The New York Aquarium means a lot to us — not only have we been members for years, but it was also the place Matt and I got married in 2006. It’s been nearly a year since Superstorm Sandy, and still the aquarium is a mess. About 2/3 of the exhibits remain shuttered or have been destroyed, and the lower level of the Sea Cliffs is still flooded. Even partially opened, revenues are down since there’s almost nothing left to see — no tour groups, class trips, or day camp visits. We visited a few weeks ago and were completely devastated to see a place we love so much in such disarray.
Naturally, we jumped at the chance to help them. And though we do lots of cool events, this one might be one of the most memorable ones.
On Thursday, September 12th, we’ll be participating in Sip for the Sea — a big ol’ fancy food tasting event with bites and drinks and jazz and blah blah blah. You probably know the drill by now since we do a few dozen of these every year, and you’re always getting asked to shell out a few hundred bucks to go to a food tasting event. This one is worth it, and here’s why:
1. It’s for the aquarium! Walruses! Penguins! Come ON! I bet you look at cute animals on the internet all the time!
2. The tickets are expensive at $200, but $125 of each is tax deductible. And since all the food is being donated, you can sleep knowing most of the money is going to otters and seals and other things that are so cute you can’t help but squee-ing.
3. The food at this one is going to be killer: Del Posto, Union Square Hospitality (Danny Meyer’s group), Beauty & Essex, Almond, etc etc etc. How fancy will you feel in a cocktail dress, listening to the sounds of some early 20th century jazz, noshing on that food? Perhaps the only thing that would be better….
4. ……………would be drinking wine and eating fancy food while listening to early 20th century jazz in a pretty outfit in the Central Park Zoo!
You can act like the fanciest lady (or lad) that has ever lived while supporting a great cause AND looking at a freaking polar bear. Tell me you know another person who can say they’ve done that.
Learn more about Sip for the Sea, and buy your tickets, HERE. And when you’re done with that, go out and buy yourself a cupcake or brownie or something, because, hey, it’s Friday!
We’re 6 days away from Googa Mooga, which will be all sorts of amazing and will change your life and whatnot. I, of course, will not be posting about that today, because I have an incredibly messed up sense of priorities.
What will we be talking about today?
The Simpsons Tapped Out, a game for iPhone/Android that advertises itself as “Life Ruiningly Fun!”. And you know what? It IS life ruiningly fun. It’s been ruining my life since last October and I can’t stop it.
I’m not really sure how to describe the point of this game as, well, there is no point. You’re building and designing your own Springfield, so it’s sort of like owning a dollhouse. Except less expensive, you can keep it in your pocket, and you never need to dust it. Also unlike a dollhouse, this one has a 24 hour animation of Hans Moleman getting hit by a football in the groin.
Ahhhh! My groin!
This has been the #1 game on iTunes for a while now, so I don’t doubt that many of our readers are also addicted. And that means that you’re all in the same boat as I am- desperately collecting as many eggs as you can before “Whacking Day” ends at some point this Thursday.
Me, I’m desperate. I had to take a few day off the game to “do my job”, then the developers server problems locked me out for a bit, and there was lots of bad luck with the snake/egg ratio. Point is, now I’m far behind the pace I need to get the Sleep Eazy Motel and Miss Springfield. So what can I do about this?
I can intimidate entice you all to give me your snake eggs.
In the event you’re actually still reading what can only be described as the most shameless blog post in the history of this company- remember that bit about Googa Mooga in the beginning? The giant music/food festival which sold out in like 20 seconds? Well guess who has a bunch of free freaking tickets to hold over your head to make you dance like cheese eating surrender monkeys?
My user name is AllisonF718. You give me your eggs, you let me know who you are and how many you have me over on Twitter or Facebook, and whoever gives me the most gets 2 general admission tickets to Saturday’s Googa, featuring Sharon Van Etten, Matt & Kim and more.
