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Friday
Dec052008

Hats Off: A Loving Look at Two Chapeau-Inspired Baked Goods

Napoleons Hat
It's a funny thing about hats. Some people can "do" hats--some most definitely cannot. The beret that looks jaunty and artistic on one may have a mushroom-head effect on another. The straw hat that looks so breezy on carefree on one person...well, you get the point. However, baked goods made to look like (or inspired by) hats seem to work a little bit more universally. Now, we could really go wild on this theme--from Pilgrims' Hats to Southern Belles to Nuns Habits, a lot of hat-pastry connections have been made over the years. But for now, let's just focus on two, with respective histories as rich as their sweet buttery cookie crusts:

Stop! Hamenstashen Time!
Hamentashen: These tricorner cookies are folded over on the top  so as to reveal just a small, alluring bit of the filling within, usually poppyseed, apricot or prune. Don't let those flavors put you off: really, they're very good, almost like a danish but with a cookie crust. As for the hat that inspired it all? According to Wikipedia, the name hamantash (המן־טאַש), is a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. Apparently, 

a likely source of the name is a corruption of the Yiddish word מאן־טאשן (montashn) or the German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches; over time, this name was transformed to hamantashen, likely by association with Haman. In Israel, they are called אוזני המן (Oznei Haman), Hebrew for "Haman's ears" where children are taught these tasty pastries are the ears of Haman that fell off at his execution.
However, ears aren't necessarily the most appetizing cookie inspiration, which is probably why 
some Hebrew schools teach that Hamentashen are made in the shape of Haman's hat. There's even a song to go along with it (sung to the tune of "Carnival of Venice"):

My hat it has three corners.
Three corners has my hat.
And had it not three corners,
It wouldn't be my hat.

 

Napoleon Hat
Napoleonhattar (Napoleon's Hat): We first came across this cookie at local Swedish bakery Larsen's; while we can't say why the Swedes saw fit to name a cookie after the petite ruler's signature hat, we can guess that it dates back to their involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. More important than the roots though, is the joy that this cookie has brought to our lives. Larsen's version was fully covered on top, with an outer cookie crust and almond paste-innards that approached the chewy consistency that one might expect in the center of a coconut macaroon. As an added bonus, theirs was chocolate-dipped on the bottom for extra decadence. We located a recipe in the Sunset Magazine archives, but theirs more closely resembles Hamentashen (at least visually).

Recipe Links:
Hamentashen: You can find recipes at jewishappleseed.org or this one looks good too!


Napoleon's Hats: Does anyone have a good recipe for them? We could only find a few; you could try the one we found in Sunset Magazine, or you could try this one. We couldn't find a recipe for chocolate-dipped ones, but probably you could do it the same way you'd do chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons.

 

Friday
Dec052008

Taking the Cake (Plate): The Winner of the La Plates Giveaway!

Custom order
Time's up: the race for the Cakespy Plate by La Plates has finished!

So whose name was chosen at random? (Oh, the anticipation!)

The winner is Niffer, who gave the matter of what sweet to eat off of the plate some serious thought:

With the holidays there is an onslaught of sweets. But I'd go for a cinnamon roll in the morning all gooey and buttery. Between the sugar and the bright pink it would be sure to wake me up!

We like the way you think, Niffer. Congratulations!

Check back later in the month for the regularly scheduled Cake Poll, and maybe a few extra giveaways in the interim!

Friday
Dec052008

Hang out with Cake Gumshoes: Upcoming Shows!

Stitch
Sweet news flash for all Seattleites! If you're in town and feel like hanging out with some Cake Gumshoes and maybe buying some awesome Christmas presents, drop by and see us at the two upcoming craft shows:

Urban Craft Uprising, at the Seattle Center, December 6 and 7, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Seattle Center's Exhibition Hall--we'll be at space 103--for more info, visit urbancraftuprising.com!
Fatto A Mano, December 13 (One day only!)--this is a small but very good show with a varied group of crafters. It will run from 11 a.m. til the last shopper leaves! 3057 East Laurelhurst Drive NE, Seattle, WA 98105. 

 

Wednesday
Dec032008

What a Dish: Win a CAKESPY Plate by La Plates!

Cakespy Plate--win it!
Now, usually we wait til the end of the month to do a giveaway, but this was just too cool to wait! The wonderful company La Plates has made a wonderful CAKESPY plate, which will go to one lucky reader! 

La Plates is a very cool company that makes custom plates--what a wonderful holiday idea! But act quickly--their deadline for custom holiday orders is December 5.

 

This contest is in addition to our regular monthly cake poll, which will occur later on this month. The winner (sorry, US only this time!) will be announced this Friday at 5pm PST.


