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Monday
Dec202010

Sweet Goings-On: What's Coming up in 2011 for CakeSpy

Curious about what has happened (and what is still to come) at CakeSpy Shop and in the world of CakeSpy art? here's a quick review:

May 7, 2011: CakeSpy will be a vendor at Portland's Crafty Wonderland!

May 2011: Original artwork on show at CakeSpy Shop by Rampage! Artist reception on the 2nd Thursday, 5-8 pm.


June 2011: Original artwork on show at CakeSpy Shop by Mike Geno! The store will be open late on the 2nd thursday to unveil this show, which has a working title of Cheese. Get a preview here!

June 6-8: CakeSpy in San Francisco! What bakeries should I visit?

June 11+12: CakeSpy will be at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn!

July 2011: Original Artwork on show by Kelly Brownlee! Details TBA.

July 9+10: CakeSpy will be a vendor at the Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle!

August 2011: Original Artwork on show at CakeSpy Shop by Julianna Swaney! Show curated by Pamela Davis. Reception on August 11 (second thursday), 5-8 p.m.!

October 2011: Save the date! The official CakeSpy book launch party will take place at CakeSpy shop on Thursday, October 13, with many more Seattle and nationwide events to come!

November 2011: Original Artwork on show at CakeSpy SHop by Timothy Karpinski! Show curated by Pamela Davis. Reception on second thursday, 5-8 p.m.!

 

Previous events: 

January 2010: CakeSpy Artwork Still up at Trophy Cupcakes! Yep, it will be up through February at Trophy's Wallingford location. Go buy something for crying out loud!

January 8, 2011: Vegan Girl's Guide to Life book signing and meet and greet with Melisser Elliott of The Urban Housewife! You know you want to meet this completely adorable tattooed vegan. And buy the book. I'm sure that even if you love burgers, you know someone who doesn't.

January 13-31: Artwork by Emmett Montgomery! Come see creepy-cute puppets and buy some for you and your friends. Artist reception 5-8 pm on the 13th!

February 10: Artist reception with Bunny Lee! 5-8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10.

February 19: "Bikram or Bust" Bake Sale! Featuring inexpensive vegan and gluten-free baked goods--all proceeds to benefit Teach Bikram or Bust! 12-5 p.m, Saturday, Feb. 19!

March 10 (Thursday): Art Walk Artist Reception with Jess Rees! Shop for her artwork here.

March 14: Pi in the Sky: A 3.14 Pie celebration! Details here. Put on with Wendy Sykes of Four and Twenty Blackbirds

March 26 (Saturday): Bake Sale with Bake it in a Cake, 12-5 p.m.!

Monday
Dec202010

Snowbound: Snowy Snickerdoodles Recipe from SpyMom

Lucky, lucky you. SpyMom has another sweet holiday recipe to share: Snowy Snickerdoodles. No, you won't get an explanation of where the name comes from, but you will get a recipe that is bound to be delicious, because that's how she rolls.

Snowy Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cinnamon sugar

Procedure

  1. In a mixer bowl, cream together sugar and butter; beat in egg and vanilla
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt
  3. Add to butter mixture
  4. Blend well
  5. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or till firm enough to roll into balls
  6. Shape dough into small balls about 3/4-inch in diameter
  7. Roll in cinnamon sugar to coat
  8. Set cookies 1-inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheets
  9. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or till the edges are lightly browned.
  10. Cool slightly on pans, then remove to racks to cool completely.

 

Monday
Dec202010

Silly Goose: A Trompe L'oeil Cake Made to Look Like a Christmas Goose, For Serious Eats

We could go round in circles discussing which treat is the ultimate Christmas sweet—is it cookies? Bûche de Noël? Or perhaps fruitcake?

But instead of engaging in this wild goose chase, why not make a Christmas Goose Cake?

Paying homage to a classic Christmas dinner, this treat isn't meat—it's totally sweet! It's a trompe l'oeil designed to look like a Christmas goose, made from decadent cake crumbled with frosting and covered with rich marzipan. Extra points for serving it on an equally sweet bed of either candy salad or artfully arranged batch of cornflake wreath batter!

For the full recipe and entry, click on over to Serious Eats!

Sunday
Dec192010

Bread and Circus: Molded Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Christmas is all about sharing.

Of course, some things are more fun to share than others--for instance, SpyMom's Molded Gingerbread cookies recipe, which yields pretty and delicious cookies showcasing vivid scenes from her collection of old-school cookie molds from House on the Hill.

Of course, while the recipe is fun to share, I wouldn't blame you if you couldn't bring yourself to share the actual cookies. 

Gingerbread Recipe from SpyMom

 

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

 

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 and butter cookie sheets. Heat the molasses to the boiling point, then add the sugar, butter, and milk. Mix the flour with the baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and rest of the spices. Add to the first mixture and blend well. Add a few tablespoons of water, enough so that the dough holds together and handles easily. Roll or pat out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Press into molds, or cut out in whatever shapes you'd like (Ninjabread men, anyone?). SpyMom doesn't specify if it's best to let them chill before baking, but the recipe calls for baking these babies for 5-7 minutes. Garnish as desired, confectioners' sugar might be nice. 

