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Monday
Nov102008

Cake Poll: WINter Wonderland Giveaway!

WINterwonderland Giveaway!
Halloween and the election are over...whew! And now, we're at the cusp of the sweetest season of the year, that series of two months where we eat copious amounts of delicious pumpkin pie and christmas cookies. That's right--November is the point of do not pass go, do not diet until New Year's.

And in celebration, we're offering a seasonal sweets poll! It's a bounty of five sweet prizes--for five separate winners! The following prizes are being offered:

  • One lucky winner will receive a cupcake tote bag from Penguinbot! Love is in the details with this sturdy, durable vinyl tote--it's delicately reverse-appliquéd with an adorable cupcake, with the an inner lining of bright, contrasting pattered fabric. It's an extremely well-made bag which would usually retail for $50 (and would be worth every penny). Even if you don't win, you should probably buy one (you know, to help the economy); you can get one here.
  • Two lucky winners will receive Elisa Strauss' new book, Confetti Cakes for Kids. Even without kids, these recipes are super fun and the pictures are amazing to look at!
  • Two winners will receive a pack of Cakespy Holiday notecards! Each pack includes an assortment of cards which are guaranteed to make this the sweetest holiday season ever!

What do you have to do to enter? Don't worry, it's easy. All you have to do is answer the following two questions.

 

1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

But wait, there's more! If you copy and paste (or include a link to) a recipe for either of your responses, you'll be entered into the drawing twice! That's right...double your chances of winning!

SORRY--THE POLL IS NOW CLOSED!

 

 

Friday
Nov072008

Cookies So Nice, They Baked Them Twice: Musings on Biscotti, Mandelbrot and More!

Chris made the cutest biscotti ever
(The mini biscotti pictured was made by ace Seattle Pastry Chef Chris Jarchow!)


What in the world is a twice-baked cookie?

 

To discover the real meaning of the twice-baked cookie, you've got to start with the biscuit. In terms of etymology, "biscuit" means "twice cooked"--and acording to John Ayto's book An A-Z of Food & Drink, "its name reflects the way in which it was once made. The originl biscuit was a small flat cake made of wheat flower, sugar, egg yolks, and perhaps a little yeast. It was intended for long keeping, so to dry it out it was returned to the oven for a while after the initial cooking process had finished". The signature hard texture and long shelf life has endeared the twice-baked cookie to seafaring voyagers, teething babies, and lends itself quite nicely to dunking in sweet wine.

In the United States, the term "biscuit" refers to something else these days, but the concept of a twice-baked cookie is still very much alive. To Americans, the most famous example is probably the Italian version, biscotti. It's arguable, but our theory for its preeminence is that it grew in popularity with the coffee-house revolution that hit the US in a big way, in which biscotti was a common food to be offered.

Interestingly enough however, many different cultures boast some variation on this biscuit--and so we've prepared a small primer on some of the twice-baked cookies out there for you. (Note: If you want to read more about it, check out this article too!).

 

Biscotti by the Italian Woman at the Table

Biscotti: While in Italy, biscotti is a kind of catch-all phrase for cookies, in North America, we think of it as a long, dry, hard twice-baked cookie with a curved top and flat bottom designed for dunking into wine or coffee. The name biscotti is derived from 'bis' meaning twice in Italian and 'cotto' meaning baked or cooked. Generally, what separates biscotti from other variations is that it frequently gets its fat solely from eggs and nuts--often it does not contain oil or butter. Of course, these days there are all sorts of variations, so this is not a hard-fast rule. Here's a link to a delicious recipe.

 

Beschuit met Muisjes
Beschuit met muisjes: In this Dutch version, which translates to "biscuits with little mice", a twice-baked bread not unlike the rusk (below) is characterized mostly by its garnish: according to Wikipedia,

They are spread with butter (or margarine) and the muisjes (lit. 'little mice') are sprinkled on top. These muisjes are sugared aniseed balls. They are sold in a mixture of two colours: White and pink. In 1990 a new mixture was introduced: white and blue, and it has become a custom, but not a universal one, that the latter (blue) are served when a boy is born, and the former (pink) for a girl. When a child is born in to the royal House of Orange, orange muisjes are sold.

