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Tuesday
Jan262010

Hunka Burnin' Love: La Nina de Chocolate Diablo Cupcakes for Valentine's Day, by Look Cupcake

Looky here: another Seattle Valentine's Day special! This byte of sweetness comes straight from Rhienn at Look Cupcake, a boutique cupcake catering business in Seattle:

As you may have guessed, we get booked up quickly for Valentine's Day. We'd hate to leave any of our loyal followers out in the cold (no sleeping in the doghouse for you!)... so we're giving you first dibs on Valentine's Day orders. Here's the deal:

We're baking up a special batch of our La Nina de Chocolate Diablo cupcakes (Mexican spiced chocolate cake, Kahlua Especial buttercream), complete with custom flaming heart decoration. Your sweetheart will receive a dozen of these hot little numbers and a beautiful card with a message from you, all boxed up with a gorgeous bow and hand delivered right to their door.

And here's the extra sweet part: Only for recipients of this email - we're offering this package for $30. Delivery in the Seattle/Bellevue metro area is included! To receive the special pricing, please call or email to place your order by Friday, 1/29/2010.

Now that sounds totally sweet! You can take advantage of the deal by placing your order--for contact information, visit lookcupcake.com.

Tuesday
Jan262010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Sara Snacker Cookie Company



What happens when a former TV producer switches gears and decides to start producing sweet treats? 

You get spectacular productions of sweetness, that's what happens.

Say hello to Sara Snacker Cookie Company, "a milk and cookies company" run by Sara Leand, who left behind the world of creating and producing shows for the likes of TLC, E!, and Lifetime to start creating get-fat-now treats which meld old-school nostalgia with new-school creativity and awesomeness.

Some of the menu's highlights? 

The Chipn'etzel Cookie is their signature product, a kitchen sink-type cookie which combines many of the best snack foods--pretzels and potato chips--into one delicious cookie. There are variations which include dark and white chocolate drizzles, in case the original isn't rich enough for you.

The CandyPop Cookie is one of those cookies which makes children shiver with joy and dentists quiver with fear: a cookie with lollipop bits baked inside, topped with a gumball center.

Chocolate Dipped Twinkies and Devil Dogs: Want to get fat in an extremely enjoyable way? How 'bout eating one (or three) of these Twinkies enrobed in thick white chocolate or a Devil Dog smothered in deep, dark chocolate? Goodness gracious--somewhere Paula Deen is shedding a tear over these babies.

Homemade versions of classic cookies and candies: Homemade animal crackers (you can actually tell what animals they are!) and Tootsie Rolls that "won't break your teeth"--yes please!

Yup: this is what love looks like.

Where can you get Sara Snacker sweets? Right now there is limited availability in fancy food stores in the NYC area; however, they can ship anywhere in the USA! Here's a link to their online store; for more information, visit sarasnacker.com.

Tuesday
Jan262010

Sweetness Down Under: Get to Know Some Aussie Treats for Australia Day

Happy Australia Day! Or, to those not down under...ah, happy Tuesday?

Geography aside, why don't we all celebrate by getting to know a few popular Australian treats? Here's a triple threat of Aussie treats which all happen to be named after people. And they couldn't be easier to remember: just think of them by their anagram, P.A.L, and know that when or where you may find yourself in Australia, with these three treats you'll always have a friend.

Pavlova: This lovely and light fruit and meringue dessert is named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (1881–1931), famous Russian ballerina; both Australia and New Zealand have claimed to be the places of invention, though it looks good for Australia in my opinion, as it is their national cake and all. One thing is for sure though: the ballerina only shared a "light as air" similarity with the dessert; I've heard it is unlikely she ever partook. Here's a recipe.

 

Anzac Biscuits: OK, so they're not necessarily named after one person, but an army of persons. ANZAC is an acronym for Australia New Zealand Army Corps; according to this site, the crunchy ANZAC biscuit was made by women on the home front and sent across the sea to their soldiers. Originally named "Soliders’ Biscuits" and containing just flour, sugar, milk powder and water, these simple biscuits were made to endure the journey at sea. Now the biscuits are more of a treat with the addition of butter, golden syrup and desiccated coconut. CakeSpy friend Marianne (owner of Let them Eat Cupcakes) shared this recipe.

Lamingtons

Lamingtons: Per Joy of Baking, Lamingtons are very popular in Australia and consist of a small square of white cake (sponge, butter, or pound) that is dipped in a sweet chocolate icing and then rolled in desiccated coconut. I suspect Lord Lamington (Governor of Queensland from 1896 - 190l), their namesake, might be surprised at how popular these cakes have become. As for a recipe--joy upon joy, Australian CakeSpy reader Erin has contributed her favourite (we're spelling Australian style today) recipe

Note: Want more? Here are some links to a few other Australian desserts which may interest you:

Darwin Dessert

Mango Mousse

Vanilla Slice

Wattleseed Creme Caramel

...and of course, if you want some serious deliciousness, look back at Cake Gumshoe Diane's Cakewalk in Sydney!

Monday
Jan252010

Sweets for the Sweet: Sugar Bakery and Cafe Debuts Valentine's Day Treats

Whew! Is it getting sweet in here, or is it just the newest roster of sweet treats available at Seattle's Sugar Bakery + Cafe? These sweet treats are the perfect gift for your Valentine, or a perfect Valentine gift for yourself!

