CupcakesTaketheCake

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cinfully Vegan Cupcakes Debut at ConfeXion Cupcakes + Cakes


Cupcakes for people with special dietary needs are hard to find but ConfeXion Cakes + Cupcakes in Pasadena, CA is making it easier for Vegans to have their cupcake and eat it too!

Debuting at the start of the month, the Cinfully Vegan cupcake is an eggless, moist, fluffy cinnamon spice cake with a crushed cookie glaze and dusting of cinnamon-sugar. The cinnalicious flavor will be available as part of the daily rotation too so vegans all over SoCal won't have to wait for a special day to get this vegan friendly treat!

What sets these vegan cupcakes apart from others is that they aren't "dense, dry or dripping in coconut oil".

“Our goal was to create a vegan cupcake that was completely different from what other bakeries are doing – to create something that tastes like a real cupcake!” owner Anthony Valerio states.

Head on over to ConfeXion Cupcakes + Cake to get your vegan cupcake fix!

11 W. Dayton St.
Pasadena, CA 91105

Twitter: @ConfeXionCC

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Interview with ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake


We sat down with Anthony Valerio of ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake (formerly Wonderland Custom Cakes) to discuss all the amazing achievements and changes he and his bakery have undergone in the past year.

Tell us about yourself!
Anthony Valerio, 29, Co-Owner and Executive Pastry Chef at ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake in Pasadena (formally Wonderland Custom Cakes).
Auntie Vandy & Anthony Valerio
With everyone making new changes for themselves in 2013 I hear that your bakery is also making a big change…Introducing ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake! Why the name change and what does this mean for your shop?
The name change was something that my business partner, Auntie Vandy, and I always wanted to do. It was difficult to do it in the past year because of all of the Cupcake Wars press so this seemed like a logical time to change our name. We really love the new name, it is innovated, which is exactly how we see our brand. And, of course, it means expansion! 

In just a short year ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake has made quite the name for itself! In one sentence, how would you describe 2012 for your business?
Incredible, amazing and interesting.


ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake is best known for being two-time Cupcake Wars champions, however you’ve won various other awards as well (LA’s Best Cupcake, Pasadena’s Best). To what do you attribute this amazing success?
Dedication, hard-work and passion. Without those attributes, we’d have nothing. We have a sincere dedication to making the best cupcakes for people – LA and beyond. And we work extremely hard at making it a reality. 

Speaking of success you created a beautiful wedding cake for the official Farmers’ Insurance Dream Wedding Event. Your gorgeous creation made its national debut aboard the Love Float at The Rose Parade this year, how was that whole process?
Being part of the excitement surrounding the wedding, working with the couple and seeing our cake on national television was amazing. We really love being a part of Pasadena and contributing to its history and working within the community. So this was very special for us.
Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting
With your one-year anniversary coming up, what’s in the future for ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cakes?
A lot actually. We like to keep pushing ourselves. We’ve recently been invited by Gilt Taste to become part of their online marketplace, so right now we are coming up with a few special cupcake packages which will be available for online purchase nationwide! We also have a few appearances and demos scheduled this year. We are also looking at expanding into another location!

Cupcake Gelato Sundae
Plus, we are planning on expanding our product line to go beyond cupcakes and to include Signature Couture Cakes, gourmet cookies and brownies, cupcake-gelato sundaes and even some other surprises! We’ve introduced some of these products already in a test phase and people are still asking for them so we are very excited to give them a more permanent home on our menu! Our Signature Couture line will be a line of non-custom cakes that are essentially a modern upgrade to the average bakery cake. They will be baked fresh per order and will come in our most popular cupcake flavors. It’s basically everyone’s favorite cupcakes in cake form! Who doesn’t love that! And, of course, we are going to expand our line of gluten-free options to these products as well. 

German Chocolate Signature Couture Cake
Anything else you’d like to say?
Please check out our social media page – Facebook and Twitter. Follow us, Like Us, Visit Us…it’s the quickest way to stay connected to our news! And of course, stop by and visit us! We’re always looking forward to meeting new people in our Pasadena bakery.

ConfeXion Cupcakes+Cake
(formally Wonderland Custom Cakes)
11 W. Dayton St.
Pasadena, CA 91105
626.486.9977

Twitter: @ConfeXionCC
Instagram: @ConfeXionCC

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Extra cute: A cupcake riding a bicycle to let you know Dots Cupcakes delivers

This fun way of letting their customers know they do cupcake delivery is by Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena, California, via their Facebook page. Visit dotscupcakes.com for more information and follow them @dotscupcakes on Twitter. New flavors include vanilla lavender, chocolate espresso, meyer lemon, oh honey and maple and bacon (macon) and they've also got personalized cupcakes and cute cupcake boxes.