 

 

Croquets de carcassonne (or biscotte): This is the french variation on biscotti; from what we could find, the major difference seems to be that biscotte contains butter (and plenty of it!). While we couldn't find the reasoning behind the name Croquets de carcassone, it did have a nice ring to it, so we included it! Here's a recipe.

 

Marla's Mandels
Mandelbrodt (also known as Mandelbread, Mondelbrodt, Mondel bread, and probably more that we've missed!): Never heard of it? No surprise. As our foodie crush Arthur Schwartz writes, "Isn't it ironic? It used to be that biscotti were explained as Italian mandelbread. These days, mandelbread is explained as Jewish biscotti." While mandelbrodt shares similarities to biscotti, it is not the same: unlike biscotti, which gets its fat primarily from eggs, mandelbrodt will generally contain oil as well. And while nuts are common in biscotti, they're a key ingredient in mandelbrodt, which literally translates to "almond bread". If you're curious, you can buy some via mail-order at marlasmandels.com (photo above); also, you can find a recipe here!

Lulu's Mondel Bread
Paxemadia (or biskota): In this Greek version, from what we can gather, the main variation here is with spices--one informative biscotti recipe posting suggests that you could make a biscotti recipe into the Greek variation by adding "a flavor mixture of 1/4 cup flour mixed into 1 tablespoon crushed coriander seed, 1 tablespoon crushed anise seeds, 2 tablespoons grated orange peel, 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel; and 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts."

Rusks: Like the term "biscuit", "rusk" seems to be more of a concept, with all sorts of different cultural variations, from long, slender versions to small rounds to toast-shaped versions. Like Mandelbrodt, the rusk differs from biscotti in that it will often contain an added fat--oil, or sometimes butter. One thing seems certain though: more than any other variation, the Rusk seems to be attached to seafaring culture--Swedish recipe books and John Ayto's book (referenced above) both refer to it as a cookie that accompanied naval officers and sailors on long voyages. Here's a recipe.

Sukhariki: The Russian term also seems to be a catch-all, referring to any type of crispy bread, from more crouton-esque variations to sweetened ones. Here's a hazelnut variation.
Zwieback
Zwieback: Per Wikipedia, the name comes from German zwei, meaning "two", and backen, meaning "to bake". This is the only variation in which we saw recipes that called for yeast, and indeed, this would be in keeping with it sometimes being referred to as "zwieback toast". Of course, this is not to be confused with Russian Mennonite Zwieback, which is more like a roll. More than any other variation, we associate this one as a baby's toothing snack. Most notably, however, we have to say, zwieback certainly takes the cake when it comes to cultural references. here are just a few:

  • In an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Homer the Smithers", the character Smithers remarks to his boss Mr. Burns, "...I've alphabetized your breakfast. You can start with the waffles, and work your way up to the zwieback."
  • In the 1991 classic film Doc Hollywood, when Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox) first arrives in Grady, nurse Packer tells him there is Zwieback and Vitamin C in the cabinet.
  • In "Dear Mildred", an episode of the TV series M*A*S*H, Radar O'Reilly compares his first days with Colonel Potter to visiting summers with his prim-and-proper aunt; "You can't dunk your zwieback in your Bosco."
  • In her song "Caving In", Kimya Dawson sings that she is "just a piece of zwieback toast getting soggy in a baby's aching mouth."

 

 

Thursday
Nov062008

Cuppie Capers: Yes We Cake

Yes We Cake

P.S. Love this design? Why not order a 10-pack of postcards? Available for pre-order now at cakespyshop.com!

 

 

Wednesday
Nov052008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Aran of Cannelle Et Vanille

Interview with Aran of Cannelle et Vanille
 

Cannelle Et Vanille. Some may argue that this means "cinnamon and vanilla"--but those people would be fools. Consult the Dictionary of Cakespy you'll find a far more poetic translation, along the lines of "most beautiful pastry website on the glowing technological wonder we call the internet". Seriously--this is a site with all hits, no misses. Aran, the incredibly skilled pastry chef and photographer behind the Florida-based operation, originally hails from the Basque Country, and that certain European je ne sais quoi has a way of creeping into everything she does, from stunning Îles flottantes surrounded by a web of spun sugar to super-stylish ice cream sandwiches. Let's learn a bit more about her, shall we?

