Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured Post:
Of Eating Disorders and Food Blogs

 

 Buy my brilliant books!

Buy my new book!

Buy my first book, too! 

CakeSpy Online Retail!

 

Gallery

Fantastic appliance for cake making on DHgate.com

This area does not yet contain any content.
Craftsy Writer
Thursday
Mar192009

ShamRock Shake, Rattle and Roll

Shamrock Shake, Rattle and Roll
St. Patrick's day may be over, but the ultimate symbol of green excess is still available through the end of the month. No, we're not talking about green beer--we're talking about that green monster of a cold confection, the Shamrock Shake.

There's something delightfully trashy about this shake, which has clearly resonated with the public--there's even a movement to make it available year round. But somehow, as attracted as we are to this never-found-in-nature-green drink, we can't seem to make ourselves cross the threshold of those golden arches--must have seen Super Size Me one too many times.
Shamrocks
Luckily, we've come up with a solution to make something just as satisfyingly unhealthy at home--and this recipe actually has shamrocks. So bad it's good, in a rot-your-teeth-out sort of way; plus, with St. Patrick's day baking supplies on sale, it's also an extremely cost-efficient treat.

Shamrock shakeShamrock shake
Shamrock Shake
Ingredients:
  • A massive handful of green shamrock sprinkles (no, you may not substitute non-shamrock shaped green sprinkles)
  • 4 ounces or so milk (we used soymilk--yes, we see the incongruity in this)
  • A healthy scoop of ice cream 
  • Small handful of ice cubes
Directions: Pour in blender; blend until smooth. Pour in your favorite glass that will allow the green to show through. Bask in the sugary green glory. Serves one.
* Optional note: Feel free to add Bailey's Irish Cream, Creme de Menthe or straight whiskey to taste. 

 

Wednesday
Mar182009

Taking it to the Sweet: Cupcake Street Art Takes Over the World!

Have a Sweet Day!
When we recently did a cupcake street art installation in Seattle, we had no idea that it would garner such a reaction--we've gotten so much love and support, and the project was even featured on KCRW's Good Food!

Since then, we've received numerous emails from artists, crafters and bakers interested in spreading the sweetness in their own cities. We love this idea.

Want to take part?
Your mission, should you choose to accept: 
  • Spread sweetness throughout your neighborhood or city by making up a batch of sweet (but not delicious) cakes--here's a tutorial on how we made ours--and leave them in unexpected spots for others to discover, with the idea that this will brighten people's day.
  • Help us document the project! Most importantly, take pictures! Send them--and your stories--to jessieoleson@gmail.com and we'll write about your experiences!
  • Spread the word! Put the CakeSpy URL (or your own, if applicable) on the back of the little affixed flags, so that people can read about the project if they are the lucky ones who find the cakes out on the street. 

 

Wednesday
Mar182009

Sweet Art: A Tutorial on How To Make Fake Cupcakes

People Like You. Really.
Whether you're taking these to the streets as part of a sweet art installation or just want to decorate a room, these cupcakes are not delicious, but they sure are sweet. Keep in mind that this is more of a field guide; feel free to make alterations to suit them to your fancy.

Here's how we made ours:

You will need:

  • Plaster of Paris (available at most hardware stores or Target-type places with a hardware or home section)
  • Water
  • Paint to dye the plaster (we used crafter acrylic paint--the type that is less thick)
  • Cupcake cups (we used the silicone kind, but the paper kind work as well)


Making Fake CakesMaking Fake Cakes
For the cake part: Mix plaster and water (usually 1 part each, but adjust to a pourable but thick consistency). You can mix up whatever quantity you'd like; generally we will do about 3-4 cups' worth at a time; with 4 ounce cupcake-cups, this will make about 8 or so cupcakes. Add a small bit of water-soluble paint (like a watery acrylic or gouache) in the color that you want the bottom part to be, and mix until the color is to the point you like it. Pour into the cups til they level off at the top.

 

Making Fake CakesFake Cakes

Let these dry for an hour or so. It's ok to move on when they are hard, even if they are still slightly clammy to the touch.

 

Making Fake FrostingFake Cakes
For the frosting: Do the same plaster mix, but with whatever color you'd like for the frosting (we like pink best--so red paint). You can do slightly less, maybe 2/3 the amount that you used for the cake. Make this "batter" a little bit thicker though (by adding a little more plaster) so that it won't drip off of the sides when applied.
Fake Cupcakes
Using a spoon, gently put a spoonful on top of each cupcake, adding another spoonful to get a gentle "tiered" effect on the frosting, which will kind of melt into a pleasing cupcake frosting-y shape.

Sweet Sentiments
Optional for if you'd like to add messages: While still wet, insert toothpicks into center of frosting so that it will dry with the toothpick in. You can have the flags attached now or attach them later.

Let them set overnight or until they're hard and dry.

