Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflecting on 2009 and Resolutions for 2010

21st Birthday Cupcake Tower at Blue Diamond, Melbourne

As 2009 draws to an end it is time to reflect on what we did during the year, what lessons we learned, what made us happy, what & who we are grateful for in our lives and if we achieved what we set out to achieve in 2009.

This year has been a very special year for me. I just read my very first blog entry again and I have to pinch myself. In February 2009, I set out to start myself on this journey to fulfilling my dream of baking cupcakes for a living. I didn't know where I would end up, how I would go about it or if it was even possible for me. I just took one small step of running a Cupcake Stall at a festival and even though it didn't make a single cent of profit that day - I kept going and didn't quit. It was a goal of mine to have my own business one day but never would I have imagined that by September 2009 I would have launched Cupcake Central! If at the beginning of the year a fortune teller told me that I would have owned my own business before the year's end, I would have laughed and asked for my money back. I really had no idea it was possible for me and this has taught me a very valuable lesson in life. No goal is too big, no dream is too big.

It sure hasn't been the easiest year but it also wasn't as tough as I imagined it to be. It was more my 'fear of failure' that I had to overcome and which I'm still battling today. It has been scary and it has been stressful but to the contrary I feel alive again, I have a passion in my life that keeps me awake at night, a sense of purpose and a kind of happiness that only comes from knowing that you are being true to yourself.

I often find that I criticise myself quite harshly and feel that I could be doing a lot more, working a lot harder, being a lot smarter but tonight as I write this, I can say I'm proud of what I've achieved so far. I'm proud that I stuck to my plan of running my own business as opposed to jumping into another consulting job because it offered great pay. I'm proud that I DID something about my dream and put it into action. So many times I've said I'll do this and I'll do that with no solid results. But this year I went on the path that would change my life forever. And that is a huge achievement.

To the people who are reading this and are thinking of pursuing a new business venture or wanting to make a career change...I wish you all the best for 2010. Let it be the year that you will make it happen. Take a small step towards it and keep at it. You will know if it is your passion because you won't be able to stop thinking about it. Talk to people about it. Tell them your plans as it WILL start to manifest into reality. Feed your creativity. Hang up a vision board and stick bits and pieces on it which will help inspire and motivate you every day.

2010 is going to be a big year for me. I'm planning to charge full steam ahead and really work on all aspects of getting my business into a shop front. And just like the start of 2009 when I set out to owning my own cupcake business, I have no idea how I'll achieve it yet as I certainly don't have the finances to do so but with small steps and action...I have this feeling it will fall into place.

My other resolutions for 2010 are:
- To live a healthier lifestyle where I make exercise a daily routine. I believe being physically healthy and exercising boosts your brain power and also helps with your emotions. And being in control emotionally is a key factor to success in any area of your life.
- To connect more with other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Working alone can be quite lonely and I do miss my old colleagues and the social aspect I used to have when working in the corporate world.
- To be more understanding of others and stay positive. Sometimes it's so much easier to focus on all the negative bullshit but it doesn't foster growth or success. I need to learn to get over it and move on but at the same time I don't want to see myself exert the same type of negativity. Each to their own.
- Do more volunteer work and become more involved. I've always wanted to do charity/volunteer work but never found the time to do much other than Christmas wrapping, Christmas lunches or raising money for charities. This year I want to really get involved and feel like I'm making a difference.

I didn't really intend to do a whole 'goal-setting' exercise but I think this will keep me motivated because all of you are reading it as well. Yes, goal-setting can be a drab but it's sort of like a map to your success. You can't get to where you want to go if you don't figure out your destination first, you'll just be mindlessly wandering into the abyss and having to deal with the consequences. We all have choices in life. One important thing I've learnt is not to listen to anyone that tells you that you can't do something or that you're not good enough. Instead, you can thank them later on in life because they were the ones that added fuel to your fire to become a success story.

Wishing you all the very best for the new year! Thanks for reading my extremely long posts or browsing the cupcake photos. I just wanted you to know that your support and love makes me all warm with glee.

See you all in two-thousand-and-ten. xox.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cupcake Central Stall this Friday 18th December at Dingley "Twilight" Market

Just a very short & sweet post to let you all know that there is a special "Twilight" market on tomorrow (Friday 18th) at Dingley Village from 5pm till 9pm. The address is 31B Marcus Rd Dingley Village. Besides from our Cupcake Stall there are several food stands and craft stalls (everything is handmade or designed), so there will be lots of goodies to buy as Christmas pressies. I think it's going to be one of the busiest stalls for the year, so come along and enjoy the atmosphere!

