Sugar Heaven

June 23, 2009

….because pictures are worth a thousand (in this case, probably TENS of thousands) of calories!

cake

What you can’t appreciate from the picture is just how big these cakes are.  Size wise, each of them are about 12″ tall and about 20″ wide.  HUGE!!!!  I don’t even want to know how many pounds of butter goes into the icing that’s needed to cover one.  Oh, I’m hitting myself for forgetting to take a picture of the one that is shaped like a yorkshire terrier.  It’s alright, another excuse to go back in the future.  Gee, I use that excuse a lot, don’t I? ;)

If you are the fickle type that can’t seem to choose which cake to try, you are sooooo in trouble when you see this lineup of individual cakes.

cake2

Linny

Room Candy – always yummy!

http://www.roomcandygames.com

http://www.room-candy.com

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You ever watch that show called Heroes? Well, I happen to know a real superhero living amongst us (more specifically, in sunny Florida), and her name is Jessica Bailey.

Unlike us mere mortals, Jessica has the supernatural ability to bend time and stretch it out so that she can on any given day be simultaneously: a mommy to a 1 1/2 year old daughter, a website designer with her own swanky company, a blogger to three very active blogs, and who knows what else she hasn’t told me yet!

Here’s Jessica’s little blond cutie having a very serious discussion about being green with our Freddie frog toys.

The princess and her loyal subjects!

I’m sure being a devoted mom to the Princess takes up the bulk of Jessica’s day, and yet she finds time to blog about her life as a wifey/mommy/techie on her mommy blog: thetattooedmama.com

Come night time, Jessica dons on her tech head and designs website and blog designs via her company, Delicious Design Studios. If I were to try a similar feat, I would have probably named my company Sleep Deprived Inc.

True to its name, Jessica’s designs are simply digital yumminess. It’s hard to pin down her style of design, but what I’ve noticed is that Jessica leans toward happy girly colors (yay, pink!), and she could easily start another company designing scrapbook paper because many of her designs feature patterns that would look great as scrapbook paper. If you’re thinking about starting a blog or itching to update the look of your current site, this is the first site you need to check out because Jessica has a whole slew of ready made designs for the super impatient, and even a few freebie designs! For those of you who want something more customized, you’ll have to book your spot with Jessica quickly because a girl this talented is in very high demand. Last I checked, she’s taking on new customers for Spring ’09.

Last but not least (I’m getting winded just writing down all the projects Jessica is involved in!), Jessica is the creator/editor/blogger for the super sweet site, allthingscupcake.com. I must warn you, this site is highly addictive, and although the site is technically calorie free, the side effects of reading through the posts about real cupcakes may include a sudden case of sweettoothiritis! What’s cool is that Jessica and her team of contributors also scour the net to find other accessories with cupcake designs (e.g. cupcake Xmas ornament, anyone?), so the site is really a directory of…well, all things cupcake!

I’m sure you are curious as I am as to what drives this supergal, so I had to ask her a few questions that were on my mind:

1) Jessica, do you remember how old you were when you tasted your first cupcake? Do you remember what it looked/tasted like, and why you fell in love with cupcakes?

I can only imagine my love for cupcakes started at an early age. My mother loved to bake and would always include me. I remember making mini-pies when I was really little. I had this little muffin tray that had… maybe, wild guess here… 12 muffin cups. They were the size of a quarter and so so tiny. I would take these little trays, and fill the bottoms with a piece of pie crust, topping it with some jam and baking them for a few minutes. These were my mini pies. I don’t have the same memory with cupcakes but I do remember eating them often.

2) Craziest cupcake you’ve tasted/seen over the years?

I made a green tea & tapioca cupcake last year around Christmas time. I couldn’t find any matcha green tea so I had to resort to green tea powder from the health food store. Wasn’t quite the same but still delicious. I then filled these cupcakes with tapioca pudding. Yum!

3) If you were to be stranded on an island and can only eat one cupcake for 30 days straight – what cupcake would it be?

Oh geez! You just had to go there, didn’t you? I’d have to say the Walnut Cupcakes Topped with Rose White Chocolate Mousse and Baklava. Recipe by Cheryl Porro of Cupcake Bakeshop.

4) Moving onto Delicious Design Studio – how did you get started with web design?

I remember when I was young, around the age of 11, I would always play around with HTML and create my own “websites” and “fan sites”. Often being scolded for being on the computer too long, little did my parents know that what I was being grounded for, would eventually be the same thing that would help support my family as I got older. As the times changed, and things became more and more complicated, I started reading books and browsing the internet for solutions and “how-to” guides. That is how it all began.

5) How long does it usually take you to finish a project? Where do you usually get your inspiration for all your fabulous designs? And how long is the waiting list if we want YOU to design our blog/website?

Oh gosh! We have waiting lists from 2 weeks up to 6 months. I recently hired another designer to help me with the work load and she is fun and amazing to work with. I would love to be able to have a waiting list of 2 weeks instead of 2-3 months.

