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Sunday
Jun202010

Cake Byte: Gamma Ray Games Anniversary, There Will Be Cupcakes

The best part about owning a store? Well, other than the boatloads of cash that customer throw at me on a daily basis, that is?

Totally sweet neighbors. 

Next to CakeSpy Shop in Capitol Hill are a suite of totally sweet shops, including Spine and Crown Books, Zero Zero Hair Salon, and Gamma Ray Games. And soon, the latter will be celebrating their one year anniversary--and there will be cupcakes. From another Capitol Hill institution, Cupcake Royale.

So why not help my sweet neighbors celebrate, since you'll probably be in the neighborhood draining your bank account at my store anyway? There will be games, and an art exhibition to help you digest your delicious cupcakes.

Save the date: Gamma Ray Games 1 Year Anniversary - July 6. There will be cupcakes.

For more info, visit gammaraygamestore.com.

Friday
Jun182010

White Light: White Chocolate and Apricot Cookies Recipe

I'll confess: one of my favorite things about the publication Seattle Woman Magazine is that they often feature recipes from Macrina Bakery, a famous bakery around these parts. And in a recent issue, they featured a recipe for chocolate and apricot cookies. Delicious combination? I think so.

In my version, they get an even sweeter makeover by using white chocolate chips and a handful of candied walnuts, making for a tempting treat for customers at my store!

Of course, if you can't stop by to try them, make the magic happen in your own household: here's my adaptation of the recipe.

White Chocolate and Apricot Cookies

Adapted from Macrina Bakery

Makes 15 jumbo cookies, or up to 36 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground espresso or coffee
  • 10 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup apricots, diced
  • a generous handful of candied walnuts (optional)
  • 8 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (original recipe called for half white and half brown, but I only had white--still tasty)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Procedure 

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and espresso in a medium bowl. Mix with a whisk until evenly distributed. Add chocolate chips and apricot bits and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and pale in color. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add the vanilla. Continue mixing until butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are all incorporated (about 1 minute). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions. Mix on low speed for no more than 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixture and do a final mix with a rubber spatula.
  4. Remove from bowl and chill for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Scoop dough with a medium-sized ice cream scoop to form 1-inch balls. Leave at least an inch and a half around each cookie to allow for some spreading.
  7. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes, turning about halfway to ensure even baking. Cookies should be golden at the edges but soft in the middle.
  8. These cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

 

Friday
Jun182010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Happy Friday! Here's a baker's dozen of sweet ways to spend some time on the internet!

How many cakes are Father's Day Tie themed? More than you'd think.

Red Velvet Madness: read the recaps on the Red Velvet Smackdown at CakeSpy Shop on Lorna Yee's and Jackie Baisa's sites!

A Tablet, but not for writing: Not So Humble Pie introduced me to a Scottish Candy.

The. Most. Stunning. Swiss Black Forest Cake. (via Passionate About Baking)

The Best Chocolate Cake in the World? A new bakery with serious moxie in NYC.

Mighty Donuts: Leslie Kelly interviews Sara Beth Russert of Mighty-O Donuts.

Setting out to try 7 cupcake shops in one day? I salute you, Road to Sweetness.

Just donut: a sweet (and calorie-free!) donut clutch by Confection Collection!

Get Figgy: Ricotta with Honey and Roasted Figs recipe, via the Zabar's blog.

Sweet bites: online bakery Sweet Dreamery Desserts sells Tiffany Blue "Sweetbites" cake truffles.

"I'm not sure if this video is supposed to make you want to eat cupcakes, or make you never eat them again"--Cake Gumshoe Phil on the new Katy Perry video.

Cake stationery alert! You can find some cute cards here.

Sweet memories: rediscover the mazurka bar!

Thursday
Jun172010

Cake Byte: Delicious Pina Colada Cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes

Pictured in front of Nihontown by Ken TayaPina Coladas? So passe. It's all about the Pina Colada cupcake these days, and if you're feeling the need, Seattle's Trophy Cupcakes has you covered.

What makes up a Pina Colada cupcake? Inspired by the classic cocktail's flavors, this sweet treat is comprised of a pineapple coconut cupcake topped in coconut rum buttercream--all prettily topped with a maraschino cherry. 

But really, telling you the facts about the flavor do little to convey the extremely enjoyable experiene of eating it: this cupcake is super sweet, and perfectly complemented by a boozy (watch out!) frosting, which is definitely not for kids but oh so enjoyable for adults. 

I'd go so far as to say that any hour this cupcake is consumed is an extremely Happy Hour. But watch out--other flavors might get jealous!

Pina Colada Cupcakes, available every Tuesday and Friday through June at all Trophy Cupcakes locations. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow them on Twitter and on Facebook!

Thursday
Jun172010

Cake Byte: Threadcakes Contest is Back!

When cool and clever apparel design and cakes meet, the results are totally sweet.

This is all to say: the Threadcakes Contest is back!

What is this, you may be asking? Well, per the website,

Threadcakes is a fun, online cake-baking contest run by Chris Cardinal and Threadless.com, where bakers like you (and non-bakers like me) turn their favorite Threadless designs into amazing cakes! (Lovingly hosted by Synapse Studios.) 

For instance, the above cake was inspired by the t-shirt design to the left. Awesome, right?

What it basically amounts to is a cool cake contest for bakers--or, if you're not so artistically inclined, a really fun place to browse cakes that other people have made.

For the rules and to learn how to enter, visit the site; for previous winning entries, click here.