Halloween cupcakes











Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gender reveal cupcake cake and cupcakes

A big trend in cakes and cupcakes is having a party or baby shower to reveal your future child's gender with pink or blue frosting inside. Here's a gender reveal cupcake cake by Polkatots Cupcakes in Pasadena, California, via their Facebook page and question mark cupcakes by Cupcake Adventures, via Flickr. Visit Cupcake Adventures to see what was inside.



Saturday, August 04, 2012

3 cute cupcake cakes: ballerina, butterfly and farm animals

Some of the latest cute cupcakes by bakery Polkatots in Pasadena, California, via their Facbeook page. Visit polkatotscupcakes.com for more information on their shop and how to order your own custom cupcake cake.





Friday, July 06, 2012

Inside the Mind of a Cupcake Champion: Anthony Valerio, Wonderland Custom Cakes

Vandy and Anthony of Wonderland Custom Cakes

First off, congratulations on your second win! I know you can’t advertise your victory until after the episode airs, I can’t imagine how difficult that is! Wonderland Custom Cakes has competed on Cupcake Wars before, being crowned champions of the Comic-Con themed episode. What made you decide to compete in such a high stress competition for a second time, especially against other Cupcake Wars champions?
   I guess I’m crazy! Actually, I was more strategic this time around. The first show really put Wonderland on the map but at the time we were asked back to do the second show, we were looking for a storefront and I thought the publicity would really help with the opening. It’s definitely “high-stress” but at the end of the day, I am confident in my abilities—even against past winners.

How was your overall experience this time around versus your first time on the show?
   This time around was just as intense, probably more so, but at the same time, the television/camera aspect wasn’t as intimidating. You kind of know what you’re getting yourself into the second time around. I was also really excited to show my stuff for the USO Gala. I think it’s a spectacular organization and such a grand event!



Let’s talk about the first round. You were required to incorporate two ingredients into your first cupcake. The choices on the table included tomatoes, corn, onions, and even crab! What was going through your mind as you picked your ingredients? 
“What can I pick that no one else will pick.”

Your first cupcake, a sugar beet syrup cake with fresh ginger filled with a tart cranberry compote, was met with rave reviews! Florian is usually the hardest judge to impress, how terrifying is it during the judging?
   It’s very terrifying. A little awkward, even, at first. The round moves so fast and I’m trying to combine all these flavors quickly and also proportionately to make sure that the judges taste my vision. So, when you’re standing there watching them eat your cupcake emotionless, it’s a really nerve-wracking feeling! But after the judges call your cupcakes “a perfect plate” and basically tell you that your cupcakes are the best they’ve had, it’s an incredible feeling (and a big relief!). 

Add caption


As a lover of your cupcakes I know your creations are always delicious and beautiful. What inspired your “Heart”, “Hope”, and “Honor” flavors and decorations? 
   The flavors were all inspired by American classics – classic American flavors…peanut butter, whiskey (bourbon), coconut crème pies. Elevated into something more sophisticated, of course. But each of the cupcakes had their own theme and it was derived from my knowledge of the USO. For example, “Heart” was a symbol of America’s favorite past time (baseball) and it represented the recreational events that the USO often organizes to lift the spirits of the troops. “Hope” was a tribute to the USO’s biggest celebrity supporter, Mr. Bob Hope, who is synonymously associated with the organization for his live shows. That was the cupcake that had the word “hope” imprinted into a red start and a replica old-fashioned microphone stemming from the “O”. Lastly, the “Honor” decoration was inspired by the impressive timeline of the USO in the last 70 years. It also served as the Gala’s iconic cupcake for the night! 

The third round always looks like the most stressful part of the competition. You have to get 1000 cupcakes made, decorated and placed on a display you design. I’ve always wondered how hard it is working with the show’s baking assistants? 
   The baking assistants are extremely easy to work with, actually! At first, it’s a little overwhelming because you have to bring them up to speed with everything going on – your cupcakes, decorations, themes, display ideas, etc. But once the work is clearly delegated, the really are able to work with you independently to achieve what you need! They are stellar!



