Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cupcakes in the Big Apple City
Sugar Sweet Sunshine - Cupcake Cafe - Laura's Cupcake Shack - Kumquat Cupcakery

Let us take a break from our Chinese Wedding series today and focus on the novel wedding cake idea - Wedding Cupcakes Tree! Well...although the idea of replacing traditional tiered wedding cake with cupcakes tree is not a totally new idea, but it only gains its popularity recently. People starting to be creative!

Definition of cupcake {Wikipedia.org}:

A cupcake (the common US, Canadian, and Australian term) or fairy cake (the common British term), is a small cake designed to serve one person, frequently baked in a small, thin paper cup. As with large cakes, frosting and other cake decorations, such as sprinkles, are common on cupcakes.

Here is a little cupcake
history found at {Cupcakes Take the Cake} blog:
A "cup" cake in 19th Century America might have been a small cake, but it was not
necessarily so. They were so called because the ingredients for them were measured in cups instead of weighed, as had been the custom. According to "Baking in America" by Greg Patent, this was revolutionary because of the tremendous time it saved in the kitchen.

Whether it was a "cup", "measure" or "number" cake, the shift to measuring from weighing was indeed a significant one, according to "The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America." But it goes on to explain that the cup name had a double meaning because of the
practice of baking in small containers - including tea cups.

The cups were for convenience because hearth ovens took an extremely long time to bake a large cake -- and early cakes, by the way, were enormous -- and burning was common. Gem
pans, early muffin tins, were common in households around the turn of the 20th Century and cupcakes were then baked in those.

(And if you are wondering, it was 1919 when Hostess introduced the famous snack cupcake, but it did not become the cream-filled, squiggle-topped Hostess Cup Cake we know today until 1950.)

It is interesting to note that the cakes were likely called "number" cakes because of a mnemonic device for remembering the recipe: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three
cups of flour and four eggs plus one cup of milk and one spoonful of soda.

The formula become known as the
one-two-three-four cake, and today's cupcakes are mostly still made with similar traditional cake ingredients.

Busy with your wedding planning and has no time to make your own cupcakes?
That's always the case for busy New Yorkers including myself. Guess what? We are lucky that we live in the city with creative cupcake artists everywhere at affordable prices. They never failed to
show us how to turn the unlimited imaginations into an artsy CUPCAKE!

Here are four(4) simple profiles of the local cupcakery:

1. Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery (By Peggy & Debbie, since winter 20

126 Rivington Street, New York, NY 10002.
Tel: 212.995.1960

Fax: 212.995.1962
Email: info@sugarsweetsunshine.com

Web site: http://www.sugarsweetsunshine.com

Operation hours: Monday-Thursday 8am-10pm
Saturday 10am-11pm

Sunday 10am-7pm

- Menu -


Cupcake $1.50 each, or $18 per dozen (12 pieces)

Flavors: (copied from sugar sweet sunshine web site)
1. Sunshine - Yellow cake with vanilla butter cream

2. Bob - Yellow cake with chocolate almond butter cream

3. Ooey Gooey - Chocolate cake with chocolate almond butter cream

4. Sexy Red Velvet - Red Velvet cake with "The Moose"

5. Sassy Red Velvet - Red Velvet cake with chocolate almond butter cream

6. Black & White...Just right - Chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream
7. Pistachio - Pistachio cake with "The Moose"
8. Pumpkin -Pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing

9. Lemon Yummy - Lemon cake with lemon butter cream
10. Coconut - Coconut cake with meringue

11. Faux Coconut - Coconut cake with satin butter cream


Sprinkles & Decons - Free
Drawings & Corporate logos - Price upon request

Basic decorations - $5

Inscriptions - $2

- Delivery -

Available (delivery fee depends on location)

- Payment -
Cash, Visa, Master, and American Express are accepted.

2. Cupcake Cafe (since 1988)

18 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Tel: 212.465.1530

Email: info@cupcakecafe.com
Web site: http://www.cupcakecafe-nyc.com/

Operation hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm

Sunday 9am-5pm

- Menu -

Pricing (Ordered cupcake):

Small cupcake (2 1/4") - $2.75
Large cupcake (3 1/2") - $4.00
* Regular cupcake is decorated with a single flower.