"But that’s not fair!" you say! "I was smart enough not to get sucked into that massive timewasting orgy of pointless phone tapping! Where are MY free tickets!" you say! Well don’t worry- I’ve set aside a few for bribes, but I still have more to give away to our devoted fans. You NEED to pay attention to our Twitter over the next few days, because that’s where I’m going to be doing it. What’s it going to entail? No freaking idea. I’m doing this the same way I make all my important decisions- I’m downing a few bourbons and then making some crap up. I’ve got a .631 average in good decision making that way, which is WAY better than most!
Now as I didn’t get sent a picture of today’s cupcakes from the kitchen last night, here’s random picture of Phyllis Diller.
Cupcakes would have looked better.
McFadden: Victorian lemonade cake made with Pimm’s, lemon ginger buttercream, candied lemon zest
German Chocolate: Chocolate cake, salted caramel buttercream, roasted coconut
I can’t write the Tumblr today because I accidentally left the television on some channel before when I was making dinner, and when I came back into the room they were having a mini “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” marathon. I have not moved from the couch since.
How is it legal to air this many episodes of “Law & Order” in a row? We know what this show does to people! You catch a marathon off-guard, your whole damn week is ruined! RUINED!
Anyway, here’s cupcakes. They go really well with tv and….er…something something. TV.
Today is the first day of Robicelli’s at Internet Week, meaning that “Allison Getting No Sleep Week” is officially underway! We also have our normal wholesale orders, the shop at DeKalb Market, whoopie pies for Madison Square Eats via Red Hook Lobster Pound, Rooftop Films, Techmunch AND Roller Disco this week. All part of the territory as a small business owners, but this week is just a tad more crowded than most.
Fortunately, looking at your calendar and getting a stabbing pain in your eyeball is nothing that the internet can’t cure! (or properly diagnose- according to WebMD I either am stressed, or I have a bleeding brain tumor. Either or.)
Yesterday was the third Mother’s Day in a row that I wasn’t with my kids because I was working, and to put it mildly, I was devestated. And then it was like an angel came down from the heavens and squeezed it’s etheral little body into my laptop because THIS appeared in my Facebook feed, which I can only describe as the single greatest thing I have ever seen on the Internet (this week at least):
How great was that?!?!?!? SERIOUSLY, how great was that!!!!
I at once reposted, mentioning that it made my day. And for the second time that day, Internet Jesus decided to get involved. Robicelli’s superfan Tom Sullivan, who not only has been shopping at our store regularly for a while but also makes me smile a mile wide whenever I see him, happened to see my post. AND Mr. Tom Sullivan happens to have in his possession THE ENTIRE MR. T VIDEO. Sixty glorious minutes of Mr. T cavorting in camo booty shorts and tube socks, “rapping” about things like remembering to drink your milk, and throwing down some truth about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks and climbing your way out of the hood!
So what does the lovely Mr. Sullivan do? He puts it on a thumb drive, takes the train aaaallllll the way to DeKalb Market, grabs my laptop and puts it on for me to watch whenever I get stressed out.
But wait, there’s more! Not two days before that, I get an email from a woman named Danielle who writes:
“I’ve been debating on sending you an e-mail for what seems like more than a year now. I’ve been trying to think of a way to word it, so that I don’t sound like some creepy stranger. Besides, I am not sure there is a way to send a fan e-mail without coming across as a creepy stranger. I just wanted to say that I just love your cupcakes, your blog and your twitter account…....I just love what Robicelli’s stands for and what you do……..In summary, I just wanted to say thank you for making the best cupcakes in the world! Please keep doing what you’re doing!”
How sweet is that!
Really guys, I just need to thank you all. Because when I have crazy weeks like the one that’s coming up, and I wonder why we do it, you remind me- because we’re making tons of people happy, and those people happen to be the greatest people in the world. You make us smile every single day, whether or not you bring us semi-educational videos with D-list celebrities from the 80s. Though that ALWAYS helps.
We’re lucky that we don’t just have customers- we have fans. And our fans become our friends, and some have even become our family. I hope we get to keep making you guys happy for the rest of our lives.
