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Do You Believe in Magid?: Cakes by Sarah Magid

They say that one thing leads to another. Never has this been more true than in the case of Sarah Magid: after inheriting a serious sweet tooth from kitchen savvy mom and Grandma growing up in So-Cal, she moves to NYC to study Art History; fashion beckons and she becomes a shoe designer, which segues into jewelry design; somewhere in all of this she realizes that the demand for the home-baked goods she brings to fashionable affairs were just as great as the demand for her jewelry designs; the baking business takes off, and now there are plans in the works for a bakery to open in 2008 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

And we haven't even mentioned the actual cakes yet.

These cakes are the epitome of urban cool: not too perfect and not too cute, they're nonetheless unmistakably hip. Oh, and they're made with the finest organic ingredients-- so you can count on your cake tasting as good as it looks.

Unfortunately for much of the nation, delivery and orders for custom wedding, birthday and other occasion cakes are only available for the NYC area at the moment. But we're going to keep our eyes on this one--we see many more great things ahead for Sarah Magid.

To order or inquire about cakes, visit sarahmagid.com

(Photo credit goes with thanks to Sarah Magid)


Hearts A-Twitter: Bird Cake Toppers by Ann Wood Handmade

Not to get too hippie about it, but there are tiny miracles going on all around us. Don't believe it? All you need to do is stop and observe, and there they are: a crack in the sidewalk shaped like a heart. A dollhouse hanger embedded into the pavement on the street. A single mismatched tile in an ornate lobby.

Whereas most of us will walk by these tiny wonders without a second glance, Ann Wood strikes us as someone who would certainly not. One look at the Brooklyn-based designer's intricate and lovely bird cake toppers and you'll understand what we mean: the toppers, made of vintage fabrics and materials, are the work of a true observer and master craftsperson. The finished product is so full of personality and sweetness that we couldn't imagine a happier cake topper for a wedding. Luckily she does special orders too--who says a wedding is the only time you need a cake topper? Visit annwoodhandmade.com to see styles; to make a special order or inquire about a custom order, email admin@annwoodhandmade.com.

(Photo credit goes with thanks to annwoodhandmade.com)


Labor of Love: Poilâne Bread at Metropolitan Market

Although this feature is not specifically dessert-based, we at Cakespy believe that if something has to come before dessert, it had better be good. So, as a bit of a Labor Day Special, we are happy to report that Metropolitan Market is now flying in bread from Poilâne Bakery, which is a bit of an "it" bread in France (for those not in the know, it's the bakery featured in Peter Mayle's book Confessions of a French Bread Baker) once a week, so now you too can enjoy your pain quotidien without actually, you know, having to make it yourself. Visit metropolitan-market.com for locations.


The Secret Lives of Cupcakes: Portraits by Jenny Cupcake

Art History 101. Somewhere between Fat Lady Representing Fertility and A Five Year Old Could Have Done this, you dozed off and missed the entire unit on Boring Portraits of Pasty Aristocrats.

Finally, Cakespy has sleuthed some art you'll actually appreciate: the paintings of Jennifer Kessler. Going by the professional name Jenny Cupcake (we love her already!), this Georgia-based, SCAD-trained artist paints detailed, color-saturated cupcakes dressed in their party best. But don't be fooled by the lighthearted subject matter; these are not simply still lives, but rather portraits of cupcakes. The fluidity and movement in her brush strokes creates a certain moodiness and air of mystery to the work, and begs the viewer to wonder: what came before? what comes next? and serves as a poignant reminder at how so many moments in life are fleeting. Of course, there's no denying the sexual tension in some of her work either; check out the clever and cheeky "Lady" series.


Fake Bakin': My Pink Boutique

A.A. Milne (as Winnie the Pooh) said that "...although eating honey was a very special thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called."

But how could you possibly hold on to that moment when a plate of petits fours is placed in front of you?