To put your name in the running, just leave a comment letting us know the following:

 

What's the first sweet you'd like to eat off of this fantastic plate?

 

 

 

Wednesday
Dec032008

Holiday Sweetness: Cakespy Artwork Featured in the Seattle P-I!

Cakespy artwork in the P-I's gift guide!
What sweet news: Cakespy artwork has been featured in the Seattle P-I's Holiday Gift Guide! Thank you Rebekah Denn for such a lovely writeup.

Tuesday
Dec022008

Cakespy Takes the Cake: A Special Guest Spot on Cupcakes Take the Cake!

Seattle Cupcakes: A Gentle Primer

Cakespy Note: As you know, Cupcakes Take the Cake is one of the awesomest sites ever--their dedication to cupcakes is awe-inspiring, and the girls who write for it happen to be 100% pure fun as well; they've been featured in many publications and even on Martha Stewart!

So it was an honor to be asked to be part of their "Guest Blogger" program in celebration of their 4-year anniversary. For our post, Head Spy Jessie sounded off on Seattle cupcakes--here's her contribution.

One of the most common questions I get asked by people coming to visit Seattle is "Where should I go for the best cupcakes?".

This question makes me want to pop a Xanax or ten, because it's a fraught question for a people-pleaser like me. How could I possibly know what you'll like? *Heaves into paper bag*

But you know what I can do? I can tell you what I like. Me, me, me. But I haven't set it up as a bakery guide: I've done it geographically, by destinations that I deem worthy, so depending on where you find yourself in Seattle, you'll never be far from a cupcake. Whether you like them or not will be up to you--but then again, isn't taking a risk part of having an adventure?
Here goes:

Cuppies at the West Seattle Junction
Alaska Junction in West Seattle: This is a cool little shopping area, but it's definitely a drive from downtown Seattle (at 6 or so miles, it would be an awfully healthy walk). But it's worth the drive because there you'll find Cupcake Royale and Sugar Rush Bakery, and just a bit down the road, a PCC, all of which have cupcakes. Yes, worth the trip.

 

Holiday assortment from cupcake Royale
Archie McPhee: Do you love kitschy, cool little impulse buy items? Of course you do, so you'll want to visit the Ballard neighborhood, home of Archie McPhee, which is the company that brought the world such gems as the Jesus Action Figure (c'mon, you've seen it at Hot Topic, don't lie). Just down the block, you can get your cupcake on at Cupcake Royale's flagship location, which features an amazing Cupcake art piece above the entrance.

Cupcakes, Whole Foods, Westlake

The Houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Seattle lives in a houseboat (sorry). However, you can get a Tom and Meg spark--at least for a few minutes--by visiting the houseboat where the magical film was made. It's kind of in no-man's land, but we'd say your best bet close by is Whole Foods Westlake, which has a good variety of cupcakes which are made in-house. I have to be honest though, I have never had one from this location--but I have had their house-made cheesecake and that was good!

 

Cupcakes with the Fremont Troll
Cardamom chai wheat-free vegan cupcake from Flying Apron, Seattle
Fremont Troll: I can't even begin to understand why someone made this, but I like it. Nearby, you can get your vegan cupcake fix at Flying Apron Bakery, which specializes in gluten-free, vegan baking. Some swear by their cake, but personally I think their cookies are better. PCC also has cupcakes (vegan and non), and you can sometimes-but-not-always get cupcakes at Simply Desserts (they mainly specialize in layer cakes and cakes-by-the-slice).

The Apartment Building from Singles: Aside from being part of one of the greatest films ever made, the apartment building from Singles, Coryell Court (at 19th and Thomas) is also close to a favorite bakery: The North Hill Bakery. They're only open til 5:30 p.m. or so, but I try to make it over whenever I'm in the neighborhood.
Northgate Mall: My friend Phil informed me that this was the first covered mall in North America. Of course, since he's from New Jersey, he knows his mall culture. Now, the Northgate Mall is pretty much what you'd expect in any suburban mall: jewelry stores, department stores, kiosks with back massagers. If you need to go here, then please, on your way, stop by the Blue Saucer Cafe; they retail cupcakes by Look Cupcake, which is a special-order cupcakery with filled cupcakes. Like, yum!

 

Cuppies at Pike Place
Cupcakes at the Dahlia Bakery, SeattleChocolate Ganache Cupcake
Pike Place Market: You may be surprised to hear this, but there are very few cupcakes at the market itself (though of course there are a lot of other great baked goods and food). They sometimes have them at Pike Place Bakery or at Michou, but in my opinion you'd be better off walking up a few blocks from the Market and checking out Macrina Bakery (read the Cupcakes Take the Cake review here) or Dahlia Bakery.

