Time to meet another cupcake baker of the week! Nicole Iizuka joins us with creative cupcake concoctions for human and feline friends, a story about a stealthy bacon thief, and a recipe for her signature Peach and Basil cupcakes with a Balsamic reduction. She might not be holding a cupcake in her hands, but she's rightly decked out in baking attire (now all we need is a cupcake chef toke).
Name: Nicole Iizuka
Location: Los Angeles, CA
1. How did you get into cupcake baking?
It actually all started when I heard about the Irish Car Bomb Cupcake. The idea that alcohol & cupcakes could be combined opened my eyes to a whole new world of baking.
2. Do you have a signature cupcake?
Peach & Basil Cupcakes with a Balsamic Reduction (See below for the recipe)
3. What kind of cupcake do you plan to bake next?
For Humans: Pop Rocks Cupcakes with a Champagne Butter Cream Frosting (My taste buds are already tingling!)
For Cats: Catcakes, made with a tuna baked cake & Salmon Pate frosting!
4. Where do you find inspiration?
Is it too cheesy to say, everywhere? I think baking is still in its infancy of possibilities, and the idea that any one of us has the power to create something entirely new is enough inspiration in itself. I tend to look at things that aren’t normally incorporated into the sweet realm & try to figure out a way to make it work. Trial & error, it’s the only way to success.
5. Describe a memorable (funny/disastrous/life-changing) cupcake baking moment you've had.
When I was attempting to make a Dark Chocolate, Bacon & Coffee Cupcake, my friend who detests anything that is salty & sweet, loudly protested against the whole idea. What I didn’t know is that every time I turned around to mix & measure ingredients, he was stealing pieces of bacon & eating them. By the time I was ready for my bacon crumbles, I was shocked to find that they were all gone!
I ended up banishing him from my kitchen, had to defrost another package of bacon & start all over.
He loved the end results & had to eat his own words. Literally.
6. Give one piece of cupcake advice for other bakers out there.
Never stop pushing the boundaries. “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein
Click the image to get Nicole's recipe for
Peach &Basil Cupcakes w/ a Balsamic Reduction
Thanks, Nicole! Stay tuned for next week's Cupcake Baker of the Week. Leave us questions, feedback, and suggestions in the comments below, or e-mail Melissa at email@example.com