward. If you want to make a statement at a party or family gathering, this might be your cupcake.
Thanks Brady for a delicious afternoon. Now I've got to drive way out of my way and go visit your bakery for some more. They've got a Brown Velvet Cupcake I'm kind of drooling over.....