WE'VE MOVED

Hello!

Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!

Sincerely,
Syl

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prairie Girl Bakery

There's a new bakery in the city! We had been planning to visit since the opening, but have been blaming the cold weather for my resistance to leave the office.

Easter Monday wasn't a weather-friendly day either, but enough waiting. We took the chance and luckily didn't get rained on. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera with me, but my colleague Jen did (yes, the same Jen that went with me on my first NYC Cupcake Tour). So all the photos in this post are courtesy of Jennifer Lum:

Suite 106, 18 King Street East
Toronto, ON M5C 1C4
(416) 504-2253

When you first step into Prairie Girl Bakery, you'll notice how clean, bright, and spacious it is. There will be customers in line and ordering cupcakes, but you won't mind the wait because you'll be distracted by this wall:

Don't you wish you had cupcake drawers like this at home? They even slide out:

Very clever and what a practical way to store and keep track of all the cupcakes.

There's also some nice cupcake art hanging on the walls.

But let's go back to the cupcakes, Prairie Girl Bakery offers two cupcake sizes: regular and mini. Five cupcake bases: dark cocoa, golden buttermilk, red velvet, banana, and carrot. The dark cocoa and golden buttermilk can be paired with many different icing flavours. The red velvet and carrot are matched with cream cheese icing, while banana gets its own peanut butter icing.

We went with half a dozen mini cupcakes in order to sample as many as we could that day. We tried: Vanilla Lemon, Chocolate Peppermint, Chocolate Strawberry, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Carrot Cream Cheese, and their treat of the week: Cafe Au Lait (chocolate with coffee butter icing).

Back at the office, we sliced each cupcake in half for the taste test. All the cupcakes were spongy and light with a good texture (not too crumby). We found that the icings were also very soft and good in flavour. My favourite would have to be the Chocolate Strawberry. Most places don't get the strawberry flavour in the icing to be noticeable, but this one was. I think it's safe to say that I will be back for some more!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amish Soft Pretzels

This past weekend, our friend Julia (you met her here) came to visit. She had moved back from China and is looking to start a career in Toronto. On Saturday morning, while I was making us pancakes for breakfast, I noticed an egg sticking to the carton. We thought it was cracked, but only when we took it out did it break!

I had already used the egg I needed for pancakes, so instead of wasting this extra egg, my mom decided to make pretzels.

She had clipped this recipe from the Toronto Star and stuck it on our fridge:

It is pretty simple recipe, but instead of bread flour, we used all-purpose flour.

Don't they look cute? We also decided to add a little sweetness by sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top:

Ready for the oven:

Mmm, I love the texture of the pretzel:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

How: Pinwheel Cupcakes

Spring? Is that you? We really missed you and your cousin Summer. To welcome you, I made some pinwheel cupcakes for the wind you bring.

I think pinwheel cupcake toppers are adorable. I've seen places that sell them, but really wanted to make edible ones.

Fondant Pinwheels

Rolled fondant
Gel paste colours
Clean toothpicks
Water
A rolling pin
A knife
A square cookie cutter
  1. If you are lucky enough to have coloured fondant, then you can skip these steps! Unless you want white-coloured pinwheels, you will have to dye your white fondant. Get the gel paste in the colours you want and use a clean toothpick to dab into the gel.
  2. Transfer the gel from the toothpick onto the fondant. Knead and roll until the fondant is completely coloured. Please do not double-dip the toothpick, use a new one if you need more gel for a darker shade.
  3. I use a practice mat, or you can use a clean surface to roll your fondant out. If you don't have a square (or square-ish) cookie cutter, use your knife to cut one out.
  4. Then, make four cuts from the centre to the corners. Make sure you leave some room in the centre, do not cut all the way through.
  5. Carefully peel one of the corners and fold it down. The tip should go towards the centre. If needed, dab a tiny bit of water in the centre to make the fondant stick.
  6. Going counter-clockwise, I folded down the next corner.
  7. Repeat.
  8. Repeat until all four are folded towards the centre.
  9. Next, create a little fondant ball and use it to "pin" all the folds down. Again, use a tiny dab of water if the ball does not stick. Gently move the pinwheel to parchment paper sprinkled with icing sugar. Let the fondant dry on top of the sugar (prevents the fondant from sticking to the parchment paper).
  10. Keep the pinwheels away from sunlight, water, dust, and out of reach from children or pets. The should be firm enough in 2-3 hours for decorating. You can also make these ahead of time and use them within the month.
  11. If you would like to, buy lollipop sticks for the fondant pinwheels. You can attach them on the back using royal icing.

