Swirled Cotton Candy and Fluffy Rainbow Clouds – Floating Around in Cupcake Heaven at Le Dolci

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Okay, so I’m a day late with the Vanilla Cupcake Day love, but I promise that this post is worth the extra 24 hour wait!  I don’t know if anyone keeps up with all the special and specific “food days” that come and go every year, but I was gobsmacked when I found out that all 365 days of the year celebrate a different kind of dish and confection!  It was the quite the head scratcher when I started seeing tweets on my Twitter feed about Donut Day, S’mores Day, and a host of other random food days.  I wondered, “how in the world do people know these things?!  And is every day a food day of some sort?” 

Enter my lovely, longtime friend Katrina @ The Demure Muse.  During the summer, she gave me this amazing, super fun book that’s dedicated to – you guessed it – 365 days of food!  Equipped with recipes for every day of the year, the book also includes a “calendar” that’s split up my month and tells you what each and every day is celebrating.  She knows I love food, she knows I love books, she knows I love to bake and putter in the kitchen – she knows me well. 

Yesterday, November 10th, was Vanilla Cupcake Day.  Oh, the humble vanilla cupcake.  So simple yet so delicious and deliciously complex!  Even though I love fudgy chocolate desserts like chocolate frosted cake, brownies, and Black Forest cake, I have to say that between vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes, vanilla edges out and takes the cake for me.  I love the flavour of vanilla frosting on top of a rich, fluffy golden vanilla cupcake.  I love my vanilla cupcakes fluffy as opposed to dense and cake crumbly, and I especially love vanilla frosted cupcakes adorned with tons of sprinkles!  My weakness is rainbow sprinkles, but I love chocolate sprinkles, crystal/coarse sugar, and anything bright, punchy, and colourful.  

If I had choose what type of vanilla combinations I enjoyed the most, I’d say vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, vanilla cake with lemon frosting, and vanilla cake with thick chocolate frosting.  I know it might sound weird, but I don’t enjoy the combination the other way around with vanilla frosting on chocolate cake quite as much.  It has to be the chocolate on top with the vanilla on the bottom if we’re talking about simple vanilla combos.  When you’re a cupcake lover, you can be very particular!

Vanilla cupcakes and lickably delicious vanilla buttercream frosting in a rainbow of colours are our specialities at Le Dolci and I’m so happy I get to post these photos because they were all done by yours truly!  We had an order of 2 dozen frosted cupcakes to do and my only limitation was to make the cupcakes pretty and fun.  Oh hell, no problem.  I got to choose the colours, the colour scheme, and the overall look.  Oh, this was going to be FUN! 

I was dying to use the gorgeous shade of lemon yellow frosting I had mixed up and I wanted the colour scheme to be airy, fluffy, and cute.  Yellow and blue go quite nice together, but I wanted more than two colours and thought, “Ooo, I’ll do some pink!  Pink, yellow, and aqua sky blue will make quasi rainbows!”  So there I was with my head up in the cupcake clouds of cupcake la-la land when I thought, “hmm, if I want this to look reeeally cute and fluffy, I’ll swirl the pink and blue together to make them look like cotton candy!”  I was so excited about the colour scheme I had to write it down before doing it for fear I would mess it up.  And after frosting them, I got to add some sparkle and glam by dusting edible glitter all over them!

These are the first regular-sized cupcakes I’ve ever frosted and decorated in my life (I’ve done minis before, remember these guys?) and it was SO.MUCH.FUN.  I used the star decorating tip to frost these and used three separate piping bags so I wouldn’t muddy or mix up the colours.  I used one piping bag to do the blue and the blue-and-pink cotton candy swirl, one piping bag to do the pink, and the third piping bag to do the yellow.  I’m right-handed, so I twist and keep the bag taut with my left hand while I squeeze and guide the piping with my right hand in a clockwise direction. 

With cupcake frosting, it’s actually not the piping that’s difficult.  The pain in the butt is actually filling the piping bag!  Whether you’re doing it for minis or regular-sized cupcakes, the filling of the piping bag is a tad on the messy and clumsy side, what with having to roll down the top, keeping the bag open, getting all the frosting in there without smearing it all over the place, and trying to get the frosting as close to the bottom of the bag as possible to prevent wasted frosting smeared up at the top.    After that though, it’s smooth sailing!

        

I’m so excited to experiment with other piping tips and other styles of piping frosting.  And with the holidays coming up, I’m positive there will be many more chances to have more decorating and piping fun with lots of fab colours.  I call these my happy, sunshiney, cotton candy, up in the clouds, My Little Pony-esque vanilla frosted cupcakes with sparkly fairy pixie dust! 😀

*****

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.

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Hallowe’en Headquarters – A Spooky & Sweet Cupcake Lover’s Paradise! Lollicakes on Mount Pleasant Road

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Happy Hallowe’en everyone!  I hope everyone’s had a freakishly fun weekend and Hallowe’en day so far!  My Hallowe’en was spent snapping a gazillion photos for the blog today and looking at some of the cutest Hallowe’en treats and paraphernalia!  I may hop around the city on a regular basis, but I don’t think I’ve jumped on and off the subway and streetcar as much as I did today.  I was all over town hitting up some of my favourite places to capture the once-a-year occasion in all its orange-and-black glory.  I promised you all treats for tonight, so I’m here to deliver a nice helping of Hallowe’en posts, just in case you didn’t already fill up on sweet treats!  Kind of like the giddy emptying of a trick-or-treat bag 😀  Let’s get started!

