Strike a Cupcake Pose – Spring Has Sprung! A Photo Spotlight on Prairie Girl Bakery Minis

1 Comment

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Cupcake minis topped with creamy frosting surrounded by orange and yellow lilies on the brink of bursting open, and vibrant, fragrant hyacinths dripping in jewel tones.  Nope, these photos weren’t taken in a pretty park or in a magical floral oasis (but mind you, the flowers that did surround me were absolutely charming!).  These photos were taken in a little gem of a hideaway just steps away from Prairie Girl’s flagship store between King and Adelaide East, providing a respite from the noise of honking horns and the hustle and bustle of foot traffic.  Leave it to me to pose my cupcakes like mini models on a wooden runway.  THEY’RE TOO CUTE!

I may not have any photos just yet of Prairie Girl’s newest location in Yorkville by Bloor and Avenue, but I do have some of their Treats of the Week (minis priced at $1.75) to show off here: the sassy Blueberries & Cream on Golden Buttermilk with blueberry and cream cheese frosting and blueberry Jelly Belly, and the fudgy, decadent Toffee on Dark Cocoa with caramel-toffee frosting and sticky crumbled toffee bits.

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

The Blueberries & Cream was a fun, tart cupcake but if you can believe it, the Toffee was the nicest surprise for me!  I didn’t anticipate enjoying the Toffee as much as I did.  Toffee and caramel flavours have always been hit or miss for me.  Even though I don’t eat them much, I have a weakness for Caramilk chocolate bars but on the flip side, I had the worst experience with caramel corn when I was little (um, a lot of trips to the toilet vomiting) and even the sight and smell of it now makes me want to hurl.  And desserts like sticky toffee pudding and creme caramel are ones that still need a bit of exploration on my part.  Despite these reservations, I gave the Toffee a try and my was this little cupcake ever yummy!  I didn’t expect the flavour to be as rich and creamy as it was and it had this wonderful buttery warmth to it characteristic of great toffee and caramel things.

The adventures at Prairie Girl Bakery continue!

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

*****

Prairie Girl Bakery’s flagship is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.  And their *NEW* Yorkville location is situated by Bloor St. West and Avenue Road at 150 Bloor Street West.  They are open 10am-6pm Monday – Saturday; they are closed on Sundays and stat holidays.

Advertisements

Deck the Hall with Boughs of Mini Cupcakes! Chocolate, Peppermint Frosting & More at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part II!

3 Comments
DSCN0097

Not the most flattering photo of me, but it’s with cupcakes so it’s all good!

Even the bitter cold won’t keep me away from cupcakes!  I’m no winter warrior (after living in my homeland of Canada for 27 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that each year does not get easier and that I am, in fact, a wuss during both summer and winter seasons), but if I’m armed with a hat and super thick mitts and a scarf, there’s not much that will drive me away from the cake and frosting.  I even poo-pooed the weather forecast back in February during one of the worst storms of the season and frolicked (well, more like stomped and sloshed) around town in the snow and slush making cake pops at Le Dolci, having lunch at Mela Cafe, and stuffing my face with a strawberry Valentine’s cupcake at Short & Sweet on the way home.  Us cupcake fans know: when you love cupcakes you LOVE cupcakes, icky weather and all.

DSCN9699

I know I say this every year, but I am truly so excited for Christmas and the month of December!  I have plans with friends and family and my boyfriend, I have my Christmas presents ready to go, I’ve been taking advantage of some ridiculously fabulous sales (I’m nothing if not a fantastic shopper!), some desperately-needed scrapbook downtime is just a few weeks away, and for the first time in months, I feel calm, cool, collected and very content with the blog content I have planned for the rest of the month.  Last year I was really disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of more holiday shenanigans and while, in hindsight, the circumstances I faced that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do for the blog were uncontrollable and unavoidable, I still feel like I could have done more to make Christmas and the holidays on Ate by Ate really great.  And the way to make anything extra great is with cupcakes!

Introducing the marvelous minis from Prairie Girl Bakery!  I’ve only ever posted about their full-size ones so this is special.  Prairie Girl’s mini cupcakes ($1.75 each, $9.95 for half a dozen, and $18.95 for one dozen) come in all their permanent menu flavours and the bakery’s two Treats of the Week flavours.  Honestly though, even though they’re mini in comparison to the full-size ones, they are by no means teeny-tiny.  When I think of mini cupcakes, I think of a 4:1 ratio, bite-size morsels, and morsels you could easily pop in your mouth in one swift motion.  Let me tell you, Prairie Girl’s minis will give you MULTIPLE heavenly bites and I’d say they’re comparable to half a cupcake.  Two will truly hit the spot.  Hell, I think even one could given how rich and creamy and thick the frosting is!