Flavors: (Six in-store cupcake flavors copied from cupcake cafe web site)

1. Chocolate cake with chocolate butter cream

2. Chocolate cake with vanilla butter cream

3. Chocolate cake with mocha butter cream

4. Vanilla cake with vanilla butter cream

5. Vanilla
cake with chocolate butter cream
6. "Bohemian": Walnut cake with maple butter cream

Extra flower cupcakes, or special design cupcakes - $4.50 and up

Multi-flower bouquet cupcakes: Small - $6.50 and up

Large - $9.50 and up

- Delivery -

Deliver anywhere within Manhattan for an additional fee.
Pricing depends on location.

- Payment -
All major credit cards are accepted.

3. Laura's Cupcake Shack

Tel: 646.670.0887

Email: lauravalois@msn.com

Web site: http://laurascupcakeshack.com/

- Menu -


Regular cupcake: Range from $2.00 to $2.75

Fondant cupcake: $3.00 and up

Flavors: (Partial)

1. Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting

2. Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting

3. Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting
4. Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

5. Red Velvet cake with cream cheese


Every cupcake is made with color, theme, or character.

- Delivery -

Deliveries are being made up to Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, and New Jersey. Additional fees apply.

- Payment -

Contact Laura

4. Kumquat Cupcakery (since October 15, 2007)

Brooklyn Brownstoners Flea Market
Lafayette Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Do Hwa Restaurant

55 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014.

Tel: 212.414.1224


503 1st Street, Hoboken, NJ

Email: orders@kumquatcupcakery.com
Web site: http://www.kumquatcupcakery.com/index.php

- Menu -

Miniature cupcake - $15 per dozen (12 pieces)

Flavors: (Partial)

1. Banana cake with light cream cheese frosting and carmalized banana

2. Lemon cake with lavender frosting

3. Chocolate cake with peanut butter cream and frosting

4. Strawberry cake with vanilla butter cream and frosting

* To view the complete list, please visit their web site at http://www.kumquatcupcakery.com/index.php

- Delivery -
Minimum order for delivery - Three (3) dozen cupcakes

Deliveries are being made up to 100th Street in Manhattan, Williamsburg, Green Point, Fort Green, Park Slope, and Carol Gardens in Brooklyn.

Reside outside of New York City and you are looking for cupcake elsewhere?

Here is the guide to your local cupcake vendors (by All Thing Cupcake): http://www.allthingscupcake.com/find-local-cupcakes/

Enjoy planning!

Cupcake, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupcake

Cupcake history, Cupcake Take The Cake, http://cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chinese Wedding
Bridal Bed Installation

What's next after gift return ceremony?

It is time to look up an auspicious day and set up your bridal bed. The bridal bed installation is usually take place a week before the wedding day.

But...you are not the one setting up the bridal bed; two lucky persons (a male and a female) who are considered to have good fortune (blessed with good marriage; healthy and living husband/wife, children, and grandchildren) will be invited to perform the bridal bed installation ritual instead.

On selected auspicious date and time, the good fortune man will move the bridal bed to the right place^ and the lady will make the bed with new set of bedding linen. The lady will then scatter various dried fruits and food with special meaning on top of the bedding. (See shopping list below.)

Shopping list:

1. New Bedding Set

Traditional Chinese wedding bedding linens are usually in red or pink. There are some popular designs such as double happiness symbol, dragon-phoenix features, and beautiful peonies. Today, more couples choose plain red/maroon bed linen over traditional bed linen with embroidery. It is more practical and being able to incorporate their personalities to home decorations, and yet paying respect to their rich heritage back in the old times (red as the signature of lucky).

2. Red Dates

3. Dried Longans

4. Dried Lychees

5. Dried Persimmons (柿子)

Item 2, 3, 4, and 5 are all sweet in nature. Therefore, they are used to bless the marriage with sweetness.

6. Lotus Seeds (莲子)

Lotus seeds are used as an omen of fertility (连生贵子).

7. Lily Bulbs (百合)

It symbolizes a harmony marriage (百年好合).

8. Red and Green Beans

9. Tangerines (橘子 "ju zi" in Chinese; 吉 "qat" in Cantonese)

Tangerine pronounces as qat in Cantonese (meaning good luck) and it represents a way to bring good fortunes for the newlywed. Therefore, the bigger the tangerine the luckier the newlywed is.

10. Pomelo Leaves (柚子叶)

Chinese believed that pomelo leaves can be used to ward off evil spirit, and hence, the wedding will run smoothly and bringing lucks to the newlywed.

