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Monday
Jun292009

CakeSpy Undercover: A Sampling of Sweets from Budapest

Retes, from Hungary, c/o Diane
A few months ago, CakeSpy buddy (and very talented textiles designer) Diane Kappa made a big move: from Seattle to Budapest. Now that's she's had some time to settle and get to know her surroundings, it's time to dig into the bakery scene in Hungary. What has she been enjoying? Here are some of her favorite sweet treats so far:

The first thing I think of is called a csoko csiga (chocolate snail) It is not really a snail. It is in the shape of a snail and is absolutely delicious! And the funny thing is you can buy them in the subway station. They are about $1 and taste so delightful! Not too sweet but heavy on the cocoa taste.

And you can not forget Retes! It is so tasty!!! You can buy them savory or sweet. Sour cherry, turo (like cottage cheese but drier), apple are my favorite. You can also buy them with cabbage. I attached a photo of an apple retes (top picture)! The photo was taken at a “cukrászda” (sweet shop) called “Lukas” Here are some photos from Lukas:


Lukas, Budapest
Cakes from Hungary
All I can say is, like whoa. Wouldn't you love to be in Budapest right now?


Want more? You can stay updated on Diane's sweet adventures via her blog; while you're spending time on the internet (you junkie!), why not also check out her shop and portfolio?

 

Sunday
Jun282009

Sweet Art: Worn for Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday: Worn
This week's Illustration Friday theme is Worn, which got me wondering: when Cuppie gets worn out, what inhabits his sweet little dreams?

Now, you can analyze this dream however you like, but you can't deny the sweetness: Cuppie dreams of cake!

Thursday
Jun252009

Campfire Meets Cookie: Let's Make S'moreos!

S'moreos!
Have you ever found yourself, mid-s'more, feeling like maybe, just maybe...something is missing?

You're not alone, buddy. But the matter has been given much thought, and a conclusion has been reached: that missing thing is cream filling, and the solution can be found with a certain famous sandwich cookie.

It's time to make S'moreos!
S'moreos!

When s'mores meet Oreos, magic--in the form of an oozy, creamy, unapologetically sweet treat--ensues. Basically, you won't be able to believe you've lived this long without them.

CakeSpy Note: I made mine in the microwave, as I am not an outdoorsy type; however, if there is a campfire handy, feel free to make yours using toasted marshmallows.

S'moreos
Hershey's Chocolate BarOreos
You'll need:

  • Either one, or two (depending on how decadent you feel) Oreos--Double Stuf optional
  • half a jumbo marshmallow per s'moreo (a whole one was just too big)
  • 2 rectangles from a regular sized Hershey bar

With One Oreo: If you've elected to use just one Oreo, twist it apart so that the top and bottom are separate. Face the filled side up, and put the chocolate squares on top, then layer the marshmallow half, then top it off with the remaining Oreo half. Put in the microwave at high for approximately 15-20 seconds. The marshmallow may rise and cause the top half of the Oreo to fall off; this is ok. Simply place it back on top upon removing from the microwave, and enjoy immediately.

 

With Two Oreos: If you're going for the double Oreo version (good decision), repeat the same steps as above, simply using a whole Oreo for the top and bottom. It may take a few more seconds in the microwave, but it's oh so worth it.
S'moreos!

 

 

Thursday
Jun252009

Cake Byte: Another Sweet Art Show at Trophy Cupcakes!

About To Be Eaten
Dude. You know how Trophy Cupcakes always has, like, the awesomest art shows? CakeSpy, Jessixa Bagley...and now, Matthew Porter!

Matthew Porter is a Scotland-bred artist who now makes his home in Seattle, where he not only illustrates awesome children's books but also co-owns Bluebottle Art Gallery with his über-talented and cute wife, Andrea Porter.

And through the month of July, you can purchase his artwork--and cupcakes with his artwork on them--at Trophy Cupcakes! The reception (you know you don't want to miss that) will be taking place this Wednesday, July 1 from 6 - 8 p.m.; for more details, visit the Bluebottle blog or trophycupcakes.com!

