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Saturday
Dec192009

Cake Byte: Cake Central Magazine to Launch in March 2010


I don't know about you, but I get totally excited when I hear about something new in the cake community. And a sweet bit of news recently came my way via Leanne, whose delicious cakes I have sampled and who has purchased my artwork--she's part of a new cake publication, Cake Central, which will be publishing their first issue in March of 2010!

Here's the blurb from the Cake Central website:

Cake Makers, Foodies, and Cake Enthusiasts alike have been waiting for a first-class cake decorating magazine and that wait is over. Cake Central’s Glossy Printed Magazine is coming in March and currently taking subscription orders.

The cost of the (monthly) magazine is only $60/year with FREE shipping within the USA.

The pages of Cake Central the Magazine will feature:

  • high quality cake pictures
  • up-and-coming and celebrity cake decorators
  • recipes
  • tutorials
  • product reviews
  • and more for the novice
  • and the professional cake decorator.
  • This premium publication is ideal for anyone who bakes, makes cakes, aspires to make cakes, watches cake decorating shows, or has an interest in beautiful food!


I can't wait too see what they come up with! For more information or to subscribe, visit the Cake Central website.

Saturday
Dec192009

Sweet Art: Sweet Tooth of the Tiger Bake Sale Residency Program

Cupcake artist

Sweet Tooth of the Tiger is at it again, with a feisty new art-meets-sweets idea: The Bake Sale Residency Program! If you are in NYC and want to learn more, there is an upcoming info session; read on for some details about the project and the place and time can be found at the bottom of this posting!

As you may know, the Residency Program is a way for people who like to bake to raise money for a creative project. Need costumes for a performance? Travel funds to attend a conference? Mini DV tapes for a video project? A bake sale held at a highly trafficked art event can help.

Sweet Tooth of the Tiger will be hosting an information session at 303 Grand gallery in Brooklyn on Wednesday, January 13th from 7-9pm. As an interest to participate in the Residency Program grows, this required information session (for all prospective Residents) will be a space for learning about the process of the Residency, asking any questions you may have, as well as mingling with other prospective Residents. Please come out and join us in January! Cookies will be served! RSVP's are requested but not required. Email me to RSVP.

We also can't overlook the need for venues and organizations to sign up to host a bake sale. Without you, the Residency Program would be incomplete! Please consider hosting a bake sale at your next upcoming event. The Residency Program is a great way to support creatives in their effort to sustain their practice, as well as feed your guests if you have little to no budget for refreshments. Please send me an email if you would like to host a bake sale. We'd love to see you at the information session as well!


Info session details:
Bake Sale Residency Information Session
Wednesday, January 13th, 7-9pm, 303 Grand, Brooklyn (map)

For more information, visit the Sweet Tooth of the Tiger website.

Friday
Dec182009

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Holiday Recipes!

Holidays at Trophy Cupcakes
Christmas is just a week away--which begs the question, why don't you have something sweet in your mouth, right now? Here's a batch of sweet ideas to get you baking!

Doughnut stop believing: these doughnut snowmen are an adorable way to justify eating four doughnuts at once!

These s'mores cookies by Lovin in the Oven look ooey, gooey, and pretty perfect (pictured below).

Utziger Haselnuss Leckerli via Petit Atelier Cuisine. Try and say that three times fast. Better yet, don't--just eat them up.

RecipeGirl's chocolate mint filled cookies are a rich (yet refreshing) delight.

Iced Eggnog Cookies by Cookie Madness: yes, yes, yes!

Maple bacon chocolate chip cookies by Food Blogga: she's pretty much covered all the bases here.

Because tiny things are cute: mini gingerbread houses by Not Martha.

Gingerbread Cupcakes on Martha Stewart: you know you want some.

Dulce de leche cashew thumbprints by Peabody. Doesn't the thought just make you shiver with happiness?

Bring on the figgy pudding with this recipe from Dorie Greenspan.

If you're feeling ambitious, why not give this cassata recipe a go?

Gingerbread Mad Men by yours truly: possibly a new classic.

Decidedly NOT gingerbread: a house made of chocolate and bacon to keep Santa fat and happy.
Holiday Baking Ideas!

Friday
Dec182009

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Crumb


Sweet infatuation has hit again: CakeSpy has a bakery crush.

And that crush is called Crumb {a bakery}, and it is (regrettably for this Seattleite) all the way in Atlanta.

I came across this special order bakery via the site You Are What You Eat...or Reheat, in which the writer opens her ode by saying "Crumb {a bakery} may just be the new love of my life". I'm with you, buddy.

The experience starts with their beautifully designed and printed letterpress labels...

...and gets even better once you get to the goods, which consist primarily of gorgeous macarons and cupcakes.

The hardest part is imagining what I'd want to taste first: perhaps the Liz's Lemon cupcake (lemon cake topped with honey-lemon cream cheese frosting)? Or maybe the pistachio macaron with rich, creamy pistachio filling?

