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Monday
Jan252010

Cake Byte: CakeSpy to Attend a Kelly Ripa and Electrolux Event in NYC

Guess what, NYC? You're about to get a whole lot sweeter.

Yup! Your dear Head Spy Jessie and 15 other Foodbuzz Featured Publishers have been invited to join Kelly Ripa in NYC for a special cake decorating event on February 9th sponsored by Electrolux to generate support for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (oh, and you can stay updated via Twitter: follow @KCbyElectrolux)

More details to follow, of course!

So...how totally sweet is that? Pretty sweet. Any new bakeries I should visit while I'm in town? Other than Village Tart (which is now officially on the must-visit list), of course?

Monday
Jan252010

Say Cheese Product: Velveeta Fudge for Serious Eats

Chances are that if Velveeta even figures into your Super Bowl planning, it's probably intended as a nacho topping or as an ingredient in packaged macaroni and cheese. But it's a grievous error not to include it in your dessert menu too: as it turns out, it's actually a key ingredient in delicious fudge.

I'll admit that I was skeptical about a fudge which employs a "cheese product" that isn't even in the dairy aisle at the grocery store. But the concept is endorsed by Paula Deen, goddess of all things delicious and fatty--and when she says fudge is better with a healthy dose of Velveeta, I believe her.

You can find more--and the full recipe!--over on Serious Eats.

Sunday
Jan242010

Kiss of Deathcake: The New Adventures of the Old Deathcake Royale

It's truly the most wonderful time of year in Seattle.

No, not Christmas, jerk: it's time for the debut of the Deathcake Royale.

If this is death by chocolate, then bring on the gurney: this little brickster of a chocolate cake may have a hefty price tag, (at $6.65 it is almost, but not quite, devilish), but be assured that it's an investment in pure pleasure: gorgeously decadent, comprised of a chocolate trifecta: Royale's chocolate cake, Stumptown Coffee ganache, and Theo Chocolate Decadence. 

Dude. This cake is good. 

Happily, after introducing the deathcake in cupcake form last year, Cupcake Royale was understandably overwhelmed by requests to bring back the original, which was served in a cubelike form designed to be "shared by lovers and loved by haters"; technically, it is meant to be shared, but one couldn't be blamed for downing it solo.

And for its legion of loyal followers, the cake is back with a vengeance this year--with a batch of sweet Deathcake booty to go along with it, ranging from Deathcake Royale tumblers and stickers to some very naughty (but sweet) screenprinted undies (no word on whether or not they're low riders to accomodate muffin tops). 

Ready for some Deathcake Royale? Start your calisthenics now, because this baby's making its debut on January 29, and will be available through February 14 at all Cupcake Royale locations; for directions and hours, visit cupcakeroyale.com. You can also stay on top of their sweet news via their blog and their twitter feed.

Sunday
Jan242010

Not a Fritter: The Glorious Snitter from Nielsen's Pastries

Pop Quiz: What is a snitter?

No, you're not gonna Google your way out of this one. If you consult Wikipedia, you'll discover that it is "Snitter is a village and civil parish in Northumberland, England. It is near the Northumberland National Park. The closest town is Rothbury."

True as this may be, Wikipedia has clearly never been to Nielsen's Pastries, a little Danish bakery in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, where, nestled among the danish and cookies is an unassuming flat little treat with streaks of cinnamon, cream, and sugary glaze on top. The signpost in front declares "Snitter - a flat cinnamon roll". Oddly, while there is another Scandinavian baked good known as Hindbaer Snitter, the Nielsen's version doesn't seem to resemble it very much (that one kind of looks like Danish meets Pop Tart!).

Now, on first impression, the snitter appears to have a face (and name) that only a mother would love. But one bite and you'll see the light. It's got all of the magic of a cinnamon roll, but compressed into one dense little package, bursting with rich, buttery, cinnamon flavor--and the healthy dollop of custard on top certainly doesn't hurt. 

So what is a snitter? One of the most beautiful ugly pastries you'll ever meet.

The Snitter can be found at Nielsen's Pastries (which, incidentally, is also the home of the Potato), 520 2nd Avenue West, Seattle; online at nielsenspastries.com.

 

Friday
Jan222010

Sweet Art: Clumsy for Illustration Friday

In celebration of this week's Illustration Friday theme of clumsy, Cuppie would like to take a moment to remind you not to worry too much about kitchen mishaps--because truly, there's no use crying over spilt sprinkles. There will always be another day, another cupcake to bake (or, even better, eat).