Wednesday
Jun242009

Malasada Madness: The Portuguese Doughnut That Took Over Hawaii

Malasadas!
Recently, a new espresso stand opened up very close to the CakeSpy headquarters in Seattle, a little outpost of North Shore Hawaiian BBQ. Now, this is one of those places that looks like it might be awful or awesome, but probably not in-between.


North Shore BBQ Espresso StandMalasadas on the menu!
Admittedly, most of their bakery offerings--prepackaged muffins, biscotti and cookies--didn't appeal too much. But upon noticing that they fry up malasadas (little rounds of sweet, yeasty fried dough topped with granulated sugar) to order, a visit was definitely necessary.


While waiting for the malasadas to fry up, however, I noticed something unusual: they were listed on the menu as Portuguese Doughnuts. Now, this seemed a big incongruous on a Hawaiian menu. Naturally, I ran home to Wikipedia the *&^% out of this.

 

As Wikipedia tells me, it was a development borne of immigration patterns: "In 1878, Portuguese laborers from the Azores came to Hawaii to work in the plantations. These immigrants brought their traditional foods with them, including a fried dough pastry called the 'malasada.' Today there are numerous bakeries in the Hawaiian islands specializing in malasadas."


The article references one of the most famous malasada vendors in Hawaii, Leonard's Bakery, which may not have been the first place to sell them, but it certainly sounds like it's the place that made them popular; their story further illuminates the phenomenon of the Portuguese doughnut in Hawaii:

 

In June 1882 the British sailing ship 'Monarch' brought Arecnion & Amelia DoRego from San Miguel Island, Portugal to Maui under contract to work the sugar cane fields.

Some 33 years later, their grandson Leonard was born. In 1946 Leonard and his wife Margaret moved to Honolulu with their daughter Diane, age 8. Leonard worked at Snowflake Bakery until he founded Leonard's Bakery in 1952

Leonard and Margaret were no strangers to hard work, both coming from very large families. The bakery prospered. Not long after opening, Leonard's mother suggested making malasadas for Shrove Tuesday - a Portuguese tradition.

Although thinking it may be too ethnic, Leonard's bakers complied. Malasadas were a huge hit. And, the appetite for malasadas in Hawaii was born.

Due to Leonard's popularity Leonard required a larger, more modern facility, moving into their present location at 933 Kapahulu Avenue in 1957.


These days, malasadas are closely associated with Hawaii. They're seen dressed up at fancy restaurants, they're sold out of mobile trucks, and they're naturally a delicious breakfast.

 

(CakeSpy Note: Strangely enough, according to Wikipedia, Hawaii is not the only place where malasadas are readily available: "Malasadas are also very popular in the New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts region, which has a large Portuguese population. Malasadas are also popular in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where they are called 'flippers'." So perhaps there is a hidden malasada belt in New England?)
Inside of the Malasada
Which brings us back to Seattle and North Shore Hawaiian BBQ. Remember how I said that this place was going to be either awesome or awful? Well, I can't speak to the savory fare there, but these malasadas were pretty awesome. They charmingly misshapen rounds, served unpretentiously in a plastic container and they were still hot and slightly dripping with the oil in which they had just been fried. The first irresistible bite, taken while they were still way too hot, was yeasty, sweet, pleasingly greasy, and, well, pretty perfect.

Of course if you're not in Hawaii or Seattle or Portugal, no need to panic. Here's a recipe (discovered via TastyIsland) for malasadas which are said to taste similar to the legendary ones at Leonard's!
Places mentioned:
North Shore Hawaiian Barbecue, 101 Boren Ave. S, Seattle (206)621-1121; online at northshoreseattle.com.

Leonard's Hawaii, multiple locations; online at leonardshawaii.com.

 

Monday
Jun222009

Sweet Art: Drifting for Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday: Drifting
This week's Illustration Friday theme is Drifting, and I don't know what it says about me, but the first thing I thought was: Shark Attack! Maybe I've just seen Jaws(as well as Jaws 2, 3 and yes, even 4) too many times.

So, here's a sweet little reminder to let yourself drift away on occasion...but not too far.

