Chef’s Tip: Jennifer O’Connell of The Cupcake Kitchen & Luncheonette in Irvington Whips Frosting Until White in Color for Halloween Cupcakes


Hi! Donna Monaco Olsenhere, co-coordinator for the Taste of Westchester Continuing Education program for Westchester Community College. All classes are held within Westchester restaurants, where local chefs share their talents and recipes with us in their own dining rooms. Over the years, I have attended hundreds of classes, and I always learn a new trick and definitely a few treats, and I am here to share with you from our last class.

Chef/Owner:  Jennifer O’Connell

Restaurant:  The Cupcake Kitchen & Luncheonette in Irvington

Tip:  When making butter cream icing, whip it until it turns almost white (it will start out a yellowish color). This ensures that it has incorporated enough air for a light tasting butter cream frosting.

Using the tip above we were given the store’s methodology  and recipe for making their butter cream frosting. All flavors begin with a vanilla recipe incorporating just four ingredients; butter, cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar. Here cocoa powder has been added to become chocolate frosting.

She taught us how to hold the pastry bag fitted with different metal tips. This created an even flow of frosting, helping us to create some great looking yet spooky cupcakes.

We discovered the creative uses of fondant by making this mummy’s expressive eyes and some of the other decorations (see picture below).























A photo shoot of all of our creepy creations ended our lesson.






The 411 on The Cupcake Kitchen & Luncheonette.




Care to get tips first hand? Check out the current offerings at Continuing Ed, Taste of Westchester. Classes are only $15+sampling fee.  Sign up with a friend for one demonstration or a few by contacting WCC via online or by phone 606-6830×1. I look forward to meeting you there!

If you are a chef or proprietor of a restaurant, and are interested in participating in this program please contact the college and leave your contact information.






There is still time to sign up for classes:

The Cupcake Kitchen and Luncheonette, Irvington, Visit them on Facebook.
Owner Jennifer O’Connell will give an interactive instructional demonstration on decorating six cupcakes to create a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. You will use pastry bags fitted with all the tools needed to create beautiful cupcakes of your own. We will also explore simple fondant decorations. You will learn the recipe used in the store for butter cream icing, while you sample a tasty cupcake along with coffee or tea. This luncheonette evokes a feeling of the 60’s, only uses fresh ingredients and is famous for creating custom designed specialty cakes for weddings, birthdays and special events, they can be seen making a masterpiece while you dine. Join us for a fun afternoon!
Thurs., Nov. 15, 4:30-6:30 pm, $15 (+ $21 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83110

Division Street Grill, Peekskill,
Located in the heart of the downtown artist district, this restaurant is known for its great food with an eclectic feel. Listen to live jazz each weekend while enjoying nutritionally-healthy, robust flavors from Chef Pasquale Sarwar. We will begin with their famous crab cakes, followed by chicken and pasta with a delicious pesto with garlic sauce. Finish off with a dessert lesson with a twist: baked banana wrapped in phyllo dough and served with crème caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Thurs., Nov. 1, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $20 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83102

Tarry Tavern
, Tarrytown,
Owner Henry Cabral, who cooked alongside his dad in the family restaurant Caravela, has come up with a unique formula that fills a niche in a restaurant-heavy town like Tarrytown. His casual American gastro-pub offers creative, locally sourced dishes and seasonal menus inspired by what farmers and fishermen are growing, raising and catching. Enjoy the surroundings in a comfortable, yet upscale environment. He will show us how to make duck confit with hand-made fettuccine along with seasonal fare and roasted potato gnocchi with flourishes of market inspired ingredients. For dessert, a glass of Ronnybrook Farms milk with warm Apple Pie. Join us for a peek into this inviting restaurant.
Mon., Nov. 5, 5:00-7:00 pm, $15 (+ $22 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83103

Rainwater Grill, Hastings-on-Hudson,
This restaurant strives to be an eco-friendly full service restaurant elegant in décor yet free of pretense, offering live music on the weekends. From sea grass dining chairs and grass cloth wall treatments to natural stone and a vibrant waterfall, it offers a unique setting throughout. Our class will begin with mussels and chorizo, tomatoes, fresh herbs and sambucca to make up this sumptuous dippable sauce. CIA graduate, Chef Mario Capparelli will teach us how to break down a pork loin and then turn it into pork chop Mt. Edna with hot sweet cherry peppers in a balsamic reduction; our side will be a sweet potato mash. A tutorial on crème brulee, starting with vanilla and then altering its ratios to create new flavors such as espresso, will provide a fun end to our class!
Tues., Nov. 6, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83104

Albano Appliance, Pound Ridge,
Do not miss this class as it is always a favorite! Born and raised in France, Chef Jehan S. deNoüe has over 35 years of experience in the area. He is now Albano Appliance’s own resident chef, managing the company’s continuing education program, including cooking classes, manufacturer demonstrations, and personal and in-home instruction. He is a most approachable and informed instructor and will give out tips on a variety of methodologies for preparing a fabulous meal, all the while toasting us with wine. We’lll discover the techniques needed to make a chilled tomato soup served with local Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese and olives, and we’ll make a sustainable fish poached in pepper butter and served with a roasted corn salad. For dessert, Chef Jehan will show us how to make carrot-pineapple cakes.
Thurs., Nov. 8, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83106

The Horse & Hound Inn, South Salem,
Just as it must have been for stagecoaches long ago, the Inn is a beacon amid the dark and wooded roads of South Salem. The building dates back to 1749, charming with its wide-planked floors, low ceilings and original beams. During the past sixteen years that the Vales have owned the Inn, there have been several sightings of spirits. Maybe one will join us for our lesson; after all, it is the night before Halloween! For an amuse bouche enjoy the Inn’s famous firecracker shrimp, cream cheese with jalapeno and a bacon wrapping. Our lesson in the dining room will be roasted beets over arugula with goat cheese and raspberry vinaigrette. Venison medallions with pinot noir and cranberries served with glazed carrots is our entrée education for the night. For a fall treat we will experience figs wrapped in prosciutto topped with goat cheese brulee and a local honey drizzle! BOO!
*pp due to storm Tues. Nov. 13, Oct. 30, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83101

Thyme Restaurant, Yorktown Heights (Cortland Manor),
Hands-on: This contemporary restaurant serving great American fare allows you to view owner and Chef Tom Costello and Chef in training, Patrice Costa working in this open kitchen. They will give us an interactive demonstration and we will help to create an interesting meal, starting with a creamy butternut squash soup. We will continue our lesson with pork two ways: pork Wellington (pork tenderloins encased in puff pastry) and seared pork tenderloin accompanied by a sweet potato puree and haricot vert. Next, help to prep an apple cobbler for a sweet end to our culinary experience.
*pp due to storm Mon. Nov. 26, Oct. 29, 6:00-8:00 pm, $15 (+ $25 sampling fee, payable to instructor). #83100


About Author

As a contributing blogger and the author of "Chef’s Tip", Donna Monaco Olsen recaps great cooking demonstrations from local restaurants. As the the coordinator for Westchester Community College’s Continuing Education program, named “A Taste of Westchester,” she writes the program, which offers more than 35 cooking classes each semester, and recruits chefs to do cooking demonstrations in their restaurants. She holds a full time position in the education field, and in her off time develops and contributes recipes for cookbooks. She is an avid baker and a former cake decorator who created many custom designed specialty cakes. Along with her husband, she reviews restaurants on Small Bites during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

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