Cupcake Central will be selling Christmas themed cupcakes, a special limited edition Mango Cheesecake Cupcake and some other special customised cupcakes which you'll have to come along to see for yourself. We will also have plenty of babycakes to make sure that no one will miss out as we seem to do quite often at the markets.

Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cupcake Central Stall this Sunday 6th December at Dingley Market

So yesterday my mum goes to me in Cantonese, "So you're selling at the markets this Sunday?".
Me: "Nope, they don't have a market this Sunday, there's going to be a Twilight market on Friday 18th instead".
Mum: "No, I just read the local paper and it was advertised to be on this Sunday 6th. I just threw it in the recycling bin but I can go get it"
Me: *Searching on the Dingley Village Craft & Produce Market website* "Crap!! It is on this Sunday, I read it wrong".

Luckily my mum had read the local paper and asked me, or else I would've had more disappointed regular customers at the market and I would've kicked myself silly for that.

So we will be at the markets on:
  • Sunday 6th December from 9am till 2pm
  • Friday 18th December for the "Twilight" Christmas market from 5pm till 9pm.
We've been trading at the Dingley Market since May which was months before I launched Cupcake Central and since the beginning I've been selling my cupcakes for $3 each since I didn't want to overprice my cupcakes and deter new customers. However, since launching my business and doing all the cost analysis to ensure that my business will survive and that I'm not making a loss - I settled at pricing my cupcakes at $3.50 each.
At the start of my cupcake stall adventures, I never thought about making a profit and ran the cupcake stalls purely for experience, fun and for motivation to follow my dream one day. I would bake tirelessly for almost 12 hours in the late night/early mornings to ensure that the cupcakes were fresh and I bought the best ingredients (which also meant more costly) so people would taste the difference and at the end of the day, as long as I broke even I was happy. But what really made me overjoyed was the fact that people actually bought my cupcakes and kept coming back!
Now that I'm running this business as a full-time job, I have to make ends meet and ensure that my business will grow steadily.

I have decided it's time to increase the price at the Dingley Market to match the website price of $3.50.

So I really hope all my wonderful customers understand this and won't get upset. I'm really really looking forward to the market this Sunday as we missed the last market day in November as I was in Japan.

See you all soon! xx

Here are some recent custom cupcakes I've had the privilege to create:

Mini 6" Cutting Cake for Michelle's Wedding.
Flavour was Chocolate Orange cake with Orange buttercream.

Tiffany & Co Mini 6" Cutting Cake for Annie's 21st Birthday Cupcake Tower.
Flavour was Vanilla White Chocolate Cake with real Raspberry frosting.

A tower of babycakes and a mini 6" cutting cake for Katie's 21st Birthday.
Cake was Vanilla. Babycakes were Vanilla & Devil's Food Chocolate
with pink vanilla buttercream.

Last but not least "Om Nom Nom" Cookie Monster. I just made these today as a sample for a customer
and thought they were just too cute! I took a quick snap so quality isn't that great but will take more photos
when I create the final batch.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I love more than baking

I have to confess that there is something that I love and crave more than baking. It makes me feel happy, a sense of achievement and the motivation to keep going. It is why I bake. In moments of uncertainty of why I've decided to run my own business, this reminds me true and well.

So what is it? It is my wonderful customers and the rewarding feedback they give me on my cupcakes.

Sometimes, I am in awe when I receive compliments telling me how great the cupcakes are, some even suggesting that they're the best cupcakes they've had. I always unintentionally tilt my head on the side and the words "Really?" with tones of amazement slip out of my mouth.

Yes I have put hard work into creating great cupcakes but you don't normally assume yours is the "best" or "no.1" - I always feel that when businesses advertise that, it can be slightly misleading because everyone has a different opinion what the "best" means and is. So to get these type of compliments, it just makes me beam from ear to ear.

But that feeling you get when someone appreciates your hard work and the detail you've put in, it's so...rewarding. It gives you a sense of validation for what you're doing. A sense of achievement and conviction that you're heading in the right direction.

If you have visited my Cupcake Central site you'll know that I also create custom cupcakes. Custom cupcakes often take hours to bake and create, not many bakeries or cupcake businesses offer these services unless they specialise in creating custom cupcakes and cakes. They also cost a lot more than a classic cupcake due to the fact they take a lot longer to create, they can cost up to $8 per cupcake, especially the fancy wedding cupcakes.