My inspiration comes from many different sources. On my desk, I must have between 10-12 books. Books about scrapbooking, web design, color, decorating, interior design. I can find inspiration in almost anything.

6) As a newbie blogger and someone who thinks html, CSS, PHP, SQL are all jibberish, what advice can you give gals like me who want to be more tech-savvy?

Read! Read as many books as you can. There is so much information out there, you just have to start from the beginning and take time to read and understand it. If you can afford design books, the internet is a great place to start as well.

7) I can’t even imagine how you manage to be a full-time Mom to a darling little girl, blogger for two sites and run your web design business! Other than catch up on sleep, what do you like to do when you actually have some free time to yourself? :)

Excuse me? What is this “free time” that you speak of?

If you tell Jessica to take on the world, I bet she’ll think it’s a piece of cake. Or more accurately, a piece of cupcake!

Extra yummy: After learning about Jessica’s island-worthy cupcake, I contacted Cheryl Porro of cupcakeblog.com (another cupcake blog – hooray!) to see if I could reprint the recipe and post a picture of the said cupcake. I present to you: Walnut Cupcakes Topped with Rose White Chocolate Mousse and Baklava. Please refrain from licking the screen.

This cupcake is truly a labor of love because there are four different recipes for each component of the cupcake. To get the full recipe, check out the step-by-step directions by Cheryl on her blog. Thanks for the picture, Cheryl!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Do you love cupcakes? Well, you are not alone! I’m convinced that cupcake mania is getting mainstream now because even my local Howe’s supermarket stocks different flavored cupcakes that they continually change to reflect the season. These ones caught my eye the other day.

Soda inspired cupcakes! Okay, first of all, for a drink that’s been around for such a long time, I’m amused at how many different variations there are of the name 7UP when spelled out. I initially wanted to spell it as 7-Up, but when I did my fact checking, I saw that Wikipedia has it listed as “7 Up”, whereas other sites spelled it as 7Up and 7up. And why is that big red dot never included in the written name?

Oh well, no point fussing over mundane details. Time to open the box. As you know, the main ingredient characteristic of 7UP soda is the distinctive lime/lemony flavor, and I got a strong whiff of lemon right when I opened the box. So refreshing! Size wise, these cupcakes were probably on the small side (around 2 inches in diameter and 3 inches high). I would guesstimate that as far as the bites/cupcake ratio goes, it’s about 3 1/4 mouthfuls per cupcake.

I tip my hat off to the company that developed these cupcakes – they certainly picked a pretty shade of pale green that looks a lot like the honeydew slush I had a while back. And check out those green and yellow sprinkles! Those have got to be custom made for the company. I wonder if they are also flavored with 7UP? I picked off a few sprinkles and sampled them, but couldn’t really come up with a definitive verdict.

But the best part of the cupcake was the swirl. These were obviously piped with a machine, but the strong curves of the frosting tweaked off into a peak were architectural enigmas! I just couldn’t stop staring at them!

If you squint your eyes, it almost looks like the petals of a rose. A minty green rose!

Mmm…swirly vortexes of buttercream perfection!

There has to be a scientific explanation as to why people love the swirly pattern of most cupcake frostings. I’ve read about the Golden spiral based on the Fibonacci numbers, and how this swirl pattern is present in many species of flora and fauna.

Exhibit A: Golden spiral based on the golden ratio (i.e. 1.6180339887)

Exhibit B: Top down view of the 7UP cupcake.

Superimpose the two images, and..Ohmygosh!! The divine proportion does explain the beauty that is the cupcake swirl! Thanks, Mr. Fibonacci!

Extra yummy: Aside from its perfect swirl, this cupcake had another twist – when I bit into it, I was expecting a spongy cupcake texture but instead got a dense, pound cake consistency. A soft drink that’s transformed into a cupcake that tasted like a mini lemon pound cake? A real mind bender! Kind of like our Jelly Donut Bed – it’s a dog bed fashioned out of a donut dog toy that is a plush replica of of a real glazed donut!

It’s got green and yellow sprinkles too!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Cupcakes Ahoy!

August 13, 2008

I had Boston Market for din-din a few days ago (meatloaf, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole topped with oatmeal streusel and toasted marshmallows – yum!), and saw these packaged cupcakes by the counter.

Hello – Boston Market has cupcakes now? Fantastic, I’ll take a week’s worth of them!

If you notice, the folks at Corporate has taken the extra step of packing the cupcakes with an additional cardboard piece that keeps these frosted delights intact even with my erratic driving, which has been known to destroy the structural integrity of pristine looking dessert, especially of the cake variety. Even the single cupcake pack comes in a plastic box that has a special shaped bottom that cradles the cupcake such that it stays put. You get extra brownie points (pun intended) for that, oh Boston Market!