Pioneer Square / Underground Tour: The Underground Tour is cheesy, but I love it. There's a whole city beneath the city of Seattle! Like, whoa! And nearby, you can get your sweet fix at Grand Central Baking. OK, truthfully, they do not offer cupcakes. But, they offer mini bundt cakes, and they're super cute, so we're going to say they're a suitable stand-in.

Cuppie at the Seattle Art Museum
Seattle Art Museum: Refer to Pioneer Square or the Seattle Public Library; it's sort of in-between the two. Oddly, your pet might have the best chance of scoring a "pupcake" in the immediate vicinity, at Three Dog Bakery.

Cuppie at the Seattle Public Library
Seattle Public Library: I love the SPL. Seriously, I go there like 3 times a week at least to research various cake and baked good related things. I even designed a postcard (image above) that they sell in their store! If you choose to visit, you'll want to trek just a few more blocks up the hill to Sugar Bakery + Cafe, where the cake is sweet and they sell my artwork. Yes, there were two plugs for my artwork in this paragraph. Also, though they don't sell cupcakes, the nearby Belle Epicurean does sell (very good) small cakes.

January 6, 2008 

Space Needle: You'll be in the crossroads between the Belltown and Queen Anne neighborhoods. Up the road just a bit on the Queen Anne side is Metropolitan Market, where they sell cupcakes from previously mentioned Cupcake Royale; a bit further up the hill, Pasta + Co. has cupcakes too. Of course, I also live near the Space Needle so you could always give me a call and I might have some cupcakes.

 

Tacoma Cuppies
Cupcakes Make Mr. Cakespy Happy
Tacoma's Museum of Glass: This place is really cool--you get to see a real live glassblowing studio! It's hot, literally. And nearby, sweetness can be found at the adorable (and well-loved--they've been featured in Seattle Magazine and Sunset Magazine!) hello, cupcake, where the cupcakes are dainty-looking, but pack a dense, tasty punch when you take a bite (see above picture for an indication of how happy they made my husband, the dear Mr. Cakespy).


Cafe Au Lait Cupcakes Closeup
Woodland Park Zoo: It's not the Bronx Zoo for sure, but it's surprisingly comprehensive. Mr. Cakespy and I have spent many a happy day at this zoo. And as a bonus, it's not too far from Trophy Cupcakes, which you may know from its many features--on Martha Stewart, on Cupcakes Take the Cake, the Seattle P-I, and many more. What's a mile and a half walk when cupcake nirvana awaits?

 

 

So there you have it--my Seattle in Cupcakes, but of course, open for you to choose your own (totally sweet) adventure.
Thanks again to Cupcakes Take the Cake for letting me sound off, and a very happy 4 year anniversary to you well!

 

 

 


 

 

Sunday
Nov302008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Presidential Sweet: A Tour of Presidential Holiday Desserts

Presidential Sweet
The holidays are a wonderful time, aren't they? You get to sit around and eat. Hopefully at someone else's house, where they cook and you don't have to clean up afterward.

But what about the big house? That is to say, the White House? We began to wonder what sweets and traditions might have played into Presidential culture, in both the current age and years past. And luckily, we were chosen by Foodbuzz for the 24, 24, 24 project so we suddenly had the time and the means to learn and explore a bit more--all amounting to quite a sweet surprise for our family and friends the entire week of Thanksgiving! Let's just say it wasn't just one day of feasting chez Cakespy.

Mount Cupmore

 

The below is a combination of the actual dishes served based on actual Presidential menus we've located, known favorite recipes of the presidents and their wives, and, you know, a little mischievous daydreaming of our own. We made several of the recipes and served them to family and friends--and so, without further ado, here's a summation of several of our favorite Presidential-inspired dishes, going in chronological order:

