- Cakespy Cupcake Party! Are you in Seattle? Are you free this Saturday? Well, come on down to Cakespy's Cupcake Party at Cupcake Royale! The fete is a combined celebration of Cakespy.com's 1 year anniversary and Head Spy Jessie's 27th birthday. It's an open house from 6-9 p.m. at Cupcake Royale's Ballard location, and a limited supply of free cupcakes will be on hand. As a bonus, the kind people at Cupcake Royale will be debuting their super secret September flavor a little early--and oh, is it a good one!--in our honor! It's kind of, you know, making us feel like a big deal.
- Email Subscriptions: We are in the process of changing our email newsletter to be sent out once a week rather than every time there is a new post. We'll still be updating the site 2-3 times per week, but you'll receive it in one weekly email. We apologize if you receive more than one update per week as we figure out the technological side of things.
- New Feature! We're adding a new comic strip feature to the site, which will crop up a few times a week. The strip is entitled "Cuppie Capers" and it's about the ongoing adventures of everyone's favorite mischievous little cupcake, L'il Cuppie. Today marks the first strip! Woo!
- Iron Cupcake: A fantastic new online phenomenon! We have not entered one this month since we're one of the prize donors, but check out all of the fantastic Chili Pepper entries here!
We love the Seattle Public Library. Not only is it a feat of architecture (designed by Rem Koolhaas) and a fantastic place for people-watching, but we find some of the best literary gems there (including arguably the best cookbook ever-- Cooking in WetLeather, a biker cookbook with the tag "Ride Safe, Eat Dangerously"--but we digress.)
Our most recent discovery though was the first edition print of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, which, packed as it is with recipes and little historical tidbits, led us to the legend of the Joe Frogger.
according to Marblehead Historian Joseph Robinson, "a more uncouth assemblage of ruffians could not be found anywhere." It would not be surprising if the term "Down bucket!" originated here, that fearful Marblehead expression warning those below that the contents of the chamber pot where about to be flung out a bedroom window.Just thinking about these antics makes us hungry--and that's where the famous molasses cookies come into the picture--they were the tavern's signature food item.
Still, as long as frogs continue to hatch in Marblehead ponds and the aroma of gingerbread fills Marblehead kitchens, the lives of Black Joe and Aunty 'Crese will be as sweetly remembered as the taste of their warm Joe Frogger.
We used Betty Crocker's version (which is vegan!); it can be found below, or in the Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.
- 1/2 Cup Shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 cups Gold Medal Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp. nutmet
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
Directions: Mix well shortening and sugar. Stir in molasses and water. Measure flour by sifting. Stir dry ingredients together; blend into shortening mixture. Chill dough several hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Cut in 3-inch circles. Sprinkle with sugar. Place no a well-greased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Leave on baking sheet a few minutes before removing to prevent breaking. Store in covered cookie jar. Makes 3 to 4 doz. cookies. Note: if you use self-rising flour, omit salt and soda.
Cakespy: What made you want to open a cupcake shop?
Jill Segal: I was reading an article in TIME Magazine, August 2006, at my dentist's office and the article was about the success of Magnolia Bakery in NY because of Sarah Jessica Parker and Sprinkles in LA [because of] Oprah featuring them. I was SO excited [about] a cupcake shop in St. Louis! I asked the receptionist to make a copy and she gave me the magazine. At the time, my career had been in advertising, so I ran back home (not really) to pull of research on bakeries, coffee houses....That gave me the initial idea.
CS: How has the experience of owning a cupcake bakery been different than you might have anticipated?
JS: I had contacted Elizabeth Faulkner from Citizen Cupcake in San Francisco and she told me it was really hard. She was SO right! Trying to find pastry bakers and designers with AMAZING skills was and has been a long journey. But I can say that we've had our moments, but believe now that our cupcakes are the most moist, decedent, delicious cupcakes found anywhere!
CS: In your opinion, what makes a cupcake life-altering?
JS: The best ingredients, for caramel we only use Dulche de Leche, it is a Spanish caramel that is milkier (is that a word?) plus creamier and softer, our Carmelita is......first you'll moan, and then....Also, our cake is sooooooo moist, our "stuffing"--whatever we stuff inside--they're past decedent, they are life-altering.....our fudge ganache, the way we whip and whip and whip our butter cream until it's like soft clouds of love in your mouth.