Friday
Jan222010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Crumb Cake Links!

Woot! It's friday. Let's celebrate with a baker's dozen of sweet links centered around a delicious treat that ought to be considered its own scrumptious food group, Crumb Cake.

Colossal. Crumb. Cake. (pictured above) Alas, no recipe to share, but let's all swoon at the pictures and description just one more time.

On Baking Bites, an adaptation of a Martha Stewart Recipe for "Lots of Crumb Cake" that looks pretty delicious.

For traditional New York recipes, I always depend on The Food Maven, Arthur Schwartz (after all he's the one who introduced me to Nessolrode Pie!) - so it would stand to reason that his NY Crumb Cake Recipe is worth a try.

Because cardamom is like a kiss on top of crumb cake: cardamom crumb cake via Food and Wine.

If you want more lore along with some sweet recipes, check out Barry Popik's research on crumb cake.

Entenmann's has nothing on Cook's Illustrated: The baker on this site tried out the Cook's Illustrated recipe for NY Crumb Cake, and had delicious results.

But then again, if you still love Entenmann's, this recipe claims to make a cake that tastes just like it. (hint: just don't look at the nutrition information)

A new classic: Big Crumb Coffee Cake with rhubarb, via Smitten Kitchen.

Chocolate Crumb Cake: Crumb cake is awesome, but My Baking Adventures proves that it can get awesomer.

Pumpkin crumb cake: Sounds like heaven. And it's vegan too!

Crumb cake with a cake mix: You may balk at the idea of a cake mix, but look at that crumb to take ratio. Incredible.

Brown Sugar Plum Crumb Cake: Don't fret about the fruit, it doesn't taste even vaguely healthy.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Crumb Cake: It has the power to make you wish you were going back to school. Happily, if you're all grown up you can call in sick and make (and eat) this cake all day.

Friday
Jan222010

Scouting Sweetness: Trophy Cupcakes Debuts the Samoas Cupcake

Like seriously, if you're not so over that New Year's Resolution thing yet, you will be when you read about the flavor of the moment at Seattle's Trophy Cupcakes: the Samoas Cupcake! Here's the 411:

Inspired by Jennifer’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie, we recently launched our “Samoas” cupcake. Our moist Valrhona chocolate cupcake is filled with caramel cream, topped with coconut buttercream, drizzled with more caramel and then sprinkled with toasted coconut! We are not sure if it’s the rich house made caramel, the Valrhona chocolate or the toasted coconut that makes this cupcake so dreamy, but it has already become a thing of legend…at least on our Facebook page! Samoas will be available every day for the remainder of January, and will be available on a rotating basis starting in February.

Available at all three Trophy Cupcakes locations; for directions and hours, visit their website.

Thursday
Jan212010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Coco Cake, Vancouver BC

Photos by Lyndsay Sung and Amy Pelletier

If it were legal to marry a cupcake business, I'd probably propose to Coco Cake in Vancouver.

Why? Well, if you have to ask, you've clearly never checked out the website. Why not go there now?

Probably now you have an idea of why Coco Cake ought to be adored, but just for fun, let's talk about some of the reasons why it's a CakeSpy pick.

Coco Cake is totally sweet: The operation is run by Lyndsay Sung, an "artist and fun-loving baker" whose sense of whimsy is matched by a slight dark humor (bloody hand cupcakes to raise awareness for workplace safety, anyone?) that makes for simply irresistible cakes.

Coco Cake is thoughtful: When asked the open-ended question "why cupcakes?" baker Lyndsay had a thoughtful and thought-provoking response: "I think in an aesthetic sense, cupcakes appeal to me, especially when done artfully and with care and a nice sense of design. I also love vintage-look cakes, old school buttercream techniques, anything well-designed. I hate it when you go into a shop and you can tell someone has frosted their cupcakes so sloppily with no regard or real caring. I really do care about my cupcakes and think about them often on their journeys out into the world!"

