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Wednesday
Jun022010

Put the Lime in the Coconut: Cupcake Royale Debuts Toasted Coconut Lime Cupcakes for June!

Goodbye forever, May 2010! Hello June, and hello to Cupcake Royale's new flavor of the month: Toasted Coconut Lime. As they put it:

Yeah, we did it. We put the lime in the coconut and baked it all up. Moist coconut cake gets a tart and tangy swirl of real lime buttercream. We finish it off with toasted coconut for a truly tasty tropical treat!

And knowing that June is a big month for dads and grads, they kindly offer some life-lesson cupcake tips for grads:

 

1.  If you are giving a speech at your graduation, hide a cupcake under someone's chair. At some point, that person will find the cupcake and begin cheering wildly. Hopefully this happens either during or immediately after your speech.

2. If you are still a little miffed about a certain bad grade, give that instructor a cupcake...better yet, a 2-pack! They won't change your grade, but at least they'll know that deep down, you're really a swell kid after all.

3. If your parents are still speaking to you after all the senseless things you've done and all their money you've spent over the past four years, give them cupcakes. This one really goes without saying, whether you are graduating from college or kindergarten.

4. If you are throwing a graduation party, going to a graduation party, or just like graduation parties, order tons of cupcakes from Cupcake Royale. Literally, TONS.

5. Finally, you're graduating! Give yourself a cupcake already, and congratulations from Cupcake Royale! We believe the children are our future, and we believe those children should eat cupcakes.

The Toasted Coconut Lime cupcake will be available for the entire month of June at all four locations; for more information, visit cupcakeroyale.com.

 

Tuesday
Jun012010

Batter Chatter: Interview with Kimm Moore, Pastry Chef at Spitfire Grill, Seattle

When I attended CupcakeCamp Seattle a couple of months ago, I encountered a sweet surprise: several creative cupcake entries from an unexpected source: Kimm Moore, the pastry chef at Spitfire Grill. Why such a surprise? Well, for one thing, I didn't even know that they had a pastry chef--after all, it's a sports bar! Not exactly a place that you'd expect delicious pastries. But these were very tasty cakes, friends. I simply had to learn more--here's a sweet interview with Kimm!

CakeSpy: Tell me how you got involved in the pastry arts.

Kimm Moore: I have been cooking and baking professionally for about 5 years now. Growing up, I knew I wanted to career that is active, creative, fun, precise, and help people look at food differently. I love the pastry arts because it lets me be creative with food/desserts.

CS: How did you become the pastry chef at the Spitfire Grill, which identifies as "a gathering space for sports"?

KM: I have been working, at Spitfire - Microsoft main campus location, for almost one year. Yes, we do identify ourselves as a "casual sports bar" but we do much more. We hold private parties, banquets for morale events, inside and outside catering events, and dessert banquets. I am the pastry chef, but also a line cook. I started as a line cook, then showed my bosses all the pastry work in my past. I wanted to help Spitfire grow, pastry-wise.

CS: What kind of desserts can be found on your menu?

KM: From a basic brownie sundae to my homemade pound cake bread pudding. I also do banquet dessert items, which can include mini cupcakes, lemon tarts, caramel tarts, and chocolate rum mousse cups. We do receive orders for special items, which I am happy to make.

CS: Do you have a lot of creative license in the kitchen, to design new desserts?

KM: To an extent. There are "set" items on the menu, which regular people like to see, but I love to get creative with banquet dessert items.

CS: At CupcakeCamp Seattle, you brought an amazingly creative roster of cupcakes to the event. Any chance we could get any of those at your work?

KM: Yes! I love making and creating new cupcakes also. If someone wants a special request cupcake, I am sure to do it!

CS: What is your favorite dessert to make?

KM: As simple as it sounds, I love to make cookies. They are a sweet item everyone loves and has favorite. You can get very creative and artistic with cookies...or just make a simple batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Also, there is some "science" to different mixing methods, for cookies, which I love.

CS: What is your favorite dessert to eat?

KM: There is something child-like about eating a good quality ice-cream, or gelato, in a waffle cone. Frozen desserts are in a world of their own, and I tend to favor those. I have a weakness for semi-freddos.