You were freaking out trying to get all the fondant toppers done, what was going through your head at that point of the competition? 
   It was a lot of fondant and I knew that. I just didn’t want to slow down. 1700 individual pieces (might have actually been a little more if you’re counting stripes, etc) are nearly impossible unless the pace is maintained! And it was very important for these cupcakes to look spectacular. Luckily, Vandy and her baking assistants were able to keep moving through batters and fillings pretty quickly. 

Is there anything else that goes through the mind of a Cupcake Wars competitor that you’d like everyone to know about?
   I don’t know about the other competitors, but when I’m competing, my mind is constantly racing trying to make choices that are going to separate me from the rest. I like to do things different, especially flavors and decoration. It’s all about separating yourself from the rest to prove that you are the best.



Again, huge congratulations on your second win! Will we be able to enjoy your competition cupcakes any time in the near future?
   Of course! We have them available in the bakery on a rotating schedule, along with all of our flavors. We even still rotate our winning Comic-con cupcakes too. Check out this month’s menu: http://www.wonderlandcustomcakes.com/cupcakes/

**FYI: Our Championship episode “Saluting the USO” is re-airing this Saturday at 1pm on Food Network

Wonderland Custom Cakes
11 W Dayton St
Pasadena, CA 91105
626.486.9977

Monday, July 02, 2012

Congratulations Wonderland Custom Cakes!

via Wonderland Custom Cakes


Congratulations to Wonderland Custom Cakes for becoming two time Cupcake Wars Champions! Anthony Valerio and his Aunt Vandy successfully beat out three other previous Cupcake Wars winners!

Stay tuned for an interview with Anthony later this week as we go into the mind of a Cupcake Wars Champion!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Cupcake cakes in creative designs: chandelier, skateboard, elephant, teddy bear, onesie

Cupcake cakes from some of the masters of the form, Polkatots Cupcakes, via their Facebook page. Contact them at fun at polkatotscupcakes.com or 626-798-3932 or visit polkatotscupcakes.com for more information.









Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pull-apart heart cake with rose cupcakes and a boot cupcake cake

An idea for next Valentine's Day or whenever you want to show some love...a pull-apart heart cupcake cake made of red rose cupcakes! By Polkatots Cupcakes in Pasadena, California, via their Facebook page. See polkatotscupcakes.com for more information.



Monday, January 23, 2012

Wonderland Custom Cakes: A Review

Last week I had the privilege of attending Wonderland Custom Cakes' Grand Opening in Old Town Pasadena. If you're a regular reader of CTTC you'll know I posted an interview with the owner, Anthony Valerio. Even under the stress of running his brand new shop Anthony and Vandy were kind enough to show me their kitchen! When I arrived at 11:00am they had already completely sold out of cupcakes! One of the employees let me know that they were baking more cupcakes at the moment and to come back in a few hours. I came back around 2:00 and they were still out! Fortunately, Anthony was kind enough to offer to send me cupcakes so I could still post this lovely review for you all!

Outside the Store Front

Anthony Valerio and his Aunt Vandy

Special Home Delivery!

Perfectly Packed!
Per Anthony's promise I came home late this week to a box of five perfectly packed cupcakes waiting for me! After carefully unwrapping and snapping shots of all of them I sat down with my family to begin the tasting!

Chocolate Bacon Caramel
Chocolate Bacon Caramel (Inside)
The first one we tried was the Chocolate Bacon Caramel cupcake. This cupcake is a "rich chocolate cake dipped in bacon-caramel and topped with a chocolate buttercream". I've had Maple Bacon cupcakes before but the combination of chocolate and bacon was completely new, and might I say, completely welcome! The cake itself was extremely moist and decadent. When they say rich they mean it. The frosting was fluffy and not overly sweet. The bacon and caramel flowed nicely together while the bacon also provided enough saltiness to balance out all the sweet factors of this cake.

Chai Latte
Chai Latte (Inside)
I'm obsessed with Chai Tea Lattes. Love them, can't get enough of them. This cupcake brings those flavors to life in a more satisfying way. Rather than only being able to drink chai I now have the option to eat it and savor an actual texture. The frosting was a spiced vanilla-orange buttercream topped with a star anise pod. This might have been my favorite of the bunch. I was hesitant about the orange mixing with the chai flavors I'm familiar with but they blended quite nicely together.

Royal Red Velvet
Royal Red Velvet (Inside)
With a name and look that's fit for a queen, this Royal Red Velvet is one of the best I've ever had. Red Velvets have become quite monotonous, in my opinion, in the cupcake world seeing as how there are little ways to redefine it from the standard Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting but this one actually does set itself apart from the rest. The cocoa was more prevalent here than in others I've tasted. The cream cheese frosting was extremely fluffy while the cream cheese wasn't overpowering. I love the texture that the red nonpareils added to the overall bite.

