Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Paris Cupcakes

The heat wave has finally passed and it is now acceptable to cook in my kitchen again! If you follow along The Boss’s “Paris Blog”, you will see here (the Notre Dame house) that the kitchen is about the size of my pinky finger. Without A/C in this joint and the temps hanging out around 98 degrees last week, I had been banned from turning on anything that could possibly create more heat in our house.

But alas, I give you, Paris Cupcakes! The toppers are hand piped using royal icing. What do you think?

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I can’t tell you how popular cute little dogs are here in Paris! They are so well behaved too. In fact we have noticed that restaurants are a lot more welcoming to customers with little doggies than they are small children!

Sadly, I have not seen a pink French Poodle in person yet… only in sugar!

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I especially love having the little Eiffel Towers in the background of these pictures. It’s fitting because I feel like where ever I am in the city, the tower is lurking somewhere behind!Paris Cupcakes-27

Some of you have emailed and asked how the transition is going. I can tell you that we are in love with it over here, and hopefully you can see that in my cupcakes!

And lastly, I leave you with my Instagram photo of all of the poodles! Are you on Instagram? follow me for sneak peeks of what’s happening in real time in my little kitchen!

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So far I have covered the French Poodle and Nutella! Are there any other iconic Paris symbols or flavors you want to see me tackle?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nutella Banana Cupcakes

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You have read correctly! I have been in Paris for a mere month and I have already been absorbed by one of their most used and abused ingredients! Nutella. If you have ever walked past a crepe shop then you must have seen the number of combinations these guys can pair with this chocolately hazelnut treat.

For anyone who is not completely up to speed on what a crepe is, I’ll give you a little crash course. Basically on every street in Paris you can find signs like this:

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Crepes come in both forms of “Sucrees” and “Savory”, otherwise known as dessert or dinner crepes. They are basically very thin, large pancakes that they make right in front of you. Once both sides have hit the heat, they spread the ingredients of choice on top and then fold it together into a triangle shape for easy eating while on the go.

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So far my obsession has fallen squarely on the Nutella Banana option, and I don’t see that changing any time soon! But I had to ask myself, if I am going to make a go of it with a cupcake shop here in Paris, could I do justice to converting a Parisian staple into an American cupcake? I think so!

Nutella Banana Cupcakes

It began in the way that all of my new recipes do. With pencil and paper.

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I broke out all of the main characters, and then made adjustments as I went along.

I will note that it is a significantly different experience baking in my new “galley style” kitchen than it was when I could bask in the open space of the kitchen back back in Virginia. Though it’s not a bad thing working in this kitchen, as it forces me to be a lot more organized going in to it and makes me clean up as I go!

After a short bit of time finding all the right tools scattered about our kitchen, the first batch of cupcakes for Bertie’s Bakery in Paris were ready to take the oven!

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You will noticed that I ultimately decided against using the Nutella in the cupcake batter itself since I think it would have made the cake quite thick. This is not to say in the future, I would not go for a thicker, solo themed Nutella cupcake, but for now I wanted a lighter cake. So for this reason, I went with a banana cake and focused the Nutella aspect on the buttercream.

This was a good idea!

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Believe me, the Nutella supply in Paris might just be in danger of a shortage. This might just be the best buttercream produced in  my kitchen! I might have to have a show down between my Mexican Chocolate buttercream and this new Nutella buttercream!

Thanks for everyone’s patience while I have settled in over the summer. It has been a crazy schedule to say the least, but I am finally feeling like I have found my place in my new home. There is soon to be a stream of baked goods back on the Bertie’s Bakery horizon!

And as an FYI to any Paris locals, I am looking for taste testers so if your interested let me know!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy 1st Wedding Anniversary!

Wow, where did the year go? It is very hard to believe that just 12 months ago (and 4 days) The Boss and I were tying the knot!0544

While this post is a little late, it is not because I forgot. Packing up the house, moving over seas, and trying to settle in all while battling a language barrier has proven more time consuming than one first thought. Great examples of such battles are trying to get the electricity turned on, hot water running, and all of the toilets to flush… in French!

Now I don’t want you to think I am belittling the fact that we are celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary by comparing it’s importance to a toilet flushing or electricity, I just want to make sure you don’t think I’m a bad wife who forgot to mention this important date. During this busy time we have reflected a lot on our first year of marriage, and having to temporarily  “camp” in our new home is just one more thing we have learned to laugh about together this year.

I promise to only post a picture montage of our wedding once every 5 years. Technically I didn’t’ do much of a wedding post after the wedding as I was preoccupied enjoying the honeymoon! It will be interesting in the years to come to see home much we have changed! I hope you enjoy my trip down memory lane!

The Preparations:

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“The First Look”:

*Due to the our decision to have our beachside wedding in the early evening (mostly to save our guests from the blazing afternoon sun), we had to get our wedding photos done before the ceremony. At first I was very against seeing The Boss before the ceremony, but in the end I think it took the edge off of everyone! So, to make our first “meeting” a little more special for The Boss and I, the wedding coordinator and photographer allotted a little extra time in between preparations and family photos for us to see each other alone.


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Then it was time to get going! It was “Formal Wedding Portrait” time!




Okay, so we had a little fun before the “formal pictures”. Below is the wedding party in it’s entirety, sans mustaches, and a good looking bunch I might add!0753

The Ceremony:

This is it, if The Boss had any second thoughts he’d have to make a break for it now!



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Above is my sister and I “Shot Put” high-fiving. It’s a long standing inside joke that we have, and it was just what I needed before she was the last to leave for the aisle with the flower girls!08490870

Mission complete!



So that’s it. Another year come and gone in a flash!

Come back soon as I am hoping to be completely settled in Paris very soon, and I then I can wow you with some French inspired pastries!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

La patisserie de Bertie???

