Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured: 

Olive oil coconut macaroons

 

Unicorn Love: the Eating Disorder Recovery Blog

 

 Buy my brilliant books!

Buy my new book!

Buy my first book, too! 

CakeSpy Online Retail!

 

Archives
Gallery

Fantastic appliance for cake making on DHgate.com

everyrecipe.co.nz

Craftsy Writer
Saturday
Mar072015

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cake

Got eggs, peanut butter and sugar? You could be enjoying this cake in less than an hour. Really. 

It's only three ingredients, but it tastes way fancier. Trust me: try this one. 

Intrigued? Recipe here. 

Friday
Mar062015

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Watercolor batik

Melt or temper? Here's a guide to when to do what. (Baking 911)

Our history is jotted on recipe cards. A sweet essay. (Charlotte News Observer)

Gluten-free hummingbird cake. (Craftsy)

Virtuous no-bake lemon bars. They look delicious, virtue or no! (Sun Diego Eats)

A new book explores the history of nutritional supplements. Interesting! (NY Times)

Opening a young coconut. (Faye's Fork)

Fruity pebble cereal baked doughnuts. (American Heritage Cooking

Cinnamon roll cheesecake? I'm into it. (Life, Love, and Sugar)

Bananas foster bread pudding. YES! (Grandbaby Cakes)

It's a good day to make Nanaimo bars, I think. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

Brownies with coconut and matcha swirl. I'd give 'em a whirl. (Mainly Baking)

Awesome, inspiring beaded wedding cakes. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

I am very into these saucepan brownies. (The Cooking of Joy)

Book of the week: Raising Unicorns: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Running a Successful - and Magical! - Unicorn Farm No, not technically a cookbook, but magical enough to bear mention on this site. The description really does it for me: "In this book, author Jessica S. Marquis provides everything you need to know to make a good living as a unicorn farmer. From choosing the right breed (Purebred; Twinkletoe; Karmic; Gigglerump; Horse with Horn) to picking the unicorn farm dream team (an alchemist; stable hands; groomers; The On-Call Virgin (OCV); lawyers), you are guaranteed to have a magical journey."

Wednesday
Mar042015

Giveaway: CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar Filled Life

UPDATE: THE WINNERS!

I have chosen and contacted all of the winners who were chosen at random from the comments on this post and on Facebook - Congratulations!

Winners:

  • Katrina, who chose Biscoff Pop-Tarts 
  • Donna, who chose (good idea) 
  • Mary, who had thoughts of strawberry rhubarb or cafe au lait Pop-Tarts. 

All tasty! Cgongratulations again!

 

--------

Original post:

Hi friends! Happy Wednesday, sugary wishes, etc. Let me get straight to the point: I feel like giving away a few copies of my awesome first book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life

Why? Because if you are what you eat, then we should all eat more awesome and sweet desserts. It will likely make us all better people.

So what do you have to do to enter one of the three copies I am giving away? All you have to do is think about Pop-Tarts. Namely, Pop-Tarts that *should* exist. Like these: 

All you have to do is comment on this post, or on my Facebook page, with an answer to the following important question:

What flavor of Pop-Tart do you think should exist, that doesn't quite yet?

It can be one of the ones that I've drawn on the above illustration, or perhaps a flavor that you've invented in your imagination. 

I'll let you weigh in on this important subject for the next few days, and I'll choose three winners at random on Wednesday, March 11, at 5pm MST. Because shipping overseas is prohibitively expensive, this time the contest is only open to entrants with US shipping addresses. 

Good luck! 

Wednesday
Mar042015

Panettone Monte Cristo Sandwiches

I made something savory. Deal with it.

Monte Cristo sandwich

Well, as savories go, this Monte Cristo-inspired sandwich is sort of a crossover. The traditional sandwich features meat and cheese on bread, which is battered French toast style, toasted, and often served with confectioners' sugar and jam. So it's got one foot in the dessert world, even if technically, it's a savory food. 

