Using the internet to get better at baking
Elise Strachan's foray into the world of Youtube has not only fostered her love of baking but has become a nice little side earner.
How did your YouTube channel come about?
I've owned and run a small market-based cake and cupcake business on the Gold Coast for about 5 years, so I've made quite a few cupcakes in that time. The YouTube channel MyCupcakeAddiction was really my Husbands idea. He suggested we put up a video of how to decorate a Cookie Monster cupcake just to see what people thought of it and I really did it to humour him, thinking no-one would watch. The response was great and as I saw the views growing daily and started getting some positive feedback, I was inspired to keep sharing the knowledge and skills that I'd been developing over the years.
What is your background in baking?
I'm self-taught but I've always loved to bake. My mum wouldn't let us have much in the way of sweets as kids but I quickly found I could combine some basic ingredients into a delicious chocolate slice that my sister and I could sneak to the backyard with. In 2007, my best friend and I looked at opening a cupcake shop in Sydney, right at the start of the cupcake craze and I started really experimenting with cupcake recipes and decorating techniques. The cupcake shop never eventuated, but my love for baking was reignited and I set about developing my own delicious signature recipes ... At the beginning of this year I began my Pastry Chef degree to learn even more about the craft I love.
Why do you think people find YouTube helpful? Is it best for beginners or the more advanced?
YouTube is the 'go to' place for the younger generation, and the rest of us are quickly catching up. You can only get so much out of a decorating book with a few still images but when it's right there in video form, it’s like you're in a classroom receiving one on one tuition (and it's FREE!). YouTube has such a wide range of How To videos to offer, from how to bling your shoes to how to eat a Tim Tam slam and the great thing about it is that the people behind the videos are accessible to their audience. I often have people asking me questions about how or why I do things and am only too happy to respond, and to troubleshoot if they are having problems or issues with their decorating. I've had pretty much every baking and decorating disaster you can imagine (including a collapsed wedding cake!) so I know a LOT about what can go wrong and how to fix it when it does.
What is your absolute favourite thing about baking?
For me, its a creative outlet and a way to share something I'm incredibly passionate about with like-minded people. Mass producing cupcakes for sale at a market or in a store is one thing, but taking a cupcake and turning it into a Chanel handbag or a tiny rose bouquet that you know will be greeted with gasps of disbelief is what I truly love! I feel such a sense of pride when I perfect a new design, or when one of my favourite tutorials is received particularly well by the YouTube community.
What are your hopes for MyCupCakeAddiction? Any exciting plans on the horizon?
My goal for MyCupcakeAddiction is be the premier provider of cupcake and cake pop How To tutorials on YouTube. A big task in a global online community with so many major players but I am determined and have enough fantastic ideas to last for many years’ worth of tutorials. My ultimate goal is to have 'How To' videos for cupcakes and cake pops to suit absolutely any occasion you can imagine - something for everyone! In January 2013 we won YouTubes "On The Rise" program for up and coming channels and we were also accepted into the YouTube Next How To Guru program, receiving $5000 worth of recording equipment from YouTube - there will be lots of exciting changes on the horizon so make sure you head over to MyCupcakeAddiction and hit the Subscribe button so you don't miss out on them when they happen.
What is the very best baking tip that you can give?
OK - so this tip is top secret, but today it's out! I always add 1-2 tablespoons of oil (olive, canola or vegetable) to any cake or cupcake mix I make - It keeps them moister for longer and prevents cases of "dry cupcake-it is" - truly one of the most disappointing things if you're a cupcake lover. This one’s tried and tested and will moisten up any favourite cake or cupcake recipe, or even a quick packet mix. That’s a trade secret that's never been shared - now it’s out exclusively for The Daily Life readers!
A delicious, moist and fluffy, mix-altogether Red Velvet cake
2.5 cups self-raising flour
1.75 cups caster sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup water
3 large eggs
3 tbsp red food colour paste (I love Americolour tulip red)
1 tsp vanilla essence, extract or paste
2 tbsp olive, vegetable or canola oil
Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius
Sift flour & cocoa into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients
With an electric mixer beat until the mixture is fully combined and lightens slightly in colour (approx 2 minutes)
Spoon into cupcake cases, filling cases 3/4 to the top
Cook 12-15 minutes until the centre of the cupcake springs back when touched
Makes 18 cupcakes
Elise says she loves this recipe because “it’s not heavy and dense like a lot of Red Velvet cakes. It's moist and fluffy, perfect for cupcakes and theres no creaming, adding or folding in of ingredients. Just throw them all together, mix, bake and enjoy! Perfect when topped with my delicious Cream Cheese Frosting!”
A yummy cream cheese frosting that can be piped or spread onto cakes and cupcakes with ease
5 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
125g softened butter
125g softened full fat cream cheese
Sift icing sugar
Combine butter, cream cheese and lemon juice in a bowl
Mix on high speed for at least 5 minutes, until mixture is nearly white and feels 'whipped' and fluffy to touch
Add icing sugar one cup at a time, combining well after each addition
Add milk if you would like your frosting softer, leave milk out for firmer frosting
Frosts 20-24 cupcakes
Leftovers can be frozen for up to 3 months, and defrosted at room temperature