Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured:

 

How a rainbow cake is really made
Unicorn Love: the Eating Disorder Recovery Blog

 

 Buy my brilliant books!

Buy my new book!

Buy my first book, too! 

CakeSpy Online Retail!

 

Archives
Gallery

Fantastic appliance for cake making on DHgate.com

everyrecipe.co.nz

Craftsy Writer
Saturday
Feb062010

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler: New Orleans King Cake from Sucre

So, recently I was contacted by Sucré (say it: soo-kray), a bakery in New Orleans, inquiring if I'd like them to send me a sample of their king cake. They assured me it was one of the best.

It's ok if you're jealous. This is really kind of an awesome thing to have someone offer.

Needless to say, there wasn't a type point-size large enough on my email to fully convey the powerful "YES" I wanted to send back. But they must have gotten the idea, because a few days later, this was on my doorstep.

(Olive the pug was keenly interested in this parcel.)

There was a pretty box inside...

And then within that...

Behold, the Sucré King Cake. A ring of twisted, buttery dough sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and filled with a whipped cream cheese filling. 

And it sparkles.

Really, I'm not sure if the pictures quite convey it, but this is an exceedingly lovely cake to look at.

And it tastes just as gorgeous as it looks. 

The cake itself has a texture like a cross between brioche and croissant, simultaneously light and rich, and redolent with buttery flavor. The cream cheese filling infuses each bite with a sweet, dense richness which adds a smooth contrast to the buttery flakiness of the exterior. It's all beautifully topped with a layer of thin confectioners' sugar icing which adds just a bit more sweetness and balances out the slight savoriness of the cream cheese filling. One taster said if anything he would have enjoyed a slightly thicker layer of icing, but it's not like he left any of his slice uneaten.

While a great teatime cake, I found it tasted best for breakfast--kind of like a fancy, sparkly danish. It pairs beautifully with a dark, strong coffee.

Now, because I know that receiving something for free can affect one's opinion, I purposefully did not look at the price of the cake and independently polled tasters as to how much they would pay for such a confection before looking up the actual cost. People estimated anywhere from $40  to $60 including shipping, which makes it all the more delightful to say that if you buy a Sucré king cake, it costs only $19.95 plus $9.95 shipping in the US. Honestly, I think that's a pretty great value! Of course, once you get on their site, escaping without purchasing some gorgeous macarons (including Mardi Gras-themed ones! Pictured below), chocolates or confections in addition to your King Cake may prove difficult.

Final word? The Sucré King Cake gets an A+ from CakeSpy. Vive le Roi!

King Cakes and other confections by Sucré can be purchased online at shopsucre.com. If you're in New Orleans, aren't you lucky, because you can experience the magic in person, at their retail shop, at 3025 Magazine Streeet, New Orleans, LA 70115.

Saturday
Feb062010

Sweet Tarts: Homemade Pop Tarts Recipe a la Peabody

Oh, Pop Tarts. No matter what the makers of Toaster Strudel may say, I'd never hoard you uneaten in my locker.

After having made a batch of Avatar-inspired pop tarts for my most recent Serious Eats post, from which I adapted a recipe for homemade pop tarts on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, I was naturally also tempted to make a batch in the more traditional pop tart format.

Made using an all-butter crust (Peabody's called for part shortening, but lacking shortening I went the all-butter route), these are a bit flakier and less soft than the pop tarts I remember, but they've got a leg up in the delicious department--and who wouldn't be delighted to choose their own Pop Tart flavorings? (isn't that every child's--and some adults'--dream?)

The sky's the limit with these babies--you could fill them with jam and top them with a thin icing with sprinkles for the traditional look and feel of the pop tart--or you could go straight for the fatty jugular as I did with half my batch, filling them with decadent dark chocolate and topping them with peanut butter icing (photo to come). You're welcome.

Homemade Pop Tarts

Makes 6-8 tarts, maybe even more, depending on size; adapted from wonderful, wonderful Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

For the crust
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

For the filling

Jam, about 1 heaping teaspoonful per pastry (your choice of flavor; I used blueberry)