Now go get a tissue, wipe your eyes, then go out and make sweet love to one of these puppies and you’ll feel extra warm and cuddly inside.
***Note: I mean “make love” in the metaphorical sense- not the literal sense. Just needed to clarify so I don’t get sued if there’s some sort of mishap***
Clockwise from front: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, German Chocolate, McFadden, Liddabit
German Chocolate: Chocolate cake, salted caramel buttercream, roasted coconut
If you remember, Matt was tattooed by Shane on Inkmaster’s third episode, but we weren’t allowed to talk about the show or his tattoo for contractual secrecy reasons. Now that it’s over, here’s a GIGANTIC photo of Matt’s tattoo!
It’s even more remarkable in person. Trust me - I’ve been waking up to it every day for six months now. Look at the subtle striations on the Robocoup blade! I mean, that’s just bananas! Seriously, if you ever run into Matt in person, don’t be shy about asking to see this thing. It’s without question the best tattoo I’ve ever seen in my life, and definitely deserves to be enjoyed.
Also, he got our kids names put into it, but didn’t get my name because he claims it’s “bad luck”. At least that’s what he tells me.
In totally unrelated news, last night Matt and I attended the official “Call for Entries” party for the 2012 Food Film Festival! This was one of my favorite food events of last year, so we were thrilled to be able to be a part of it again. Click here to learn more about how you can submit a film!
Now for cupcakes - Chocolate Caramel Pretzel is BACK! This one is one of our most popular ever, so go find out what all the fuss is about!
Clockwise from front: Oatmeal Cream Pie, Chocolate Caramel Pretzel, Southern Belle, German Chocolate
We’ve got news to talk about today, some pretty big news in fact, but we’re all going to have to hold off for a minute while I go off about something that has nothing to do with baked goods. (surprised?)
If you don’t know them, this is Moose A. Moose and his sidekick, Zee. Yes it’s a cartoon moose and bird, but this is important. Seriously.
Anyone who has children under the age of 10 knows who they are. They’ve acted as the “MC”s of Noggin/NickJr, the 24 hour preschool channel, filling the voids between shows that would on other stations be filled with commercials. Moose and Zee are pretty much the Big Bird & Snuffy of my children’s generation.
When you have characters that beloved by young children, characters that are as much a cultural touchstone to any person born in the past ten years as Mr. Rogers was to my generation, a corporation like Nickelodeon/Viacom does the only logical thing:
It kills them off.
Ok, they didn’t say that they’re dead outright. But when someone just up and disappears, whether they’re a union leader, government informant, or a singing dancing moose, NOTHING good has happened. That’s a fact.
Viacom says “they’re off to their next adventure”. Which is code for “Your children’s beloved icons of their formative years were interfering with our ability to run commercials, so they’ve ‘had a little accident’. Now watch these ads commanding you to buy Fresh Beat Band CDs while we clean up this mysterious pool of blood and yellow fur by the trash compactor”. NOT. COOL.
Do you know how utterly sad and pathetic young children sound when saying “Where’s Moose? I want Moose!”. All the while you know full well that after ten years of loyal service, his head is hanging on a wall somewhere so Nickelodeon can replace him with commercials?!?!
The only thing that’s holding me together and convincing me that I’m not totally irrational for being mildly brokenhearted about this, is the fact that it appears every parent in America is crazy pissed off about this, as evidenced by the insane amount of petitions that have cropped up online.
Before you go dismissing how silly this is, imagine for a quick minute that Sesame Street fired Big Bird and replaced him with an advertisement. If Mr. Roger’s replaced the Land of Make Believe with “The Land of Product Placement & Integrated Marketing Solutions”. If Jem & the Holograms had fired…….um…..well, ok, Jem was a giant commercial. But she had really pretty hair, so that doesn’t count.
So if you believe in childhood, believe in the dreams of a little moose from Saskatoon who wanted nothing better than to come to America for a chance at the big time, singing and dancing his way into the hearts of our children- the future of this great nation- well goshdarnint, sign one of these crazy petitions. Or better yet, visit the Nick Jr. Facebook page and leave messages on their wall demanding information proving that Moose and Zee are alive and being held in a safe location. I mean, it’s Monday. What better way to kick off your week than by writing inflammatory material on the Facebook wall of a big, faceless corporation that obviously hates babies.