Check out Crumb {a bakery} online on their website, their blog, and get instant pleasure with their Twitter updates!

Friday
Dec182009

Batter Chatter: Interview with of Bredenbeck's Bakery, Philadelphia PA

Interview with Karen of Bredenbeck's Bakery, Philadelphia
Karen H. Rohde is the owner of Bredenbeck’s Bakery, a Philadelphia tradition since 1889. Initially opened by a Bavarian immigrant baker, Bredenbeck’s was later turned over to the bakery’s longtime employees, Otto and Walter Haug, Rohde’s grandfather and father. The two owned and operated the bakery until Rohde opened the bakery’s current location almost 27 years ago. So what is life like for someone who so clearly has deep roots in baking? Let's see:


CakeSpy: You spent your childhood living above Bredenbeck’s bread and sweet bakery. When you opened the current Bredenbeck’s, what made you decide to stop baking bread?
Karen Rohde: My dad and grandfather’s bakery was a full line bakery, so they baked both bread and sweets. When I opened in Chestnut Hill, I initially had breads and sweets, but the public taste changed to crustier breads and my ovens couldn’t make that, so I stopped making bread all together.

CS: What was it like working for your grandfather and father?
KR: My father was my mentor. He treated people fairly. He appreciated all the hard work they did for Bredenbeck’s. I continue in the same mind set.


CS: What were Bredenbeck’s Bakery customers like when you were a child? Have they changed over the years? If so, how?
KR: When I was a child, there was a bakery on every block. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore. Customers today thank us for being in business. They see so many small businesses that close because they can’t compete with large chain stores. So, they don’t take us for granted.

CS: What inspired you to continue your grandfather’s and father’s legacy by opening a Bredenbeck’s of your own?
KR: I always wanted to have my own business, whether it was a child day care or something to do with food. I really wanted to open a restaurant. My father suggested I open my own bakery since I spent so much of my life working at his bakery.


CS: You’ve owned this business for almost 27 years. How have the products changed?
KR: Diets have changed. People don’t necessarily indulge they way they used to. Instead of half or whole cakes, I now have individual slices or pieces to cater to those folks.

CS: Do you prefer sweet or salty food?
KR: Salty!

CS: If you were trapped in the bakery and needed to eat baked goods to sustain, what would you dig into first?
KR: Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ll say our custard éclairs.

CS: What’s your favorite time of year for the bakery? Why?
KR: Summer – May, June. That’s when the Ice Cream Parlor half of Bredenbeck’s is open. So, the whole building--Ice Cream and Bakery--are producing delicious teats.


CS: What’s the absolute favorite treat of Philadelphians who come into your shop?
KR: Strawberry shortcake. We’ve made it the same way for 70 years.

CS: What’s the most popular cake flavor among brides/grooms?
KR: Raspberry swirl pound cake. It’s decadent, and a crowd pleaser!

CS: What’s the most unique/crazy cake you’ve ever created?
KR: We created a gigantic cowboy hat cake for a convention at the Spectrum in Center City. It was so huge that it had to be assembled on-site, and on a flatbed---because they had two horses pull it around the main floor!


CS: What makes Bredenbeck’s unique?
KR: We are one of the few bakeries who still invest the time and love to create authentic German cookies each holiday season. Our whole staff is so creative, and you can tell by the way we go all-out to decorate the store and change our product lines for each season. We are so proud of our top-notch customer service. We always, always, always do our best to accommodate our customers. And we refuse to compromise our quality just because prices go up—we use the best ingredients and always bake from scratch.

CS: Baked good trends come and go...are there any desserts of yester-year that you'd love to see re-emerge? Or any that you were happy to see go?
KR: I'd like to bring back our Butterscotch Loaf. The basic recipe is a cinnamon bun roll with nuts that serves 8-10 slices. It was baked in a loaf pan that was coated with cinnamon bun smear. While it was still hot after baking, it was turned out and the loaf was covered with the caramelized smear. Our customers would send these to the solders in Vietnam. I have recently thought about bringing it back, but we are already selling so much comfort food that I'm trying to keep our selection diverse.

Fruit cake is recipe that I put away back in 2000 and will not bring back! I wanted to go into to the new millenium without fruit cake. I never liked it! It costs a lot to make, and it's so notorious for being the "unwanted holiday treat," that it really did not sell very well. Johnny Carson joked that there is only one fruit cake in existence, and that it gets passed around the country!

Check out the bakery in person at 8126 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118 or online at bredenbecks.com.