I can understand that there are not many people that are willing to pay this much for a customised cupcake and I have this dilemma where I love creating new cupcake designs because I have a creative spirit and I completely enjoy it. So I don't charge exorbitant prices for custom cupcakes - I charge a little more just to cover the costs of the ingredients but not so much for the labour. Customised cupcakes can make an event, celebration or gift so much more meaningful. What's better than cupcakes for your birthday? Cupcakes with your name on it, or cupcakes that have a special meaning to you and your close ones.

So here are a few customised cupcakes I've had the pleasure of creating for my wonderful customers.

New Moon Themed Cupcakes, they feature all the book covers of the Twilight Saga. For the wonderful Khrissa who is safe to say, a HUGE fan of Twilight and nummy Edward.

Graduation Hats on Red Velvet cupcakes.

Koala faces on Cookies & Cream cupcakes as a "Farewell" gift. The person was leaving Australia so the koalas was to represent a bit of Aussieness with a cute twist.

And just thought I'd add a close up of the "New Moon" cupcake for good measure. I watched the movie on Sunday, managed to drag the boy along. I had to tell him to shush a few times and smack him on the leg when he was loudly sighing when all the girls were gushing at Edward (especially when he recited Romeo & Juliet) and his constant laughter when girls were whistling when Jacob took off his shirt. I loved the movie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sheryl's Tokyo Cupcake Crawl Part II

A week just flies by so quickly! To be quite honest I've had one of those may well have been that time of the month and the fact that I've had to pull myself back into reality after my holiday. I have been feeling rather shitty. I have procrastinated and I feel horrible about it. I lie awake in bed at nights, asking myself "What is wrong with me? If this is what I love doing, then why does it seem so hard? Why is it so stressful? Why am I procrastinating??" Well I've concluded that even though things seem as though they're going well..I am still so afraid of failing. I'm scared that I'll end up having to quit this dream of mine because I can't make ends meet. Running this business on my own means that I can only rely on myself, I can't or don't want to ask others for support...especially financially.

There's always the rosy period at the start of running your business. There's a peak in interest, there's hype, there's excitement. But at night when you start calculating and adding up your numbers, realising that it's not all just fun and games, the stress starts to hit. So what do you do? What do you do to keep yourself focused on your goal? What do you do to keep yourself positive and have that sense of belief that things will work out?

For me, I've realised that the positive people that always encourage you and believe in you no matter what happens, are the ones you need to stay close to. The people that always seem to doubt your ability to succeed and say "you can't do that" - steer clear of them but also use their negative words and transform it into means of motivation.

"In order to succeed, we must have long term focus"
- keep reminding yourself Sheryl!

Today I watched an episode of Oprah whilst cutting out Christmas fondant shapes for cupcake toppers. It was about how your life can change in an instant. There was a story on a beautiful woman with a loving husband and 4 kids, she had experienced a plane accident that left her with horrific burns on 80% of her body. She struggles to do the day-to-day things we take for granted. So after watching that, I realised how lucky I was to be able to do my daily chores without experiencing that pain, I realised how lucky I was that I was healthy and how I had been taking things for granted. So I stopped procrastinating and did all my chores without leaving it to the last minute and I felt good doing them!

Ok I've got that off my chest now and it's now time to continue on with my

Cupcake Crawl Part II

Next stop:
N.Y Cupcakes

This was the only cupcake store that we found quite easily. We followed the instructions to get there from Cupcake Fetish, it was located just around the corner, along the side of the railway line of Meidaimae station. It was one of the cutest little shops I've ever seen. So adorable I could hardly contain my excitement. I even told the lady serving us, we went all the way to this town for her cupcakes, she looked surprised. She also had a photo of herself with other bakers in San Fransisco.

After marvelling at the cute and adorable shop front and cupcakes I decided on two cupcakes: The chocolate cupcake covered in white chocolate shavings and a pink teddy bear AND the vanilla cupcake with raspberry/strawberry frosting and a flower on top.

They didn't have any chairs or tables outside so we could enjoy these goodies so we had to walk around to find a place to sit...apparently eating whilst walking or standing in public is frowned upon. We found a little corner with no one around so I took my cupcakes out and took some photos.

We tried the strawberry one first. The cupcakes were much smaller than a classic sized cupcake but larger than a mini cupcake. Almost a patty cake size. The frosting had a meringue buttercream texture and tasted like strawberry jam. The cake was a little dry for my liking and crumbled a lot. We made a huge mess in that corner we found...of course we cleaned it up. It's a sin to even drop a tissue on the ground in Tokyo - in fact you can't even smoke on the streets over there, only indoors and selected 'smoking areas'.