For the icing

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • heavy cream, to thin (you could use milk...but I like cream)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set to the side.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and blend with a fork, pastry cutter, or your impeccably clean hands. Blend until the mixture is fairly coarse. Add the water, bit by bit, gently mixing the dough after each addition, until the dough is cohesive enough to form a ball.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out rectangles approximately the size of index cards (3x5 inches), or smaller if you prefer a more modest portion (I didn't). Make sure you have an even number of cutouts. I think that mine might have been a little thicker than 1/8 an inch, but I ended up with 12 rectangles (for 6 pastries).
  4. On half of the rectangles, place a small spoonful of the jam of your choice in the center. You don't want it to be too thick or the top crust will mound on top of it.
  5. Place the remaining rectangles of dough on top of the ones with jam. Crimp all four edges by hand or with a fork to ensure that your filling won't ooze out. I also poked the top of each with a fork, to vent them.
  6. Place the tarts on your prepared baking sheet, and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until light golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and let them cool completely.
  7. While the tarts cool, prepare your icing; make sure it is fairly thin but not so thin that it will just drip off. Once the pop tarts are cool, drizzle it on top. Garnish with sprinkles.
Friday
Feb052010

Pop Culture Meets Pop Tart: Avatarts for Serious Eats

Regardless of your thoughts about the actual film, one thing's certain about Avatar: it's a long movie, and there's no way you'll survive it without a snack (or four).

But why settle for butter-flavored popcorn or rubbery Velveeta-topped nachos when you could be munching on something far more delicious?

And so I present the Avatart: a sweet treat wherein pop culture and Pop Tart collide sweetly, in a pocket-sized morsel perfect for smuggling into the theater and decked out in full movie regalia. My recipe is adapted from a homemade recipe care of the lovely and amazing Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

Check out the full entry and recipe here--part of the The Serious Eats' Movie Awards Season Recipe Series is brought to you by Hyundai

Friday
Feb052010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Recipes from Fellow Foodbuzz Kelly Ripa Event Attendees!

Dudes! So as you know, on Monday I am heading over to NYC to be part of an event with Kelly Ripa, Electrolux and Foodbuzz. Booyea!

I will be accompanied by 14 other talented people with foodie websites, and it seemed appropriate for this week's Friday Links (it's a baker's dozen plus one!) to introduce my cake-lovin' blogger buddies-to-be by sharing a delicious dessert recipe link from each of their sites!

Like, OMG. Wonton Pockets with cardamom crema pasticcera, chocolate and cajeta/dulce de leche. Did you just fall in love with Salty Seattle, too? 

What's easier than pie, but equally delicious? Easy peach cobbler from In Erika's Kitchen! (read the interview she did with me too!)

I can't decide on just one recipe from Nobody Puts Cupcake in a Corner's Iron Cupcake!

This cake will get you all hot and bothered: hot chocolate layer cake from Daydreamer Desserts.

Spain in Iowa will tempt you with this comforting and delicious-looking arroz con leche.

Pie or cake? Why decide: RhodeyGirl Tests has a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Cake.

Everyone knows muffins are just cake in disguise--and Carrots N Cake has a recipe for chocolate chip olive oil ones.

Ever think that pecan pie just wasn't rich or decadent enough? Evil Shenanigans has got your back with a recipe for chocolate chip pecan pie.

Caramel macchiato shortbread thumbprints, via The Cooking Photographer. Need I say more?

On Megan's Munchies, these chocolate chippy cakes may be gluten free and vegan, but there's no lack of flavor.

Cannoli Cereal? I like the way you eat breakfast, Graduate Meghann.

You may not know this, but Pecan Tassies are Jimmy Carter's favorite! Still, I like Smoky Mountain Cafe's version better.

Nutella Oatmeal Cookies? Screw you, raisins! These come from My Kitchen Addiction.

Key. Lime. Squares. Thank you, Bake at 350!

Thursday
Feb042010

Beet It: Beet Mash Chocolate Cupcakes with Beet Frosting Recipe

Photo credit: Bobby Marro Photography

Let's face it: beets are probably not going to be the first food you think of as an aphrodisiac. But maybe they should be--as the kind folks at Del Monte were more than happy to share with me, they are rich in boron, which is thought to "get the love juices flowing" (well, doesn't that beet all?)--and per Wikipedia,

Since Roman times, beetroot juice has been considered an aphrodisiac. The juice is a rich source of boron, which plays an important role in the production of human sex hormones. Field Marshal Montgomery is reputed to have exhorted his troops to 'take favours in the beetroot fields', a euphemism for visiting prostitutes.

Who knew, right?