Honestly, I don't know why Monte Cristo sandwiches served on panettone aren't a thing. Monte Cristo sandwich The lightly sweet, spongey bread is the absolute perfect carbohydrate for this sandwich: absorbent enough to get crispy and flavorful once toasted with the egg mixture, and with little fruits and bits and bobs which make the whole sandwich more interesting.

If you still think it's totally inappropriate that CakeSpy made something savory, well, I have this to say: you have to warm up for dessert somehow. 

As hybrid foods that span sweet and savory go, this is an indulgent and delicious one. Here's how you make it. 

Monte Cristo sandwich

Panettone Monte Cristo

Makes one large sandwich (suitable for sharing; or, double or triple the recipe)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk or water
  • 2 thick slices of panettone (I used Bauli Pandoro Panettone di Milano, and cut "coins" off of the circular loaf)
  • a few slices of ham
  • a few slices of cheese
  • mayonnaise and mustard to taste
  • jam on the side, if desired 

 Procedure 

  1. Mix together the egg and milk in a shallow bowl. 
  2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt a knob of butter in the pan. 
  3. Brush the first slice of pannettone with the egg mixture on both sides, and place it in the saucepan. Reduce heat to medium low. Toast each side until lightly browned, and remove from the pan to a plate on the side. Repeat with the second slice of pannettone. Turn off the heat for the moment.
  4. Monte Cristo sandwich
  5. Once all of the sides of the pannettone are lightly toasted, spread mayonnaise or mustard on one side of each slice. Place whatever fillings you'd like inside, and sandwich the slices together. 
  6. Put the heat back on to medium-low, and melt more butter in the pan if necessary. Place the sandwich in the pan, and toast on either side until nice and toasty, with the cheese melty in the middle.Monte Cristo sandwich 
  7. Remove, and serve in warm wedges. Serve with jam if desired. 

Have you ever tried a Monte Cristo sandwich?

Monday
Mar022015

Italian in Your Mouth: Torta Caprese

Have you ever heard of Torta Caprese? 

Torta Caprese

My sweetheart was enchanted by this recipe in Brooks Headley's book Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts: The Recipes of Del Posto’s James Beard Award–Winning Pastry Chef. So...well, he made it. And we ate it. And I want to tell you that it is worth your time. 

According to the book, Torta Caprese is an Italian sweet, named for the island of Capri. This is a traditional version that gets its structure from "walnuts and the superpowers of egg whites". 

It's a very thin brownie, so we decided it was better to serve them in little short stacks, like the one pictured (five brownies at once? How American!). Since they're so thin, it's really like making a DIY layer cake. 

Torta Caprese

Every flavor shines in this recipe, so it's a good time to bring out quality ingredients: basically, your brownies will taste as good as the chocolate you use. 

It's also naturally gluten free, "making it perfect for passover, or for that friend who is not eating gluten, for whatever very real or totally imagined reason."

Torta Caprese

Torta Caprese

Only slightly adapted from Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts: The Recipes of Del Posto’s James Beard Award–Winning Pastry Chef.

Yield: 1 baking sheet of brownies

  • Bittersweet chocolate, very best quality, chopped, 1 1/2 cups (200 grams)
  • Walnuts, chopped, 1 3/4 cups (200 grams)
  • Sugar, 3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup (150 grams plus 50 grams) 
  • Salt, 1 teaspoon * (4 grams) - note, original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons
  • Unsalted butter, 2/3 cup (or, 1 1/3 sticks) (155 grams), melted
  • Eggs, 4, separated

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the chocolate, walnuts, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt, until you have chunks of chocolate and walnut that are not huge but not totally obliterated either. You don't want a paste. Avoid that.
  3. Torta caprese
  4. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix well with a rubber spatula. Add the egg yolks, and stir to combine. Set the chocolate mixture to the side. 
  5. Torta caprese
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed, slowly adding the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beating continuously until the whites have a meringue-like texture. Do not overbeat.
  7. Torta caprese
  8. Fold the egg whites gently into the chocolate mixture, and pour the batter on to the prepared baking sheet. 
  9. Torta Caprese
  10. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  11. Torta Caprese
  12. Let the cake cool in the pan, and cut into chunks. This also freezes beautifully, and will last up to 2 months. Just thaw and serve.
  13. Torta Caprese

How many slices would you stack for dessert?