Cakespy: Why did you start your site?
Cannelle et Vanille: I left work to take care of my son and the first year after he was born, I realized I had not been baking enough and something was missing in my life. I didn’t really know what blogs were until a friend of mine introduced me to Cupcake Bakeshop and then I found Tartelette. One Sunday afternoon, I just started a blog out of the blue and I haven’t stopped since.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: There's no delicate way to say it: your site is food porn. How does it feel to know that all over the world, people are drooling over your site?
CV: It feels great! I never thought so many people would follow my blog but I love thinking that every dessert I make and every photo I take can make one person smile. It still amazes me.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: It seems like a lot of people who begin blogs / sites dedicated to their passion find that it really changes the way they look at the world. How has your site changed life / the way you look at baking?
CV: It really hasn’t changed the way I look at baking. I really just bake what comes to me naturally. But what I have found is that I have struck friendships with people that I would have never met in any other way.


Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: You're from Basque country. What foods do you miss from home?
CV: So many to count… little tiny green peppers from Gernika, fresh fish, red beans from Tolosa, great produce, mamia and my uncle’s puff pastry!
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: Is the US approach to food and eating really as repulsive as we suspect it is to people from other countries?
CV: “Repulsive” is a harsh word… I wouldn’t say repulsive. I think there are many people in this country who enjoy fine food. I don’t mean expensive food per se, I mean people that know how to identify fresh fish, how to smell bread or pick great fruit. But I think that the masses are still way behind of how food is viewed in other countries such as my own.
Cakespy Note: Clearly Aran is too diplomatic to say "You Big Mac-eating Americans are gross!". But we have our suspicions. Oh yes.

Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: Following up on that point, a while back you actually sent us some of your delectable lemon-olive oil madeleines. Well, I (Head Spy Jessie) personally would like to admit that I hoarded them and shared only one with Mr. Cakespy. Does this make me a bad person?
CV: No, it makes me laugh! It reminds me of myself when I was 7 years old and my grandmother gave me a small white chocolate Nestle bar. I was holding the chocolate bar when my brothers entered the room and I stuffed it all in my mouth, all at once, so I didn’t have to share it with them!
Note from the Head Spy: Allow me to clarify that while Aran was seven during her hoarding incident, I was 26. Yeah.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: If you could spend time baking with any figure in the food world--living or dead--who would it be?
CV: It would definitely be my grandfather Angel who was also a pastry chef. A fine one if I may say so. He retired when I was about 9 years old so I never had a chance to work with him.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: You have pretty much the cutest son, like, ever. What's his favorite dessert?
CV: He loves everything and it can be a problem sometimes. He particularly likes my banana bread but will try anything I give him.

 

CS: If pressed, what would you say the next big thing will be in baking or baked goods?
CV: I think small and delicate will stick around. I like the idea of a small treat. I like leaving wanting more. I also think a natural and rustic approach to food is necessary. I don’t think this is a new idea at all, but I see a lot of focus on it once again.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: Does your family ever get pissed off that they can't eat dessert til your photo shoot is over?
CV: Yes and they drive me insane! The pressure is always on. I sometimes have to hide things in unexpected places so they don’t disappear before the photo shoot.

Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille

CS: What is your ultimate goal as a baker...and with your site?
CV: It’s hard to say. Baking is almost like an impulse for me. Sometimes I feel like an idea comes over my body and I must transform it into something sweet. It’s like purging, otherwise I go insane.
I think as of now, my goal is for me to become a better photographer. That’s where I am at the moment.
Want more? Get yourself over to Cannelle Et Vanille right away; check out her wonderful photos at flickr. If you're interested in hiring Aran, she's available, baby--she's mos' def your girl for recipe development, consulting and food photography and can be contacted through her site.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Nov042008

Sweet Spot: Dessert Links!