The two flavors available are Death By Chocolate and Neapolitan. Here’s a little heads up – make sure you arm yourself with a very tall glass of milk to go with these cupcakes because when I first bit into the chocolate cupcake, I nearly went into a sugar/chocolate induced shock. If you’ve had Boston Market’s chocolate cake before, that’s what the chocolate cupcake tasted like – minus the additional 260 calories per serving compared to the sliced cake version. A cupcake that is cute and chocolatey? I think I just found a new staple the next time I do my Boston Market night!

I had the Neapolitan cupcake the day after, and spent a few minutes beforehand gazing dreamily into the beautiful layers of pink/mint green frosting on top of the chocolate cupcake base. I wonder if these frosting tops were done by hand or with a machine?

I couldn’t really taste any mint flavoring (or is it pistachio for the green?) in the frosting, but it still complemented the chocolate cupcake on the bottom very nicely. And such a witty take on the Neapolitan ice cream.

Photo credit: wikipedia

Look, we have our versions of the Neapolitan as well!

Neapolitan ice cream charm

Chocolate+Strawberry+Vanilla cupcake toys = the Room Candy Neapolitan cupcake trio!

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

Show Me Your Chi Chis!

August 1, 2008

According to an LA Times article I read yesterday, Los Angeles is the land of chihuahuas, with nearly 60,000 registered chihuahuas in the LA county. I’m guessing that the real number is even higher than that!

Good things do come in small packages!

Here’s the list of the top 10 most popular dog breeds in LA by number of registrations:

1. Chihuahua

2. Labrador Retriever

3. German Shepherd

4. American Pitbull Terrier

5. Poodle

6. Cocker Spaniel

7. Chow Chow

8. Rottweiler

9. Golden Retriever

10. Daschund

I can’t believe the maltese breed didn’t crack the top 10. It’s okay, Wally and Tiki, you’re both still number one on my list!

Anyhoo, to celebrate the mighty chihuahua topping the list, I dug up a few pictures of chihuahuas that people have sent me over the years.

This is Lucy on our Cosmopolitan Donut Bed

Look at the color of those eyes!

This is one of Myla Kent’s chihuahuas Daisy playing with our Daisy The Cupcake toy. Talk about serendipity!

And Myla’s other chihuahua Bear getting comfortable inside our Jelly Donut Bed!

Lulu and her pups on our Fur My Honey Rectangle Nest bed.

Last but not least, here’s Nunu on our Velour For Sure Donut Bed.

I have to admit, it’s hard to resist the charms of a chihuahua!

Extra yummy: The drawing of the chihuahua you see on the top of the post is actually the official mascot of our Poop Culture dog t-shirt line. I introduced the t-shirts a couple of years ago and haven’t had much time to grow the line as our burgeoning dog toy collection was taking up most of my time. I think it may be time to give it the TLC it needs – you know, as in Tiny Little Chihuahua.

Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!

A month ago, I received an invitation from Ariel, a buyer at Henri Bendel, to participate in their week long event, The Dog Days of Summer. Yes, it’s that Henri Bendel in New York, the famed department store for all things uber chic and fabulous! Since New York is a mecca for high fashion and dog lovers, Henri Bendel will turn its atrium into a “doggie playground” for a week (7/29 – 8/4), and will feature products from a handful of pet manufacturers. I am beyond excited and honored that they chose Room Candy to be one of the vendors!

Here’s a sneak peek at the select Room Candy dog toys that will be featured at the event.

Henri Bendel Kit 1: These are our donut toys and our plush vanilla ice cream toy wrapped in a crisp cello bag and tied off with a pink ribbon.

Notice the hand cut pinking edge on the top of the bag! We’re all about details.

Aerial view of the bags of toys. I feel as though we’re preparing for a big catering event with all these bags lined up together.

Kit 2: Cake set with our Strawberry Shortcake toy, Triple Truffle Torte toy and Raspberry Almond Sandwich toy.

I love doilies, and I think the addition of a doily on the bottom of the cake toys really completes the look of the packaging.

These hexagon shaped containers are the perfect size for these three toys. While I was shopping for packaging options, I considered packaging these in sushi boxes and even ice cream sundae boxes, but the height of the boxes were too short for our puffy toys!

Kit 3: Cupcake toys galore!

Don’t these containers remind you of a bee’s honeycomb?

I just love cupcakes! I actually commissioned a bakery to do real buttercream cupcakes fashioned like our cupcake toys last month for a photo shoot. Check out this picture of the real cupcakes and our toy cupcakes side by side.

I am so craving a cupcake right now!

You can read more about the event on the Henri Bendel website. Do stop by the event with your dog if you’re in NYC! Special thanks also to Ariel, Lindsey and Alexa for all your help in coordinating the logistics for this event. This is definitely the highlight of my year!


Linny

www.room-candy.com

Room Candy – always yummy!