F.A.Q.

Frequently (or not so frequently) Asked Questions

Here we have some questions I’ve received either through e-mail or other conversations, and I thought it might be useful to have a section here for them. Got a question? Ask it. First, I’ll just state some general website information for all you other geeks.

  • Web design/layout/template editing: done 100% by me, images created in Adobe Illustrator CS6 & Adobe Photoshop CS6; all changes to PHP/CSS/HTML written by me
  • Graphics: All drawn/created/edited by me
  • Fonts used: In CR image- ”VTKS Xtra” & “Orator”; in general site text- “League Gothic” & “Helvetica Neue”
  • Web host: GoDaddy.com
  • Blogging tools: WordPress.org
  • Template: Original BLASKAN theme by Per Sandström
  • Design-related plugins: Drop caps
  • Food photography: Canon EOS Rebel t4i, photos pre-August 2012 taken with an iPhone 4 (using a mix of Hipstamatic/Snapseed/Camera + apps), photos pre-July 2011 taken with an Olympus point & shoot f340 something-or-other
  • Photo editing: Adobe Photoshop CS6

And now… the questions…

Where can I buy your merchandise?

I have only ONE place to buy stuff from right now, and that is here at Cafepress. I have everything from t-shirts to mugs. Go nuts!

How did you come up with the name ‘Cupcake Rehab’?

Funny enough, it was a happy accident. I was listening to music on my iTunes, and contemplating starting a cupcake/cooking blog, when Amy Winehouse came on. One thing led to another and when I heard the song ‘Rehab‘… I thought “CUPCAKE REHAB!” It just sounded perfect. And for a while there I was beginning to think cupcake rehab was exactly what I needed, haha. Poor Amy- she inspired me with her music for my blog name & now she’s no longer around. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

Where do you get your recipes?

The internet, books, family recipes, etc. All over the place. And some are from the deep dark recesses of my brain. Scary place, haha. But seriously, the internet is a wonderful resource. You can not only get a recipe for ANYTHING, but you can get reviews and a lot of the time people will list ways to make it better, etc. There are also tons of cupcake books out there. Check Amazon.com. Also, almost any cake recipe can be used for cupcakes, so think about that when you find an interesting cake recipe! Look at vintage cookbooks too- ones that belong to your grandma or mom or aunt… they’re FILLED with amazing ideas. Vintage magazines or cookbooks are the best. No non-fat or low carb options!

How did you get into baking?

I’ve always baked. Every single holiday since I was a kid I helped my mother make our traditional desserts and cookies, and I’ve always loved it. I just never really had the time or motivation to do it often, or at least I thought I didn’t. Plus, my idea of baking when I was in my late teens or early twenties was a box of Betty Crocker cake mix & some too-sweet canned frosting. But when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, I started to cook and make dinner almost every single night to pick up the slack for her, so a foray into baking wasn’t too far off. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I found it amazingly relaxing, it’s methodical and very measured; unlike art which can be overly passionate, free-form, dramatic and frustrating. Art is not a hobby, folks. Crafting is a hobby. Art is a full-time job. Art is passionate, frustrating, and tedious at times. It is not something you do “for fun.” Anyway, I knew how to cook and bake my whole life- it was always in there. I just never really had the frame of mind to do it at this scale before… or the time, like I said. After high school, I went to F.I.T. and then worked full-time intermittently, then went back to college full-time, then worked full-time again and between that and family obligations, social calendar, homework, etc, I didn’t really think about it. I kinda thought that women who did that kind of thing were stuck in a bizarro June Cleaver nightmare. I wanted to be in Manhattan until all hours of the night. But once I got started, I realized it’s a perfect outlet for me. It relaxes me, it helps take my mind off things, and its creative enough that I don’t feel repressed. When I feel creatively repressed, I go into homicidal rages. Haha, not really. But seriously, I learned a lot about not only myself, but life… and I’m so much happier. No nightmares here.

Where is that image from at the top of the page?

I drew it and designed it myself, using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. As of the June 2013 redesign, it’s a new retro-kitsch inspired image. I love all things vintage & retro, & I have quite a vintage kitchen/housewares collection, so it’s only right. Or appropriate, rather. If you’re looking for me to do graphic design or illustration work for you, e·mail me here: marilloca@gmail.com. Please don’t use any of my images! They’re mine, I created them & they’re not for your free use. I’ve had issues with my work popping up all over the web before, with my name blocked out and without my permission… and it sucks. Please don’t be that person. Thanks!

What do you use to decorate the cupcakes?

