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Friday
Apr232010

Blue Days, Starry Nights: An Awe-Inspiring Van Gogh Cake

Friends, I want to share with you the most inspiring cake I've seen in some time: the Starry Night Cake that my friend Jenny in Baltimore made for a friend's birthday.

This cake, of course, prompts so many questions--including A) How on earth did she do it? (apparently it took 5 1/2 hours, and I'm not surprised). B) How on earth could they cut into that beauty? C) How did it taste? (I've tasted Jenny's work so I know it was good)...

but most importantly...why doesn't this super-talented girl have her own bakery? Count CakeSpy as an avid fan and customer-in-waiting.

For a gallery of photos of the cake and the eating of, visit Jenny's Facebook page!

Friday
Apr232010

Full of Charm: Lucky Charms Treats Recipe

To tell you what a Lucky Charms Treat is--which basically amounts to a Rice Krispie Treat, but with Lucky Charms--really doesn't do it justice.

Because while this technically tells you what they are, it really doesn't tell you about the strange beauty of seeing how the marshmallow colors run into each other, and the surprise of coming across an extra marshmallowy pocket of flavor while crunching through these super sweet treats (which I made for the Great American Bake Sale).

But perhaps you might get a hint of the magic that is the Lucky Charms Treat if I show you the pan used to make them, which was streaked with marshmallow rainbows after being emptied into the pan to cool:

...or maybe that just sealed your resolve to never, ever go down this road.

But if you'd like to see for yourself, here's the recipe (oh, and if you like messing with cereal treats, you might like this too).

Lucky Charms Treats

Makes about 12

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Lucky Charms

Procedure

  1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. 
  2. Add cereal; stir until uniformly coated.
  3. Using a buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.
Friday
Apr232010

Chip off the Old Block: A Cookie Monster Guest Recipe from Vero NYC

Cookie by Carol's CookiesStart working up an appetite: Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is coming up on May 15th. And from what I hear, there's a rather unexpected place to score a delicious dessert called The Cookie Monster in NYC: Vero, a wine bar with two locations in the city. As they tell it,

 Despite not being on the menu, the Cookie Monster is one of Vero’s most popular items and devoured by regulars and discovered each night at their two locations in Manhattan.  While this simple dessert may seem each to prepare, each day the cookies are flown fresh from Carol’s Cookies in Chicago, who was voted most popular chocolate chip cookie by People Magazine.

Cookie Monster dessert, photo c/o Vero NYCAnd I tend to believe them--any dessert that calls for ice cream and whipped cream respectively in 4 scoop quantities--in addition to the cookie--is probably going to be pretty good, in my opinion.

However, if you can’t make it in to Vero to try this bite of chocolate chip cookie heaven, Vero was kind enough to share a recipe to recreate the magic at home--of course, the Carol’s Cookie and Vero’s ambience are not included.

Vero's Cookie Monster

Ingredients

  • 1 plate-sized chocolate chip cookie (preferably from Carol’s Cookies in Chicago)
  • 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • 4 scoops of fresh whipped cream 
  • Drizzle of rasberry coulis
  • Drizzle of chocolate coulis
  • ½ cup of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries

Procedure

Place warm cookie on plate, top with ice cream and whipped cream; drizzle with raspberry and chocolate coulis and garnish with fresh fruit.

The Cookie Monster is $12, and available for dinner every night at both location, ask for it by name at both Vero locations in Midtown and Uptown; for directions and more info, visit veronyc.com.

Friday
Apr232010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweetly Named Towns in the US

Take me to Sweetieville!Life would be a dream, sweetheart, if you lived someplace with a dessert-related name. Here's a baker's dozen of real places in the US with baking-related names:

Also worth noting? There is, in fact, a Bacon, Delaware and a Ham Lake, Minnesota.

Got any other foodie-type town names to add? Leave a comment!

Thursday
Apr222010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Dollhouse Bake Shoppe, Los Angeles

All photos c/o Dollhouse Bake ShoppeEveryone knows that small things are cute. But at Los Angeles-based Dollhouse Bake Shop, not only are the goods adorable, but totally sweet (literally) too--taking form as little ice cream, candied apple, or animal-shaped confections which are--surprise!--filled with cake truffle filling! Here's the story about -- and many pictures from -- CakeSpy's latest online bakery crush.

Dollhouse Bake Shoppe was founded by owner Lindsay Morton in 2009. Soon after applying to grad school, she decided to pursue her dream instead and moved back to her hometown in LA to start a business that brings smiles to faces, and sweetens lives.

Combining her love for sweets with her innate artistic flare, she followed her heart and turned her dream into a reality when Dollhouse Bake Shoppe was open for business. Her vision to create a unique and tasty line of delectable "dollhouse size" desserts has become her signature approach in this vastly growing market. By putting her own twist on her favorite desserts she introduced Dollhouse Bake Shoppe's signature and best selling item, the "Cakelet", and created a chocolate canvas to decorate each hand sculpted piece into an edible work of art.

With a variety of anything but ordinary flavors, Lindsay's endless creativity, and of course, everything bite sized, Dollhouse Bake Shoppe makes the perfect treats to match the theme of any event, from birthdays to weddings, showers, parties, or for those simply craving a little something sweet without the guilt of indulging."