Speaking of Facebook, we made a super secret announcement over on our page this weekend that we’re not mentioning over here. Because I like being sneaky! TEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!!! But seriously, you should check it out and “like” our page and all, because it’s really awesome news, AND unlike 99% of the crap that’s been on this blog recently it actually has to do with baked goods. Facebook= baked stuff. Twitter= me looking at shiny things and yelling about what’s on the tv. Tumblr= cat pictures, and posts which I’m certain will be the roots of an eventual “manifesto” of some sorts. Write that down to keep it all straight.
Now for all the people who tuned out two seconds into today’s post- tune back in! Actual important announcement! (yes, really!) We’ve got a new spot - actually, two new spots, carrying both the cupcakes and the whoopie pies (that includes the Nutella whoopies!). Upper East Side & Gold Coast Long Island, you’re finally in luck!
Clockwise from front: PB&J, The Ebinger, Southern Belle, German Chocolate
The 21st is finally here, which means it is out LAST DAY OF MADISON SQUARE EATS. We don’t have any wholesale outlets in that neighborhood, so in theory this may be the last you see of us in Flatiron til next spring.
*sniff*.….we’ll miss you so much………..
But if you can’t make it for our last day, you can always catch us on Sunday at
The Grub Street Food Festival at The Hester Street Fair! We’ll be serving Ionas, Ebingers, Butternut Spice, lots and lots of brownies, and……
And to answer this question in advance: YES, that’s real chicken. Please please pleeeeaaaasssseee do not come up to us this weekend and ask us if it’s real chicken. It’s called “Chicken n’Waffles”. Our menu says “Topped with a piece of buttermilk soaked fried chicken coated in maple syrup”. It has been in Food and Wine, it has been on the Today Show, and there is very obviously a piece of chicken on top of it. We would not have done all of this if it was actually a piece of octopus, or toast, or a rock. It’s chicken. We can move on.
Also, YES, it’s really good. I don’t understand why we are constantly asked this question. Why would we make it if it was disgusting? It’s good. It’s better than good. It’s far and away our most popular cupcake. We are not trying to poison you America- you need to trust us.
If you would like to ask us any of the other popular questions we are asked about this cupcake, such as “No really- is it chicken?”, or “Seriously? NO! It’s not chicken. What is it?”, or “Do people buy that?”, then please head on over to our Facebook page and ask us. We’re happy to help!
In the meantime, we’ve got these awesome cupcakes at our retailers, DeKalb, and Madison! And they are also delicious!
Clockwise from front: Pumpkin Spice Latter, Sweet Potato Cake, The Julia, German Chocolate
That’s because you make cupcakes! Don’t you know they’re over now? You were bumped for the artisan herring people.
Once again, snubbed for the genius content I put out on a daily basis in less than 140 characters, like when I offer special discounts at DeKalb Market, or that time I showed you guys pictures James Beard’s bathroom with the floor to ceiling coke-mirrors and closet full of polished river rocks, or when I’m at the vegetable store and I see an eggplant that looks like a fat man with a big nose hugging a baby koala and need to show you all a photo of it. And let’s not forget the epic time I live-tweeted Circus of the Stars 1985 because I really didn’t want to work on my business plan (still not done, btw).
Sure, any chef can tweet out their specials, but it takes a certain type of crazy to share the crap I do. If it wasn’t for Twitter, you never would have experienced Bea Arthur in a sliver lame tree skirt, seeing where James Beard used to tinkle, or the fat man eggplant. Are those the sort of things you want to be missing in life, Zagat? Really, why do I even bother to do things if I’m not going to be lauded with endless praise and attention for every single little freaking thing?!?!?! HUH, ZAGAT!?!?!??! WHY DO I EVEN TRY ANYMORE?!?!?!