 

Monday
Jun222009

The Whole Kit and Kugel: The Story of a Sweet Noodle Pudding

Kugel
If you will, picture CakeSpy and a buddy walking by the beach with soft lighting:

CakeSpy: Have you ever tried kugel?
Buddy: Isn't that like, an excercise...for your female parts?
CakeSpy: No! It's a noodle pudding!
Buddy: Is that a euphemism?

Clearly, it's time to set the record straight about kugel.

What is it? Simply put, kugel is noodle pudding. Grossed out? Get over it by giving a long, hard look at its more popular friends and neighbors like bread pudding and rice pudding.


Kugel
Need more information? Literally translated, "Kugel" (or, if you're speaking Yiddish, קוגעל) means "ball", but apparently this translation also sometimes means "pudding" or "casserole"--according to Wikipedia, this may be a reference to "the round, puffed-up shape of the original dishes (compare to German Gugelhupf — a type of ring-shaped cake)". These days, the dish is generally baked in a square or rectangle pan, but apparently the name stuck. But back to the dish. 
How did it come to be? Well. According to Jewishrecipes.org,
Made from bread and flour, the first kugels were plain, and salty rather than sweet. About 800 years ago, their flavor and popularity improved when cooks in Germany replaced bread mixtures with noodles or farfel. Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency which is common for today's dishes.
Apparently though it wasn't til the 1600s that its potential as a sweet dish was realized:
In the 17th century, sugar was introduced, giving home cooks the option of serving it as a side dish or dessert. In Poland, Jewish women sprinkled raisins and cinnamon into recipes. Hungarians took the dessert concept further with a hefty helping of sugar and some sour cream.
Why is it popular? Well, aside from being delightfully carbohydratey and delicious, sweet kugel is also rich in tradition. It's long been associated with Rosh Hashanah, a holiday on which sweet foods symbolically represent a sweet new year ahead. Naturally, it was also a cinch for popularity as a traditional dessert to serve straightaway following the Yom Kippur fast
, which is traditionally broken with a dairy meal.

 

Here are some other things that might interest you about kugel:

 

immigrant Jewish women asked if the company could make a specialty pan that could be found only in Europe. The women tried to explain the pan, used to make a pudding called Kugel, by using a word that sounded like "bunt" and meant "a gathering of people," David Dalquist said. And the fluted, cast-aluminum design -- trademarked as a Bundt pan -- was born.
(CakeSpy Note: Of course, it wasn't 'til 1966 when the Tunnel of Fudge cake, a winning entry to the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest, really popularized the pan...but hey, kugel paved the way!)
  • Second, did you know that it also has mystical powers? According Allan Nadlar, a professor of religious studies at Drew University, in a 2005 NY Times article:
According to Hasidic interpretations of Kabbalah mysticism...kugel has special powers.

 

"Clearly the spiritual high point of the meal is the offering of the kugel," Professor Nadler said. At that moment the rabbi has the power to bestow health and food, and even to help couples conceive.

  • In the late 19th century, Jerusalemites combined caramelized sugar and black pepper in a noodle kugel known as Jerusalem kugel, which is a commonly served at Shabbat kiddushes.
  • Finally, if you're "Crazy for Kugel", you can find more tips and trivia on the Manishewitz website.
Want to make Kugel? OK. So there are some delicious sounding recipes out there, like Peach Noodle Kugel and Fruit Noodle Kugel (try and say that five times fast!)...but if you want to start basic, here's a traditional kugel recipe so that you can learn the rules before you break them.
Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 pint cottage cheese
  • 6 ounces wide noodles, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Cinnamon, to taste

Directions:
Butter!Mixing it!
In a 9 x 13 pan melt butter in a 350 degree oven. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, sour cream, cottage cheese, noodles & vanilla (I used some from a local company called Singing Dog, who recently sent me a sample) and cinnamon, if desired. Remove pan of butter from oven & pour in egg & noodle mixture.
Baking the Noodle PuddingFreshly baked Kugel
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve warm.Kugel time

 

