Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Margarita!!!!

Margaritas!! Love 'Em!!
Margarita's have always been a part of our life. Not that we drink heavily but it seems that they tend to pop up whenever we have a get together. When we created or first menu I had an idea...a margarita cupcake. I had no idea how it would made, what the recipe would consist of but I knew that when the time came we'd figure it out and it would be delicious! I knew it had been created before but at CRAVE we make sure ours is the best...ever!
Finally an order! One dozen Margarita cupcakes. I told V we had an order for them, she knew we could create something phenomenal but left it up to me to tackle, my mother thought i was crazy! And when I told both of them I wanted to sprinkle a little salt on top I think they thought I was literally crazy!!!
I knew I wanted the base cake to be our Classic Yellow. Its moist, fluffy and of course yellow! I added fresh lime and lemon juice plus some zest and of course Tequila! First taste...good. They baked up beautifully, plump and super moist. 
Tasty Deliciousness!
Now the buttercream...to it I also added the lime and lemon and of course the Tequila. Piped that on top and sprinkled it with a little margarita salt. Now for the taster...PERFECT! V and Mom approved!!
Little did we know that the one cupcake we put on our menu with no recipe or no clear idea of what we would do would become our "Best Seller" and "Most Talked About". We have people drive 30-40 minutes into town for a single Margarita cupcake. Women tackling each other for a taste. 
We Love Margaritas!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Who knew this blogging thing could be a full-time job! Now I realize why their is an actually career out of blogging. We just haven't had enough time between baking cupcakes to keep up...but...V is now able to cut back from her "real" job a little which should free up a little time for the both of us. So keep you eyes posted for more frequent blogs from the CRAVE...
Assorted Selection Of Tastiness

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Baking...It's For Men Too!!

We're Back! Boy...didn't realize how crazy this could all get. Opening a bakery while staring a  new job. It's been tough...with lots of sleepless nights and tired days. There has been a few weeks where by Friday night at work I'm falling asleep while standing up...not good since I work in a fast paced restaurant right!?!?!?
But...looks like we've figured out our system and things are working a little better know.
There is one things I've noticed since we opened this venture and at times it makes me feel a little forgotten. Everything is pink and purple, described as cute and precious. Beautiful and girly. Hey! Men bake too!!
One a recent trip to Target, V found some "nice" spatulas. I say "nice" because they could be described at all the words I mentioned above: pink, cute, precious, you get the point with Little Birdies and the word L-O-V-E. It was on that trip that my newest inventions popped into my head. Are you ready?
It will be called a MANTULA! Brilliant right. A nice stainless steel and silicone spatula designed for a man! Nice big handle, silver and black maybe with some nice flames painted on it. This MANTULA is for all men bakers out there who are tired of using pink, precious and girly utensils everywhere!
There are other men cupcake bakers our there right!?!?!?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's A Cupcake World!