**sniff**…..it’s so lonely outside of the top one hundred and forty. So terribly cold and lonely.
Anyway…..I should probably talk about cupcakes or something. Everything will be ok, Al. Keep telling yourself that.
A big HELLO to all our new friends out in Patchogue, who helped Queen City Cupcakes sell out during the first two days of her super-soft opening! New cupcakes should be arriving at any moment! (See! Long Island loves me, ZAGAT!). And she’s planning a Grand Opening for early October, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
We are still looking for new locations in Long Island and Queens since we have the new delivery route, so if there’s a place you patronize where you can help us make the introduction, either email me at Allison at Robicellis dot com, or even better, send us a note on Facebook. If you help us bring cupcakes to your neck of the woods, we’ll give you a few dozen on us as a commission!
And speaking of soft openings- we’ll have one on Friday when we set up at Madison Square Eats- the month long food pop-up in the middle of, well, Madison Square. For all you people who are always bemoaning how we don’t have enough Manhattan locations (blame your traffic which makes deliveries hell on earth), we’ll have a shop there for an entire month. Then we’ll close down for a bit and move 10 blocks south to Union Square for the holidays.
Does this mean we’ll be opening a shop in Manhattan one day? I honestly don’t know. We said that we wouldn’t even consider going into retail again until the kids were in school, and we opened DeKalb sort of as a trial since they just started preschool. Next year is Kindergarten, and we didn’t realize that time was sneaking up on us so fast. We’ve been talking about it a lot recently, but it’s very theoretical- really, we’re going to see how successful Madison and Union Squares are, how stressful they are, and take it from there.
If ANYONE was under the assumption that it was easy trying to do the right thing by your family while simultaneously running a business, you are so so sooooo wrong.
What we still love, and will always love, is wholesale. It lets us be in lots of places at once, lets us bring cupcakes to people in different ethnic neighborhoods, different boroughs, and now even to Long Island. And it allows these delicious cupcakes you see to be closer to you!
Clockwise from front: Boston Cream, The Ebinger, Pumpkin Spice Latte, German Chocolate
NEW!!! Pumpkin Spice Latte: Pumpkin cake, espresso mascarpone buttercream, chocolate covered espresso beans with fall spices
Boston Cream: Vanilla cake, vanilla custard buttercream, homemade fudge glaze
German Chocolate: Chocolate cake, salted caramel buttercream, roasted coconut
Amaaaazzzziiinnngg weekend. Hooo boy. As you can see from the title, we’ve got some big big big big news, but this weekend was really so ridiculously incredible we have to recap it. Hang tight, we’ll get there.
Or I suppose you could also just scroll through this next part to the end. I mean, you certainly could do that if you want, but it would be nice if you’d read the whole thing. I’m kinda super proud of this next part.
See that grainy photo up there of actual good photos being exhibited somewhere? Those photos are of US! And where are they being exhibited?!?!?! How about the freaking JAMES BEARD HOUSE!!! AND they’re the featured photo on their website leading to information about said photo exhibit, Foodaissance by the remarkable (and gosh darn sexy) Mr. Donny Tsang.
But let’s look at this bigger picture for a second. That up there is a picture of CUPCAKES. On the wall of the James Freaking Beard House.
To everyone out there who said that cupcakes are over, or lame, or any other ridiculous nasty thing they’ve said because they’ve run out of actual interesting things to talk about- you people can now officially SUCK IT.
Back to pleasant conversation- if you followed us on Twitter, you would have been able to follow along with my night at the Beard House as it happened, plus you would have seen photos of Mr. Beard’s kitchen, some more grainy pics of his wallpaper, and one of me in what quite possibly is the greatest bathroom in NYC (I was fully clothed…THIS time). So, you know, make sure you follow us so you don’t miss out on any more of my wacky adventures, like when I see a funny looking dog on the street or I need your help picking out clothes while I shop in my neighborhood.
This weekend was The Brooklyn Local at the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO, and we had such a good time that we sort of wish it could happen every week! As awesome as it is hanging with all our amazing food friends, the best part is always getting to meet new fans and see lots of old friendly faces (we even saw some customers from the long gone original Robicelli’s store, which made us sooooo happy!).
