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Friday
May212010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Need a sweet diversion? Here are just a few of this week's sugary obsessions.

Got wanderlust? Discover Bariloche, Argentina, home of the "Street of Chocolate Dreams". (thanks to a CakeSpy Shop customer for the lead!)

Cajeta in my mouth: goat milk caramels from France, not Mexico. (via The NY Times)

Baking in a slow cooker? Betty Crocker says "it's magical". I'm intrigued. Recipe here.

It's biscuit, it's biscuit time: Strawberry shortcake with the most delectable-looking cream biscuits you ever did see, via Love and Olive Oil.

Fashionable financiers: Tartelette makes delightful cookies for a guest turn on Design*Sponge.

But do they have bar cookies? Cookie Bar opens in Chicago, and has a funkadelic website.

Cinnamon bun pie pockets. I'd try to say it five times fast, but my mouth is full. (via Gimme Some Oven)

Peas on earth: Sweet pea cupcakes with sour cream frosting. Believe it. (oldie but goodie via Vanilla Garlic)

Food Takes Over Stationery: Finally! (via Bon Appetit)

Pastries and politics: Bernanke tours the Tastykake factory.

Peabody takes on Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison: I just received this book too so was excited to get a sneak peek.

Seattle bakeries hit the big time, via a feature by Sara Dickerman in the NY Times (prominently featuring CS favorite, Columbia City Bakery!). Thanks to everyone who shared the link with me!

Speaking of Columbia City Bakery, let's have another loving look at the doughnut muffin.

Thursday
May202010

(CLOSED) Sweet Giveaway: Win a $100 Gift Card For CSN Stores!

Track Lighting.

Yeah, you heard me. Track lighting. I know what you're thinking: CakeSpy has sold out for a text link. But hear me out, because I've done it for you, sweet friends. For simply putting that link in this post, CSN Stores has kindly offered something that actually is of interest: a $100 gift card good to be redeemed at any of their online stores! And after reviewing the products available at their Cookware.com website, I find it worth the link, as all sorts of products of interest to bakers and baked-good enthusiasts are available there, including cake pans, cake plates, pastry molds, and my favorite Emile Henry Pie plates!

Want to be entered in the running? OK! Here's what you do: simply leave a comment on this post stating your opinion on this important baked-good subject: what is your favorite morning pastry? 

Muffins? Scones? Cream Cheese Danish? Crumb Cake? CakeSpy wants to know! This giveaway will close and a winner will be announced at 12 p.m. PST on Friday, 5/28. Entrants only in the US and Canada this time, please!

 

UPDATE: WINNER! Our winner is bellasarah28. Congratulations!

Thursday
May202010

Cake Byte: This Charming Candy Lollipops Now Available at CakeSpy Shop!

Can you say "Birthday Cake Lollipop"? 

Well, I'm sure you are capable of doing so, but wouldn't it be so much nicer to have your mouth full of delicious birthday cake lollipop?

You're in luck: CakeSpy Shop, my new retail gallery and gift shop in Capitol Hill, Seattle, is the newest stockist for This Charming Candy lollipops! 

These locally handmade, small-batch artisan lollipops are in the shop and available in flavors like Vanilla-cardamom, Birthday Cake, and Salted Caramel! I'm selling them singly, and by the package.

Looks like Capitol Hill just got sweeter!

This Charming Candy Lollipops, now available at CakeSpy Shop + Bluebottle Art Gallery, 415 E Pine Street, Seattle WA 98122, open Tue-Sun 12-7 p.m.!

Thursday
May202010

Cake Byte: Sweet Surrender Cupcake Recipe Contest

Totally sweet--a chance to win some sweet prizes and insure your cupcake-flavor legacy! Here's the 411 on a totally sweet recipe contest brought to you Sweet Surrender, a Boynton Beach, FL-based bakery!

Do you have a recipe for the tastiest cupcake out there?

Sweet Surrender is searching for a new cupcake to add to its menu of delicious, made-from-scratch cupcakes and will award the creator of the winning recipe with 10% of the first month’s sales of the cupcake sold at Sweet Surrender Cupcake & Cookie Café in Boynton Beach, Florida. The winning cupcake will also be named after the creator!

THE CONTEST

All of the entries will be reviewed by Sweet Surrender owners Mick and Rosemary Tynski. The baking duo will select their top two recipes and make them for the café’s Grand Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, June 19, 2010. Free samples of the two cupcakes and score cards will be given out to guests, who will judge each on:

  • Visual Appeal
  • Moistness
  • Flavor

The cupcake that scores the highest overall will be the winner!

RECIPE RULES

We hold our cupcakes to the highest standards and request all recipe submissions follow these guidelines:

  • May not contain trans fats or artificial flavors
  • Must be made from scratch entirely (no premade mixes or frostings)
  • One entry per person please
  • All entries must be received by June 4, 2010

SEND IT TO US!