Now you're ready to place them on the street--or maybe just give them to friends--but whereever they end up, they're bound to make the world a little sweeter!

 

Tuesday
Mar172009

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links!

Last Cake Standing
Stand by for some sweet TV: the Food Network debuts Last Cake Standing, a show in which only the sweetest survive, on April 5. (picture of contestant Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes, above)

11:11 makes totally sweet cake and baked good-themed checkbook and passport covers, notebooks and yes--even condom holders.

Have you kept up to date with the fantastic adventures that our friend Bakerella recently had with Ree of The Pioneer Woman Cooks?

NY Cupcakes in Bellevue is under new ownership--we hear the cakes have improved too!

They fly through the air with the greatest of ease: Portland's Saint Cupcake is now shipping customizable cupcake kits.

Boston's Taste Coffee House shares their recipe for a creamy & rich Affogato Shake.

Indian Curry and Pistachio brittle? You had us at hello, Morning Glory Confections.

Curio Confections is opening soon in Seattle--just look at their tantalizing menu!

CakeSpy reader Kathy has made us obsessed with cotton candy cupcakes--has anyone ever tried them (or does anyone have a recipe to share)?

Hoosier Mama has an awesome name and awesome looking pies in Chicago.

In Seattle, Immortal Dog proves that dogs deserve delicious cookies too.

S&M meets sugar, with a spikey torture dessert pedestal by LASdesigns.

Don't forget: learn about the sweeter side of business at the upcoming CRAVEbusiness SHOP Symposium this Sunday!

Monday
Mar162009

Sweet Art: Legendary for Illustration Friday

AB FAB Cupcakes: They're Legendary!
This week's Illustration Friday theme is Legendary, and what characters could be more memorable than that snarky British duo Eddy and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous? As cupcakes, their boozy fillings would be nothing short of legendary!

Monday
Mar162009

Cake Byte: CRAVEbusiness SHOP Symposium, Featuring CakeSpy

CRAVEbusiness SHOP Symposium
Running CakeSpy.com is certainly a fun job: drawing pictures of (and writing about) cake and baked goods all day--what could be sweeter? But have you ever wondered exactly how a cake and baked good related website can actually make money? Or how on earth such a niche business can survive in such a harsh economy?

Our Head Spy Jessie is going to be weighing in on the art of selling cupcake-themed products and the life of a professional Cake Gumshoe at the upcoming CRAVEbusiness SHOP Symposium on March 23 at the Seattle Design Center, as part of two of the day's events: "Start-Up Stars: Entrepreneurs Who Are Making it Happen" in which several business owners will talk about building a business in a tough economy, followed by a "Live Think Tank" in which we will talk generally about ideas and thoughts on transforming and building businesses.

Here's a blurb on the mission statement of the Symposium: 

 

 

SHOP Symposium / 09 is dedicated to celebrating, inspiring and educating independent business owners of all stripes. The only conference of its kind, this one-day event teaches practical skills, offers wise encouragement, and builds camaraderie. Whether you sell shoes or facials, travel getaway or graphic design, we invite you to join us. Bring your questions, your frustrations, your fears, and your hopes. Prepare to be inspired.

 

For more information, tickets, and the schedule, visit the official SHOP Symposium website.

 

Monday
Mar162009

Bittersweet News: Seattle P-I's Last Print Edition Runs Tomorrow

Cuppie regarding the P-I Globe in Seattle
This is bittersweet news indeed: we learned today that the Seattle P-I will run its last print edition tomorrow. Although the online version will continue (including CakeSpy Seattle, to the best of our knowledge), we will certainly miss the tactile enjoyment of unfolding a paper along with breakfast coffee (and cake, natch).

The P-I has been so supportive of CakeSpy since the start, having featured our artwork and quotes from our Spies on numerous occasions; rest assured, dear paper, you will be missed!

For sweet Seattle musings, visit CakeSpy Seattle.

Sunday
Mar152009

Twin Peaks: Cake Walk With Me: Cherry Pie and More in North Bend, WA

Cherry Pie, Twede's (The Twin Peaks Diner)
When it comes to pie's place in pop culture, one reference seems to stand out above any other: Agent Dale Cooper's love of good cherry pie and a "damn fine cup of coffee" in the strange little hamlet called Twin Peaks


Twede's CafeLaura Palmer
Twin Peaks, of course, is a fictional town. But many of the show's exterior locations--including the diner in which said pie and coffee were consumed--were filmed in the very real towns of Snoqualmie and North Bend, about a half-hour outside of Seattle. And so it seemed appropriate for a posse of Cake Gumshoes to venture out and sample some of the immortal pie on March 14 (aka "the other pie day"). 