A note about Thanksgiving: You'll notice that most Thanksgiving recipes kick in later on in the list--this is because although the first one was celebrated in 1671, it wasn't actually a holiday (or even celebrated regularly) until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln finally made it a national holiday. But there was plenty of other holiday goodness going around before--and since!
George thinks the cake is great
Washington's Great Cake: Our journey of delicious started with the big man, that Cherry-tree killa George Washington (OK, so maybe he did it, maybe not). Though George Washginton did have a Thanksgiving dinner, what we found much more entrhralling was Martha's famous "Great Cake" (read more here!), one of her favorites which was traditionally served at Christmastime. This cake truly was great--especially in size, as it called for 40 eggs, 4 pounds of butter, and a variety of fruits including 2 pounds of apples, and plenty of cream sherry. While tempted, the materials just seemed like a bit of a wast, so ultimately we did the recipe in 1/8 scale and it actually worked out ok; we ended up swapping egg-white icing (an acquired taste in our opinion) for a rich cream cheese frosting with some festive stars. George would approve, we think. If you want to try the actual recipe for THE great cake though, check out this site.
Cake frosting
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Corn Pudding
Thomas Jefferson's Corn Pudding: TJ was certainly a renaissance man, and in addition to a great deal of hobbies and interests, he was quite the gourmand--he's even credited with introducing the greater US culture to the île flottante (which he served at a New Year's fete). Though Thanksgiving wasn't technically a holiday yet, we like to think that he'd serve something like this sweet corn pudding at his table--a popular recipe during his Presidential years. At our table, we found it to be a pleasant-tasting dish--like some types of cornbread, gently skirting the line between side dish and dessert.
Thomas Jefferson's Corn Pudding
Sweet Corn Pudding Recipe
  • 2 c. whole kernel corn (1 16 oz. can) drained
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 stick butter
Place all ingredients in a blender and mix at high speed 10 seconds. Pour into well greased baking dish and bake 45 minutes at 375 degrees. To make enough for company I triple the corn and double everything else and bake it for an hour or more until a knife comes out clean.
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Gingerbread
Madison's Gingerbread: While to many, the Madisons (namely, Dolley) are linked to ice cream, Dolley also had a much warmer, but equally delicious, favorite for the holidays--Soft Gingerbread. Apparently hers got its unique and delicious flavor from beef drippings, but call us chicken, we decided to use butter instead and while we have no point of comparison, this one was very moist and delicious, so the butter seemed to have worked just fine. If you'd like, though, be the judge yourself!

DeliciousDelicious
Dolley Madison's Soft Gingerbread
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup fresh beef drippings
  • 1 rounded tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup very hot water
  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 rounded tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar (to top)
Mix molasses and beef drippings; dissolve baking soda in the 1/4 cup of hot water and add to molasses and drippings mixture. Sift together flour, ginger and cinnamon and add alternately with the cup of very hot water to molasses and dripping mixture. Beat well until batter is thoroughly mixed and soft enough to pour. Bake in shallow, well-greased pan at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until center of cake springs back when pressed gently. Serve warm, sprinkledwith powdered sugar. Makes 6 servings.

President stuff
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Martin Van Buren's Doughnuts: Well, we didn't actually make them, but we were fascinated to learn two facts about MVB: first, he and his wife spoke Dutch at home (he was American-born but of Dutch heritage); the second, that his favorite food was doughnuts. Here's a recipe for an 1800's era Dutch doughnut (oliebollen) that we bet he would have loved on Christmas morning.
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*Mischievous note* William Henry Harrison Might have Liked it: well, he wasn't president for long. but, he did prompt us to learn more about Funeral Pie.
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*Mischievous note* James K. Polk might not have had much of an interest in food, but we'd officially like to dedicated the Bûche de Noël and the millefueille to him--after all, he was Napoleon of the Stump.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Mary Todd Lincoln's Cake
Abraham Lincoln / Mary Todd Lincoln's Vanilla-Almond Cake: It's said that this is the one Mary made when courting Lincoln in the early days. Since they both met and later married during the holiday season--not to mention that Honest Abe declared it to be the best cake he'd ever tasted-- we figure it's a good holiday offering to represent Lincoln's era.
While the cake itself is good--dense, slightly nutty, and plenty buttery--we're not so sure about its aphrodisiac powers. We made our cake in just one layer, not two; all the more frosting to glaze on over it all.

 

 

Mary Todd Lincoln's Vanilla-Almond Cake (via Recipe Goldmine)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • White Frosting
  1. Cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla extract.
  2. Stir together the cake flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in almonds.
  3. Gently fold in the egg whites.
  4. Pour into two greased and lightly floured 9 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pans.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F for 28 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Fill and frost with White Frosting.
White Frosting: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and dash salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

 

In mixing bowl place 2 egg whites; very slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over, beating constantly with electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
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Cakespy Note: Though it's not strictly dessert, we couldn't help but notice that Andrew Jackson, FDR, Calvin Coolidge, and LBJ all had an admitted penchant for pancakes. We'll bet these carb-lovin' presidents would have enjoyed this Christmas tree composed of crepes like this one.
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William Howart Taft: It takes only a mere glance at the man to tell that he was as serious about sweets as he was about politics (it's true--he weighed well over 300 pounds). Apparently above all he had a soft spot for pumpkin pie; while we found the recipe below online for a "William Taft Pumpkin Pie", it seems a little bit suspect (we're not sure if they had canned milk then...does that sound ignorant?) we've gotta believe that in a different era, he'd have enjoyed the one at the bottom of this post even better.
  • 9 Inch pie crust
  • 1/4 c Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c Brown sugar
  • 3/4 c Canned milk
  • 3/4 c Fresh milk
  • 1 1/2 c Pumpkin
  • 2 Eggs; separated
  • 1/4 ts Allspice
  • 1 ts Cinnamon
  • 1/2 ts Ginger (if you wish)
  • 1/2 ts Salt

