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Monday, March 23, 2009

Cupcakes Galore! I took a cupcake class at the Professional Culinary Institute (PCI)

Chocolate with Cream Filling, Carrot with Vanilla Bean  Buttercream Frosting and Handmade Marzipan Carrots and Peanut Butter and Jelly Filled Cupcakes.

Can you even believe I made these cupcakes? I can't! I'd never taken a class at the Professional Culinary Institute before so let me tell you what it's like. You show up and check in and they hand you a really cute apron and the folder with the recipes you're going to make that day. We were taken on a tour of the facility then it was right to work.

Our Chef was a blast! Chef Stephany Buswell, CMB, was as entertaining as she is knowledgeable. Throughout the class she told us all kinds of tips and tricks to help us be better bakers.

You can check out her upcoming classes on the PCI in Campbell, CA weekend hobby class schedule by CLICKING HERE

So here's how it works. First you are divided into teams of 2-3 people. All of your ingredients are pre-measured and placed on trays. We were really happy to see the plastic containers are washed and reused. And the best part? You're not the one washing anything. There are assitants there that whisk away your dirty utensils after each recipe. Man if cooking at home was this easy I'd cook everyday!

Chef Stephany gave a demonstration then we would go and re-create what she had just shown us. Here we are launching into our carrot cupcake recipe.

With each new recipe we traded positions. I was on a team of 3 so one person would make the batter, while another assisted and the other person would drop the paper liners into the baking trays then  spoon the batter into them.

Yes we even made these adorable marzipan carrots ourselves! It was so fun I can't wait to make them again at home. And the recipe? Oh my gosh it's the best carrot cake ever. It's really light and not dense or heavy. We left the walnuts out and just added raisins. Can you see the specks of vanilla bean in the frosting?

Chef Stephany said this is the best baking butter but it's difficult to find... So if you're lucky enough to spot it at your store and you're going to whip up some cupcakes? Grab it!

We also made "mock" Hostess cream filled chocolate cupcakes... Here's how they started.

Once baked we used a knife to create a small slit in the center of each cupcake then filled them using a frosting bag and round decorating tip.

Here were my cupcakes. I didn't want to eat too many so I only made and kept a few. After filling them we smoothed the cream down then dipped them upside down in a bowl of warm chocolate ganache. So shiny and pretty!

Then came the tricky part, making the little curly-q's of white piping. Chef Stephany taught us how to make mini piping bags using a piece of parchment. Of course with all of my origami experience I folded mine to perfection. One of my teammates didn't (the top one is hers) and had to start over. But the last laugh was on me because I cut my tip wrong and my piping kept coming out rectangular shaped instead of round so in the end I used her castaway bag above to re-cut a better tip to decorate my cupcakes with LOL

And here they are! Taa Daa!

We also made Peanut Butter and Jelly filled cupcakes.

Using the same slit and fill procedure as the chocolate and cream cupcakes we filled our PB & J cupcakes with strawberry jam.

On the left is what they were supposed to look like. Chef Stephany made them. LOL on the right is what mine ended up looking like. I had some errrrrrrr difficulties with my decorating technique. While not elegant or beautiful I think my cupcakes turned out to be quite charming in their "I gave it my best shot" appearance. 

And in case you're wondering? They tasted as good as they looked. I can't wait to need to bring a dessert to a party or event. Or just think... How great to make them for a bridal shower or birthday party? You'll wow everyone with your stupendous cupcake baking and decorating skills :D 

And a little FYI: The PCI teaches more then how to bake cupcakes. Their program includes Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts, Wine and Certified Sommelier programs. You should try one if you can. It was so fun to learn something new and what I'm certain is going to turn out to be a very useful skill down the road.


  1. Well, Stacie I am impressed! Your photos are wonderful and descriptions tasty! You even got a good picture of me which isn't an easy task, lol!
    I am glad you enjoyed yourself and the cupcakes. I hope to see you at another class.
    Chef Stephany

  2. Wow, that looked like a lot of fun... I'd love to take one of those baking classes! I want some chocolate cupcake now! :)


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