It's scientifically impossible, unless they're faux cakes by My Pink Boutique. Delightful but not delicious, these cakes are rendered by hand out of entirely non-edible materials, and will add a shabby-chic bit of sophistication to any room in the house. Personally, we want them in our kitchen, our living room...maybe even the bedroom. Available in a variety of pastels that would make Marie Antoinette drool, you can buy these confections (starting at just $4.99 per petit four) at mypinkboutique.com.


Cupcake Courier

Picture this: you've just made a beautiful batch of cupcakes for so-and-so's bridal shower / birthday party / post-rehab brunch, and your soon-to-be-single BF has stopped short at a yellow (that's amber in Canada) light and your A for Awesome cupcakes have just been demoted to E for Effort.

We feel your pain.

Luckily, the cupcake courier is here to save the day! Made out of translucent plastic, the three modular trays are stackable with sturdy latches on the bottom and a handle on the top for easy transportation of up to 36 of your sweet treats.

It just might help things with your sweetie, too.

Thank you to Cake Gumshoe Allison for the tip!


Kimberella Cupcakes

Kimberella Cupcakes: A Haiku

Sweet sunshine lemon
Lemon cupcake mixed with cream
Citrus butter dream

It's true; Kimberella's cupcakes bring out the poet in us. Trained as a gourmet chef, you may recognize Kimberly as the proprietress of the Seattle-based catering/personal chef service Herban Palate. Kimberella Cupcakes is her newest venture, and we'll be carefully tracking the progress (a web site is in the works). Her current offerings include flavors like the Sweet Sunshine (see haiku and image above), a citrus-buttercream confection; the Cocoa Cabana, a chocolate cupcake with banana buttercream rolled in flakes of coconut; and the Mint to Be Together, a milk chocolate cupcake with peppermint buttercream. Minimums are quite low, and her rates are affordable--$25 a dozen for full sized cupcakes, or just $12 a dozen for mini cupcakes. Email her at kimberly@herbanpalate.com for more information on ordering, or to request a custom flavor!


Cakewalk in West Seattle

We've heard that Eddie Vedder, who resides in West Seattle, occasionally goes by the pseudonym "Wes C. Addle". Certainly a neighborhood capable of leaving such an impression must have some great virtues, not to mention some great bakeries.

Cakespy Note: Sunday is a great day to visit West Seattle due to the farmer's market, which is a wonderful opportunity to try a bunch of great Seattle pastries all in one place. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sundays through December at the corner of California Ave. SW and SW Alaska; online at seattlefarmersmarkets.org.

Here are Cakespy's highlights from West Seattle:

Alki Bakery: The Alki Bakery has a location in the Seatac Airport and additionally sells wholesale to Tully's, so we were a bit skeptical that the pastry might taste a little...well, mass-produced. Although the sandwiches didn't look like anything exceptional, the cinnamon rolls and shortcakey scones left quite an impression. 2738 Alki Ave. SW (at 61st Ave. SW); online at alkibakery.com.

Bakery Nouveau: Bakery Nouveau is a little bit like a hot girl who knows that she's hot. With some pretty high accolades and a hotshot pastry chef, it's got a lot of pressure to live up to: and it does. Rows of French patisserie-style pastries line the glass shelves with American favorites like cheesecake (all Paris-ed out with Laduree style macaroons) and sexy carrot cake slices with velvety frosting. 4737 California Ave. SW (between SW Alaska & SW Edmunds Sts); online at bakerynouveau.com.

Coffee to a Tea With Sugar: The sign reading "Happy Hour--half price cake 7-9 p.m." bodes extremely well at this cute cafe, and we were willing to forgive them for the cutesy name and the inexplicable beeping sound that kept on going off. The cupcakes are beautiful, dense and completely fulfilling. They're available on a rotating basis; take their cupcake menu home and read it before bed for sweet dreams. 4541 California Ave. SW (between SW Oregon & SW Alaska Sts).