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry. Mix sugars, salt and spices. Add
pumpkin. Add egg yolks and milk. Add more spices, if desired. Last, fold in
beaten egg whites, not too stiff. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake
at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 350 degrees until done,
about 30 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven). Pie ready when knife comes
out of filling clean.

 

Pietime!Tasting pie is serious business
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Sweet Potato Casserole
Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon (his menu below) and Lyndon B. Johnson were apparently huge fans of the sweet potato casserole; happily, there's an official White House recipe. We doubled the marshmallow for added awesomeness. The founding fathers would approve, we think. We sure dug into this one with relish--er, sweetness.


November 27, 1969

 

 

  • 8 medium sized sweet potatoes,
  • roasted, peeled and passed through
  • a fine mesh sieve
  • 3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ bag miniature marshmallows
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, lightly mix all the ingredients except the marshmallows. Spray a 9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour the custard and top with a half bag of mini marshmallows. Bake for about a half hour. Keep warm for service.
Sweet Potato Casserole
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Truman mini pie
Harry S. Truman's Light Pie: Via The Old Foodie, we discovered this excerpt from a 1946 edition of the New York Times:

WHITE HOUSE MENU GUARDS WAISTLINE.
The White House announced today an ample menu for the Thanksgiving dinner which President Truman will sandwich in between two diplomatic dinners, but he’s still dieting.

 

The continued waistline-reduction regime is on the authority of Mrs. Mary E. Sharpe, White House housekeeper, who counts the Presidential calories. She declined to elaborate other than to say: “When I make up menus I keep it in mind.”

Mrs. Sharpe gave the Thanksgiving menu as follows: clear bouillon, curled celery and olives, roast stuffed turkey, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, candied sweet potatoes, buttered peas, cauliflower au gratin, orange and cress salad, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and cheese, candied fruit, nuts, coffee.

And so, we figured that it would be in keeping to make a pint-sized (diet friendly) pie for Harry--so, with an extra bit of filling from the Mesnier recipe (bottom) we made a single-serve piece in a cupcake cup, with a low-fat marshmallow topping. Still yummy, and mos' def cute!

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Jackie Kennedy's Hot Fruit DessertJackie Kennedy's Hot Fruit Dessert
Kennedy's Hot Fruit Dessert Pies: It's known that assorted pies and ice cream always played a role in the Kennedy Thanksgiving dinner. However, we took it a step further by combining the pie idea with Jackie Kennedy's famous Hot Fruit Dessert (click here for the recipe)--her signature dish. We made the dessert but then baked it in as a pie filling; we used extra pie crust from the recipe at the bottom of this post and used it to line cupcake cups, filling them with the fruit slurry and topping it all off with a brown sugar glaze on top. Though we're not usually fruit pie fans, this one had enough of a rich kick from the buttery glaze and sour cream that even we were impressed. As seen below, we think JFK approves as well. Of course if you don't care for fruit pies, you could always try to replicate these cookies.
JFK approves
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Ladybird Johnson's Lemon Cake
Johnson's Lemon Cake: Behind every great President is a great First Lady, and behind at least one first lady--Ladybird Johnson--was a great arsenal of awesome cake recipes. We went for one of her (and the President's) favorites--taking a modern twist and making them into cupcakes. The result? A cupcake that is light, fluffy, and simply delicious--so refreshing, it provides a nice foil to all of those other holiday foods!

 

 

Ladybird Johnson's Lemon Cake
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
What's in the batter?
Icing Ingredients
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (at room temperature)
  • 1 lemon, Grated rind only
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons cream (or more, until spreading consistency)
  • Yellow food coloring, if desired

Directions:
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks until light and lemon-colored; blend into creamed mixture. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; resift 3 times. Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture in thirds, alternating with milk. Beat the batter thoroughly after each addition.

 

Add vanilla extract, lemon rind and lemon juice; beat 2 minutes. Bake in greased 10-inch Bundt pan in preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 1 hour or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. You can also can use three 9-inch round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Double the frosting recipe for a layer cake.

Lemon Icing
Combine ingredients and beat, adding cream until desired consistency.