The second best part of The Brooklyn Local? Finally getting my hands on THIS:
THIS is exactly what it looks like- a big beautiful, sexy delicious book, complied by our friend (and James Beard Award winning writer) Rachel Wharton (who, like Donny, is also gosh darn sexy).
If you give that picture up there a little click, you can hop on over to Barnes & Noble where you can put a pre-order on it- then get excited knowing that in mere weeks, you’ll be experiencing the Robicellis on page 138!!!!
I have wanted my own cookbook since I was a little kid. As you all know by this point, I’m working on a proposal right now in hopes that dream will come true. Holding that book in my hands- seeing my recipe, one I had created at my first pastry chef job nearly 10 years ago, reading the little blurb recounting my courtship with Matt and the early days of our relationship- that’s one of those special moments where your emotions overwhelm you and you make a complete and total ass of yourself in front of all the people working at the cookbook table.
I’ll just let you know that there was some skipping going on. That’s enough.
IT’S TIME FOR THE VERY VERY VERY VERY BIG NEWS!!!
What could possibly be better than being in a cookbook or getting to use a really awesome bathroom? Only one possible thing….
NEW STORE! And not just another store that’s carrying some of our stuff- a new store ENTIRELY DEVOTED to our stuff (and coffee)! AND to the relief of so many of your long suffering fans out East, it’s in……LONG ISLAND!!!
We are happy to announce the opening of Queen City Cupcakes in Patchouge, NY, the ONLY place on Long Island where you can find Robicelli’s cupcake, brownies, and whoopie pies! (That’s right, they’ve got the WHOLE LINE!!!)
To recap for all of those joining this blog late, recently Matt “fired” me from the kitchen so that I could handle other important projects: logistics for Madison Square Eats, concentrating on DeKalb, building our online store, working on the cookbook etc. But priority number one is finishing a project that I started last July and haven’t finished……
Writing our business plan.
Last year Matt and I realized that if we were going to grow this company to where we want (which will involve lots of robots), we needed a partner. Someone to take over operations while we did all the other fun stuff that makes Robicelli’s happen, like product development, taking meetings, making comic strips in MS Paint and writing blog posts that have absolutely nothing to do with cupcakes. And to find the right partner who completely understood our vision, and to get enough capital that we could afford to pay them a good salary, plus have enough to buy ourselves some sweet gold-plated fur coats, we’d need a killer business plan.
I’d like to say that I do kind and altruistic things because I’m just innately a good person, but the truth is that I desperately want to get into heaven, because I know hell is not some dark circle of fire but rather a room bathed in florescent light where one is condemned to an eternity of writing business plans. I have written these several times before, each time praying it will be my last, but to no avail. It does not get easier each time you write one- it is only more painful because you can feel entire years coming off your life as you are researching and writing it.
To illustrate my point, I left my webcam on while I worked tonight. You can see how it went yourself.
Got 10 pages done! We’ll be rolling in the big bucks in no time! Watch out, venture capitalists of America, because Allison Robicelli is coming to BLOW YOUR MIND WITH BAR GRAPHS!!!
And Matt made some cupcakes. Here they are!
Clockwise from front: Southern Belle, Blueberry Cobbler, German Chocolate, Key Lime Cheesecake
I’m trying desperately to be funny or quirky right now, and coming up shy. Worst part is that it’s for the most PATHETIC reason on Earth.
Yesterday, Matt was out all day, so I barely saw him at all til after bedtime. Today, I left for DeKalb before he woke up, and while I’m home writing, he’s still at the kitchen. This makes two whole days where we’ve barely seen each other. And you’d think that after being trapped in an apartment together all weekend I’d be happy with not seeing him, I’m wide awake staring at the door like a sad puppy.
