A year in cupcakes

Whilst having a bit of a clear out of photos on my iPhone, I actually came across a number of my old cupcakes that I have made over the past year and I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a retrospective post on some of the cupcakes I have made over the past year or so because I think I have really come a long way.

My first entry to Ironcupcake:Leeds May 2010. Image Courtesy of Ironcupcake:Leeds Flickr Set

I actually only started making cupcakes in April 2010. The first ones I ever made tasted great but were actually pretty dire from a presentation perspective. They were for a bake sale at work and I just remember seeing another colleague bring some cupcakes in that I thought looked brilliant.

The tipping point for me was when somebody else at work told me “Oh, yours aren’t cupcakes, they should look like that”. Cue me silently having a Bruce Banner style Hulk transformation and wanting to smash my plate of cakes, and shove them down said colleagues throat! Needless to say I didn’t and challenged myself to make better cakes!

I picked a choice selection of some of the ones I’ve made over the year, including a couple of previous winners from Ironcupcake: Leeds which I haven’t mentioned on the blog before.

This one is what I like to fondly call “First attempt with a bag” I bough a few cheap nozzles and tried piping. Needless to say the frosting was a bit sloppy and I ended up breaking my flimsy mixer too…

A bit limp to say the least

I did persevere though and got a bit better – as with all of these things I think practice does make perfect a lot of the time. What I did do is watch a fair few tutorials on Youtube. As much as I’ve not been hugely favourable about Xanthe Milton in previous posts, she does have a good video here.

Skip forward to May 2010 and I decided to enter Ironcupcake:Leeds which I stumbled upon whilst faffing about on Google. The theme for that month was “Fair Trade” and for moral support, Martini Man came along with me too as an entrant. I went for Earl Grey and Lemon and in the end I didn’t place (I didn’t expect to, it was my first ever comp!) I did however, get a special prize of free entry to the next comp due to my kick -ass signage! (See first photo)

Image Courtesy of Ironcupcake:Leeds Flickr Set

Roll on June and the next Ironcupcake Comp. The theme was “Pink and Blue” and the event was in aid of Cancer Research. I wanted to make a stand out cake and I wanted to challenge myself too. I decided to make a boozy one – Cosmopolitan (Which incidentally would fit into August’s competition as the theme is Cocktails, so I wonder if I could get away with making this one again?)

Ironcupcake: Leeds June 2010 Winner

There were so many lovely cakes, I remember it being a very busy event, over 20 cupcakes and to my surprise I came in 1st place! I think that this where I really started making me think about the cakes I could make.

Cocktail anyone?

My first victory! Image courtesy of the Ironcupcake:Leeds Flickr Set

I also entered in July too which was a “Countries of the World Cup” theme. I decided to go with the USA and create some peanut butter-cup cupcakes, with a Reeses Piece baked right inside. Amazingly enough I came 1st again!

July's winning cake

I did take a break from Ironcupcake for a while and started entering again this year, starting off with my Creme Egg Cupcake. I think I took a break to try and hone on on what my style is. I’ve flirted with glitter and brightly coloured frostings but I think I’ve found a style that suits, which can be found with most of the cakes I’ve created this year, most of which can be found on the blog.

I suppose the thing I am most proud of since starting up with Ironcupcake again is that I really do try and push myself to create technically better cakes. I also try and push myself in the way my cakes are seen, be it from creating silly signs, or making more work for myself by making mini cupcakes for tasting and larger ones for presentation.

However, I think that my high point this year so far has been creating 100+ wedding cupcakes. One woman and her Kitchenaid did good! I’d love to do more large scale cake making challenges, I’ll do them if people ask me but I’m not ready to set up shop just yet!

I like to think I have a few other tricks up my sleeve though so watch this space!

Will I get fed up of cupcakes? Who’s to say – I’m still in that honeymoon period, but we might take a break if we tire of eachother!

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