Gelbstein's Bakery Frogs
Consider yourself warned:
Forecasts caution that this week, swarms of green frogs are scheduled to invade downtown Lakewood and make their way into hundreds of homes and schools. This particular species of frog is known to occupy domestic territory such as kitchens, tabletops, counters, and even human stomachs! But before you make plans to leave town for the weekend, it might be comforting to know that these frogs will originate in Gelbstein’s bakery, and are not only harmless, but also taste delicious! For the past ten years, on Erev Shabbos Parshas Va'eira, the famous Gelbstein’s Bakery of Lakewood, New Jersey, has added an adorable frog cupcake to their showcase of 500+ types of baked goods. This year, the innovative owners have allowed me to "take you to the back of the bakery", where you can see firsthand how these little guys are made. Hey, if Gelbstein’s would have been around a few thousand years ago, I’m sure the Mitrzriyim would have been a lot less bothered by the second plague….
This species of frog is probably the only one that doesn’t start off as a tadpole. Instead, it starts its life as a delicious, freshly baked vanilla cupcake. The process begins pretty much the same way it would in your own kitchen (although perhaps on a somewhat larger scale!) Eggs and flour are measured, weighed and combined with other ingredients in an industrial sized mixer, beat to form a perfectly creamy batter….
…. poured into cupcake tins, popped into the oven, and baked to golden perfection.
Now is when the fun part begins! The cupcakes are flipped bottoms-up. Using a cookie cutter, the excess cake is trimmed off the sides. This will form the body of the frog. Next, they are topped with a dollop of specially prepared pink butter cream. Don’t worry, although this pink icing gets completely concealed in the next step, it has an important job later!
The cupcakes are given a quick dip in a green-fondant bath and emerge transformed.
Poured fondant is available in baking supply stores and is easy to use. Heat the fondant and add some green food coloring and you're good to go. The weird white lumps of cupcake are beginning to look like frogs! With precision, a small cut is made into the top of the frog to reveal the pink icing and form the frog’s mouth. Four small dabs of black and white icing and the frogs have eyes, a swish of red icing and the tongue appears….
…..and they’re complete! So what’s the consensus? Too cute to eat?