Sweetiepie in Norwich Notes

Golly, the internet is a sweet place! Here are the places we've been getting our fix this week:
Did you really need another reason to just get out there and vote? How about free sweets? A huge number of bakeries, doughnut joints and ice cream shops are offering either free, discounted or special goodies today in celebration of the big event--Cupcake Royale (Seattle), Retro Bakery (Las Vegas), Ben + Jerry's (all over), Cupcake Jones (Portland), and so many more!

 

Bmoresweet bakes cupcakes for her candidate. Delicious!

Cards from Bethany's shop!
So sweet: new silkscreened cards from Bethany Schlegel Art + Design.

Grown-up candy bars that we're in love with at bonbonbar.com.

We definitely need more event planners like Amy Atlas: she does dessert parties!

After reading about them in Vogue and Coolhunting, all we can say is when, when will you open, oh soon-to-be darling of Greenwich Village, Sweetiepie? When we went by last month, all we saw was construction!

How to serve dainty desserts? How 'bout on sweet monogrammed plates by LA Plates? We love the solid pink style!

It was about time this little-known dessert hit the mainstream: say hello to StickyToffeePuddingCompany.com! (via the Nibble)

 

 

Monday
Nov032008

Cakespy Undercover: Seeting Sweetness in and around Ames, Iowa

Dutch Oven Bakery, IowaBabies love baked goods, Iowa

Recently our own Cake Gumshoe Barbara took a trip to Ames, Iowa, and along with her pint-sized assistant--shown above--left a trail of sugar crumbs in her wake. Here's what she tasted: 
While she was visiting Ames, Iowa, home of Iowa State University, Cake Gumshoe Barbara went in search of cupcakes because all university towns must have cupcakes! Sadly, when we arrived at noon the sugar starved students had bought all the cupcakes for the day so we were introduced to the Dutch Oven Bakery's specialty...Dutch Letters. This was an outstanding find, light flaky pastry surrounding a delicious almond paste and all coated in cinnamon and sugar. This treat was brought to Iowa by the Dutch settlers who knew a good treat and kept it. Even the youngest university student (see above for our Cake Gumshoe's young yet esteemed assistant) found this delectable and used his two new teeth to gnaw on it!

 

The Dutch Oven Bakery, 219 Duff, Ames, Iowa, (515)232-9244; online at dutchovenbakeryiowa.com(Note: The bag in the photo says Boone, (not Daniel's hometown) but that is the other location. Boone is only a few miles from Ames.)

Our Cake Gumshoe and her assistant moved on to the local home of great seasonal favorites at the Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge, Iowa. Now as Cakespy knows, this Gumshoe has spent her life seeking out the perfect Apple Cider Donut and she thought it lived at Delicious Orchards in New Jersey, but another award winner was found! These donuts have all of the requirements of a great apple cider donut, they were light and spongy with great texture, covered with cinnamon and sugar and WARM!!! They are well worth the trip to Iowa! (As a note, said Gumshoe is on Weight Watchers and held off at only eating three.) My little assistant got his baby nibble and smacked his lips for more. He was only enticed away by taking him out to the pumpkin patch!

Center Grove Orchards, 32835 610th Ave., Cambridge, Iowa, 1-888-2-APPLE-I; online at centergroveorchard.com.

 

 

 

Friday
Oct312008

The Horror: When Bad Things Happen to Good Candy

Killed them dead
It's been proven in horror movies again and again: when you dabble in mad science, there will be casualties. Suddenly, people and things change into something else...something evil. Case in point: Frankenstein; Night of the Living Dead; Pet Semetary.

It was in this state of mind that we decided to go all mad science on a bowl of Halloween candy. Our weapon of destruction? The Microwave. We microwaved various Halloween treats in 30-second increments to see which would last the longest--and which ones would succumb easily and quickly to their fate, by popping or exploding or bubbling up. Why did we do this? Well, why do we watch horror movies? Morbid curiosity, the desire to feel alive...and you know, for entertainment.