I was quite excited about this cupcake and left it to last. The frosting was a meringue buttercream which is much richer in butter than buttercream frosting, however it's less sweet. The white chocolate shavings had a Cadbury white chocolate taste to it, not too creamy and rich but went well with the frosting. The chocolate cake was dry and didn't have the rich cocoa flavour I was expecting. I really wanted to try a moist cupcake over in Tokyo! I have tried other cake slices, like green tea cake and mini muffins over in Tokyo and they were quite moist, I'm not sure why I found the cupcakes over there very dry. If I didn't have water to wash it down with, I would have a hard time swallowing it. I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo below.

Overall, I absolutely loved how they decorated their small shop and loved their pink KitchenAid's in the back. You can tell they baked from scratch and took much care in their presentation. They were also so friendly and let me take my time choosing my cupcake flavours.

Last Stop:
Notting Hill Cakes

Our last stop for our Cupcake Crawl was Notting Hill Cakes. With an especially impressive website, I was most keen to visit this store. Let me say firstly that this was one heck of a trek to get there. We basically asked 5 different people how to get to this place and about 1.5 hours of walking and still a bit under the weather, I was very close to throwing the towel in. But just as I was getting (more) annoyed and whiny to my poor bf, we turned the corner and my bf was like "OMG, there it is!!!". He was more relieved to find the place than excited, he just didn't want to put up with my crap any longer and since this was the last place to visit I guess he was happy it was over with.

We spoke to a lovely lady there that co-owned the store with her husband. She spoke English so it was refreshing to speak to someone and order in English!

The store itself looks much larger on the website so when I walked in I was surprised how compact it really was. The fit out of the store was beautiful, it was classic with the wood furnishings and modern with the city silhouettes on the walls. I really liked how they decorated the store because it wasn't too cute & shabby chic, it was like a nice modern cafe.

After looking at the selection of cupcakes (they also had muffins, cakes, biscuits), they didn't have many flavours left. I really wanted to try Pistachio but they didn't have any left, so we decided on
the Earl Grey cupcake and the Chocolate Ganache cupcake.

Their cupcakes were the first standard classic sized cupcakes we've seen in Tokyo. They also had brown cupcake papers with their logos printed on them, which looked kinda fancy (I so wish to have that done one day).

This cupcake was more moist than the other two places we've tried but it was still dense and a little crumbly. It had an unusual earl grey tea flavour which was different, I'm not a real fan Earl Grey tea as I think the flavour is a bit too overpowering for me but the cupcake just had a hint of it so it wasn't too bad. The cupcake had a fluffy buttercream frosting on the top which wasn't too sweet and complimented the cake. I wasn't sure what the black flecks were in the cupcake, perhaps tea leaves but I wasn't sure. They also had a chocolate lattice on top with flecks of gold which I thought was quite unique and made it stand out.

Next was the Chocolate Ganache cupcake. Well presentation wise, I wasn't very impressed because all of their cupcakes had the cake spilling out the sides so it looked a little wonky.

It kind of reminds me of a Picnic chocolate bar and their slogan "Deliciously ugly". Well it did look ugly, I was hoping it would taste delicious though. Unfortunately the cake was dense and so dry, the cake texture was almost powdery which made it hard to swallow and messy to eat as it crumbled easily. The ganache was ok, I do like dark chocolate so I liked the bitterness to it but my bf whispered to me "I make better ganache than this" - he is actually quite good at making ganache though so I nodded and said "Yes, darling you do".
Inside the Chocolate Ganache cupcake.

So that concludes my Tokyo Cupcake Crawl, it was a fun little mission to go on because not only did I get to experience cupcakes from another country...since I did get a little lost finding these places, I did stumble upon areas of Tokyo I would never have seen if I hadn't gone exploring. It was also inspiring to see these cupcake shops because just like me they would've all started with a dream of baking cupcakes for a living.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sheryl's Tokyo Cupcake Crawl - Part I

On 28th October, I started on my trip to Japan. It was only a short trip, staying only 7 nights as I couldn't stay too long away from my business. I also fell sick the second day I was there, serves me right for saying to my boy at the airport "Why are those people wearing face masks? If they catch swine flu, they'll catch it regardless of whether or not they have a mask on". I pretty much jinxed myself to catch something from the airport. But nevertheless I made the most of my trip, cold or no cold..I was going to complete my Cupcake Crawl in Tokyo.

I'm going to break up my post on my Cupcake Crawl into a few parts as I get tired typing it all up in one sitting and it is definitely way too long to read all of it in one sitting without falling asleep as well. So here goes part 1.

