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Craftsy Writer
Saturday
Jul192014

Egg in the Hole Toast Recipe

Ever heard of Humpty Dumpty's Off the Wall Toast? Or eggs in a basket? I call it egg in the hole toast. No matter what you like to call it, it's always a fun and inspired breakfast. Here's how to do it.

Friday
Jul182014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Perfect peach pie. Plain and simple.

Chocolate zucchini snack cake. Trust me, it's not health food.

Better together (and wrapped in pie crust): Peanut butter cup pocket pies.

Awesomely whimsical wonky cakes.

Ever heard of Humpty Dumpty's Off the Wall Toast? AKA egg in hole toast or a zillion other names. Always tasty.

Want to know my thoughts about the best paper for illustration? Look here.

A forever favorite that always disappears quickly after baking: Houdini bars.

Look at this cute cartoon. It involves ice cream.

Cornmeal blueberry bar cookies. Because both corn and blueberries are so good in the summer where I'm from (NJ).

I love the trivia section of the Ice Cream Sundae site.

I'm OK with bringing a bit of fall into a summer treat: pumpkin cheesecake popsicles.

A fun interview with...well, me!

Cool kitchen gadget alert: Baking Steel. I wonder what sweet treats you could make with it?

Just saying: lots of stuff on sale on the CakeSpy online shop.

Book of the week: The Wizard of Oz Cookbook: Breakfast in Kansas, Dessert in Oz. Primarily because, well, it exists, but also because it has kitschy recipes and movie trivia.

Wednesday
Jul162014

Unicorn Pom-Pom Puffs

Here's an important question to which I would like an honest response. It is this:

Would you rather eat a macaroon-esque "white chocolate coconut cluster"...

or a unicorn pom-pom puff?

Hey, remember how I said I wanted an honest answer? I lied: I don't even need or want it. Because I've made the executive decision: the unicorn ones are better.

Basically, I dreamed up this confection thusly: upon pondering a simple use for the white chocolate cache I had at the time, I discovered an easy way of combining melted white chocolate with shredded coconut to form a super-sweet (and simple) confection. I like multipurpose treats, though, so I thought "well, how could I make these a lure for unicorns in addition to satisfying my sweet tooth?". 

The answer was simple: add a little rainbow magic. By divvying up the mix and tinting portions in different colors before forming clusters, I ended up with fuzzy-cute treats that tasted like the Spirit Of Sugar had descended and was knocking right on my taste buds (that is to say--very sweet). I settled on the name "Unicorn Pom Pom Puffs" because, well, look at them.

Unicorn pom pom puffs

If you don't love white chocolate or coconut, make them anyway. You might just catch a unicorn!

Unicorn Pom-Pom Puffs

Unicorn pom pom puffs

  • 2 cups lightly toasted coconut (very light color is important)
  • 7 ounces white chocolate
  • food coloring

Procedure

  1. Melt the white chocolate. Remove from heat.
  2. Divide the chocolate into four separate bowls large enough to do some stirrin'.
  3. Tint each portion with the color desired (I used red, yellow, blue, and green) until it reaches the tone of your liking.
  4. Unicorn pom pom puffs
  5. Add 1/4 of the coconut to each bowl. Stir til combined.
  6. Unicorn pom pom puffs
  7. Gather a small lump of each color together, and clump them lightly so that they adhere. Place on a baking sheet as you finish them. Continue until you've used all of the mixtures.
  8. Unicorn pom pom puffs
  9. Let them set for an hour or more before eating for the best texture. Store leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container.

Taste the rainbow!

Tuesday
Jul152014

Learn from the Master: How to Draw a Cupcake

You want my secrets? HERE YOU GO. Good clean cupcake drawing fun. Um, but don't try to sell your cupcake artwork, because I have the trademark on this guy, ok? 

Monday
Jul142014

Pugs and Kisses: 10 Awesome Pug Cakes

Photo via Cakesdecor

There are few things that I love more than cake. One of those sacred few things is my little pug, Porkchop. This little love muffin is the darling of my life. Here we are together:

Me and my Porkchop

 

Pugs are definitely on my mind at this moment: I am embarking on a month long trip to New Jersey, NYC, and Puerto Rico and Porkchop will not be coming. I'm going to miss the little dude!

To satisfy my love of all things pug, I've put together a collection of ten awesome pug cakes which will have you cooing, and may either inspire you to bake a cake, go adopt a pug, or (yay!) maybe both.