Sunday
Mar012015

Gluten-Free Hummingbird Cake Recipe

I have to tell you, guys and dolls: I am proud of this one. I made a gluten-free hummingbird cake!

You'll never miss the gluten in this one: it's rich, banana-y and best of all, coated in delicious cream cheese frosting. 

Check it: recipe here. 

Saturday
Feb282015

Greek Yogurt Cake Frosting

Buttercream is amazing stuff. I mean, no part of the word is wrong: it's composed of equal parts "butter" and "cream". And the actual substance is great, too: butter, confectioners' sugar, a little cream, and sometimes even pink coloring. 

Yes, I love buttercream. But today I've got to tell you that it's not the only frosting.

Greek yogurt cake frosting deserves your love, too. I would consider this more like a cream cheese frosting in that it has a tang, but the greek yogurt version has a unique texture, which is almost like a soft fondant, that makes it a fascinating food experience. I say you give it a try.

Get the recipe for greek yogurt cake frosting.

Friday
Feb272015

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Look at this thing I ate in New Jersey. Read about it (and more). (CakeSpy)

Art related: what is gouache and how do you use it? (Craftsy)

Cherry-chocolate bombe dessert. You must see this! (Cherry Tea Cakes)

Snickers Poke Cake. Yes, Yes, Yes. (Crazy For Crust)

Gooey filled brownies. OMG. (Handle the Heat)

Chocolate Italian Love Cake. (Chew Nibble Nosh)

Purple sweet potato bao. Adorable! (Everybody Eats Well)

Stippling. What is it? How can you use it to draw cake? Find out here. (Craftsy)

A fun guide to tempering chocolate. (The Guardian)

Expert bakers share their secrets (Good Food AU)

Will the Oscars give Pump Street Bakery (mentioned in an acceptance speech) a sales boost? (Wall Street Journal)

Buckeye brownie cookies. Yes. (Tastes of Lizzy)

Neapolitan seven layer bars. #winning (The Domestic Rebel)

Homemade Vanilla Kreme Donuts a la Dunkin'!. (CakeSpy)

Book of the week: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. Not only is the book beautiful, but the cookie recipes are all 100% solid, and there are some great general baking tips in the book so that you can become a more skilled baker overall. 

Wednesday
Feb252015

Where in the World is CakeSpy This Time? 

Unicorn farm road

If you've been following me on social media lately, you've seen posts from a wide variety of locales, from Asheville, North Carolina to New York City to Litchfield County, Connecticut to...Amarillo, Texas? 

It all might make one start to wonder: where in the world is CakeSpy? Where the heck IS CakeSpy? 

Why don't we catch up so I can tell you where I've been and what I've been doing--and more importantly, eating. 

Before I departed Asheville, I made three very important stops that I feel I should tell you about. The first was to Unicorn Farm Road. I need to tell you: THIS IS A REAL PLACE. One of my yoga school classmates told me about it, and basically I got there as soon as my GPS said I could. 

Unicorn farm road

I wouldn't say that the road matches its name (unless the unicorns are living undercover), but seriously. UNICORN FARM ROAD! 

If that interested you, FYI, there is also a Unicorn Road in Newburyport, Massachusetts (also home of Eat Cake!). Just saying.

After Unicorn Farm Road (can you tell I love saying it?), we hit up Dough, a bakery that had been closed most of January for renovations. Well, it re-opened the day we left, and it had some truly glorious offerings, including their take on a Cronut...

Dough

and a cocoa nib doughnut...

Dough

And many things other than doughnuts, but we didn't try them.