Eats Market Cafe:
We imagine that under the dictionary listing for dessert, the pictures must look something like the pastries made by Eats Market. Homemade (but of course by someone much more skilled than you) and classic, think perfect buttery cupcakes, rich and chewy bars, and some extremely handsome sweet crostata with fruit. Sunday at the West Seattle Farmer's Market, California Ave. SW and SW Alaska; storefront at 2600 SW Barton St; online at eatsmarket.com.

Herban Feast: A little taste of Herban Feast's fare at the Sunday farmer's market has left us hungry for more. Their crumbly lemon-rosemary shortbread cookies were wonderful, and their full dessert menu online looks even better. Sunday at the West Seattle Farmer's Market, California Ave SW and SW Alaska; online at herbanfeast.com.

Little Prague Bakery: If your Grandma came from the old country, maybe she told you stories with a funny accent and served you rich strudels after school. If that wasn't your childhood, visit Little Prague Bakery today and make up for lost time. Sunday at the West Seattle Farmer's Market, California Ave. SW and SW Alaska; storefront at 6045 California Ave. SW (between SW Raymond & SW Graham Sts).

The Original Bakery: This bakery is homey and almost completely lacking in pretention; the moment you walk in, you feel as if you've walked into another era. The cookies have a slightly nordic flavor, and the doughnuts are rich and satisfying. 9253 45th Ave. SW (at SW Willowood Rd).

Shoofly Pie Co.: This new pie bakery may have an identity crisis (the facade is just this side of garish, the inside is erring on too minimalist), but luckily the pie suffers none of this turmoil. The crust is gorgeously misshapen; the fillings are alternately smooth and rich on the cream pies and delightfully oozing on the fruit pies; it's worth the trip. 4444 California Ave. SW (between Genesee & Oregon Sts).

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Big Cupcake, Big Happiness: Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan

Sometimes, bigger is not always better (Tara Reid's boobs, Jersey Girl hair, Paris Hilton's old engagement ring).

Then again, sometimes bigger is better, like with Wilton's new Giant Cupcake pan. Rendered out of oven-safe cast iron, this two-part pan allows for a cupcake shaped bottom and mound to be cooked together, then assembled like a really huge cupcake. The finished effect is something like a realized childhood dream.


The Next Big Thing: Tres Leches Cake

Through our lives, we've seen so many cake phases come and go. There was the Funfetti phase; the ice cream cake phase; the cupcakes baked in sugar cones phase. We've seen cakes come and go out of vogue. Carrot cakes have made way for Hummingbird cakes; Red Velvet was tacky, but now it's kind of cool again.

Well, it's time to make way for the new cake on the block: Tres Leches (or, Pastel de Tres Leches, literally meaning "cake of three milks"). It's long been a staple dessert in Latin America, and it's coming to the USA with the fervor of Selena's crossover album. Usually made sans butter and soaked in three types of milk (evaporated milk, condensed milk and either whole milk or cream), in spite of being so dairy-dominant, the cake remains quite light and unsoggy when made correctly.

We predict you'll be seeing it a lot more in the future, but for the meantime check out these places in the Seattle area:

Borracchini's Bakery: Who would have thought an old-school Italian bakery would be on to this trend? 2307 Rainier Ave. S (between S. Walker St. & S. College St.); online at nowcake.com.

El Diablo Coffee Co.: Call for availability; their menu rotates. 1811 Queen Anne Ave. N (between W. Howe St. & W. Blaine St.); online at eldiablocoffee.com.

Salvadorean Bakery: Don't go here for the ambience--it's in a strip mall--but rather go for the authentic cakes. 1719 SW Roxbury St (between 17th Ave. SW & 18th Ave. SW).

NB: We've also heard it's on the menu at El Camino (607 N. 35th St b/t Evanston Ave. N & Fremont Pl. N; online at elcaminorestaurant.com) and Senor Moose Cafe (5242 Leary Ave. NW b/t 20th Ave. NW & NW Ione Pl.; online at senormoose.com.)

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