Coco Cake is inventive: You've heard of Red Velvet...but how about Brown Velour? It's a Coco Cake original--in Lyndsay's words, "it's a play on the idea of the Red Velvet, because ... don't murder me, world-- but I'm not a fan of the cake part of a red velvet cake, but I love the creamcheese frosting. So Brown Velour is a dark chocolate cupcake topped with vanilla creamcheese frosting. More what I would hope to bite into rather than the bland weird red muffin taste of some red velvet cakes. The name Brown Velour also makes me think of an old lady with lavender hair boogying it up on a dancefloor in a brown velour tracksuit...!

Coco Cake enjoys life balance: Baker Lyndsay makes an adorably sweet cupcake burger. But in truth, she's just as passionate about the savory versions! "I actually love regular burgers and hot dogs as much as I love the cake versions!" she says, adding a tip for visitors to Vancouver: "We have this awesome hot dog stand in Vancouver called Japadog. Japanese style hot dogs, with nori, Japanese mayo, miso, all sorts of yummy/crazy sauces." Life is about balance, and Coco Cake embraces all of the major food groups!

For more, visit cococake.com or keep updated via the Coco Cake blog!

Wednesday
Jan202010

What a Fruitcake: A Retro Graham Cracker Marshmallow Fruitcake, Circa 1950

When it comes to cakes, sometimes the line between awesome and awful can be very fine. 

And then sometimes they race right past the line into awful and never look back. Hey, that is what the delectably snarky Cake Wrecks is built on, isn't it?

That having been said, it's time to talk about the Graham Cracker Fruit Cake

Apparently there was, at one time in the 1950s or 60s, a back-of-the-box sort of graham cracker fruitcake recipe. When a reader recently asked me to help unearth it, I found a few different versions online. But when it came to testing it out, I'll be honest--I went for the one that sounded easiest, consisting of just a few ingredients: marshmallows, milk, graham crackers, maraschino cherries, and pecans.

While it wasn't evidently a wreck from the get-go, it definitely did seem to fall into the category of retro-kitchy desserts that jiggle that perhaps dropped in popularity for a reason. Unfortunately the "fail" signs became highly evident when it was removed from the pan--not only was the jiggle unsettling, but so was the hue which could best be described as "fleshy":

When served at a dinner party, the reactions were polite-- along the lines of "it's not as bad as I thought it would be" or "it's...interesting". But the fact is that it was hard to get past the fleshy tone and jiggling texture--it remained largely uneaten.

Now, I'm not ready to throw in the hat completely on this one--while I realize the recipe chosen wasn't the best, that doesn't mean that there isn't a delicious version out there (and if you've got one, feel free to send it along).

But if you're feeling lucky (or just want to know what to avoid) here's the recipe:

Graham Cracker Ice Box Fruit Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pkg. graham crackers
  • 3 c. pecans (broken into small pieces)
  • 1 / 2 lb maraschino cherries
  • 1 lb. pkg. miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 c. milk

Procedure

  1. Crush graham crackers. Mix with pecans and cherries.
  2. Melt about half of the marshmallows in milk over low heat. Allow mixture to cool.
  3. Stir in crackers, cherries and pecans; mix. Add other half of marshmallows and mix lightly. Pour into an extremely well-greased cake pan (I used a bundt pan) and press firmly.
  4. Refrigerate 4-6 hours. Using a sharp knife, gently ease the cake from the sides of the pan. It should be sort of malleable so you'll be able to feel when it has pulled away from the sides to the point that you can safely flip it. First, turn the plate upside down on top of the bottom of the pan, and then swiftly and confidently flip the whole operation. If the confection comes out perfectly, bask in a moment of well-deserved glory--if it tears and fails massively, don't fret--I've still got plenty of leftovers.

 

Tuesday
Jan192010

Salty and Sweet: Bacon and Cupcake Mugs by CakeSpy

Dudes. Dudettes. Brace yourselves for the awesome: it's time to introduce the newest CakeSpy product, the bacon-and-cupcake mug!

The perfect intersection of sweet and salty, this sweet mug has the imagery to sum up some of coffee's finest complements! And in case you failed to notice, they're also wielding mini cocktail glasses--so pretty much all the bases are covered. Worried that your vegan friends will judge you? Please, don't panic: rest assured that these mugs are not only vegan, but gluten free and calorie-free to boot!

These are classic 11-ounce mugs printed in full color so you get a bright and vibrant hit of sweetness every time you reach for a cup of coffee! 

Pretty much the only mistake you could make is not buying one.

Available at cakespyshop.com. Doughnuts not included (sorry).

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