Being asked to create a Cupcake Wedding Tree was no doubt a huge highlight of our new adventure. We felt honored, completely excited and tremendously nervous. Then being asked to create nearly 300 bite-sized desserts for the same day added to our mixing bowl of emotions. 
One Tub...Lotta Love
It wasn't until just a few days before we started baking did feelings of doubt begin to appear in the back of my head...are we ready for this? Can we manage this? 300 people would be trying our products, on the same day, nearly at the same time. I have never felt pressure like this before. Thankful, V had enough confidence in her abilities to slap the doubt out of my mind and tell me to get mixing.
Our wedding menu consisted of 4 different cupcake choices. Mocha (my favorite), Lemon, Milk Chocolate and Classic Vanilla. Each featured a different buttercream. We also prepared a two-layer milk chocolate cake that would adorn the top of the cupcake tree which the bride and groom would cut into. 
The second event was the annual Red Tie Romp. A fundraiser for the Ross Ragland Theater. Our menu for that included our Raspberry White Out Cake (in a miniature version), mini Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Buttercream and a mini Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I was incredibly excited about this particular cupcake, it would be topped with white buttercream, white sprinkles and finished with a maraschino cherry. Something I wouldn't normally use but I just had a feeling it would look awesome.
We scaled the ingredients (which means measuring our all the ingredients to make mixing quicker and easier) 6 batches of Milk Chocolate, 3 Dark Chocolate and 2 Mocha. 10 Classic Vanilla, 2 Lemon and 2 Red Velvet. Then came the buttercream! 20 pounds of butter, 50 cups of sugar...I was sick of butter and sugar after that! The next day we mixed. I believe I separated 6 dozen eggs...and am proud to say not one drop of yolk fell into those whites. Thankfully, just days before my parents graciously donated an old fridge to our bakery...we definately needed it.
Red Velvet - Cream Cheese Buttercream
The next day we began to bake and our masterpieces began to come together. The huge tubs of batter turned into little bite-sized treats. We fell in love again with our huge convection oven with 8 racks to bake on. It was a nice trade up for the apartment sized oven we were using.
Now...decorating! The best part of the entire Bakery operation. It's like a woman finishing off her outfit with a nice pair of heels or man finishing off his outifit with a nice flex in the mirror. My mother, donated her time and creative abilities for the day. After a power up lunch we tackled the valley of cakes. Most would think that piping on frosting would be the most difficult but actually its the flat frosting that are most challenging. My mom attempted to tackle that as her first decorating duty but after working on one cupcake and not quite getting it right she asked, "Can't I just sprinkle!"
V is a master at flat frosting, I prefer my piped frosting so we make a good team and with my Mom's master sprinkling abilities we were like a 3-person army of decorators.
The Only Way To Eat A Maraschino Cherry
Our system was flawless and the cakes were finished in no time at all. There were several small finishing touches that had to be done day of, but all in all the day ended on a stress free note.
The morning of the events was really quite stress free. I'm generally the one freaking out and running around but whether it was a sugar inducted coma from sampling all the buttercream or maybe we really just pulled this off? The finishing touches took a little longer than expected but even being an hour behind schedule we were both very relaxed....kinda strange. We finished the cupcakes for the theater fundraiser, loaded the car and dropped off our first deliver. We don't have children (yet) but It felt like I imagined it would feel to leave you kids for the first time, of course we wouldn't leave our children in a huge walk in refrigerator, but it was feelings of excitement, joy, relief, fear and sadness.
Lemon Cupcake
Now, off to Grants Pass for the 2 1/2 hour trek, 200 cupcakes packed safely in boxes. V was surprising calm as we drove through the mountains, up and down the hills and around all the corners which surprised me. It could have been her nerves but she would never tell. About 45 minutes away we stopped for a quick lunch break and thought maybe we should check on them...but quickly decided NO, if something happened we would just spend the next 45 minutes beating ourselves up about it and there was really nothing we could to fix anything on the road. So we waited.
We arrived at the reception site, right on time and bravely began opening the boxes...every cupcake was safe and sound. Nothing damaged, de-frosted or smeared...what a relief.
As we nervously walked into the doors we saw the tree that we would stack our cupcakes on...it was huge! Much bigger than we had anticipated or pictured. How where we going to fill this? We brought extras but not enough...but still for some reason we remained completely calm.
It's Complete!
V pulled the cake top out of its box, smoothed a few edges and we placed it on top. Then we began filling each tier with our cupcakes. Once we got the first box unloaded we realized we had plenty...the cupcake tower was the perfect size. We frosted the extras and had just enough room for each cupcake and we thought it would be too big!
It was when it was time to go that those same feelings came over us. We wanted so badly to see the bride's face when she saw it and watch as people bit into their cupcakes...we've never really just left something and not seen a reaction and now today we've had to do it twice. V started snapping pictures and snapping pictures and snapping pictures...I had to pry her away as if again we were leaving our child for the first time.
Now we wait, checking our phones, facebook anything from anyone that was at the reception. Finally, a few hours as we waiting for dinner the Mother of the Groom posted a message and picture on facebook...they loved 'em!!!
This day was by far the best day we've had. It reminded us so much of why we do what we do and its because we love baking! Thank you to my mom for all your help, we couldn't have done this without you and the Basin Martini Bar for allowing us to create desserts for the theater. Thank you Jessa & Carson for this opportunity...Congrats on the new marriage and Barb thank for your support. Also, best of luck to the Ross Ragland Theater we hope our cupcakes helped raise lots of money for you.