Here goes:

Two cuddling pugs cake (pictured top)

This cake was inspired by a fawn pug named Boo and a black pug named Onyx. It took the decorator a solid 2.5 days, but it's worth it: she captured the expressions perfectly!

Photo via Baked Cupcakery

Pug-cakes

These cupcakes are cleverly configured with coils of fondant to resemble sweet little pugs. Don't you just want to pinch those faces? And then stuff the cupcakes in your face? Me, too.

Photo via Cakesdecor

Pug face cake

This lovely cake captures the bug-eyes and pink tongue of a pug. The designer has a lot of other great work; check it out at https://www.facebook.com/zoesfancycakes.

Photo via Dailymail.uk

Expressive pug cake

I adore how this cake captures the odd way that pugs sit; when Porkchop sits like this, I say he is "sitting like a real boy". The winsome expression is pure pug, too!

Photo via Betty Crocker

Sprinkle pug cake

The clever use of sprinkles makes this cake party-perfect. Piped chocolate and white chocolate elements make perfect pug eyes, and a peanut butter frosting attains the perfect fawn pug hue.

Photo via Deviantart

Wary pug cake

This pug looks like he knows something's going on. What really made me like this cake is that it vaguely resembles Porkchop, don't you think?

Porkchop

 

Photo via Coco Cake Land

Black pug face cake

Look at the mug on this pug! Coco Cake Land captures the adorableness of a pug in this cake, which is far cuter than you'd ever expect a cake with all-over black fondant to come out!


Photo via Coloured Bubble Cakery

Pug face cupcakes

Seriously. If these fondant-topped cuties with pink tongues hanging out don't make you want to coo, I don't know what will. 

Photo via Pinterest

Wrinkled pug face cake

Pugs have a lot of wrinkles, which makes them seem wise even when they are little baby pugs. This cake accurately and adorably captures the pug wrinkle-fest in edible form.


Photo via The Butter End

Naughty pug cake

To close out the list, an adorable tricksy cake decoration: a pug adhered to the side of a cake which is slightly torn up. The effect of a naughty pug eating cake is whimsical, clever, and inspiring for future cake decorations I'm planning!

Do you have an adorable pug cake to share? Leave a link to it in the comments!

Monday
Jul142014

Amazing Cakes: Birthday Party Inspiration

I don't know about you, but I think about my birthday cake basically all year. This collection of awesome birthday cakes is fantastic fuel for the baking fire! Check it out here.

Sunday
Jul132014

How to Make Desserts Float

I'm sorry--have you been eating non-hovering desserts, like some gravity-following geek? Well, STOP IT! Enjoy a dessert that hovers magically by taking these easy steps. Here's the tutorial.

Friday
Jul112014

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Cookie cake pie.

Whoa, Crumbs is closing forever and ever? I hate seeing bakeries close.

Brilliant baked goods worth lining up for in Melbourne. Yum!

Queen Latifah has cake recipes? This one is amazing!!! (thanks, Delany!)

Every Friday, I have cake for lunch. What's your cake tradition?

Does rain affect cake baking? An interesting exploration.

A great skill to have: how to make a purple ombré cake.

I could also do some damage to this peanut butter ombré cake.

Am I the only one who could go for a slice of cupcake cream pie right now?

DIY gremlins. You could use this tutorial to make a fondant Gizmo. Just saying.

Dark chocolate cherry breakfast bread. Since it has fruit, it is a Health Breakfast.

Baileys chocolate cream pie. Intoxicatingly delicious.

The progress on my recipe page continues! Enjoy the index photos, sweeties.

A look at the history of the Heath bar.

Book of the week: Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity by Candace Walsh. Do you love foodie memoirs as much as me? This one is a beautiful story, full of the effed-up stuff that happens in families, a struggle for identity, and plenty of tasty food. This one is worth a read.

Thursday
Jul102014

On Getting Your Illustrations Published

Are you looking to take your art to the next level? Here are some helpful tips on submitting illustrations to publishers. The article itself is illustrated, which makes it even more awesome. Here's the full article.

Wednesday
Jul092014

Waste Not Want Not: Compost Cookies Recipe

CakeSpy note: this is a guest post from Stefanie Ellis. When she's not busy masquerading as a giant Thin Mint, Stefanie writes about food and relationships. She is a former restaurant critic and food writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis magazine, and is the PR director for Girl Scouts of Western Washington. You can reach her via email here.