Sunday
Dec192010

Sweet Giveaway: Choose a Sweet Tee from Fibers

Curious about where I get my secret spy superpowers?

Well, it's actually no secret at all: I'm Powered by Crumb Cake. I consider it probably the world's most perfect food--heavy on the crumb, light on the cake.

And I was delighted to get a chance to tell the world all about it, in t-shirt form, when Fibers.com offered me a totally sweet giveaway opportunity: a free t-shirt for one lucky reader (US only, please) AND one for me, you know, so I could demonstrate the capabilities.

You can either choose to customize your tee, like I did (they have a fun custom-design tool which will help you waste a good half hour of your workday -- I mean, personal at-home time -- on the computer)--or you can choose from an extensive gallery of ready-made tees, which include plenty of sweet-themed tees (several riffs on the "Powered by" theme, such as "Powered by Cupcakes", "Powered by Baklava"...as well as other great tees such as "I (heart) Fondant" and many, many others).

How do you enter? Simply leave a comment below saying what sweet slogan you'd be dying to wear on a tee (whether it's one you've come up with, or one from the Fibers.com catalog!).

The giveaway will close on Sunday, December 26, at 12pm PST.

Sunday
Dec192010

Gluten Freedom: A Totally Sweet Gluten-Free Cake Pop Adventure

Here's a recipe for what recently proved to be a wholly awesome afternoon:

  1. First, start by obtaining a copy of Bakerella's most excellent book Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats. Be inspired by the cuteness.
  2. Add Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl, who invited me (that's CakeSpy) over to make a batch of these babies, gluten-free. "The cake I can do," she explains, "but I need some help on the cute part."
  3. Cue CakeSpy, who you know is simply made of cute.
  4. Add in a dash of surprise awesome by way of Megan (aka Not Martha), who also found herself free on the same day so joined in on the fun!
  5. Pair all this with an adorable toddler (Lucy, Shauna's daughter) and you've got yourself a batch of total sweetness.

My hands, and Lucy's. Photo by Gluten-Free Girl.Well. All of the pieces were in place, but how do you turn these prime ingredients into sweet success?

First, start with the perfect cake. As previously mentioned, Shauna prepared a gluten-free cake (which was also dairy and egg-free!). But this cake should not merely be praised because it's appropriate for people with a variety of different allergies--it should be praised because it is delicious. And to my delight, it was from a book I had as a child, Alpha-Bakery Children's Cookbook (I remember mailing in cereal box tabs to get our copy in the mail!). As Shauna said,

When I showed my copy to Jessie, before we began baking, she blushed and almost jumped. "I had that book when I was a kid!" She told me she had made everything out of the book, more than once. (Even the Quick Cheeseburger Pie, which I am dying to make for the 1/3 cup of pickle juice in the ingredients list.) And the "X-Tra Special Celebration Cake"? She made it all the time. "This afternoon just got three times better," she told me. 

Next, add a touch of improvisation. Having heard that some candy melts were not safe for gluten-free eaters (and so few of them are labeled with ingredients in craft supply stores!), I was nervous about making someone sick...so I picked up some marzipan (reading the ingredient list carefully) instead, and we also employed some chocolate which Shauna had on hand. 

Don't forget to add variety. While waiting for the cake balls to chill, we also maybe snacked on a lemon bar or macaroon or three from Shauna's kitchen. Le yum.

Learn a little. While decorating, preparing, and baking, I learned a little bit about gluten-free baking. I learned a bit about flour(s). I learned a bit about the whirlwind of excitement that comes with having your book, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, cited as one of the best of the year in the New York Times (from Shauna). I got excited all over again about mini gingerbread houses (from Megan). 

Get excited. We all got excited during this baking adventure. Several times each, I think. Perhaps most charmingly, Lucy got excited about my name being Jessie--just like a character in Toy Story. We all got excited about food, baking, and our various geek-out subjects.

Have Fun. The marzipan pops were the most fun to decorate, and I was employed to make a variety of different ones, ranging from a very...special-looking reindeer

to a homemade version of Hermie the elf

to my personal fave, the zombie santa cake pop.

...which was later devoured by Mr. CakeSpy.

But don't get too complicated. We also had some which were simply dipped in chocolate, and they were pretty fantastic.

Now, these cake pops were totally sweet. They tasted good. But sweeter than any of them? The conversation, camaraderie, and inspiration provided by the great company. 2 Sweet 2 B 4 Gotten, for sure!

Find the recipe and more on Shauna's site, Gluten-Free Girl!

Friday
Dec172010

Such a Flake: Cornflake Wreath Cookies Recipe

This cornflake wreath magically has a star shape in the center!Cornflake wreaths are like the Rice Krispie Treat's Christmas-y cousin, made in very much the same method, but decorated in a far more festive fashion.