Up first: Hallowe’en at Lollicakes!  Lollicakes is a cupcake bakery and merchandise retail shop located in uptown Toronto on Mount Pleasant Rd. just north of Davisville Ave.  If you’re the type of person who squeals over cupcakeries and the design and retail concept of “the cupcakery”, you will go bananas over Lollicakes because this shop is EVERYTHING CUPCAKE and more!  Do you like to collect cupcake related things?  Is your house or apartment adorned with cute cupcake kitchen tools, accessories, candles, photos, and recipe books?  Does the thought of outfitting your kitchen or room in true cupcake fashion make your heart flutter?  If you said yes to even one of those, you need to come here.  It is a cupcake haven.  Or heaven.  Or both.

Not only does Lollicakes sell fresh baked cupcakes on a daily basis, but they also sell all of the following: cupcake recipe books, wrappers, toppers, stands, trinket boxes, backpacks, makeup bags, picture frames, aprons, oven mitts, wallets, luggage tags, notepads, clipboards, paper stationery, cards, and cupcake and cookie baking tools and equipment.  You can pick your jaw up from off the floor now – it’s a cupcake dream come true.

Hallowe’en is awesome here at Lollicakes.  They have so many cute Hallowe’en related baking accessories and of course, Hallowe’en themed cupcakes and trinkets.  They have pumpkin trinket boxes, Hallowe’en cookie cutters, treat bags, and lots of sweet eats.  By the cash and counter today they had buckets and baskets of frosted cookies decorated like ghosts and jack-o-lanterns, chocolate covered R.I.P. treats on a stick, and plenty of frosted regular and mini cupcakes with Hallowe’en chocolate toppers and sprinkles!  Regular cupcakes are priced at $3 and mini ones come in at $2.  Granted, prices are higher if they come with the giant chocolate toppers, but if we’re talking about base price, those are the prices we’re working with.  This puts Lollicakes in the mid-to-higher range among other cupcakeries in the city.  The low-end (price-wise, not quality!) is around $2.50 and the high-end is about $3.25-$3.50.

Lollicakes is also the type of cupcakery that focus more on the asthetics than on flavour menus.  Every cupcake lover has their preferences.  Some love having 20 different flavours of cake and frosting to choose from while others find that type of system way too fussy and prefer having simple vanilla and chocolate cupcakes that are prettily decorated.  For the record though, Lollicakes does vanilla and chocolate cake and frosting, period.  Their vanilla buttercream frosting comes in a rainbow of colours and their cupcakes are often decorated with different kinds of sprinkles and sometimes fancy chocolate toppers.  For Hallowe’en, they had vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with orange, purple, and bright monster lime green frosting with colour coordinate sprinkles, as well as a cute silver tray of cupcakes with the Hallowe’en chocolate toppers already on them.  Eyeballs, skulls, skeleton hands, spiders and cobwebs, witches’ fingers, the whole shebang!  

My parents (and probably some friends) would be over the moon about Lollicakes because their cupcake confections are not too sweet.  If you’re the type of person who enjoys the idea of cupcakes but shudders at the thought of sickly sweet frosting and/or cake, you would most definitely breathe a sigh of relief when eating these because the sweetness level is a little lower.  With Lollicakes’ cupcakes, think fluffy.  Don’t think dense.  The frosting is thick but with a fluffy texture to it.  The vanilla flavour is subtly sweet and you don’t get any of the “butter” taste which is a good thing in my opinion.  The cake is incredibly soft.  If you prefer a denser cake, these probably aren’t for you but if you “mmm” at the thought of pillow-soft, airy fluffiness, these fit the bill.  I think a lot of cupcake devotees will either love them or hate them.  If you enjoy sugary sweetness with thickness and density and heavy vanilla flavour, you won’t enjoy these.  However, if you’re like my parents and can’t stand that type of texture and strength in sweetness, these are more your speed.

One of the things I really adore about Lollicakes shop is how it isn’t age-specific.  Even though they have cute, kid-friendly items, it’s the type of shop that doesn’t alienate its older cilentele.  There’s something for every type of cupcake lover here: the collector, the interior decorator, the beginner, everyone.  You can find cupcake items in other stores, but to have an entire shop dedicated to cupcake things alone in this capacity with this type of selection is rare.  They have items here I’ve never seen at other places and I think it functions as a fabulous gift shop for birthdays and holidays.  Part of me whimpers every time I leave the shop though because everything is so darn cute and in my opinion, perfect for my own house.  One of these days I’m going to end up living in a house just like Hansel and Gretel and then I’ll really be in trouble.

 

*****

Lollicakes is located at 559 Mount Pleasant Rd. just north of Davisville Ave.