Apr 25, 2010

DIY Wedding Cupcakes

When Food Editor Kristen Olson at Betty Crocker decided to make 250 cupcakes for her twin sister’s wedding, she knew she needed great cupcake recipes and a timeline to stay on track. As the previous owner of a small bakery myself, I found her suggestions easy and affordable. Here are three of my own personal favorites, finished off with freshly made buttercream icing. For those who love the convenience of canned, once your tender taste buds make contact with this light and fluffy homemade icing, I promise you'll never go back. Incredibly easy to make - with one stick of real butter or margarine, four cups of confectioners' sugar (I never sift - the choice is up to you), vanilla extract and a few tablespoons of milk.


· 6 months:  Visit Pinterest and find recipes that are recommended and well-loved.
· 3 months: Select three or four to bake and give them the taste test. Are they moist? Flavorful? Can they handle being frozen and thawed?
· 1 month: Purchase non-perishable supplies, such as cupcake pans, parchment liners and decorating supplies.
· 1 week: Assemble a group of friends and family to bake, cool, wrap and freeze the cupcakes.
· 2 days: Move the cupcakes from the freezer to a refrigerator to thaw.
· 1 day: Frost and decorate.
· Day of wedding: Transport to reception hall and display on tiered cake or cupcake stands.


Cupcake Baking Tips

· Don’t do it alone! Enlist helpers for every stage of the process, including baking, decorating, transporting and displaying.
· Use cake mix. Baking upwards of 10 dozen cupcakes is no small endeavor. Save time by using cake mix rather than baking from scratch. The best part? Nobody will know the difference.
· Lower the baking temperature. When testing cupcake recipes, try baking one batch at 25 degrees lower than the temperature stated in the recipe. This may prevent the cupcakes from becoming misshapen, but means you may need to increase the baking time.
· Make frosting in double batches.  Even your trusty KitchenAid mixer can only handle so much frosting – don’t overload it with a quadrupled recipe.
· Two months before the wedding, do a complete test-run. Bake, freeze, thaw, decorate and transport a dozen or more cupcakes.  If all goes well, you better get baking.

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Apr 14, 2010

Carolina Herrera Collection

Who is Carolina Herrera and why is she so important? Carolina was born into the lap of Venezuelan luxury in 1939. She was destined to live a rich, traditional Latin American aristocratic life following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother who regularly traveled to Paris to have their clothes made at the great design houses of Balenciaga and Lanvin. In her thirties, Herrera and her jet-setting husband moved to New York and she began appearing on International Best Dressed Lists. Nearing 40, she considered trying some sort of fashion-related business venture and thought about fabric design, although she knew more about being a socialite than she did about sewing.

Retro Wedding Dress by Carolina Herrera

Herrera's business started small, with just a dozen employees, but soon grew rapidly. The socialites in her inner circle, women like cosmetics tycoon Estee Lauder and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, became her devoted clients. Her minimalist vision rocked the entire bridal industry in 1986 when she designed Caroline Kennedy’s $40,000 pearl-colored silk crepe floor-length gown, the most copied wedding dress in North America.

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