Ladybird Johnson's Lemon Cake (as cupcakes)
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Tassies
Jimmy Carter's Pecan Toffee Tassies: Now, Jimmy Carter did have holiday meals at the White House, duh, but even more importantly, he was the first Presidential figure to ever bake with Paula Deen--so we'd say that these cookies are a step above. We'd serve these at any Christmas party. Ours were stickier and less pretty than Paula's, but man, were they rich and delicious. Needless to say, they disappeared really fast.

Pecan Toffee Tassies (Via Paula Deen)

 

  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 (10-ounce) package almond brickle chips
  • Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Unroll the piecrusts onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into 2 (15-inch) circles. Cut out 48 circles using a 1 3/4-inch fluted or round cookie cutter, re-rolling dough as needed. Place in 1 3/4-inch muffin pans, pressing on the bottoms and up the sides of each of the mini-muffin cups. Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, flour, and eggs in a large bowl, mixing well. Add the vanilla. Stir in the pecans and brickle chips. Spoon the pecan filling evenly into the pie shells. Bake for 25 minutes, or until filling is set and crust is lightly browned. Cool in pans on wire racks.

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Presidential Eggnog
And now, to the modern day. What better to get into the spirit of the holidays than with some holiday spirits? For 11 years spanning the Clinton and George W. Bush presidencies, this eggnog recipe has ruled. In White House Chef, author Walter Scheiber describes how
every year, the holiday season was kicked off with the "running of the 'nog", our playful way of referring to the tour of the House we made with the eggnog (and a riff on the "running of the bulls" from Pamplona, Spain).
What can we say? This is the real deal--it certainly packs a punch, and even if it was just thanksgiving, it certainly put our crew in a celebratory mood. (Though for full disclosure, we didn't have Cognac so just doubled up on the rum. *hic*)
White House Eggnog
  • 5 ounces egg yolks (6-7 yolks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 3/4 cup Cognac
  • 3/4 cup dark rum
  • 7 ounces egg whites (6-7)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 quart milk, plus more if needed
  • Nutmeg, for serving
  1. Put the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachmen; whip until pale yellow ribbons form, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the cognac, bourbon, and rum, whip well, scrape down the sides, and mix again. Transfer the mixture to a 6-qt bowl.
  3. In separate, clean mixer bowl, whip the egg whites and salt until very stiff peaks form. Fold into eggnog mixture.
  4. Wipe out the mixer bowl, pour in the cream and vanilla, and whip until very stiff peaks form. Fold this into the eggnog mixture. Add the milk and whisk until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
  5. Chill, garnish with nutmeg (and cinnamon, in our case!) and enjoy!
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Yes We Pie
And for the past 25 years or so, apparently one pie has risen above all others in the White House: Raymond Mesnier's Ginger Pumpkin Pie. So we made it--here's one thing we wouldn't mind passing on to the next administration, we must say.

 

 

Presidential Pumpkin Pie With Ginger
Ingredients for the Pie Crust
Makes enough for 2 12-inch pie shells.

  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shortening, plus some for greasing parchment

Recipe for pieProduct Placement?
Ingredients for the Pumpkin Filling
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 18 ounces milk
  • 2 2/3 cups plain canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 baked 12-inch pie shell (recipe below)
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • Candied ginger, finely cut

Directions for the Pie Crust

 

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place ingredients in mixing bowl. Then using paddle attachment of an electric mixer, mix until well blended, about 3 minutes.
2. Divide dough in two; shape each into a ball. (Dough balls can be wrapped and frozen.)
3. Roll out on floured surface into a round to fit a 12-inch glass pie plate. Trim crust at edge of plate. (It will be covered with whipped cream.)
4. Prick crust with fork on bottom and sides. Crumple a piece of parchment paper; open up and grease one side of the paper. Place greased side down in crust; fill bottom and a little up the sides with dried beans.
5. Bake 15 minutes; remove from oven, and carefully remove paper and beans. If crust tears, patch it by pressing together with your fingers. Bake another 10 minutes, until crust is brown, and remove. It is not necessary to wait for crust to cool before filling.

Directions for the Pumpkin Pie

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat whole eggs and yolks lightly.
3. Cream sugar and eggs, and beat in salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and milk until thoroughly blended. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour into pre-baked pie shell.
4. Bake about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not jiggle. Cool pie on wire rack, then chill.
5. To serve, whip cream and pipe around edge of pie; decorate with candied ginger.

