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Saturday
May082010

Cake Byte: CakeSpy Shop Grand Opening Party Tonight!

What can I say other than you're gonna feel really bad if you miss this awesomeness? It's been given shout-outs by the Stranger, Joey Veltkamp, and Capitol Hill Seattle--just to name a few! There will be many new Capitol Hill-themed paintings, and cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes, too!

Please, do drop by from 5-8 p.m.! 

Shop Location: 415 E Pine Street (near Summit), Capitol Hill, Seattle

More details can be found here!

Friday
May072010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Reasons to Love Megan Seling

Megan Seling is kind of a big deal in the Seattle music scene. She's a calendar editor and all-ages music columnist for The Stranger; she also has her own radio show on 107.7 The End. I know, awesome, right?

But what you may not know about this local superstar is that she's also very savvy on the subject of sweets (and bakes a mean cookie, to boot). And so, in an effort to share her awesomeness with the sweet-loving world, here's a baker's dozen of reasons why this sweet writer ought to be loved and appreciated:

She brought Rocky Ledge Bars to my cookie swap last year.

She also brought Striped Icebox cookies to aforementioned cookie gala.

She doesn't just love cupcakes...she educates us on who makes the best ones, too.

She did this great writeup of me and my fantastic life in The Stranger last week.

She made these Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes.

She's super fun to follow on Twitter.

She covers hard-hitting journalistic issues, such as what should be considered the official candy of Washington.

She invited me, CakeSpy, to be a featured contributor on Questionland!

She loves Poppy like I love Poppy.

She is able to admit that she is a sugar addict.

She keeps us all updated on the Capitol Hill, Seattle, bakery scene.

She's an amazingly skilled writer--it's impossible to not be moved by this piece on her "Cookie Winter".

...and finally, did I mention that her equally cute and sweet boyfriend Robby makes a mean chocolate-dipped cream pie?

Thursday
May062010

Sweet Art: Dedicated to the Ones I love

This piece is what they call a "crowd pleaser"--officially dedicated to cupcake lovers, vegans, hipsters, and bacon lovers--also known as everybody I know.

Wednesday
May052010

Baked Bliss: Chocolate Mudslide Cookies from The Newlywed Kitchen

I'm not a newlywed, but I sure do like to eat like one.

That is, ever since I discovered the Chocolate Mudslide Cookie recipe in the newly released book The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together by CakeSpy buddy Lorna Yee, Ali Basye, and photographed by Kathryn Barnard.

Now, I hear rumors that the savory recipes are good, and I can attest that the stories which accompany the recipes are sweet and engaging.

But what made me fall in love, so to speak, was the aforementioned Chocolate Mudslide Cookie. Comprised basically of chocolate on chocolate, with a little flour and butter thrown in, these cookies seemed not only easy to make, but sort of like a one-way ticket to pleasuretown.

Happily, the recipe lived up to all expectations, yielding a soft, rich, cookie which is absolutely redolent with chocolate and which is very nearly perfect. But I've found one way to make it even better: save a tiny bit of that warm chocolate mixture from step 2 (or better yet, make a little extra) and sandwich two of the cookies together with that. Now that's what I call sweet wedded bliss.

Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

Lightly adapted from The Newlywed Kitchen

Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

 

(Note: Original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped. I have nothing against walnuts but realized that I had none once I'd already started baking, and went without. They tasted fine!)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chopped chocolate with the sugar and butter. Microwave in 20 second intervals, until about 80 percent of the chocolate is melted. Stir the mixture, and the rest should melt from the heat of the melted chocolate. Let cool to room temperature while you do the following steps.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. Slowly pour the microwaved mixture into the eggs in three additions, stirring between each addition. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate batter until combined, then stir in the walnuts (if you're using them) and chocolate chips.
  5. On two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, drop heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough, leaving room for the cookies to spread (about 8 cookies per sheet). Use only the middle or upper rack for these cookies, as they may burn on the lower rack.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. They will be slightly soft when they come out of the oven, but will become more firm as they cool. If they last that long.

 P.S. Interested in more of Lorna's recipes? Well, here's a little heads up: save the date for June 6, when we'll be having a Red Velvet Cake tasting at CakeSpy Shop! More details to come!

Wednesday
May052010

Cake Byte: Come to the CakeSpy Shop Opening!

Hello Sweeties! Well, in case you hadn't heard, I have purchased and taken over Seattle's Bluebottle Art Gallery and am merging it into CakeSpy Shop!

The gallery will feature plenty of my sweet artwork, but will also feature a lot of great art, craft, and cool merchandise from great indie artists. There are plenty of great gifts and art to buy! 