11. Bedside Lamps in red

Lamp pronounces as "deng" 灯 in Chinese, it has a similar sound as "ding" 丁 (meaning son). Another item used as an omen of fertility to the newlywed.

12. Red Packets ("Lai See" 利是)

It represents good fortunes for the newlywed.

Then, the bridal bed will be left untouched once it is installed, until the actual wedding day. If the groom has to sleep on the installed bridal bed, he should be accompanied by a young boy. It is considered as unlucky to leave one side of the bed empty. For people from older generations, leaving one side of the bed unoccupied means to curse death on either one of the newlywed. 100% believe it or not...Once the bridal bed is installed - it is advisable either: (1) Leave it untouched until the wedding day, or, (2) Have a young boy accompanies the groom.

What to expect on actual wedding day?

Young kids (preferably a male and a female^^) stand an important role during the ceremony. Kids will be invited to jump on the bridal bed and eat the good fortune food and dried fruits on the bed, as an omen of fertility to the newlywed.
当幼童在新床上跳动时,大妗姐就会大声念 “今日结成鸳鸯侣, 他日将有男又有女“,喻意白子千孙。

That's all for the bridal bed installation ceremony.

Wondering if there is taboo for bridal bed installation ceremony? To satisfy your curiosity towards wedding taboos, please refer to the list below (partial - only those relate to bridal bed installation ceremony).


1. Groom should not sleep on the installed bridal bed alone, before the actual wedding day. If he has to sleep on the bed, he must be accompanied by a young boy. To leave one side of the bed unoccupied means to curse death on either one of the newlywed.

2. Women during menses are not allowed to enter the bridal room after bridal bed is installed and on the wedding day (except the bride).

3. Pregnant women should not touch the newlywed's clothing or anything in the new home.


^ Move the bridal bed
The bridal bed installation is merely moving the bed slightly by the good fortune man (一个意思); the actual work was done by servants or friends.

^^ Male and female kids
Another auspicious meaning for traditional Chinese wedding, because both characters combined as the word "good 好". For Chinese, male is written as "男子" (we will drop the word 男, as 子 alone represent male) and female is written as "女子"; wishing the newlywed to have many children in near future.

Happy Planning!

Malaysia Wedding Handbook, 2007, Sky Publisher
"The Chinese Bridal Bed", Chinese Wedding Guide, http://www.chinese-wedding-guide.com
"Chinese Wedding Traditions - Installing The Wedding Bed", http://myweddingplanningtips.com
"Installing The Bridal Bed", Chinese Wedding Traditions, http://www.chcp.org
"Chinese Wedding Taboos", Chinese Wedding Guide, http://www.chinese-wedding-guide.com
"Do's and Don'ts at Chinese Wedding", Complete Guide to Chinese Wedding, http://www.chinabridal.com

Photo Credits:
Customary Items for Bridal Bed Installation, http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlieloo
Bridal Bed, http://www.flickr.com/photos/charlieloo
Red Dates, http://21food.com
Dried Lychees, http://21food.com
Dried Longans, http://o-mai.com/
Dried Persimmons, http://www.allproducts.com
Lotus Seeds, http://bencaoyuan.en.ec21.com
Pomelo Leaves, Kenny Tan Photography, http://www.flickr.com/photos/knytan
Green Beans, KYFood, http://kyfood.hisupplier.com
Red Beans, http://www.thedailygreen.com
Tangerines, http://tangerines.org/
Wedding Lamps, http://emarriage.wordpress.com
Red Packets, http://emarriage.wordpress.com

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Chinese Wedding
Return Gifts
(From bride's family to groom's family)

As part of the wedding traditions, the bride's family will return partial gifts of the total amount of gifts received from the groom's family. Usually, they will return half of what they have received^ from the groom's family. They include the following items: (Again, all gifts must go in pairs.)

Return gifts from the bride's family to the groom's family
(After the Betrothal Ceremony)

1. Tea

2. Fruits

3. Pomegranates (石榴)

4. Yams/Taros (芋头)

5. Lotus Roots (莲藕)

6. Gingers

7. Betel Nuts (槟榔)

Bride's family will keep one betel nut and return the rest to the groom's family; it indicates the bride's loyalty towards her future husband.

8. Lettuce

9. Sugar Canes (甘蔗)

The newlywed will bring the sugar canes to bride's family during the ceremony of "bride returning home after three days".

10. Chinese Pastries and Cakes

They include sesame seeds balls with red bean paste and Chinese steamed rice cake. Specifically, "jian dui" 煎堆 and "fa gao" 发糕. "Fa" symbolizes wealth in Chinese.