Saturday
Jun202009

Cakewalk: A Guest Blog Guide to Cupcakes in Denver, CO

Denver Cupcake Tasting!
CakeSpy Note: Curious about cupcakes in Denver, CO? Happily, CakeSpy buddy Laurel (who is not only a cupcake aficionado but an exceedingly talented handbag designer) was kind enough to do a cupcake run with some friends on a recent visit. Here's a roundup of the adventure:

Despite being located so close to cupcake-infused L.A., San Diego suffers from a disappointing lack of cupcake shops - only two! Depressing. On a recent trip to Denver, my awesome sister-in-law Miranda (of Three Things) and her awesome friend Rachel (of Rainy Morning) took me on a Denver cupcake tour to help me get my fix. Our plan was to visit five shops in one afternoon and pick out one cupcake from each shop to take back to Miranda's place so we could compare the cupcakes side-by-side. Not surprisingly, we deviated from the whole "one cupcake from each shop" plan by the second shop, buying at least two from the last four shops we visited. We had such a good time, we thought we'd invite you all to join us so next time you're in Denver you can complete the cupcake circuit yourself!

Big Fat Cupcake, Denver CO
Shop 1: Big Fat Cupcake

Impressions of shop: Big Fat Cupcakes is very cute. They had two big display cases (probably because their cupcakes are indeed big and fat!) and lots of adorable cupcake art on the walls. There wasn't a whole lot of seating, so it might be more of a take-it-to-go sort of place.
Big Fat Cupcake, Denver CO
Two adorable little girls in aprons were wiping down the front of the pastry case, and the guy behind the counter was very helpful (and patient!) while we decided which cupcake we wanted.

Cupcakes Tasted: Orange Creamsicle filled w/pastry cream

Reviews:

Miranda: They weren’t lying when they called their shop Big Fat Cupcakes. Of course this makes them a bit more expensive than the average cupcake which would foil my typical plans to buy several cupcakes so I can sample more flavors. Anyway, the cake flavor and consistency was great but I was not a fan of the frosting. I’m a thick buttercream lover and the frosting at Big Fat wasn’t tough enough to make an impact to me. I was also a little let down by the flavors. Instead of infusing the flavors into the cake or frosting, I felt like they just crumbled up different kinds of candy and put it on top of the frosting. HOWEVER, they did have a lot of options for cupcakes with filling…which I love. If you are very hungry and want a cream filled cupcake, you will want to check Big Fat’s out.

Laurel: Holy crap, this was a big cupcake. The flavors were good - the orange frosting went well with the vanilla cake and pastry cream. The pastry cream was very tasty and just the right consistency, and I liked the lightness of the cake, but the frosting was just too thin for my preferences. I like heavier buttercream and this was too light and airy. The flavors were really fantastic though. I think this was my 11 month old's favorite. If you like a more whipped consistency to your frosting, this is the place for you.

Rachel: Hmm, probably my least favorite. Not much flavor to the cake, and the frosting was too oily, like others have said. At least they have a cute seating area where you could enjoy your cupcake!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Lovely Confections, Denver CO
Shop 2: Lovely Confections

Impressions of shop: Lovely Confections looks like a swanky little coffee shop. It would be a nice, relaxing place to hang out and do your Sunday crossword puzzle. We were all totally smitten with the huge jars of sprinkles displayed off to the side of the register.
Lovely Confections, Denver CO
The owner was really friendly and talked with us about her flavors and a recent cupcake tour she did in New York.

Cupcakes Tasted: Strawberries & Cream (eaten in store), Raspberry Lemonade, Chocolate/Chocolate

Reviews:

Miranda: These were some fantastic cupcakes. While eating the cupcake, I got the impression that the baker knew what she was doing by making a solid cake and equally solid frosting. The strawberries and cream cupcake had frosting full of flavor and cake that could stand up to the fork. I would have liked the raspberry lemonade frosting to have more flavor, and I was disappointed in the chocolate cake. I feel like I should explain that I have a nearly insatiable sweet tooth, and I’ve rarely had a dessert that is too rich. Therefore, while the chocolate cupcake was really good, the cake wasn’t as rich as I wanted it to be. The frosting was spot on and thick like I like it to be. I’m reading Laurel’s review as I write this and I see that the chocolate cupcake was too rich for her…I guess you can’t please everybody. Lovely confections is a definite hit with their fruit flavored cupcakes and perfect if you enjoy dense frosting.