WOW, it has been a long time since I have been able to put up a post! Truth is, I’ve been a busy lady. But I haven’t been baking. In fact I have not touched my beloved KitchenAid since my last batch of baby shower cookies. So what have I been doing?

I have news that I have been withholding from you.

I have BIG news that I have been withholding!

My husband and I are moving to Paris!! Yep! I can’t believe I just said it out loud, but it’s finally happening!…Tomorrow!


This will soon be my new stomping ground!

Now, what does this mean for Bertie’s Bakery? Quite honestly I have no idea. I have had to turn down cake and catering jobs for every weekend of this summer and the early fall, and I am so bummed. I finally felt like I was planting my feet with the business and I had made some really great connections with people within the Northern Virginia area. Now, I am packing up shop (quite literally) and crossing the pond where nobody knows my name. Nervous would be a good descriptor word for me about now!

At this point I would like to clarify that “me having no idea” what is going to happen to Bertie’s while abroad by no means means that I am giving up on my bakery dreams and aspirations, or on this blog! In fact, where else in the world could a young pastry artist go that could open up more doors of opportunity than Paris?? The art of French pastries is something that I am very eager to master. My biggest challenge will be harnessing all of my Bertie’s Bakery ideas!

Here are a few ideas:

* Beg for an internship at a high class pastry shop

* Spend all of my $$$ on enrolling in a full time pastry school

* Try to make fondant cakes the new “must have” for French parties

* Teach at home workshops to those interested in the “American” style of cake, cupcake, and cookie decorating

* Introduce the “Cupcake Truck” to the Paris population (The Boss and I have researched this and there is a surprisingly low number of food trucks in Paris)

* Start a new “Paris Bakery’s” Blog, whereby I visit a new bakery within the Paris limits everyday and give an “In-Depth Review” on the shop (DCR readers will find that funny).

* Have my own stand and sell Bertie’s Bakery's custom cookies and cupcakes at the local food market.

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Above: These were my latest, yet not posted cookies!

That’s just a few that have crossed my mind.

If there is anyone reading this who is in Paris or has connections in Paris to anyone within the pastry/desserts/chocolate world please get in touch. I would love to hear from you!

I would really like to say thanks to all of my North American readers and supporters! I hope that you do not think that I am abandoning you. We will come back someday, and when that happens, I promise to bring with me some seriously good recipes!

Be sure to tune in through out the next few days for updates on the move, and especially for the VIEW from our new home!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sad time at Bertie’s Bakery

So there comes a point in every household that you just have to do some gutting. Others would say “house purging” or simply “spring cleaning”. This occurrence has been happening around my house a lot lately. After a while, you run out of space. I could just make a massive pile of things and stack, squeeze, cram, and jam things into every nook and cranny like we are accustom to seeing on the newest reality TV shows about “hoarding”, but I personally believe in the less is more concept. If I were designing a house or cake studio of my own, minimalist would be worked into the style.

So why is this a sad time?

Because it was time for some of Bertie’s Bakery’s first cakes to go:IMG_5291

Don’t scream…IMG_5301

But the Award Winning Triathlon Cake had to go too. You know this cake STILL ranks in the top of all of my page views week after week! Over two years later you guys are still showing the love! Don’t worry, someday I’ll make a new and improved triathlon cake!

There’s more:IMG_5299

To this day, the tuxedo cake is still one of MY favorites! I am surprised there are not more “grooms cake” requests for it. I think it looks really classy on a side table next to a big elegant wedding cake. But that’s just me.IMG_5300

And yes. The triathlon cake went in the garbage sideways. The cake base was too big to fit otherwise. You could definitely say that the swimmers in the bottom left had corner are lucking out with a “down river” swim! Ha! (I know I am not funny).IMG_5302Realistically this isn’t “that” sad. The triathlon cake was ridiculously well documented by The Boss who photographed the bejesus out of it. It will not be forgotten among the the triathlon community nor by me at the bakery. The other cakes as well have all seen their time in the spotlight and are now fading, cracking, or simply collecting dust. It was time.

So again, you might ask, why is this “sad times at the Bakery” if I am so okay with the cleaning up and moving on process? Well, for me, putting the cake in the garbage was one thing. I said my good bye’s (no really, I talked to the cakes for a while… the Boss was both laughing at me and worried), the cakes understood, they new it was time.

But what I couldn’t handle, what really really wrenched my heart was when I came home in the evening after the garbage man had done his rounds and saw this:


It was a massacre. I was horrified. I had hand molded each and everyone of those swimmers. Their little hands, swim caps, and goggles. That was it. That was what made these “sad times”. Seeing my little guys smooshed into the driveway. That’s just no way to go.

I’m just hoping that the long weekend (here in Paris!) will be enough to take my mind off of them!

Au revoir!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Onesies Baby Shower Cookies


It was a long weekend of piping and flooding cookies, all 52 of them! The cookies were for a good friend who was hosting the party. I tried to keep the onesies as “neutral” as possible since the parents didn’t yet know the gender of the baby.

And now, since I am super tired, I am simply going to save you from having to read any half sleepy ramblings and just post photos of the “bests of”. Enjoy!BabyShowerOnesies-12BabyShowerOnesies-13BabyShowerOnesies-14BabyShowerOnesies-15BabyShowerOnesies-16BabyShowerOnesies-17BabyShowerOnesies-20BabyShowerOnesies-21BabyShowerOnesies-22BabyShowerOnesies-23

These were the glamor shots. Now I have to pack them up and get them ready for transport! I have a super high tech carrying device that keeps the cookies safe.BabyShowerOnesies-18

Who knew Staples would even specialize in supplies for the cookie world!?

Thanks for taking a peek. See you on Friday!

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