They're a classic that many of you probably grew up with, so it's probably not a new recipe for you, but sometimes it's sweet to pay homage to the old favorites, no?

Here's how I make them.

Cornflake Wreaths

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (can use all vanilla or all almond extract, if preferred)
  • 4 cups Corn Flakes

Procedure

  1. On your stovetop in a saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the marshmallows and mix frequently until they get melty and cohesive.
  2. Add and mix quickly the coloring, extracts, then Corn flakes.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls in to little stacks on greased wax paper; using your fingers, work holes into the center of each stack (I find it easiest to do this as you spoon them). Garnish with red candies if desired.
  4. Let cool, and serve. This recipe makes 15-20, depending on size.
Friday
Dec172010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Cool! All right! Let's get in a cheerful holiday mood with a batch of sweet links!


High 5! In Seattle, High 5 Pie opens its first retail location on December 30. YES!

Gelato? Hot Toddy? Why decide? They come together beautifully, here.

Mm, tastes like Santa. Eat Santa's face, in pancake form! (I did this recipe as a coloring book page for Taste of Home, too!)

Breakfast of Champions: new All-Star Peanut Butter blogger Honey & Jam offers up a recipe for peanut butter pop-tarts!

Rock Candy...that actually looks like pebbles! 

Candy Cane Cream Pie? I think, yes.

Gingerbread House Contest! I'm a celebrity judge. Enter here!

Holiday Cookie Hell: For your holiday amusement.

Butter makes it better: Buy yourself (and your friends) a butter loaf.

Nothing to biscoff at: if you like the biscoff cookies served on some flights, here's a copycat recipe.

Lemon Aid: Lemon bars get a sweet (gluten-free) makeover on Gluten-Free Girl.

Family Circle's Editors dish on their six favorite Christmas cookie recipes: score!

Sweet Memories: Gingerbread Mad Men on Serious Eats!

Thursday
Dec162010

Pie in the Sky: High 5 Pie Retail Bakery to Open in Seattle on December 31

2010, you're totally a lame duck. You are on your way d-o-w-n.

But before you go, let's go out in style, with a new bakery opening! Let's make it a good one: how 'bout High 5 Pie in Capitol Hill?

Now, naturally I am happy simply to see a new bakery open.

But I'm like, 5 times more happy to see this one open, because you see, I've been part of the story. That's right: some of the recipes for the new pie location have been aided and abetted by none other than Head Spy Jessie! Go ahead and add "pie consultant" to my resume--but don't call me Pie Spy.

Rigorous testing (and tasting) have been applied to several new recipes for the new retail location, and I hope you'll agree that they're extremely delicious. But don't take my word for it: see for yourself, when they open on December 31st! Does that seem too far away? Happily, they will also have a pre-opening event on December 30. Be there or be square! 

Pie squared, that is!

Find out more on the Capitol Hill Seattle entry on this breaking news!

Thursday
Dec162010

You Mochi My Day: Mochi Cake Recipe from CS Buddy Cindy

Dinner parties rule for many reasons:

  1. You get to hang out with cool people, and sometimes meet new people.
  2. You get to eat a bunch of delicious things.
  3. IMPORTANTLY: Dessert is pretty much inevitable.

And after a recent dinner party at CS buddy Cindy's house, after being very impressed with her delightfully dense, lightly but not excessively sweet, almond-y Mochi Cake, she was a kind and generous hostess indeed and even sent the recipe:

As promised here is the recipe for the "Mochi Cake" (for lack of a more appropriate name). I checked the rice cup I was using and it is roughly the equivalent of 3/4 (wet) cup. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope it's rather straightforward.

Mochi Cake

*1 cup = 1 rice cup or 3/4 standard (wet) cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (16 oz) Mochiko (sweet rice flour - I use the Koda Farms one, which can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 cup Milk (or Milk substitute, I used Almond Milk for the one you guys had)
  • 1 scant cup vegetable oil (I tend to use slightly less to avoid excess oil)
  • 1 to 1.5 cup sugar
  • 1 generous tbsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs (if you only 3 eggs or want to use up to 5 eggs that works okay too but 4 seems to be the best ratio)

Optional ingredients:

  • dried fruits (eg. longan, raisins, etc.)
  • rice wine (enough to cover and rehydrate fruits)
  • can of cooked red beans (again can be purchased at the Asian grocery store, be sure to get one that has the beans in it and not completely mashed - Shirakiku Anko Red Bean Ogura)

Procedure

  1. If using dried fruits, add enough rice wine to cover and rehydrate dried fruits
  2. While fruits are rehydrating, mix together mochiko, milk, oil, sugar, baking powder and eggs thoroughly
  3. Line a baking pan (I use a rectangular baking pan, approx. 9" X 13") with aluminum foil & brush lightly with oil
  4. Fill baking pan with batter
  5. If including dried fruits or cooked red beans, use spoon to drop dollops on top of batter, then use finger or butter knife to stir/distribute throughout batter (you can make swirls with the pattern if desired)
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes @ 390 - 400F (until when pierced with toothpick comes out clean)
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