CinnaSwirl
CinnaSwirl (Inside)
Cinnamon buns. This is exactly what this cupcake emulates. A delicious, gooey, cinnalicious cinnamon bun. I barely got a bite of this treat because my little brothers devoured it in the blink of an eye. I wish there had been more of the cinnamon sugar swirl in the cake or at least maybe adding cinnamon to the cream cheese frosting. The ratio of cinnamon taste to frosting was delicious but I'm just someone who really enjoys cinnamon.


Biscotti


Biscotti (Inside)
This was the last cupcake I tasted. At first bite I couldn't place my finger on the flavor combo I was getting. I defnitely could taste some coffee in the frosting but the cake was confusing me because for some reason I kept tasting black licorice. At first I thought, "wow Ashley, you've had too many cupcakes and now you're on a sugar high losing your mind" but after some insightful googling I came to discover that anise tastes like black licorice. The Biscotti cupcake is described as being an "anise cake topped with coffee buttercream" so yay me for not going sugar crazy! I'm not a huge coffee fan so that's my main reasoning for this being my least favorite of the bunch but like all the other cupcakes in the box the cake was incredibly moist, creamy frosting, bursting flavors, which in turn results in yet another satisfying cupcake.

All in all, Wonderland Custom Cakes is a cupcakery that everyone needs to visit or order cupcakes from. These Cupcake War champions definitely earned their win. Anthony and his team aren't afraid to push the boundaries of conventional flavors and works hard to ensure that his cupcakes emulate what he bases them on.

If you're in the LA area head over to the new storefront to grab one of these sweet treats for yourself! If not, order online! Wonderland Custom Cakes ships!

Wonderland Custom Cakes
107 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA
www.wonderlandcustomcakes.com 





Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wonderland Custom Cakes Grand Opening!

Via Wonderland Custom Cakes
In case you forgot, Cupcake Wars winners Wonderland Custom Cakes is having their storefront grand opening today from 10am-5pm! If you're in the Los Angeles area and are looking for an awesome Saturday then look no further, THIS IS IT! I'll be there snapping pics, talking with owner Anthony Valerio and tasting all sorts of delicious treats! In case you can't attend, no worries! Wonderland Custom Cakes offers online ordering now! I'll also be posting a review of my tasting early next week! The address can be found above!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Interview: Anthony Valerio of Wonderland Custom Cupcakes

Anthony and Vandy
Can you please tell me a little about yourself? 
   My name is Anthony Valerio. I am 28 years old. Originally born in Philadelphia and raised in south Jersey. I now reside in the Los Angeles area. Our store is located at 107 South Fair Oaks Avenue in the historical Old Town section of Pasadena CA. Website: www.wonderlandcustomcakes.com
Hobbies: creating awesome cupcakes of course! … other hobbies would include spending time at the gym, hanging out with family and friends and …since I’m a big foodie, scoping out the new and exciting restaurants in LA!

What inspired your love of cupcakes?
   Truthfully, Cupcake Wars did. Before that, I hadn’t really done much in the way of cupcakes. Of course that’s all changed now….but you know, I was doing specialty fondant cakes. And then this show came along and I thought it would be a blast to try out for it and see what happens. Well, when the producers called to tell us they wanted us on the show….I thought to myself, hmm, better start figuring out how to make kick-ass cupcakes. And so that love was born! LOL

A Cake Fit For The Red Queen!
How did your company begin?
   Well, it’s an interesting story actually…for my birthday a few years ago, I decided I was going to buy myself a huge 3-tier topsy-turvy cake. I designed it to be colorful and whimsical. When I picked it up from the bakery, I thought, I bet I can do that…and wouldn’t it be a blast to try! Well, I did and it was. I taught myself all of the techniques and began practicing in my spare time. It was a challenging transition for me because at the time I was working as a strategic trial consultant and had vast knowledge in graphic design. So this was a completely different and exciting artistic outlet…there was no “undo” button if you made a mistake. Being faced with that challenge, plus structural challenges of creating art out of food and also the challenge of making it taste good really ignited passion in me. And thus my love affair with edible art was born.

