Baking Steps: Welcome to the World of Cupcakes

During my high school career, I took a course called “Foods” and guess what it was about! Yeah, food. I took it in both grade 10 and 11 and discovered that I liked to cook! It wasn’t until I was in my final stretch of grade 12 did I realize that I may have liked to cook, but I loved to bake. In fact, I like to think of my passion for baking as my saving grace. As a New Year’s resolution at the start of 2011, I vowed that for the rest of the school year I’d give back; whether that was by the means of volunteering, organizing or simply an act of kindness. It had been a rough few months leading up to the new year and deep down I knew that I had to set goals for myself in the future if I wanted to see it at all. All I needed was a change of scenery, I knew that if I could make it out of high school I’d be ready to face the “real world” that everyone either fantasized about or dreaded. I decided to use my love for baking as motivation to keep my chin up and started thinking of different recipes to go with each month as school winded down.

January was my Mom’s birthday month so this cupcake was dedicated to her! My mom always starts her day with a grande americano misto, no fat, no foam and is known to add the (not so) occasional splash of Bailey’s in her coffee. With that as inspiration, I baked Mocha Cupcakes and frosted them with a Bailey’s infused frosting. My Mom isn’t big on sugar (she’s a Dental Assistant and has always been strict about my Halloween candy!) but if it has Bailey’s, she’ll make an exception. I ended up taking the rest of the batch to school to share with my former “Foods” teacher and others that have helped me throughout the years. Part of me was hesitant on bringing something with alcohol into the classrooms but I figured if I slipped one to the Principal I’d be in the clear!

Mocha Cupcake with Bailey's Frosting

February is not only known for Valentine’s Day in my family, but also my Dad’s and Stepdad’s birthday all within a week of each other. What a triple whammy! I had always wanted to try making Red Velvet cake, it had such a decadent name to it. I threw together all three of the birthdays and made Red Velvet Cupcakes filled (yes, filled in the middle) with cream cheese frosting. Since it was my Stepdad’s 40th birthday and we were throwing him a big party, I was in charge of desserts! I made a little stencil of the numbers “4” and “0” and used icing sugar to dust over each cupcake so the tops had an outline of his big day. People were surprised when they bit into the centres and found the frosting! I also made Black and White Chocolate Covered Strawberries…but that’s for another post.

Trent's 40th Birthday Cupcakes

Looking back at March I don’t have any photos of cupcakes! I remember planning the 30 Hour Famine for my school and doing that single handed took a lot more effort than I had thought! I had been a participant in the previous two events and raised the most money for both those years. After the organizers graduated, the torch was passed down to me! I had big visions for this event, I wanted to put on the best 30 Hour Famine my school had ever seen! I guess this task was the “organizing” part of me giving back…. now, back to cupcakes!

April as you might be aware of already, is my birthday month. My favourite cookie is an Oreo and decided to try that in a cupcake! It’s funny looking back at that idea because now one of Mooch’s best sellers is the Treat in a Sweet Oreo Cupcake! Anyways, I did the cupcake a little differently than I do now. It was a vanilla cupcake with half an Oreo on the bottom. I smashed more Oreos to put in the batter and topped the whole thing with a half Oreo on top of the Oreo frosting. This cupcake was as Oreo crazy as I was! I liked the cupcake, but found the Oreo’s on the mushy side, it just didn’t have the right texture. Today, Mooch’s Oreo cupcake is a tasty improvement! You can either order chocolate or vanilla cupcakes and the Oreo is placed whole in the middle and baked. It has the perfect amount of crunch and the cream centres give it that extra kick.

Triple Oreo Cupcakes

May is when the sun finally peeks out from behind the clouds in Vancouver for longer than a day. To commemorate that I made Lemon Meringue Cupcakes! It was made up of a light lemon cupcake with a dollop of homemade lemon curd and a toasted a swirl of meringue on top. It was like eating sunshine! I made them mini for a change so they were bite size. Mooch also has Lemon Cupcakes but they’re a little different… today they have a stronger lemon flavour in the cake and has even more lemon in the frosting. To top off the lemon trio, two slices of candied lemon peel are placed on top!

Mini Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

June was a bittersweet month since school was coming to an end. I was excited to move onto my next big adventure, the University of British Columbia where I’d spend another 4 years. Yet at the same time I knew it was also a goodbye; a goodbye to the teachers who have helped me get where I am, a “so-long” to the nest I had grown so accustomed to and a “see ya later” to being known by my first name instead of just a number. Now, I didn’t want to take the idea of “bittersweet” too far and making bittersweet cupcakes didn’t seem like a great thought. Instead, I focused on my school colours-blue and yellow. The mascot of my school was a raven, a sideways awkwardly shaped raven which was on all of our agendas, the walls, trophies etc. I piped out a chocolate raven by tracing the photo onto some parchment paper. Seems like a flawless idea but it wasn’t. When the raven looks silly on it’s own, one made of chocolate doesn’t make it any better, well, except for the fact that you can eat it. Playing off of last month’s lemon cupcake, I baked up some blueberry and lemon cupcakes and frosted them with blue and yellow tinted icing. And on top, I placed my silly looking bird. Most people could tell what it was because as a school we’d always poke fun at how ridiculous our logo was! It was a good way to end the year. I felt accomplished, like I had done my school justice with the 30 Hour Famine and their sweet tooth’s satisfied with my baking.

Raven Cupcake

From January to June 2011 I had met my goal and for once, kept my New Year’s resolution!

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