Happy August readers!
And you know the best thing about August? a) It’s my birth-month (I have a strong belief in birth ‘days’ being celebrated for the entire month much to the joy of my family…)
b) It’s only 4 months until Christmas! Which means even more presents!
c) I have for you a brilliant interview with Andrea Cox from Posh & Swanky Cupcakes, could August get any better?!
When did you first realise you had a healthy obsession with cupcakes?
(Andrea reveals on her website she loves raw cupcake mixture…which I can only recommend as an essential part of anyone’s diet)….
As it says on the website, the obsession started in ‘Marian’s Kitchen’ (my mum) baking buns as a child, when I became hooked on raw bun mix! I also lived in a pub when younger and one of the customers was a cake artist. She took me ‘under her wing’ and I was her ‘assistant’ on her wedding cake designs, which at that time were mainly created as fruit cakes covered in white Royal Icing – so it is something I have been interested in from a young age.
The obsession started up again when I discovered some astoundingly intricate little cupcakes on the Internet of mini shoes and handbags. I got more and more interested, booked myself on some courses, and found all I wanted to do was create cakes. So that is how Posh & Swanky began….
Why have you chosen to pass on your cupcake wisdom rather than sell your own creations?
One of the most appealing things about running classes to me is the social interactions, since for the past 3 years I have had a job that involves working alone!
There is also the aspect that I was kind of ‘pushed’ down a career route by my parents because ‘its a good skill you can fall back on’, and my subsequent working life, whilst creative in many ways, I often felt to be soul-less on the treadmill commuting back and forth and it was all about making profit for other people.
In hindsight, I should have pursued the things I loved. So to me, it was wonderful to find cake decorating again after so long, and it’s nice to be able to pass on skills to other people to ‘give something back’.
Are there many men who sneak into your cupcake classes?
I have had interest from several men but no male bookings yet, one is telling me he wishes to book a course in August – so watch this space!
What’s the longest amount of time it’s taken you to decorate one cupcake?
It usually takes me 8-15 hours to create a ‘collection’ of 12 complimentary cakes on the initial design. I usually get an idea or desire to make a single cupcake design, and a theme sort of emerges around it, I often draw them out on paper and think of the basic colour scheme, but the actual colours emerge as I execute it. Once the collection is ‘designed’ it is then a lot quicker to reproduce it again.
What’s been your best cupcake experience?
Each time I create a new collection it feels like the ‘best’ experience!!! My enjoyment comes from the creation of something ‘different’ and from ‘experimentation’. Having said that, whilst I have a head full of cupcake ideas and a list of projects I wish to experiment with, I must say it is a bit ‘soul destroying’ sometimes when I look around the Internet and I will see people have already executed some of the designs I was planning to do! Therefore, I mostly prefer to take my inspiration from external (none cakey) sources.
And of course, what’s been your worst?
The worst cupcake experience I had was experimenting with Marshmallows – what an unpredictable substance this is! All of the recipes suggested a large marshmallow be inserted into the middle of the raw cupcake mix. The buns would smell delicious… rise gloriously… and then collapse as soon as they were removed from the oven, it was totally unstable!
So, heres a TOP TIP for all your readers… use mini mallows and only use 2 in a shallow case, or 3 in deeper case (insert them below the surface in the uncooked mix after you have put the mixture in the case).
Marshmallows also add a lot of sweetness to the cake, so it is a good idea to reduce the sugar very slightly, and this should work well with most cupcake recipes. Marshmallows do add a wonderful flavour and they produce an exceedingly moist cake.
If you try this at home then come and visit me on my Facebook page and let me know how you get on. Also please leave some feedback on this blog.
Marshmallow buttercream sounds unusual, what is it and how do you make it, it sounds delicious!
Again, it was a bit of a nightmare experimenting with Marshmallow buttercream. The recipe I initially tried requested that you melt butter then melt the mallow into it before combining it with icing sugar. I decided to ignore this and ‘do it my own way’ as I did not like the sound of the melted butter, and whilst I managed it that first time, I would advise anyone trying this to go down the melted butter route that I have subsequently tried and found to be the best way!
Marshmallow frosting will be ‘yummy’ to marshmallow lovers, but the consistency is quite ‘gloopy’. The best way to pipe marshmallow frosting is with a large plain round nozzle as it does not hold star or rose tip grooves very well.
What is your favourite style of buttercream?
My favourite buttercream is basic buttercream with just butter and icing sugar. However, I LOVE vanilla cupcakes filled with a gooey lemon middle, and also topped with lemon butter icing – so I suppose those are my all time favourites.
Which is your favourite cupcake to decorate?
My favourite cupcake collection at the moment is my English Romance collection (as seen at the top of the page!) It is inspired by vintage jewellery and is slightly shabby chic. The cakes use green tea extract (which is very expensive to buy), I thought it would be a nice ingredient for the students attending our classes to try because of this, to see if they like it before buying any.
And finally, what’s next for Posh & Swanky cupcakes?
Well at the moment we have a FACEBOOK FREE PRIZE DRAW. If your readers go to our Facebook page and like us before the end of August, they could win a beginners cupcake decoration class worth £99.
Please share this link with your friends to spread the ‘cupcakey love’, and that way we can keep you updated of the promotions that we have planned for the forthcoming year.
For more information or to book a Posh & Swanky cupcake class, please go to
Interview with Andrea Cox, owner of Posh & Swanky Cupcakes (Classes).
Thanks for a great interview Andrea and spreading the Cakey Love!
Here’s some of my favourite of Andrea’s designs…