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Wednesday
Jan192011

Sweet Art: Andy Warhol News Quote

What with all of the talk lately about how the time is high for pie and the cupcake is dead, it seemed appropriate to offer up another Warhol quote, illustrated to comment on the subject, from his brilliant book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol : (From A to B and Back Again). This quote--"I'm confused about who the news belongs to"--seemed to work nicely.

Team pie or team cake? No matter how you slice it, it's gonna be delicious.

Tuesday
Jan182011

Mix it Up: Funfetti Cakelets in the Toaster Oven

Picture this: you've just filled up a cake tin's worth of cupcakes, and you have a dollop of batter left. What to do?

Now, you may think that the possibilities stop at A) Swipe it with your finger (or a spatula) and eat it...or B) Put it in a cupcake liner and bake it all by its lonesome.

Now, these are respectable options, for sure. But I'd like to present another option: bake it in the toaster oven.

I did this recently, and while I wouldn't call it an amazing success, it was thoroughly eatable, and a great sweet fix in a pinch (or late at night, when these things seem like a great idea). And it sure was fun to do.

Here's how I did it.

Toaster Oven Cakelets

 Ingredients

  • 1 dollop leftover Funfetti batter, prepared per box instructions
  • a piece of aluminum foil to bundle it in

Procedure

  1. Place your dollop of cake batter on the center of the aluminum foil. Bunch the sides up around it, to form walls so that the batter won't seep through.
  2. Place the wad in the toaster oven and toast (you heard me, toast) it on medium heat (350 if you have such settings) until it is browned on top, about 15 minutes. Lightly peel away the foil from the side to see if it is baked through. If so, remove from toaster oven, cool, and top with frosting, a dab of ice cream, etc, and enjoy.

 

Tuesday
Jan182011

My, My, My Delilah: Banana Nilla Wafer Pudding from Delilah's, Philadelphia

On our recent trip to Philadelphia, emerging at 30th Street Station after an epic journey from the Jersey shore, both Mr. Spy and myself were unified in one singular feeling: HUNGER.

So when we spied Delilah's (OMG! As seen on Throwdown with Bobby Flay!), we were some very happy cake gumshoes.

But we passed right by the famous mac and cheese (next time!) and went for the sweet jugular: the banana nilla wafer pudding. Now, anyone who has ever eaten banana nilla wafer pudding knows what an ambrosial foodstuff it truly is. And at Delilah's, we were treated to a particularly fine example: it was simply full of bananas ("I think this has a whole banana in it!" was Mr. Spy's reaction) smothered in creamy custard with a smattering of nilla wafers, and the flavors had reached a point of perfect fusion, making each bite a deliciously creamy dream.

I'm not saying that you should skip a first course, because with a menu full of fried chicken, mac and cheese, and barbecue, there's plenty to keep you fat and happy--but I am saying don't get so full that you have no room for dessert.

Delilah's, Philadelphia; for locations and information, click here.

Delilah's at the Terminal on Urbanspoon

Monday
Jan172011

Stick It: Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons on a Stick for Serious Eats

Did you know that yesterday was National Fig Newton Day?

If you dropped the ball on this little-known holiday, don't despair. Here's an easy (and delicious) way to create a belated celebration: dress up your Newtons by putting them on a stick and coating them in chocolate. The chocolate works beautifully with the buttery cookie crust and mellow figgy filling flavor, taking the vaguely healthy snack cookie into full-fledged dessert territory.

Why on a stick? Well, it's a matter of both function—the sticks make it easier to dip the cookies—and form, because everyone knows that everything tastes better on a stick.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Jan172011

Sweet Giveaway: Win a Copy of Take The Cake by Sandra Wright

Sometimes, eating cake isn't enough. You want to live it.

So, for those non-eating times, reading a book in which cake plays a big part probably sounds like a fun activity. Well, here's a new novel bound to interest cake-lovers: Take the Cake by Sandra Wright. Here's a synopsis:

Sometimes
 you
 just
 have
 to
 take
 life
 one
 cupcake
 at
 a

time. Kate Shannon is happy
 with
 the way
 things are. She
 doesn’t

have
 a Mr
. Right
 or
 even a Mr
. Right
 Now, but
 what
 she
 does
 have
 is

a
 thriving
 bakery
 in
 Greenwich
 Village
 called
 Take
 The
 Cake,
 and

that’s just the way
 she likes
 it.

 Better still
 is the cupcake to match

the daily
 quote
 competition
 with
 her
 barista as they try to
 outsmart

each
 other
 every morning with
 their
 creativity.
 Producing cupcakes

with
 names
 such
 as
 Woodstock
 Afterburn
 and
 Vegan
 Rehab
 is

enough to keep
 her
 on
 her toes,
 who
 has time
 for
 dating?