A Tale Of Two Cookies

This Is Chocolate Heaven...Dibs On Licking The Bowl
Lets Go Vikings...Lets Go!!! High school basketball season has arrived and we were asked to create basketball sugar cookies and our delicious chocolate filled creations called Chocolate Chunkers to get the Mazama Vikings pumped and sugared up for the season.
If you haven't tried the Chunker yet, your missing out. Its a big, chunky and thick cookie with 5 different kinds of chocolate and a little flour to hold 'em all together. Its perfect for a nice strong cup of coffee, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or ice cold milk.
The batter starts with a nice little mix of melted chocolate, butter, flour and sugar then comes the real fun. For this we used pounds of pure chocolate...dark, milk, bittersweet, unsweetened, semi-sweet and white. Fresh out of the oven they are a major OMG moment (we have lots of those around here)!
Ready To Be Devoured By Hungry Teens
Creating basketballs was more of a task then we originally imagined. The baking of the sugar cookies was simple but creating an orange frosting that matched that of a real basketball was somewhat difficult and then piping on black buttercream to finish the whole look and being born a perfectionist made it even more time consuming. Ensuring each line was perfectly curved and precise.
Theres nothing like seeing your final project come out exactly how you imagined it would in the end. Once we staked them, bagged them, labeled them and tied them it was perfect

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Week One...Check!

We're All Moved In Now...All This Has
Found Its Place
So...we have completed our first week in our new shop. In it we have baked sugar cookies, cupcakes, coffee cake (two of them...will explain later), chocolately chip cookies, pizza (for a pizza party luncheon with family) and had our first wedding cupcake tasting. We finished the week off with no major casualties. We are still married, still talking and still enjoying each other. 

V had a minor setback with the first coffee cake and forgot to add the baking soda and baking powder. Amazing how two very small ingredients (and by small I mean amounts) can make such a difference. It was like a coffee cake glob. The mistake wasn't realized until J cut into the cinnamon streusel covered cake just an hour before it was to be delivered....being the team player (or Super Hero some might say), J tossed on an apron and whipped up a brand new batch. Thankfully, Leap of Taste was okay with receiving their delivery a little later than expected. The second batch was perfect and delicious. 

Coffee Cake - Baked & Packaged Off To
Leap of Taste in Klamath Falls
In just a few weeks CRAVE will be creating nearly 200 cupcakes for our first wedding. We met with the Bride and soon to be Mother-In-Law on January 1st to brainstorm ideas and flavors. The two joined us this past week for the tasting. Oh the pressure! Just about 8 months ago we were having our own tasting for our own wedding so we knew how important this was.  Would she like the flavors? The decorations? Our ideas? 

Just Moments Before They Dove In
YES! They loved 'em! Classic Vanilla with Cream Cheese Butter Cream, Mocha with Mocha Butter Cream, Milk Chocolate with Milk Chocolate Butter Cream and Lemon with Classic Vanilla Butter Cream plus, a nice little 2-layer milk chocolate cake will crown the top of the cupcake tree.

On tap for next week: 3 cheesecakes for Portland Street Market, 2 dozen cookies for our Cookie of the Month Club and we will be bringing some CRAVE desserts to local restaurants hoping they will be interested in carrying V's products. If you haven't had to the cheesecake...it's a major OMG moment! Every bite is like biting into a little piece of creamy heaven. One New Yorker was reluctant to try it as she only ate REAL NEW YORK cheesecake...we'll V converted her. She's all about the CRAVE Signature Cheesecake.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Bake Time!

Beginning Of Order #1
As devoted Oregon Duck fans we couldn't be more excited that our first order in our new bakery was for a BCS Bowl Game fiesta (pardon the pun but I couldn't resist). J, the Baker's Assistant, attempted creating the first batch of dough for the chewy sugar cookies that would be soon created. However, in his excitement J forgot to add 2 of the 4 required eggs. This resulted in stiff powdery and completely non edible product. Thankfully, V came to rescue as a if she was a Cookie Superwoman and remade the sugar cookie dough perfectly with her exact precision and techniques. J went back to his normal assistant duties.

The flour, sugar, butter and eggs were whipped up and rolled into a mountain of sweet dough. After some time cooling in the refrigerator they were portioned, rolled into small sheets then cut into perfect little circles. Baked, in the newly shined up oven, and pulled out at exactly the right moment.