Please email your recipe to Recipe@SweetSurrenderBoyntonBeach.com and include your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, name of recipe, separate ingredient lists for frosting and cupcake batter and complete preparation/baking directions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The two semi-finalists will be notified via email or phone no later than June 16, and the winner will be notified no later than June 22.

Just like our own fine-tuned cupcake recipes, we will not disclose the contents of any recipes that are sent to us, including the winning recipe.

By entering a recipe, each contestant agrees that if their recipe is selected as the winner, the recipe will be used by Sweet Surrender exclusively and the winning contestant may not give or sell the recipe to any other business for resale. In addition, the winner may not publish the recipe on any website or in any publication.

By entering a recipe, the creator guarantees that it is original, however, Sweet Surrender cannot be held responsible for recipes submitted that are not original.

Thursday
May202010

Sweet Art: Milk and Cookies Love Cupcakes

So, milk and cookies are basically the quintessential sweet snack pairing--but what do they like to snack on when they get hungry?

Apparently, they're not immune to the cupcake trend sweeping the world!

Thursday
May202010

Oregon Sweetness: Cupcakes from Frills, Seaside OR

My friends Denise and Nick are delightful for oh, so many reasons. I mean, just look at them:

Yeah, adorable, right? And among other awesome traits, they both have the amazing ability to eat their own weight in cake, and they're the people who introduced me to Full Tilt Ice Cream.

But most recently, they've secured real estate in my heart by bringing me cupcakes from Frills in Seaside, Oregon.

Now, I didn't visit in person, so I can't attest to the decor, but I can say for sure that their website does not do these delicious cupcakes justice (they need more pictures!).

Their cupcakes go by pretty names, which makes it a little harder to tell you exactly what I ate. Specimen one was surely the "Violette", their red velvet with cream cheese frosting, which was rich, tangy, and moist just in the right places.

I have forgotten the name of cupcake #2, but it was chocolate cake topped with a rich, buttery frosting and what tasted vaguely like crumbled up Butterfingers on top. This chocolate cake was really something else: deep and dark, moist and fudgy, but not excessively so; the frosting was fairly light but very buttery, and extremely rich in flavor.

One thing that both flavors had in common? Upon reaching the empty cupcake cup, they both prompted the thought "how bad is it, really, to lick the wrapper?"

Frills Cupcakes and Frozen Yogurt, 200 Broadway, Seaside, OR; online at frillscupcakes.com.

Thursday
May202010

Muffin Top: A Massive Banana Skillet Muffin

I have a deep distrust of muffins.

They strike me as a baked good that really wants to be cake, but for some reason feels the need to masquerade under the cover of vague healthiness (the one exception to this, of course, being the doughnut muffin).

However, this all changed for me when I received a totally sweet sample from Katom--a 9-inch pre-seasoned skillet. I love this thing. First off, it's adorable--it's like a baby skillet! But even so, it has a satisfying heft--there's no doubt about it, this baby could be used as a weapon. If you chose to, that is.

But I chose to use it as a weapon of deliciousness, using it to bake one massive banana muffin.

Starting with the banana muffin recipe from the Cupcake Cafe Cookbook , I simply baked the whole batch as one mass in the skillet, and it came out beautifully. It baked perfectly in the skillet, moist and lightly crumbly on the edges, with a wide expanse of craggy crust on top. When cut in thick wedges and served with a healthy smear of lightly melted butter and brown sugar, it is delicious, and so much better than a muffin. In fact, I wouldn't even blame you if you wanted to top it with a smear of cream cheese or peanut butter buttercream frosting.

Ready for this tastiness in your own home? Here's the recipe.

Banana Muffins, Baked in a Skillet

Adapted from Cupcake Cafe Cookbook

You'll need: a skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups very ripe, mashed bananas

Procedure

  1. Grease your skillet.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the walnuts.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix the banana into the egg mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients until just blended. Fill your skillet with the mixture, it should be about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes; they are done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
Tuesday
May182010

Sweet Obsession: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies Inspired by David Lebovitz

Being a good baker is one thing, but being a baker worthy of stalking is completely another.

I'm talking, of course, about David Lebovitz, who introduces the recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies in his new book, Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes, in this way:

Shortly after my first book came out, my phone rang one night a little after 10:30 p.m. A reader had tracked me down to let me know, with urgency, that she loved these cookies, but that they took 10 minutes to bake in her oven instead of the 9 minutes indicated in the recipe.

When in doubt, err on the side of underbaking so your peanut butter cookies remain moist. Take them out when they are still a bit soft, as they'll continue to firm up a bit after cooling. This time, I've given a bit more latitude to the timing so as to avoid any late-night baking-related emergency phone calls.

Though he never quite says it, the message is pretty clear: this baking rock star has serious stalkers--er, groupies.

But were these cookies really stalker-worthy? I had to see for myself.

I've only made one change from the recipe as printed in the book: instead of using regular creamy peanut butter, I've used Peanut Butter and Company's Dark Chocolate Dreams, figuring that if anything, chocolate will make the recipe even better.