Yumz. We took a few bites but saved some room, because I'd never been to Whit's Frozen Custard before. Yes, it's a chain, but it was a new chain to me. And I'm glad I went there. We got their version of a concrete, which you seriously could have turned over and it wouldn't have dripped out of the cup, it was that thick. I got the cookie dough version, thankyouverymuch. Whit's

Oh, and. It's a bonus fourth thing I did in Asheville, but I got new boots. New Boots

After I departed Asheville, North Carolina (read about what I ate in Asheveille!), me and my family packed up and drove to Richmond, VA to visit an old family friend. Time was at something of a premium there, but we did get a chance to enjoy a fantastic breakfast at Lulu's (red velvet waffle, anyone?), and to pick up some sweet treats at For the Love of Chocolate.

Photo via Lulu's Yelp page

We didn't have time to hit up Dixie Donuts this time, but I can tell you from my previous visits to Richmond, they're worth a visit. 

From Richmond, we backtracked westward, ultimately bound for Santa Fe, New Mexico. But as that drive is impossible to do in one go, we had some pleasant side trips along the way. 

Knoxville

First up was Knoxville, Tennessee. One of my yoga school classmates, Emily, lives there, so we stopped to visit! That's us together, above. We're cute, don't you think? We had lunch at an adorable place called Just Ripe, where they had pecan sorghum pie. We didn't get it, but I was intrigued. Note: Sorghum is big in this area. I was seeing it all over Asheville, too.

Knoxville

After lunch, we went to an adorable chocolate shop called Coffee and Chocolate.

Photo via Coffee and Chocolate's Yelp page

We also couldn't help a quick stop in this adorable gift store called Rala, which sort of reminded me of my old store! They have cute cards by Gemma Corell, pictured below. 

I also saw this, in another gift store. I forget the name of the store, but the unicorn left a lasting impression.

Unicorn, Knoxville

We stopped for a quick dinner in Nashville, and I will tell you, this is my first time having BBQ there! We went to a place charmingly called Peg Leg Porker to partake. They also had locally made fried pies, which we tried...I promise, they tasted better than my picture looks. Fried pie

We also stopped for a coffee at Crema, then were on our way. 

Drive, drive, drive. We stopped in Arkansas so I could take a yoga class, but didn't stop too long otherwise. I didn't eat anything there, but I should let you guys know that I was able to knock Arkanasas off of my "50 states of yoga" list. Along with the trips detailed later, I am up to this point:

More driving, then we had a brief stopover in Oklahoma City to visit Whiskey Cake. I love this restaurant. It's weird because it's oddly chain-y, or it looks like they want to become a national chain, but while it's still a small chain, it's very good. We had (surprise) the whiskey cake.

Photo via Whiskey CakeNo visit to Pinknitzel or Ingrid's Kitchen this time, because then we were on our way to...

Amarillo, Texas. If you've never been to Amarillo, I'm not going to give it a hard sell. But I am going to tell you that if you dig a little, there are some fun bakeries to be found. There's Donut Stop, which is very old school but has good, "like Dunkin' Donuts used to be" sort of donuts. Because it is amusing, I will pause to show you some photos of Porkchop exhibiting curiosity about their donuts for a moment. Donut Stop Donut Stop

As a note, I bought a t-shirt there, which smelled like donuts (really). I didn't want to wash it! But, in case you were worried, I finally did. 

There's also my favorite bakery in Amarillo, Belmar Bakery.

Texas cookies

Belmar Bakery is my favorite probably because it's the same name as the town I grew up in, in New Jersey. It also oddly reminds me of a bakery called Freedman's that was in Belmar forever until last year. But this is in Texas.

Turtle brownie, Belmar Bakery

They have a variety of not-fancy but sweet treats, ranging from kolaches (it's Texas, after all) to cupcakes to brownies. We picked up a nice variety of treats, including brownies, cookies, petits fours, and more. The brownies, in my opinion, were the standouts. 

We also stopped at Braum's, a regional chain which has its last outpost to the west in Amarillo. I love their birthday cake ice cream. 

Braum's

Back in Santa Fe, we were delighted to pick up our favorite cake from Whole Foods (here's my homemade hack of it!). As a note, this one says happy birthday because it is an old photo. My birthday was in August, but you're allowed to send me a present if you like.

Birthday cake

But after about 4 days back in Santa Fe, I was back on the road. I had a trip planned to New York City, Boston, and Connecticut, to try to make some publisher connections. 