Dollhouse Bake Shoppe baked goods are available by special order / delivery in the LA area; additionally, some (but not all) of the items can be shipped. For more information, visit dollhousebakeshoppe.com.

Thursday
Apr222010

Cream of the Crumb: Crumb Cake Cupcakes at Sugar Mommy Cupcakes, Denville NJ

Friends, I want to share with you what may be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen: the Crumb Cake Cupcake.

This beauty comes from what I consider the Crumb Cake Capitol of the world, New Jersey (Garden State, pshaw!). The crumb cupcake is on the menu at the newly-opened Sugar Mommy Cupcakes in Denville, and is described as "Yellow cake with cinnamon and sugar baked inside. Cream cheese frosting with crumbs on top." Of course, just to avoid any awkwardness later, I am admitting up front that I added the "i love you" motif to the back of the image. 

I learned of Sugar Mommy Cupcakes via trusted NJ Cake Gumshoe Steph (who also sells sweet stuff under the name SassyBelleWares), who unfortunately wasn't able to sample this particular variety, but did have good things to say about the cupcakes in general after her husband surprised her with a few: 

My husband said "this girl makes GOOD cupcakes" and he is not a cupcake lover like me. I tried the red velvet which was moist and I loved the frosting...usually I am not a huge cream cheese frostng fan but this one was more like a buttercream cream cheese. The other one I ate was a chocolate chocolate. I love chocolate bars but for some reason when it comes to cake & frosting I prefer vanilla vanilla. However, this chocolate cake was moist and the chocolate icing was light and fluffy and delicious. I will be going there to try everything else soon!

In the Denville area? Hit them up: Sugar Mommy Cupcakes, 60 Diamond Spring Road, Denville, NJ (Inside Cafe Metro); even if you're not in the area, you can get a virtual sugar rush online at sugarmommycupcakes.com.

Wednesday
Apr212010

Crammed with Graham: Golden Grahams Cookies

Oh, I'm sorry. Are you still eating your cereal with a spoon, in a bowl, like a jerk?

Well, it's time to turn it around--instead of pouring milk on your cereal, you should be dunking it in milk--in cookie form, obvi.

When I came across the recipe for Trix Cookies in Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, I was curious to see how it might work out with other cereals --starting with what I happened to have on hand, Golden Grahams (a cereal which, as I recently learned, is associated with a grant). Turns out, it works just fine, yielding a lightly crisp, spicy cookie which gets a chewiness from the oats. A cookie that combines some of the finest breakfast carbo-loading in one compact cookie form? Count me in.

Here's the recipe.

Golden Grahams Cookies

Makes many cookies

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 cups Golden Grahams

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 (original recipe called for 375, but I found 350 with a slower bake made for softer cookies).
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, and water well.
  3. Blend flour, soda and salt; mix in to the butter-sugar mixture gradually.
  4. Mix in rolled oats and cereal.
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure to leave about an inch and a half around each cookie. Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.
Wednesday
Apr212010

Attacking the Mac: Cupcakes Take Over Paris

People keep saying that macarons are the new cupcake, but could it be that roles are reversed in the city of lights? In this New York Times T Magazine article, writer Alexandra Marshall explores the growing cupcake trend in Paris. 

What do you think? Could cupcakes be the next big thing in Paris?

Wednesday
Apr212010

Cake Byte: Mother's Day Treats at Essential Baking Company, Seattle

Seeking something sweet for mom in Seattle? Here's the newest batch of sweet treats available at Essential Baking. Per an email from their PR company:

The Essential Baking Company says hats off to all our wonderful mothers this Mothers Day with delicious desserts and breads!

Delight Mom on her special day with orange Bavarian cream and chocolate mousse enrobed in dark chocolate ganache on a buttery pecan shortbread cookie. Mom’s Hat gets its finishing flourish from a white chocolate flower and ribbon of marzipan. Available now through June 15.

Also available, Pane Fiore, Italian for bread flower, is two gifts in one just in time for Mother’s Day. It’s edible, as well as decorative, so you can skip the flowers and give Mom a tastier bouquet. This mildly sweet bread has a soft, moist crumb with a hint of vanilla. The dough is hand-formed in a braided design that blossoms into a flower shape, with a sprinkling of rock sugar on top to mimic the flower’s seeds. Available April 21 – May 11

Mom’s Hat and Pane Fiore will be available at select grocery stores in the greater Seattle area and The Essential Bakery Cafés in Wallingford, Madison and the new Georgetown bakery. The Mom’s Hat retails at The Essential Bakery cafes for $5.95 and Pane Fiore at $6.00

For more information, visit essentialbaking.com.

Monday
Apr192010

Sweet Combination: Whoopie Pie Cupcakes, Inspired by Audrey

Whoopie pies are not the next cupcake...or are they?

At the recent CupcakeCamp Seattle event, one cupcake submission (by talented amateur baker Audrey M. of Seattle's Babeland) made my eyes go wider than any other: the whoopie pie cupcake. Here it was: cold, hard proof that both are improved when combined. Yes!

Needless to say it was love at first bite, and I rushed home to try and recreate the magic in my own kitchen. I whipped up a batch of whoopie pie batter (using butter instead of the traditional shortening) and baked about two-thirds of it in cupcake cups, and the rest as regular whoopie pie cookies, and then sandwiched it all together with a generous dab of fluffy frosting.

The conclusion? Whoopie pies and cupcakes are definitely better together.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

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