Well, I found out that it's actually not all that easy to travel around and find places in Japan if you don't speak or read the language. Trying to find some of the cupcake bakeries over there turned out to be a big trek as we got lost numerous times...on that note I want to thank my darling boyfriend for persevering on our cupcake crawl and being able to read maps better than I (He doesn't really read my blog so it's ok to admit it here.)

If it weren't for Cupcake Fetish I definitely would've had a much harder time finding these places.

So first on the list was
Fairycake Fair - 1-9-1 Marunouchi Tokyo, 100-005 Japan

It was actually located IN Tokyo JR Train Station. We actually walked in the wrong direction and ended up in a department store then we went outside and got distracted by all the buildings and architecture. Central Tokyo (Maranouchi area) is actually very quiet compared to the other cities in Tokyo such as Shinjuku and Shibuya. I liken Maranouchi to Japan as Canberra to Australia, it has the government buildings, architecture and less hustle bustle than the other cities.

We actually stumbled upon a Dean & Deluca's when we walked around the city but after a peek inside we saw they no longer had Notting Hill cupcakes there as a special, instead they had Doughnut Plant doughnuts (more about them in my later posts). So I ticked them off my list.

So after 2 hours exploring the area and the beautiful Imperial Palace and gardens, we headed back to the station determined to find Fairycake Fair. I was getting tired at this point and lacked energy because I still had my cold, I was actually quite close to giving up on finding the place but my boyfriend, being the optimist that he is, asked someone for directions. If you ever get lost or need help trying to find a place, first thing to do is to speak to one of those friendly attendants at the train station information booths, most of them speak some form of English. So 2 hours and 15 mins after we arrived at Tokyo station we had found the place. Our first cupcake destination. Hell yeah!

All their cupcakes in their display looked amazing! Each of them perfect, but I am not surprised because all the food and desserts I've seen in Japan since I've arriving there have been nothing less than perfect. They are huge on presentation over there, they believe in quality and not quantity. They believe that spending that extra effort making something look absolutely perfect a must. They also believe in efficiency and fantastic service. Something I wish to one day integrate into my own business because those are the key things I believe that make your business stand out.

I ordered a Pistachio cupcake, a Fig cupcake and an iced latte. I'm only guessing the flavours mind you, I could not read Japanese and just pointed at the cupcakes and said "One" with a finger pointing in the air (I would say please but I think it confuses them).

First up, the Pistachio cupcake. Their cupcake size was in between a normal sized cupcake and a babycake, probably half the size of a normal sized cupcake really. The frosting was a fluffy lemon cheesecake-like frosting, different to cream cheese frosting I'm used to. It was delicious. The pistachio bits on the top were yum but I couldn't taste any pistachio throughout any other parts of the cupcake so it lead me to believe that it could've been a lemon cheesecake cupcake instead. The cake base was quite dense though and lacked butter so it was a little dry. I really did like the cheesecake frosting though, it was definitely different to anything I've ever tried before.

Next was the Fig cupcake, the cupcake that caught my eye when I looked on their website. So I took a bite of the cupcake and noticed all these little brown bits in it. What I thought was a Fig cupcake turned out to be a Chestnut cupcake. And after I took a bite of the 'fig' on top, I realised it was a chestnut. Oh well, it still tasted exotic. I loved the nuttiness of the cupcake and there was even a little teeny bit of gold on the chestnut. The cream was just a simple slightly sweetened whipped cream so I liked the fact the cupcake was not so sweet. The cake again lacked moisture though and was quite dense and not fluffy. My favourite was still the lemon cheesecake.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cupcake Tokyo!

Thank you for everyone's support and for spreading the word about my new online cupcake business. I have been so busy baking which is an absolutely wonderful thing, so wonderful I need to pinch myself sometimes.
So I just wanted to say "Thank You".

Yes folks, I'm jetting off to Tokyo next Wednesday for a week. I know my business has hardly reached it's one month since opening night and I'm off on a holiday already? What a slacker!! Haha, well the reason why I'm going on a holiday already is because I bought super-cheap flights back in January this year (when I still had a job in the corporate world) and for $480 return flights to Tokyo via Jetstar, who could say no?

I have been to Japan once before, this was the same trip where I headed to New York afterwards and triggered my cupcake obsession. I absolutely love Japan, I don't think I could ever get enough of this wonderful, unique, polite, bizarre and beautiful country! My favourite memories of that trip ranged from waking up in the morning and drinking a hot can of coffee from a vending machine to marveling the beautiful mountains and countryside whilst on the shinkansen bullet train to Osaka.