Golden Brown & Delicious
Now for the fun part! Butter cream! God's little gift to earth: butter, sugar and cream. Strange how just a few simple ingredients can create such a delicious and irresistible concoction! Of course, the creamy butter cream had to reflect the game day spirit so we created bright yellow and green frosting. Then piped a small mound in the middle, smoothed it out...not too smooth...we call it rustic perfection. Then we added a few (well a lot) of tasty colored sugar and Wam Bam Thank You Ma'am the Oregon Duck cookies were born and read to be devoured, like we hoped the Ducks would devour the Tigers, didn't happen.

Go Ducks!
Thank you Miss Julie for being our first order in our new bake shop! We hope you and your fellow Duck Fans enjoyed the cookies as much as Auburn enjoyed winning that darn game. 


Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Beginning Of The Beginning

The Beginning

The Only Way To Eat Carrots!
A brilliant woman once said: when one window closes, another window opens, NOT for you jump out of but for you to look out and see if its clear. The moment we chose to dive out the window and open a bakery it must have been a clear and beautiful day, we went head first. 
This blog will chronicle the up and downs, trials and tribulations of this new journey in our life.

Useful Background Info

CRAVE is an "order based" bakery. We bake and deliver to you delicious and beautiful baked goods all over Klamath Falls (and beyond). You call us, tell us what you're craving, we create and deliver. Our products will also be available at local coffee shops, gourmet markets, restaurants and of course the farmers market (where we began...more to come). What do we bake? Anything that includes butter and sugar. This includes cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, muffins, scones and other sweet specialties.

We are a husband (J) and wife (V) team with big dreams in the restaurant biz. CRAVE was created as a bakery/cafe concept a few years ago and premiered at the Klamath Falls Farmers Market just 7 months ago. We spend many hours talking about our future restaurant plans like what we want, where we want it and when. A bakery was always planned to be our first venture. When CRAVE was born we both were working 70 plus hours a week, managing restaurants plus, other side jobs to keep us busy. We decided one day we needed to do something for each other and together. Many would think finding a hobby like hiking, knitting or coin collecting but we decided to start a business. Good thing our plate was a more like a platter. So, we started baking at the restaurant V (The Baker) worked at when their kitchen closed. We'd get off work around midnight, bake until 3-4am and wake up at 7am to get to market. We'd get done at the market around 1pm then jet back to our "paying" jobs to finish off the week. The market was able to get us great exposure and clients (who we call friends).orders started rollin' in 250 cupcakes, a few cakes, cheesecakes and countless dozens of cookies!

The Adventure Begins

So here we are...new owners of a full fledged wholesale bakery. An opportunity we didn't dream would happen for many more years but will help from an amazing family and a determined husband and wife it begins...with cleaning...lots and lots of cleaning. The shop has been empty
Baking Zone!
for a few months, which meant everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. So with some Mr. Clean in hand we began our cleaning leg of the adventure. Scrubbing the walls, top to bottom removing all remnants of old frosting and food coloring that splattered from the 
previous tenant. 
Ya! That's A Mixer...We Call It Sir MIX Alotta Dough!
Ok...So Maybe I Overreacted!
As we worked our way to completion, our first injury! A fierce gouge on the hand. The very hand that creates some of CRAVE signature frosting designs and that stirs the batter with exact precious. But somehow, someway I (J - The Baker's Assistant) continued with my cleaning duties. Was it the look I was given by the V? I cannot say for sure but I sucked it up and continued. Fridges, shelves, tables, sinks and floors were all given a makeover and a second chance at life but there was one thing left... The Oven! We have been using the small apartment sized oven in our home for the past few months (as we left our restaurant jobs in the pursuit of happiness) and compared to that tiny thing this oven was huge and in this case size DOES matter. I pumped myself up, got my battle gear in order (oven cleaner, SOS pads and a damp cloth), rolled up my shelves and and tackled that enormous heap of greasy metal. Determined to turn it into a shiny silver cookie baking machine. It took elbow grease, shoulder grease, leg grease and every other type of grease a body can product but 5 hours, dozens cuts (I'll be honest know they weren't gouges just cuts) and one headache later the transformation was complete! There it stood so shiny and clean in its stainless steel glory...simply beautiful.

Isn't She Lovely!
Hours of cleaning and scrubbing, our finger prints dissolved by cleaners, degreasers and sanitizers, our hands dry as a desert and bodies feeling the pain in every achy joint. But now a sparkly, clean and fresh smelling bakery was reborn and we could stand back and official say...it feels like us! We're ready to bake!