Anthony and the Beekman 1802 Boys
What fuels your creativity for such unique flavor combinations?
   I think it has a lot to do with my inner foodie. I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting flavors; bold, complex and unique combinations of ingredients really inspire me. I can’t stand boring. Doing vanilla and chocolate cakes with 900 different frostings isn’t my idea of a “gourmet cupcake”…much less any sign of true creativity. My opinion is, even if it’s boring – you know like vanilla or chocolate – do something different with it to make it shiny and new again. I often like to combine flavors that complement one another but aren’t necessarily flavors you’d expect to go together. Like the jalapeño-carrot cake with sharp cheddar frosting. Whodathunk? But it’s really an incredible palate pleaser.  (And this is coming from a guy who never touched a jalapeño before Cupcake Wars). Another focal point in my cupcake flavors is making them mimic their original flavor. For example, my peach bellini cupcake was developed to taste exactly like you’re sipping on a delicious and refreshing peach bellini cocktail. It’s really irritating when you go into a cupcake shop and see a potentially exciting flavor and then you taste it and have to check the receipt to see what the hell flavor you just ate because it tastes nothing like you expected! My cupcakes are designed to have bold flavors that explode in your mouth and tantalize your taste buds. That’s why I call em “the quintessential gourmet cupcakes”.

The Winners of Cupcake Wars!
I saw the Comic Con themed episode of Cupcake Wars you competed in, what was that like? Is it really as crazy, hectic and stressful as it looks on TV?
   Worse! It’s probably the single-most stressful thing I’ve done to date. It’s extremely intense. And it all goes by so quickly that you don’t even have time to think. One mistake and it will likely cost you your chance at winning! Oh and by the end, you’re completely exhausted. Lucky for me I brought along the world’s greatest assistant. My Aunt Vandy. She’s a one of a kind culinary extraordinaire. Now she’s actually also my business partner so it’s even cooler! But having her as my assistant was truly a lifesaver because of her intuitiveness and ability to get things done efficiently and with perfection!


Superhero Cupcakes
What has winning Cupcake Wars done for you and your business?
   Winning has been incredible! It’s what every competitor dreams of. I was really proud of our win because it was really a triumph … we dominated each round and I am very proud of that. Frankly, winning has helped me realize my true potential and passion in the cupcake/cake artistry world. And, it has literally given us the chance to bring our unique brand to the public by way of storefront: we are scheduled to open our first retail location in Pasadena California on January 14, 2012! Winning has also given me recognition in the culinary industry, allows me to reach out and interact with fans and be recognized by icons like Martha Stewart who put photos of our cupcakes on her personal blog! It doesn’t get better than that 

Royal Red Velvet
What is your personal favorite cupcake flavor to eat and what is your favorite to make?
   You know, I get asked this all the time….I end up liking all of my cupcakes. I love making all of them because they each have their own identity. It’s obvious looking at them that they are part of the Wonderland brand, yet unlike so many cupcake shops where they all look the same, ours each have their own distinct and creative flair. As far as flavors, I keep coming back to my red velvet though. That’s probably my favorite. I never liked red velvet until I developed mine. You can really taste separation of flavors in the cupcake – from the hints of cocoa to the hints of spices like cinnamon that we use. It’s more refreshing and very different from the other versions out there.

What is your favorite thing about cupcakes?
   My favorite thing about cupcakes is that they are so versatile and that one can enjoy their own whole work of art rather than just a piece of one. 

Coconut Cupcake Anyone?
In the spirit of the New Year, what are you looking forward to most in 2012 for the future of Wonderland Custom Cakes?
   2011 was a very roller coaster year for Vandy and me. But all-in-all, it was a tremendous year for us and for Wonderland. As I said, we are opening our first store in January and we really intend on coming out of the gate with a boom! In 2012 we plan on focusing on building our brand as much as possible. Letting the world know that Wonderland really has the best cupcakes. From there, we’d ultimately like to expand our brand into other locations, products, dry mixes and maybe even more tv! We’re open to anything. We want to be a force to reckon with in the culinary industry and in our opinion, we have the brand and the cupcakes to do just that!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?
   It was truly a pleasure doing this interview with you. We are huge fans of “Cupcakes Take the Cake” and can’t wait to do more  We ask anyone out there who can make it to our Grand Opening to join us on January 14, 2012 from 10am to 5pm. We will be giving away free cupcakes, coupons plus more! Once we open our store, customers who aren’t so local will actually be able to order online for Nationwide Delivery of our freshly baked cupcakes. And all customers will be able to choose from any of the flavors of the day! Check us out online at our website, follow us on facebook and twitter for updates and sweet news!

If you're in the Los Angeles area be sure to come out to Wonderland Custom Cakes Grand Opening! I'll be there trying some sweet treats so if you can't make it out keep an eye out for my tasting review next week!