So, I got on a midnight plane and the next morning, found myself in cold, cold, cold New York City.

Right after hopping on a red-eye flight, I went straight into Manhattan, to Black Seed Bagels. It was a re-schedule; Arcade Bakery, the initial venue, was closed for the winter break. 

Photo via Black Seed Bagels on Yelp

I walked by the new BAKED location on my way to the meeting, and I can tell you, Baked is good no matter if it's in Tribeca or Brooklyn. 

Photo via BAKED Facebook page

I then got a rental car in New Jersey (it was a lot cheaper), stopped for a cookie with my parents...

Mom's super secret chocolate chip cookies

and drove up to Connecticut. There, I had another meeting but then stayed with some family. To be a good houseguest, I made sure to get them a little cake. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but it was a tiny cake--about 5 inches. This highly adorable cake was purchased at Whole Foods, where they personalized it for me with a heart. Aww!

Little cake from Whole Foods, Danbury

I also had time to stop at Love Heart's Bakery in Litchfield, which I already loved just based on the name, but loved even more once I tasted their English Toffee. 

English Toffee from Love's Heart Bakery, CT

From there, I headed up to the Boston area, where I got to finally meet Andris of Baking Steel, with whom I am collaborating on a project. We talked pizza and steel, then I helped him with a pizza class. 

Photo via Baking Steel

The next morning, I knocked Massachusetts off of my yoga list by taking a class at Dancing Crow Yoga, and then went to a meeting at Redeye Coffee Roasters in Hingham.

Snowy boston

After that, I had a weather advisory so I basically headed back to New Jersey for a visit with my parents. First stop? Hoffman's ice cream. Even on the coldest week of the year, it's a necessary stop for me every time I go to NJ.

Hoffman's Ice cream, nj

My dad had an impressive pastry from Mueller's in Bay Head on the same night, which I thought I would show you. 

Chocolate claw

In NJ, I made sure to hit up some of my favorite places: Kane Brewing Company, Younique Yoga, and Rook Coffee.

Rook coffee and an apple

I also had a standout pastry experience at Simona's Bakery in Sea Girt, NJ. We had gone there because their chocolate blackout cupcake was named one of the best in NJ. Well, we got one of those, but also a Fluffernutter cupcake, which was a melange of peanut butter and marshmallow. Look at it!

Cupcakes from Simona's

And now, look at how it looks in the center.

Fluffernutter cucpake, Simona's

Now, I'm not one to even believe in the existence of "half a cupcake" (just eat the thing! is my opinion), but this cupcake was so large that it really was like two cupcakes, so I separated it into two portions. This means I got to enjoy it over two days. Score!

It was snowy and cold in NJ, so I spent some time doing stippling. You can read about it in this post I did for Craftsy. How to: stippling

I of course also hit up Nature's Corner for one of my favorite Shazaam cookies.

Shazaam cookie

I headed back up to NYC, where I ate some pizza and recorded a podcast with Food Psych by Christy Harrison.

Oh, and I also got to go to City Bakery for some hot chocolate and an expensive marshmallow. Classic! City Bakery

 

I stayed with my friend James, and he made gluten-free pancakes in the morning. I had never tried them before but these were actually quite nice--extra nice since they were made for me by a friend.

GF Pancakes

The next day, I went back to the city for a meeting and the editor had treats from Bouchon. Pinkies ouuuuut!

Ho-ho from Bouchon Bakery

I went back to NJ, feeling like a real live commuter, and spent the night. The next AM, me and my mom went back to the city. We enjoyed the most frigid walk I've ever had, but we had each other's company.

We had a tasty dinner at Benny's Burritos, and I picked up some sweets at Zaro's Bread Basket at Penn Station (which hasn't changed a whole lot since this roundup). 

Black and White Cupcakes

The next day was my last in the city, and this is a good point to ask an important question: is it really a visit to NYC without a cupcake from Amy's Bread? I think not. 