But even sweeter than the love that these jewel-toned nuggets of natural goodness inspire are these delicious cupcakes--a recipe shared with me by Del Monte from Dave Lieberman:

Beet Mash Chocolate Cupcakes with Beet Frosting

Recipe care of Dave Lieberman, campaign spokesperson for the Del Monte “Value without Sacrifice,” Chef and Author of The 10 Things You Need To Eat

- Makes 12-15 cupcakes -

Ingredients For the cupcakes

  • One 14.5 oz. can sliced Beets, drained (Dave suggests Del Monte)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for the Frosting

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • Approx. ½ a can of sliced beets, drained (once again, you guessed it, Del Monte is suggested)
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar

Procedure

  1. For Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a small bowl, mash the drained can of beets finely with a potato masher and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, and water. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in the mashed beets and mix well.
  4. Pour the batter into greased cupcake tins. Bake about 15-20 minutes, until set but moist. (Or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean)
  5. Make the Icing: Mash the ½ can of beets finely with a potato masher. Melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan and add mashed beets. Simmer on very low heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cream the second stick of butter with a mixer in a bowl. Mix in the melted butter and beet mixture until fully incorporated. Gradually beat in the confectioners sugar.
  6. Frost the cooled cakes liberally with beet frosting.
Thursday
Feb042010

Batter Chatter: Interview with Katy Gunderson of The Yellow Bowl Bakery, Indiana

Pop quiz: you're in Lafayette, Indiana. Where do you get a sweet fix?

Answer: The Yellow Bowl Bakery, the source in the area for cakes, cupcakes, bars, brownies and cookies. One glance at their menu--which ranges from the expected cake flavors to some that might warrant a double take (Un-Cola Cake or  Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, anyone?) will probably convince you of their intense awesomeness, but if not, here's an interview to fill you in on the sweetness behind the cakes, and an insider's view to a day in the life of the bakers, including not only their sweet stories, but some of the sweet causes that keep them energized:

CakeSpy: How did you decide on the name The Yellow Bowl?

The Yellow Bowl / Katy Gunderson: When more people started to hear about my cakes and I began to make them for people outside of my friends and family I decided I needed a name. I was still in the experimental phase with the recipes that I was using. So I was baking nonstop in my tiny little kitchen. I was trying desperately to come up with a name that spoke to the way I feel about baking. One rainy afternoon I was making a fresh batch of blueberry muffins when it hit me. I was just starting to gently stir the wet and dry ingredients together in my only bowl, the big Pyrex yellow bowl that had belonged to my mom and to my grandmother before her. Voila! The Yellow Bowl Bakery was born, out of a rainy day and blueberry muffins.

CS: Katy, you mention that your entry into the world of baking was at home, with your mom and grandma. Tell me about one of the sweets you have fond memories of baking.

YB: When I think of my mom’s cooking I am snapped back to waking up on Saturday morning to my mom’s fresh blueberry pancakes. Pancakes made with love, real maple syrup, and blueberries picked from my Grammy’s blueberry bushes. My mom is a self proclaimed foodie so as long as I can remember I have been cooking with my mom. She made everything we ate as a kid, bread, granola, applesauce, even our mayonnaise! My mom taught me how to crack an egg, measure flour, and follow a recipe, all of these things I might add took place in that yellow bowl. My Grammy taught me how to toast a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (amazing by the way if you have never tried it) how to bake cookies and brownies. During the brownie and cookie process I also learned about salmonella and that a good way to freak her out was to eat raw batter or cookie dough. I’m not going to lie sometime I did it on purpose just to see if she was paying attention. My mom and my Grammy never stifled my creative spirit. In fact I remember one rainy day I decided I was going to make peanut butter with Grammy antique nut grinder. I succeeded in making a huge mess but she let me try it anyway. My favorite thing to make was Christmas cookies because that was when the three of us all baked together. Three generations of women making cookies in that yellow Pyrex bowl.

CS: Molly, you are formally trained in pastry arts. Do you feel as if your formal education has changed the way you look at home baking?

YB: Truthfully my views of home baking have not changed drastically since I attended culinary school. I always used baking at home to test out different recipes, techniques, and flavor combinations on my family and friends. I do have a much greater respect for all home bakers because they do what I do but usually without a lot of the equipment I have readily available.

CS: Working at a bakery, how exactly is it that you are not obese? I've seen pictures. You're both quite svelte.

YB: If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that! Coming from a foodie background I came to have a very special relationship with food. I love to cook, not just bake my boy friend Mark and I rarely eat out. We can often be found coming up with new and fun things for dinner in his kitchen, he is going to kill me for this but he does one heck of an Emeril Lagassee impression so I think I also burn a lot of calories laughing when he is cooking. That being said it’s not all laughing that keeps me fit, I love to work out. I can be found at the gym every morning at 5:30 AM before I go into work. Molly is still in college and she walks to class a lot also when you spend all that time around sweets we get to craving salads quite often. Who would have ever thought I would have a craving for broccoli!