Though I am open for business already, I'm still making some changes to the space - and am ready to celebrate big time on May 8! Please come and check out several new paintings of sweets in Capitol Hill by yours truly, eat some delicious cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes, hear some sweet music by Mr. Spy's band Exohxo, and have super fun times!
Hope to see you there, friends!

Here are the details:

CakeSpy Shop + Bluebottle Art Gallery Gala Opening Event

Saturday, 5/8 - 5-8 PM

415 E Pine Street (near Summit), Seattle WA 98122

Tuesday
May042010

Take Your Pix: The Pixie from Pix Patisserie, Portland

Say Bonjour to the Pixie.

Quest-ce que c'est, this Pixie?

It's a sweet little treat from Pix Pâtisserie, the Frenchiest little spot in Portland, OR.

Now, settling on the Pixie wasn't easy--after reviewing a small but well curated collection of European-style pastries available, including an Opera Cake, Queen of Sheba Truffle Cake, a particularly fetching triangular Dobos Torte, and macarons a-plenty.

But the unassuming and small-ish Pixie was humming to me, and so it was what I chose. Per the website,

Pistachios, almond paste, and raspberry jam are the main ingredients making up this layered concoction people can’t seem to get enough of. One woman replied after her first taste, “Oh! This makes me wanna dance!” Enough said.

And while I'd like to say for the record that aforementioned customer was not me, it might as well have been. This little pastry may be small but it's mightily magical, buttery pastry layers spread with an incredibly rich pistachio and almond paste mixture which is given a bright dimention from the sweet jam. All of this awesome, of course, is sealed with a kiss of confectioners' sugar on top.

As Mr. Spy commented upon tasting, "It tastes like a Christmas cookie...only better."

You heard it here first--better than Christmas!

Of course, it would be remiss to not mention the pâte de fruit (we tried the blackberry). This gel-y candy is one of those confections, like marshmallows, which is really at its finest when homemade, and Pix's is the real deal, with a texture which is yielding but not too sticky or gelatinous, and full of natural fruit sweetness. A subtle and sweet little bite, and quite the steal at less than a dollar each!

Pix Patisserie has two locations in Portland; visit here for more information. They also ship a variety of their baked goods; visit here to learn more.

Tuesday
May042010

Cake Byte: CakeSpy Interview on Java Cupcake

Photo c/o Java CupcakeCurious about the life of a Spy?

Well, you can get your sweet fix on the inner workings of a professional Cake Gumshoe's mind over at Java Cupcake, where there's a super sweet interview up today. Not only will you be treated to some sweet photos but you'll also be amused by musings such as how maybe, just maybe, the internet was invented for discovering cool new cupcakes.

Check it out here!

Tuesday
May042010

Dish It Up: Dessert Plate Services by The Green Cockatoo

The Green Cockatoo is--there's no way to put it gently--an escort service.

But their product is something that might fascinate you like it does me: they deal in vintage china and porcelain.

They found me through a search on how to make fake cupcakes--and drew me in with the reason why they were seeking the tutorial:

We are in Scotland and rent out vintage china for afternoon tea, weddings and functions. Now we can have fake cakes to show it off when we exhibit at wedding fairs - thank you!

Well, now--if that isn't a sweet and unusual business! I rather like the idea of a Cinderella-esque appearance by the fancy plates, which are then whisked away at the end of the evening, leaving only sweet memories and no dirty dishes!

For more, visit thegreencockatoo.com.

Monday
May032010

Crumb With a Side of Cake: Behemoth Crumb Cake for Serious Eats

When it comes to crumb, I have a theory: if some is good, more is better.

This theory was proven when I discovered something called the Colossal Crumb Cake at New Jersey's Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe. Their version had a ratio of roughly 9 parts crumb to 1 part cake, and it was just as amazing as it sounds (theirs is the one pictured above).

Could it be possible to recreate this magic at home? Well, I certainly wanted to try. Starting with a recipe from Arthur Schwartz, a.k.a. The Food Maven, I tried to make it even better by halving the cake part and tripling the crumb part. The result? A hulking behemoth of crumb, anchored by a little sliver of cake.

For more, plus a recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Friday
Apr302010

Sweet Art: Cocoon for Illustration Friday

Guess what? This week's Illustration Friday theme is Cocoon. And you know what that made me think of? The sweet cocoon of fatty deliciousness that envelops you when you eat the breakfast masterpiece that is Eggs Benedict at Glo's in Seattle. Oh yes. The only thing that could make it better is following it up with a slice of their sour cream coffee cake, served warmed with (unnecessary, but welcome) butter.

This piece will also be on show as part of my upcoming "Scenes from Capitol Hill, Seattle" series at the CakeSpy Shop!

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