DSCN9705

DSCN9712

What I am loving about Prairie Girl’s flavours these days (aside from the thick, creamy, scrumptious frosting) is how they’re wonderfully subtle in holiday spirit.  Aside from the dark cocoa chocolate cake with creamy vanilla peppermint frosting and crushed peppermint candies (pictured), the holiday flavours they’ve been doling out have come from their Treats of the Week line-up.  What you see here are mini golden buttermilk cupcakes with sweet, creamy cinnamon frosting topped with a hot cinnamon jelly bean!  Last week’s Treat of the Week?  Pumpkin on vanilla.  And this week?  Almond on chocolate and vanilla cranberry on golden buttermilk.

OH.MY.GOD.  I want everything!  And I only wish these flavours were around permanently and not only for a week!  What I love is that even though these flavours don’t necessarily scream “holiday” or “Christmas” necessarily, they touch on all the things we love about the festive season: the sights and smells of spices, nuts, and winter fruits.  I mean really, when was the last time you came across a CRANBERRY frosted cupcake?!  In my book?  NEVER.  Even though nothing beats lemon and coconut (and lemon and coconut meshed together!) in my heart, I love cranberry like you wouldn’t believe and I’ve always wished for a cranberry cupcake.  I really don’t think I’ll be able to get my sweet teeth on any before the week is over and while that makes me so sad, I’m so happy knowing this is a flavour on their rotating Treats of the Week menu.  If I’m patient enough, I’ll get to it the next time around!

DSCN9727

DSCN9726

DSCN9730

DSCN9721

Prairie Girl Bakery also offers a number of adorable decorative cupcake toppers that you can purchase up by the cash and they have almost type of cupcake box known to foodies!  All of their fab boxes have inserts in them, keeping all your cupcakes neat and tidy and smush-free!  What’s great is that they have so many different combinations.  If you want a regular-sized cupcake plus two minis, there’s a box for that.  If you want 4 minis (pictured), 4 inserts are waiting for those little cakes to be plunked down.  And if you want 2 little ones, you’ll get the cutest cupcake purse box ever!  My boyfriend is currently gaga over Prairie Girl’s chocolate cream cheese icing on golden buttermilk (which I still haven’t tried – foreshame!) and I am loving the chocolate peppermint.  It’s like a chocolate peppermint patty with frosting!

I had myself a jolly good time taking these photos (hello mini cupcake models!) and I’m hoping this is just the beginning of the wonderful and delicious Christmas cupcake season!

DSCN9714

The Prairie Girl cupcake car!

*****

Prairie Girl Bakery is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their new 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.

Cupcakes for the Holidays – A Photo Spotlight on Mini Cupcake Mania at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part I!

1 Comment

DSCN9737

If you think this is mouthwatering cupcake porn, wait till you see what I have in store for y’all tomorrow and for the rest of the month!  Cream cheese frosting, sprinkles, holiday decorations, crushed candy canes, gingerbread, marshmallows and plenty of decadent chocolate – THIS is what cupcakes are all about during the crazy, whirlwind month of December!  This is a photo spotlight sneak peek of the holiday cupcake blitz that’s about to unleash on Ate by Ate!  My goal this holiday season is to feature some shops I haven’t posted about, to showcase as many special holiday flavours as possible, and to finally get around to some of the seasonal ones that I’ve missed out on over the past few years.  With so many cupcake shops dishing out the limited time holiday menus and lineups, it’s hard to come keep up so I’ll be doing some new Cupcake Connections to keep everyone in the delicious loop and a special holiday Macaron Mania edition as well!  I have stumbled on some fantastic goodies so I’m so excited to show you all what the season has in store for us.  So, first up: mini cupcake mania at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part I!

DSCN9743

DSCN9742

DSCN9740

*****

Prairie Girl Bakery is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their new 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.

Who Doesn’t Love a Bake Sale? Lemon Sugar, Mint Chocolate, and Strawberry Cupcakes and Minis at Bake Sale

Leave a comment

Photo teaser post!  Full write-up on Bake Sale forthcoming for the holidays!