I have a confession to make: I don’t really like cookies. I’ve tried really hard to like them. I was even sprawled out on a settee while some handsome man fed some to me, and that STILL didn’t work. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m more of a cake kind of girl. I would ditch a handsome man if it meant I could spend an evening on my settee with a devil’s food cake slathered in bittersweet chocolate ganache. For me, cake takes the cake.

However, there have been a handful of experiences in my life where cookies have actually competed with my love for cake, and left a rather remarkable impression.

Like when I was little, and my mom would serve me chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven when I came home from school. I never knew when these magical, melty kitchen table sessions would happen, so it made it even more exciting. The chocolate would get all over my face, and we’d laugh and talk about our days. I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than that feeling, or that perfect marriage of sugar, butter and chocolate. My local grocery, Metropolitan Market, started making giant chocolate chip cookies with several types of chocolate. They make them every five minutes, so when you walk into the store, there’s always a fat, gooey cookie waiting for you. Instantly, I am catapulted back to my kitchen table, laughing with mom. Sometimes I eat one while I walk through the store, only to realize I had chocolate all over my face the whole time.


When I went to college, my grandmother would send me care packages filled with oatmeal cookies with apricots and pecans. I don’t like oatmeal cookies, but hers were saucer-sized orbs of the softest, silkiest, cinnamon-kissed dough I’ve ever tasted. The apricots paired beautifully with the cinnamon, and she ground the oatmeal so fine you didn’t even know it was in the recipe. These are the only oatmeal cookies I could ever imagine eating every day for the rest of my life.

 

When I went to pastry school, I made my first macarons. They were pink. But more than that, they were so crisp and delicate, it seemed as though they might shatter if you laughed within close proximity. The insides were tender and ethereal, like a pillow made of cotton candy. When I melded the fragile shells together with homemade raspberry jam, it felt like I was painting the inside of a princess castle.

And let’s not forget Girl Scout Cookies. I’m not just saying this because I work for Girl Scouts. I couldn’t, even if I wanted. Girl Scout honor. I’ve had a love affair with Girl Scout Cookies ever since I can remember. To me, Samoas and Thin Mints are right up there with Nutella eaten straight out of the jar. They’re a luxury, and I don’t eat them year-round, as many people believe (people also think our office has stairs made of Do-Si-Dos). When I do eat them, I’m transported back to the sweetest moments in my childhood, when my biggest stressor was whether or not to play freeze tag, jump rope or eat the blackberries from my neighbor’s yard.

Each one of these cookie memories has been completely different – sort of like a bunch of different experiences were dumped into my brain and mixed around, creating a sweet feeling of joy in my heart.

I realize they’ve created the perfect base for these Crazy-Sexy Compost Cookies, my new favorite. Yes, that means I kind of like cookies now. I guess I can thank Christina Tosi for that. I’ve been hearing of her compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar for years, and love that her recipe uses coffee grounds. I’m a big compost geek. I have my master composter’s certification, and have even been known to take my compostables on planes from time to time.

I always have random bits of ingredients in my pantry that can never really be used for a single recipe, and that’s why I love these cookies so much. Have just a few ingredients that don’t go together at all? No problem! You might even find, as I have, that cookies are even better when you start adding in wacky ingredients. Goldfish crackers or Almond Roca, anyone?


Tosi’s recipe calls for butterscotch, pretzels, graham cracker crust and oats, and I have eliminated those ingredients, replacing the oats with maple pecan granola, and adding in banana chips and crystallized ginger. I also use almond flour in place of some of the regular flour, which makes for a wonderful texture. All in all, this cookie has really challenged my perception of what a cookie can or should be. Not to mention it has done a nice job in helping me remember that cookies, like memories, are much better when you throw a bunch of different things together and mix them around to create a sweet feeling of joy in your heart – and in your stomach.

Crazy-Sexy Compost Cookies

Note: Compost cookies are trademarked by Momofuku. These cookies were not made for resale.

YIELD: Approximately 25 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1½ sticks butter, room temperature (12 T)

3/4 cup raw sugar

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 T maple agave syrup or maple syrup

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup banana chips, crushed

2T candied ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup granola, such as Trader Joe’s Maple Pecan

1 cup potato chips, crushed

Procedure

 

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Do not over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. With a spatula, add the chocolate chips, banana chips, granola, maple agave syrup, ginger and potato chips. You’ll want to crush the ingredients a bit to make sure there aren’t large chunks, but do so judiciously, not incessantly.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Arrange the chilled dough 4 inches apart on parchment or silicone baking mat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

 

Cool the cookies completely before transferring to a plate or container for storage. At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

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