Norman has been with Bramble Berry for almost a decade! He started with Bramble Berry as a puller/packer/order person and has worked his way into the fabric of our company (and of course, our hearts). My second favorite dessert I've ever baked for a Brambleversary was also for Norman! See Norm's brambleversary treat from last year, Salted Caramel Choco-Beer Cupcakes. They were such a hit with the staff, I knew I had to raise the bar. May I introduce you to the delectable, the ginger-iffic, the "savor every sweet bite" cupcake...Ginger Molasses Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting! (Insert Applause)!
"The best cupcake you've ever made" -- Norman
Ginger Molasses Cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs
1/3 cup hot water
9 ounces (2 pieces, each 6 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1 cup)
2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Ground ginger, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add molasses. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
Reduce speed to low. Mix any remaining wet ingredients (water) in a bowl if needed. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry. Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
For the frosting, Martha (yes, we're apparently on a first name basis), suggested a whipped cream frosting. I got a bee in my bonnet that Lemon Buttercream would be delicious. So I went with my instinct (and it didn't steer me wrong).
Lemon Butter Cream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (not spread or tub product)
1 (1 lb) package confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
1 dash salt
Beat butter or margarine until soft in a medium sized bowl. Beat in confectioners' sugar alternately with lemon rind, salt lemon juice, and milk. Continue beating until smooth and spreadable.
The Bramble Berry staff gives these cupcakes two enthusiastic thumbs up!
Leah, Customer Service- "They were so deliciously different! It was like a party in my mouth!"
Norm, COO- "The best brambleversary cupcakes I've had in 11 years!"
Add our new herbs and extracts directly to your soaps and concoctions
to benefit from their unique properties. The oil soluble extracts (some are oil soluble, some are water soluble) can be used in balms too for an extra nourishing lotion bar, lip product or salve. The dried herbs can also be used as natural colorants, either as an oil infusion or some added directly to soap.
Other great skin-loving essential oils that would be incredible in this recipe too: Helischyrum, Frankincense, Jasmine, Rose, Neroli
Buy everything you need in the click of a button! And you'll have LOTS of leftovers for more balmy fun!
ONE: This recipe is designed by weight so have your handy dandy scale ready to weigh. Weigh out the Cocoa Butter and Avocado Butter. Melt in the microwave on 30 second bursts and stir in between bursts. Remember to choose a glass container that is almost all the way full with solid materials because empty glass containers are prone to cracking or exploding in the microwave.
TWO: In a separate, smaller container, weigh out the Tamanu Oil and Jojoba Oil. Heat this oil up in the microwave for 30 seconds. Are the Tamanu Oil grains melted? Stir well. If they're not fully melted, put the mixture in the microwave for another 30 seconds. And don't forget the little waxy-like grains at the bottom of your Tamanu Oil bottle. I like to rinse my bottle out with the hot oil to get all the components of the Tamanu Oil.
Tamanu Oil has a very earthy smell and slightly grainy texture. It smells sort of like a nutty, musky dirt. It's not unpleasant but it is surprising if you've never smelled it before.
THREE: Weigh out the Mango Butter. Put this directly into your mixer. Drizzle the melted oils and butters over the solid oil. Immediately turn the mixer onto low (much higher than that and you'll find yourself with oil splatters all over your kitchen and yourself!). Let the warm oils slowly and gently melt the Mango Butter. This helps with the 'Mango Butter chunks' that you sometimes see with balms.
FOUR (optional): I really like a balm that soaks in quickly and doesn't feel massively oily on my skin. Dry Flo AF is a specially sifted cornstarch (the AF stands for "aluminum free") for cosmetic products. If you are allergic to corn, definitely skip this step. Add 2 Tablespoons of Dry Flo to your heated warm oils a bit at a time. If you add it too quickly, POOF! Dry Flo everywhere!
FIVE: Whip, whip, whip until the butter is turning slightly cloudy (signifying that it is starting to set up). Add the essential oil mixture of your choice. I've chosen the ones in this recipe specifically to help me in bouncing back from my labor and stretched-out belly. They are extra skin-loving but you can use any essential oil or fragrance oil you'd like. Just keep the mixture to 3 grams or else it turns into a strong smelling perfume balm!
Just in case you don't follow me on Twitter, I read a bunch of articles almost daily (reading is my favorite hobby besides soapmaking) and tweet out the ones I think could be helpful to other people. Since a lot of them are small business related, I thought you might enjoy a recap of last week.
Social media is an amplifier of traditional media sources and not a trend unto itself? Research proves it?http://ow.ly/3ZNaq
Fair Ivy is a fun happy subscription where you receive a surprise package of carefully curated items in the mail every month. Really? A surprise package? How fun is that? The business started over a cup of coffee and the observation that we, as adults, never get packages in the mail anymore. And if we do, we already know what's inside (hello Amazon, Zappos and Etsy). Based on that observation, the surprise package subscription was created. Read the history of Fair Ivy here.
Here's what our first Fair Ivy surprise package looked like.
Our kit came with some matchstick plant seeds, mushroom decals, a knitted heart and the cutest stacked teacups mug. The blue fabric in the mug is a scarf with robot decal (so techy chic).
Mini grapefruit earrings inside the cutely packaged cupcake box.
Do you have a small soap business or have you always dreamed of getting your soap business off the ground? Then keep reading. We're offering you a chance to win a big sale! We've created a contest with Fair Ivy that will benefit our customers and theirs. Fair Ivy is looking for a toiletry product to include in their surprise boxes and that's where you come in. We know how talented our customers are and think something YOU make would be great for a Fair Ivy subscription.
How to Enter
Send us your Fair Ivy submission by Friday April 8th. Remember to send a quantity of two.
Ship to: Bramble Berry Inc.
C/O Fair Ivy Contest
2138 Humboldt Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
What to Enter
Anything in the toiletry department; Soaps, Lotions, Scrubs, Candles, Creams. If you have any questions just email contest(at)brambleberry(dot)com.
The Bramble Berry team will test each product and decide on the top 3.
We'll send the finalists over to Fair Ivy who will will choose the grand prize winner to include in their surprise packages.
Fair Ivy will purchase a quantity of 50 of your product at $4 each (with room to go up to $6 if the product is out-of-this-world amazing). Please note that Bramble Berry and its affiliates, including Soap Queen, are not responsible for anything having to do with the Purchase Order, Payment etc... We are just handing off the best soaps and leave it up to you, the crafter, to negotiate terms with Fair Ivy.
The Fine Print
Make sure to label your product with ingredients, your name, company and contact information.
Please keep the cost of supplies in mind. If you win, Fair Ivy will be paying $4 for your product.
Benefits of the Contest
Get your name out there! We'll be blogging entries as they come in
Could this be your first wholesale account?
Have you always wanted to start your business? This is the perfect opportunity to take that chance.
All participants will be entered in a drawing to win some of the extra goodies!
Here is the official Master List of Swappers for our May 2011 swap. We will keep this list updated with the fragrances being used and we will also note when we've received your soap.
What's a soap swap you ask? Basically, you send us 12 bars of handmade soap and we send you 12 different bars back. We don't charge anything but postage to and from for this fun community event. Read about all the details here.
Interested in signing up? Just email uswith what kind of soap you are making and what Bramble Berry fragrance or essential oil you are going to use (check the list below to make sure no one else has claimed your scent).
The Soap Queen (aka Anne-Marie Faiola) blog talks about soap, toiletries and all manner of recipes and experiments around making your own goodies. I also muse about being self-employed, women in business, good design, cheese and decadent sweets. It's a bit of a potluck - enjoy!