The result? A cookie that is very much the dictionary definition of what a peanut butter cookie should be: moist at the center, lightly crumbly just around the edges, with every bite rich in peanut buttery (accent on the butter) goodness.

These cookies will disappear quickly. Worthy of the worship? Well, let's just say you're gonna need the sugar-and-protein burst of energy to stand outside of Mr. Lebovitz's Parisian pad, clutching boombox a la Lloyd Dobler. Just remember whose idea it was to add the chocolate, sweeties.

Peanut Butter Cookies Worth Stalking

Adapted from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, or to take my variation, 1 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

Procedure

 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugars, and peanut butter on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. It will be a thick, solid mass of dough.
  3. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least two hours, but up to overnight.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Break off pieces of dough and roll them into 1-inch balls (the recipe calls for rolling them in granulated sugar, but I didn't do that. They were fine without this step, in my opinion, especially considering the added sweetness from the chocolate peanut butter).
  7.  Place on prepared (parchment-lined) baking sheets. Leave 3 inches between cookies. Lightly flatten and make a crosshatch pattern on each cookie using the tines of a fork (a spork doesn't work--no follow up questions).
  8. Bake, rotating the sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are dull and lightly browned around the edges but still lightly glossy/undercooked-looking in the middle (as they cool on the sheet they'll finish up). The bake time will be between 9-10 minutes.
  9. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the sheet (they will crumble if you try to remove them right away) and then transfer to a wire rack using a spatula. These cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container, if they last that long.

Want more? You can buy the most excellent book here , or for more recipes and "An American in Paris" type lore, visit David's website and follow him on Twitter!

Monday
May172010

Going Blonde: Blondie-Topped Brownies for Serious Eats

Blondies or brownies?

It's a delicious dilemma: they're both bar cookie classics, one rich in brown sugar, the other redolent of chocolate.

But why should you have to decide? Because they taste so much better when baked together, in layers.

How'd I do it? Well, since brownies generally have a longer bake time, I started out my pan with a batch of brownie batter which I put in the oven for 20 minutes while I put together the blondie batter. Since the half-baked brownies would have gotten messy had I spread the blondie batter on top, I simply spooned the batter as gently as I could right on top and put it back in the oven for about 25 more minutes; the oven's heat did a nice job of spreading the batter for a tasty two-layered treat.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
May172010

Cake Byte: Discover Baked in Seattle

What does a professional cake gumshoe love more than anything? Discovering a new baking business. So when I came across a line of sweets called Baked In Seattle in Ralph's Grocery, I had to learn more.

Turns out, this local wholesale and custom-order bakery offers a vast array of baby cheesecakes and crumbles with flavors and names inspired by the northwest, and while the baked goods can most readily be found at Blue Willow Catering & Luncheonette in West Seattle, they are also available at a handful of other retail shops.

But most interesting of all? Their menu. Eat--er, read all about it:

5" Mini Cheesecakes @ $3.95 each:

Capitol Hill Classic Cheesecake---Anything but plain, this classic two-layer cheesecake sets the gold standard.

Seneca Strawberry Cheesecake---Creamy Northwest strawberry perfection swirls this taste of paradise.

Belltown Blueberry Cheesecake---Wonderfully dark bursts of whole blueberries popping throughout.

Madison Mocha Cheesecake---Creamy coffee and chocolate balance in a chocolate cookie crust.

Cascade Chocolate Chip Cheesecake---Semi-sweet bits of ecstasy in a sweet chocolate cookie crust.

Queen Anne Chocolate Cheesecake---Four layers of chocolate richness for premier indulgence.

Black &Tan Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cheesecake---Perfect combination of peanuts and chocolate sweetness.

Spanish Castle Orange-Spice Cheesecake---Delicate hints of orange balance cinnamon spice.

Pioneer Square Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake---Our seasonal delight swirled with sweet pumpkin.


5" Mini Crumblepies @ $3.95 each:

Empire Way Apple Crumblepie---Granny Smith apples kissed by brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon with a crunchy, crumbly sweet top.

Bainbridge Blueberry Crumblepie---Blueberry brown sugar heaven covered with a crunchy, crumbly sweet top.

Pike Street Peach Crumblepie---Freestone peaches melt into brown sugar bliss with a crunchy, crumbly sweet top.

Northwest Mixed Berry Crumblepie---Marionberries, blueberries, strawberries, and red raspberries in blended perfection with a crunchy, crumbly sweet top.

Georgetown Strawberry Rhubarb Crumblepie---Seasonal strawberry rhubarb country-sweet classic with a crunchy crumbly sweet top.

Rainier Roasted Sweet Potato Pie---Seasonal down-home buttery goodness and a hint of nutmeg.

Cheesecakes and Crumblepies also available in full 8" size for $13.95 by special order (after July 1st, 2010)

For more information, visit the Baked In Seattle website.

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