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Thursday
Sep252014

Unicorn Love: The Recovery Part of the Blog

I'd like to take a moment to introduce this new division of the CakeSpy blog, which I intend on using for writing about eating disorder recovery.

I realize that "Unicorn Love" might sound like a funny name for an eating disorder recovery blog, so let me explain just a little bit.

In my eating disorder recovery, I consider the unicorn my totem animal. Mostly sweet and full of goodness...but capable of kicking some serious ass when needed. 

Check back to the Unicorn Love division of CakeSpy often for writing on eating disorder recovery. 

Disclaimer: because of the nature of this writing, if you are suffering from an eating disorder, some of the content on this site may be triggering. I will mention food, calories, and behaviors. So consider yourself warned!

Wednesday
Sep242014

Dessert Quirks and Confessions

Dessert Confessions

Dessert quirks: we all have them. Even if you don't have established quirks to point to, surely you've been guilty of strange dessert behavior in your life. In which case, even if you don't have a quirk, you've got a dessert confession

This post celebrates those quirky dessert moments and preferences. 

I wrote most of these, but some of them were contributed by readers. So don't blame me if you disagree with the quirk, because I might not have written the one you're focused on. 

Here goes:

Dessert Confessions

Root beer floats gross me out. Not the taste, the texture.

10 layer cake

The word "moist" grosses me out...

...but I can't think of another word that can accurately describe such a cake.

Dessert Confessions

I once bought a grocery store birthday cake because I just wanted a cake to eat for breakfast all week. At the checkout, the cashier said "whose birthday is it?" and I responded "what are you talking about?". And then I realized...

Dessert Confessions

After my wisdom teeth were taken out, I couldn't abide by cottage cheese and jell-o. On day 2, I mashed a cupcake in milk and ate it. And loved every morsel of the mush.

Homemade Pop Tarts

I could eat Pop-tarts every day. I'm not just saying that. I could eat them every single day.

Closeup, Many Cakes

I prefer vanilla to chocolate. 

I find angel food cake a complete waste of my time.

Dessert Confessions

Two words: quadruple stuf.

If I get on a kick, I will eat a dessert every day for weeks on end until I get tired of it. 

Chocolate Bacon Ice Cream

I love eating ice cream for breakfast. I wish more ice cream shops opened at 9am.

Dessert Confessions

I don't like sharing dessert.

I don't like chocolate covered fruit. 

Dessert Confessions

Dunking: not a fan.

White chocolate

White chocolate: love the stuff. 

I once ate an entire sleeve of Thin Mints as a child and have never really cared for them since. 

Dessert Confessions

I know you're not supposed to lick batter that contains uncooked egg, but I do. I haven't died yet.

I don't like flan.

Dessert Confessions

Salt: I put it on everything. Including brownies, cake, and ice cream.

Too many chocolate chips in my cookie and I'm totally turned off. I'd rather have too few than too many.

Dessert Confessions

There is no such thing as "too much frosting". And yet...frosting shots gross me out.

Do you have a dessert quirk? Tell me about it in the comments section! 

Wednesday
Sep242014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Triple Ginger-Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events).

Thanks to enterprising bakers such as Amy's Bread and Momofuku, cornmeal in cookies is no longer a strange thing--in fact, it's an anticipated and delicious thing. You've probably even heard of them.

But you've never seen cornmeal cookies like these. Jennifer Gentry of Steamboat Springs, Colorado takes the concept several steps further with the zing of three types of ginger (!) and lemon. With a rich, sugar cookie dough base, these cookeis are a sweet treat indeed. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Triple Ginger-Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 5 Min
  • Makes: 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (about 3 oz) finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line 2 cookie sheets with Reynolds® Parchment Paper.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with wooden spoon, or knead with hands until well blended.
  3. Shape dough into 16x2-inch log. Cut dough into 1-inch slices with sharp knife. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until center is set and edges are dry to the touch. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes. Store covered.
Tuesday
Sep232014

Turning Your Art into Greeting Cards

Are you interested in turning your art into greeting cards? Well, I may not have wisdom on many subjects, but I do on this particular one. Check out this tutorial I wrote of how to transition your art into commercial reproduction in card form! Full tutorial here.

Tuesday
Sep232014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Orange-Glazed Biscones

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events).

Riddle me this: what's a biscone? Well, according to Gina Fugazzi of Centennial, Colorado, they're the tasty meeting place of biscuit and scone. This recipe starts with biscuits from a tube, which are sweetened up with some honey, fruit, butter, and flavoring to make a delightful breakfast bite. 

Good luck at the Bake-Off, Gina!