CS: We see mention of a "topping bar" on your site. How does the topping bar work?
JS: The clients can choose from baby junior mints, to health bar...it's set up in a "Bar" container (like the ones at a "Bar" that holds olives, lemon twists,...cute huh.)
CS: It seems like there must be a story behind the "cupcake clusters" on your menu--can you tell us how they came to be?
JS: We bake everyday, so at the end of the day if we have extra cakes we bake them to a crouton....you know the rest!
CS: What's your favorite item on the menu?
JS: The Carmelita! We also did a seasonal cupcake that I crave...vanilla cake, stuffed with a pumpkin mousse and topped off with chocolate & pumpkin buttercream! OMG!
Cakespy Note: What exactly is a Gooey Butter Cake? According to Wikipedia,
Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the U.S. city of St. Louis, Missouri, with a bottom layer of buttery yellow cake and a top layer of either egg and cream cheese, or butter and sugar. It is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a dessert cake. It is believed to have originated around 1943.
A legend about the cake's origin is included in Saint Louis Days, Saint Louis Nights, a cookbook published in the mid-1990s by the Junior League of St. Louis. The cake was supposedly first made by accident in the 1930s by a St. Louis-area German American baker who was trying to make regular cake batter but reversed the proportions of sugar and flour.
CS: Some say that "pie is the new cake". What is your response to this bold statement?
JS: We had baby pies that we sold and did great. I don't think it's the new cake, but a preference for certain people...
CS: What's next for Jilly's Cupcake Bar?
A note from our sponsor
I asked the live receptionist to make a copy and she gave me the magazine.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Although ingredients and size are important, it seems that one vital step--the one that intrigues us most--in attaining cookie nirvana is letting the dough rest for 36 hours.
Desperately seeking sweetness: who is the artist?
I seem to have the "deconstructing" nature that I notice in the prose of professional food writers. They are able tell you about the meal, including the look, taste, and ambiance, by poetically describing the parts. I too focus on the bits and parts of a meal to evoke the whole. Rather than words, I use color, pattern, texture and shape. This is how I approach my work, including commissions, which can be anything from depicting a family recipe, to creating a site and color specific piece for that little slice of wall under a cabinet and above the counter in a client's kitchen. It's the same process with my cardboard sculpture. Although it is three dimensional, cardboard has color, pattern, texture and shape. I especially love the inconsistencies and little imperfections that arise in the final pieces from the "Cardboard Kitchen". It's just like finished recipes from the other kitchen in that way, but without the oven of course!
I love painting sweets! They're always beautiful, happy, and fun. But, my favorite baked subject has to be the cupcake! The variations are endless. It's like a fashion show! Enrobing can run from classic buttercream to the cupcake encrusted with the most outrageously gorgeous colors and fondant decorations. Even the outer garment, the paper cup, can make a stylish appearance. And of course there's the cake as the surprise. I just bought a little beauty to paint from a local bakery. The cake is pineapple rum flavored. I am so excited! So now I have to admit I also love to eat them. I think of it as eating a whole cake at once!
We Seattlites are incredibly lucky to have many truly wonderful cafes, bistros, restaurants, and bakeries. I can never decide on just where to take visitors, unless I have a month. And are we ever blessed in the cupcake department! We not only have several very well known bakeries dedicated to the cupcake, we have a head spinning array of bakeries producing delicious, elegant, high quality gemlike cupcakes! Are we in heaven?
That's easy...there is so much beautiful food out there!
Large format paintings are available through the artist's website, artonthemenu.com. Small format paintings, and cardboard sculpture are available through her etsy shop, artonthemenu.etsy.com.
(Cakespy Note: Since the cookies were shipped to us, the cookies shown in our photos may differ in appearance from cookies purchased in Baltimore! They were no less delicious though.)