To alleviate the sadness, I decided not to work on the couch like I always do, and instead curled up into his side of the bed because it smells like him. That’s when I was reminded of the fact that while we were trapped inside, Matt ate 2 pounds of deli turkey, a bunch of stinky French cheese, and a tremendous amount of bean dip. Then I went back to the couch.
It’s kinda great that after over six years together, I still get butterflies when I think of him. Or I’m nauseous, but we’ll say it’s butterflies because it’s a lot sweeter.
Perhaps I’m mushy because Matt has “fired” me from the kitchen so I could concentrate on other projects, like getting our online store up so we can ship brownies (by November), writing for NonaBrooklyn again (I SWEAR I will write something soon), and working on our updated business plan for potential investors (which right now is just a piece of looseleaf that says “Please give us money” with a bunch of sad clownface doodles, and a pie chart. Don’t really know what the pie chart is about, but it looks really professional).
Most importantly, he fired me so that I’d have time to work on writing a cookbook, which has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. And to have the the kind of husband and business partner that will take on a little extra responsibility so you can chase the things you love……..well, let’s just say there’s never a minute of my life where I don’t feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world. Except for the moment when I finish writing this and I’ll have to go Febreze the sheets.
I love you, Matt. Thanks for believing in me. And why don’t you go love these cupcakes Matt worked hard at making tonight.
Clockwise from front: Key Lime Cheesecake, Blueberry Cobbler, Odessa, German Chocolate
Key Lime Cheesecake: Graham cracker cake, key lime curd, key lime cheesecake buttercream, graham cracker crumbs, lime zest
Today’s a first- we’re pulling the “flavors subject to change due to inventory” card. SOMEBODY went to Fairway before us on Saturday night and bought up all the hazelnut extract, so we couldn’t make Hazelnut Kiss cupcakes for today. Whomever you are, I hope you’re reeeaaaalllly happy with yourself.
But of course, there’s a plan B. To make it up to all of you, we’re doing a BRAND NEW FLAVOR on Monday! :-O This one was on the docket for next month- Banana Nutella. This also marks the first cupcake that was partially designed by our Facebook fans, so if you’d like to have input on other future cupcakes, make sure you friend us.
Also we want to say hello to all our new friends up in Astoria who went to get our cupcakes at Queens Comfort and caused them to sell out in mere HOURS on Friday. You guys are phenomenal, you know that?
Short post today because I’m working on getting our Easter ordering page up- I’ll tweet when it’s up, hopefully early afternoon. If you’re planning on ordering, do so quick, as we always take limited orders during the holidays, and we normally fill up pretty fast. Now flavors!
Clockwise from front: Banana Nutella, Duckwalk, German Chocolate, Cinnamon Bun
CAFE AT SAM’S BAKERY- 94th Street off 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge
CRESPELLA CREPE & ESPRESSO BAR- 321 7th Avenue at 9th Street, Park Slope
TAZZA CAFES- Henry off Atlantic and Clark off Henry, Brooklyn Heights
QATHRA: 1112 Cortelyou Road, Ditmas Park
RADISH- Bedford Ave off N8th, Williamsburg
CAKESHOP- Ludlow btwn Stanton & Rivington, Lower East Side
JOE: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY- W. 120th btwn Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue
JOE: GRAND CENTRAL STATION- 44 Grand Central Terminal, Near the Graybar Passage
THE BROOKLYNEER: 220 W. Houston Street, West Village
QUEENS COMFORT: 40-09 30th Ave, Astoria
*Note: Not all locations receive all flavors. The flavors recieved are determined by each store’s management, not by us. If there’s something in the upcoming rotation you want to see, let them know directly.
You know what stinks? We’ve got about a gazillion super-exciting things happening right now, and I’m not allowed to talk about ANY of them. It’s like when I had to keep my mouth shut about the DeKalb Market for months and months and months, only a lot more so. I promise you’ll get drips and drabs of good news here and there soon, I really really really really promise………..just can’t talk about any of it right now. Blargh.