CS: Pie and cake are alone in a dark alley with switchblades. Who's going to come out the victor in this battle?

KM: Pie and cake are similar to cupcakes, because all have a "home-like" appeal to the masses. I believe pie will come out as a winner. Pie tends to be "lighter" versus cake. I like what High 5 Pie is doing around Seattle, bring more people aware of "good" pie. I love baking pie, too. I went to a National Pie Baking Contest, in Kissimee, Florida, and has a blast meeting with fellow pie bakers from across the country.

CS: If I were to ask something obnoxious like "do you see any emerging trends in the world of pastry?" what would you have to say?

KM: Honestly I see: beer in desserts, small bite banquet desserts, and healthy, especially gluten-free and vegan, desserts/baked goods.

CS: What is one of your proudest baking moments?

KM: When I was a bread baker, for COBS BREAD, our bakery's Country Grain bread placed 1st in a bread baking contest in Canada. I felt like waking up at 2 am everyday, for work, FINALLY paid off! I also, felt very proud at Cupcake Camp and meeting fellow cupcake bakers and lovers. I always feel happy and confident when someone says they love my work! What are some of your ultimate goals as a baker? As a baker, I want to change how people look at pastry items and how good ingredients equals a better product. You do not need to buy prepackaged cookies or take 'n' bake cookie dough, you can make your own cookies with good ingredients. Some people tend to "skimp" on baking ingredients which makes a less quality product. I also want people to eat better, healthier baked goods. I love baking healthy, gluten-free, and vegan items. I give them to people to taste, and they say "Wow! Can't even taste a difference!"

You can taste Kimm's desserts at The Spitfire Grill!

Tuesday
Jun012010

Biscuit Time: Easy Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy

Ever since I heard that it was one of Dolly Parton's favorite things to eat, I've been obsessed with the very idea of biscuits and chocolate gravy. So when I recently made Biscuits with Sugar Butter from the new Rosanna Bowles Cookbook , I took advantage of the moment and saved a few biscuits so that I could try this sweet dish for myself.

Although there are plenty of recipes out there for chocolate gravy (isn't life wonderful?), I decided to go the easy route and used the bittersweet chocolate topping from Sassy Sauces. When lightly heated and generously poured on top of the biscuits in a viscous, chocolatey mess, it might not have made for a beautiful dish to serve, but it sure was delicious. I'm sure that the hot fudge sauce of your choosing would work beautifully as well, if you're not inclined to make the gravy yourself.

For the Paula Deen version of this dish, you can find a recipe here; for my version, combine the biscuit recipe from this posting with a big ol' jar of warm bittersweet chocolate sauce by Sassy Sauces (it's tasty), or a generous heaping of your favorite (preferably very thick) hot fudge sauce. Top with some shredded coconut or sprinkles if you're feeling festive.

Monday
May312010

Hip to Be Square: Square Cupcakes at Columbia City Bakery, Seattle

Like, OMG! A square cupcake!

Wait, wait. Before you accuse me of being too easily impressed, allow me to assure you that this cake, from Seattle's famous Columbia City Bakery, has more going for it than just an unexpected shape: it's also a deliciously decadent and dense carrot cake. Proving that sometimes subtle sweetness is all you need, this cake derives much of its flavor and sweetness from the natural flavor of the carrots, which are then made even better when paired with a rich, buttery, cream cheesy frosting piped into a cute nubbly texture. Add a few nuts on top for crunch, and you've got yourself a winner.

It's so hip to be square, when you're a cupcake.

Square cupcakes (!), available at Columbia City Bakery, 4865 Rainier Ave S., Seattle; online here.

Monday
May312010

Breakfast of Champions: Biscuits and Sugar Butter from Coming Home by Rosanna Bowles

With her book Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Family Traditions, author Rosanna Bowles (who, in addition to writing books, also owns a dishware empire--and yes, that's her real name) has a mission: to bring people together through real, live, human connection--by establishing year-round traditions, many of them featuring delicious food.

And the first tradition I'm ready to embrace? Biscuits with Sugar Butter.

As the recipe intro states,

This recipe has its origins in the pioneer era and has been handed down through four generations in my family. My mother's classic biscuit is very much like the version that is eaten widely throughout the South. I believe that the sugar butter may come from Virginia, where my great-grandparents settled after emigrating from Wales. Like many truly great recipes, this is one that has survived many generations and carries with it the love with which the food is made.