Laurel: The vanilla cake here is amazing. It's light and had a strong vanilla flavor. I'm a huge frosting fiend, but I'd happily eat this cake by itself. Of course, that would be a sin, since the the fruit-flavored frostings we tried were fantastic too. As I said earlier, I like thicker frosting, and the frosting here is thick, generously applied, and delicious. The raspberry lemonade cupcake was yummy as well, with the raspberry frosting standing out to me over the lemon cake, but both complimented each other well. I think if you're a chocolate lover you'd really like the chocolate cupcake, but alas, I'm only a chocolate liker, so it was a little overwhelming. The frosting was thick and almost fudgy, and the cake a little denser than the non-chocolate cakes we had. I appreciated that neither were super sweet so the darker chocolate flavors shined through, but it was just too rich for me.

Rachel: Oh no! I just realized that I’m not eating one of these right now, and that made me sad. I completely agree with Laurel and Miranda here, hands down the best cake. Moist, with substance, and solid flavor. Good frosting too – nice and creamy and piled high. I loved their sprinkles, each had a mix of colors and shapes, some with glittery bits. A very girly experience. Although they had ample seating for eating, I didn’t want to stay very long. It felt like I should be showing the proprietor my wedding portfolio while we discuss guest numbers. Formal, is the word.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Shoppe, c/o Laurel
Shop 3: The Shoppe

Impressions of shop: The Shoppe is the place we'd most like to hang out. We loved the variety of fun cupcake flavors, we loved the decor (the art in particular), we loved that they're open super late on the weekends. It's also a cereal bar! It's just a fun, happy place to be. If we hadn't been in a hurry to hit all the cupcake bakeries before they closed, we would have spent more time here. The staff was super friendly too, which is always a plus. Also, they had a cupcake with a toy surprise in the middle. How awesome would that be for a little kid?
The Shoppe, c/o LaurelThe Shoppe, c/o Laurel

Cupcakes Tasted: Nutella, Lemon Blueberry, S'mores (mini)(eaten in store), Death By Chocolate

Reviews:

Miranda: I was beside myself trying to pick which cupcake to get from The Shoppe. They have so many fun combinations and they’re all so beautiful it’s hard to not try to stick your finger into all of them. The Nutella cupcake that we bought ended up being my favorite cupcake of the entire trip. I’ve been trying to find a great dessert that includes Nutella (after a boiling over disaster at a friend’s house that you’re not going to ask me about) and this was just what I was looking for. The frosting was a great consistency, I LOVE the hazelnuts sprinkled on top, and the cake was nice and rich. The blueberry lemonade cupcakes were tasty, but they were more like muffins than cupcakes to me. The Death by Chocolate cupcake (while fantastic) was probably my least favorite from The Shoppe. It came close to finding the ceiling of my sweet tooth (though don’t worry, it didn’t) but I think if you’re not a fan of frosting, wouldn’t be able to handle their Death By Chocolate cupcake. Maybe you would realize that just by looking at it and not choose that particular one (I don’t know, I’m not you). Overall, the cake was a little less dense but still delicious with a healthy dose of yummy frosting.

Laurel: After missing the s'mores cupcake from Trophy the last couple times I've been in Seattle, I was SO excited to find a s'mores cupcake here. I ate it on our way out of the store, but I was pretty let down. There were some crumbled graham crackers on top and a couple mini marshmallows in the frosting, but they got lost in all the chocolate. It tasted like a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. I mean, I like chocolate cupcakes, but I wanted a strong marshmallow flavor to go with the chocolate and it was not there at all. The other two cupcakes were great though. I think the Nutella cupcake might be my favorite from all the ones we tried; the hazelnut flavor was strong in the cake and the frosting was a good consistency - not as thick as at Lovely Confections, but thicker than Big Fat Cupcakes. The hazelnuts provided a nice crunch too! The blueberry lemonade was tasty as well, but the cake tasted a little more muffiny to me than cakey. The cream cheese frosting was great too, nice and tangy. Excellent frosting-to-cupcake ratio if you're a frosting lover!