CS: If all of your cupcake flavors had to duke it out in a dark alley, which one do you think would be the last cake standing?

YB: We have a flavor that is called the “Irish Car Bomb”. It is named after a drink that is very popular at a local pub called Nine Irish Brothers. The cup cake created quite a stir when I first opened some people were a little turned off by the name. I don’t know if nine Irish Brothers has ever had any issue with the drink but I guess for some the name was a little too hard core for a cupcake. The cake packs quite a punch with a special beer in the chocolate cake and our Baileys flavored butter cream it will knock your socks off. So I’m guessing it could knock the frosting off our other cakes!

CS: I'm intrigued by this "un-cola" cupcake flavor I see on your menu. Can you tell me more?

YB: The “un-cola” was born of an over abundance of soda that we had in the store one week. We were trying out new cupcake flavors and Dr. Pepper, and Root Beer Float have become big sellers during the summer. We had bombarded everyone with chocolate for a week and decided we needed a break. We made cupcakes with a lemon lime soda, and used a large piping tip to make bubbles of butter cream in lemon lime flavors. I had remembered 7-up being called the un-cola, thus the “un-cola” cupcake was born.

CS: Riddle me this: say you're stranded on a desert island, and you've got to decide on one item from your menu to take with you. What's it gonna be?

YB Katy: Hands down I would take our Margarita cupcake. If I was going to be “trapped” on a desert island what better cupcake to have!

YB Molly: If I could bring only one cupcake I would bring our Sweet Potato cupcake. The rich spicy flavor would bring me back to an Indiana fall day, where even if I was on some beach I could pretend it was a little cooler. The cupcake is topped with marshmallow and caramel sauce and this cupcake would definitely lift my sprits if I was deserted on an island.

CS: In addition to baking sweets for your retail shop and community, you're also giving back through the Cooking with the Wounded program. Can you tell me more about the program--what you're doing and who it benefits?

YB: I was contacted by a woman who wanted to send desserts to her brother and sister in law in Iraq about six months ago. I tried to find a way to do this but with the distance and security I could not figure a way that we could keep the desserts safe. A few months after I had to side line the project I found an article in our local paper about a man named Blake Powers who was traveling to Germany to cook a steak dinner for the troops at Landstuhl. On a whim I contacted him and he was in my bakery the next day. The marriage of Cooking with the Wounded and The Yellow Bowl Bakery or Bakers without Borders, as we have been lovingly nicknamed, was solidified on a trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in DC. Here the bakery made southern style desserts to complement a BBQ prepared by Military blogger “Concrete Bob”. We fed over 200 wounded Military men, women, and their families at Mologne House. Blake has been kind enough to adopt me as a permanent part of the program. The ultimate goal for the program is to help those leaving military service, most especially the wounded, who are interested in a career in the food and beverage industry get the knowledge and training they need. It is also hoped that teams of chefs can be sent to Afghanistan, Iraq, and other locations to cook for the troops there. More information on the program can be found here and on the Yellow Bowl site.

CS: What's next for The Yellow Bowl?

YB: I would love to say that I have a plan for what I would like to see happen with the bakery in the next year but sometimes I get the feeling that the bakery is much bigger than just me. It has come to mean so much to so many different people not just in Lafayette but around the world so I think a better question would be what does The Yellow Bowl Bakery have next for me. I can honestly say that I can’t wait to find out!

The Yellow Bowl Bakery is located at 918 Main Street, Lafayette, IN,  (765) 588-6212; online at theyellowbowl.com.

Thursday
Feb042010

Cake Byte: Semla Available at Seattle's Svedala Bakery

Semla from Svedala

What a happy note to receive in the mail today from CakeSpy buddy Ann, who wrote to say

I just leaned that semlor (which is the plural of semla, I'm told) are available now from Svedala Bakery (yay!).  You have to order them, and they don't ship the semlor because they wouldn't last (what with the whipped cream and all).

My friends and I are plotting our new annual tradition of stuffing ourselves with as many semlor as possible while they're available, so this is good news.

Indeed Ann is right, this is good news. In case you missed the feature on the sweet Swedish specialty last year, basically this is like heaven on a plate, a cardomom-spiced yeast-raised wheat bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. Per Sweden.se,

 

The plump, cream-filled buns traditionally eaten on Tuesdays begin appearing in shops as early as January 1. Fat Tuesday would be more aptly named fat January, February and March.