And after preparing it for breakfast, I can firmly attest that these lightly salty biscuits smothered in sweet, praline-y butter is the type of stuff that glues families together, makes people fall in love, and makes bellies very happy. Ready to taste the love? Here's the recipe.

Pat's Biscuits and Sugar Butter

Adapted from Coming Home by Rosanna Bowles

Ingredients

For the biscuits

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature, plus three tablespoons melted butter (for glazing the biscuits)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
  • pats of butter, for serving (in case the sugar butter isn't enough)

 For the sugar butter

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (more if necessary, to your desired consistency)

 Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut in the room temperature butter with two forks (pie crust style!)--or go ahead and do this with a food processor if you've got one, mixing until the mixture is about the consistency of cornmeal. 
  3. Add 1/2 cup milk and mix (or pulse) until combined. Add more milk if needed until the dough has reached a consistency where you can form it into a large, soft ball (it will be sticky; handle with floured hands on a floured surface).
  4. Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface for 30 seconds--about 10 folds. The dough should be fairly moist and light--overworking will make the biscuits tougher (though still pretty tasty!).
  5. Form a ball with the dough, and then roll it out into a half-inch sheet on your floured surface using a well floured rolling pin. Using a biscuit cutter, larger cookie cutter, or a mid-sized drinking glass, cut into rounds or shapes. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter, because I, you know, love biscuits.
  6. Put the biscuits on your prepared sheet. Brush the tops with the melted butter and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, but keep the biscuits on the baking sheet until the sugar butter is ready--this will keep them warm. Nom.
  7. Prepare the sugar butter. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the brown sugar and cook until the mixture bubbles. Add the cream, and turn down the heat to keep the cream just below a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes on low heat, ur until the sugar is dissolved, the mixture has started to reduce and thicken, and the flavors are working for you (you'll have to taste it for this part. Be brave.)
  8. Add a bit more cream if the sugar butter is too thick for your liking and stir to combine.
  9. Get ready to serve. Put a pat of butter on top of your biscuits, and ladle a big ol' spoonful of the sugar butter on top. Enjoy.

Sunday
May302010

Sweet Links: A Batch of Sweet Memorial Day Recipe Ideas

Three! Day! Weekend!

...and I'll bet you haven't even thought about what you'll bring to the barbecue tomorrow. Well, here's a sweet batch of recipes and ideas perfectly suited for outdoor eating!

Chocolate Cakes grilled in orange shells, a CakeSpy entry on Serious Eats!

Hot dogs and hamburgers--made completely from sweets! 

...of course, along those lines, burger macarons would also be cute.

Pop Rocks-infused cookies are bound to bring fireworks to any affair.

Nobody likes getting their hands dirty, so why not serve up some deep fried cupcakes on a stick?

S'mores Pie, as featured in the NY Times T Magazine.

...or, even easier, how 'bout some S'moreos?

Of course, my offering tomorrow will be a revamped version of the Cookie Cake Pie, and let's just say I'm a highly anticipated guest.

Sunday
May302010

Cake Byte: Sweet New Stationery at CakeSpy Shop!

What's sweet at the CakeSpy retail shop this week? Here's a peek at some of the sweetest new stock!

New cards by The Beautiful ProjectDid you know that CakeSpy's Canadian food blog buddy Everybody Likes Sandwiches is also a stationery designer? Well, her designs are just as great as her blog and I'm pleased to have several of her card designs in the store, including the one shown above;

and this sweet veg-friendly scene of soy milk n' cookies;

some sweet Happy Birthday cupcakes;

and some snarky sweetness by way of the statement "even your farts are cute" paired with two gassy little bunnies!

The cards are available online and in the store, 415 East Pine Street, Seattle WA 98122; Tue-Sun, 12-7 p.m.

Saturday
May292010

Word on the Sweet: Street Treats, a new Mobile Bakery in Seattle

So. I've never jumped into a cab and said "follow that vehicle!".