Here are the scary results:

Snickers Pumpkin HeadSnickers Pumpkin head--killed!

Victim 1: The Snickers Halloween Ghost. The Snickers ghost had a frightening little face, which made it all the more apt when his inner filling exploded after about a minute and a half and his smile was cut in half. "Oh" he seems to be saying, "it smarts!". Overall though, this was a pretty clean and quick goodbye.

 

Tootsie RollsTootsie Rolls
Dead Tootsie Rolls

Victim 2: Tootsie Rolls. We chose a grouping of three 'rolls, including lime, the little-seen vanilla and the classic chocolate (that is what it's supposed to be flavored, right?). It took about 2 minutes, but they dissolved into a very satisfying goo, the green portion of which was not unlike the slime we remember from the You Can't Do That On Television days.  

Buzzard NestBuzzard Nest
Six Minutes
Victim 3: Russel Stover Buzzard Nest. We weren't quite sure how this one quite worked as a Halloween treat--we suspect it was leftover Easter chicks' nests repurposed for the fall--but whatever reasoning behind it, the fact is that this candy simply would not die. At two minutes, it had barely broken a sweat; at three, four and five minutes, still nothing. It wasn't until minute six that the chocolate even began to melt away a little bit and the candy coating on the jellybeans began to give way. While we admire how long this candy held on, we're not sure if we would ever wanna put it in our bodies.

DotsDead Dots
Victim 4: Dots. What are the odds that our box would have ONLY red (and one orange) candy? These ones didn't look like they were going to break down, until minute three, when a small popping sound could be heard. Though they were still solid, when prodded with a fork they kind of exploded open into a visually satisfying, viscous jelly-mass. Mmm, undead Dots.

Tootsie PopsKilled them dead
Victim 5: Tootsie Pops. How many licks does it take to get to the center? Who cares, when you can see how many minutes it takes to melt them into oblivion? It took about 2 minutes til the Orange pop was toast. Strangely, the grape pop still seemed to be holding its ground even while the orange candy began bubbling up and turning orange. Freaky.

It's the same as the regular sampler!Sampler ChocolatesDead!Sampler--Dead!

 

 

Victim 6: The Whitman Sampler. The Whitman Halloween sampler is a lie: it's just wrapped in different paper! After discovering this we didn't feel at all bad about melting them. After just about a minute they were starting to sweat--at two minutes, they had all exploded, leaking sweet fillings all over the plate. Rest in Peace, fair Whitman Sampler.

Reese's CupMelty
Victim 7: Reese's Peanut butter Cup. In retrospect, this was the most beautiful demise of all: after about a minute and thirty seconds, the chocolate was beginning to melt; by two and a half minutes, it had melted into an elegant, accordionesque pattern, and still actually looked appetizing. Would you judge if we admitted we split this one and did in fact eat it?
The Final Word: OK, OK, so we should say that we don't necessarily suggest that you try this at home. However, we're glad that we were able to conduct this experiment--now that it's done, we feel as if learned a few things about Halloween Candy--and, you know, the dark parts of our souls. 
Happy Halloween!

 

 

Wednesday
Oct292008

One Smart Cookie: Love at First Bite with Carol's Cookies

Carol's Cookies
Our love affair with Carol's Cookies began in an unlikely way.

It all began when the Starbucks (a local company, you may have heard of them) marketing people sent us a coupon to try out their new Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Not prone to turning away free stuff, we ventured over to the 'Bucks, where we sampled the goods. The hot chocolate has a nice flavor--with the slightest salty aftertaste to balance the sweetness--but it's rich as all get-out, and gave a delirious sugar-high after about 6 of the 12 ounces of a small--er, "Tall". Unable to sit still and draw cupcakes after that jolt, our spy ended up taking a long walk and idly looking at the Whole Foods bakery case: it was there that Cakespy encountered the $2.99, 8-ounce (yes, we weighed it) chocolate-walnut deliciousness made by Chicago-based Carol's Cookies. Clearly, it was time to prolong that sugar high.