Wednesday
Jun162010

Wild Oats: Oatsies Recipe From Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Pop Quiz: when faced with the prospect of imminent Oatsies, the proper reaction is:

A. Panic--you must run from this menace!

B. Dread--you're definitely going to need to visit the doctor.

C. A world-weary sigh--you don't need this today.

D. Delight--you're faced with the prospect of a delicious treat!

Of course, anyone who knows Oatsies knows that the answer is D: you are faced with the prospect of a delicious treat. But for those who may not be in the know, let me share with you what exactly what an oatsie is, from my BFF cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book:

A delicious caramel-like oat confection topped with chocolate. Shared with us by Charlotte Johnson of our staff, who makes them often for her college-student son and daughter.

And a most sincere thanks to Ms. Johnson, wherever she may be, for these are indeed a treat to be treasured: sweet, lightly salty, nutty, oaty, caramelly, and extremely addictive.

Oatsies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (recipe calls for dark; I used light because it is what I had)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces (I used these nice fat chips)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix oats and sugar in a large, heatproof bowl (you'll need to pour a hot mixture over it soon).
  3. Melt butter; add syrup, salt, and vanilla. Pour over the oats and sugar; mix well.
  4. Pat mixture into a greased square pan (I used 8x8-inches).
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes--do not overbake! (How do you know it's done? It will be lightly bubbling on the sides)
  6. Melt chocolate and spread on top--or, if you're like me and don't read directions thoroughly, just sprinkle on the chocolate pieces and let them melt on the still-hot mixture.
  7. Sprinkle nuts on top of this, and let cool (or, again, like me, don't follow the directions and eat immediately. Messy, but tasty). You'll need a pretty sharp knife to cut these, as they're pretty sticky. Happily, I have a sharp and fancy knife called the "Jessica" (like me!) with which I can do these things.
Wednesday
Jun162010

CLOSED: Sweet Giveaway: Win a Love n Bake Sampler Pack!

Free stuff is the best--especially when it's sweet and delicious and when it has the potential to make you very, very, happily, fat.

This is all to say: how about a giveaway? Love n Bake, a manufacturer of what I can attest are completely delicious fillings for baking, has kindly offered a sampler pack of some of their most popular products for one lucky winner! It consists of a can each of almond filling, chocolate "schmear" filling (which one would use to make Blackout Crumb bars!), hazelnut praline filling, and almond paste. 

So, first things first. This giveaway is only open in the US--but other than that, entry is open! How do you get yourself in the running? Simply leave a comment letting me know what baking project you'd try first with these sweet fillings (don't worry, you won't be judged on originality--this is just to satisfy this spy's curiosity. Oh, and if you need ideas, get some on the Love n Bake blog). The giveway will close next Friday, June 25, at 12 pm PST, and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

So here goes: What sweet recipe would these fillings inspire you to try?

Update: the winner! We have a winner! Katie, who is going to put her prize to good use: "I would use the chocolate on mini chocolate chip cheesecake bites." Nom! Find Katie online here.

Wednesday
Jun162010

Lovely Leche: Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

When I encountered the recipe for Dulce de Leche Cheesecake bars in last month's issue of Bon Appetit, my eyes got really big and I think I probably said something like "Whoa".

After a brief moment of despair at having no graham crackers or cream cheese in the house, I found myself wondering "could this work with peanut butter and Reese's Puffs cereal instead?". And so I made said substitutions, and found myself with a pretty tasty treat. They could have chilled longer to set, but friends had no problem dealing with the dulce de leche ooze.

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

Crust

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 1/4 cups finely ground Reese's Puffs cereal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

 

  • 1 16-ounce jar peanut butter (preferably smooth, full-fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Glaze

 

  • 2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
  • (optional) a spoonful of hot fudge sauce

 

Procedure

 

  1. Make the Crust. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray (I used an 8x8-inch pan for fat, thick bars). Mix cereal crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
  2. Make the Filling. Blend peanut butter and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
  3. Make the Glaze. Heat dulce de leche, 3 tablespoons cream and chocolate sauce (if using) in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled baked mixture; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.

 

Tuesday
Jun152010

Cake Byte: New Magnets by iPop!

What is that force pulling you to CakeSpy Shop?

The new magnets I just designed for iPop, natch.

There are several new magnet designs available both online and at the CakeSpy retail shop (and, if you're a retailer, you can order them wholesale directly from iPop), including:

A 2-inch jumbo magnet featuring Cuppie Love;

a 2-inch jumbo magnet featuring Cuppie the artist (pictured top);

a 5-pack of half-inch miscellaneous cupcakes;

and a 4-pack of 1-inch magnets featuring pie, cake, cupcake, and cookie!

 

...of course, the other super cute designs are still available too!

CakeSpy for iPop Clicks magnets, available here!

Tuesday
Jun152010

Belle of the Ball: Coconut Belles from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book

At first glance, Coconut Belles don't look like anything out of the ordinary: they look like a pleasing, if unremarkable, bar cookie.

But don't be fooled. The Coconut Belle one coy little cookie bar. I found them in the "family favorites" section of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, where this cryptic introduction drew me in:

Since this cooky is better the second day than the day it is baked, you must bake them yesterday to enjoy them today.

True to the intro, these cookies taste good just out of the oven, but become something else entirely when left to their own flavor-melding devices overnight: delicately scented with citrus and redolent of rich coconut, these cookies taste far more compelling than their appearance might imply.

Of course, if you bake them around midnight, does that mean they were baked close enough to yesterday to enjoy today? Customers at the store will see.

Coconut Belles

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (I used lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, lemon, and cream thoroughly.
  3. Measure flour and mix with salt and baking powder; stir into wet mixture.
  4. Blend in the coconut and peel.
  5. Spread in a lightly greased pan (I used 8x8-inch). If desired, sprinkle extra coconut on top.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. While warm, cut into bars. Serve cooled (the next day is best).
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