(Eggnog and pumpkin pie Recipes courtesy of Roland Mesnier, Chief White House Pastry Chef, copyright 2001.)
Yes We Pie

 

As for a grand finale? How about a sculpture of Mt. Rushmore rendered in sugar cookie dough and cake? OK, it sounded great in theory--but alas, our chef d'oeuvre turned out to be a major chef don't. And yet...while eating hunks sugar cookie dough molded into a vague visage of a President, one can't help but be slightly dazzled by all that sweetness--regardless of whether the outcome looked more like an unholy mashed potatoes and peas combination. Hey, you win some, you lose some.
Mt Rushmore from sugar cookie dough
In closing? Have a sweet Holiday Season, and thank you again to Foodbuzz for letting us have fun with the 24, 24, 24 project--and do check out the other entries here!

For suggested further reading, check out the sources we used for this post:

Dessert University: More Than 300 Spectacular Recipes and Essential Lessons from White House Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier
The White House Cook Book : A Comprehensive Cyclopedia of Information for the Home Containing cooking, Toilet and Household Recipes, Menus, Dinner Giving Table, Etiquette, Care of the sick, Health Suggestions, Facts Worth Knowing Etc.
Presidential Tidbits & Trivia by Sid Frank and Arden Davis Melick
The President's Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy
Zimbio.com
Hugging the Coast

 

 

 

Friday
Nov282008

Shake it Up: The Lovely and Amazing Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

Pumpkin Pie Shake
There's a lot of attention given to Thanksgiving Leftovers. From smashed potato cakes to stuffing fritters to creative recipes that go far beyond the standby turkey sandwich, the leftovers are sometimes even more coveted than the feast itself.

However, never until this year had we ever had to worry about leftover Pumpkin Pie. In general, it gets--wait for it--gobbled up straightaway.
However, this year, having made not one but four different pies (more about that in a few days), we suddenly did find ourselves with leftovers. While steaming milk for coffee this morning, suddenly we had a memory of recently having read about a gorgeous-sounding apple pie shake in John T. Edge's Apple Pie book; why not try it with some pumpkin pie?
Now, we're certain that there are a zillion different variations that you could use, but here's what we did--and man, was it delicious.
  • 6 ounces unsweetened soy milk (we're sure dairy milk would be fine too, this just happened to be what we had)
  • Dash of soy creamer
  • small handful mini marshmallows
  • 1 small slice pumpkin pie (we used one on which the crust measured about 2 inches)
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste
  • Leftover PiePumpkin Pie Shake
  1. In a small saucepan, warm soy milk and creamer; once warm, add marshmallows and continue to warm (but not boil) until marshmallows are fully melted. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or spices to taste.
  2. Place pie slice in blender.
  3. Pour liquid mixture over pie slice, and add ice cubes
  4. Blend until smooth

Pumpkin Pie Shake
Try to drink slowly; inevitably, it will be so delicious that you'll get brain freeze. Wait it out, then repeat. It's sure to give you energy for all that shopping you've got to do.

 


 

 

Friday
Nov282008

Cakespy Undercover: A Sweet Vegan Surprise in Rincon, Puerto Rico

Vegan Baked Goods, Puerto Rico
Rincón is a gorgeous little spot in the northwest of Puerto Rico, known for its amazing weather and surf. Food-wise, you can expect some amazing fare, from tostones and rice and beans to fiery, spicy chicken to delicious concoctions involving rum and coconut. What you might not expect, however, is a mecca for vegan baked goods.

However, the tide is changing, as Cake Gumshoes Margie and Kenny found out on a recent trip, when they attended the Farmer's Market of Rincón. At the market, which takes place the first and third Sundays of every month in the town's main plaza, they happened upon Vanessa, a vegan baker (pictured top), who often takes part in the market.
Downtown Rincon, Puerto Rico

As our Gumshoes report: "We had a carrot muffin made with rice flour. It was the first time I ever had something vegan but it had a good flavor that got better with each bite and left a nice aftertaste."

By the looks of it, these treats were delightfully moist, dense, and rich--we hope they packed some of Vanessa's wares to bring back home.

Interested in finding out more about Rincón? Visit rinconpr.com.

Sunday
Nov232008

Sweet But Dark: Fifty Ways to Kill a Twinkie

Twinkie #8: Teddy Graham Attack
Thanks again to our buddy at Suspect and Fugitive for her help on this adventure!

It's been said that Twinkies could survive a Nuclear Holocaust--and we wouldn't dare challenge the wisdom of The Family Guy. But what about far more mundane, everyday perils? Certainly Twinkies aren't completely indestructable. There's always a means to an end, isn't there? As Paul Simon once said, there must be fifty ways to leave your lover--and so, in what may be considered a perverse twist on this logic, we figured there must also be fifty ways to kill a Twinkie. Ranging from somewhat useful to creative to downright cruel, here they are:


Twinkie #1: Die, Twinkie, Die!Twinkie #1: Dead
1. Step on it. If so desired, do it slowly.