Carol's Cookies
Our first thought was that these were similar to the large cookies made by Levain, but upon the first bite it was clear that the resemblance was only visual--their textures and flavors, while both delicious, were very different. Whereas Levain's cookies have a delicious crunchiness to the texture,  Carol's cookies are a dream to cookie-dough lovers: lightly crisped on the exterior, giving way to a so-good-it-tingles soft, gooey interior, with pockets of caramel-y brown sugar, studded--but not saturated--with chocolate chips and nuts. The rich flavor is chased by the slightest bit of nuttiness (perhaps due to their use of wheat flour?) and a baby-bit of saltiness. 
And if they hadn't already won us over with their flavor, the indulgent cookie enhancement ideas on the site sealed the deal--once we saw their suggestion for the Breakfast of Champions--"Break up an Oatmeal Raisin with Pecans Cookie and add your favorite milk for a great way to start your day"--we knew we'd discovered a kindred spirit. 
Intrigued? Carol's Cookies are available at Whole Foods locations all over the US.

 

 

Wednesday
Oct292008

Sweet Spot: Dessert Links!

Fred's Peace of Cake
The internet is a sweet place: here's what we're in love with this week!

Have yourself a peace of cake: invest in Fred's new peace-sign shaped cake pan! Not only will you have a cool-looking cake, but you'll be helping give back: a portion of proceeds will be used to contribute to nonprofit organizations dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflict. It can also be purchased here! (We love Fred!)
Did you enjoy our sweet trompe-l'œil a while back? Well, you'll get a kick out of Feeding Maybelle's complementary post: savory foods made to look like sweets, including meat loaf smothered in mashed potatoes and made to look like Baked Alaska and a savory bean layer cake.
I didn't make these but I wish I had
Coco Cake makes the cutest petits-fours ever. Period.
A retail bakery dedicated to the Black and White Cookie? Yes please. Open your next store in Seattle though!
Not new, but we just discovered (and are alternately fascinated and disgusted by) the Krispy Kreme Burger. Sweet surprise, or heart attack on a plate? Perhaps a little of both?
Did you know that September was National Biscuit Month? Better late than never--we love the cinnamon-and-sugar smothered  variety at Callie's Biscuits from Charleston.
Chefshop.com sells Goat's Milk Dulce de Leche, and offers this sweet legend: 
It is said that Dulce de Leche was first created on a battlefield in Argentina in 1829. The story goes that two opposing generals were to meet to sign a war-ending treaty. While a serving woman was making sweetened milk ("La Lechada") for one of the generals, there was a scuffle and she forgot about the heating milk. When she finally remembered the milk, it had cooked down to a jelly-like consistency, turned a dark brown, and was absolutely delicious. Dulce de Leche was born, and was enjoyed by the brave and very hungry soldiers.

 

Fact or fiction? Either way, a wonderful story about a sweet treat that can't be beat. 

Til next time, stay sweet!

 

 

Monday
Oct272008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Matt and Renato of Baked, Brooklyn NY

Batter Chatter with Baked
(Cakespy Note: Many of the photos in this interview are c/o the Baked website, and were taken by Tina Rupp and Brian Kennedy).


In case you're not familar, this is Baked, a sweet little spot in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

 

Baked exterior

These are Renato and Matt, the adorable owners.


Renato and Matt, Baked
And these are some of their baked goods. 
Coconut cupcakes from Baked
Cake, baked
Malted Cake, Baked

If it's not already clear why we love Baked and its bakers, then please scroll back and review the photos again (and smack yourself while you're at it). Yes, we love Baked--and so it should be no surprise that we also love their brand new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, which includes recipes for a great variety of their gorgeously decadent, down-home-with-a-gourmet-touch baked goods, as well as the sweet stories behind them. 
Recently we caught up with them when they passed through Seattle on their book tour. Knowing that they've been doing a lot of interviews, we decided to conduct ours a little bit differently--putting them on the spot by having their own baked goods conduct a picto-interview. In a sort of rorschach-type manner, they were presented the following images and asked to react. 
Baked Faceoff
Question one was presented by the Baked Brownie and the Bakedbar.