Across
 town,
 Michael Forrester
 has
 gone
 from enjoying
 the
 thrill
 of success

to wallowing in
 the
 depths
 of
 despair.
 With
 a collection
 of
 critically

acclaimed
 novels in
 his wake,
 Michael
 now spends
 his days battling

writers’ block.

With
 nowhere
 to
 go
 and
 nothing
 to
 write,
 Michael’s in
 the

right headspace to
 find
 exactly
 what
 he
 didn’t
 know he was looking

for..

Are you drawn in? Well, happily, you can win a copy of this sweet novel. One lucky winner will win a copy, by leaving a comment below with the answer to the following: what is your favorite book or movie which prominently features food?

The giveaway will close on Monday, January 24 at noon PST; a winner will be announced shortly thereafter. In the meantime, check out the author's site here.

Sunday
Jan162011

Get Sconed: Strawberry Jam Filled Scone, The Night Kitchen Bakery, Philadelphia

Next time you're in Philadelphia, I have a suggestion. Get sconed.

You heard me. Get good and sconed, and do it at the Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill.

This is no ordinary scone. A bit denser than typical coffee-shop varieties, this one comes closer to pie crust consistency than to that of cake, in the best way possible. Because well, sometimes dense, flavorful, buttery carbs are necessary to really get the morning going.

When served with a generous dollop of strawberry jam,as was the one we obtained on a recent visit, it makes for a sort of acceptable-to-eat-in-the-morning strawberry shortcake variation.

Of course, if you hit up Night Kitchen at other hours, the scones are still delicious at any hour, but they also have a bevy of other delicious-lookin' offerings, including chocolate chess tarts:

as well as a full menu with cakes, cookies, pies, and more.

The Night Kitchen Bakery, 7725 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia; online at nightkitchenbakery.com.

Night Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday
Jan162011

O Cake: Cake O's and More from Cakes Suzette

Just FYI: if you email me to ask if it's ok to send me samples of cake truffles, I will say yes.

But I'll only write about the ones I like. 

And these ones, I like. They're called Cake O's, and they're made by a company called Cakes Suzette in California. Of course, I already suspected I'd like them based on the company's tagline, which is "a bazillion calories of goodness". In fact, this excellent tagline helped me forgive them for using comic sans on their website.

What makes these sweet treats unique? Well, in a world overrun by cake pops and bites, these are a slightly more substantial variety, sort of like a cross between cake pops and petits fours. And they come in a great variety of flavors, including Chocolate Peanut Butter, Red Velvet, Lemon Cake, and Gimme S'more. 

Our favorite varieties? For sure the chocolate varieties, which stood out for their rich, fudgy texture and flavor--and in such a compact size, the perfect bite-sized but complete indulgence.

For minions of the marshmallow, they also offer what they call the "Mallomore" -- which, you guessed it, is their homemade take on the popular Mallomar, made with an organic graham cracker base and marshmallows made sans high fructose corn syrup. Extra sweet: they offer these chocolate-covered marshmallow treats in strawberry, chocolate mint, and peanut butter varieties. Nom.

Final verdict? A very sweet treat to ship to a loved one (I think they'd make a great valentine gift) or to a very sweet self.

Find Cakes Suzette online at cakessuzette.com; find them on Facebook here.

Friday
Jan142011

CakeSpy Undercover: Cake Gumshoe Phuong Visits Eat Cake! in Newburyport, MA

CakeSpy Note: Want the best bakery suggestions? Ask a local! Read on to discover Boston-based Cake Gumshoe Phuong's most recent bakery visit: to Eat Cake! in Boston! You might want to check out her sweet online shop, too!

How yummy does this cupcake sound? 

Pumpkin spice cupcake with a cinnamon nutmeg spice buttercream dipped in butterscotch.

How about a coconut cupcake with a gooey coconut topping and vanilla buttercream with toasted coconut on top? Or a chocolate fudge cupcake dipped in chocolate with an Oreo buttercream and then dipped in chocolate again?

These are just a few of Hilary Larson’s decadent creations at Eat Cake! in Newburyport, MA. Hilary is a fan of CakeSpy and has invited us for a tour of her new cake studio. Eat Cake! specializes in party and wedding cakes that are freshly made from the highest quality ingredients. Everything is made-to-order so nothing is ever frozen.

I knew I was walking into something special when I smelled the sweet buttery aroma that permeated the street even before I stepped into the cake studio. It smelled even more amazing inside. I was greeted by smiling faces and a counter full of luscious cupcakes. Freshly-baked cupcakes are a new offering at Eat Cake! and they’re definitely a big hit with the locals. Like me, everyone was having a hard time picking out what they want. (Did you read the descriptions of these cupcakes at the beginning? Yeah, it was definitely difficult.)