*****

Bake Sale (on the Kingsway) is located at 3076 Bloor Street West, between Montgomery Rd. and Brentwood Rd. North.  The Kingsway location is about 3 blocks west of Royal York Rd. and subway station.  Bake Sale is a bake shop in the west end that sells cupcakes, cookies, squares, and other desserts. 

Not Just a Pipe Dream – Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Ganache Piping Fun at Le Dolci! Part I

3 Comments

The Fall Harvest series is far from over, but after a full solid week of apple muffin recipes, fall farmers’ markets, and yummy fall sweets and breakfast comfort foods, I’m ready to take a small break before diving straight back in.  It’s time to get some frosting and cupcake fun back in the mix, Le Dolci style!  I’m so happy you were all so supportive and excited about my internship here at the studio when I posted about my first day and since then, I’ve been bouncing off the walls and soaking up every minute of it. 

I’ve learned so much and I’m really lucky I have Lisa and Miya to help guide me along.  It feels awesome knowing I’m helping Lisa and her business and being given all sorts of responsibilities and things to do.  Every time there’s something different, whether it’s mixing and baking a gazillion batches of vanilla cupcakes (minis and regulars) for orders, making fondant decorations, baking cake for cake pops, writing blog posts for the website, doing some photographh for the website and soon-to-be online store, and frosting and piping the afternoon away!

The fun and creativity that goes on during Le Dolci classes!

When I said I was learning a lot, I wasn’t kidding.  Let it be known that not only were my fondant olives my first foray into the sugary, squishy world of fondant, but that piping frosting was also completely unchartered territory.  But, wait, I bake cookies and cupcakes of my own!  How can I not have piped frosting before??  My family (or rather, my parents) don’t prefer frosting.  I know.  If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought I was adopted.  I lick frosting off the spoon.  THE FROSTING IS THE BEST PART.  And yet, all this time, I’ve been denied when it comes to my own homemade cupcakes.  Do I have fancy piping nozzles and tips?  Yup.  Have I used them?  Nope.  Those babies are being saved for when I eventually move out and won’t have to see my parents wrinkle their nose at the sight of icing sugar and butter.  I’m being dramatic – it really isn’t that bad!  You can understand why piping frosting would provoke such jubiliance on my part then, when for others it’s just part of the every day grind.

My first frosting piping project at Le Dolci was for a set of minis!  Cute little vanilla cupcake minis with pink vanilla buttercream frosting in the shaped of frosting “flowers”.  I’ll be honest, my first piping job was awkward.  As I was doing it, I was confused as to why it didn’t feel natural.  I know, it was my first time, so of course it wasn’t going to look perfect.  But this awkwardness was more than just my perfectionist personality screaming for mercy; this just felt…somewhat wrong.  

It wasn’t until I was on the streetcar after I left that I finally figured out what was wrong: I had used the wrong hand to pipe!  I’m right-handed and for whatever reason, I had started piping with my left!  I don’t know about you guys, but I do not have two fully-functioning hands.  I mean, my left hand isn’t impaired (I’m typing, aren’t I?), but aside from holding things, lifting it up to wave hello, and lifting things, my left hand is, well, kind of useless.  Hence why the first piping gig was less than stellar.

Enter frosting fun day #2.  After realizing my mistake, I was raring to go and this time, the results were MUCH better 😀  I piped bright, gorgeous yellow vanilla frosting “flowers” onto mini cupcakes again and dusted them with some edible sparkly glitter.  OOOO, FAIRY DUST!!  I had the mini cupcakes out on a cooling rack, I flipped the piping bag inside out to attach the tip and kept the top of the bag flipped down to fill the bag with frosting using a spatula.  Flipping the top of the piping bag back up, I twisted it tight, kept it taut with my left hand, and gently applied pressure with my right hand to pipe.  After frosting the minis, I dipped a paintbrush into the sparkly glitter and, doing what Lisa showed me, tapped the handle of the brush to gently glitter and dust the cupcakes.  Operation frosting was a success!

Did I help myself to one?  Pft, do cows go moo?  Of course I did!  Only I didn’t bother piping the frosting.  I just grabbed a mini and slapped some creamy frosting on it with a knife.  With cupcakes, there’s never any regrets or inhibitions 😉

*****

Le Dolci is a private studio located at 75 Portland St., just east of Bathurst near King St. West.  The studio hosts cupcake decorating classes and handles catering for both corporate and personal events.  For more information on classes, schedules, rates, and more, visit their official website here and their Facebook page here.