11. Cypress

12. Double-happiness-printed Towels

13. Suit (including blazer and pants) and Belt

14. Wallet (with lucky money inside)

15. A Pair of Shoes

Shoes are pronounced as "Xie" 鞋 in Mandarin; it symbolizes a harmony marriage, wishing the newlywed a everlasting marriage.

^ Return gifts: Either in terms of items from the betrothal list or substitute the return gifts with money (in red packet).

Those are the basic items to be included in return gifts.
So...jot down all items listed above in your shopping list now, so that you will not miss the important items.

Happy Planning!

Malaysia Wedding Handbook, 2007, Sky Publisher

Photo Credits:

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Modernized and Simplified
Chinese Wedding
Angela & John

Personal Wedding Websites are seeing grow of its popularity in today's society. Some couples who own strong belief towards greener world, choose to create their personalized wedding website as informational distribution center and as a substitution to the traditional save-the-date and invitations print outs.

After all, personalized wedding website is truly a perfect way for a engaged couple to share information with their family and friends, as well as to present plans of their wedding day. Whether or not you choose to take the website as a substitution over traditional invitations, it does not matter, because it is your personal preference. By setting up a personalized wedding website, you are giving your family and friends a chance to know and understand the two of you better; where you met each other, how you got together, and whatever stories you would like to share with your family and friends. It indirectly contributing to a more intimate wedding than you thought the wedding would be.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
While searching for Chinese Wedding Traditions online, I saw this interesting website created by the newlywed - Angela and John Liu. In their website, they documented their courtship, journey of planning the wedding, and last but not least, paying tribute to their family roots.

{Angela & John} About Us
In this page, they share their love story, their faith, their appreciation towards their family and friends who made their wedding a memorable one! Also, they created a wedding montage; putting every bit of their wedding into a uniquely theirs wedding slide show.

{Angela & John} The Wedding
Sneak peek (video clips) of their Chinese Ceremonies at home, Marriage Ceremonies at Church, and Reception at Jericho Terrace.
In addition to those video clips, they introduce their wedding party (stories of their friendship), wedding items, and wedding day logistics. Lastly, they share their wedding vendors list and reviewing each of them individually. (Hardly see any newlyweds reviewing their wedding vendors in detailed, but this newlywed did! Good job, guys! Thanks for sharing your reviews with other bride- and groom-to-be!)

{Angela & John} Traditions
They share their family stories and the traditions of Chinese ceremonies here. With that, their guests will get to know their families better, as well as to learn about Chinese wedding rituals. They are thankful to their parents' upbringings as well as being proud of their rich Chinese culture.

{Angela & John} Photos
Whole bunch of their wedding photos at Kodak Gallery!

{Angela & John} Registry
The newlywed set up their registry at Bed Bath & Beyond and Club Wedd (Target).

{Angela & John} Contact Us
In this page, you will find their contact information as well as to RSVP your attendance on their wedding day. To leave your wishes to the newlywed? Sign their guest book!

Can't wait to visit their website?!
Click here.

I really like their simple and informational website. Good job, Angela and John!
I hope it will provide some creative ideas for your own wedding website too.

Congratulations on your marriage!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Chinese Wedding
Betrothal Gifts

Now that you have done with formal proposal and birth dates assessment, it is time to find out what you have to do next. Yupe! It is time to prepare betrothal gifts. Remember: They need to be delivered up to a month or at least three days before the wedding day.

Betrothal ceremony is when two families officially acknowledge the marriage and give their blessings. An astrologist will be consulted to look up the auspicious date, and then, the groom, his relatives and matchmaker will deliver the gifts to the bride's family.

It is important to keep in mind that the total number of gifts must be in even number as it means good things double.
The betrothal gifts usually include grand money ^ (聘金) wrapped in red envelope and the following items.

Traditional Chinese Wedding - Betrothal Gifts

1. Special Wedding Couplets (Jie Hun Xi Lian 结婚喜联)

It should be posted on the entranceways to home before the hair combing ceremony (more details on hair combing ceremony to be discussed in our upcoming blogs) and it can be taken down after a month from your wedding day. When choosing couplets for wedding; please make sure you get the correct couplets for the bride's and groom's family. Both families will be getting different couplets (which carry special meaning). So, let the expert does it for you!