But the moment may be coming, now that Street Treats, the newest addition to Seattle's mobile food cart network, is just about to launch (as soon as next week, pending inspections!). Because wherever they are, I want to be. (OK, maybe it won't be necessary: they'll have a set schedule, so stalking them will be far easier, if less dramatic).

You see, Diane, the self-taught baker behind the sweets--er, scenes--happened to drop by my store the other day with a platter full of awesome.

And after enlisting some brave friends--including a cast of writers and foodies including writers from Mango Power Girl, Absinthe & Oranges, and the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog to aid in the sampling of said treats, I can say with certainty that the reactions are just as sweet as the treats.

Two of the unanimous favorites featured lime:

The bar cookies with a brown sugary crust, a healthy dollop of lime curd, and a fat topping of coconut and crumb;

and the lime-poppyseed cookies, which were bright and dazzlingly buttery, and a welcome respite from the more expected lemon-poppyseed combo;

and not far behind was this weighty, oh-please-don't-let-it-end cookie, which featured white chocolate chunks and a white chocolate-orange infused filling;

and this carmelita, which satisfies sweet, salty, chocolatey, and buttery cravings...all at once. (pictured top)

The standouts were ably backed by an assortment of the usual suspects, including blondies, chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter, and molasses cookies, as well as a moist, dense carrot cake cookie sandwich with a sweet, equally dense cream cheese filling.

Oh, and they'll also be featuring treats made by other local heroes like High 5 Pie and Half Pint Ice Cream!

Find out more at streettreatswa.com; keep updated on the daily goings-on by following them on Twitter!

Saturday
May292010

Cake Byte: Sweet Red Velvet Cupcake Tasting and Newlywed Kitchen Book Signing at CakeSpy Shop!

Lorna Yee says her Red Velvet is more delicious than this one. See for yourself!Red Velvet Cake is delicious--this is a fact. But who makes the most delicious variety of this sweet Southern treat?

As a devotee of the big-as-your-head variety served at Seattle's Kingfish Cafe, I was intrigued when pint-sized foodie Lorna Yee made the bold claim that her recipe (featured in her and Ali Basye's new book, The Newlywed Kitchen: Delicious Meals for Couples Cooking Together ) was even better.

Why not see for yourself? Lorna is going to be making a batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes which will be served at CakeSpy Shop next Sunday--and she'll be around to sell and sign her great new book . And there will be a professional photographer on site--Jackie Baisa, who will have the title of Official Red Velvet Paparazzi for the day.

As for the book? Yes, it's designed for newlyweds, full of recipes and stories to share with your plus-one. But you know what? Even if you're not a newlywed, you'll probably like the way that they eat--the book includes recipes for the Red Velvet cake you'll be tasting, as well as other delicious savories and sweets such as these Chocolate Mudslide Cookies.

Why not join us and eat some cake?

Here are the details:

Red Velvet Cupcakes and Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook signing, featuring Lorna Yee and Jackie Baisa

  • Date and time: Sunday, June 6, 12 p.m. til the cupcakes are gone and you've spent all your money on cookbooks and other cool CakeSpy stuff
  • Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street (near Summit), Capitol Hill, Seattle
  • Open to the public! 
Saturday
May292010

CakeSpy Undercover: Love At First Bite, Berkeley CA

Love at first site? Pshaw. It's all about Love at First Bite, and you'll find it in Berkeley, CA, where there is a bakery which bears said name. Don't you kind of love it already?

Well, Cake Gumshoe Katie recently went and bravely sampled several mini cupcakes, in flavors such as matcha, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, lemon and red velvet. Of course, this is just a small sampling of the delicious flavors available; find the full assortment here.

So what tasted best? According to Katie, "I gave highest props to matcha, lemon and red velvet--the matcha was divine. The lemon frosting was unreal. The red velvet was moist and perfect."

And of course, it doesn't hurt that they also showcase another Berkeley superstar, Peet's Coffee. (CakeSpy Note: Peet's is like, my favorite coffee in the world!)

But to seal the deal of this sweet review? "I wish I could have tried some of the others like pumpkin bliss or bunny love."

Final word? When a bakery keeps you wanting more, it's a good thing!

Total sweetness is yours at Love At First Bite, 1510 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA 94709
(510) 848-5727; online at
loveatfirstbitebakery.com.

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