Orange-Glazed Biscones

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 55 Min
  • Makes: 8 biscones

Ingredients

  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers refrigerated honey butter biscuits (8 biscuits)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Orange Extract
  • 1 medium orange (1/4 teaspoon grated peel and 2 to 3 tablespoons juice)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Separate dough into 8 biscuits on work surface; sprinkle with apricots and cranberries. Gather biscuits and fruit into a ball. Knead lightly 8 to 12 times until fruit is incorporated (do not overmix).
  2. Press into 10-inch round. With sharp knife, cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly brush tops of wedges with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes.
  4. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, orange extract, orange peel, orange juice and remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter with whisk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over biscones. Store covered.
Monday
Sep222014

Waxed Paper Versus Parchment Paper in Baking

Can you use waxed paper instead of parchment paper in baking? I mean, come on, they look the same and everything.

Well, turns out there's more than meets the eye here. I wrote a fantastic post (if I do say so myself) on the subject of when you can and cannot swap the two; check out the full article here.

Monday
Sep222014

Batter Chatter: Interview With Josie Acosta, Bakery Excel Spreadsheet Guru

Josie Acosta is a bakery Excel spreadsheet guru

Now, I'll just go ahead and tell you here that as someone who runs an internet-based business and blog, I am woefully unaware of the ways of the tech world, so I probably know less about what that actually means than you. But--I knew enough to know it sounded interesting. I've never heard of a bakery Excel spreadsheet guru before, have you?

Josie, who offers her services to bakery or baking business owners via an Etsy page, is happy to expand on her interesting niche of expertise in this interview. Don't worry, non-techies: I'll warm up and cool down with dessert-related questions. Enjoy:

What is your favorite dessert? Anything with Oreos! An Oreo Cookies and Cream Milkshake always hits the spot.

Vanilla or chocolate? Vanilla

Tell me what it means to be an excel spreadsheet guru, and what it has to do with baking, exactly? I am an Industrial Engineer and most of my day is spent creating Microsoft Excel spreadsheets so over the years I have gotten pretty good at it. I use excel to keep track of everything in my life from personal budgets to managing my Etsy and eBay shops! Excel is a great tool for any small business to keep track of their sales, expenses, profit, etc. with options to create charts and graphs to visually see your progress over time.

What are you selling, exactly? An all-inclusive tool to manage your home-based bakery! The model allows you to keep track of your orders, inventory, recipes, and ingredients and makes it easy to quickly price out the cost per serving for your recipes with the Pricing Calculator. Once you enter your current and previous orders, charts are automatically generated to show your performance over time and track your orders by type (Birthday, Wedding, Anniversary, etc.). The model also includes personalized order form and receipt templates for your business! · What gave you the idea to make a bakery spreadsheet? My mom has her own cake business and for years she's been keeping track of her sales on paper. I wanted to make her life a little easier and her business more professional. The model helps her to see in real time what her monthly and annual sales and profit are without her having to spend a fortune on existing cake business management software.

How has your spreadsheet work helped businesses? The spreadsheet was created with a small home-based bakery business in mind. I wanted to provide a quality product for a reasonable price. The model helps small-businesses to keep better records, be more organized, and accurately price your cakes to get the profit you deserve.

What inspires you? The idea that I can make things better! The inventor in me is always looking to create a solution that solves an everyday problem.

What dessert do you dislike (if any)? I’m not a fan of caramel so I typically pass on anything with caramel on it!

What kind of chocolate chip cookies do you prefer? Soft, crispy, chewy, other? Soft! A little undercooked with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

What's next? I would love to create custom excel spreadsheet models for other home-based small businesses like photographers or personal trainers.

To buy this spreadsheet service, visit the Etsy page.

Monday
Sep222014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Waffles

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

Using chocolate chip cookie dough to make waffles? It simply baffles the mind!

These clever waffles come together from a base of (gluten-free) cookie dough with just a few ingredients added to give it a more waffle-batter like consistency. The resulting treats? Well, let's say brunch is gonna rule at your house this weekend, or any weekend you make them. This recipe is courtesy of Julee Shapiro of Los Angeles. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Waffles

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 30 Min
  • Makes: 6 servings; 2 (4-inch) waffles each

Ingredients

  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Procedure

  1. Heat waffle maker. (Waffle maker without a nonstick coating may need to be brushed with vegetable oil or non-stick spray before batter for each waffle is added.) Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add milk, peanut butter, oil and eggs. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping sides as needed, until well blended.
  3. To make waffles, pour 1/4 cup batter onto each waffle section. (Check manufacturer’s directions for recommended amount of batter.) Close lid of waffle maker.
  4. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Carefully remove waffle. Serve waffles topped with whipped cream and drizzled with honey.
Monday
Sep222014

Make Sweet and Eclectic Art: How to Combine Collage and Pen and Ink

I love creating art (like, duh). Sometimes I find it inspiring to mix up my media--not just pen and ink and watercolor, but a little something extra, like collage. It adds texture and intrigue, or so I think on better days.

If you're interested, I've made up a little tutorial on how to try this fun method of making art--check out the full post here.

Sunday
Sep212014

Addictive and Delicious: Brown Sugar Buttercream

Brown sugar buttercream is something that needs to enter your universe, and fast. If you've never tried the stuff, make today the day, and change the rest of your life for the better. Think I'm exaggerating its merits? I'm not. Find the full tutorial here on how to make it perfectly.

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