And if you're in Seattle, they're available through Svedala Bakery! They no longer have a retail storefront, but you can special-order semla for pickup by calling 206.890.9774 or visiting their website, svedalabakery.com.

Wednesday
Feb032010

Holy Guacamole: Chocolate Avocado Cake With Avocado Buttercream Recipe

Yes, you heard me. Chocolate avocado cake. With avocado buttercream. Trust me, I too had my doubts about this vaguely healthy-sounding, bright green-topped confection. But after reading Joy The Baker, who raved "It actually worked! It was honest-to-goodness delicious!" I felt that it was worth a try. 

Plus, with the Super Bowl—only the biggest avocado consumption day of the year—just around the corner, chances are you might have an extra avocado or two lying around. Why not make use of it by making a sweet treat full of good fat?

For the full entry, plus more pictures and the recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Tuesday
Feb022010

Peanutty Buddies: The Famous Salted Peanut Crisps of 1950-55

So, I wasn't actually alive in 1950, but if I had been, I can tell you what cookie I would have been eating: the Salted Peanut Crisp. According to my favorite source for all things cookie, the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book , this cookie was in high demand mid-century. As the recipe introduction notes,

Cookies Please the Younger Set -- The baby boom, begun following World War II, continues in the new decade. With "kids" in the house, cookies disappear like magic and "moms" need quick and easy cookies like this one.

Now, perhaps it's not so unexpected that recipes containing peanuts in general were rising in popularity during this time--during the war, when meat shortages were common, peanuts and peanut butter became a much valued source of inexpensive protein. Of course, after becoming hooked on its deliciousness, peanut butter sandwiches were to become an enduring staple in lunches everywhere, and the cookies and confections containing the rich, flavorful stuff were here to stay.

And to that point, as is further noted in the recipe intro,

One of our home testers wrote, "My 12-year old son carried them out by the handful." "Only modesty prevents me from calling them perfect plus," said another tester.

And you know what? Over 50 years later, I concur. Of course, I made a couple small alterations in the recipe to better suit them for modern times--first, where the original calls for 2 cups of salted peanuts, I did about 1 cup salted peanuts and 1 cup peanut butter; this gave them a nice density and chewiness. Second, instead of dropping the dough on the cookie sheet by teaspoonfuls, I went ahead and used an ice cream scoop--so instead of 6 dozen small cookies, I got about 2 dozen jumbo cookies, some of which I stuffed with mini peanut butter cups inside the dough for an even more decadent outcome. And it turns out that bigger and more decadent is even better: these cookies managed to turn at least one peanut butter cookie hater into a believer, and I hear that they even derailed an Atkins Diet follower. Yes!

Here's the recipe:

Salted Peanut Butter Crisps 

(Note: Though they are officially "Salted Peanut Crisps", since I added peanut butter too I have taken liberties)

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • 1 cup peanut butter 

(Note: original recipe calls for 2 cups salted peanuts and no peanut butter; feel free to play with the ratios)

Procedure

  1. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment; put to the side.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (original recipe calls for 375 but I found a longer bake at the lower temperature worked better, possibly because I made my cookies bigger).
  3. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly.
  4. Sift flour and blend with soda and salt; stir in with wet ingredients. Mix in peanuts and peanut butter.
  5. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop the dough and release onto your prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. If desired, place a mini peanut butter cup in the center of the dough while it is still in the scoop, shaping the dough around it so that the dough fully covers the candy before releasing it on to the baking sheet. 
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges (if you make your cookies smaller, it may be more like 8-10 minutes).
Monday
Feb012010

Soup's On: Tomato Soup Cake Recipe from Baker's Cakes, Durham NC

Per Danielle of Baker's Cakes, "here's our family's cake recipe! I'm pretty sure this recipe originated during times when certain ingredients were in limited supply, much like the popular chocolate "crazy cake." Today, I guess it's vegan! This is essentially an interesting spice cake."

Nana Murphy's Tomato Soup Cake

(Makes 9" square pan)

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 can's worth of water
  1. Preheat oven to 35 degrees; grease a 9x9-inch baking pan (circle or square).
  2. Sift the dry ingredients, except for the baking soda.
  3. Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda into 1 can of tomato soup- stir vigorously then add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 can of water and mix well.
  5. Stir in 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of chopped pecans.
  6. Bake 35-45min in preheated oven, lightly greased pan, at 350 degrees.
  7. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Danielle's Note: I like to make a White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: Melt 1 bag (12oz) of white chocolate chips and beat into 1 package (8oz) room temp. cream cheese.

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.