Valentine's Cookie and Truffle Gift Basket: Filled with fresh cookies, truffles, and other sweet stuff. $20. (Baked Fresh to order)

Valentine's Cookie Decorating and Truffle Making Class: Learn how to decorate fancy schmancy cookies and make chocolate truffles. You'll leave with two gift boxes full of goodies to bring to your sweeties. Two classes available: Kids Class: Thursday February 11th, 5:30-7:30pm. Kids under 18 only. Everybody Class: Friday February 12th, 5:30-7:30pm. Everybody welcome. $45. (Includes 3 boxes of goodies plus treats for yourself!)

Valentine's Cupcakes: Cupcakes are the perfect little treat, especially in our cute little boxes. We vary our flavors daily, but we'll always have our famous truffle filled red velvet with cream cheese frosting. $3.35/ea or $36/dozen (Baked Fresh Every Morning)

Sweetheart Cakes: Special cakes made just for two, available in red velvet with cream cheese frosting or chocolate with ganache or vanilla buttercream. $15. (Includes customized inscription)

For more information, visit Sugar Bakery & Cafe • 1014 Madison Street • Seattle, WA 98104; online at sugarbakerycafe.com

Monday
Jan252010

Essential Sweetness: Valentine's Day Specials at Essential Baking Company, Seattle

This year, Seattle's Essential Baking Company urges us all to "forgo the overdone heart-shaped box of chocolates and surprise your loved ones this Valentine's Day with artisan breads, pastries and desserts". Marketing ploy (since the company obviously doesn't offer boxes of chocolates)? Perhaps. But good idea? Definitely. Why? Just take a look at their menu of sweet treats which will be around for a limited time only (the Cara Mia cake from now til February 14; the other desserts through Feb. 23):

Cara Mia: "My Beloved" in Italian, this heart-shaped chocolate bread is kissed with chocolate chunks and cherries embraced by a sweet French bread sprinkled with sugary love.

Valentino Cake Cookie: This hand-held delight consists of two moist chocolate cake cookies spread with a luscious raspberry buttercream frosting and pressed together for a sweet and irresistible treat.

and their line of Parisian Star Desserts:

Chocolate Syrah Seduction: This heart-shaped chocolate cake is enrobed in chocolate ganache blended with a reduction of Chateau St. Michelle Syrah  for a deep, rich flavor, all in a dark chocolate cup decorated with beads of white chocolate mousse.

Cherry Jubilee: Cherries soaked in Kirsch are suspended in a light mascarpone filling, all tucked into a velvety dark chocolate mousse atop a chocolate-almond cake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart: A dark chocolate heart-shaped cup filled with a light peanut butter mousse and chocolate brownie chunks, sprinkled with chopped peanuts and topped with a dark chocolate heart.

Porcupine Chocolate Heart: This chocolate chiffon cake is brushed with Grand Marnier and layered with Belgian dark chocolate mousse, then covered in dark chocolate with white and dark chocolate spikes.

Raspberry Linzer Tart: Raspberry jam fills the buttery shortbread crust and lattice topping made with Northwest hazelnuts.

What are you waiting for? Call in advance to ensure availability or to special order; locations and more information can be found at essentialbaking.com.

Monday
Jan252010

Pony Up: Kentucky Derby Bourbon Cupcake-Pies by Cake Gumshoe Melanie

The Kentucky Derby may not be 'til May, but the chocolate-nut flavors associated with the race are delicious all year long. But unless you want to get sued for using the copyrighted "Derby Pie" moniker, you'd better get creative, like CakeSpy reader Melanie , who recently sent on the recipe (and gorgeous photos) for "Kentucky Derby Bourban Cakes", wherein cupcakes are served inside of a pie shell for ultimate carbohydrate bliss and complete deliciousness. Run, don't walk, to the kitchen for this:

Kentucky Derby Bourbon Cakes

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes Jiffy Pie Crust mix (love it in a pinch!)
  • 1 box butter cake mix or yellow cake mix(and ingredients on box)
  • 1/2 cup Kentucky Bourbon
  • 1 3/4 cups walnuts (some to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips Bourbon Fudge Ganache (recipe follows)

 Procedure

  1. Prepare the Jiffy pie crusts as directed on the box. Chill dough until ready to assemble cupcakes for baking. (Note: I would start the Bourbon Fudge Ganache now, as it needs to cool in the fridge for some chill time!)
  2. Prepare the cake mix as instructed and then mix in bourbon.
  3. Roll the pie dough out to 1/4 inch on a floured surface. Cut (approximately) 5 inch circles out of dough using a large cup or bowl as a guide.
  4. Gently fit the circles into 2 cupcake pans prepared with nonstick spray. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Place approximately 1 tsp. each of walnuts and chocolate chips in the bottom of each cupcake/piecrust.
  6. Spoon approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of cake batter into each cupcake (until it looks 2/3 (plus a little) full. You can’t put as much batter as usual cupcakes since the crust/nuts/chips are in the bottom!
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes (’til they don’t jiggle in the middle!). Remove cupcakes and allow them to cool on a wire rack, and then use a butter knife to loosen and remove each cupcake.

 

Bourbon Fudge Ganache

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
  • 4 teaspoons of Kentucky Bourbon ( or more if you like it strong!!!)

Procedure

  1. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it just starts to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate.
  3. Cover the bowl, and allow the cream to melt the chocolate. Add the bourbon.
  4. Whisk the chocolate until its dark and shiny. Place the icing in the refrigerator until the cupcakes are cooled.
  5. Check frequently, and give it a quick stir. When it gets to a spreadable consistency, pull it out. Otherwise, it will be too firm(like fudge…yummm!). Either spread the ganache on the top of the cupcakes or pipe it with a bag. Sprinkle each cupcake with some walnuts. Then let the race to your belly begin!!!
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.

 

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