This time around, I'm setting myself up for a mission - to go on a Cupcake Crawl (like you know a Pub Crawl har har, except you'll be intoxicated with sugar) and visit as many cupcake bakeries, cafes with cupcakes and find cupcake paraphernalia in Tokyo. So here goes my list of places I am going to try to visit whilst there:

- Notting Hill Cakes, a British owned business that sells cookies, sweets and of course cupcakes! I cannot wait to visit this place. There are actually 3 locations. Two Notting Hill Cafes and one cafe called Slouc. I am going to attempt to visit all three as they're all in Tokyo. Also since they are British owned perhaps they will speak some English, which will be great because I won't need to guess what the flavours are.

- Dean & Deluca in Shibuya Tokyo, this is a store that sells fine food, wine and kitchenware - it's a franchise that has several locations all over the world. I do believe they sell cupcakes at the Shibuya location so I'll have to visit and take a look.

- N.Y Cupcakes in Koganei Tokyo, these cupcakes are more like little gifts - they look adorable in their packaging.

- Fairycake Fair in Chiyoda-ku Tokyo, I can't read Japanese but from the photos there's a cupcake with a FIG on the top, I have have have to try that one!

- The Pink Cafe in Universal Studio Osaka, this cafe looks so awesome - it's completely pink! Oh how I wish I could go visit this place but unfortunately my 7 nights stay is probably not long enough for us to travel all the way to Osaka. This will need to be on my to-visit list for future trips. Note that I don't even care about Universal Studios and just want to visit this place! I'm too old for theme parks but never too old for pink cafes that sell cupcakes!

So there it is, I'm so excited..eeeekk...I'll be taking lots of photos and eating lots of cupcakes and other lovely food over there so can't wait to blog about it all.

In other news, I haven't been blogging because I have been so busy! I've had so much support from friends spreading word about my business and where would I be without Google! So many random orders from Google and I love getting feedback about my cupcakes especially from strangers because I know they'll be honest with their feedback without being scared of hurting my feelings.

So here are a few pics of what I've been baking, enjoy and take care everyone!


Cupcake Central will be away from 28th October 2009 until 4th November 2009. Yes this means I will miss Halloween and I really wanted to do Halloween themed cupcakes =( I think I will make some anyhow and stock them to OMG Treats Cafe, so stay tuned!

Go Bananas For Orangutans! WSPA Chocolate Banana cupcakes for ANZ whom were supporting this great cause.

Customised Coco Chanel Couture Cupcakes in Purple & Pink

Domo Kun Cupcakes! Little angry monster that is a popular Japanese cartoon character. Made these for Marcelle's Birthday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cupcake Central Stall Menu this Sunday October 4th at Dingley Market

Although I've traded at the Dingley Markets for about 5-6 months now, this week will be different as we'll be trading as Cupcake Central!

Come along to the Dingley Craft & Produce Market this Sunday anytime between 9am and 2pm. The address is 31B Marcus Rd Dingley Village. Don't forget it's daylight savings this weekend which means we'll be losing an hour.

The lovely Khrissa has organised a Bloggers Cupcake Meet on the day and so if you're a fellow Blogger you'll be getting a couple of free babycakes!

On the menu will be a couple of new flavours that I haven't had at the stall before: Green Tea and Citrus Lemon (made with real organic hybrid lemon and orange from my own backyard)

See you there!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cupcake Central - An online cupcake order business in Melbourne, Australia is born.

Sheryl proudly presents to you all...

On Friday 25th September 2009, Cupcake Central was born.

I arrived (fashionably?) late at 8.31pm when the party started at 8.30pm, thinking that no one would be there yet - but as soon as I arrived 10 people followed me into the function area. That will teach me to think that Mac false eyelashes are a breeze to put on - I don't know how Michelle Phan does it, guess she practices a lot.

So off I went to quickly set up the cupcakes with the help of a few fab friends that arrived early.

Cupcakes on the tower and cupcakes all lined up on the tables. I baked over 170 cupcakes which is a lot of baking for one person. I got to sleep at almost 4am the night before and had to finish off frosting & decorations on Friday morning. I had to elicit the help of mum so we could finish in time.

My dear friend Sam, who is apparently just an amateur at taking photos, took all these amazing cupcake photo shots. He has helped me out with so many photos on my website which I'm truly thankful for! He has a real talent, taking great photos is not as easy as clicking a button.