Damn Fine Cherry PieCherry Pie, Twede's (The Twin Peaks Diner)
Twede's Cafe is very aware of its status as cult destination: the tee shirts and exterior proudly proclaim it as the home of the "Twin Peaks Pie". As a dining destination it's not especially memorable (though their Tweetie-bird heavy decor might give you David Lynch-esque nightmares) but their typical diner fare (burgers, sandwiches, fries) is satisfyingly salty and greasy. Of course, anything savory you might order is really just foreplay.
The main event really occurs when they bring out the pie.

Coffee at  Twede'sPies at Twede's (The Twin Peaks Diner)
The double crusted cherry pie is served warm in a dish, topped with whipped cream (or, if you'd like, a la mode). We ordered ours with coffee (naturally). 
The pie itself is...fine. It's not a bad pie, but it's not really an above average pie either. The filling is syrup-sweet, the crust a little too chewy. But somehow, this is not the point. After all, while Agent Dale Cooper rhapsodized about the pie and coffee, it somehow seems clear that the quality is also beside the point: it's more about the ritual, the act of giving oneself a treat--a moment of sweet respite, if you will. And on that point, the pie delivered. After all, taking an adventure with friends and seeking out this sweet treasure on a rainy Saturday--the real reward was the journey itself.

Cherry Pie, Twede's (The Twin Peaks Diner)
Of course, if all of this rambling about the journey strikes you as a little bit new agey-- we hear you. So if you're seeking a damn good pastry, why not head two doors down, to George's Bakery & Deli. Though we hear mixed reviews about their deli fare, the bakery is a gem: we picked up a most delicious frosted cookie, spied some mazurkas, and discovered a cake we'd never seen--the Fyrstekake. And yes--they even had cherry pie.

Frosted cookie from George's Bakery, North Bend, WACherry Pie, George's Bakery, North Bend WA
Twede's Cafe, 137 W. North Bend Way, North Bend, WA, (425) 831-5511; online at twedescafe.com.


Twede's Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

Also mentioned: George's Bakery & Deli, 127 W. North Bend Way, North Bend, WA, (425) 888-0632; online at UrbanSpoon.
George's Bakery & Deli on Urbanspoon

Wednesday
Mar112009

Humble Pies: How Many Have You Tried?

Marionberry pie, Irwin's Coffee and Bakery

There's some controversy on the subject of which day National Pie Day ought to be celebrated, either January 23 (as specified by the American Pie Council) or March 14 (as specified by the math geeks of the universe). We've got the perfect solution though: why not celebrate on both days? Certainly there's enough pie love to go around.
With March 14th coming around, we decided to forgo the usual apple, pumpkin or blueberry pie in favor of compiling a list of somewhat lesser-known pies; each is linked to a recipe or page explaining its history. Maybe you'll come across some old favorites or new discoveries. But mostly we're curious...how many have you tried? 
If you're so inclined, feel free to post about it on your site or leave a comment below--if you want to get really fancy, you can specify which ones you've tried by italicizing which ones you've eaten, and link back to this post so everyone can judge--er, see--your responses!
And of course, if you have any other "forgotten" pies that you think we should know about, do tell!

Acorn Pie
Avocado Pie
Bean Pie
Butter Tart Pie
Cactus Pie
Chess Pie

 

Monday
Mar092009

Sugar Crash: An Unusual Introduction to the Cowboy Cookie

Cookie Sandwich
Sometimes a new baked good just comes crashing into your life--full throttle, no apologies, no turning back.

The Cowboy Cookie was such a treat for us--literally.

You see, not so long ago, a car crashed into the house neighboring the CakeSpy Headquarters. No, really. See?
Car Crash!
It crashed right into the kitchen, where said neighbor happened to be at the time of the crash--in the middle of mixing up some cookie batter.
Dough ballsDough
Well, needless to say their oven was not OK, so we found ourselves in the unique position of having inherited a batch of cookie dough, all ready to bake. And so preheat the oven we did, and about half an hour later, we had a fresh batch of cookies. What resulted was a mysterious, yet delicious, cookie. They had oats, but couldn't quite be called an oatmeal cookie; they had chocolate chips, and yet we wouldn't quite call them a chocolate chip cookie. And did we detect a pecan or two?
Cookies
Turns out, they're called Cowboy Cookies--and with their dramatic entrance, they've certainly lassoed our hearts--and with an extra dab of chocolate frosting in between, they're bound to corral the affections of just about any cookie lover.

Stack of cookies
There are a number of varieties of the Cowboy Cookie to be found online, and they're certainly an easy one to personalize to taste; but in case you're curious, this recipe that we found on Martha Stewart seemed very close to the ones that we had:

Cowboy Cookies

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch chunks (1 cup)
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Directions

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray, line with parchment, and spray parchment. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl.
Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Beat in oats, chocolate, pecans, and coconut until combined. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a small spoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake until edges of cookies begin to brown, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire rack, and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks. Let cool. (Cookies can be stored up to 3 days.)

 

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.