Rachel: My favorite of the bunch. Fun fun fun place. A huge variety of interesting flavors with piles of frosting like you would make as a kid. But the décor is what gets my vote, not just the cakes. It’s the kind of place where you want to allot at least an hour for conversation and eating. Inspiring books and artwork surround you. Very relaxed and hip.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Yum Yums in Denver, c/o Laurel
Shop 4: Yum Yums

Impressions of shop: Yum Yums is very bright, clean, and modern. They had some cake and cupcake displays set up near the door that were gorgeous. They had some other desserts in their display case that looked awesome, like this double-decker chocolate & vanilla rice krispie treat, but since we were on a cupcake tour we refrained from buying anything else.

Cupcakes Tasted: Chocolate Mint, Boston Cream (I think?)

Reviews:

Miranda: I only got to try the Boston Cream cupcake from Yum Yums. I don’t know how the chocolate mint got away from me but I have no recollection of it. The frosting was disappointing to me which took away from the deliciousness of anything having to do with Boston Cream. As I said before, I’m a thick frosting girl. I like to take the bottom off of my cupcake and make a frosting sandwich. This frosting couldn’t stand up to such behavior. The cake was a nice consistency though and there was a good amount of filling for a small cupcake.

Laurel: The flavor of the chocolate mint was great - the chocolate and the mint complimented each other nicely, neither overpowering the other. I wasn't crazy about the frosting though, and I really wanted to be since there was a lot of it. I think it's an Italian buttercream, so it's lighter than the frostings used by most shops, but it left my mouth feeling greasy - almost like a grocery store frosting (though it tasted much, much better than grocery store frosting does). Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to taste the Boston Cream cupcake. I wish I had, it sounds good.

Rachel: This place felt kind of old school. Unoriginal designs, mediocre tastes. Nothing particularly bad about them, but I can't say there’s any reason I would ever want to come back.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Happy Cakes in Denver, C/O Laurel
Shop 5: Happy Cakes

Impressions of the shop: Happy Cakes is super cute. We loved looking at the wall decor and the gorgeous aprons for sale. Unfortunately, there's nowhere to sit! Our husbands met up with us and we wanted to have a cupcake or two before going back to Miranda's, but the nearest seating belongs to another little shop. It's really too bad; they've made such a warm and homey atmosphere in the shop that you want to sit down and spend awhile there.
Happy Cakes in Denver, C/O Laurel

Cupcakes Tasted: : S'mores, Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Pom Pom (vanilla frosting, chocolate cake, Trix topping)

Reviews:


Miranda: Happy Cakes has a special place in my heart (there’s a picture of my baby-cakes on the wall for cryin’ out loud) so I’ll try to keep that bias out of my review. I had a S’mores cupcake and was satisfied with the consistency of the frosting and cake, but not so much with the flavor. Where was the marshmallow taste? I know that during previous visits, the marshmallow buttercream had more flavor than it did on the day we visited. Could there be a difference in the quality from day to day? I love Happy Cakes’ sturdy buttercream frosting, and the cupcake as a whole is perfect for turning into a frosting sandwich. Like The Shoppe, the frosting to cupcake ratio is perfect for me although their flavors may not be as intense.

 

Laurel: Another s'mores cupcake! This looked like it had marshmallow buttercream, so I had higher hopes, but again, they were dashed. The frosting tasted like a basic vanilla buttercream. I liked it fine as chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, but I wanted to taste the marshmallow and it was completely missing. Sadness. The chocolate cake was also a little dense for my tastes. The coconut cupcake was good - I liked the cake, and the frosting was great - not too sweet, lots of coconut. I liked the frosting to cake ratio on that one as well (though as I mentioned earlier, I'm kind of a frosting fiend).