Of course, as the article goes on to say, "This, of course, leads to dilemmas when sharing your Berger Cookies with others". Because if you're like us, when you bite into that "absurdly generous schmear", there's no turning back, and certainly no offering bites to others. The beauty is not only in taste (which one Serious Eats reader described as "almost nauseating--in a good way") but in texture--whereas on other cookies the chocolate topping may be hard and break off unevenly, the soft fudge on the Berger cookie doesn't crack when bitten, and therefore allows the perfect ratio of chocolate to cookie with every bite.
...the extra-thick layer of fudge, which is nearly a half an inch at its thickest point (yes, we measured), is applied in an absurdly generous schmear that can barely be contained by the limited surface area of the cookie. As a result, the fudge tends to droop over the cookie in odd formations with distinctive wave patterns--like chocolaty stalagtites. What's more, the actual amount of fudge can vary dramatically from cookie to cookie.
Do you remember the day you were born, Cakespy? After all, it was one year ago--on August 1----that we made our inaugural post. How the time has gone! In some ways we can't believe it's been a year, and yet at the same time, it seems inconceivable that it's only been a year. One sugar-filled, dentist's nightmare of a year.
- Winner 1 will get the original painting shown at the top;
- Winner 2 will get a Cakespy T-Shirt (Unisex sizes XS-L, winner will be notified and asked for a size; no need to put it in your response);
- Winners 3 and 4 will receive a box of 10 assorted Cakespy Notecards!
- What kind of cake did you have for your birthday when you were little?
- What kind of cake do you want for your next birthday?
- Whipped cream frosting: yes or no? (Feel free to explain)
- Licking the frosting from the bottom of the candles: do you do it?
- Fruit filling: a sweet surprise, or disappointment in the middle?
- Ice cream cakes: awesome or awful?
- Is it wrong to have a birthday pie instead of a cake?
- What's the best thing about birthday cake?
It's the end of the month again, which brings certain things: rent is due, the calendar must be changed...and the Daring Bakers Challenge. This month, the assignment was to make a Gâteau Filbert (a challenge suggested by Mele Cotte). What is a Gâteau Filbert? Well, on first impression, it seemed to be a pinkies-out way of saying "Hazelnut Cake". But it made us wonder--is there a difference between a gâteau and a cake? It seems that we intuit differences between them--to us, a gâteau is something fancy from a French bakery, whereas cake is what your momma makes for your birthday. You can't make a gâteau from a mix...right? But is there really a difference, or is it just translation? We took some time to tackle the issue, on several criteria. (Of course, if you just wanna bake already, please continue on to find the recipe link below).
Gâteau: a cake, esp. a very light sponge cake with a rich icing or filling.
Cake. The original dividing line between cake and bread was fairly thin: [in] Roman times eggs and butter were often added to basic bread dough to give a consistency we would recognize as cakelike, and this was frequently sweetened with honey. Terminologically, too, the earliest English cakes were virtually bread, their main distinguishing characteristics being their shape--round and flat--and the fact that they were hard on both sides from being turned over during baking...
Gâteau. English borrowed gâteau from French in the mid-nineteenth century, and at first used it fairly indiscriminately for any sort of cake, pudding, or cake-like pie...Since the Second World War, however, usage of the term has honed in on an elaborate 'cream cake': the cake element, generally a fairly unremarkable sponge, is in most cases simply an excuse for lavish layers of cream, and baroque cream and fruit ornamentation....
Cake is a Viking contribution to the English language; it was borrowed from Old Norse kaka, which is related to a range of Germanic words, including modern English cook.
Gâteau is the modern French descendant of Old French guastel, 'fine bread'; which is probably of Germanic origin.Perhaps the more direct Germanic lineage of the word "Gateau" would explain why of the two it seems more closely related to the torte?
- It seems to us that while a Gâteau is a cake, a cake is not necessarily a gâteau.
- Cakes are more likely to have a buttercream frosting, whereas gâteaux are more likely to have a rich buttery between-layer ingredient, and generally has a thinner icing.
- Like many French things, a gâteau is just fancier. At least, we've never seen a Gâteau Funfetti in the cake mix aisle.
- Alas--a gâteau takes longer to make, and goes stale quicker. Not that we have any problem getting it into our bellies before it goes stale...
- Regardless of name or origin, both are exceedingly delightful.