It was such a fantastic night. Yes I did get a little flustered trying to get everything organised and making sure everyone was enjoying myself. I also got to meet all these fantastic people that either found my invite on Facebook, were brought along by friends or were blog readers! It was an amazing feeling to get so much support from so many people. I think over 80 people turned up as the function room was extremely full and there were people outside at the bar as well. It was a great turn out, much more than I hoped for and I'm so grateful!

I did a short & sweet speech, there was no microphone set up so I had to speak up. When I revealed my website on the projector screen, everyone cheered! What a memorable moment.

I do wish I had more time to speak to everyone there, I did get to go around and give my business cards out and say HI though.

Myself with my new business cards! I wore a bright turquoise Zimmermann silk strapless dress on the night with super killer high Wayne Cooper heels on the night - it was my night to stand out a little.

All in all, the launch party was a success. I hope everyone enjoyed eating the cupcakes - they all disappeared by around 10ish and I received great feedback from people. Thank you so much for everyone's support, it means a lot to me. It still seems a bit surreal to me at times that I'm getting all these orders and building a network for my business. It's been so busy with learning all these new things and baking at the same time.




Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The World Needs You to Do What You Love

4 days to go until my launch party, I'm so excited I could pee my pants but I won't because I want to keep my friends =)

Launch Party Door Prize: I've decided to make it more fun so I'm going to hold a door prize at my launch party - yes that's right not only will you get free cupcakes and champers but you could win TWO DOZEN customised cupcakes. Score! Just remember to pick up a ticket when you arrive, it will be drawn after I reveal the website.

I have been so busy baking almost every day, this will also have to be a short post because I have to wake up to bake tomorrow morning. I think even though I'm exhausted from all this baking, planning and organising - it doesn't feel like work to me. Although today I had to have a rest day and just bum around because the weekend required me to bake a massive 350 cupcakes for a wedding, cupcake order and also a proposal cupcake order!

Some cupcake eye candy.
One of my favourite cupcake orders of all time. Yes I have been dreaming about these cupcakes since I've started taking cupcake orders...I had a vision of making a little pillow out of fondant for the ring. Michael-James was sweet enough to ask me to help him out with his proposal, I feel so privileged to be able to be part of it somehow. It was a perfect love-story ending with his girlfriend in tears and accepting his proposal with cupcakes! Congratulations.

I attempted decorating cupcakes with royal icing, these heart cupcakes accompanied the proposal cupcakes.

Wedding Cupcake Tower - Red Velvet cupcakes and a mini red velvet cake on top. Congratulations Reggie & Priscilla - both of you have been absolutely fantastic with supporting my business and I am truly grateful.
(sorry for the blurry photo, had to take a quick snap as the reception was about to begin and the guests were to enter any minute)

Just one last thing, a friend of mine sent me this article. It rang so true to me and I hope you will find it interesting as well: The World Needs You To Do What You Love - Jonathan Mead, Zen Habits

Here's the first couple of paragraphs that made me go wow..nod nod.

"The greatest change happens because of people that are deeply passionate, and have a great love for the work they do.
If you want to make a difference in the world, the single most important thing you can do is consciously and deliberately choose to do work that you are passionate about."

Also let's go out and spread some positivity, going around blaming people and making others feel like shit doesn't necessarily make you feel any better - it sure won't make you a better person. Before we look to blame others, let's ask ourselves "what am I really pissed off about?" sometimes that's the answer to becoming wiser and to grow as a person. Today I've learnt that some people will blame you for things that might seem unfair and instead of moping on the situation and feeling like utter shit I should thank them for letting me know and move on with my life. Their insecurities should not be mine. I can be the better person. Life is way too short.

Hope to see you at my launch party!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Throw rocks in puddles!

Peek-a-boo I see a cupcake. Cute little noodle boxes with clear windows, perfect for wedding bon bons.

I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit since a very young age. Both my parents worked hard at their own businesses for many years and although both have moved on from their own businesses now the lessons they've taught me, the success and failures I've experienced with them all have helped me to strengthen my entrepreneurial skills. My parents have been very supportive of what I'm doing. I know my Dad is a little bit worried about me leaving my IT career, after all I did spend many years studying hard to develop my knowledge and skills to create a successful career that will enable me to have a comfortable life. I understand that running your own business means that there will be many sleepless nights, stress and the risk of failure - perhaps Dad is trying to protect me from those things.