I use a kit I got for Christmas a few years back, this one to be exact. It’s by Wilton, and it’s the best. It had so many things that came with it, that I’ve rarely had to buy anything, except to replace a few icing colors. The tips I use most often are three extra large (Or “jumbo” as they’re sometimes called) tips: closed star, open star, and round, and the Wilton tips I use the most are #1M (large star), #2D (large flower) and #2A (large round) which are the big tips, and #32 (standard open star) which is a smaller one. I use the 16 inch reusable pastry bag the most, although the kit comes with an 8 inch and a 16 inch as well as disposable ones (which I use a lot too, mainly for Candy Melts or icing cookies). I recommend if you’re doing a frosting that’s highly pigmented to use a disposable bag as the reusables get stained on the inside (particularly when you use the Wilton icing colors- they’re BRIGHT and they’ll stain your hands too!). Also with peanut butter frosting, its better to use a disposable bag because the peanut butter can be very oily and hard to clean off the inside of the bag. The tools make all the difference in this, the same as in art. You use shitty brushes- your paintings look it. You use shitty quality pastry tips and your cakes and cupcakes look like it. Invest in a good pastry bag and at least two tips and you’re good.

I tried *insert recipe here* and it was awful. What did I do wrong?

I don’t know. I’m not Cupcake Jesus. I am not all knowing, contrary to popular belief. Try it again, and this time, make sure you have all the proper ingredients, be sure to measure everything carefully and pay attention. Sometimes its as simple as the wrong kind of flour or too much baking powder (or your baking powder is expired- yes that’s possible). Other times you’re using butter with not enough butterfat in it (cheap butter is more watery) or your oven temperature is off. Otherwise- you’re just a lousy baker and shouldn’t quit your day job. I will always answer e·mails from readers asking why things didn’t work, but just remember: I’m only human, and I’m not a professional myself. I don’t know everything… about baking. In every other area of life, yes, I do in fact know everything.

How do I find *insert recipe here* on your site?

Well there are two ways of doing that. One, you can use the ‘search’ box. You’ll find that at the bottom of the page, directly above the ads. Simply type what you’re looking for in the long empty white box, then click search. The results will then be shown, and you just click on the polaroid of the entry you wish to read in full. Alternately, a second option is to go to the main page (click ‘HOME’ above) and look at the categories, also at the bottom, just beneath the search box. Browse through them and click on the particular category you’re interested in, then the results will show up, and again, all you have to do is click the polaroid to read the full entry and see the recipe, etc. Simple! Also, there’s the new Recipe Index! It lists (almost) every recipe on the blog in one place. But if after all that you’re really having a hard time finding something just let me know and I’ll help you out.

Can I send you a product to test/review?

Yes, absolutely. I am 100% willing to review your products or test them and I love finding new things to bake with/in/etc, however I am brutally honest. Luckily I haven’t had a problem with this so far, but please don’t expect me to love it no matter what just because I got it for free. If you’re sending it to me for a review and it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, or doesn’t live up to the hype, I’m going to say so. If that makes you uncomfortable, then forget it. Otherwise shoot me an e·mail at cupcake.rehab@gmail.com and we’ll talk! Also, as far as paid or endorsed posts go, please contact me because I would only accept under very specific situations and guidelines.

Hi, I own a company/work for a company/do the P.R. for a company, and we’d like to know what your site stats are/Google Page Rank/etc so we can possibly work with you?

I have a media kit available in PDF form for anyone who’d like it. It lists all of my website information, plus what I require in return from any company I work with. Serious inquiries only, please. Send me an e·mail at cupcake.rehab@gmail.com.

How can I link to you? Will you link me back?

The answer to the first part of this question is: a plain ol’ text link is fine with me. If you want a banner, here it is:

Cupcake Rehab new banner: please save & upload to your own server!

Just please upload it to your own server & don’t hotlink. Now, as far as the second part of the question: yes, most likely. If I enjoy your site, then I sure will. If I don’t, or I find it offensive or uninteresting to me, then I won’t. That may sound bitchy but really why would I add you to my blogroll if I don’t like your content?! But also please keep in mind I get like 800+ hits a day and don’t always notice when a new blog is linking to me, so if you really want me to see your site leave me a comment!

What equipment do you use?

Well I have a KitchenAid Cook For the Cure® artisan stand mixer, in pink. Her name is Lola. She’s a dream machine and I want to marry her. Look at how gorgeous she is.


