In honor of Valentine’s Day this year, my mom, sister and I decided to take a cupcake decorating class at Whole Foods, hoping that it would inspire us with some new ideas. The class was offered at the Whole Foods on Bowery in lower Manhattan and taught by Nicole Friday of The Cupcake Craze, as part of the Culinary Center’s education program. I love their classes and demonstrations so I was very excited to be back in their kitchen last Saturday for this event.
Nicole started the class by telling us a little bit about herself and her catering company, which opened in 2009. Since opening, she’s competed in (and won) the 2010 Macy’s Battle of the Cupcakes and has been featured on Brides.com and Essence.com. Aside from her delicious traditional recipes and beautiful decorations, Nicole specializes in turning beloved desserts such as gingerbread, banana pudding and chocolate souffle into cupcakes. Yum! Add to that a friendly and fearless personality, as well as a love for all things cupcake, and her class was truly one of a kind.
During the three hours we spent at the Whole Foods kitchen, Nicole not only demonstrated her recipes but also allowed us the opportunity to test them out on our own. She broke the class up into three teams, assigning us her two basic cake recipes (chocolate and red velvet) and one icing each (cream cheese, swiss meringue chocolate buttercream and chocolate glaze).
While moving around the room to see our work, she offered encouragement and helpful tips, such as how to add the batter to the cupcake tins. For this she had three suggestions: spoon the batter individually using an ice cream scoop, pour from a measuring cup or, use a piping bag (this was my personal favorite.) She also had fun and creative decorating ideas: dipping the cupcakes in chocolate glaze and adorning them with pink marzipan hearts or handwriting notes on top with white chocolate icing.
Cutting out marzipan hearts
I had an amazing time learning to decorate these cupcakes, and encourage you to experiment with your own design ideas as well. If you have any suggestions for cupcake decorating, or want to share your designs please feel free to send them along–I love to see what you all come up with! Also, for more information on Whole Foods classes (offered across the country) or The Cupcake Craze, please visit:
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!