Classic Vanilla

I think I may have mentioned my part time job at the local cupcake shop in Ames, Iowa, the Cupcake Emporium. You see, I have a thing for beautiful, sweet, adorable, delicious things in my life. I’ve been dreaming about decorating cupcakes and cakes for many years, ever since I learned that my paternal grandmother was a wonderful cake decorator before I was born. I have purchased many decorating books over the years, but never seemed to have a reason to make a bunch of cupcakes and definitely didn’t want to add a couple dozen to my own waistline… So it never really came to fruition.

Red Velvet

But after we moved to Ames, I started watching the Food Network Channel particularly Cupcake Wars. I learned that the Cupcake Emporium would be on an episode that aired at the end of June. My husband and I watched, and I friended the shop on Facebook.  The very next day they posted a need for new “Cupcake Minions”. I suppose I’m not the typical minion, being that I am in my late 20’s, married, and starting my PhD. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to finally decorate cupcakes! Below is the creativity portion of my application, a cherry chunk cupcake with cola frosting, potato chip crumbs and a cola gummy, on a hand decorated paper plate. It must have done the job, because I got the job!



It’s been just over a month now since I started at the Cupcake Emporium, and recently I have been training on decorating.  My first cupcake to decorate was the “C is for Cookie”, a chocolate cupcake injected with cookie dough, topped with chocolate ganache and decorated to look like the Cookie Monster. There isn’t an easy way to mess up this cupcake, since it’s supposed to look like a messy monster, so it was a great starting point for me!


Next, I began decorating the Dirt & Worms cupcake, one of the newly voted Daily Specialty cupcakes ($2.25). The Dirt & Worms is a chocolate and Oreo cupcake injected with whipped chocolate pudding, topped with chocolate frosting, crushed Oreos, and a gummy worm. Again, this cupcake is not easy to mess up so it’s a perfect learner cupcake!

Finally, the past week I have begun working on the classic cupcake curl. The classic cupcake decoration is a beautiful 3-tier frosting with a curl. This particular frosting takes a little more practice as I work towards achieving, the perfect coverage, tier height, and tails (starting and finishing). When practicing this frosting we typically work with either the chocolate or vanilla whipped frosting because they are the easiest to learn with. Initially, we practice in a bowl so that we may reload the frosting again and again, as many times as it takes to perfect the look. Then we move onto practicing on a saran wrapped cupcake so that we can practice the actual size of the frosting. After multiple attempts the shape and size all starts to come together and we achieve the perfect swirl and curl frosting! Today was the day, when I perfected the swirl and curl!

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The next time you are in Iowa make sure to visit Ames, and stop by the Cupcake Emporium at 300 Main Street for some delicious treats!