Ginger Hahn shares cupcake secrets
Ginger Hahn of Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates may be best known as the area’s chocolate connoisseur but if her cupcake classes are any indication, she may need to add a wing to her popular Midtown shop.
I stumbled upon Hahn’s class thanks to an article in a (not to be named) Sacramento paper several weeks ago. My mom was planning a visit to Sacramento, and as anyone with family outside the area can attest, Old Sacramento loses its luster after multiple visits. I wanted to show my mom the Midtown I’m proud of. A cupcake making class in the L Street Lofts Penthouse seemed like the best way to show off our city’s great views and culinary treats.
After a sold out chocolate making class several weeks ago, Hahn decided to open two cupcake lessons on Saturday to accommodate demand. I attended the two hour afternoon class, which covered four cakes and four frosting demonstrations.
The class started with instructions on how to bake Doughnut, Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Cupcakes. Once the cakes were baking, she demonstrated how to make Vanilla American Butter Cream, Espresso Orange Cream, Peppermint Swiss Butter Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting. Hahn may be young, but she certainly knows how to teach. She kept a steady pace throughout the class, answering questions with ease, cracking a few jokes (and plenty of eggs) while moving around the room to show those in the back rows a better view of her mixing bowls.
While some people might argue that a live cooking demonstration is unnecessary with access to so many television cooking channels and interactive recipe websites, I’d argue the opposite. Hahn allowed all participants to sample her creations as the class progressed, making it easier to understand the varieties in butter creams and cake density. My favorite creation was the doughnut cupcake, which could best be described as a Snickerdoodle in cupcake form. Hahn came up with the recipe after modifying a favorite morning muffin she grew up eating.
Hahn also offered numerous baking hints I’d never learned before. Several of her best hints are:
• Flour choice will greatly impact the density of your cake. When a recipe specifies the type of flour, it’s important to follow the recommendation.
• Silicone molds work fine for baking, but traditional aluminized steel work best for flavor.
• To achieve the perfect cupcake shape, use a #20 ice cream scoop from restaurant supply stores. This tip made our entire class buzz with excitement.
• Making your own vanilla is easy and worth it for cost savings and flavor.
Hahn’s very best decorating trick revolved around cost saving tips for making your own sprinkles. But, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore if I shared the trick here. You’ll have to sign up for her 2010 classes to soak up her talent and sweets for yourself. In the meantime, stop by her store at 19th and L Streets. Maybe, if you’re lucky, she’ll have a tray of cupcakes baking.