Now make your cupcakes! I tried out the Lemon Fairy Cakes from Two Dishes, but used my own lime buttercream for the frosting. The cupcakes turned out too dry for my liking, I'm wondering if I over mixed the batter. I followed the recipe to the dot, which required more work than other cupcake recipes, so I am a bit disappointed that they didn't turn out as I hoped.

The pinwheels are easy to make and are a great alternative from fondant flowers. They will be pretty for Easter or tea parties!

I also want to add this: I took these 18 cupcakes to work and normally would leave them out in the kitchen for my colleagues. This time, I held a little bake sale and we donated $82 to the Japanese Red Cross Society. So, I want to thank my generous co-workers at Tundra Books, McClelland & Stewart, and the Random House of Canada Design and Typesetting team.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Giveaway Winners

So we ran two giveaways this past week and it's time to announce the lucky winners!

I found it fascinating that the majority of you preferred the paperback cover of Baking Cakes in Kigali to the hardcover! Applause goes to the designer of that whimsical cover, Terri Nimmo!

The three winners who will each be receiving a paperback copy of Baking Cakes in Kigali are:
  1. Margaret
  2. Yael
  3. Amanda

So, has anyone been working on entries for the Read Women of Philadelphia competition? I don't know if I have the chops to do it, but I look forward to what others come up with!

The three winners who will each be receiving a package (an apron and product vouchers) from the Real Women of Philadelphia are:
  1. Jonnie
  2. Carolyn
  3. Rebecca
Congratulations and thank you to everyone that entered! The six winners, please check your inbox for an e-mail from me! I will need your mailing address to have your prizes sent to you.

Happy reading and happy cooking everyone!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Real Women of Philadelphia

Good morning bakers! A month ago, we were contacted about a program called the Real Women of Philadelphia. You may have heard of it since the first season started in the States and they're starting a second. The exciting news is that it is now here in Canada too!

Real Women of Philadelphia will be hosted by Food Network’s Anna Olson, so let's have her tell you what it's about:


So to recap, this is an eight week competition, where themes (dessert, appetizer, side, or entrée) are revealed. All you have to do is get some Philadelphia Cream Cheese, film yourself cooking it, and submit your original recipe. Sounds good so far?

Well, from there, two finalists will be selected each week. The sixteen finalists will then be flown in Toronto for a live cook-off! Pretty exciting as there will be four Grand Prize Winners. Here's the best part, the four winners will be brand ambassadors for Philadelphia Cream Cheese, be contributors to the Real Women of Philadelphia cookbook, and win $20,000.

Yes.

Whoa!

Please take it all in.

Are you ready to start? Let's kick off the launch with a little giveaway!
  1. Fill in the form below to enter. The Real Women of Philadelphia giveaway starts on Monday, April 4, 2011 and ends on Friday, April 8, 2011. Entries submitted after 12 midnight EST on Friday, April 8, 2011 will not be considered.
  2. This contest is available to residents of Canada only!
  3. There are three prize packs to be won, consisting of a Real Women of Philadelphia apron and some product vouchers for some Philadelphia products to get your cooking started. Good luck!
Don't forget to visit www.realwomenofphiladelphia.ca for more information!

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