2. A Pair of Double Happiness Stickers (Shuang Xi 双囍贴纸)

3. Four sets of Dragon & Phoenix Candles and Incense, including the one for Hair Combing Ceremony. (龙凤香烛)

4. Chinese and/or Western Wedding Cakes (中西式礼饼)

It is also known as Happiness Cakes and Dragon & Phoenix Cakes (喜饼/龙凤礼饼/嫁女饼). The total number of wedding cakes has to be in even number. Chinese presumes even number as the lucky number and should be used on festive events such as wedding.

5. Two Pairs of Gold-colored Coconuts with Double Happiness Stickers

Coconut is pronounced as "ye zi" in Mandarin; sounds like grandfather ("ye") and son ("zi"). It is used as wishes/omen of fertility for the newlywed.

6. Two Cans/Packs of Tea

Tea is planted with seeds, therefore, presenting tea as a gift implies that the family will have more seeds (offsprings) in future.

7. Four Peking Dried Fruits (四凉果)

May choose from any four items listed here:
Dried longan (龙眼), Lychee (荔枝), Walnuts (核桃干), Shelled Peanuts (连壳花生), Lily Bulbs (百合), or red dates (红枣).

8. Dried Seafood (海味)

May include four, six, or eight different kinds of seafood, including sea cucumbers, clams, dried shrimps, squids, shark fins, mushrooms, and etc. Also, it is important to include an edible moss long thin black threads, which known as fa cai in Chinese (发菜). It symbolizes fortune and prosperity.

9. Fruits (生果)

"Sheng Guo" - "Sheng" used to express liveliness for the newlywed (取其生生猛猛之意). The total number of fruits is 12, 18 or 36.

10. Fish

11. Poultries

Two Chickens/Roasted Ducks (two males and two females), and 2-4 kilograms of Pork.

12. Four bottles of Wine or Liquor

13. Gift box (贴盒)
It includes grand money (聘金), lotus seeds (莲子), lily bulbs (百合), cypress (扁柏), betel nuts (槟榔), sesame (芝麻), red beans (红豆), green beans (绿豆), walnuts (核桃干), dried fruits (四凉果), red strings (红头绳), two pairs of dragon-phoenix bangles (两对龙凤镯), and a pair of wedding couplets (一对喜联).

^ Grand money taken as a token for the bride's parents for letting the man to marry their daughter. The groom's family usually prepares $99, $999, or $9999 (depending on their financial capability) for the grand money because number nine (9) symbolizes forever ("Jiu") in Chinese. They are giving their blessings to the upcoming wedding.

Too much works to prepare all of the above?
Wondering if there is one-stop wedding service company out there who will be able to provide expert tips as well as the preparation works for the busy brides and grooms?

Thanks to the creative talents in the wedding market, one-stop wedding services providers are no longer short of in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

One-stop Wedding Services, Malaysia

Xilinmen Auspicious Services

L-01-06, Block L, Jalan PPK 1,

Pusat Perniagaan Kinrara, Taman Kinrara, Seksyen 3, 47100 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia.

Phone: (603) 8075 4959

(6012) 232 8978
(6016) 238 8978
Fax: (603) 8075 4959

Email: winnie@xilinmen2u.com

Web: www.xilinmen2u.com

Contact Person: Ms. Winnie

Happy Wedding Enterprise One-stop Wedding Services

568-1-3, Complex Mutiara, 1st Floor Jalan Ipoh, Batu 3 1/2, 51200 Kuala Lumpur.

Phone: (6016) 271 1176
(6010) 381 6733

Contact Person: Ms. Anna Wong

One-stop Wedding Services, USA


733 S. Atlantic Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA 91754 USA

Phone: 1 (626) 205 3098

Email: shop@chinabridal.com
Web: www.chinabridal.com

Next, we will have dowry list and bridal bed installation topics coming up.

Stay tune,

Betrothal Ceremony and Gifts, Happily Ever After Trading, http://francisleong.com
Traditional Chinese Marriage Proposal and Betrothal, China Bridal, http://www.chinabridal.com

Chinese Wedding Custom, http://www.theredwedding.com

Chinese Customary Wedding,
Malaysia Wedding Handbook, 2007, Sky Publisher
Flickr Photos, http://www.flickr.com
Life Pixels, http://yungyaw.net
Lian Bee Bakery, Malaysia, http://www.lianbee.com
Kee Wah Bakery, Los Angeles, http://keewah.us
Wing Wah Bakery, Hong Kong, http://www.wingwah.com