Wintery Spheres of Heavenly Chocolate

Just last week, I posted on the Facebook page, “What would you like to see namabakery design/create next?” I received a couple responses (some were offline), and Sumenta Paul’s “Wintery Spheres of Heavenly Chocolate”Β theme had been selected.

To be honest, it was more challenging than I had thought. But challenge is a good thing! I was definitely thinking of white chocolate spheres, but I didn’t want solid ball of white chocolate on top of a cupcake. That would’ve looked a little lame and uninteresting, I think. πŸ˜› I wanted to incorporate namabakery’s signature pattern and I wanted the sphere hollow so I could fit a mini cupcake in it to resemble a wintery globe encapsulating a cherishable item or surprise inside. I experimented with a couple different techniques. Of course, some failed, so it was back to the drawing board – brainstorming the process of putting together intricate spheres that didn’t break when the “mold” came off, or crumbled under warm temperature. Keep in mind, there were no special molds bought for this. I am only using common household items to create the decorative pieces for namabakery cupcakes.

After three days of tempering white chocolate, chocolate, piping the ingredients, grinding up scrap pieces of white chocolate, remelting the pieces, repipingmeltinggrindingremeltingrepiping, I finally managed to come up with the white chocolate spheres which I had envisioned.

On a side note, before we move onto the pictures, I am not a huge fan of artificial food coloring. Research has shown that consuming too much food dye may cause cancer, thyroid tumors, allergies, mutagenic effects, kidney damage, asthma attacks, adrenal gland tumors, chromosomal damage, and more. To make your own natural food dye at home, try using fruits or vegetables (such as raspberry juice for these red velvet cupcakes). Some sources to start with:Β http://www.ehow.com/how_2302808_make-natural-food-coloring.html,Β http://www.marthastewart.com/267850/dyeing-eggs-naturally. I could’ve done this project with just plain white cupcakes, but for the sake of holiday spirit, visual contrast, and those who have asked if I bake anything else besides brownies and chocolate cake, I am going to use red velvet this time. πŸ˜›

As promised, here are the results, along with some random other winter holiday-themed cupcakes!

PS – Thanks toΒ Steven Su for letting me borrow his awesome camera!

Empty sphere of white chocolate awaits to capture a cupcake

White chocolate sphere successfully captures a mini cupcake while spying on another one

Sphere with solid bottom half

You know Christmas will be good when the gift is larger than the Christmas tree itself.

Turkey Cupcakes

Apologies for the delay! Just came back from vacation not too long ago, so I didn’t get the chance to post this until now. These White Chocolate Turkeys on Mini Brownie Cupcakes were made for a Thanksgiving dinner event a couple weeks ago.

After a few hours of sketching and paper prototyping, I finally found a design solution which I thought would address my main concerns – structural support (was it going to hold up during transport or fall apart by the time I get there), time limit (it was getting really late and the process of making anything with white chocolate/chocolate requires hours of preparation work), and aesthetic appeal (will it look like a turkey).

I ended up making these white chocolate turkeys from 10pm til 5am. A lot of times I am most productive during the late hours, and the best concepts come when I am asleep (but that’s a story for another day). When I was done, mom came downstairs with the biggest scowl on her face because every little noise coming from the kitchen gets echoed and amplified on the way to her room. Woops. πŸ˜›

The best part about these turkeys is that NONE of them broke when I brought them over to the party! They survived every bump on the road from Neshanic Station to Jersey City. This is a first, and a very big improvement for namabakery. πŸ˜€

Enjoy!


one weekend: 101 cupcakes + mini wedding project

What a big weekend of cupcakes! On Saturday, I went over to Bayside, NY to bake with a few guys from TANG from 1030am til around 930pm. We borrowed Godwin’s lovely kitchen, and I got to demonstrate how to properly pipe icing onto the cupcakes as well as decorate them. For decorations, I provided the white chocolate and chocolate butterflies, and several designs of the white chocolate leaves. On Sunday morning at 7am, the guys transported all 101 cupcakes to Passport to Taiwan festival at Union Square, NYC. It turned out to be a very hot and sunny day, which is great for the sun tanners, but not for the cupcakes. In the end, I still had a great time and I am really happy to have had the opportunity to bring nama bakery cupcakes to NYC. This whole weekend was a huge learning experience so I don’t regret any part of it.

While selling cupcakes, I also got to do some face/body painting with Vivian and Jenn for TANG. It was quite fun! Then, on Monday, I was called in to help my friend Sumi with wedding cupcakes for a coworker. Hope you guys enjoyed the cupcakes, and congratulations to the one getting married!

Also, thank you Vivian for helping me grab some of these pics during the event!

My feather banners! Made these for the festival 2 years ago. They were printed in Taiwan.

Orchids are a huge part of the Taiwanese culture. Taiwan is actually known as the Kingdom of Orchids.

The cupcakes.. getting baked again.

TANG logo, painted by Vivian. Nicely done!

face painting supplies, and the TANG brochure i had put together for this year's conference (upper left)

Fiona chases cupcakes, by Vivian!

I donated white chocolate leaves to Sumi's batch of cupcakes and helped with the decorating

White chocolate leaf, sugar pearls, blueberry, whipped chocolate, and cupcake with fudge icing

δ½›θͺ•ζ—₯ – Buddha’s Birthday

As mentioned in the previous post, there were two cupcake-licious projects set for this month. The first of the two took place today at a local fundraiser which was to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday – δ½›θͺ•ζ—₯ (fo2 dan4 ri4), and also to help the temple financially. On the Lunar calendar, the Buddha’s birthday is always April 8, but on our calendar, it varies every year, and this year would have been on May 10. But since the monks can’t be hosting the event at different temples at the same time, or there weren’t enough to host them at each location, this local temple celebrated today.

After a week of planning and design, and three days of building, here are some photos of the 50 cupcakes that were prepared for the fundraiser. Unfortunately, these weren’t vegan. At the end of the 4-hour event, 43 cupcakes were sold successfully. πŸ˜€ But first…

Common FAQ’s I received today:

Q: How did you make the butterflies?

A: Magic! Just kidding.. I used white chocolate and chocolate morsels which you can find in any supermarket. The rest is history.

Q: Did you use a template for the butterflies?

A: No, everything is free-handed. It’s as if I were drawing with white chocolate.

Q: Will you be able to provide a workshop in a future?

A: I’m not sure I have enough material to teach with.

Q: Do you own a bake shop?

A: No, I just do this for fun. Contact me if you’d like some cupcakes made!

Q: Did you study culinary arts?

A: No, I just like playing with food.

(Click on this first image below to go through the photos more easily.)