Needless to say that’s a recommendation, just be careful to not go nuts with it. Make sure you use a wooden spoon or whisk, or at least a hand mixer for things that don’t need a powerful beating or else you’ll end up with really dry, bread-y cupcakes (the more you mix, the more gluten is released from the flour, giving you tough batter). My wonderful Jay bought me this crazy 9-Speed KitchenAid Architect Series m-f’er & it’s nuts! I highly recommend investing some money in Silpats (or other silicone mats) and cooling racks as well, especially if you’re planning on baking a lot and being serious about it. As far as rolling out cookies or pastry dough, I have a marble rolling pin & it’s by far better than any wooden one I’ve ever used. I already mentioned what I use for piping frosting and what have you a few questions above. I don’t really use any other “equipment” so that’s pretty much it. Unless you count an apron as equipment, haha.

How do you get your colored frosting so bright/what kind of food coloring do you use?/how do you get such amazing results with food coloring?

Wilton, Wilton, and again, Wilton. Always. Their icing colors gel coloring is the best. I can’t say enough about it. The color you get from it is unbelievable, and usually all you need to use is a tiny bit. Some examples of this stuff in action: orange, blue, pink, red/green, and here’s an example of cupcakes colored pink with it. Although that said, Americolor is crazy good too. It’s a matter of preference and availability.

What kind of camera do you have?

As of July 2012, I use a Canon EOS Rebel t4i. It’s pretty bananas. I haven’t even begun to tap into it’s potential. For most of my food or cupcake pictures, I use the Canon EFS 18-55mm lens & a Zeikos 58mm Professional HD DSLR MC AF 0.45X wide angle w/macro lens. The Zeikos is a cheap lens, but I find it works really nicely and until I get my sea legs with this camera, I don’t feel the need to buy a $400.00 or higher lens. For roughly a year before that, I was using my iPhone’s camera with a variety of apps: Hipstamatic, Pro Camera, Camera+ & Snapseed. I still do use that occasionally for on-the-go photos. I have an Olympus F340, yes, in pink. To match my mixer… haha just kidding. I usually put it on the ‘cuisine’ setting to take the pictures of the cupcakes and food and I find it makes a difference. It’s not a crazy expensive professional camera, but it takes damn good pictures and I love it. Although some of my pictures are altered in Adobe Photoshop a bit to make them look a bit better color/lighting wise, it’s only a slim percentage. It’s by no means a “professional” camera; I’d like to get a really excellent quality one sometime in the future. But for now, it works, and that’s all that matters. I’m not Annie Leibovitz. Lately, I’ve been using my iPhone 4G to take the photos since I broke the battery cover on my Olympus. It’s working out well for now, but I plan on getting a better camera some point in the future.

 

Why do you sometimes not follow recipes to the tee? Isn’t that the point?

Because I’m a rebel. Well… that and sometimes I just don’t have all the ingredients, and I want to show people that you don’t always have to have everything on hand and sometimes you can just make do. Sometimes there’s not that big of a difference between using cake flour and all-purpose, and you can make your own self-rising flour by using a combo of all-purpose/baking powder/salt. Other times, you DO need cake flour and shouldn’t skimp. Baking is something you have to be careful with- one ¼ teaspoon more or less of something can throw you off… but also, it’s not always an exact science. I use a different recipe for buttercream each and every single time I make it, and its never the same amount of sugar. It’s all about experimentation and having fun. Like chemistry class, without the bad grades if you set your kitchen on fire.

Whats your cupcake inspiration?

That’s a question that’s both hard, and easy. Hard because I don’t really know, I mean, I think my cupcakes are pretty basic. I don’t do wacky combinations or vegetable cupcakes or bologna cupcakes or whatever, mainly because I don’t think those are really even cupcakes, but also why would I make something that I don’t want to eat just to say I could? I like simple stuff. Fancy decorations and frosting color and things like that, but simple flavors. Nothing too unappetizing or unusual for me, sorry. I’m just not into that. So that makes it hard for me to answer… but then again it’s easy because everything is inspiration. Sometimes I find myself planning holiday cupcakes months in advance because of something I saw in a movie. If that sounds weird I assure you I am not the only one. Also, sometimes I find really unique and pretty cupcake liners or toppers and those inspire me to make appropriate cakes. And I’ve even made cupcakes to match one of my aprons. Seriously. But at any rate to answer the question in one sentence: I guess I could say anything and everything and yet nothing all at the same time!

Whats your favorite cupcake?

Vanilla/vanilla. Yeah- I’m boring, I know. Well, about as boring as I can be, which I really don’t think is all that boring. If you mean cupcake recipe, well then I’d have to say the Magnolia Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe, or the Martha Stewart white cupcake recipe. They are both two of the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever had. However I had a white chocolate cupcake at a bakery/luncheonette in Mystic, CT and it was DA BOMB.

Can I use one of your recipes on my blog?