I don't want them to worry, I know what I make now is peanuts compared to having a stable IT Consultant job, I know that I could possibly be making $500 - $600 a day as a contractor but it's not what I want to do, not right now. We all know money is important, some might say it isn't as important as happiness but we can't deny the fact that it contributes to some of our happiness. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed. I know many of us wish to be millionaires, retire by 40, have holiday houses in Fiji and enjoy life. So my rational thinking is...well can we really become a millionaire by working for someone else? How many years will I need to work at a day job before I can say I'm a millionaire? Can I retire by the time I'm 43 by working as an IT Consultant? Long story short, I came to the conclusion that I need to own my own business to achieve financial freedom.

Having spoken to several entrepreneurs that have started their own businesses, starting a business means commitment, perseverance and positive attitude. Most did not see results, profits, successes until months and years down the track. It does not come overnight.

"In order to succeed, we must have long term focus" - this quote applies to anything, whether you are aiming to lose weight, to learn an new instrument, to finish a sudoku puzzle. If we don't have long term focus and only focus on what is happening now and give up after a failed try, then we will never succeed because we won't keep moving forward.

All the time and effort I'm spending on my business, I know I may not see the results monetarily right now but I believe if I have the passion and perseverance, it will come later. So my little bit of advice is for those wanting to start a business after coming out from a day job is, don't become too focused on making profit right now, don't think that for a small $30 order of cupcakes that you'll be spending 3 hours on is too small of a order to make - spend an extra hour on it, go that extra mile and make it really special for your customer, learn from that experience, be grateful they have chosen to do business with you. Focus on what you want to achieve, not the dollars, once you get that right you'll be on the road to financial freedom. (Yes I speak as though I'm already there but I really do believe this is true, I will read this post again in 5 years time to validate that this is true)

So why throw rocks in puddles?

I got this quote from a book "How to Make Money Out Of Thin Air" by Brian Sher. Yes I did initially get sucked into buying this book for its title but it did turn out to be a fantastic book. So the quote is really to describe taking action - big action so instead of throwing a pebble in a pond, throw a rock in a puddle to make a big impact. Taking action means you are creating energy which will give momentum and life to what you are doing. A quote from the book.."The most successful people know that to do nothing is worse than doing something, even if 'something' turns out to be the wrong thing." You need to take action to learn, to learn from successes and to learn from failures.

"You learn nothing from doing nothing"

So get outside of your comfort zone a little and say "yes" to the next new experience or opportunity that comes your way. Take action!!

My first attempt at a mini cake for a wedding cupcake tower, I previously thought that I completely fail at baking cakes, but I was amazed at how I pulled this off. After reading websites & forums on how to cover a cake with fondant, I prepared myself with the right tools and gave myself plenty of time to decorate it - no cake decorating classes at all! It was a mini cake though and was only about 18cms wide but still, a lot larger than a cupcake!

Anniversary Cupcakes.

Spiderman themed cupcakes for a little boy's birthday.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cupcake Stall Menu this Father's Day Sunday 6th September at Dingley Market

I'll be at Dingley Craft & Produce Market this Sunday. The address is 31B Marcus Rd Dingley Village.

Cupcake Menu

  • Vanilla & Vanilla Buttercream
  • Vanilla Chocolate
  • Black & White
  • Devil’s Food Chocolate & Chocolate Ganache
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Strawberries & Cream
  • Hummingbird Cupcake
  • White Chocolate Raspberry (new flavour!)
I've got these new cute peek-a-boo takeaway boxes so buy one for a friend or your Dad this Sunday!

It has been a busy week and I finally feel as though I’m making progress and things are starting to fall into place. With positive thoughts, come positive energy that manifest into positive actions and events! I've finally got my Certificate of Registration for my business name which I am very excited about. The website design is almost complete. I've organised my launch party. I've had the council complete their final inspection. I've found all my suppliers. Things are getting done, even though I think I'm suffering insomnia because every time I try to sleep I keep getting all these ideas for my business and they keep me wide awake at night.

I have had the most unbelievable amount of support from family, friends, ex-colleagues and people that I have not met. I feel so wonderfully fortunate. I hope one day I too am able to support you in your own dreams, tell me what your dreams are, what your goals are – no matter how ridiculous it sounds, drop me an email because I want to hear about it.

Whenever someone tells me that they feel inspired by me, I feel extremely flattered and at the same time I find it…odd. I find it odd because in my own mind, I am not worthy of being an inspiration - not yet anyway! People that are inspiring are the amazing people that have done the unachievable, the people that have gone against all odds and done something extraordinary. I still feel as though I have a gazillion steps in front of me before I get there.

Hope to see you guys at the stall - rain, hail or shine. The weather has been schizo lately and can't make up it's mind whether it's Winter or Spring.