Cupcakes at Amy's Bread in Chelsea Market, NYC

Have you ever tried Dough Doughnuts? Based in Brooklyn, this is a store that cannot be missed. They also sell their doughnuts at Whole Foods locations in Manhattan.

Photo via DOUGH

We got some coffee at Ms Delilah's, an adorable place with biscuits from Balthazar that they will dress up in a number of different ways. 

Once at JFK, I was just happy to have survived the weather, and I was on my way back to Santa Fe. 

Whew! What a few months it has been. I'm ready for a nap!

Happy Sweet Winter, everyone!

Monday
Feb232015

15 Awesome Punk Rock Cakes

If you consult the dictionary, punk rock is "a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of rock music, popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s". But it was so much more: a way of life, breaking free of the shackles of establishment and societal norms. And it came with some very assertive fashion. I remember being a child of the 80s and thinking the studs, Doc Martens boots, and plaid with zippers all over was sort of scary, but also very cool.

These fifteen awesome punk rock cakes reflect the creativity, fashion, and assertive, unapologetic nature of punk rock. The aesthetic is sometimes far from sweet, but they're all sweet to eat. 

Punk rock! This cake definitely shows a punk rock edge, with a skull and crossbone flag, green flames, and an edgy punk rocker on the top tier. But the piece de resistance? The mohawk topper, which is cleverly configured from black licorice. Cake by Pastry Chef Jodi (no website). 

An Australian bakery made this adorable Lego punk rocker cake for a kid's birthday, but I'd accept this mohawked morsel at any age! Via Sweet Eats

The Clash is immortalized in sweet form in this cake, which features a realistic rendering of what is arguably their most famous album. Via Sylvie's Cake Creations

I love this birthday cake that I found on Photobucket, and think that Olaf, whoever he is, is a lucky fellow. It features the Ramones' logo, with a delicate buttercream piped border. It manages to be cool and cute at the same time. Via Photobucket member hwilkes501.

This cake cleverly adapts a Sex Pistols album cover to be birthday (and kid!) friendly. Via Karli's Cakes.

Here's another variation on the Sex Pistols cake, for someone turning the same age! Via Once Upon a Cake. 

This cake is anti-establishment at its most delicious. Combat boots, beer, and the punk rock battle call of "oi!" adorn the cake, which manages to be adorable in spite of its subject matter. Via Pinterest member Cindy Cortez.

Punk rawk! Many of the classic punk bands are reflected in these delicately decorated cupcakes, but my favorite part is the cupcakes with the hearts which are nestled between punk bands. But...what's with the Pink Floyd? I definitely felt that didn't quite fit in with the others!

Anarchy! Sweet anarchy! This cupcake captures a punk rock mentality with definite sweetness. Photo via Bleeding Heart Bakery, from a post by Cupcakes Take the Cake.

While I'm not sure where this image came from, I love the cake. The industrial Union Jack, formed from studs! The spiky ribbons around the bottom of alternate layers! The leather jacket-look of the crisscrossed layers! This cake is punk, but with panache. 

How fun is this punk rock fashion inspired cake? It's got it all: a mohawk topper, plaid with buckles and zippers, a moto jacket-inspired bottom layer, and even a lining around the edges of Doc Martens boots. Via Party Animals Online.

The best way (ever) to make your teeth go rotten? With a Johnny Rotten caramel crunch cake, featuring a chocolate transfer with the famous punk rocker's visage. Via Flickr member Straight Outta Chocolate.

Chains form the bottom border on this DIY themed cake, which features punk plaid, anarchy symbols, and safety pins to form a punk themed, but very pretty, cake. Via Pinterest member Jessica Mooney

In Arizona, a bakery called Cup n'cake  dreamed up this glam yet punk-themed wedding cake. A classy octagonal base is stacked with round layers, all coated in black fondant, and decked out with metallic studs. The sophisticated layout and white flower make it wedding-appropriate. Via Cup n'cake

I'm not sure exactly why a duck with a mohawk is hilarious, but it is. This cake, by an Albuquerque bakery, features a punk rock baby toy. Via ABC Cake Shop.

Which is your favorite punk rock cake?

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.