Well, for starters, most of these recipes are public domain, or were on the internet already, and they don’t belong to me. So of course you can use them! Just be sure to credit whomever I credited when I posted it, because that’s only fair. And if there’s no credit next to the recipe, that means I created it. With most recipes, especially basic recipes or popular ones like the Magnolia or Crumbs bakery recipes, it can be found in a million other places and has nothing to do with me- so post away, just give credit when you’re able. If it is mine, then I’d appreciate credit & a link back in the post. Otherwise, please don’t credit me for something I didn’t create. The use of my photographs is a different story. Only, and I mean ONLY with my permission can you use any of my photographs, whether of myself or any food product (or any photograph found on this website), for your own purposes. All my pictures are copyrighted and are my property and my property only. DO NOT USE MY PHOTOGRAPHS WITHOUT E-MAILING ME AND ASKING MY PERMISSION FIRST.

Where did you get that apron you’re wearing in that photo?

Chances are its Jessie Steele. However, I also own some vintage aprons and two made for me by my friend Yoyo. I’m a big fan of JS aprons and highly recommend them. They’re gorgeous. Anthropologie stores carry beautiful aprons (including Jessie Steele) that have a vintage look and feel as well. However, I also suggest if you’re into handmade things and supporting people who sew and make things themselves, that you check out Etsy and also inquire with Yoyo about making something custom for you. She’s amazingly talented and you will not be disappointed (check out her store by clicking here, merchandise varies weekly/monthly). If you like vintage, theres always eBay as well as Etsy and also sometimes good thrift stores have some as well. Oh! And I posted a tutorial to make your own half-apron from a tea towel, so if you’re crafty, check it out.

What kind of music inspires you/do you listen to while baking & cooking?

EVERYTHING! Well, almost. I enjoy tons of different kinds of music, but I really like the following for baking & cooking: Black Sabbath, Johnny Cash, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Dropkick Murphy’s, Against Me!, Muse, Amy Winehouse, Social Distortion, Agnostic Front, NOFX, The Beastie Boys, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, HorrorPops, Nekromantix, TSOL, Bad Religion, Ozzy, The Distillers, and so forth. Sometimes I like to listen to “jam bands” like Dave Matthews Band and Gov’t Mule. Sometimes older stuff like Hole, Nirvana, and 90’s grunge and sometimes even older stuff like The Beatles & the Rolling Stones. I also love even older stuff than that: Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Bob & Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Cole Porter, etc. But sometimes a little Wu Tang Clan, Eminem, Notorious BIG, Mos Def or Mobb Deep is called for as well. I’m a huge classical music fan but I don’t really listen to that while baking. Anyway, the above are just a sampling of the bands I’m into. They all get me psyched in a different way… but by no means is that all the music I like. More recently, I’ve gotten into Lady Gaga (despite my initial dislike of her- turns out she’s super talented & weird; always a good pair), and she’s good to bake to as well. I have really eclectic tastes. And Jay is in a death metal band, so I hear a lot of that too. Sometimes against my will.

Your name is very unique/odd/pretty/etc… where’s it from?

My mother got it from the book (and ensuing series) Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. There is a character named (Aunt) Marilla Cuthbert, and my mom just fell in love with the name. I can’t imagine having any other name, I feel this one fits me perfectly. Despite all the idiots who’ve mispronounced it or misspelled it since my birth I still adore it and I’ll endure all the mistakes happily knowing there aren’t 600 million other people in NY (or the U.S., or the world) with my exact name. There’s also a town in upstate N.Y. with the name Marilla. I need to go there & be the mayor, dontcha think?

How did you get that little picture next to your name when you write a comment?

That little image is a Gravatar. Its a Globally Recognized Avatar, hence the name. It will show up on any site that has them enabled when you put your e·mail address in. Go here for more info and instructions on how to get one: http://gravatar.com/

Do you have a Facebook page? Can I add you as a friend?

Yes, I do, and no you can’t. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound bitchy but my personal Facebook page is JUST for friends & family. I have added a few close “internet friends” & bloggers, but I won’t be adding more unless I know you. And by know you, I mean know your full name/where you live/etc. Not just know you from an e-mail. BUT… you can always keep in touch through my Cupcake Rehab Facebook page and of course, Twitter (@CupcakeRehab), Instagram and Pinterest too. And obviously there’s always e-mail!

 

I’m on mobile & the site looks weird. What’s wrong?

There’s nothing wrong! You’re seeing the mobile version, that’s all. You’re probably seeing all the posts first, then when you scroll down you’ll see what’s in the sidebar on the normal view: the links to the about/FAQ/etc pages. Then below that is the footer. It takes some getting used to, but like everything else, the website looks better on the format it’s designed for- computers.