Matt: Almost always theBaked Brownie--I love the Bakedbar...I mean, they're both our children...but I think the Baked Brownie is a little tougher.
Renato: A little meaner.
Matt: Yes...a little meaner.
Cakespy: So that's it. Sophie's Choice--you win, Baked Brownie.

Baked Good Response: Bakedbar bows head in shame, little coconut bits drooping sadly.

 

Sweet n Salty Cake
Question two addressed the buzz about the bakery case's heartthrob, the Sweet & Salty Cake (dark chocolate cake infused with a salty caramel, caramel chocolate ganache and topped with fleur de sel.).


Renato: It's a classic combination that nobody really thinks about--that sweet and salty combination, with dark chocolate, caramel, fleur de sel, it comes together in this way that makes all other desserts bow down to it.
Matt: It's an obsessive dessert, that's for sure.
Renato: When people bite into it, you see their face just...melt.
Cakespy: And then it's just a journey to see how fast they can cram it into their mouth.

Baked good response: Sweet & Salty says "Please, ladies and gentlemen...there's enough of me to go around!"

 

muffin
Question three addresses a serious cake issue--cupcakes vs. muffins--is the banana espresso chocolate chip muffin in their book really just cake in disguise?


Matt: Oh, absolutely. There's no doubt about it. The best muffin is just a cake in disguise.
Renato: It's kind of like a naked cake--there's just no frosting.

Baked Good response: "I've been living a lie!"

 

Headpiece faceoff
Question four addressed headpieces: whose is awesomer, the meringue topped tart, or their logo-mascot deer?


Renato: My answer is the mascot...we use him everywhere--on tote bags, buttons, tee-shirts...
Matt: Is it possible they could be equally awesome?
Renato: I do love lemon, but I'm gonna go with the stag.
Matt: I'm gonna go equal.
Cakespy: I'll try to be diplomatic here: while the stag's antlers may be slightly more awesome, the lemon meringue is likely more delicious. (Matt and Renato seem to like that).

Baked Good Response: Tart says "What does stag have that I don't?"

 

Tricolor cookiesBaked Tricolor Cookies
Question five tackled the Baked take on the tricolor cookie, which is different from the traditional Italian-flag coloring. It begs the question--would theirs get beat up in Little Italy? 


Renato: Probably.
Matt: Probably.
Renato: Ours are very delicate--they're made in small batches, with a circular cutter--those other ones are mass produced, and so would overpower them by sheer number.
Cakespy: So we'll keep them in their corner of Brooklyn--out of Bensonhurst.
Baked Good Response: "I'm a delicate flower--keep me away from those thug-cookies!"

velvet
Question six was posed by the Red-Hot Velvet cake: "Am I the sexiest cake in the case?"

Matt: Oh yeah. Everyone wants a piece of that red velvet. It's just that deep scarlet red, with a little bit of cinnamon in the buttercream...you just can't go wrong. I think that a lot of red velvet cakes look like the crazy aunt--but this is the sexy nymph.
Renato: If you watch Mad Men...this cake is Joan.
Baked Good Response: "You know you want me."

 

German Chocolate Cake
Chocolate chip cookies, Baked
Question seven came to us from German Chocolate cake, the underdog of the bakery case--always a solid choice, but so rarely the #1 choice. He asks in a winsome manner, "Which one of us would you take with you on a desert island?". We can tell he hopes it's him.

Matt: I don't know if I would take German Chocolate...but I would definitely send him notes back home.
Renato: I'd want more buttercream.
Matt: We're indulgent to a fault.
Renato: I'd put a letter in a bottle in hopes that it would get back to him.
Matt: Yeah, we'd definitely send letters and money.
But what would you choose?
Matt: I'd choose the Baked brownie. I'm a brownie fan, and that's the reason to be for me.
Renato: I'd take the chocolate chip cookie, because I could eat that every day and not get tired of it.

Baked Good Response: Cue the "Debbie Downer" music.

Wanna get Baked? Check out their site at bakednyc.com. We also highly suggest their book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking!

 

 

 

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