Hilary was so welcoming and allowed me to roam around freely. The studio’s open layout creates such a comfortable atmosphere. While I was there, mini cupcakes were being filled with lemon curd and raspberry preserves. I find it so wonderful that they would take the time to fill mini ones. I can only imagine how great those will taste. I have to say that the sweetest surprise was little Charlie (Hilary’s baby) just hanging out in the back observing everything. 

Hilary generously sent us off with four cupcakes to try. My boyfriend and I couldn’t wait to taste them. I love the bright pink boxes that the cupcakes were packaged in. I also couldn’t get over how great the single cupcake container was. I’ve never seen this type of container before.

It guarantees that your cupcake will safely make it to its destination before being devoured. All of the cupcakes were delicious. They were so fresh and moist. The flavors were amazing! My absolute favorites were the pumpkin and coconut ones. The pumpkin cupcake was perfect for the fall. The spices and the butterscotch complimented each other so well. One bite and it made me think of the holidays. The coconut cupcake was a coconut lover’s dream. I love how the gooey coconut topping peeked out underneath the vanilla buttercream. These cupcakes just took me to my happy place.

So if you’re ever around Boston’s North Shore, make sure to stop by Eat Cake! You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to custom order a cake from Hilary one of these days. The flavor menu on the website is incredible; so many delicious possibilities!

With that, I’ll leave you with two more cake-lust inducing cupcake pictures of flavors that I didn’t have the chance to try this time around. This just gives me an excuse to go back and eat more cupcakes!

*Special thanks to Hilary for inviting us to your cake studio and thank you for making this write-up super easy because your cupcakes were truly wonderful!

CakeSpy Note: As a sort of P.S. to this post, Phuong was recently able to visit CakeSpy Shop--on the same day as Bakerella! Here's a sweet picture of us all together.

Eat Cake! 9 Prince Place, Newburyport, MA 01950 (978) 465-6057; online at eatcakeonline.com

Friday
Jan142011

Sweet Giveaway: Valentine Cupcake Wrappers from Bella Cupcake Couture

Want to bake some sweets for your sweet?

Well, put 'em in a pretty package with these delightful valentine cupcake wrappers from CakeSpy sponsor (and buddy!) Bella Cupcake Couture!

That's right: Bella Cupcake Couture has kindly offered up a pack of these sweet cupcake wrappers for two lucky CakeSpy readers!

How do you put your name in the hat? It's like, so easy. All you have to do is leave a comment below answering this important cake question:

In your opinion, what is the most romantic cake flavor?

Is it a sexy red velvet? Decadent flourless chocolate? Or maybe it's gooey butter cake that proves sweetly alluring? Curious cake fiends want to know! This giveaway will close on January 21 at 12pm PST and the winners will be announced shortly after! In the meantime, check out Bella Cupcake Couture's website here, and find 'em on Facebook here.

Friday
Jan142011

Not Just Pie in the Sky: Pie Day Celebration on January 23rd in Seattle

Put on your fat pants: National Pie Day is coming up on January 23rd. And you know what that means--the annual Pie Day Celebration is going on in Seattle! Of course, not that you needed to be told twice, since Pie is so hot this year--no need to campaign to make it cooler any more.

This is the biggest, baddest, awesomest Pie celebration you're going to find in Seattle--if you want a preview, check out this coverage of one of the past events.

But here are the details on this year's event:

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Pie Party 2011 in Ballard, Seattle: This annual pie eating event and fundraiser is in its 8th year in Seattle! Here's the blurb from their Facebook invitation:

The 8th Annual Pie Party at the Salmon Bay Eagles ballroom in Ballard is certain to thrill and amaze! Witness a wonderland of consumption from sweet to savory to piefectly experimental.  Come for the tasty pie and stay for the sizzling entertainment featuring readings by Seattle Poet Kate Lebo from her book The Commonplace of Pie, MC Chef Razzle Dazzle aka Fred Northup and Pie Song covers from musical luminaries including Jake London, John Ramburg, Fredd Luongo, Kim Virant, Johnny Sangster, Steph Turner & more! All proceeds benefit The Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research.  Admission is free with a pie in hand or baked-in with a $10 donation. T-shirts!  Raffles! Pie-pharnalia!  Deck yourself out in your bedazzled Pie Best and COME ON DOWN! CHILDREN WELCOME!

The details: Sunday, January 23, 6:00PM to 9:00PM. Location: Salmon Bay Eagles, 5216 20th Ave NW, 2nd Floor, Seattle, Wa, 98107.

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