Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Baked by Lace

Baked by Lace

If there is one thing that can be infinitely fascinating, it’s finding someone so passionate about baking they’re writing formulas, punching numbers into calculators to get that perfect proportion of ingredients, using premium ingredients, never compromising on quality, and meticulous with every detail.

Well I’m glad to have met Lace.

She’s like me, except only the cupcake equivalent to my bread, but also much more popular (cupcakes > bread) and successful with her batches of inconceivably moist and delicately-crumbed cupcakes.

I won’t be frosting and selling my bread by the boxes anytime soon. Wholemeal Sourdough? Dark Rye Bread? Pssh. Who’d buy that?!

But Lace! Lace has got all manners of maddeningly adorable confectioneries. Salted Caramel! Cookies n Cream (my all-time favourite)! Peanut Butter Chocolate! Classic Vanilla Bean! And then she’s got Nutella under her belt! And Dark Chocolate Sea Salt! Red Velvet! Black Forest! Chocolate Bailey’s! Mocha!

She’s been toying with bread too, and while we’ve launched into lengthy discussions over hydration percentages and pre-ferments, I get the feeling she’ll one-up me with a brioche recipe soon and once again, I’ll be stupefied. I shan’t bother competing.

Peanut Butter Chocolate

Cupcakes are not muffins. Cupcakes are as they are – cakes in cup form.

Many are all looks and safe flavour combinations.

But after endless experimentations and adjustments to her original recipe, she’s got it: That elusive light-as-air specialty cake texture of cupcakes that will keep for 3 days at room temperature without turning dry and dense.

And while letting cupcakes with cream sit out in the open may sound odd, resist the temptation to keep them in the fridge. Don’t worry, I understand. You can’t possibly finish every single cupcake especially since they look far too pretty to eat. But keep them at room temperature, because Lace explains that the butter in the batter will harden in the fridge and eating them wouldn’t be as pleasurable.

Anything else will melt in this weather, but the cream won’t. Instead of whipped cream, it’s buttercream that she uses, made with whipped egg whites and Elle&Vire butter till it’s smooth and light, not too cloying as compared to frosting made from icing sugar and butter. Whipping cream will never hold up in this weather.

Cookies n Cream

But what about cake fondant? Well, she has this to say:

“My style is more flavour than looks. I don’t do fondant at all because I think it tastes horrid! The simple things are actually the hardest ones to perfect but are often overlooked. What I wanted to do was to take a basic cupcake but elevate it to a higher level so that it’s tender, fluffy and moist instead of the usual cardboard-tasting cupcakes.”

Her emphasis on premium (Valrhona chocolate, Madasgascar vanilla beans) and natural ingredients – from fresh fruit purees, natural flavourings and extracts – makes all the difference. These are no frills cupcakes that taste and feel so good you’ll want to weep.

Salted Caramel

I swung by the Swirl Art at River Valley a week ago where she sells her cupcakes individually every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and picked up at box of four that she left me so I could photograph them, and eat them, most importantly.

And it’s true. The buttercream for the Salted Caramel was exceptionally light and fragrant, a balance between sweet and savoury, and absolutely luscious with the simple vanilla cake base. A fork just slips cleanly through it at the lightest of pressures.

Cookies n Cream

And this is my favourite – the Cookies n Cream. I have everything I could possibly ask for in a cupcake in this one. If you never get enough of the filling in your oreos, then you’ll adore the swirl of buttercream on the Cookies n Cream because Lace has recreated it to taste exactly – if not better – than any oreo filling. Coupled with the moist cupcake studded with crunchy chunks of oreo cookies, this was one cupcake that I had to fight my brother for.

Chocolate Peanut Butter

The cake batter for the Chocolate Peanut Butter is a little denser with rich Valrhona chocolate, bittersweet and dotted with oozing chocolate and finished with thick peanut butter cream. I can imagine this one in a Strawberry Jam and Peanut Butter pairing. Gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean

The Vanilla Bean was the simplest of them all. The delicate vanilla tones went perfectly with the cake batter. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. This one is all about the masterful cake batter – you get to appreciate the texture and the tenderness of it all without the complications of any other flavours. Just Vanilla.

Well, if cupcakes seem a tad too dainty, Lace does round cakes too if requested. All you have to do is to visit her facebook page Baked by Lace and drop her a message. Her fantastic cupcakes go for a minimum order of 15 for $3.50 each and are just the thing for parties, potlucks, and any situation that requires tension to be relieved. Therein lie the beauty of cupcakes.

And if you just need one (but really, who are you kidding? Only one?), head on down to Swirl Art at River Valley on Friday, Saturday or Sunday for your cupcake fix! Lace switches the flavours up every week, and I’m only sorry I didn’t post this earlier because the last I heard, this weekend she’s selling Nutella, Black Forest, and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt. Oh well.

Do keep a look out for her flavour offerings on her facebook page!

I’ll be waiting for an Earl Grey Lemon. With walnuts.

Baked by Lace

“Eating, especially dessert, is something that’s extremely pleasurable and I believe that wasting your calories on some dry, possibly mass-produced and subpar cake is a cardinal sin.” – Lace

8 responses to “Baked by Lace

  1. Dessertholic July 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I love the pics! ❤ Awesome photography skills! (:

  2. gninethree July 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    The cupcakes look omgggg amazingggg! And I absolutely love your photography! The colours are gorgeous! xx

  3. Estelle Kiora July 13, 2011 at 10:48 am

    “And if you just need one (but really, who are you kidding? Only one?), head on down to Swirl Art at River Valley on Friday, Saturday or Sunday for your cupcake fix!”
    Hey you write really well. Great review, editing, photos and the cupcakes look stunning 🙂

    Just from a blogger who loves to eat…!

  4. Estelle Kiora July 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Also, what camera do you use? Nice macro shots 😀

    • Christine Leow July 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

      I use a Nikon D5000. No fancy lens. Just a kit lens for now. Well as long as you have good lighting, you can try getting up close with the Macro setting. Heh.

      Thank you! I try to post the best of my writing as I can. Which is probably why my posts are so few and far between. =P

  5. moonberry July 14, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I tried these cupcakes also and my, oh my…. they are indeed very very good. 🙂

    The Moonberry Blog

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