First, let’s meet Amanda:
What is your background? Have you always been so creative?
I’ve always been making things. I was the one gluing beads onto card stock when everyone else wanted me to turn off the light so they could watch a movie. I blame my mom and grandma for this insatiable need to create. Between the two of them, I’ve been introduced to almost every crafting and baking trend know to man. From crochet and puffy paint, to party sandwiches and fondue. In fact, I blame them for my creative ADD, too.
What made you start Bake It Pretty?
When I started my blog in 2006, I shared pictures of my baked goods decorated with cute, retro-style cupcake toppers I purchased from a local bakery supply shop. I received many emails and comments from anonymous people – everyone wanted to know where I found my supplies. I was surprised to learn that cake and candy supply shops were few and far between, the Internet was really lacking in that department too. I saw a niche that really needed filling and thought that I could, just maybe, pull it off. It was a typical “light bulb moment”, and the rest is history.
Where do your best ideas come from? When you are feeling a little “stuck” what helps you get back to being creative?
Getting out of the house, or at least off of the net, is key. The web is inspiring and often overwhelming. It can definitely start to make you feel like all the good ideas have already been taken. That’s simply not true, inspiration is everywhere. I usually filter out my best ideas by bouncing thoughts off of my friends and family, or whoever else is willing to listen to me blab. Vintage books and magazines are also a great source of inspiration for me.
What are your top 5 supplies/materials?
Double sided tape
My new macro camera lens! (don’t hate)
Vintage children’s books
What is your favorite thing to create/design?
I really enjoy putting together project tutorials and recipes, it always such an adventure to see an idea all the way through to completion.
I have a rule I always apply to my recipe projects: At least 2 of the following criteria have to apply before I’ll consider using it:
• It’s easy to make.
• It’s pretty to look at
• It’s absolutely yummy.
You can sacrifice one, but no more than that. I mean, what good is a project if it was laborious to make, and didn’t taste that great … so what if it looks cool? (You get the idea.) Of course, I always try and aim for the trifecta, but it’s tricky to get all three in one.
Your favorite shops/online destinations for supplies (other than yours, of course) ?
www.blumchen.com Lots of tiny, little amazingness you never knew you needed.
www.etsy.com An incredible place to shop for supplies, and it’s actually where we first launched Bake It Pretty over two years ago.
The farmer’s market! We are lucky to live in an area that has wonderful local produce, and it’s easy to get inspired for recipes when you’re surrounded by fresh, seasonal foods.
What is your most favorite thing you have created and why?
I’ve got a soft spot for our Best-Ever Cupcake Icing Kit. I really wanted to create a kit that was easy and fun for home bakers, that would give them picture-perfect, professional results, and be super easy to use, too. It’s still one of our top sellers in the shop, and I love hearing from happy customers who purchase the kit and love using it.
We are seeing a huge DIY trend right now, why do you think that is?
I think it’s always been here, it’s just more acceptable now. It speaks to the inner perfectionists in most of us. If we want it done right, we have to do it ourselves. Also, I think it has a lot to do with originality. Everyone wants to be different and unique, and the easiest route to that goal is by getting involved in the creative process yourself. That’s another reason why I started our website: normal party supply shops are painfully dull and uninspiring. I wanted to offer people the tools to create their own amazing parties themes and celebrations – and I love seeing orders packed up with unique and quirky combinations of supplies, and I think, “Whoa, that is going to be such a fantastic party!”
You will need:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup liquid (orange juice, fruit juice, milk, or water)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Miniature-size cupcakes in the flavor of your choice, cooled and unfrosted
Assorted sprinkles, chopped nuts, and other toppings
1. Make a batch of your favorite mini cupcakes – homemade or from a mix. Make them nice and small so you don’t feel guilty about enjoying 2 or 3 of them. If you use paper liners for baking, remove them after the cupcakes have cooled. Pound cake or any other firm cake works well for skewering, but any cake will do. I used a simple yellow box-mix cake. Allow to cool completely before dipping.
2. Make the fondue: Whisk together powdered sugar, orange juice, and corn syrup. Adjust the consistency with a drop of liquid or a dash more powdered sugar until you get have a smooth, thick glaze. I used orange juice for the liquid portion to give it a citrus flavor and cheese-like yellow fondue color. You could also use grape juice for a pastel purple, or milk/water and add your own coloring.
3. Pour frosting into the fondue pot. There’s really no need to heat the mixture, but you can keep a small tea light or very low flame underneath just for looks! Display sprinkles and toppings in small ramekins or portion cups and arrange around the fondue pot. Skewer cupcakes in the side and dip the top half into the fondue, then flip the cupcake over and the frosting will drip nicely down the sides. Sprinkle liberally with your favorite toppings.
Young children can even dip the tops of the cupcakes in with their fingers since the fondue is not hot. You may need to give the fondue a quick stir every now and then to keep it smooth if you aren’t actively dipping. This is a sweet, silly, messy project and my son Max (8) and I had a wonderful time making our fondue cupcakes. This would be a great addition to a party desert table, or for a special treat on a rainy day. Enjoy!