Now that I’ve led you off with a gigantic tease, I’ll hit you with some bad news: effective immediately, we’ve terminated our relationship with Lily O’Brien’s. It was something that hadn’t been working for a while, but there’s no ill will- we love the owners dearly, we’re just moving in separate directions. As of now, we’re bringing all our Midtown stuff to Joe at Grand Central Terminal (except for this week since The Great American Bakesale is happening at GCT- go support it and help the fight against hunger!).
We’re going to have at least one new location at the end of this week, and then there’s……ok, more stuff I’m not able to talk about yet (stupid non-disclosure agreements!!!). This is really killing me guys.
Yesterday I was the first ever guest of Cupcakes Take the Cake’s Twitterchat series, and was asked a very interesting question: do I ever make mistakes. The answer is a resounding yes- I make mistakes all the time. If you want a classic story about epic failure and redemption, just go look at the story up on our IndieGoGo page (it’s not just about pleading for money! It’s also about….um…..ok, maybe it is about pleading for money).
I’d love to tell you I’m perfect. I’ll always be striving for perfection, and I am fully aware it will more than likely be just slightly out of my reach. I will never be Martha Stewart, and it took me a long time to say that I’m totally ok with that.
Sometimes Matt and I will go back and re-evaluate cupcakes that we’ve done, and think as good as they are, they aren’t perfect. We want every single flavor to be the absolute best we can make it, and sometimes even though we can have a great reception to a cupcake, there’s a nagging suspicion in the back of our minds that it isn’t at it’s full potential.
That’s how we felt about the Aris. The Aris began last spring as a honey cake with Greek yogurt buttercream and honey glazed walnuts. We got good feedback, but we still weren’t happy with it. It came back into the rotation earlier this year, with walnuts mixed into the honey cake, and a faint hint of orange zest to contrast the honey. Again, great, but not perfect. We’ve been tinkering and toying with it for a few weeks, and realized our problem was that even with the tang of the yogurt buttercream, it was just too sweet- honey is one of those flavors that while delicious, can also run over everything in it’s path like a steamroller. Matt and I finally decided the solution was that we needed to pull it out of the cake altogether. We created a straight up walnut cake that’s accented with bright notes of orange and spicy cinnamon. We’ve brushed that cake with a good amount of homemade honey butter, topped it with with our tangy Greek yogurt buttercream, then finished with roasted walnuts glazed in fresh-squeezed orange juice and honey. It took countless prototypes, pulling it out of rotation for tinkering, putting it back in, and pulling it out for more tinkering until we came up with something that we’re finally mostly happy with (this week).
To all the novice bakers who asked my advice yesterday: it’s ok to make mistakes, provided nobody ends up dead or horribly disfigured. I don’t consider the Aris, or any of our many cupcakes that continue to evolve, “mistakes” so to speak. However, I rarely see perfection in what I do, because I’m a woman and I’m unbelievably self critical. In so many ways I’ll always be the 12 year old girl sitting in McKinley Junior High School who feels like a failure for not being perfect. Then 30 year old Allison reminds me that if I was perfect, what the hell would be the point? I would have nothing to strive to be, no place to grow. I’d be standing in one spot, doing one thing perfectly over and over like a robot. Why in God’s name would I ever want to do that? That’s no fun at all!
Go out and make lots and lots of mistakes. Try, fail, learn and try again. I believe the most important thing I can tell any aspiring chef or baker is that that you MUST be constantly pushing yourself, and that you MUST keep learning. I read books on technique and method constantly. I’m always researching, either by eating out, searching the internet, traveling to different ethnic enclaves or asking questions of anyone who knows more than me (and that’s a LOT of people). The one thing that attracted me to this business years ago is that I know that I can do this every day for a hundred years, and I STILL won’t come remotely close to knowing everything.
The only way you are failing is that when you fall down, you don’t get up and try again. Don’t judge yourself against our cupcakes or our accomplishments, against your competition, against your friends. Compete against YOU, make mistakes, and learn far more than you ever could being too scared to try in the first place.
And now for all the people who think I haven’t been funny enough in today’s post: Poopie.
Clockwise from front: Funky Monkey, Aris, German Chocolate, Boston Cream