 

Twinkie #2: Dead!Twinkie #2
2. Death by Razr: crush it in a cell phone.

Twinkie #4
3. Put it in a handbag for a week. That sucker doesn't have a chance.

Twinkie #5twinkie side view
4. Put it in the mail. (Note: The first picture is before we sent it --for the recipient's privacy we photographed it before adhering the label-- and the second is after it arrived.)

5. Shank it. 

Twinkie #6
6. Leave it out in the Seattle rain.

Twinkie #7: Listening to Randy Newman
7. Make it listen to Randy Newman on an endless loop.
8. Take it to a fat camp and see how long it lasts.

 

Twinkie #8: Teddy Graham Attack
9. Teddy Graham attack!

Twinkie #9: Assaulted with Boiling waterTwinkie #9: Assaulted with Boiling waterTwinkie #9: Assaulted with Boiling water
10. Pour boiling water on it. Either marvel at, or be repulsed by, the results.

Twinkie #10: In the grate!Twinkie #10: In the grate!
11. Stuff it in a sewer grate.

Twinkie #11: Hurled at the Space Needle
12. Hurl it at the Space Needle. (Note: We wanted to throw it FROM the Space Needle, but fearing arrest and / or heavy fines, we decided to throw it AT the Space Needle.)

Twinkie #12: In the StreetTwinkie #12: Roadkill
13. Make it into roadkill.

Twinkie #13: Being Kind
14. Give it to someone less fortunate (to use it as a punching bag when they see they got a ticket).

Twinkie #14: Impaled!
15. Impale it.

Twinkie #15: Chop it in Tiny Bits
16. Chop it into tiny bits--you know, like mobsters do.

Twinkie #16: Make Croutons
17. Fry cubed Twinkie and make Twinkie Croutons.

Twinkie #17: Make friends eat Croutons
18. Make your friends eat a real salad with Twinkie croutons--hilarity will ensue! (for you).

Twinkie #18: Salt
19. Add salt. It kills slugs, so why not Twinkies, right?

Twinkie #19: Microwave
20. Put it in the microwave. Wonder why the microwave makes the cream filling turn to translucent goo.

Twinkie #20: Go all Damien Hirst on itDamien Hirst Twinkie
21. Go all Damien Hirst on it!

Twinkie Tiramisu
22. Make it into something delicious, like Twinkie tiramisu.

#22: Feed it to a snake
23. Feed it to a snake.

Twinkie #23Twinkie #3
24. Sit on it for an extended period of time.

#41 Put bleach in its coffee
25. Put bleach in its coffee.

#23: Twinkie cut in half
26. Slice it in half and try to see hidden Rorschach-style pictures.

Twinkie Hot Dog
27. Make Twinkie hot dogs!

Twinkie #27: Chair balance
28. Use it to balance a wobbly chair.

Twinkie #28: Heart Attack
29. Give it a Monster Thickburger--a heart attack will surely follow.

Twinkie Mad Science
30. Go all mad science, like these people did.

Twinkie #33: Instant breakfast
31. Make it into an instant breakfast. Screw you, Carnation Instant!

Twinkie #31: Alcohol poisoning
32. Give it alcohol poisoning.

Twinkie #32: Death by literature
33. Use it as a bookend.

#33: Godzilla kills twinkie
34. Leave it to Godzilla's wrath.

35. Dehydrate it.

#35: Give it to a Guinea Pig
36. Give it to a guinea pig.

#36: Skewered Twinkie
37. Skewer it. Twin-kebab, anyone?

#37: Twinkie Sushi
38. Make Twinkie Sushi (Note: This was not originally our idea. Check it out here.)

Twinkie #39: Give it to Mariah Carey
39. Give it to Mariah Carey. That Twinkie's a goner for sure.

40. Submit it to cryogenesis, as these people did.

 

Twinkie Zombie attack!

41. Zombie attack!

 

Frozen Twinkie
42. Freeze it

#43: Death by kitchen fan

43. Put it in the kitchen fan.

 

#45: Doorstop
44. Use it as a doorstop.

#46: Mauled by a unicorn
45. Mauled by Unicorn!

#24: Drop it off a building
46. Drop it off a building. We didn't, but they did.

Twinkie, Mentos, Diet Coke
47. Mentos, Diet Coke, Explode!

#48: Death by Hanging
48. Hang it.

 

#49 Keith Richards and Twinkies
49. Give it to an artist. We gave it to our good friend at Suspect and Fugitive, who made a "Twin-Keith Richards" portrait out of the creme filling. Why? Well, as an homage to their shared infinite shelf life.

Finally, for #50? Oh, you know...eat it. If you dare.

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