Rachel: A cute little shop in a swank neighborhood. Too bad there’s no seating to enjoy their tasty cakes! They have the best frosting. I’ve been a bit disappointed in the options when I go there. Maybe I’m too late in the day or go on the wrong day, but I feel like I’m always peaking at their weekly calendar, wishing they had something that isn’t available just now. Too much space dedicated to plain old chocolate and vanilla. The decorations on the frosting are both creative and classy, from simple dragee pearls to Trix cereal orbs on their PomPom cupcake. There’s room for improvement with these ladies, but I’m happy to go to a place out West by me instead of driving out to East Colfax for Lovely Confections or The Shoppe.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Conclusions: Our overall favorites were the Strawberries & Cream from Lovely Confections and the Nutella cupcake from The Shoppe. Those two shops along with Happy Cakes are the places to go for a thick buttercream and a variety of rich flavors. If you like a lighter frosting, Big Fat Cupcakes and Yum Yums are the places for you. No matter where you are in Denver though, you're not far from a delicious cupcake or two! Or 16...the final number of cupcakes we bought. (Also, if you are in fact interested in going on a cupcake tour of Denver, you should get in touch with Rachel and Miranda since…you know…they live there and they’ve already mapped out the route. Just sayin’.)

 

Friday
Jun192009

Better off Red: A Legendary Red Velvet Slice at The Kingfish Cafe, Seattle

Red Velvet Cake from Kingfish Cafe, Seattle
The Red Velvet Cake at The Kingfish Cafe in Seattle is kind of a local celebrity. It's always winning those "best of" polls and getting written up in the various publications around town. And yet--amazingly--I'd never managed to taste it. But all that changed this week when I hit up Kingfish for lunch with my friend (a self-described "dedicated dessert-er") Judy.
Red Velvet Cake from Kingfish Cafe, Seattle
Now, the first thing you'll notice about this cake is its size. It's huge. And I am not saying that in an annoying girlie sort of way. This cake is, like, really big. The slice pictured at the top is actually on a large dinner plate, and it took up most of it. I'm not a fan of sharing desserts, but this one definitely yielded four servings. No, really.

The first thing you'll notice upon tasting the cake is that it is chilled. For some this is a detriment, but I adore chilled cake: the flavor just seems to blossom on your tongue.

And as that flavor develops, you'll taste a variety of things. First, the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting, complemented with the slightest tang. Then sweetness again from the generous dollop of whipped cream, which is garnished with strawberries. Then the cake, which itself is not too sweet, but gently cocoa-y. Judy thought it tasted a bit dry compared to some of her previous visits. I tend to be forgiving about a slight dryness as long as the flavor is there, and the flavor certainly was there with this cake. When you get that one perfect bite with cake, cream cheese frosting, whipped cream and strawberry, it is...maybe not nirvana, but close.
Red Velvet Cake from Kingfish Cafe, Seattle
The overall verdict? While sometimes hype can ruin desserts, I definitely found this one to live up to its reputation and can't wait to return to Kingfish to sample the coconut layer cake and Strawberry shortcake.

The Kingfish Cafe, 602 19th Ave. East, Seattle, (206)320-8757; online at thekingfishcafe.com.
Kingfish Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday
Jun192009

Sugar Daddy: Trophy Cupcakes Debuts the Chocolate Stout Cupcake for Father's Day

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes
Beer and cupcakes may not be the first things that come to mind when you think of Father's Day, but they should be.

Trophy Cupcakes is bravely helping Seattleites avoid cheesy cliche father's day gifts like ties and "World's Best Dad" t-shirts by debuted an amazing new limited edition flavor which will be available only through Sunday: the Elysian Dragon's Tooth Stout Cupcake.

The rich chocolate stout cake is delicious, but what really puts it over the edge is the Dragon's Tooth Stout Caramel Buttercream, which is so amazingly rich and buttery, it'll make Dad melt. 

Of course, if your dad isn't in the Seattle area you can still enjoy one in his honor. Ah, the gift that gives back.

Elysian Dragon's Tooth Stout Cupcakes, available through Sunday, June 21 at Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford and University Village. For more information and locations, visit trophycupcakes.com.

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