Wednesday
Dec162009

Cake Quandary: What To Do With Leftover Almond Paste

Delicious Almond Paste!
How many times has this happened to you: a delicious recipe calls for not quite a full can of almond paste, and now you're left with a strange amount, not quite enough to make a full recipe of something, but enough that you feel like you want to use it for something. Is it fated to wither away in your fridge? Not necessarily. Here are several suggestions (from readers and around the internet) for utilizing a small amount of almond paste:

  • Roll it into little balls, the size of your thumb fingernail, then roll in either cinnamon or cocoa for rich, addictive little morsels.
  • Mix it with equal parts of mascarpone and spread on toast or an english muffin.
  • Spread it onto a piece of foil, lightly toast it in an oven or toaster oven. Crumble and sprinkle over the top of an amaretto cocktail with crushed ice.
  • Soften it and swirl into brownies or cupcakes for a light, nutty flavor.
  • Put it on the bottom of an apple pie, just on top of the lower crust. Or do a free-form galette. Yummy heaven. (via chou_in )
  • Dip it in chocolate and eat it whole. (via loveandoliveoil)
  • Use it like marzipan to form into small creatures! (via scifi_girl21 )
  • Add it to pancakes in the morning, either in the batter with a little almond extract or as a topping with a little chocolate.
  • Mix it with chopped almonds and chunky chocolate and put in puff pastry.
  • Add it to any cookie dough recipe-- it would enhance flavor without changing consistency.  (via jenniferkateab )
  • Use it to turn a plain butter cake into an almond cake. Cream the almond paste with the butter (add in small increments) for 3 minutes and then proceed with the recipe as directed. (via lapastrychef )

Wednesday
Dec162009

Cake Byte: CakeSpy Contributions to Serious Eats Featured in O Magazine!

January O Oprah Magazine, Page 32
Watch out, Gayle--you've got some competition. Oprah and CakeSpy are, like, practically BFF!

OK, this might be a slight stretch. However, I am delighted to report that the January issue of O Magazine has a feature on Serious Eats (a site to which I regularly contribute) in which they feature a photo and shout-out to some of my contributions! It may be tiny, but there my name is, right on page 32. Which means, you guessed it, that now I can officially tell everybody that I have been featured in O Magazine.

Next stop, world cake domination.

O Magazine's January issue is on newsstands now!

Wednesday
Dec162009

Christmas Cookie Collection: Chocolate Cream Cheese Graham Cracker Bars

Holiday Bar Cookies
Ah, Christmas Cookie Season, that decadent and delicious time of year when moderation is thrown out the window. Sweet, sweet Christmas cookie season.

And in that spirit of rich decadence, here's a sweet little confection I recently made for the C+H Sugar Holiday recipe spree (full disclosure--they gave me a $20 gift card for ingredients. I felt fine about this as I often use their products anyway!). Dense, rich, and decidedly not low-fat or low-carb, these little morsels fall into the territory of so bad, but so good--and are completely habit-forming.
Preppy holiday bars
Chocolate Cream Cheese Graham Cracker Bars

- makes about 24 small bars -


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used C+H's baker's sugar, which is really quite wonderful--it falls somewhere between confectioners' and granulated sugar in texture)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (pecans would also work nicely I think)
  • About 1 cup chocolate cream cheese frosting (it was leftover from a batch I made from this recipe)--or the frosting of your choice.

Procedure

  1. Prepare the base. In a saucepan, heat butter and sugar until the sugar is completely absorbed in the liquid. Add beaten egg and stir to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the graham cracker crumbs and nuts. Press into a greased and parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan. Pat in firmly and evenly. Let this chill for about 2 hours.
  2. Spread the frosting thickly and evenly on top of the graham cracker base. Let chill until it is firm, and if desired, decorate the top with festive christmas icing (I used Wilton's glitter gel in red and green and their opaque writing icing in white).

 

Wednesday
Dec162009

Oh Nuts: Peppernuts Cookies for Serious Eats

Peppernuts cookies for Serious Eats

Forget old letters and diaries—for me, old recipes are far more interesting. Not only do they teach us about the past, but they also offer the opportunity to share an intimate moment with the bakers of yesteryear.

So when I came across this employee-submitted recipe for Peppernuts (or Pfeffernusse in German), a small nut-shaped cookie in the Wilton Cookie Exchange book, described as being handed down over at least three generations, I immediately knew I wanted to give it a try.
While the first sheet came out crunchy, spicy, and overall pretty tasty, they had one fatal flaw: they were hopelessly unattractive.

Peppernuts cookies for Serious Eats

I decided to divide the remaining dough by making half of the cookies in the traditional way (by scattering bits of dough on the sheet and baking lumpy little cookies) and half by carefully shaping the cookies into rounds.

Though both versions tasted the same, the prettier ones disappeared faster.

You can check out the entire post and recipe at Serious Eats.

Tuesday
Dec152009

Sweet Art: Cuppie Has a Snack

Oh, Cuppie...
Oh, Cuppie. Your cuteness makes us forgive much of your mischief, but you may have gone too far this time. Cuppie, for the love of blog, what have you done?

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